A story about harvesting some of the covenant's vis sources.
The area around Laymunt valley has a few pilgrimage points, and many people pass by every year. In the last decades, however, it seems that a new point was added to the list: a fountain inside a cave, about 10 miles distant from the covenant. Every year on the Assumption of Mary, 15th August, many pilgrims travel to the several holy sites in the valley, including a sanctuary built by the Telsberg family, but in the last years rumors have been spreading about the healing powers of the fountain, and a few dozens of pilgrims have taken to change their destination and gather in the cave. Reputedly there have been many miraculous healings on the 15th August, including an old paralytic man who was able to walk again after bathing in the water, and an infant who was brought back from certain death with no more than a small vial, sprinkled on his forehead.
While it is hard to distinguish hearsay from truth, Leonardus left behind a few notes about said cave. He went there on the 15th August almost a decade ago and was able to ascertain that there is a weak magical aura – not dominion – in the cave. According to his description a bit of water flows as a trickle from a stalagmite into a shallow pool, and from this water he was able to harvest a few pawns of Creo vis. Whatever methods he used to do this he does not specify, but there is little that an old magus cannot do. Leonardus does not discuss the source any further, and not many seasons later he went into Twilight. It’s likely that he never had the chance to return to the cave.
His notes also tell that there were indeed many pilgrims in the cave, and mention a plan of his to reduce the pilgrimage by spreading the idea that the spring doesn’t work. It seems that this plan was never implemented for you can hear, as August approaches, the villagers and covenfolk speak about the nearby fountain, and that a few of them intend to travel to Undervelier in August and spend the day fasting and praying for good health, either for themselves or for their dearest ones.
The covenant vis sources were disclosed and discussed with the magi of Tugurium in early Spring. This is currently the only Creo source of the covenant, and as such it was requested that someone prepare to harvest it in the Summer.
- Who is going?
- Who do you take with you? Any grogs, covenfolk, familiars?
- Do you make any kind of preparations for harvesting this source? Either in Spring or early Summer?
- Note that the covenant's library has a copy of Gather the Essence of the Beast. While this isn’t the best spell for the job (something like Distillation of the Purest Stream would be better) I reckon it is better than nothing.
Marcus would like to go, and will bring his shield grog Edwardo. He will leqve his 2 foot wide spider behind, to both his and her annoyance, since that would probably be offputting to the pilgrims. He does not learn the obviously helpful spell as I have already put my intended actions in
He will, however ask for another magus who might be able to spont the spell could come, while damning his own lack of knowledge of vim.
I think there should be no problem in changing the planned actions, I understand that they are mostly to tell us, players, which kind of story is feasible for that season. But it's not my intent to direct what Marcus will do. I mentioned the spell just for the sake of completeness. =]
(I do recommend that Marcus and Edwardo grab a few buckets, though. XD)
I’ll go ahead focusing on Marcus and Edwardo, but if another person is tagging along, feel free to interact.
The journey to the cave is a 3-hour trek going west through the valley. You intend to follow a brook that goes through Châtillon to the north until you reach Curtetele, where the brook joins the Sorne, and from there go up-river, to the west. As long as you keep following the Sorne you should eventually reach Underswyler and the cave.
You leave the covenant early in the morning. Of course, your first hurdle appears before you even step outside Châtillon, as Father Luc sees you while strolling through the village and talking to people. He approaches with a smile and talks to you in High German.
“Good morning to you in this Holy Day, good men. I trust that you will attend Mass together with us today?! It shall begin soon, with the grace of the Lord.” You can see that he seems to talk more to Edwardo than Marcus, probably an unconscious reaction due to the gift. But when looking at Marcus he makes the effort of keeping his smile.
(( sorry, just realised Edwardo does not speak german. Will change layer)
Edwardo looks confused at the language he does not share and gestures, with some reluctance, to Marcus.
Marcus smiles and nods then says, haltingly as he translates from his native Flemish to high German
"We are going to mass. We are on" he pauses and thinks
"Small holy journey? To a holy place. Wish us luck?"
You notice that Father Luc seems a bit displeased. He tries to keep it away from his face, but the tone of his voice betray him, despite the butchering that happens while parsing from High to Low German.
(OOC: I thought about it, but decided against doing the butchering myself, to avoid the case where I fail to pass information to you because I wrote something the wrong way. Just assume that everything takes longer to convey... But don't let this stop yourself from writing however you want, I like to read it! )
"Of course, of course! Our little parish church isn't holy enough for great scholars..."
Realizing his fault, he quickly adds "but the Lord said, where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Where, doesn't matter. As long as my flock is under the care of a shepherd, I'm happy.” He finishes with a smile.
