1197 A.D. (Late Spring) Beginnings

"Do you know what tongue they speak in Frankonia? asks Borealis.
"Perhaps their dialect is one that one of us may know."

He ponders for a moment. "I'm sure Durenmar is regularly visited by redcaps who visit the differing Rhine covenants. Perhaps we could socialise with the fine fellows of house Mercere and ask about their impressions of the differing magi, and possibly discover a few names to write to."

"A good idea," comments Tandaline. "The Mercere have their quarters in the basement of the Tower of Trianoma. They may indeed be able to help you. But be warned that they will not reveal any sensitive information about any magi, for they view their neutrality seriously."

"Sounds good to me." Basilus says briefly.

"I've nothing to add of my own, so I'll happily follow your lead, Alice. I'll be glad to do anything you ask, provided the end result is myself being able to work on my research." he smiles.

"Now, turning our attention to the matter of resources, I was able to secure the following for the covenant," Tandaline picks up of the the scrolls, unrolling it to consult its content.

"First, Durenmar is currently putting together the supplies for five laboratories. The first two should be packed within a few weeks, but the other ones will take a bit more time to complete. I believe that the other three more should mostly be ready for transport at the end of summer, though a few of the harder-to-get supplies and tools may only arrive next year. Still, that should allow you to begin your research soon after you arrive."

"Second, I know that each of you were tasked with copying summae during the last few years of apprenticeship and that your pater or mater offered those to you when you completed your Gauntlet. This a good start for a library, so I have spoken with Andrus about completing those with a number of books from the Great Library. Mostly older works on magic theory, the various lores, artes liberales and philosophiae. Some may be slightly damaged, but all should be serviceable. At least a dozen such books have been flagged for your use."

"Third is the matter of mundane resources. I have asked the autocrat for fifty pounds of silver, with fifty more next year. This should allow you to get started. A handful of grogs will also be assigned to you on a permanent basis, along with a few servants."

Borealis bows towards Tandaline and says "Thank you for the gracious gift of silver. That will give us enough time to set something up.

He looks around at his peers and enquires "Do any of you have a solid idea for how we can sustain us and our future staff? Sadly magic of the auram form is of limited use for earning a living, unless you happen to sail for a profession."

Alice replies to her senior, "Thank you. Those are gracious gifts, and will be appreciated for a long time."

When Borealis asks about finances Alice answers, "I suspect there are bogs nearby, and it isn't that far to travel to get to a sandy beach. I could product iron and glass fairly easily. We could also burn magically created oil and wood to cut down on expenses."

I join my sodales to thank you for those gifts. The place is also renowned for Its beer, maybe that's something we could do. There's plenty of room for magical improvement in the process, yeast, pure water, hops, malting, temperature. Plenty of different arts could be used depending on your specialty...

Bees could help with hops, should we decide to cultivate them, and could provide wax for candles, we could use or sell and honey...

It's hard to gauge the potential for such ressources without seeing the site.

"Certainly, those could be ways to establish a source of income for your covenant," Tandaline nods, "although I do not know how valuable these would be."

"I'm sorry I cannot be of more use in this area. But as I am not gentle-gifted, I tend to keep my contacts with mundane society to a minimum. I travel quite a bit, but using magical means and staying away from settlements as much as possible. So I have limited knowledge of what products are considered valuable to mundanes."

"At what time will you wish to visit the site and what kind of visit do you wish to do? All of you or just one representative? Just for a day or two or a longer visit? I may be able to arrange for some sort of magical transportation device, if necessary."

Morrigan considers her options.

In my opinion, at least one of us should visit early to be able to determine the ressources to be exploited around the covenant. If constructions are needed we'll need to secure the workers and the supply this can take quite some time. Also is qualified mundane are required like brewer we'll have to recruit them and It also takes time.
I'm good with birds so scouting the countryside should be easy to locate major elements like a sandy beach, meadows, forests...but I'm not a peasant, nor merchant, I have no idea if a land is fertile, if the flowers are good for honey or such trivial matters.

I'd volunteer but as long as I don't speak the language, or have an interpreter, maybe simple a grog speaking a bit of latin. Otherwise I might as well not be gentle gifted I can't communicate with the good folks. A local magus might at least be able to communicate despite effects of the gift. What do you think sodales ?
Any of us could also visit the cave itself to see what developments are needed first...

Borealis ponders and says "Why not have all of use visit for a couple of days, if there is magical transport available. Between us I'm sure we can all take a look and discover what needs doing."

Basilus nods at Borealis. "Since we're to live in there anyway, I also think that venturing there together for an early look-around would be useful."

"More difficult to mamage without drawing attention to ourselves, however," notes Tandaline. "Two or three of us can probably get to the hill and look around without drawing too much attention, but all six are much more likely to be spotted. It's not like there is a something up there -- like a brewery -- to explain why so many people are moving around up there."

She shrugs, "I'm not saying it can't be done. We could go up there at night, for one, but that kinds of limits how much you will be able to see. There is also the matter of lodging and victuails while we are there. Six magi cannot simply rent a room at an inn without courting trouble, even if one of them has a gentle gift. That isn't even taking how many grogs we'd need."

"It is all about how much attention you want to draw upon yourselves."

I will not go. I do not travel well. I will work on the Redcaps and the library.

OOC: I think we've all used up most of our spare time from copying, so it will have to be a pretty quick trip for whomever makes it.

Alice says, "I have a lot of preparations I would like to do here. I could scout well, but as we don't want to send too many along initially, I will volunteer to remain behind. We can do more detailed scouting once we've arrived, anyway."

"Until then, I can show you some maps of the surrounding area, if you want. Nothing elaborate, but it will give you a sense of what's there." With that, she pulls out a few pieces of parchment.

"Here, the river forms an arc flowing from east to west, with the town filling the inner apex of the arc, just south of the river. There are several hills north of the river, with a monastery on the east of the hills, perhaps a mile away from town. I saw some small boats on the river, probably fishermen to supply the monastery, but also barges being pulled up the current by teams of oxen. Trade goods, I assumed."

"The town seemed to be of medium size, at least fifty houses but less than a hundred. Basic craftsmen like carpenter, blacksmith and such are in town. There is even a small inn, to cater to the traders moving along the river."

(More to come, I have to go)

Emericus crowds to the map(s) and examines them closely. Far enough away that we might not be noticed for a while. Unless of corse we must walk through the town to go to the hill. Is there a road between the hills?

Morrigan ponders
The presence of a monastery is intriguing, maybe they'll be interested in candles, quills, parchment... we'll have to see how big It is. That's things we'll have to get for our library anyway so maybe we could craft them for us and sell the excess...
If the river is fishy that's good to know, as well as the nature of the goods transported.

Borealis looks at the map and says "I definitely want to go. It looks like we can hide if we need to, but there are locals we can talk to if we want to. I think speaking to the traders on the river would help if we wish to sell beer or anything else we produce."

Alice agrees with the others. "The river could be quite convenient for whatever goods we might choose to produce. The town seems to be equipped beyond what is typical for its size due to trade, which should make it easier for us to acquire things we might need. But none of them are so close as to be problematic."

Basilus thinks for a while, but has little comments beyond the obvious:

"A monastery? I hope they won't cause us trouble. I can't really do any talking myself, I hope our gently-gifted sodale can sort things out with mundanes."