1220.5 Going the Extra Miles (Alexei's Story)

After the council meeting, Alexei begins immediately working with his men to identify and improve the woefully obvious gaps in the defenses. Casting an Aegis is at least a season away, depending on whether enough vim vis can be distilled from the aura, it appears that Apollodorus and Fiona can cast a 4th magnitude Aegis via a Wizard's communion as soon as vis becomes available.
Additionally, Alexei has the, to his mind, security nightmare that is the First Monday in May Festival to contend with. although a rook of Mentem vis is nothing to complain about!
And then there was the casual mention by Apollodorus about having Alexei be involved in an interesting game of chess.

A few days after Mufarjj awakens the doctor Apollodorus had secured to aid in his recovery comes to Alexei in the Princep's office and informs him, in Latin, "Master Alexei, I regret to infrom you that the man I've been retreating has taken off the ring you had placed on his finger. He refuses to put it back on. Or at least I think he refuses. I don't speak Arabic, and he's refusing to speak any other language right now. I recall you said he spoke German, but he's not responding to that language, either."

Alexei will spend a great deal of time meeting the people that live on the lands and exploring the boundaries. He is egalitarian, he does not hold mundanes in contempt, he does however have a bit of a noble's prerogative in that as the one who makes war, his word is accepted over the ones who toil. He will gently but firmly explain to the various people living on the land that the wall is no longer a source of stone for their use, and any that have taken stone for their homes must replace it. They needn't replace the stone with what they've taken (especially if it is holding their house up), but they must replace it or spend time working on the walls. He'll bring Helmut with to help with the translation and also Michelle la Rouge for back up and a native French speaker with a reputation. He'll inquire with Henri regarding the Mayday celebration, such as where it's held and what is to be expected. He's pleased to be a part of a festival and looks forward to the challenge of running it. Regarding the chess game, he mostly ignores it, he's a bit of an enthusiast, but assumes Appollodorus means for them to have a sporting match sometime as they get together over drinks.

When he receives word from the doctor early on in his work he'll sigh and visit his prisoner.

He says in German. "Mufarjj...I find your behavior to be rather discomfiting. You are my prisoner. You attacked me with the help of your master, who from what I can surmise is some kind of magical spirit, and with his aid and your own considerable skill, gave me quite a challenge. But...you lost. Knowing what you faced; my power and skill, you were brave enough to take me on. I would not have so brave and honorable a warrior fall to his wounds. I could have killed you easily enough, but would show you courtesy." he picks up the ring. "This ring will speed your healing and prevent your humours from becoming fouled and misaligned. Put this on, let it heal you. And when you feel ready, we'll speak terms and the conditions of your imprisonment."

He grudgingly takes the ring from you. He puts it back on his finger. He then rolls gently over to the side so his back is to you.

Alexei nods and is pleased to see that he's at least consented to wearing the ring. "If you have dietary or religious needs, let us know, we shall accomodate as we can. Now rest and heal."

After visiting the prisoner he'll meet with Henri over a meal and ask about the celebration before continuing to travel and speak with the people who work the land.

[OOC, Reynault is essentially the autocrat. Henri (you need to grog him out if you want him to live long) would ostensibly be his apprentice/journeyman learning Prof:steward Prof:Chamberlain, or potentially running the turb). FYI, Reynault is a companion level character, so Henri won't be quite as good as Reynault is unless you superspecialize him in one area (puissant & affinity).]

After your intiial tour of the countryside word comes back to Reynault and Henri about you angering the suppliers of wool and sheep to the covenant. Reynault comes to you in the Princeps office, before your dinner with Henri, "Master Alexei, with all due respect, the walls you're asking people to rebuild or to repay for them to be rebuilt is simply ridiculous. The walls have been dismantled over the course of a thousand years or more. These people, whom you've asked to rebuild the walls, manage our sheep, or sell to us if they are freemen. You are risking future revenue by continuing to be so bold with them, or take them off the tasks to which they are already assigned. If anything, we should have sufficient funds to pay for improvements to defensive structures, within reason. Master Apollodorus has never had a reason to be concerned about attacks before, as this area is quite civilized and travel and pilgrims come through the land and are rarely accosted. And before you indicate your own attack, I would suggest that the particular instance is a personal matter and not one of covenant security. Now, no lasting damage has been done by this, but this is the general murmer of disapproval I've heard. Your Gift, had it been a bit more offensive would've surely caused a true uproar."

Alexei keeps his smile even as he is basically upbraided by the autocrat. He has Helmut with him; a servant that he wants to learn a variety of trades. Michelle is not present, his temper is not appropriate for such discussions. Alexei takes a drink from his wine after Reynault speaks with him.

