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Covenant of La Roche Caribet

Of the fae - both the charming and the angry

11th December: A Gathering of Conspirators?

I have been very busy completing my tractatus on the use of the Art of Creo to call the Forms of things into tangibility. I think it will be beneficial to guide the minds of some of the members of the Order into the realms of philosophy. I am just making a final check that none of the ink has smudged. We have had messages delivered from several directions during the past few days, as four Redcaps have arrived, and seem set on staying. We are entertaining Aversus Mercere, filius Monogrammi from Mummolides, Bartholomeus filius Aversi from Wirbelnia, Victor Mercereris, filius Garon ap Meirionydd from Fornacula and Jézéquel Mercereris, filia Edgar from Fudarus. I believe they have just come to have a rest and a good time but if this pleases them and puts them even a little in our debt, it is a good thing. Victor is not the only visitor from Fornacula - he arrived with Nox Flammeus Flambonis, filius Rasi. I am not at all pleased to have someone of such dubious lineage here! Iuris Perita will have to keep an eye on him. He brought us a gift of a useful, well-bound tractatus on Perdo, which is probably sufficient compensation for the anxiety.

We have other visitors come just today. There is Anna Le Bail Ex Miscellanea filia Ideae Mixae who has come to represent Wirbelnia. I gather that Gwénolé is still fuming but Gareth o Fflint is friendly towards us. This may, of course, have a lot to do with him wanting our support at the up coming Tribunal. She has presented us with a beautiful cloak of finest shimmering spider silk. I expect we will all have ideas of enchantments to enhance this lovely garment though I believe it will look best on a lady of noble bearing. Jovinus Bonisagi, filius Accanellae and Buviniolus Bonisagi filius Soliferrei arrived from Petrusca with a good number of armed guards. These visitors from Petrusca brought a pawn of Herbam and a pawn of Imaginem vis as gifts; of course it was Jovinus gave the Imaginem, thinking of his filius. I expect Jovinus wants to check that Speculor is behaving himself, and I hope that Buviniolus wishes to discuss our common interests with me. He has not brought his new apprentice with him, but I shall be sure to ask after her. There has been no good opportunity for private conversation with the visitors from Petrusca because they have been in deep and secret discussion with Nox Flammeus since they arrived. I think they are plotting in preparation for the Tribunal. Indeed, should Iuris Perita have a mind to, I think she could declare a Tribunal here and now given the number of guests we have.

A couple of days ago, the visitors from Fornacula declared that they desired to try the hunting here about - they have probably heard about the dragon that we found for the Duke. Fortunately no-one showed any sign that I was expected to participate. Constantine went; I expect he felt it would look very weak if he did not show some enthusiasm for a pastime these Fornacula Flambeau take such pleasure in. Both the visitors had very fine horses with them. Nox Flammeus' mount is a particularly striking destrier that breathes fire, which has caused a little difficulty over suitable stabling. Sir Achilles and Sir Guillaume went along too, though I am surprised that anyone felt it wise to risk having mundanes in the party. I gather a good time was had by the visitors, that Sir Guillaume was pleased with the performance of Bron and his hunting dogs, and that Constantine did not fall off his horse, but I heard nothing of anything special killed or caught.

Amongst the letters that the visiting Redcaps delivered was one for me from Letitia Bonisagi filia Praexti, encouraging me to visit, and saying that, if I could spare a whole season, she is sure my understanding of the matters that interest us both will advance. She seems very pleased with the report I sent concerning Haeconius. I am determined to pay her a visit as soon as possible, which means setting out directly after my next visit to Cierella. Sadly, it looks as if I shall have to manage in the Valley of the Mists without Gwénolé's aid so it might take rather longer than it ought. I'm quite optimistic that she will soon get over the loss of her apprentice, but I can't count on her being friends with me again very soon. I expect that once I have studied with Letitia, I will understand the flow of time in the realms of the fae well enough to minimise the loss of time myself. I must ensure that, while the Redcaps are gathered here, I and my shield grogs learn whatever we can from them of the route from here to the covenant of Montes Plani.

