Alexei turns to the Verditius. "Onesiphorus, what would you say about the seisins? Shall we declare all that we have found publicly or just the one source required by Tribunal and merely inform the Redcaps of the rest? I favor a public declaration; sound boundaries leads to good neighbors. What are your feelings Sodale?"
Iosephus beams happily at this. This is a new game, yes, but it has some familiar elements."Let me see" he says. He turns first to Alexei.
"The smaller wants us to seem larger, but says he has risen to see things from the point of view of the larger, who wants us to seem smaller".
He smiles at Alexei, and then turns to Fiona and continues:
"And the larger wants us to seem smaller, but says she has descended to see things from the point of view of the smaller, who wants us to seem larger."
He grins at both of them. "All simple enough; and yet both of you say that you still cannot agree! If that is the case, then it seems you are right" (here he nods to Fiona) "The snake really is choking on its tail!"
It's at this point that Onesiphorus pipes up.
"Ah, but here comes the Maker" Iosephus says happily. "We shall see what he Makes of this"
"It appears a brief history lesson is in order." Apollodorus looks a bit annoyed as he says this but continues on, "There are four types of vis sources in the Normandy Tribunal, a Seisin, which I'd mentioned previously, is the sole property of a covenant and within a half days march, although this is subject to some gamesmanship. Another covenant/Magus guilty of harvesting the vis is guilty of a High Crime in the Tribunal. The next source is a Legacy. In the term it is discovered it is the lease of the covenant, however it must be renewed at every Tribunal, and someone else harvesting is guilty of a High Crime during the period of the lease. These Legacies occur outside the days march. The next are Tropaeum. These are vis sources that were at one point Legacies or optionally Seisins of failed covenants. At every Tribunal meeting there is a tournament where these sources are divided amongst the competitors. Lastly there are Lucatio, which are vis sources which require the use of skill or magic to acquire the vis, and collecing the vis is not assured.
"As to whether or not declare the seisins, I am not deciding or recommending a course of action. I see merit in either approach. For the most part our vis sources are all within easy reach of us, several being within the regio, which will make it difficult for anyone else to even reach it or collect it. If we declar them, we also declare how rich we are. There are good and bad points to this approach."
Looking directly at Iosephus he regards him, piercing through his beautific smile, "Iosephus, while I appreciate your riddles others may not. You have an answer within you. All those who pose a riddle also know the answer. You must learn to provide answers and make decisions, this is also a big part of your path, part of the reason why I brought you here.
"Truth be told, the Fair where Mentem vis is acquired is a Legacy that as an eremite far enough from other covenants has been uncontested and granted to me. I discovered it, and I take the effort in maintaining it and harvesting it. Since it involves mundanes, most covenants would rather not bother, and the distance is quite a bit aways away. Also, since I have traded a lot of that vis to the Quaesitores of the Tribunal I've generally had their favor and through their graces the Legacy has been granted to me, which is generally unusual."
[color=blue]"Am I to understand," Fiona asks, [color=blue]"that a magus can be Marched for raiding another covenant's Seisin or Legacy?"
Fiona files this bit of information away for future use. It may be handy to know, down the road, that the Quaesitores in Normandy are just as corrupt in their own way as the one in Loch Leglean. It does appear, however, that one must be more subtle and circumspect in how they handle the situation here.
"Indeed, it is certainly possible. And while magi and maga have been convicted in the past, their pleas for leniency have generally been granted. Especially if restitution and or additional payments to those wronged have been made or promised."
Alexei speaks up. "Sodales. In order that we may continue this, our first discussion, I offer this to our fraternity. I will agree with Fiona's suggestion to minimally declare our resources. However, I would ask then that I receive discretion in how they are defended. I am a member of the Milites, which I believe is a respected group throughout the Order, but in chivalrous France may enjoy additional prestige."
Alexei stands up and has a solemn expression instead of his usual mirth. "Further, I promise my Sodales here at this Covenant, that should any have Wizard's War declared upon them, the aggressor can most assuredly expect a return challenge from myself. This is an honour I take as a member of the MIlites of House Flambeau. This is not to impugn upon the skill and power of those present, certainly not. But I believe that the Order benefits greatly from those gentle magi that have a desire for peaceful research, yet must worry about belligerent Magi. My promise can...dissuade such challenges."
