0. Prelude - Winter 1214-1215


[tab][/tab]Winter is not the time for travel and yet here you are on the road, in the miserable, biting cold making your one in a lifetime hijrah to the mountains of Epirus. For most of you time in a covenant, with its amenities and protected rooms, with the cozy libraries and hot forges, has not prepared you for the rigors of caravanning, let alone under such conditions. Woefully inept, you pass the governance of your little group to a trusted mundane, doing what you can to protect your few precious belongings from the dump weather, gritting your teeth and trudging on. For some others more accustomed to the pains of road, things are a little better, and yet you chaff at the small delays and foul drizzle, the caring of the pack animals and the ineptitude (real or perceived) of their handlers and teamsters. All of you follow the laconic directions of Anastaj that will lead you to the creation of a new covenant, Meru Mudi.
[tab][/tab]For the Western Magi the inland trek starts at Durres, an old city at the coast of the Adriatic, a jewel port (probably the only one on this side of the sea), where mercifully a group of teamsters has been paid to wait for you and your small retinue. Feeling slightly relieved that someone else took the task of dealing with transportation, and for the good organisation skills exhibited by the Covenant you are going to join, you start the long journey from the coast towards the mountainous mainland. Though winters are much colder up north, the humidity of the Balkan peninsula makes the wind bite that much more. Twin parallel ridges of the Transylvanian Alps frame a narrow valley traversed by a roaring river, a natural road you follow towards your rendezvous point of Aristi. The Nemërçkë ranges are fully capped with snow and ice and the weather promises even more snow, the wind picking up in intensity while you dredge through the not-so-melted sludge on the poor road.
[tab][/tab] Eastern Magi have a different route to take. In more travel hospitable seasons you would have gone by foot on the mainland through the mountains of Thessaly and over to the Pindus range. But the weather does not permit such an endeavor and the dreaded Katara crossing, a pass most difficult in gentler months, is certainly suicidal to travel during this season. Instead you arrive by ship at a coastal town of the Despotate (Preveza, Parga or Igoumenitsa) and make your own arrangements to journey to Ioannina and then north into the Konita valley. The trip is harsh and arduous made more difficult by the poor condition of the roads and the suspicious nature of the inhabitants. This war torn-realm has seen better decades. Only the wall enclosed town of Ioannina, rapidly growing into a small city, has a different feel to it. Certainly there is some scent of despair from the refuges, but more pronounced is their determination to make a new life in these parts and put the fall of the Shining City behind them. It was an interesting respite to your exhausting journey.
[tab][/tab]No matter where your came from, which route you took, your paths eventually take you to the old Imperial station at Aristi. Your party camps outside at the leveled area reserved for merchants and travelers. The outpost itself, walled by a wooden palisade, offers some rudimentary amenities but this is a military encampment not a caravanserai. The soldiers here seem alert and professional, but closer inspection reveals less than average quality of arms, some rust on weapons, a few bad fitting armor and the darkening cheek-fuzz of unshaven youth. Their officers are something else; scarred, brisk veterans with no-nonsense, harsh voices demanded information and inspected wares. The lieutenants looked at everything and everyone suspiciously, not relaxing even after inspection a dark toned man paid your fees. He was Dimitris, someone sent from the Covenant with teamsters to take you in. A tall, lanky man of dark features, with slightly slanting almond eyes, he was a trusted retainer of Anastaj sent to wait upon each of you. Next morning after moving your packs to the new mules, you start up a by-river, while your old porters make their way back home.