12th December: Less welcome guests

Urbanus Verbus Tytali turned up this morning, presumably to stir up trouble with the other visitors in preparation for the Tribunal. I was very much wishing he had stayed far away but was mollified by his generous gift of two pawns of Aquam vis. Later in the day, two more magi arrived. They are Pes Ferreus Tremereris filius Dogmatus and Haemonia Tremereris filia Dogmatus, currently wandering around Normandy and causing a lot of comment. They must have heard about the mid-winter feast here, unfortunately, but at least they had also picked up the suggestion that a gift would be a good idea. They brought us Animal vis in the form of goat's blood and Vim vis in the form of dried mushrooms. It is worth putting up with this annual disturbance if we can gain so much vis so easily, but I feel sure this year the circumstances are unusual, because everyone wants to influence everyone else prior to the big meeting. I had rather hoped that Roland of Ulula Speculum might come again this year, as he sounded very interesting and I was away in Castellar when he attended the feast, but no-one came from there. I hope this is not a sign that they are well-disposed towards Odela!

13th December: One comes, some go

Father Edwin left Caribet this morning, heading for the Hermitage, accompanied by the percemenarius, the perfumier, Yussuf and Ellie. Much more interesting was the arrival of Quercus. He has once again set up a beautiful pavilion around the oak that bears the golden acorns. As soon as my ink on this parchment is dry, I shall pay him a visit and thank him for the acorns - we can hardly expect any additional gift from him. I hear that Mellor the hunter is with him and there is talk of a talking owl, which I must investigate. The servant who told me this also mentioned that Mellor had brought us some faerie mead which he had described as having been made with very special honey. I should very much like to investigate this when I get the chance. My sodales will probably think little of it, like the faerie wine, so I should have no difficulty in obtaining it for my own study.

I had the opportunity this morning for a conversation with Buviniolus. It was not as enjoyable an experience as I had anticipated since he would keep on about the Tribunal, pressing me to commit my vote to Petrusca. I hope he did not find my evasions too obvious. Whilst I clearly owe loyalty to my House, I have also to support this covenant and will not commit my vote in any way that might mean it is used against the interests of Saxum Caribetum. Buviniolus is aware that Fudarus are plotting something, and pressed me to pass on any hints of their purposes that came my way. He asked if they had approached us in such a way that I do not think he knows about Constantine's recent trip to Fudarus. This surprised me, as I thought Petrusca would know everything that happens so openly, but I kept quiet about it. I tried to turn the talk to Séanna and when he could not be drawn out on that subject, told him of my plans to visit Letitia to study with her soon. This would not shift him from the subject of my vote, as he could only say how very disappointed he was that this visit would prevent me attending the Tribunal in person, and he did his best to make me hand him the right to use my sigil. He cannot have been surprised that I declined his offer, as he was still willing to agree that I could visit the library in Petrusca to study there after my return from the Rhine.

Under the oak

I spent quite a lot of today relaxing in Quercus' pavilion. Joach was there too for quite a long time, though I did not see quite what the attraction was for him. While he engaged Quercus in conversation, I chatted with Mellor and the faerie owl that accompanied him. The owl described itself as an agent of the ancient willow. It spoke of long flights through the forest, of hunting and the stars. I think it would be excellent fun to introduce the talking owl to the faerie cat, but I could not risk taking Alacritas from the warding ring, and it seemed unwise to take the owl inside the aegis, so this will have to wait. Quercus is absolutely charming and I hope to be seated near him at Sir Achilles' feast.

14th December: Council meeting

The urgent need to make the trade copies of books for Wirbelnia was uppermost in our minds. Constantine had promised that we would have them all available by spring. The copies of tractatus on Rego, Vim, Creo and Ignem are no trouble, since any one of us could prepare three copies in a season, but the great Summa on Animal is a more daunting undertaking. We discussed at some length which of us should do this; both Constantine and myself are much better employed in writing new tractatus which could be copied by our sodales and traded later but we appeared to be the only ones confident of completing a copy of the several thick volumes on Animal in the time available. Just as we were beginning to think that one of us would have to take it on, Speculor came out of his reverie and claimed that he could do it. I have to confess that I am not convinced, since he is quite well-known for rather over-estimating his abilities. However, it was agreed that he carry out this service and it remains to be seen whether he can do it or not.

