[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]of Wandering Isles
Participants: Aristocles, Scylax, Ioannes A group of 6-10 people caring for the party, its equipment and giving protection
[tab][/tab] Summer is here in the southern part of the Balkan peninsula, and the fierce sun beats down on the greek countryside mercilessly. Thankfully the covenant is high in the mountains, nestled in a cliff and concealed by walls of stone. Perhaps being in a shadow-spot has its advantages, especially for those coming from the north and not accustomed to the Mediterranean climate. Once more the mountain changes; snow has completely gone months before and the supply of water is dwindling in the rivers. And while the gorges are green as ever, the annual flora of the mountainsides is starting to turn brown, forcing the herds up the slopes and into the alpine meadows. But while wildlife starts taking a pause under the strain of the summer heat, humans are busier than ever. Farmers harvested the first crops of the year and are now planting summer crops. Where there is abundance of water whole acres are tended by teams of peasants, while in more arid areas selected plots are catered for summer fruits and vegetables, the rest lie fallow till early Autumn. Teamsters ferry goods to and from the markets, merchants trade furiously, and all manner of craftsmen work on their wares before having to take a break at midday. And of course war is at a high pitch again this year, to the east of Epirus. Theodore Komnenos Doukas, the new ruler of the Despotate has consolidated his power and started moving into the Thessaly valley, forcing the Latins back towards the north.
[tab][/tab] Summer is also busy for the covefolk. Construction is fully underway and it looks like you might have some more buildings ready before winter, though the cost to your purse is anyone's guess. The masons and the resident carpenter finished refurbishing the new house for Raven's family. It is quite large for three people. Whether the Bonisagus will take full advantage of this or she will split it in two (keeping her laboratory and a modest amount of rooms for her family and leaving the other half to be used for some other purpose) is something that will have to be addressed soon. Most houses have been reinforced too, and a new oblong building is slowly being built out of sturdy stones downhill, a special project Anastaj says (he has been repeatedly seen talking with the mason headman, Dimitris and a guard that looks anything but a guard named Alexios). The Bjornaer have long left for their northern trek to their mysterious gathering (mutters of paganism are carefully kept out of the magi's earshot) and some companions too have gone on taking care of their business elsewhere. Soon Raven will be the only maga in residence and responsible for whatever happens, while Dimitrios will be in charge of the day-to-day handling of the covenant's needs.
[tab][/tab] Four days before the summer solstice, Anastaj and some of the magi will depart for a long trip to Delos, an island of the Aegean sea. It is a journey that must be made the Vlach announced to the magi, and some of the newcomers should attend. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn the duties this Covenant has, how the Tribunal works, what the countryside and people are like in Greece. It will also be a good time to socialize with your peers, talk to other magi of the Tribunal and perhaps make new contacts and friends. There might also be a gathering of newly gauntleted magi at Delos this time of year, part of the crop apprenticed two Tribunal gatherings before. Anastaj had received word by the Redcaps on the island's projected position (it famously moves around) and he lays out the route the party will be taking. Ioannina will be your first stop of the trip and you will be staying there for a day while Anastaj talks with some people of his in the city. Then you will depart for Dodona, the ancient Oracle site and stay there for the mid-summer rites, to harvest vis for the Tribunal's coffers. Then again south you travel to Arta, first city of the Despotate, across the bay to Preveza, its harbor town. A ship will be waiting for your party to take you by sea to Nauplio, an old maritime town on the east side of Peloponnisos. You will have to find another ship there to take you to Naxos in the Cyclades, where a small boat friendly to magi will ferry you to the Wandering Isle. It will be a visit of three days, while Anastaj takes care of some delicate matters, then your party will leave for Thessaly, move inland to Meteora then back to covenant passing through Katara crossing (which should be safe this time of year). This trip will take about two months in total, which is in part because Anastaj is quite old to be traveling on horseback. There is one more thing, the Vlach cautions. Killing and giving birth are strictly forbidden in Delos, not even of the animals there. That means that animals and pets of a predatory nature are not allowed and people should restrain their impulses. ''Though how the rabbits and quails manage to avoid both is a mystery'' you hear him sarcastically mutter.
[tab][/tab] While the teamsters make ready for the first part of the journey loading packs and provisions, and the few grogs you will be taking with are looking over their armaments and joke about the various towns (and brothels) they will be visiting, Anastaj takes those magi coming with him apart for some conference, gathering under the big apple tree where a impossibly tall ladder is set aside. It is time they learned of the duties their Covenant has and what they will one day be asked to do for it....