Early in the summer, Quintus Clusius approaches each of the magi in turn, hesitantly asking them if they would be available to join him for a council meeting of the magi of Tugurium.
He has three subjects he feels needs to be discussed: securing sponsors from each of the covenants in the Rhine Tribunal*, exploring and harvesting a number of vis sources identified in Leonardus' notes, and securing the covenant against potential enemies.
*This has already been discussed off-screen, so we won't spend time on that in this topic.
Celeste was also at the library, she has brought back the Summa on Animal that she's spent the Spring reading, and was still discussing some of the finer points with Lencor when Regulus arrived. She nods at him, having already greeted Clusius when she entered.
"This afternoon sounds lovely, and we definitely should discuss these, so we're all clear on what our agenda is."
Clusius found Alba working into her laboratory. At first, she started babbling apologies with a red face about how he was welcome to come in if he wanted, but that she didn't have anything prepared to drink or eat.
But when he just asked her to attend a council, she nodded relieved.
"O-of course, let's go." - she quickly said while started to walk through the door. Clusius had to stop her to tell that the meeting was organized for the afternoon - "Oh... see you later then." - Alba answered getting a little red again.
In the afternoon, once the other magi have joined Clusius in the small council chamber, they chat for a little while to see how everyone is settling down. After a few minutes of this, Clusius brings the meeting to order rather informally.
"Well, hmmm... sodales. I was going through Leonardus' notes about the valley... well the valleys, actually. I mean, this small valley here but also the whole larger valley with the mundane villages, towns and... well everything else."
"There are several places that Leonardus was harvesting raw vis from. Some were noted down in the list passed down to me by Augustus Nero, but some were not. Some also didn't have much details, so I'm still sorting out through those notes. I'm also finding new notes as I go through Leonardus' old lab and reconfiguring it for my own use."
"Well, the point is. We should investigate these vis source and start harvesting them. Some were harvested during Leonardus' absence, either by Julius or by some of the covenfolk. The ones close to the covenant, at least. A few that are easily accessible as well. But most of that vis was either paid out to Leonardus' filii -- my mater and her two siblings -- and the rest I used to purchase books for the library and lab supplies."
"But, as I was saying, we should harvest more. I think we can agree on that. Most should be easy, but a few are more complicated. So I will need volounteers to investigate the sources. I will do the same, but there are too many for a single person, unless that person dedicates a significant amount of time doing that. Since we are all eager to setp up our labs -- I assume you are -- then we need to split the work. And some of the sources can only be harvested at specific times of the year. You know how these things are. Anyway, will you help me on that?"
When Clusius finished, Alba took the opportunity to intervene.
"Well... I cannot really set up anything into my laboratory since its not finished... I was helping Julius, but he doesn't really needs me, and since this its only temporary laboratory until I'm able have my real one I don't want to spend too much time either with it... so... uhm... I have full disponibility to help with the sources, if its needed."
Clusius appears relieved, "That would be helpful, certainly. I'm not sure we can keep you busy the whole season, so if you want to study from the library between the harvesting of different sources, you can do so. If you want to join me after the meeting, we can look at some of the notes and you can decide which source to investigate first."
He turns to the other two, "Also, there will be several sources that need to be investigated and harvested in the fall and winter as well, so if either of you would like to look some of these up it would be more than welcome. Alba and I may need so help if we realize we lack a spell and ability to harvest a given source."
"I have the list that Augustus gave me. But it appears to be far from complete, and lacking in details, so I have to comb through Leonardus' notes to gather as much as I can. My grandpater was much older than we are, and things that may have been trivial for him may be beyond our capabilities. I'd rather not send any one of us into unnecessary danger."
"I'll try to come up with a short list of those we should investigate first. Which brings to mind, what arts are you each most interested in?"
(OOC Essentially, I'll create a number of short stories soon as the magi investigate various vis sources and harvest them for the first time. You may notice I reorganized the Vis Sources post in the covenant description topic.)
"That also leads me to my second topic, which is our lack of an Aegis of the Hearth. As we grow our covenant and gather raw vis, we may become a tempting target for unfriendly magi, or even other supernatural agencies. I was unable to raise an Aegis, as the arts of Rego and Vim are not my best. Is there one amongst you who knows the ritual? If not, we have a lab text for it. It is even one that covers a larger-than-standard area, large enough to cover most of the covenant's buildings. But one of us needs to learn it. And the other should probably learn Wizard's Vigil to help cast it with enough power. We don't have that lab text in the library, but I know that spell and could translate my lab notes into a useable lab text."