[tab][/tab] The view of Tymfi slowly changes from snow-covered mountains to a majestic mastiff, the Towers of Astraka dominating the landscape like giant, white capped sentinels. Grey clouds promise another snow fall and while the temperature drops the further you go up the mountains, the strong wind scraps ice crystals from the top of mastiff making it seem it is veiled in a white haze. There is now hard packed snow at this altitude, though the path you are following has signs of frequent use. Even as you marvel at the river flowing on your left side, you can spot ice flows drifting in the current. Spring seems far away, the Halcyon days a distant memory. Dimitris opens up a bit the more you travel up the slopes, offering to answer questions about the mountains, the road, what each feature is named by the locals. He points at this ridge, that mountain top, this village showing in the distance. Your party reaches a wooden bridge, no more than some planks thrown together over a shallow part of the river and the path splits in two; on the other side of the river you can see the way going up the hills like a snake, your guide pointing out the smoke from the village Papigo in the distance and a monastery on the other side. On your bank it becomes a goat trail steeply going up the mountainside. It is an exhausting climb, but the teamsters and mules seem used to it. The hard packed earth is sometimes covered by snow (a blessing really, there is little dust this time of year) and you can see animal droppings on the trail. There is a smell of decomposing half-digested old grass, reminding you that this is back country. Finally you reach the top of the ridge, but instead of following the animal trail towards the north where a circular settlement is located, your guides turn east and start going down the slope. This new path is little used.
[tab][/tab] The Vikos Gorge steals your breath. Tracks of sparkling blue river framed by miles of vertical cliffs seemingly going on foerver. And though it is winter and all life sleeps, you can feel a tingling of the senses, a quickening of magic in the air. While silence descends on the teamsters and animals, and even your guide stops talking, you sense the holiness of this place. Except for conifers, there is little green in the gorge now, everything covered in ice. A little snow starts to fall, muffling the sound of the river and the weird, distant cries of alpine crows. You party descends towards a frost covered meadow with a tiny church in it, situated on a bend of the river. A huge, blue pool looking like an eye, is barely obscured by the trees, water maples in full foliage, a surprising sight. That stretch of river draws you like a siren, but your party veers right and starts to climb up one of the many clefs of the gorge. Very soon you feel the weight of stone all around you, sure that this place never sees sunlight. And yet the cold does not bother you more. Many trees, now bare, cover both sides of the trail, and mixed with the conifers you spot different kinds of crab-apple trees, an impossibility on this altitude.
[tab][/tab] After hours on hiking up the mountains you at last reach the end of your journey. There is a huge bare tree on a snow-covered hill and at its feet a large rotunda dominates some wooden structures. This is the Covenant you came to join. A couple of sentries are all the protection this place has and most of the rickety houses seem barred and empty. The sound of a smith at work is muffled by the snowfall, giving reassurance that this place is not abandoned. A large stone building that looks like barracks shows signs of life, but Dimitrios urges you to enter the rotunda instead and get out of the cold; he will take care of your belongings. What each Magus thinks and feels upon looking at this rustic place is anyones' guess, magi being mysterious fickle creatures of weird moods....
[tab][/tab] You take a moment to adjust your sight upon entering the main building. There is a hush of silence and you find yourself facing a large area covered in pallets and possessions, cordoned off by blankets and sheets of cloth. The faces of coven-folk stare at you, with fear and awe like someone frozen in fascination upon encountering a snake, not knowing if it will harmlessly slither away or bite to kill. There are a lot of people there, even children hiding behind their mothers. It seems almost all retreated to the rotunda during the winter, the whole edifice somehow heated without the use of fireplaces.
[tab][/tab] An old man in brown robes comes to greet you, it is Anastaj the Vlach whom most of you already met. The magus is an old, old man, stooped by age. Clean-shaven and with lines around his face evident even indoors, his face tattoos almost faded, his blue eyes are open and innocent, welcoming you to your new home. He is a most gracious host and an eloquent conversationalist, taking you upstairs for some warm food and drink and maybe a bath to loosen up your weary body. He talks about this and that, answering questions as best he can, giving you a tour of the place like a kind hearted grandfather showing off his home with pride. On his left biceps over his robes he wears a frayed black band of cloth (for those of Greek descent it means he is in mourning); you soon find out from the coven-folk that Christoforos the other founder died this late November. Anastaj seems in deep sorrow over this, but does not let it affect his duties. He gives you the width and breadth of the place, administers the oath on you and entrusts you with a smooth blue lapis stone, a token for the aegis. Welcome to Meru Mudi....

