1205 Spring - The First Wave (Story)

During which the first wave of magi arrive at Tugurium and are greeted by Quintus Clusius of Jerbiton.

A unique procession approaches the covenant from the southwest. Not coming along the road, but walking down off the mountainside, a small group crosses over several of the little streams coming down out of the mountains. There is still snow underneath the trees, and the water is not flowing in the raging torrents it will be in a few weeks, and the travelers can wade the streams easily, but have to trudge through a foot or so of wet, melting spring snow.

The first figure is the strangest – a green-scaled serpent the size of a tree. It slithers through the snow, flattening a path with its body, as it leads the way down the mountain into the valley. It stops, question at the figures who follow it.

The first of these is a very tall, buxom blond, dressed in chainmail, wearing a blank shield and with a sword at her hip, dressed in faded blue, with a heavy cloak. She strides along after the serpent, and looks taken aback by the sudden stop, looking back at the figures behind her, who are in full conversation, and appearing to ask them something.

A small, almost childlike figure, with skin and hair as white as paper, dressed in thick robes of undyed linen, walks carefully down the slope, focused on a conversation with the woman next to him. Incongruously, he seems to be wearing heavy boots on his feet, and the robe looks bulky and a little tight, as if he is wearing a second set of clothing underneath it.

The last figure is focused on the small man, listening intently as he explains something complicated to her. She is a tall redhead, dressed in a way that matches the other woman – faded blue cloak and chainmail – and she also carries a shield, as well as a bow and a sword, though she holds nothing in her hands, her ability to gesticulate and point remaining unencumbered. She looks up at the other woman, as she asks the question, and listens as the small man replies. He gives a short reply, but the redhead asks several questions, dragging the conversation on, until the serpent, who has joined them, rears up its head and growls out a loud comment on the situation.

The small man reaches up to stroke the beast's neck, and says something soothing to it. Then he speaks, to noone in particular, waves his hands, and suddenly stills, focusing on something unseen. After a few moments of this, he moves again, pointing up the mountain and speaking to the serpent, and it slithers away up the slope, going in precisely the same direction that the small man pointed.

The group continues, walking toward the manor house, the two women taking close and protective positions on either side of the little man they tower over, as he leads the way in a direct path toward the manor house's apparent front door.

It is not until the sun is nearly setting that a pair of travelers approaches from out of the Northeast. The two walk largely unburdened, with a thin ass pulling a cart loaded with an odd array of items. It is impossible to make out any details about the two in distance, as they wear heavy cloaks and hoods against the cold spring weather. One of the travelers leads the ass, and the other trails a few paces behind.

As the group approaches closer, you can see that the pair of travelers are men, and the leading one walks with a shortsword sheathed at his side within easy reach. His face holds a scar, some wrinkles and a pair of eyes that quickly dart from place to place. He seems to glance backwards a little too often. Then, as the last approaches, you might note that he is rather young and bright-eyed, with a rather straight and athletic build. It takes some time before anyone is puzzled about why such an ordinary looking young man might warrant such a cautious berth. You might also hear the uneasy silence only occasionally broken by a clipped statement and response in Latin.

“I really do think that if we took the main road through Laimont, we would have arrived yesterday,” the young man says. He speaks with the tired tone of someone who has been annoyed for sometime.

“Magus Perion, do you think we are lucky enough to walk through Laimont without trouble? There is no reason to take a risk,” the older grog replies in halting Latin. Even though he needs to pause and think about what to say, it’s clear the two have talked about this before.

“I have to admit you’re right, but I still think we probably would have arrived with issue Vincent,” Perion tells the grog. The two walk the rest of the way in silence towards the manor at the head of the valley.

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.

By the time the group arrives before the main entrance of the covenant, a small group has gathered there -- half a dozen grogs in armor, but also a tall hooded figure standing near them with a well-dressed man besides him.

The small robed man raises a hand in greeting, with a tentative smile, and speaks in High German, with a Swabian accent, a nervous torrent of words.

"I am Wolfgang Weisse, of House Flambeau. I received a letter from Clusius ex Jerbiton some time ago - is he here? I've been wandering the wilds for quite a while, so I'm a bit late in responding. I thought it might be better to just come and visit, rather than more correspondence."

March 23rd, 1205

(I will handle the arrivals as if they were happening in sequence game-time-wise, so Perion is arriving a few days after Wolfgang. The scenes will be handled in parallel, but feel free to have Wolfgang be present and react when Perion arrives. That is also why I am putting a date as a heading to each post, to make it easier to determine which comes before which.)

The well-dressed man advances and raises his hand in greetings, and answers in Latin, "I am Quintus Clusius, filius Flavia of House Jerbiton. Welcome you to Tufurium, sodalis, I am happy to finally meet you in person."

Clusius gestures the tall hooded figure forward, "This is our steward, Gaius Julius Solunus, or simply Julius. He will arrange for your grogs to be fed and quartered while we speak." Eyeing Kiefskala's intimidating shape, he adds, "Is there any special arrangement that are required for your serpentine companion?"