I am to write a tractatus on Finesse and Constantine will write one on Certamen. I shall be very interested to read his book. I feel it is something of a gap in my Hermetic education that I have not yet learnt anything about this. I cannot think that I shall ever need to apply it but I am sure that I can learn something by studying it from a theoretical point of view. Joach and Iuris Perita will make the copies promised to Wirbelnia, and probably a couple of spare copies of Constantine's new Penetration tractatus. I had hoped that this would be available for illumination this season but, since it clearly will not be, I hope Fulk will be able to do our own copy soon and meanwhile will work on Elise's Corpus tractatus.

15th December: The Bountiful Feast

Joach cast The Bountiful Feast for us and was only a little fatigued by the long procedure. It is expensive in vis, but we cannot do without it, especially when we have so many guests to feed in addition to the residents. All the labourers from the fields around Caribet and just about everyone from the village of Caribet took part in the procession that followed Joach, and probably some from Ploeuc too. Of course, they all know that Sir Achilles lays on a great feast in the evening, so all hang around idly for the rest of the day. I got on with preparations for the new book I am to write.

16th December: Another side to the Lady of Caribet

I am wondering whether Iuris Perita would be annoyed if I did significant damage to the wife of her cousin Achilles. Looking back on it, Helissente was probably just being young and foolish but I confess that during the course of yesterday evening, I could have murdered her. I seated myself close to Quercus at the high table towards the start of yesterday evening's feast, keen to find out as much as I could about our regal faerie guest, and was very much enjoying his charming and very attractive attentions when her ladyship came and seated herself on his other side and proceeded to try and monopolise him. I noticed that at first she kept glancing over to where Constantine was held enraptured by whatever it was that the striking blond maga Haemonia Tremereris was saying to him, as if she wanted him to notice that she was paying attention to Quercus. Then she seemed cross that Constantine was oblivious of her and it felt to me that she was taking her annoyance out on myself. I don't imagine that Helissente could seriously believe that she was significant enough to take precedence over a Bonisagus maga and a close relation of the King of Aragon, but Quercus, always so generous and charming, did her the kindness of playing along with her. When my patience started to wear a little thin, I reminded Helissente that her husband was probably expecting her to join him though I could see him in conversation with Anna Le Bail, laughing and smiling, and no doubt Helissente could too so my hints were lost on her, and Quercus probably pays little heed to Christian marriage vows. I was very tempted to throw a spell at her ladyship when she had the nerve to respond to me with sharp words.

As if sharing Quercus's attention with Helissente wasn't enough, we seemed to always have two or three of the serving wenches hovering very close about us, and he had a smile and kind word for all of them. While Quercus spoke with these, Helissente and I exchanged a few more needling remarks, then we were all distracted by William, who positioned himself near us to sing. He sang very pleasantly, a soft and gentle French piece that I do not think I have heard before. When he moved on, I glared at Helissente again, but she merely smiled back and my next insult just bounced off her. I fear I must have drunk rather too much wine, for my behaviour was hardly becoming, but at the time I was determined not to give in to her. In exasperation, I began to cast a Rego Mentem spell to make her fall fast sleep where she sat, but Quercus, very graciously, interrupted the casting by taking my hand. I could not be annoyed with him, but I was still very much annoyed with Helissente, so I attempted to cast the spell without voice or gestures, relying on my skill with Rego. Even though I leant over to touch my target, the spell failed, so, rather rashly but spurred on by wine and irritation, I tried again and again until I felt so tired that it could very easily be myself who fell asleep and ceded the victory.

A little later, Quercus decided to head off in the direction of his pavilion, and desired both myself and Helissente to accompany him. I was very reluctant to leave him, so agreed; I blame that faerie wine! Helissente was all compliance. I do not know how well that suited Quercus, but it suited me as she was willing to accept almost any suggestion from him or myself as long as she was able to stay with Quercus. For some reason, perhaps pity or deficient taste, Quercus wanted her in his bed as well as myself and, since I did not want to upset him, I restrained my temper and attempted no more spells. The truth is, Quercus was so delightful that I rather forgot Helissente after a while.

Early this morning, before the sun was up, Helissente rose and said her good byes before returning to the manor house. I was only to glad to see her go, and enjoyed having Quercus to myself for a few very enjoyable hours more. I even forgot about the need to collect up the dregs of the wine left from last night but our good Jehan did that for me.

