1221.0 Council Meeting

Fiona calls the regular seasonal Council Meeting for the Spring Equinox, for one hour after sunrise.

She is seated in the Princeps' chair, with a wax tablet on the table before her.

There's a bit of a ruckus outside the council doors, Alexei can be heard speaking with Brione.

"But Master Alexei...they healed me when it was over!" comes his plaintive voice. "I wish I had not said anything about it!"

"Brione, every blow you took landed upon me as well, and I will have answers and I will be requited! You are a gentle soul, I appreciate that, but this will not stand. And a Miles stood by and allowed this! It's an outrage! Now please, wait out in the hall, I may call upon you later."

Alexei walks into the council room, his ordinarily cheerful expression is quite stern and serious as he levels his gaze on Fiona.

[color=blue]"Good morning, Alexei," Fiona says casually. [color=blue]"Did you sleep well?"

"I should say not. Shall we wait for the others or should I demand to know now why you allowed Brione to be beaten by a bunch of sheep thieves and kidnappers?!" Alexei snarls as he stands by his chair.

Apollodorus coughs delicately as he enters the room and takes a chair, but doesn't make a sound otherwise. Regulus begins prowling the room.

Fiona shrugs. [color=blue]"Would you rather I have done nothing and let them kill him in return for his attack? I should think you would be even more put out than you are now if we had. It was a difficult choice we made, but we felt it was the lesser of two evils.

"Should the situation arise again, would you prefer that I allow him to die?"

Alexei seems utterly flabbergasted. "Al-allow...allow him to die! I can't believe what I'm hearing! Why didn't you kill them?! These were the thieves of our sheep! From what Brione said they were brutes, brigands and ruffians that had kidnapped the family of one of our covenfolk! I would have painted the barn red with their blood! What is this I'm hearing? You allowed Brione to be beaten after he told me he tried defending our property and your honour? That is his reward! Do you know how valuable he is? There are very few common soldiers that can sniff out magic the way he can!" he pauses and pours himself a cup of wine with a shaking hand. He quaffs it in a gulp and slams it down.

"And what is this about a Milites standing by and allowing this?! Who? Who was that! Brione said he told him that he belonged to me and yet you both still went through with this! Did you not think I might take issue?!"

He pauses again visibly trying to calm himself. "I must thank you however for healing him." he says through terse lips. "But...I must have answers."

"Then I suggest sitting, Alexei. Makes it harder to shout. Fiona has a lot of explaining to do." The chair Alexei is standing in front of is pushed back from the table as a strong suggestion.

"Bah!" is all Alexei can mutter as he flops into his chair and starts pouring another cup of wine.

[color=blue]"Alexei. One. As fine a soldier as Brione is, and as valuable he may be both to you and to the covenant as a whole, I doubt very much that he, even with the three other men-at-arms that I had taken, could have taken on almost a score of men successfully.

"Two. He may have been defending our property, and he may have believed that he was defending my honour. However, that does not excuse the fact that the lad attacked an unarmed drunkard with his sword. Luckily for him, he only gave the blackguard a flesh wound and not anything grievous or fatal, or Jacques and I would have been helpless to protect him at all. As it was, he was enspelled to feel no pain during the incident, and he was fully healed, which cost several pawns of Vis.

"Three. There was no Milite there. Jacques is a Flambeau, but not a Milite.

"Four. Perhaps you should be sure your man has his facts in order before you come in so choleric that you can hardly stand up straight."

Alexei's eyes narrow. He holds up a hand and begins counting off points.

"One, you were the Maga in charge here. Why would he have to do this alone? Why would you not support him with your magic?

Two. These brigands spat in his face, cursed at him and at you from what I was told and they were responsible for the theft of sheep and the kidnapping of one of our covenfolk's family. Why was any quarter being given in the first place! That vis might have been better used teaching them a lesson they'd never forget! Or better yet just killing them! Weakness invites the predators. Strength does not! Were I there I would have demanded that Brionne be requited!

Three. Then who was this Flambeau? Brione does not likely know the difference. But from what I understand, he was in charge of these brigands.

Four. Are you calling Brione a liar now? It's not enough he takes a beating for you, now you impugn his honour?"