Alexei sits down after that. "I...don't expect there to be trouble mind you, just wanted to make sure I'd said my peace. And that incident with the moors...totally not my fault."
[color=blue]"That sounds like a reasonable compromise. And I agree with your proposal."
Fiona says nothing, but merely dons a Mona Lisa smile.
Silviatos had said nothing more after his early greetings.
"Again, politics and procedual disputes. And this tribunal seems to have just as many regulations as the Rhine tribunal." he thinks and a muted sigh escaped his lips.
"But at least there is agreement between my sodales and Apollodorus does not impose his will upon us. That is a fine sign."
"I will vote for this compromise too." "It sounds like a good plan." he adds without much enthusiasm for this whole politics thing.
"What shall we discuss next? Has everyone settled into their sancta alright? I've spared no expense in outfitting your labs and providing you comfortable living quarters."
Alexei nods at Apollodorus's statement. "The sancta and labs are fantastic. Such an improvement over what I had been using since apprenticeship! I cannot wait to get to work in it." his eager expression softens a bit as he strokes his beard.
"But I fear I must wait. Along with declaring our vis sources and defending them, I feel I must see to the defenses of this Covenant. I only spoke briefly on this subject when I arrived and then I spoke again with the steward after I toured the holdings. We are in dreadful shape as far as defenses are concerned. The walls are picked apart as the locals have used them as their quarry, the forest and other areas are unexplored, we have few battlements. The Regio will make for an excellent defense, certainly against mundane intrusion. But the Regio must also be investigated thoroughly, if it already hasn't. All manner of entry must be scrutinized."
"As I said, I spoke with the steward and he does not share my concerns. Certainly times are peaceful now...barring the attack on me. And it might seem difficult to open the purse and build battlements in a shepherding area, but we have much we wish to protect. The next topic of discussion for me would be the defense of our Covenant, both magical and mundane. I want the walls rebuilt, I want some general orders given to those who work the land so they can be protected. I would like a turb of Grogs assembled, trained and equipped. I would like buildings fit for the maintenance of soldiers, horses and defenses either built or restored. This is a long task, it shall not happen over night, but that's all the more reason to start right away. And it will cost us, either in silver or vis. Maybe both, and definitely time."
Iosephus has taken Apollodorus' mild reprimand with good grace, and has happily agreed to the proposed solution to the Seisin issue.
When Alexei pledges to defend the other members of the covenant in the event of Wizards' War, he smiles very broadly indeed. It is clear that he admires Alexei's forthrightness and willingness to commit himself wholeheartedly to a cause, though since he rarely thinks about the possibility of violence, the specific issue puzzles him somewhat. His puzzlement grows as Alexei goes on to propose increasing the covenant's mundane military capacity.
"Sodale," he says with a warm and eager smile, "Thank you greatly for your generous offer to represent us in the event of Wizards' War. You pledge your help very quickly indeed. You are as eager as I am, I think, to form the bonds that make a covenant supple and strong, able to survive the many Changes. You have seen what I have seen, I think: that we will grow to like and rely on one another."
Here he pauses, and his look of slight puzzlement returns.
"I am sorry to ask,"he says, "but I am afraid I am new to this, and do not fully understand: why is it that we would need these walls, these soldiers? Surely you do not intend to go to war?"
As he speaks, a thought occurs to him. He looks at Alexei with new-found admiration:
"Are you perhaps attempting to reconstruct the city of Bibracte as it once was, in the days before Rome fell, and so force Time to repeat itself? he asks eagerly. "A mighty task. Anazoagoras tried something similar with the hamlet of Sonderby, and also Felicitius of Criamon with the ancient stones at Hull. But in neither case did the experiment succeed; the details could not be repeated exactly, and the river of time simply flowed onwards undisturbed. Have you perhaps stumbled upon another method? If so, then we should of course proceed, regardless of the cost!"
Alexei is just as perplexed as Iosephus seems after hearing his question. "You have...many questions and theories? I am glad you appreciate my efforts and intent. Your question about...changing time? I'm sorry I really don't fathom what you mean by that. I don't intend to go to war, but merely to prepare for it should it come to our home. We have a wonderful and soon to be, by my estimation, prestigous and powerful covenant. That comes at a price, others may envy and covet what we have. Our covenant needs appropriate defenses." he pauses.
