1205 Summer - A Pilgrimage for Vis

While Wolfgang tries to direct the flow of people Edwardo grabs the clerk's clothes and drags the man away. Between you both you manage to avoid him getting injured.

After a few dozen seconds the cave is empty, save for you and a few mundanes whimpering on the ground. You noticed that, as they exited the cave, most people fled towards south.

The maiden is still praying, her eyes closed. She moves slowly towards the exit, groping the wall.

The vis is still there.

Wolfgang kneels and prays for forgiveness for his trick until she leaves. Once gone, he goes and gathers the vis.

Harvesting the vis should be as simple as collecting the water. How do you intend to do that? Do you grab a bucket? Or did you made any other kind of preparation before leaving the covenant?

A sponted lvl 15 ReVi spell would also do the trick. From a quick look at your arts it seems like you can manage it with a few tries.

Wolfgang casts a spell, reaching his hand into the pool and pulling the vis into his grasp.

ReVi to harvest vis: 1D10+25 = [8]+25 = 33

You feel the tiredness take over you body as you improvise the spell, but you manage to cast it without trouble.

((You still need to move the vis to another object (it's not just a blob of floating energy). Where to?))

After harvesting the vis: what now?

Wolfgang realizes he should have prepared an object, but in the heat of the moment all he can do is put the vis into his voting sigil (a malachite ring he wears).

He will look around to see if it seems like anyone was aware enough to witness the spellcasting, then heads out to round up his companions and head home - by an indirect route, not going through the village.

Everyone who stayed in the cave is either blind (only temporarily, if God allows) or unconscious, (except for the young woman, who has her eyes still closed). No one seems to have saw you, except for Marcus and Edwardo.

The three of you make your way back avoiding the road, making the trip extend far longer than in the morning. You reach the covenant just before the sun goes down, tired.

Wolfgang is relieved to be back. He asks for food to be brought to his sanctum, and heads straight there. In the morning, in his laboratory, he shifts the vis out of his ring and into the usual wooden pawns, and takes them to the covenant stores, having the clerk mark it in the ledger.

Later that day, during the evening meal, Clusius asks Wolfgang how the vis collection went and if the covenant should make preparations to ease the harvesting of that source. He appears a bit distracted.

Wolfgang sighs. "It was... problematic. The place had become a pilgrimage site, there was a... a mad prophet of some sort there, that people were flocking to. The village priest was unhappy that people were going there. I had a minor problem; I was trying to create a story that would keep people away, both to make the priest happy and to gain access to the vis, and I did, but not in the way I intended. But nobody was permanently harmed, and while there may be rumors, I don't think they'll be linked to us. We'll need to be careful next year, but I may have made things easier. I hope so, anyway. The vis is in the stores, by the way."

"Are there any preparations we could make that would ease things in the future? Either for this specific source or for others? If so, let Adeline know and we can add that topic to the next council meeting."

"It depends on what happens over the next few months, I think. The cave either will be or won't be occupied by pilgrims next time we try to harvest, I'm not sure what preparation would solve that. I may learn more from the village priest on Sunday."

"Very well," Clusius smiles, "let us know how things evolve."

Over the next few days, covenfolk and grogs slowly piece together what the villagers have been saying and some of that ends up reaching but the most reclusive magus.

On the August 15th while Father Samuel, the priest in Underswyler was preaching inside the (supposed) holy cave, a devil entered the place and caused much havoc. Some say he was a small child, pale as snow... or as a corpse, and with the stench of the grave. Others swear to have seen red skin and horns. A lot of people got hurt fleeing the cave, but no one seriously, at least no one from Châtillon, because most of them were listening to Father Luc at the time, at the local church, as they should. Except by Josh, who sprained his ankle badly, and deserved it. The worst one was Justinian, Samuel's assistant, who either died, or only got hurt, or not even got hurt, just passed out. And Samuel himself, of course.

The winning narrative, at the moment, is that, by the grace of Our Lady, she sent an angel that rebuked the devil with his holy light, but no one being holy enough to see the his face, many where blinded. Most have already recovered, but to his chagrin, Father Samuel has yet to regain his vision. Incidentally the story seems to have strengthened the belief that the fountain on the cave is holy (otherwise, why would an angel be sent to protect it?).

Some are afraid that Samuel is going to die just as Justinian ("no no, I'm telling you, he is alive! My cousin lives in Underswyler, and he told me he saw the clerk, badly hurt, bandages all over his body, but alive").

Some say that it was actually the devil who blinded the ones who where closer to him by due to his jealous nature, and others that he produced the light to lead the people astray, but these are diminishing day by day. Either way, many new "charms against evil" (objects, gestures and small rituals, all of them) have started to circulate, and the covenfolk proficient in Faerie Lore recognize some of them as things that actually ward against faeries. Lucille, the washerwoman, will tell whoever wants to hear (and some who don't) that the good folk won't be happy with that, but she does tend to exaggerate things a lot.

No one made any connection or pointed fingers at the magi of Tugurium, neither to a certain albino... so far, at least. From how the story is evolving (at least these days), it doesn't seem like they will... and with a bit of luck, all will be forgotten in a few months.

((The next Sunday is going to be 21 August, so Wolfgang (and anyone else) should have a couple of days before Mass. If Wolfgang decides to attend (from what he hears from the grogs there is nothing to indicate that he shouldn't), feel free to describe how the usual Sunday starts before Father Luc starts to talk (people are gossiping more than normal before Mass, but nothing that would be highly unusual given the circumstances).