Fiona settles in, making herself more comfortable, as it looks like this could take a while. [color=blue]"You are correct...I was the maga in charge there...as I am here." Fiona pauses momentarily to let her words sink in. [color=blue]"At least until the end of this meeting, at which time I believe you will be in charge again." She smiles. [color=blue]"I hope things go smoothly for you.

"When Brione pushed the lad, I was prepared to deal with it in private. When he slashed the man, I was prepared to deal with it when we returned to the covenant, and to make him pull extra sentry duty until that time. In case you've forgotten, that was when the blizzard hit, and we wound up being snowed in for over a week. I could have done nothing, let the situation fester until things became much worse. And it quite likely could have cost your man his life. As far as him insulting me? Brione does not speak Latin, I believe. The blackguard was speaking Latin...and was drunk, cocky, and arrogant. I can see why Brione thought I was being insulted. And although I could not hear what they said, I would not be surprised if they were mocking Brione. That does not excuse him attacking an unarmed man with his sword. That put him most definitely in the wrong.

"You talk about giving no quarter, of giving Brione magical assistance in his attack on the others. Appearances to the contrary, sodalis, I am not a combat maga. I have very little in the way of offensive spells. My expertise lies in transforming others, not slaughtering them.

"Regarding the raiding of sheep - that matter has been resolved, peaceably, with no loss of life on either side, and to Mons Electi's advantage. The kidnapping was a matter of some of their men stepping outside the bounds of what was permitted by their magi. A matter of which I'm sure you know nothing, seeing as how no one under your command would do nothing that would not meet with your approval.

"But it's obvious that you and I have vast philosophical differences on this type of matter.

"And I am not calling Brione a liar. I am simply stating the fact that his recollection of events is in error."

Fiona leans forward in her chair. [color=blue]"Now...are you going to continue to berate me for not doing things the way you would have, or shall we move on?"

Alexei is shaking his head in anger. "Soon. Brione was there to protect you. He is as loyal as a dog raised from a pup. When someone is treating the one he protects poorly, he responds. Do you know what he asked me? He asked if you were angry with him. After all he endured. He's been spat on...had shit thrown at him, run out of town. You've seen him. He's used to that. But when he is there to protect you, spitting on him is the same as spitting on you, as spitting on me. That is why he taught that one a lesson, and I daresay it didn't take, since they were then allowed to beat him as they did. That peace you bought with that was at a great cost in honor. Paid to a bunch of thieves." he said with disgust.

He sighs and takes another drink. "This Flambeau, who is he? It falls on him now. And what of this solution? If it doesn't involve their punishment I don't see how we came out on the better end of it."

"Not to be crude, but isn't a grog's job to be spat upon, or even worse to protect a magus? Consider if the scoundrel spat upon Fiona, what do you think Brione would do, or should do? You suggest that she is supposed to protect him, but in truth it is he who is to protect her.

"This Flambeau, shall we examine him through the lens of the Values of the Milites? He was gracious in victory over Fiona, treated her party well, with the exception of this one incident. It is true that he allowed Brione to be beaten, but he believed, if we take him at his word, that Brione would be killed, otherwise. Can we control all men, all the time, Alexei? I'm sure you've worked with some wicked men who liked to fight for the sake of inflicting pain. Sometimes these men are closer to you than you'd like them to be. So, he released the pressure of a difficult situation. And because of that situation he was generous and spent a not inconsiderable amount of vis to heal Brione, and worked magic to shield Brione from pain. We also don't know what actions were taken afterwards against this miscreant.

"You have a unique opportunity to mentor someone who could be a credit to your house, or you could give in to your petty demands for revenge on behalf of someone you believe was wronged and continue to perpetuate bad acts. My understanding is that Brione actually enjoyed his experience as he had some quite powerful magics coursing through his body, which is something he craves."

Alexei laughs. "This is why I'm having such a hard time recruiting more grogs for the turb. 'Your duties include being spat upon in place of the magus.' Yes, men file in droves for that job. No my friend, a grog serves the magus that is true, but for them to do so willingly they must feel that the magus cares for their pains. Brione didn't understand what was being said, but anyone with wits can understand the growls of a dog. And when the spit hit him, they showed their contempt for him, which he does not care about, and his mistress, which he does. You would not take it kindly if I were to abuse one of your servants, nor should you. The grogs should feel that their sacrifice means something. They are there to serve and possibly die for their master, the least that can be done is having their loyalty rewarded. And what if the spittle had landed on you Fiona? What then? Brione's instincts would have been not to teach the one a lesson with a scratch from his sword, he'd have run him through that the others might learn instead. But he would stop...did stop at your word."