"What exactly did you mean about time repeating itself? Did you mean..." he stops again. "I'm sorry, perhaps that's a discussion for another time."
Iosephus seems a bit crestfallen - he's obviously misread the situation entirely. But he keeps smiling, and soldiers on regardless:
"Oh, right, yes," he says to Alexei, agreeing eagerly, partly to cover for his gaffe, "Of course, how silly of me- you weren't thinking about that at all. You're right, of course - I suppose we do need to defend the covenant, don't we?"
He pauses. He very much liked Alexei's quick show of wholehearted commitment, earlier - Iosephus admires this as an act of openness and optimism about others, come what may - and he feels that the only Apt way to proceed is to respond in kind.
"It certainly seems as if you have given this sort of thing a great deal of thought," he says. "I think the matter is best left in your hands."
He turns to the whole Council.
"I trust my Sodalis in this matter," he says. "He has my vote".
As Iosephus finishes his endorsement of Alexei's desire for better defense there is a brief tremor lasting about 5 seconds. Nothing falls and there is only a slight amount of dust created, the chairs are very slightly moved from left to right. Apollodorus pauses to let the tremor pass and then ignoring it altogether, "Truthfully, I have had little need of defense, previously. The vis source I've had as a legacy, which we will use as a seisin has been uncontested. As an eremite, it has been renewed to me at each Tribunal by aclimation. Most covenants find it is a large bother to collect. It is, it requires a fair amount of silver to be able to manufacture the cloths for the tents, and then there is the bother of transferring it. And since I have traded the vast majroity of this to the Quaesitores, they have been passionate about me retaining the legacy. And then my, I should say our sheep enterprise is of a great benefit to the Order generally, producing parchment in the volume we do. Most covenants don't want to jeapordize access to this precious mundane resource.
"Of course, it is now conceivable, by having a covenant take this legacy of Mentem vis and declaring it as our seisin that we attract notice. I would suggest, unless there is a major demand amongst us for it, that we continue trading the Mentem vis to the Quaesitores. I have generally received most favorable terms for trading it. And we would have a powerful unspoken ally of members of House Guernicus at the Tribunal."
Alexei looks about in some alarm as the room shakes and dust falls then looks on in some amazement that Apollodorus seemed unfazed by it.
"Pardon Apollodorus...is the earth shaking like that a regular occurence?" he asks as he looks about the room, assessing any damage, as well as the nearest exit.
"No, it happens about this time every year. It means one of our vis sources is ripe. I imagine that they're ready to play and shake the ground to get us to notice."
One of Alexei's eyebrows quirks upwards. "They? Who are they? You say they have vis?"
"The gnomes, surely I've mentioned them. They don't actually exist within this regio, or on this level at the very least, and I haven't been willing to explore it too much, as I would be going deep into their domain. They are nice neighbors, keep to themselves so I have no complaints. Once a year or so they shake things up on this level to let me know that they are ready for another match.
"And yes, Alexei, they have vis." Apollodorus pauses and regards everyone, "This is a rather rare form of vis, Rego Terram dedicated vis, the harvest is 6 pawns annually." He chcukles as he says pawns.
ALexei starts adding things up, judging by the expression on his face. "Wait...does this have to do with that chess match you had mentioned to me? I assumed you wanted to continue our game from before? Rego Terram dedicated vis? I've heard of such vis but never encountered it before! With vis like that...well I imagine our Verditius could really make use of it! I have a few spells as well in mind..." he pauses and reaches for his cup of wine.
"How does one acquire this vis, pray tell?"
"Yes, this is the chess game I'd mentioned. To acquire the vis, one must play the game against the gnomes. The winner selects the piece or pieces containing vis. A king is worth 6 pawns, any other ranked piece is worth 3 pawns, and the pawns, well, you can imagine what they're worth. The gnomes will only allow you to take 6 pawns in total, though."
Apollodorus continues on, "It was most useful in constructing many of the buildings you see on the mundane side. The terram specialist I contracted with took several pawns with him as a portion of his payment, as well. That helped reduce total costs considerably."