"Mein herr, I am not used to being told that anything I do is ridiculous...except of course one of my jests. My requests to the people was not in jest. You make an excellent point though. No doubt some of them have lived under a house made from stones of the wall that their forebears had purloined. It would be unseemly to penalize them for that. I do not wish the people to think me a tyrant, perhaps it can be explained to them that my mastery of French had fouled my intent. Since you mentioned funds, we can use this as an opportunity to offer them valuable work that they can be paid well for."

He takes another sip of wine. "As for defenses being unnecessary...I trust that is not a jest. The fact that it hasn't been attacked merely means that those who would do it harm were unaware of anything valuable. That shall change soon, and not because of my presence. You must understand Monsieur Reynault, that a castle attracts attacks. We are building and manning a castle...it will be attacked. We must have defenses appropriate for our stature. We will need to access those funds you mentioned and bring in artisans and engineers to attend to these matters. So...tell me of these funds and is there a quarry nearby of good stone?"

Just for some clarification...the castle is not visible, it is within the regio, there is a manor house and some outbuildings outside the regio. The extent of the regio is unknown, but seems to be quite large going from at least the top of the mountain to the base.

As to the problem you're facing it is a classic guns and butter argument, most people are employed managing the sheep enterprise in one way or another. You will likely to travel further afield to find the type of workers and engineers necessary for such an endeavor. If you take people doing your primary revnue generating industry and pay them more, you're going to quickly run out of money. And right now funds are on the tight side considering the expense Apollodorus has undertaken to have everything built.

'Castle' is more of a metaphor at the moment for having an objective that others might try to take as well as a place for us to store our valuables, Alexei is aware of the Regio and Manor house of course. Alexei is not a fan of invisibility as a defense. He wants potential invaders to see that there are daunting defenses. I expected there to be arguments of funds and such, it's the classic disagreement between the purser and the general and in times of peace the general has the weaker argument. So he'll have to see if he can convince the rest of the covenant is willing to contribute the funds and efforts to creating the defense.

Current cash reserves are about 25 pounds of silver, Apollodorus spared no expense in building the covenant for the magi. Revenue is 1000lbs per year, it comes in roughly equal monthly amounts. Expenses come quarterly, on average, and are about 300 lbs per year. If you want to get super detailed on this we can, or we can do some die rolling.
Additionally, we can change your story around a bit, and pending council approval, we can do all "seasons" of activity to run concurrently, which means on average every day, you're spending 2.5 hours on your defense projects, lab work, study, etc, only to realize any and all advancemen at the end of the year. This probably works better from a story perspective.

We'll have Alexei bring this up at the council meeting and see how everyone's disposition is towards defense.

As Alexei spends a few days on the problem of equipping and building a turb with the current lack of resources a runner from a gatehouse comes to Alexei to report, "Sir, there is a delegation at the north gate requesting something called Hermetic hospitality, normally I went to Reynault, but he's in Autun with Master Apollodorus. He has a standard bearer who unfurled a standard with a dragon on it as he approached." The man, really a young boy, stands at stiff attention, though you don't know him by name, your reputation throughout the turb and the covenfolk is spreading.
OOC: as a player you may know what this means, since Alexei doesn't have any OoH Lore, your character doesn't know what it means.

Alexei puts aside the sketches he'd been looking at for the defenses of the land. He was not much of an architect, truth be told, he was more interested in breaking the walls. The break would be useful though. He turns to Michelle and Brionne. "You two, come with me."

Alexei will take some time to cast his spells and put on armour. He'll strengthen the armour of his men and lighten them as well as conjure his own, strengthen it and lighten it. Once ready they'll head to the North Gate.

Spells: Silvery Scales of the Kinght (Alexei) 30/+29 (not counting Aura)
Hardness of Adamantine (all) 25/+26
Hauberk of Supreme Lightness (all) 30/+26

If you need me to roll I will, but since they're taking their time and should be in the Aura somewhat this should be automatic.

If your CS is such that it's automatic, then no, you don't need to roll.
None of this describes what you do once you get to the delegation, though...

((OK, just waiting to make sure the prep work was complete))

Alexei leads his Grogs on horseback to the Northgate, all wearing the tabards of his personal crest, the now familiar hourglass mounted on a spear, and dismounts, handing the reigns to Brionne who secures the horses and falls in with Michelle. He looks at the group that has come to the Covenant and examines their clothes and weapons as well as the banner they carry. After several moments he addresses the group in Latin.

"I am Alexei von Kroitsau ex Flambeau. Who do I have the pleasure of addressing?"

Next to the standard bearer is a tall man, extremely tall, as tall as Fiona is. However, he's quite thin, almost so thin you can imagine that if he'd turn to the side you wouldn't be able to see him. His face is elongated with prominent eyebrow ridges, chin and nose, his hair is stark white. He's dressed in a charcoal grey robe. With him are several others dressed in robes, some are blue-black and some are pure black. There are also about 15 other men and women at arms.