[tab][/tab] This is the prelude for your characters. For visuals see photo links in announcements. You can post anything and your magi characters are encouraged to talk to other magi. You all arrive in February, on different days, and are all welcomed with warmth and some relief. While the coven-folk are mostly still afraid of you, they are respectful and a bit curious of their new masters. The Gift creates a gulf between most of you and them, with some exceptions. Pavo awes everyone. Raven is more of a surprise. No-one believe at first that she is a maga. The coven-folk treat her differently, calling her my Lady, and seem more at ease around her. They do not like her beast though. The teamsters whisper and spread rumors about the familiar. Some say Raven had charmed the beast and only she can calm down the tiny dragon not to attack and kill them all. Others say the reverse; it is the dragon that has captured her and whomever slays the beast will get the girl. All nod sagely and say she is a maiden.
[tab][/tab] This month is spent making the characters accustomed to the Covenant, the folk and other characters. At some point all are gathered in the council chambers to talk..

Arni arrives in the company of a shield grog and a maid. They don't
have much luggage, other than the the crates which they handle with the
utmost care, containing glassware and fine equipment for a lab.
Arni himself is very handsome, brown-haired with well-tended beard.
Not very tall, but slender.

At some time before the gathering in the council room, Arni finds an
opportunity to talk to Pavo. Haltingly attempting introductions in
Latin and Greek, they quickly arrive at Gothic as the common language.
This, of course, will confuse any bystanders (or eavesdroppers), as it
does not resemble anything they have heard before.

The Gothic isn't brilliant either, but at least the embarrassment
is evenly shared, and nobody else is there to pass judgment.

«God morning, clansman. Me hear you be here. Most glad to see you.»
he says, «I am Arni, from Slavic lands in North. Not used to these languages.
You native here, no?»

Pavo walks extremely proudly, his expensive clothes complementing his physical beauty. He has his grog unpacking a crate, and is inspecting things for breakage.

"Hello, brother. I am from The-Sa-Lee, over the mountains. I took gauntlet last year, I was at Ep-ee-Door-oss, healing place in south. Criamon brought many from outside tribunal, yes? I hope to learn other tongue"

Pavo utters instructions to his grog in Romaic Greek, requesting some beer.

«Three Latin magi, we going on caravan from DURR-ease. Hope to learn Greek two. Little time. Much to do. And this year Gathering two. Sorry. You busy. Not want to disturb.»

Raven and her family, Asad and Lubaba, take longer than they should on the last leg of the trip. Asad keeps insisting at looking at the scenery. When they reach the covenant, Raven extends Parma over Asad. She isn't sure if any of the other magi have arrived, but just in case. They take some time to look around the covenant, before Anna gets around to "business" with Anastaj, taking the Oath and getting the stone. Asad and Lubaba break off on their own at this point, letting Raven do "Hermetic Stuff".

Raven gets her assorted gifts for the covenant "I have presents. These are presents for the Covenant. Except the books. Bonisagus responsibilities. But I'd like to store them in the library, so anyone can get to them easily. For copying, studying and reading. Oh the lab text though is for the covenant. I didn't write that one. Then we have some vis." Raven hands over a bag of labeled coins. Each is infused with one pawn. "Finally, we have some enchanted devices that should cut down on work for the covenfolk." Raven will go over each of the items in turn and explain their command words and so forth. "And then we have lab equipment. If possible I'd like to have a home built outside the tower, and have a lab there. If that would be possible we could use this equipment to create a guest lab. Obviously construction will take some time, and I might want to use one of the guest labs if they're available, but hopefully we can cut down on magi needing to give up their lab."

On arrival Aristocles introduces himself in Classic Greek, "Greetings soldales I am Artistocles of Verditius politis of the Theban tribunal, recently gauntleted at the great covenent of Ingasia. You may well of heard of me and if by some happenstance you have not you will know me soon enough. I am happy to take commissions for item creation at the usual rates and of course will favour my sodales in offering you my services first. I bring gifts to this new covenant, 20 pawns of terram vis, a tractaus on the theory of magic and a lab text should someone be careless enough to sever their limb while working. Anyway enough of me, what's all this I hear about sharing labs, quite ridiculous idea if you ask me, have I been assigned mine yet? anyone?"

«Salvete sodales,» Arni says in Latin. Then he awkwardly repeats the greeting in Classical Greek with a heavy accent. «Sorry, need time to learn.»

He looks at Anastaj and continues in Latin: «I hope you will translate, Anastaj, I think I miss some of the fine nuances in Aristocleses words. I think many of us language problems here. But, first, please accept some humble gifts from the North.»
He places three scrolls and a small poach with pebbles on the table in front of Anastaj. «This is some vis and a few laboratory texts which I hope will be of use for the common good. I am really looking forward to see this place growing and embracing the great powers of our ancestors.»'
Then he sits down at the nearest empty seat, and awaits Anastaj's response.