[Since Kiefskala couldn't get through the Aegis, Wolfgang used his hunting spell and pointed his friend in the direction of some game for his dinner. He arranged to meet back up with him once he has an extra token. But the serpent isn't present.]

Wolfgang's smile relaxes a little, he looks relieved. He replies in Latin, "It's good to meet you, sodalis. I thought this was probably the place, but I wasn't completely sure. These are my friends, Gwyneth and Dagny." He gestures to the two grogs.

Wolfgang looks up at the treeline, and back at the distinguished magus, looking a little nervous again. "I heard the warning bell, I compliment you on the alertness of your sentries. I... well... They may have noticed my other companion, he is a young linnorm. I would appreciate some place nearby where he could rest, but it is not urgent, he is off hunting, for now."

(There is no Aegis at this time, so Kiefskala was able to get inside... if you want to change your post, feel free to do so.)

March 27th, 1205

As your cart creaks forward along the road snaking along the mountainside above the small river, into view of the first buildings in the small valley, a bell can be heard ringing from the heights above you. Before you arrive before in the courtyard area before the main entrance, you are met by a pair of grogs.

"Oy there! What brings you to our valley, travellers?" One of them calls out in the Swiss dialect of High German.

(Minor edit, but he'll do the same for another reason, not wanting to show up at a strange covenant with a small dragon in tow.)

March 23rd, 1205

"I don't know, it might be better to keep your companion out of sight. With the village of Chastellion so close to us, I am worried one of the villagers might catch sight of him. Although they are fairly tolerant of our presence and peculiarities, the rumour of a dragon-like creature roaming the area freely could cause a panic amongst mundanes. Who is to say where such a rumour might spread and how much damage it could cause?"

"We also have covenfolk working in various areas in the valley. Not knowing your companion is friendly, they might attack it or react negatively to it."

"We could probably find him a place to lair, for we have some caves as part of the covenant. Would you -- and your companion -- mind that?"

March 23rd, 1205

Wolfgang nods eagerly. "A cave would be ideal. To be honest, I quite like them too. I am aware of the... challenges that can be caused by having such a creature for a companion, I do have solutions planned, but they will take a little time, and a laboratory. I doubt he'll venture into the valley before he meets up with me tonight, he's hunting a trail that went higher up into the mountains."

March 23rd, 1205

"I'll have a grog pass the word around the valley, then, that the creature is friendly but that they should keep their distances," says Clusius with a nod. "For now, would you like to refresh yourself from your travels before with get down to a proper visit of the covenant? I'm sure you would like to get your travel clothes cleaned and mended, and I'm sure you would enjoy a proper bath. Despite the state of some parts of the covenant, we have prepared several room for our new members."

March 23rd, 1205

Wolfgang nods. "Thank you. He is a friend... but not bonded to me yet, so that would be wise. But he'll behave well, and I will take full responsibility for him. A bath... would be nice. And it would be good to have a frank and confidential conversation before we make any important decisions."

March 27, 1205

Recognizing the universal "Oy", Vincent and Perion glance at each other unable to comprehend the rest of the grog's High German. Vincent looks back with a shrug and responds with his rough Latin "Hello you both, can you speak Latin? We are looking for a place called Tugurium."

March 27th, 1205

The grogs look at each other. They recognize Latin, of course, but do not seem to understand it. They speak to one another for a moment while assessing the travellers with a glance. Then, one of them turns back towards the valley and starts jogging ahead.

The remaining grog gestures the pair to follow along with their cart.

By the time they lumber to a stop in front of the sprawling structure's main entrance, a small welcome committee has assembled, with a couple more grogs as well as a tall hooded figure, which moves forward.

"Welcome to Tugurium, sirs," he speaks in a precise Latin with an accent that you cannot place. "My name is Julius. The master should be along momentarily. May I inquire as to your identities and your purpose here? We are awaiting visitors, so I would like to ascertain if you are indeed one of them, so that I can proceed with proper introductions."

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March 27th, 1205

Vincent takes in a breath before starting again, "Hey you a-"

"I am Perion Tytali, and I am coming with this shield grog, Vincent, to reside here at Tugurium." Perion interjects, while he crosses his arms across his chest and shivers slightly. "Does your master go by the name of Quintus Clusius?"

March 27th, 1205

"He does indeed, magus Perion," Julius nods. "Your name was evoked as one of the potential members of the covenant, although there was some uncertainty as to who would actually dice to come."

Gesturing to one of the grogs, he adds, "If your man Vincent will follow these fellow, he will settle him down in the barracks, as well as secure your belongings and mount. The will be stored safely until you are ready to settle into a permanent sanctum."

"For now, if you will follow me?"

March 27th, 1205

Perion speaks quickly in French to Vincent "Bring the materials along with those men. They will see to it that you receive proper accommodations. I have some minor business to attend to."

After seeing Vincent lead the cart and animal away, Perion walks quickly to catch up with Julius. "So are there other magi here besides Quintus Clusius and myself?" Perion asks in a quiet tone as he nears Julius.