EDIT: Sorry for the wall of descriptive text. =P
))

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Wolfgang wakens at dawn, as he usually does. In his first week at the covenant, he would head down to the kitchens to procure his own breakfast, which he thought was a kindness to the cooks who were also just waking up and wouldn’t have food ready for the covenant for hours yet. They were quite disturbed by his presence, though, and when the cooks realized that he always made for himself a quite simple meal of porridge, bacon, and toasted day-old bread, with a mug of small beer, he soon found that when he awoke a tray would be waiting for him, fresh and hot.

After breakfast, he puts on his best clothing – a heavy woolen robe, hooded, died the pale dusty black of oak gall, with a slight green tint to it. He can’t bring himself to be without the usual armor underneath, but on holy days he forgoes his usual heavy boots, instead his footwear is supple leather, and he wears matching gloves. He walks down to the village alone, and is one of the first to arrive at church for mass.

The first sunday after he arrived at the covenant, he sat among the pews, a small figure in his black robe, the deep hood hiding his features, and his strange white skin hidden from view. Still, his presence made people uncomfortable, and noticing the space around him, the priest talked to him after the sermon, and learning that he was from the covenant, he was gratified at the magus’s attendance, but found him no less disturbing than the others did. He invited Wolfgang to sit, in future, in the seats set aside for visiting senior churchmen, and now that is the small magus’s practice.

This Sunday is like any other, Wolfgang likes routine, but as he walks to the village he is wary, and as he sits, waiting for mass to start, he wonders if he’s sinned, and must confess. Did he blaspheme? He did lie, though it was incomplete… he allowed others to believe what they would, but he did nudge them in a certain direction… But it was something the priest had wished for, did that make a difference?

At first, people looked wary when entering the church and finding Wolfgang there, but after these past few months most of them have become used to it... at least used enough to not make their discomfort obvious. Some of them even wave at him, out of respect if not genuine friendliness.

A few minutes later Father Luc climbs into the pulpit. Taking a look at the congregation (he grimaces a bit when looking at Wolfgang, as always, but he is getting better at hiding it) he starts the Mass. After reading a few passages from the Holy Book (God instructs his people to not use amulets and charms) he changes to German and starts the homily.

"I have seen some of you using charms and amulets for protection. But did not the Lord taught us to pray for salvation? Did he not carry the cross on his back, so that we could carry it without burden on our necks? And of those he visited and brought his blessings, was any of them roaming the world, chasing miracles? Instead, does He not visit the ones who stay at home and pray? And so, for those who seek healing and salvation, they should come to the church and pray, and God will hear and come to them if they so deserve."

The rites continue, culminating with Father Luc elevating the Eucharist. Soon after he dismisses the Mass.

Usually people go away quickly after this, but today it doesn't seem like they intend to. They flock around the priest, and not even Wolfgang getting closer makes them distance themselves. Wolfgang hears when Luc raises his voice in order to be heard, a bit displeased.

"You may all go away. I won't gossip about Father Samuel. Yes, I did visit him yesterday. He is alive and well. No one died. That's all you need to know. If you have time to gossip, then you can all go sit and pray until the next bell rings. Better this than your tongues casting you into the everlasting fire."

After this remark, people finally start to move. Wolfgang still hears they gossiping among themselves in hushed tones. Father Luc tries to give a comforting smile to the magus.

"It's good to see you again. We missed you in the last week." He hesitates. The lie is a bit obvious.

"I mean, it's always good when learned men come to church. I'd like that more of the people of the manor were as pious as you."

It's clear he is talking about the other magi, for the covenfolk and grogs attend Sunday Mass in a more regular basis, albeit few are as regular as Wolfgang.

Wolfgang has thought long and hard about confessing, before and during the sermon, but decided not to. It would be a selfish act, putting himself before the Order, and he doesn't want to cause problems for his covenant and sodales, either. Perhaps the priest would respect the seal of the confessional, but he can't be sure.

But he still greets the father, afterward. "Thank you. I appreciate you tolerating my presence, even though it makes you feel so uncomfortable. I think that is the reason the others stay away. I would, too, if you asked me, but I'm grateful you don't, and allow me to be here and worship and receive the blessing."

If the father has nothing else to say, he heads back home.

His smile falters a bit when you point that your presence seems to make him uncomfortable.

"Please, I have nothing but respect for a good christian... and I'm sure the same is true for all of the village. If they seem wary, this is just because we still didn't had the time to know you better and receive you in our community. That's entirely our fault."

The priest seems apologetic. As far as you can tell he truly believes what he has just said.

"Well, with the grace of God, things should settle soon. Can I help you with something today?"

It seems he is just making small talk, trying to be supportive as a priest. He is happy to talk with Wolfgang for a few minutes and try to provide some spiritual guidance, but as the minutes go on he starts to look around, clearly searching for a way to excuse himself.

((Wolfgang can ask him for information, if you think it's worthwhile. You did see that he was against discussing the events with the people of Chatillon, but it seems to you that his problem is with gossip. You'd need to convince him that what moves you is more than just curiosity.))

Wolfgang will mention their previous conversation, when the group was together, and the priest expressed disapproval of going to the cave to worship; he wonders if that's still a problem.

"The people of God are simple. They sometimes wander off the path, while seeking solace and salvation. As a learned man, maybe you will understand me when I say that there are powers in operation that do not come from God. They might not be malicious... but if God is good and they don't come from God, they can be nothing but evil. As such, we should stay away."