19th December: The peat bog team

I came down from the scriptorium just before dusk to hear that several grogs had been sent off to the peat bogs with a vis detection wand. I was not surprised that two of the woodworkers had gone - since there is very little construction going on at present, they might as well make themselves useful in this way. I was very surprised indeed to be told that Redwald had gone. It seems very odd that Constantine is sure he can manage without him. I gather from Julius that Constantine is rather cross with Redwald about something that happened on the night of the feast, but cannot put together the full story though somehow the troll that guards the bridge was involved. I would ask Constantine myself but he is nowhere to be seen.

27th January: This wretched northern climate

I have never experienced such miserable weather! I believe it has rained almost constantly since Christmas. The damp seems to have soaked into the stones so that I am having to use Ignem spells to keep my chamber at a tolerable temperature. Guenna was worried about the damp getting into my garments, so she has taken them from the chest and hung them where the magically-warmed air can get to them. I notice that she and my shield grogs are spending a lot more time in my rooms than their duties require. I have been working in my laboratory, as the scriptorium is too cold and damp. There is still a good fire burning in the council chamber and our newly-constructed kitchen is a comfortable place to be, if it is not too crowded with everyone who has no pressing need to be elsewhere!

Saving the grain

This morning Jehan passed me a message from Sir Achilles concerning the grain in storage in Caribet's barn. It is protected from vermin by Joach's enchanted sculpture over the door but it is suffering from the damp. I was able to save it by a careful casting of a Rego Auram spell which will keep the grain dry for a month. Surely by then, this appalling weather will have passed! Sir Achilles asked me to perform the same ceremony in the barns at Ploeuc and St.Eloi. I was not over-keen, since it meant a long muddy walk in the rain, but he assured me that there would be insufficient grain to feed the peasants through the rest of the winter if nothing was done, so some Rego Aquam was necessary to make the journey tolerable. In Pleouc, the casting went well but the barn in St.Eloi proved harder. I became unconscious for a short while and passed into Twilight yet again. It took me so much by surprise that I failed to react quickly enough to control it and was left with a horrid muzzy feeling in my head and the odour of mouldy grain all around me. I was too shaken to attempt any repeat, and just hope that the grain at Caribet and Ploeuc will be sufficient to feed the hamlet of St.Eloi as well. I am optimistic that the mouldy damp smell will go entirely once the weather improves.

2nd February: Fever and chills

Jimena has been to Plaintel, in response to a request for help from Lady Marta. There has been a lot of sickness and fever here at Caribet, too, brought on by the continuing foul weather. I know that Jimena has been nursing seven of the sickest of our villagers in her infirmary. She has also been going to the cottages giving advice on the best way to dispel the miasma that is making so many ill - something to do with lighting fires to warm the air, spreading woolen blankets over the floor and walls, if the household can afford, and drinking wine flavoured with certain warming herbs and spices. Whilst Jimena was at Plaintel, passing on the same advice to Lady Marta and her people, she heard a rumour that the sickness was caused by the Witch of Lanvia. I assume this is the same woman whose three daughters now live at Caribet. It seems that this fever and hunger are affecting people over a very wide area, and I feel sure that one village cunning woman cannot be responsible for so much.

9th February: Messengers from the Duke

Armed men carrying the insignia of the Duke arrived in the village earlier today, accompanied by Marta's man Eberhardt and two of her men at arms. They rode off quite some time later in the direction of Plaintel, accompanied by Sir Achilles and Sir Guillaume with his pack of hunting dogs. I also hear that, following this visit, Jacques has posted an armed guard to protect our barn since the Duke's men brought word that bandits and outlaws are about, stealing food where they can.

10th February: Saving Plaintel

I have had a very interesting, if wet and muddy, day in Plaintel. During the morning Sir Achilles and one of Lady Marta's soldiers rode up to the Tower to request the help of the magi. The heavy rain that fell all day yesterday and all night onto ground that was already thoroughly saturated had swollen the mill stream to a torrent, destroyed the mill, and was about to bring down the whole hillside on which much of Plaintel stood - at least, this is how Achilles described the situation. The rain had eased off and as Joach and I walked through the woods to Plaintel, even we expressed surprise that the stream had risen so high so fast that it had swept the mill away. Achilles told us what had happened in Plaintel the day before.