"This Flambeau is a thief or he can't control his men from committing thievery! I'm supposed to admire that?! If we were to take him at the values of the Milites then he'd be expelled from them! Let me explain. Fiona and her party were the ones who initially took the small group of sheep rustlers prisoner, they were drunk and disarmed. Then the larger party arrived and negotiations began. If I were that Flambeau I would have taken personal responsibility for my men's actions. They were not the aggrieved party, they were the ones that were trespassing and they knew it. Then when caught acted beligerant. Were I that Flambeau I would have apologized and taken lash or stripe to the offender. There would be no riot, no mutiny, and Fiona and her grogs would have been treated well. This Flambeau was so weak he felt he couldn't stop his men from taking over! He already demonstrated he had no ability to stop them from stealing our livestock and kidnapping our covenfolk's families. Assuming of course he didn't order it in the first place! And as for allowing the pressure to be released...is that the new method to solve our grievances? If I'm angry at you or Fiona, you offer up your servants to appease my wrath? If my servants are angry at your servants, do they get to take their frustrations on your familiar?"

"Healing Brione and helping him feel no pain was the coward's way out. The right thing was showing his men how real grogs behave. As he and Fiona were the ones in charge they should have taken charge, not acquiesed. And please understand Fiona, I do not hold your actions or negotiations in contempt, that is not why I'm angry. There was no honour in his actions. And as for not knowing what actions afterwards, we shouldn't need to guess! Part of the negotiations should have included the disciplinary actions forthcoming for his men!"

"And of course...regarding his actions. You both seem perfectly willing to overlook that his own grogs were assisted by magic. Brione told me he smelled lingering magic and spells throughout the areas where the sheep were stolen. So were his grogs Magi also? Was there another Magus involved? Or did his men somehow force him to cast spells? Me? I'll believe that he was just as involved as his men and is making claims that he couldn't control them to avoid Hermetic censure. How did he explain that? Or did he bother?"

Alexei raises his eyebrow at that. "Mentor him? What are you talking about? And my demands aren't petty. Honour is not petty! Regarding Brione...he is a strange one I'll give you that, and part of that is my fault, but that doesn't excuse the insult and dishonour done to him."

He pauses to fill his cup again. "I still have not heard of this solution to the problem, which apparently I will be inheriting shortly."

"Your efforts haven't been successful for nearly a year. Alexei, you presumed that people around us would want to become grogs, but for a generation I have paid very well to build this enterprise based on sheep production. There has been little banditry or strife to date. And then, most of these people are free, and can't be ordered around as you've tried to do. I know Reynault and you had words earlier about making people rebuild the walls."

"Alexei, you weren't there, you don't know what was or wasn't done, or how everything worked out. You accuse without gathering facts. You make assumptions without understanding your environment. Under the Perthean code, they weren't tresspassing against us, and we had no case against Atsingani at Tribunal. These are considered mundane resources, and thus there was no case that we could bring against Atsingani at Tribunal. Paul-Henri is a free man not our covenfolk, who came to us for assistance. We buy from him, he does not work for us."

"How well can you survive an attack by 20 or more well armed men? Let's call out the turb and have them swarm you and see how long you last. Then put yourself in Fiona's position. Her choice appears to have been one of allowing Brione to die, in which case we'd be arguing about a corpse."

"Of course they were assisted by magic, as I said above, it was immaterial. We have no recourse to bring a case at Tribunal, so we had to solve the problem between covenants."

"By my estimation this Flambeau, despite this unpleasant business with Brione, treated everyone with respect. And even then he did what he thought would preserve the life of one of our grogs. And let me be clear, Alexei, he is OUR grog, not YOUR grog. If you wish to call him YOUR grog, you should reconsider your membership in Mons Electi. You may, if you wish, bring a case against him at Tribunal, if you think it's worth it. Depriving a magus of a grog, but I think you'll find the legal issue murky at best, since Brione is alive."

