1205 Spring - Late Arrivals (Story)

"I'm sure that will be useful. Thank you for offering," replies Clusius.

"Now," he adds, rising from his seat, "would you like a more complete tour of the covenant?I was thinking I could give you a general run of the place and we could complete it with the council chamber, where you'll be able to consult the charter."

"That sounds wonderful, isn't it?" She turns to Alba and Regulus. "I do thank you for your hospitality so far."

Alba gave a hand, Regulus took an arm (OOC: pun intended). When she mentioned the case about an apprentice that was assaulted he got completely focused, remembering any details about the case (if he has heard of it) and making comparisons with several other similar cases, occasionally expounding on how mistreatment of apprentices is demonstrably bad for the Order.

He barely registers Clusius and Celeste's conversation, and only get's back to his senses when Celeste talks to them.

"You are welcome. But, I think I heard Clusius mentioning a tour?" Then, turning to Alba. "Thanks for lending me your ears. Maybe we can continue our conversation when you have seen more of the covenant and you both are properly settled?"

"..." - that wasn't very reassuring for Alba... she still though that was wrong... but she didn't wanted to insist.

"Like in cathedrals then? I would love to see it." - even though she sounded as apathetic as ever, in fact Alba got excited remembering the one in Merseburg.

The few details Alba was able to give Regulus were only superficial and hearsay. Besides, it was something that happened in the Rhine tribunal.
So, sadly, nothing really useful.

When the idea of ​​a tour came up, Alba agreed.

"I would love to see more." - she said getting to her feet before anyone else... wishing to maybe see those stained glasses.

Clusius proceeds to give Celeste and Alba a tour of the covenant. (Regulus can tag along if he wants -- there is always something new to be seen and that way he can interact with them.)

(Putting together extracts from old posts to give an impression of the covenant as a whole -- places, atmosphere and people. Some of this they may have seen while arriving, while other things may be noticed during the following days.)

From the moment the small group crests the mountain and start its climb down the small valley, the small man catches his first climpse of the covenant. A sprawling jumble of connected halls, towers and terraces with a double handful of smaller houses scattered below; a lone, squat tower amongst the houses; and a slim watchtower rising from the mountainside above all this. A small road leads leads out of the valley to the north, parallelling a small river, and several paths branching out through and around the buildings and over smaller streams.

Tapping sounds can be heard in the valley, which are soon revealed to be coming from a small quarry close to the group's trajectory. A small number of mundanes appear to be working there. A few more people can be seem moving between the houses below.

A bell tolls in the distance, with a repeating rythm implying some sort of message. The visible mundanes stop in their movements, and even the tapping from the quarry stops. Movements resume after a few moments, with a different pattern.

The servant that Julius speaks to -- in a germanic language -- is a wan older man who looks to be in his fifties. After listening to the steward's instructions, the man nods and starts walking away without so much as a glance at Perion. Noticing the magus' hesitation, Julius says, "Follow Mathias."

Fortunately, Mathias does not walk very fast, so Perion has no trouble catching up with him. You spend the next ten minutes walking up and down stairways, crossing halls and corridors. These are in a mixed state of repair, from pristine and well-lit to damp or dusty. At one point, your path even takes you through a small enclosed courtyard, with weeds growing between the flagstones.

Finally, Mathias stops before a door and opens it, leading Perion into a small but cozy chamber. High and narrow stained glass windows illuminate the room, which contains a plush bed, a nicely made table with three chairs, a clothing chest and an armoire. The air is a chill inside, though not as much as it was outside.

Mathias moves to a small hearth and starts to build a small fire which, once lit, starts to take the chill out of the aire. The servant shows Perion where the chamber pot is, then opens a side door to a smaller room where you discover an empty bathing tub. Mathias finally turns to look at Perion with washed-out blue eyes, a questioning look on his face.

At no point does the servant utter a single word.

Clusius speaking animatedly about sculptures and how they could make the covenant beautiful. "I think I should start working on a statue of Leonardus, my grand-pater. I'd like it to figure prominently in front of the covenant. As I told you in my letters, he is the one who actually established this place. What do you think of the idea?"

With a nod, Clusius answers, "Yes, there are several access points to the caves from within the covenant. Not all of the caves are interconnected, and those that aren't are mostly used for storage. But the main caves can be accessed without going outside. There is a reason for this -- one of the covenant's most valuable vis source is within the main cave."