Scylax arrives with his two grogs (a tracker/animal handler type and a smiling warrior woman) and a laden cart. He dresses very simply, with no jewelry or ostentations of any kind. He has a somber but pleasant face, emaciated, and seems light as a feather, although far from graceful. "Ahh, Meru Mudi at last, the way was not easy, but when has it ever been so? Sal-ve so-da-les, is that how you say it, out there?" He gapes a bit at Pavo, "Greetings, I am Scylax of the House of Miscellanea, very distant in time and space (and renown) from Pralix, our Founder." He repeats this greeting in a very formal way to Aristocles, Arni, Raven, Annastaj, and Roland, though he tends to smile a bit at the end, as if to say, "screw the formalities!"
"Is there some beer or wine left to cleanse the dust of the road and start this journey in the appropriate spirit?" He nods at his grogs "Alexia and Sergio (and myself) would be grateful"
"Any one with weather interests, or at least some fiery inclinations, that would like to take the initiative? Seems like that would be my new favorite person! Damn but it is cold." This is all in Romaic Greek, so starting a bit a la Tower of Babel.

Anastaj, my gratitude for the opportunity, may the sons (and daughters!) of Criamon be forever blessed. The rumors we hear about Christoforos's fate, are they true? By the Fates!
More somber "I bear some gifts that might be of use to this fledgling enterprise: vis, some Lab Texts, and a useful thing."
Scylax will greet the coven folk as well, even with the Gift's effects. There may be some that do not find him repulsive and suspect (Inoffensive to Magic beings, including those with the Gift or Magic-aligned Supernatural virtues).

On the labs: "I have and need very little. Of course an artisan such as Aristocles or a Bonisagus researcher like Raven have priority. I myself have arrived later than you, and recognize I cannot jump ahead of the line, so to speak."

[tab][/tab] Anastaj receives each one of the Magi with warmth and shows them the various chambers. The rotunda is quite bare, with little in the way of furniture, but still warm even without fireplaces. The Criamon explains that Christoforos (he utters the name with sadness) made it so that temperature is somewhat constant. He used a complex ventilation system, part engineering part magic, and not a spell to achieve this, though Anastaj doesn't comprehend this (and is not interested in finding out). He also made the in-door plumbing system, something that greatly helps the edifice, even though the covenfolk do not like hauling water up the stairs every week.
[tab][/tab] When several people broach the subject of buildings outside the main rotunda, the Vlach raises an eloquent eyebrow. It is not clear if this an indication of interested, amusement on the eagerness of the young magi to improve their new home, or slight annoyance of wanting to be apart from the community, his face is guarded. He send for Augustus, the carpenter and has a discussion about Raven's request, with her present. Augustus is a cheerful, open Greek, that is also slightly tired as he is clearly working overtime. He accesses the situation and states that he will need two seasons to produce a building, much like the shacks they have already built; he is too busy finishing the new small stables for the two horses of the knight and the few milking goats the coven-folk keep. Anastaj nods and asks Raven to give him some time, he will think of something (* follow-up in Spring).
[tab][/tab] Of the covenfolk and new grogs, everyone is trying to find their place. There are some interesting characters all around. Dimitris seems a close henchman of Anastaj and pretty much handles tasks having to do with the covenant in a somewhat competent manner (some suspect that he is un-affected by the gift). He is courteous and answers questions to the best of his abilities, but is still reserved in most matters. Seems both his father and grandfather worked for Anastaj, though he himself only started barely a year ago. He was staying at the room next to the council chambers, but move out to make room for the new knight, and now sleeps down bellow. As he has a vested interest in this, he believes it is a priority concern making rooms, communal and individual for the covenfolk and visiting people. Upgrading the houses outside so that they are livable in winter months should be a priority too. Augustus is the carpenter, he stays in the barracks at the moment. Nicos is the blacksmith. Strong, tall and close-mouthed, he keeps to his job and is not interested in the comings and goings of other people. He lives with his wife and daughter in his own house. The Covenant has 6 guards that keep vigil in rotations. The magi bringing their own substantially boost the military strength of the Covenant, which is still pitiful and a problem. They live at the barracks, which are quite empty and one of them acts as captain unofficially.
[tab][/tab] Asad and Lubaba find a room away from the covenfolk (who are wary of the infidels but not hostile to them) and have faith that Raven will solve their housing situation. Shield grogs and other combat types move over to the barracks and start to integrate, while others stay at the main building. They are quickly approached by the Greek covenfolk who want to ask things about their new masters. The Vlachs are more reserved yet still friendly, while those few of slavic descent tend to stay in the limelight, only approaching Arni's Novgorod people. Two more interesting characters are the rumored knight that supposedly lives here, and a shifty individual henchman to Christoforos. These were not present when the magi arrived, but would be shortly back from wherever they were. Rumor says there are other 'illustrious' guests coming, though not magi. Also expected are some of those weird people with red caps that set Anastaj on guard every time.
[tab][[/tab] On the subject of laboratories, Anastaj is not worried. He shows the newcomers that there is space enough for everyone and their laboratories plus living spaces. There are seven empty spaces for anyone to claim as their own, plus two established laboratories, Anastaj's and Christoforo's (the vlach is very cagey on letting anyone enter his friend's laboratory, he seems unwilling to allow it to be... dismantled, for sentimental reasons). Magi are free to choose their own space and start working, with Anastaj acting as friendly referee in case of squabbles. On the matter of visiting mages he is not worried, and brushes the issue aside. As there are officially eight magi on the roster, they are required to have four laboratories for guests. Two are already established, plus there is room for an extra one. Moreover with some magi, the covenant could convert some rooms in the basement or on the roof to make more space. Anastaj explains that this clause was more of a political delaying tactic than an actual commitment and his charges should not worry about it too much. He does not expect visitors soon, and no more than two at that. He would gladly give up his laboratory, and gain a token, he says laughingly. Should four actually come at the same time, he would be more worried of things happening that required so many magi to come here, than the laboratory disposition. Non the less, you should all try to make do in the next four years to fully conform with that clause. There is still time. He is more worried about recaps appearing (and not having proper living quarters for them). He fully expects two to arrive, and worries more will come. '' Pesky political vultures. They are more likely noisy neighbors or at worse spies, than actual messengers'' he says with some annoyance, then reflects a bit. ''Well, I know at least one who isn't such a breed, she broke up with them over something or other and she does routes in this area. She should be passing by soon, I think'' he muses.
[tab][/tab] When all arrive and have settled a bit, he encourages all to read the charter of the covenant carefully ( he acts as disceptator for the next seven years and also does the economics of the Covenant). He graciously thanks each member for their gifts, though he does count everything like a merchant, and then shares what the small library hold right now, how many enchantments the covenant has and what their vis supply holds. He then urges people to discuss their plans and concerns, taking notes with a stylus on a wax tablet. There are many things needed to be done, and most importantly who among the magi should be responsible for doing them, or at least overseeing them. Establishing a new Covenant is a hard, hard work.....