"I should be of use for anything requiring Intellego, and a little bit of Rego."
Regulus briefly details which spells he knows.
"Regarding the Aegis I have also given some thought to it."
OOC: Regarding the Aegis I will write more freely instead of saying it all in Regulus' voice.
From what I can gleam, Alba, Celeste and Regulus should have simmilar ReVi lab totals, but everyone falls a bit short of 25. We'd need to experiment, to use someone's assistance at the lab, or to improve our Arts. Alba and Celeste can raise their Vim quickly.
My opinion is that Regulus or Alba would be better to cast the Aegis due to Careful Sorcerer (in the small chance of a botch).
No one besides Clusius seems to have a good enough MuVi, but this can also be improved quickly at the lab. However, I think a lvl 20 Wizard's Vigil won't be helpful for us. It's effective level for boosting the Ritual is only 10, which means that all of us together would only total 40. We need a total of 50 to cast a level 25 ritual, right? Any chance of getting a higher level Vigil?
Regulus finishes his exposition saying "Perhaps we will need to rely on an Aegis cast without penetration for the first few years. Or hire someone to help with either the casting of the Aegis itself or the Wizard's Vigil."
"Either way, I can be the one to learn the Aegis if no one else wants to."
"I'll admit, my studies, due to their focus, left Vim as an afterthought, but I have great Rego, and I am sure I can make up the difference."
"I believe I can learn the Aegis in one Season from the Lab Text, if no one else can, unaided. It won't have much Penetration, but at least we'll have an Aegis, for starters.
OOC: Celeste's Lab Total for Rego Vim is 26, so she can learn the Aegis in one Season from the Lab Text. (+2 Int, +4 MT, +5 Aura, +1 Vim, +10 Rego, +2 Familiar, +2 Lab).
And she'll have a Casting bonus of +19 + die roll, and she has Penetration of 2.
And this is before reading any Vim, Philosophiae or Artes Liberales summas to increase her scores in them. With some investment, she could produce an Aegis with increasing Penetration
"Clusius, do you think we need a high penetration? It will only be useful to keep realm creatures at bay, and I'm not aware of us being in too much danger regarding that."
"Otherwise, I'm uderstanding that our Aegis would give us the equivalent of a 4th magnitude Parma, right? This should keep us protected from most hostile magi closer to our hermetic age."
"I have just been checking our library. I don't think I'd be able to quickly raise my Rego or Vim Arts given the books we currently have. Perhaps it would be better for me to improve my Muto, in preparation to help with the Vigil. I think I'll still fall a bit short, however."
OOC: some math
Regulus ReVi lab total is 21 before applying lab penalties.
Celeste is at 22, w/o considering Lencor or lab. She can raise her Vim in one season using our books, achieving a 26 lab total.
Alba's ReVi is 24, w/o considering Stella or lab. She can also rely on our library to increase Vim. Considering Careful Sorcerer, she might be the best person to do it. She would need at least 1 season to raise Vim and another to learn the spell (raising her Vim to 5 she will manage even with a basic lab).
Or any of us could contribute with at least a +5 to her lab total, which means she could do it right now if we think its urgent.
As for MuVi lab totals:
Regulus can achieve a 21 after studying Muto for one season. Celeste is currently at 18 and can reach 22 with 1 season studying in Vim. Alba is at 15 and after 2 seasons (improving both Muto and Vim) she can reach 22. Before labs and familiars. Not enough for a lvl 25 Vigil, unless we assist each other. Even after making our labs fully functional.
If I have mathed right, Clusius is shy of 5 points in his lab total for inventing a lvl 25 vigil anyway (Int 3 + Aura 5 + MT 3 + Muto 15 + Vim 3 + simmilar spell 4 = 33, he'd need a 38. So, only with assistance from one of us and a fully functional lab).
"If we urgently need to raise an Aegis I'd, suggest that one of us assist Alba. She seems very Careful, from what I've seen so far, and quite competent at Rego. If we can wait a bit, she should be able to learn it after improving her lab and binding Stella."
"The others would work towards building up their MuVi lab totals and learning the Vigil. We can procure a higher level Vigil from Durenmar if necessary. Either way we'd all need to fix our labs and improve Arts to achieve a high enough Vigil, so we should be prepared to spend the first couple of years with a low-penetration Aegis."
"Maybe we could arrange to borrow a lab text for a more powerful version of Wizard's Vigil," Clusius speculates.