Later, when the company rides the path into the valley, the first thing they notice is an enormous oak tree, all twisted and lumpy, its mossy branches just starting to show the green of budding leaves. It towers above the surrounding trees, its branches covering an area over twenty paces in diameter and its trunk wide enough that five grown men probably cannot encircle it with their arms. (It looks a bit like this oak tree .)

The stream that runs out of the valley gurgles a dozen yards to the right and below the path. The ground is still muddy, and the group may notice the tracks left by a cart which recently navigated the path, drawn by a donkey or a smallish horse.

As the company follows the path around a tight curve around a steep rocky cliff, they finally catch sight of the first buildings. The path itself splits up in three, with the center path leading towards the buildings, while the right goes down in the direction of the oak tree and left one snakes up the mountain face. As only the center path seems to have been used recently, as well as being much wider than the other two, the company continues ahead.

As they continue, a choatic assemblage of towers, halls and structures is revealed to their gaze, growing up along the mountain face. Some parts of the structure appear to be in disrepair, dark and their windows gaping, while other pristine with stained glass windows. No wall surrounds the compound, with a number of secondary buildings scattered before and below the main structure.

After leading them generally southeastward through the compound, taking several corridors and flights of stairs, he stops before a thick wooden door reinforced with two bands of black iron. Selecting a large key from a ring with several others, he unlocks the door, which makes a loud screech when he pushes it open. He waits for the magi and Clusius, forewarned about what was coming, lights a lantern to light the way.

The somewhat flickering light reveals a tunnel into the mountainside, which was probably a crack into the cliff before the building was put up. The passage is fairly narrow, but not so much that a man cannot pass without brushing the sides. as you pass the door, you hear the faint sound of water flowing nearby. You remember that one of the smaller stream cascades down from the mountain right beside the covenant. This must be the source of this sound.

Julius takes point, while Clusius closes the march. The passage soon meets another, of a completely different appearance. Where the first was a sharp crack filled in with sand and gravel underfoot, this one is much smoother and the ground is mostly bare. Wider than it was high, it's cross-section shaped like a flattened tube. There is a bit of moisture on the rock and the air is cool. The two magi can now easily walk side by side, Clusius joining them to share the light from his lantern.

Julius speaks, "When Master Leonardus first discovered the caves, he was exploring the aura in the valley, because of the villagers' stories about the oak. He found it strange that the aura wasn't at its strongest near the oak, but rather here near the mountain. The entrance was hidden behind brush trees and small rocks, so none of them at the village were aware of its existence."

They turn left and follow the wandering tunnel for some time. It splits a few times to side caves, one of which is barred by a masonry wall with a door. "We have configured this cave to be used as a sanctum," explains Julius, "as requested by master Clusius. We could do the same with a number of others, should other magi wish undergroung laboratories. There are a few tunnels that end back within the covenant as well."

"Note that some of the tunnels wander off into dead ends, while others are prone to simply disappearing or forming anew."

After this, they show the main cave, with its incongruous vis source -- a Roman galley, broken in half. Wrapped around it is a petrified sea serpent, its body as thick as a man is tall and its head raised in a soundless roar.

"All the known entrances leading into the covenant are barred with a door," answers Julius, "but the tunnels themselves are prone to change. Leonardus often speculated that the nature of the magical event that led the serpent and its nautical prey here, in this state, was so powerful that it formed a second pole to the magical aura within the valley. It's relationship with transformation -- probably what petrified the serpent in the first place -- affected the very fabric of magic inside the caves and tipped it towards the Art of Muto. This causes the caves themselves to change and you will also notice the same effect in many areas of the covenant."

Julius explains a little, "Master Leonardus often speculated that the nature of the magical event that happened in the caves was so powerful that it formed a second pole to the magical aura within the valley. It's relationship with transformation -- probably what petrified the serpent in the first place -- affected the very fabric of magic and tipped it towards the Art of Muto. This causes the caves to change and this spills over into the main compound. This may also have been amplified by a Twilight episode that Master Leonardus experienced while here."

"As to why this doesn't happen as much in the parts of the covenant where people live, that is unclear. Perhaps the presence of living beings somehow serves as an anchor. Or perhaps the structure is shy and doesn't want to act when people are present." For the first time since you have met Julius, his mouth forms a smile. It looks quite weird and deliberate.