Raven speaks (in Latin) "Hello! Are there any tutors for teachers for Classical Greek? I'd like to be able to speak with the other members of the Orders of Hermes in the Tribunal. My Greek is very bad." She then says in Classical Greek I Raven! House Merinita.


You see the knight returning before dusk. He is on horse, but has no packs. Pleasure ride maybe, or scouting out the gorge. He looks a bit stressed out, maybe it is the cold wind. As soon as he enters the Aegis he seems to relax. His appearance is striking, almost scary, with a big scar across his face, and the left ear missing. He looks at the crowd who has just arrived, meeting the eyes of the magi, but quickly looking away. The accompanying grogs he simply ignores. Then he notices Raven and the family, and approaches with a greeting, adressing first the husband and then the wife. «Hello, pleased to see you.» Realising that they do not speak much Greek, he switches to Latin and repeats the greeting. «I am sir Georgios, a humble servant of God. You are not from here are you?»

After some quick introduction, he disappears into the stable with the horse. In the next few days, you will find him reading in the council room. Once a magus enters he will get up, put the book - Βίοι Αγίων - away in the book case, and hurry out. He goes outside and across the court yard towards the gorge, where he has erected a big wooden cross, just inside at the boundary of the Aegis, where he kneels to pray.

He continuous to stay away from the magi, unless they deliberately make contact. Except for the Gently gifted Raven with family. «Well,» he says, «I am sure I can teach Greek; not so sure about Classical Greek though.»

«Well said, Anastaj. The most pressing matter seems to be how to build the
covenant. Much more pressing than individual sancti.» Arni sticks to
Latin, trusting that Anastaj translates. «I don't feel I know enough
about the situation of the covenant. Do we have the income we need?
We need both vis and silver. How much do we know about the surrounding
area? Is there something we can take advantage of?