Alexei waves this off. "I haven't ordered around the free men since I arrived, once it was explained to me their accustomed roles. The main reason I haven't recruited many men is because they've had it so soft and they don't feel the need to protect their lands. But when I do, their treatment should include loyalty and discipline."

Alexei seems genuinely confused. "Perthean Code? What is that? Wait, what are you talking about? Are you saying this kind of activity is condoned in this Tribunal? That magi and their grogs can just poach each others' property? This is something that I should have been informed about!" he pauses and takes a moment to calm down. "Please Apollodorus, tell me what this code is or kindly show me where I can find it perhaps in the library that I might not make a fool of myself in the future. I must add though, it would have been a good idea to inform me of such a code as I attended to security on these lands."

"I assume you're making a point and are not asking how I would...or have in the past...faced a large group of men and won. If you'd like though I will say how I would have done it. However, Fiona has already pointed out that her magic is not concentrated in that area, so I shall not, unless either of you would like to hear some good advice on small group tactics. I say that not to be ironic, but as a responsibility and duty I've taken in the past. Should anyone in the Covenant want to know tactics and strategy I shall be happy to oblige."

"Well at least I seem to care about OUR Grog! He was shamed that day! WE were shamed that day! The crime was done to US! Why am I the only one upset that sheep were poached, that we were threatened, a man's family was kidnapped and our grog abused!" Alexei snaps then takes several moments and breaths to try and calm down.

"I need to review this Perthean Code and see if this Flambeau was in violation of it. Once I have done that I shall let that part of this drop. Brione seems ok and even asked me not to get upset over this. I however do not feel ok about it, but any actions I may take against this Flambeau will be mine and not representative of the Covenant."

"Now then...can someone...anyone...please tell me what this solution we have reached regarding this?"

OOC: I was misremembering that the Perthean Compact (this is the correct name) was the name for the Peripheral code rulings for the Tribunal, it is not. The Perthean Compact is only the portion of the Peripheral Code that covers the Tribunal rulings about vis sources within the Normandy Tribunal.

"Alexei, it is your responsibility to learn. It is not my responsibility to teach you as if you are an apprentice. In this Tribunal, the Peripheral Code is narrowly construed that attacking mundane resources of a covenant is not an attack upon the magic of a Magus or covenant. Indeed, there's even a recorded case where a covenant was essentially starved to death while vis and lab materials continued to be supplied. Only food was taken."

Alexei sighs. "A fine addition to the Peripheral Code I'm sure. It is by starving our neighbors that we shall grow hale and strong."

"And no Apollodorus, you needn't treat me as an apprentice, but you have lived here a long time and obviously know these things well. It would have cost you nothing to inform me and others where the Tribunal has some rather major differences in the application of law. Or to just say that I should read on it as I worked on the security and perhaps point out where I was mistaken. Reynault seems to have no issue with that. Fiona, had you heard of this code?"

"My point is, and I believe this code is a perfect example, if we all lived by 'the least we could do' or acted completely within our rights...then we would quickly find our lives intolerable. As I'm sure the covenant that was starved found out. I will read on this code."

"And now...for what must be the third time I have asked...does anyone know and will care to tell me what solution was achieved?"

"Indeed, it does not cost me anything, but you should seek me out before accusing your fellow Council member of doing something, especially when you don't understand what has happened, or the entire situation. Assigning blame, while it might make you feel good doesn't accomplish anything. Fiona sought my council when she, as Princeps, had to deal with this problem. She learned what she could, and then proceeded based on her own knowledge and that I was able to impart to her.

"It is up to Fiona to disclose her actions as Princeps, I have perhaps, interrupted her, but I wasn't about to allow you to color her actions in such an unfavorable light. We all have our gifts, and we all use them as we may. And your turn as Princeps is coming soon. I could've foisted this responsibility upon your shoulders sooner, certainly with the disappearance of Iosephus and Silviatos I could've called for a council and we would've redistributed the responsibilities. I took up those burdens of day to day management of the covenant."

Apollodorus gets up and approaches Alexei and whispers in his ear, "You would be well advised to visit the library and spend a season or two on the tomes involving Intrigue, Code of Hermes, and Order of Hermes history that are contained therein. You're in a position of leadership and learning all you can about history of the Order should be a top priority for you."

Fiona does not hear this exchange, regardless of how much she strains her ear to hear Apollodorus speaking.