Achilles, Guillaume and Eberhardt had ridden to Plaintel (the Duke's men had moved on at speed to take the message to other lords) and followed the raging stream towards its source. The dogs had followed a scent trail from the ruined mill for a while, but lost it higher up the stream. While casting about for the best direction to go in, Sir Achilles noticed men in the undergrowth higher up. These were pursued and chased into a small cave. Sir Guillaume, Eberhardt and a few of the men at arms had gone into the cave and killed the bandits. These must be the same bandits who had killed Martin, miller of Plaintel, the day before.

On arriving, our first thought was to use Rego Terram to stabilise the slope, and although this worked, it could only be applied to small areas at a time. I use Intellego Terram and discovered that the wet earth was not likely to collapse into the valley for at least a day, perhaps two or three, and if it did fall, was likely to do so in stages rather than in one catastrophic slump. Having passed on this information to Lady Marta, so she could make her plans to evacuate her people, I tried Intellego Aquam, putting my hand into the waters of the raging stream, to learn that it was being fed from a faerie source.

I left Joach working to stabilise the most endangered parts of the ground below Plaintel and proceeded upstream with Julius and Ignatius to investigate the source of the flood. The steep side of the stream was very slippery and at one point I fell in and got soaked, but my shield grogs helped me up and we continued up hill. Near the top of the slope we found the source of the stream in a small area of marsh. There was no sign of a cave, even after I had Julius and Ignatius search though all the surrounding undergrowth. I cast an Intellego Vim spell on myself to allow me to detect any regio boundary in the vicinity by sense of smell. It would have been far easier if we had just known to bring Zane along with us! After a few minutes of walking round the edge of the marshy area, I smelt the boundary. I took hold of Julius and Ignatius and guided them with me into the regio. There was the cave mouth, and the raging torrent of water pouring out of it. There also I saw the bodies of three men, two left just where they fell and one strung up on a branch. I could smell the taint of iron about the bodies, and felt sure that it was these dead men that had angered the fae. I ordered my grogs to take the bodies so they could carry them out of the regio. It was necessary for the grogs to be in contact with me or they would be unable to cross but the smell of dried blood and the stench of iron made it very hard indeed for me to sense the regio boundary. They would not complain but I could see they were almost dropping the bodies by the time I stepped confidently through, leading them with me. They dumped the bodies down a little way away and accompanied me back into the regio, since I wanted to find out more about it and stop the flood.

We were met by a lady of the fae. Her appearance was such that I believe she is of the same aspect as Cierella, that of Bright Winter, which was a relief as I felt sure I could make her understand me. I begged her to calm the torrent. She explained that her lovely cave had been contaminated and she had raised the waters simply to wash it clean. It was indeed a very pretty cave now I looked inside, with many colourful stalactites and stalagmites. She did agree that the cave was clean now that the bodies with their iron weapons had been removed and she reduced the flow of water to a trickle. Thinking that I could learn much here, I asked permission to visit again, but the response was not very encouraging. I trust that this was because the lady had been upset and hope that she may be more friendly if I visit again. Seeing that she had done what was necessary and showed no signs of making us welcome, I took my leave and guided the grogs back out again.

I was a little anxious about the need to carry the bodies of the bandits well away from the cave, since three were too much for two grogs to manage over such a distance and my ability with Corpus is not very well advanced as yet, but Rego did not let me down this time, and I was quite easily able to make the bodies light enough to float so that they only had to be guided and steered down to Plaintel. I was prepared to be angry that the bodies of the bandits had been left but apparently it was dark by the time that the knights had found and killed the murderers so they had been left with the intention of returning for them in daylight the following day, but the immiment disaster threatening Plaintel had delayed the plan. On the walk back to Caribet, Joach spoke with great enthusiasm of his ideas to create an enchanted millstone so we could grind our own grain in future. I fear he failed to engage my full attention all the way home as some of the practical details of the plan involved areas of Verditius magic that he was not willing to elucidate so I made plans for the next section of the tractatus I am about to get back to work on.

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