"May I know what is your destination today? A few people have ties in Basel and have just left in that direction, you can still reach them if you go quickly." You get the feeling that it is more than just curiosity that drives the priest's question.
Marcus frowns, then remembers that he is speaking to a priest and switches to Latin
"We are learned men, we can speak better in the language of scholars."
He thinks for a second
"There is a cave which is said to be a site of miracles, not ten miles away. Curiosity and wanting to see the miraculous are drawing us to see if we can witness god's hand directly"
Father Luc answers in fluent Latin.
"You are very right! It's rare for me to speak in Latin when not reading the Scriptures, so I almost forgot."
"About your destination..." He seems to hesitate for a few moments before going on. "Well, more often than what I would like, the people of Châtillon go around chasing miracles and holy places. Their devotion is laudable... but sometimes misguided. A wise scholar, leading by example, would help to guide these poor souls in the correct direction."
Marcus smiles at the flattery
"Well, it wouldn't be wise to say it is not right without looking myself. Perhaps it will be unworthy, then I will be happy to say it with you"
Father Luc has no reply to that. He looks from Marcus to Edwardo, and back to Marcus... and you can clearly see him deflating just a tiny bit.
"Well, I shouldn't stand between you and your journey. I hope that Mary, with her merciful gaze, may guide you there and bring you back safely. And as always, the doors of our church remain open! I'd like to see you more around here!"
By the end of his phrase he is again looking at Edwardo. He steps aside to let you pass, trying to keep his smile, but his eyes are darting around, You suspect that he is trying to discover who from the village was watching the conversation and might need a reminder about the proper place to pray on Assumption Day.
Wolfgang seemed distracted when Marcus asked, reading a letter at the breakfast table that had been left at his place by one of the servants, he gave a non-committal grunt that Marcus took as denial.
So it may be something of a surprise when he comes hustling up, plain robe raised a bit so he can move faster, showing that beneath he has heavy boots and chainmail leggings. He comes up to the group, huffing to catch his breath. Bowing his head slightly in a polite nod to Father Luc, he says in High German, "Good day, father." Then in Latin, "Sorry, Marcus. I made the mistake of trying to ride... I thought you were, too. It didn't end well." He rubs his ribs with a rueful smile.
[OOC Note: Wolfgang is devout enough to take Mass every Sunday. If there isn't a chapel in the covenant (not sure) he makes his way to the village, and there is probably a generous space around him because nobody wants to sit too close.]
Marcus looks surprised that he has come, but pleased.
"Oh, oh no. Well, welcome along with us! Were you badly hurt in the fall?"
Wolfgang chuckles, shaking his head. "A kick, not a fall. But I'm fine. I should've known better, you know how it is with horses..."
He sighs, as Edwardo chuckles to himself quietly.
"I do. The first time I tried to ride... It ended badly"
He turns to the priest
"When on pilgrimage, it is more seemly to walk as well, isn't it?"
"Anyway, now our band of pilgrims are assembled, perhaps we should be on our way" he says, trying to disentangle them from the priest and his complaints
You see the smile fade from the face of Luc as Wolfgang approaches, before returning in an (even more) forced manner.
The priest unconsciously steps back and greets him (OOC: I think even if the covenant has a chapel it shouldn't have a chaplain, at least for now?), but upon realizing that Wolfgang is joining Marcus instead of heading to the church he leaves.
You leave Châtillon behind you, reaching Curtetele, and from there west. Surprising no one people seem to avoid you on the road. A few groups pass by you now and them, some of them weary after a long travel. They watch carefully as you distance yourselves.
It should take a couple more hours to reach the cave.
(OOC: Feel free to get the conversation going through the next two hours. I'll need a few hours myself before posting again. ^^)
"so, about horses" Marcus starts as soon as the magi are alone
"If you were to enchant an item with creo animal and vim, maybe some Rego, it should be possible to summon docile animals which can be ridden by the gifted but that disappear at nightfall. It might be a helpful way to travel without the expenses of keeping actual horses".
Edwardo chimes in in broken Latin
"It would mean you could keep horse soldiers secretly too. All the punch, no angry nobles"
You go ahead discussing magical horses as the sun rises in the sky, and after a bit less than two hours you bend south. The mountains, left and right of you, rise almost 300 meters as you go up river. Finally you reach the point described in Leonardus notes: an entrance in the face of the mountain to the right, 6 or 7 meters high and maybe four times as wide.
As you approach you can barely see that there are few dozen people already inside, but they stay close to the entrance. You hear someone with a high pitched voice preaching.
(OOC: I probably don't need to say, but the link leads to a modern picture of the place. There is no fence nor crucifix at the entrance.)
"I think we should go in. Do you know a spell to detect Vis? Or could we spontaneously cast one before we go in? "