The man had his back to you as you approached, discussing something with the standard bearer. You know realize that the boy was in error, it's not a dragon in its entirety on the standard, it is only a dragonhead. After you introduce yourself he chuckles and to the others he says, as if he's bored, "Ahh, it is the Miles, how delightful." The others in robes chuckle in response. "You have the honor," and he says honor in such away that conveys that you should be pleased, impressed, awed and also cowed, "of addressing Iaeptus of Tremere. I request hospitality for myself and my retinue." The request comes out as if it is a formality, fait accompli that you will render it.

"Broth, I mean Master Apollodorus has been a most gracious host in the past. And as we are travelling to Coeris, I thought I'd pay him a visit." After he stops speaking he begins to observe the activity behind you, it's quite apparent he's ignoring any sort of show of force you're displaying, you get the distinct impression he finds your manner amusing, in the way a father might humor a child.

Some Folk Ken and Awareness rolls might reveal more about what is going on.

((Int + Folk Ken 1d10+4 → [10,4] = (14) assuming Simple roll


Alexei smiles and makes a bow and gives a subtle hand gesture to Michelle, knowing his temper and loyalty he would not care for the tone that Alexei was being addressed.

"Iaeptus ex Tremere. It is indeed an honour to meet you and yours Sodale. Your House is well respected by the Miles of which I belong as well as Flambeau. That you are a friend of my friend Apollodorus, also bodes well. By all means, you and your party may come in and partake of our hospitality and know that under my Aegis you shall enjoy safety and comfort. Such is the privilege of being in the Milites."

Let me turn it around. Do you think this is a simple situation? I'll try and be a bit more descriptive in my requirements, and favor you this time. A botch could be fun. If you want to take the chance, let me know! :wink:
It's pretty easy to see Alexei was being baited. He gets the sense that he should dismount and escort the Tremere and his retinue on foot. Alexei can also send the others ahead with orders to prepare appropriate accomodations. And he thinks someone should be sent to Autun to let Apollodorus know.

"This is such an interesting site Apollodorus has choosen to start a covenant, and I've learned that he has such a diverse group joining him. I do believe that there was a Diedne covenant here which We wiped out." You can actually here the capitlization of We, and you get the impression he's referring to his House. "Did he tell you that?" As he says this, Alexei is reminded that Apollodorus has, in fact, assured everyone that there was never a Diedne covenant here, these came through previous conversations, letters, whatever communication the magi might've had before coming, and that he has had assurances from the Quaesitores there was never a house here, despite what legends and rumors might be spread.

As he walks slightly ahead of Alexei, and despite his best efforts the Tremere is always able to stay just a bit ahead of Alexei, he remarks about the increase in activity since he was last here. As Alexei and he approach the manor he says, "I do hope I can get my usual room, and of course, my staff needs rooms suitable to their station, and the grogs need a place to stay as well. If it will put you out we could conjure something for them to put you at ease." The manor house can easily accomodate the magi with Iaeptus, the grogs prsent a more difficult challenge, though. Alexei has a tingling sensation that he's being tested in a matter of protocol and is way out of his league. And you have the strangest thought pop into your head, your Aegis has not yet been erected.

(No, this seems simple enough so far, plus Alexei's Pater was formerly a Tremere, pre-station and courtesy have no doubt been a part of Alexei for some time, Alexei had already dismounted as well)

Before entering the Covenant lands, Alexei sends runners to the manor house as well as summons for Henri to rush to Autun and inform Apollodorus of his friend's arrival.

"Apollodorus had researched these lands a long time my friend, well aware of the legends of the renounced House. He said he found no evidence that it was once one of their Covenants. But of course who can tell, so much lore was likely lost in that tumultuous and dare I say glorious time."

As they walk Alexei receives several rushing servants, giving them instructions on how to prepare for Iaeptus and his retinue. "Let us share some wine and bread as they make ready suitable arrangements for you and your esteemed party, rooms are being prepared now in the manor house and servant quarters for your servants. We shall put your men in the barracks, my turb shall vacate presently. I daresay, I don't wish them to get soft, but your men shall probably enjoy its comforts before the return to the road. You said you were returning to Coeris? From where then have you travelled?"

Iaeptus murmers an acknowledgement of your commentary about Apollodorus knowledge of the site.

"I find your offer of refreshments agreeable. I have no servants, per se, only Magi and grogs. I trust that all the Magi will be given quarters within the manor. I did not say I was returning to Coeris, I said I was travelling there. I find you lack of knowledge quite amusing." At that the magi who had gathered behind him chuckle. "So, Apollodorus is in Autun, I'm sure at his apartment. And where is Reynault? I do enjoy his sense of humor, so." You've never known Reynault to crack a joke, let alone laugh.

When you offer to remove the turb from the barracks, he demurs and points to two magi, a man and a woman, and they race to either side of the barracks, and before you know it, they've both conjured structures to house the grogs."We don't need to put you out, and we can see to our needs for sheltering the grogs."