The smile remains frozen on Julius' face for a moment, then simply disappears as he answers, "I was attempting a joke, master Perion. I have had no successful communication with the structure so far."

The tour covers the various assets that the covenant has.


  • A small turb of grogs. Eight of them lived here before the arrival of the magi. Each magus' personal grogs will have to be integrated to the turb, for example learning the local language. The old-timers are a well-disciplined and competent group and know the valley well, but they speak High German almost exclusively. Some have families amongst the covenfolk or even in Chastellion. They are equiped with standard equipment (mostly short swords, spears, full metal reinforced leather and a few short bows).
  • There are over twenty covenfolk (servants, cooks and laborers), many of whom are related in some way. There are enough of them that they should be able to handle the new arrivals' needs, but a few more can be hired in chastellion as needed.
  • The covenant also has a small number of craftpeople. The stone cutter and her two sons, a carpenter, and an old glass maker. There is also a blacksmith who lives and work in Chastellion.


  • Two local vis sources, the huge oak tree in the valley and the petrified snake in the caves. There are more vis sources scattered in the region.
  • A small amount of lumber that can be harvested from within the valley.
  • The quarry for stones.
  • The taxes from the village of Chastellion, which is enough to cover the basic needs of the covenant.

Magical Assets:

  • Laboratories for all of the magi, although some of them are somewhat basic because there wasn't enough time to completely set upp all of them.
  • A small reserve of raw vis, twenty pawns in various Arts (including enough Vim to cast an Aegis).
  • A small library covering the basics, plus some more advanced books.

There is no Aegis of the Hearth active at the moment.

Regulus goes with the group, observing the changes that took place since the last time he visited a room or walked by a corridor.

He offers his support to the idea of making a statue of Leonardus (OOC: I was already aware of the idea, but he wasn't :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:), but shows some concern that it might change places, or even it's pose, due to the aura.

Alba walked with the group observing and listening to the explanations in silence.
However, as the tour proved to be long, Alba began to cast glances at Regulus. Apparently the magus must have completely forgotten... or perhaps it was because his sense of duty compelled him to accompany them? Perhaps something expected of him as a man? Alba didn't fully understand it, but she started to feel bad... and at the same time she didn't want to bring it up the conversation in a way that could be offensive.

Of course, Regulus noticed the furtive glances Alba gave him from time to time. But her reasons were a mystery.

When the idea for the sculpture came up and Regulus noted that it could move around due to the aura effect, Alba came up with another idea.

"If objects cannot move under the presence of living beings... maybe placing the statue under the shadow of a tree could do the trick?"

They continued with the visit, and upon reaching the galley, Alba asked about its interior. When she knew that no one had dared to get inside for fear of breaking something, she proposed that she could ask Stella later... which was followed by an explanation to Clusius about who Stella was.

They were leaving the caves when Alba couldn't take it any longer and, casting a quick spell, showed Regulus a fine-looking red apple.

"For Simon." - she told him.

Regulus gets increasingly uncomfortable with these glances, but remains silent about them.

(OOC: I'll react on the apple later.)

Regarding the galley, Clusius says, "I am still reading through Leonardus's notes about the various vis sources to see how to harvest them safely. Since this appears to be an important one, I would rather put off any actions until we are sure that we don't harm the source."

Now the magi are gathered in a medium-sized room with comfortable chairs and a large table. On a lectern in a corner, the covenant's charter that the newcomers have just finished reading, as well as an inkwell and quill for signing it.

Clusius has just finished explaining the salient points of the charter, and the resources available to the covenant.

"So, sodales, are you still interested in joining our new covenant of Tugurium? Our challenges will be many, but we are well-positioned and well-provisioned with vis. Admitedly, our political situation is a bit more precarious, but that is something we can work on together. What say you?"

Celeste was impressed with the covenant, and wasn't ashamed to express it. "Your grand-pater has done a marvelous job with this place, both in finding it, and securing it, and I would be more than happy to assist in making it thrive. We're Magi, and we will face challenges, whether we're well positioned and well provisioned, or not. It is in our nature, so that has no bearing, to me. As for our political situation, I think I can assist with that. My Pater has taught me well how to convince people, and I have had some dealings with other Magi in various covenants in the Rhine during my travels there. I will do my best to bring my contacts to help our political situation."