His specialty in Magic Theory is spells, so that's another +1, and he also has Inventive Genius for another +3. That's 37.
In any case, lab texts for Wizard's Vigil are probably easily obtainable, so getting access to one should be easy. It is probably just a matter of spending a season to make a copy from a willing covenant. Or we could even just borrow the lab text and hand it back after he learns the spell.
"Anyway, you are correct that we probably don't need the full penetration for the Aegis, at least not right away. Or maybe a better way to put it is that we need an Aegis before we are in a position to worry about its penetration."
"And I must say that not having an Aegis at all does worry me. Quite a bit, actually."
"Herbam and Rego." - Alba answered nearly automatically, but then she had an afterthought - "But I will also need Creo and Ignem in a near future... Also, I don't personally need it now, but any covenant can benefit a lot of a Vim source... maybe that one should be our priority. If there is any in your notes..."
When the conversation went to the Aegis topic, Alba stayed on the sidelines of the talking, listening in silence since she considered that Celeste should be the most expert on it... however, when Regulus proposed her to be in charge of learning the spell, her face turned red while she got surprised by being suddenly dragged to the conversation.
"M-me? I know Rego, but I still need to learn a lot in the art of Vim..." - she didn't expect to be the best candidate to learn the spell - "W-well... its true that I'm cautelous casting my spells, b-but I don't know why nobody else strives to be one too. Its easy... just... be careful?" - she though about it - "But I see your point... I could learn it in a season. If I wake up early and I work overtime, I could do it with a basic laboratory... b-but then I wouldn't have time for any new vis source."
Iirc, the +1 Early Mourning Routine and the +3 Overtime routine can be mixed, so Alba can reach 25 ReVi even with the -3 due to the Basic Lab.
"And... in the future maybe I could do a personal version with While duration, so we can save a lot of vis... maybe I could attach the conditional to something symbolic related with our covenant... maybe our Princeps, or that Leonardus statue that we wanted to have in the future." - she already started to dream with the possibilities.
More OOC Details
Just to be clear, I don't like cheap While conditionals. Albeit technically RAW, things like While: "I wish" are clear exploits xD
But things like "While the covenant founder watches the place", so Leonardus statue must remain intact or something like that (maybe even just covering the statue eyes), its a condition thematically appropriate and can be played in an adventure with it, but without being so fallible that it could be considered a bad condition.
"It may actually be an advantage for you know to be very good at Rego but not in Vim. Our library is fairly basic, mostly roots in all the Arts except for two that are decent summae. But neither of those are Rego or Vim. So you can quickly raise your knowledge of Vim, but only to a point."
"I, on the other hand, wouldn't be able to raise my Rego and Vim enough to be able to learn the Aegis we have in the library. I would quickly need to rely on raw vis to study these Arts, which I think we'll all agree would be a bit wasteful."
"That is why I would concentrate, for now, on learning as powerful version of Wizard's Vigil as I can. As I said, if we can obtain a lab text for that it would be best. I can manage a sixth magnitude version for certain. Even seventh magnitude if I have some time to reconfigure my lab and study Vim a bit. Or maybe experiment a bit."
"That's half what we need to fully help cast the Aegis. If the two of you," he nods to Celeste and Regulus, "can manage a fourth and fifth magnitude version, then that would be just enough to fully empower the Aegis."
He raises his hand placatingly, "I know you probably cannot manage a fifth magnitude at the moment, but after you've learned what you can from the library, I could share my knowledge of Muto to raise it a bit further."
He returns to the main topic, "But the most immediate step is for you, Alba, to learn the Aegis. Not immediately, but within the year perhaps? You should take the time to finish setting up your lab. And you mentioned create your bond with your familiar as well, I think? There is time for that."
You can't use the While duration with the Aegis, as that would require a breakthrough to change its paramaters. See the last paragraph of the spell's description. I make an exception for the size of the boundary, as a house rule. But faerie magic parameters is way beyound that.
"You're right, perhaps I was too eager in touting my horn, so I apologize. I think if I read the Vim Root, I might be able to manage a 4th magnitude Wizard's Vigil, in a few seasons. Might take me more to research a 5th magnitude one, as am afraid Muto isn't my best Technique. Perhaps we should try and find, if not a decent Summa on Vim/Muto, then at least some Tractatii. I will try to endeavor to improve those once I get my lab set up, bind Lencor as my familiar, and I want to get more familiar with the area."
She smiles at Alba "I know you don't usually like being in the spotlight, but being our Aegis caster is something I think you'd be good at."