I was thinking, come spring, that I should do a survey of the area.
Since I can do it from the sky, I think that's the most useful contribution
I can make to the covenant. I tried a small tour this morning, but the
weather really isn't right yet.

In the Summer, I shall have to go to Crintera for the house gathering
of twelve years. I suppose Pavo will go too. It would be bad to miss it.
By the way, if you agree, the gathering could be an opportunity to look
for trade partners. I see the library here is rather limited, and it
could be worth getting the roots of the arts, and maybe some other
standard texts too. It worries me if Anastaj does not trust the redcaps.
Usually they are very helpful with trade of all sorts. Is there something
we ought to know about this tribunal?

Other than that, I have no plans. Should we make a list of what the
covenants need and prioritise.

Yeah, by the way, I really hope I may have one of the rooms on the
top floor, and not the small one. I need some air around me to work.
Or maybe, if the builder has time, I could set up something on the roof.
That would be very useful, but I suspect he may be busy. Anyway, it isn't
urgent. In fact, sharing labs is not such a bad idea. I do not need one
every season, and it is a bit of a hassle to set up. Raven, didn't you
have some ideas about sharing very purpose-built labs for different types
of work? Of course, that probably does not suit Aristocles, but it might
work for some of us.»

Aristocles states in Classical Greek: I agree that we need to cooperate to get this endeavour off on its best footing. I can contribute both silver and vis by the creation and selling of items, which I am sure you will agree would be two key elements in supporting our success. To that end I need a laboratory space I can call my own and that I can begin to customise to creation of items. I would prefer the 800 square foot are in the South West corner of the second floor. Does anyone object? I am of course, happy to do whatever duties assigned to me by the council. I would note that I am able to write well, in fact I would say I am in fact a great writer.

[tab][/tab]Anastaj settles with the tablet and stylus and takes notes. He translates from Latin to Classical Greek and back, adding some more in Romaic, he is adept in quite a few languages. He also seems to be resigned to doing this chore as communication between members is paramount. At some point he takes out a large, brown folded paper and opens up what looks like a detailed floor-plan of the main building. With a sharp charcoal stick he assigns names to rooms, acquiring in the process soot stains on the cuff of his robes and a smudge on his slender nose.
[tab][/tab] Soon everyone is going deeper in the situation. Anastaj: '' Finances are always a problem. We are clear for three years, maybe a little more, I will not be certain until the end of the year. We...'' his voice does a little catch there ''...we were not that concerned with silver when we started this Covenant, we had some reserves. This covenant owns some herds, mainly goats and sheep, that's our main income, a modest 40 pounds a year. We could expand and improve the herds, I am not familiar with animals nor keen to learn in my over a hundred dotage'' he scoffs. '' There are other ways to make monies in these mountains though. Timber is a valuable commodity, there are lumber operations in the astern side of the mountains, mainly conifers. We lack those in abundance here but there are deciduous ones in the gorge aplenty. Problem is, we might come in conflict with... supernatural forces'' he also glances at the Bjornae, then plods on '' Mining is also an option, though I have no clue about metals or stone. Lastly this Gorge is famed about the healing herbs and plants with weird properties. Mayhap someone with knowledge of the stuff could make a trade out of them.'' He pauses and listens to Aristocles proposal, nodding '' I thank you for your offering, it is generous of you. Naturally such a thing would be on the Covenants expense both on materials and vis and it would constitute a major duty. However we should be cautious with such a trade. I would suggest going through the Red caps, unless you have a ready method of selling without it being traced to us. Also... I would avoid selling locally. Epirus is unstable at the moment, it could become awkward''. He listens to questions about Red caps, and dismisses them with an annoyed wave of his hand, a mutter about ''political vultures'' and a pointed look at fellow Theban members. He insists that the Covenant pays the expenses of the Bjornae trip to Crintera and will provide a letter of introduction to the Covenant of your choice when going west to take a portal. As for scouting the area, he cautions Arni to be careful. The mists appear without warning and many a people got lost and killed in them. Sudden changes in the weather are also common. Supernatural beings are a danger too. The top of the mountain is crawling with drakoi ( a type of ogre), there are vicious harpies to the north east and nasty fae all over the forest and river.
[tab][/tab] As for vis he offers a scroll with the current list of stores and explains something about the large apple tree on the hill and how to harvest the vis (he also shows you the sickle he uses for the deed, all the while complaining about climbing so high on ladders and his aching spine). Fortunately the Tribunal has a plethora of vis, the problem being how to actually get it. He cautions all not to just take things lying around. Most ancient ruins and temples have vis but by custom it belongs to the whole Tribunal, not individual covenants. Other sources are fair game. Caves are abundant around here, there are hot springs near Konita worth looking at, plants and animals all over the place. Of the arts Creo and Vim are most abundant, Intellego, Mentem and Imaginem the most rare. He laughs at the covenants fortune in this aspect. He turns the conversation to more mundane things, like governing the actual Covenant, grogs, coven-folk and maybe making a turb. He fully expects some people to start dealing with these things....