"I have already signed the charter, but I'd like to take this chance to reaffirm in front of you two and our Princeps my utmost desire to reside here and make Tugurium a heaven for all of us" - Regulus adds after Celeste.

Alba approached the charter and began to read it carefully... but as she realized that she understood less than half of that legalistic jargon, she speeded up her reading to end up reading diagonally.

Fortunately, Clusius explained some of the more important clauses, which was helpful... to some extent.
Alba glanced at Celeste out of the corner of her eye, hoping she would ask a question and not be the only one who didn't understand, but Celeste didn't express any doubt.
On the contrary, she did a short speech about how happy she would be to be part of the covenant.

Then Regulus also said a words on the same line, and then all attention turned to her.

At that point, Alba felt exhausted. Normally she would have asked, but that day she had already felt quite out of place and humiliated.
It was normal for her to feel out of place and misunderstood, but that didn't make it any less painful.

Anyway, if Celeste approved it, that text shouldn't be bad... so Alba just picked up the quill and signed the charter. Then she offered the quill to Celeste.

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Regulus looked surprised for a moment, then stored the apple in his vests.

"I’ll pass it to him. I’m sure he will apreciate."

When approaching Celeste to return the quill Alba almost trips. Looking downwards she sees Stella, purring and rubbing herself between her legs. The cat looks up with her starry eyes, then moves a few paces away. Alba has come to recognize that gesture as a "don’t worry, I'm here".

Celeste took the time to look over the charter, but it didn't seem too far off the standard.

So she signed it with a flourish.

"I know I mentioned it earlier, but I want to stress it again. My magic is focused on ghosts, and on Mentem in general. If there's anything I can do to help any issues that revolve around those, let me know. Unless I am busy with my finding my mother's killer, I will be more than happy to assist." She turns to Clusius directly "I know you've replied that there's no mirror in the covenant, at the time, but I would be very happy if we can secure one, as I would like to install one in my lab, as soon as possible."

"..." - apparently, Regulus wasn't going to give the apple to Simon at that moment. Perhaps accompanying them was some kind of very important welcoming ceremony that he couldn't miss... Regulus' presence was welcome, of course, but Alba couldn't help feeling sorry for the poor young boy.
Seeing that she was not going to be able to do anything about it, she decided to say nothing more and follow the group for the rest of the tour.

Alba sat back down and Stella jumped onto her lap. The maga hugged her for a moment before the large cat curled up on her lap.

"This is Stella." - she said as introduction to Clusius. Stella didn't said anything, with the eyes closed already and purring calmly.

Alba took a moment stroking Stella as Celeste signed the charter, already feeling calmer again.

"Now that we've signed, there are some things I'd like to do... Like visit the sanctums." - she looked at Regulus and Clusius - "Yours too, at least to know their location and where we should go to look for you in case of necessity." - she clarified - **"Also I would like to comment on the construction of my final sanctum.*"" - this time, Alba looked at Clusius - "As I mentioned in my letter, I'm willing to wait and I have some money which I hope will at least cover most of the costs... then the current lab could serve to provide a laboratory visitors." - and she finally turned to Regulus - "And finally to be able to talk in more detail about your proposals for apprentices."

She finally fell silent and looked at the group, still stroking Stella.

"We can do it in the order you prefer... or in other moment if you want." - she added, fearing that she had thrown too many ideas on the table once again.

"Certainly!" replies Clusius with a smile. "We've done our best to find areas within the covenant that would meet the requirement you sent us. That has not been easy, I must admit. And," he adds a bit less ebuliently, "considering the overall state of the buildings, there were some compremises we've had to make. So you sancta may not be perfect, but I'm sure we will be able to improve on them as time goes by."

"Could you remind me again what you asked for? I must admit I delegated much of that work to Julius, so I'm not sure I remember all the details."

"Since I had very specific needs, I just asked for a temporary laboratory with just the materials for Herbam and to develop spells and texts. That would be good enough for me until I'm able to build my own place." - explained Alba, not showing upset at all that Clusius had forgotten about the requested details even though he himself replied to the letter - "Celeste on the other hand had some specifics." - Alba looked towards Celeste, waiting for her to answer to her part.

Celeste nods "While I was hopping my list would be available to just move in, I understand that it was perhaps a bit much, but there was no harm in asking. I will find the time to upgrade it, and shape it to my own taste and needs."

The final result should be:
Size +1, Dedicated Building, Basic (0), Haunted (-1).