Scylax waits until everyone has had their turn, and says self-deprecatingly: Knowledge about Vim has seeped haphazardly into my brain through the years, so that I find myself moderately skilled in its applications. I may be able to find vis and collect it, perhaps more easily than others? He looks around askance, to see if anyone claims expertise Even if some are better suited, perhaps they have more important business in the Lab or elsewhere, so I would be honored if this sometimes tiresome burden were entrusted to me. Like Arni ex Bjornaer, I too am eager to explore the Meru Mudi environs and learn what its supernatural fauna and flora may reveal. He looks at Annastaj and smiles With a modicum of caution, of course! It's in my Lineage, so I cannot help it! He ends with a laugh.
Annastaj, I have no drink to ply you with, or even know if you enjoy the delights of a good barley harvest, but I'd like to hear your tales about these Faeries and other such, how you and Christoforos came to find this place, etc. In the retelling we may honor his passing, yes?

There are a few moments when Raven and Asad are working out who should respond. Raven is the maga, but Asad is the husband. Raven is eventually the one who responds though. Using Latin she says <<We're not. I'm from Italy. My husband, Asad and his other wife, Lubaba, are from Iberia originally. Where are you from?>>

At the Council Meeting
In Latin Raven says <<I don't object to either request for lab space. On a similar note, I would like to set up the lab equipment in one of the standard sized lab spaces. It can be designated a spare or guest lab, since I was hoping my family could get its own building. In theory I could set up in the smaller room, but then it wouldn't qualify for the terms of the charter. If we had enough standard labs to fulfill our covenant duties creating specialized labs could yield great benefits. Maybe we could invent a spell or hire a mason to create a solid building...>>

[quote="Quite Possibly a Cat"]
There are a few moments when Raven and Asad are working out who should respond. Raven is the maga, but Asad is the husband. Raven is eventually the one who responds though. Using Latin she says <<We're not. I'm from Italy. My husband, Asad and his other wife, Lubaba, are from Iberia originally. Where are you from?>>

«Me? Oh. I am from the Shining City of Constantinople, but eleven years it has been since it fell. No place has been home for long since the great battle,» he says solemnly, while his eyes start to wander between the members of this strange family arrangement. He shrugs, «strayed from the Word of the Lord, you have,» he adds in a compassionate tone.

Arni looks around the table to see if anybody else is going to speak on the matter of income. Not seeing no sign thereof, he speaks again: «Expanding the herd sounds like a good idea in any event. It takes relatively little staff to manage, and we obviously have some skilled shepherds who can train more. If we can afford not selling stock a year or two, the herd is easily expanded. There are some good spells to boost growth and fertility, and get even more prosperity out of it, but they might be out of our reach. Sixth magnitude, I should guess.» He stops and looks around to see if anyone objects, and continuous. «Timber, I know little of. Worth exploring maybe, but we certainly do not want to upset the ancestor spirits. Mining, doesn't that depend on a lucky find? I shall sure keep my eyes open, and I suppose Scylax will too. Quarry, maybe? That can be made very efficient with some fairly low-level spells and items, well within our capabilities. I have no idea about stone quality though, and if I understood it right we do not have a mason here. Maybe we should recruit one? Could come in handy in any event. Some diversity is a good idea. Depending on a single source of income makes us vulnerable.»

I may be of some use with the mining as I learned the Miner's Keen Eye spell in my apprenticeship, which as I am sure you know is designed to locate mineral deposits. I am sure I could find whatever metal and gem bearing rock there is here about.

«Excellent, Aristocle. It sure is worth try,» Arni says in a feeble attempt to exercise his Greek.