(Yes, things have skipped a year. You want to do stuff in that year? Great. Sort out your own paperwork and tell me how it went for you. We will keep playing January.)
A missive has been carried to the covenant. It comes from the redcaps of Dragon's Rest, which is Normandy.
Pray allow us to seek metaphorical shelter in your harbour in this our hour of trouble. One of our bretheren, Roto by name, has gone missing while attempting to deliver letters to a coveannt in Muscovy. We believe his itinerary of travel included a stop at the island of Visby, where he was to collect a gifted child from a hedge witch, before travelling on. We ask that you attept to find our lost brother, who is a skilled traveller and, following his troubles last year, was travelling with a magical device that should have permitted him to travel back to us if in trouble.
Please respond to this, our sister Florimel, who is young but is of excellent character and dedicated ot the service of our Order."
Roto did travel through the covenant a month ago and dropped off some inconspicuous letters. The timeline seems right.
Iohannes leans back in his chair and muses aloud. "Muscovy, Muscovy.... in the Rus? The small city on the Moskva? It's a good river, at least during the summer, and deep, but all roundabout between here and there, and with a stop at Visby, probably for a few days, I'm not surprised he isn't there yet. And with a gifted child in tow, no less. And they're already complaining.... Haunt of the Living Ghost, or some such? Less than a month, because it took time for word to reach here from Dragon's Nest. And this letter written so magnificently. I must be missing something."
Iohannes looks to Florimel. "Please tell me about this covenant, starting with where it is. And who sent word back to Dragon's Nest that Roto is unexpectedly late?" Iohannes pauses. "If there's a tale to be told, the kind best not set in ink, this is the time."
"Yes sir. It is a covenant on the river that you describe. It is small and far from the rest of the Order, and so is a trial to reach. As to who sent a message that he was missing: no-one, I gather. The leader of Dragon's Rest, the maga of Merere named Nyssa has lost contact with him, and this should not be possible, since she has a fixed arcane connection to all of us. The loss of contact with him makes him missing, from our perspective. I realise that things are less, formal, in this Tribunal, but the Tribunal from which we come is oft filled with strife and mischief, and so we are more, careful, of our people."
"Roto was carrying messages, likely of some import, from powerful Autumn covenants in the Tribunal. I do not know why to Muscovy, but to Visby because there is a magus who lives there, in seculsion, that the magi of our Tribunal seek to draw into their schemes. The matter of the gifted child is true, and of the hedge withc also, but she is a servant of this other, this Archmagus Aurian of House Jerbiton. He is not mentioned in the missive, bedcause it was not certain I would reach you."
Vispilius listens to Sister Florimel's expansion of the missive, fingers templed before his chin, eyes half lidded in thought, or wariness.
"So, this... 'gifted child' - it was agreed that he - she - should be turned over to Roto? There was no opposition, no disagreement on that point? And this witch, this servant of the Jerbiton - is she not of the Order, not bound by our Code, but only by whatever bond this Aurian had with her?"
Once that is answered, he continues, leaning forward with more zeal than before, gesturing emphatically with an index finger.
"Roto struck me as a good man, and we should meet this challenge in the spirit of brotherhood, and for our own personal betterment. If he is at risk, it would be seemly to meet that with him, as he did with us against the Black Knight. The journey will be long, but not so compared to the length of one's life, and any will all live the longer having solved this puzzle, and learned from it. I, for one, will go, alone or in good company, it matters not, though with spells I can make good time, but am able to so aid no more than one other."
With a dismissive wave of an empty hand he leans back, seemingly satisfied in his sudden decision.
Later on, when Florimel is not present, Iohannes talks with Vispilius and the other magi.
Iohannes asks Vispilius, "How would you travel to Visby? I was thinking to take the ship. It's even the right time of year to travel the Moskva; the ice has melted and the river deep, all season. And we could bring everyone back."
Iohannes asks Vispilius, "How would you travel to Visby? I was thinking to take the ship. It's even the right time of year to travel the Moskva; the ice has melted and the river deep, all season. But there is a portage not far south of Novgorod, and the Sanctum Hermeticum is far too large. We'd have to hire a riverboat, and employ Mentem spells liberally to counteract your Gift's affect on the crew. And travel by land in the Rus is supposed to be very slow. What magics would you use?"
And more generally, "I agree we ought to help Roto and Dragon's Nest. They'd make a good ally."
While I agree we should help , I don't think all of us should leave the covenant for so long we were lucky last time. I will stay here as I don't think may magic would be most suited to help. I think you should start your search at Visby as it is much nearer and if you find him there it will save you much time and trouble.
Vispillius gave Iohannes a shrug of false modesty,
"An enchantment known to the witches of old, which allows one to fly on a stick. Not the most comfortable for long periods, but if you choose the right stick it's not so bad. The spell is strong enough to lift two, but no more, and could get us to Visby in... hmmm, my geography is not strong, but Gotland is no more than two days away, and the Novgorod in a week of travel, less if one were to push themselves."
He turned to the other, the mage whose name he could never remember.
"A member of the Order representing us is a nicety, but hardly a necessity. We have grogs and such who can guard our interests, as well as some mundanes more practiced in diplomacy and such. But if the challenge seems too great, every mage is welcome to choose his own path."
"That's... an interesting spell! I'd very much like to see it. I'd not want to be caught over the Baltic on a stick without a place to land, not for more than an hour or two, but I like the potential of having a spell like that out at sea, especially if grogs can use the sticks. Much better than putting a lookout or archers in a nest atop the mast."
"As the spell relies on Rego, no mundane can control it themselves. An enchanted item could easily be based on the effect, though, and without too much cost, as the enchantment only need effect itself... And the view is most impressive, quite eye opening for any who have not been far above the ground. At those heights, all things, even storm fronts can be seen more clearly and further away, perhaps due to the denser elements being absent from the air and thus not impeding sight a they do at ground level."
Vispilius seems to consider Iohaness' words for an additional moment, and perhaps more significance lying in some implication he finds within them.
"Hmmm... I suppose, in theory, the caster could ride on one, and with a passenger, but also control a second, or even a third in addition, but... well, why not? Happy to give it a try! When do we leave, and who is with us?"
I will join you on this journey. We take our potential allies plea for aid seriously and perhaps they return to the favour. Although I would prefer if we can travel as fast as possible. If Roto is in some form of predicament he would sure need our help as soon as possible. That flying spell that you told us about what magnitude is it. Perhaps it can be crafted into a chair for much added comfort?
Iohannes thinks for a few moments and finally says, "I've heard people say "A storm is coming," and sometimes it's true that some storm moves from one place to another, blown by the wind. But people who live and die by the day's weather will more likely say, "A storm is brewing." These storms come from nowhere, spontaneously generated. Usually they come slow, building up over days and weeks--brewing. Every now and then, especially out at sea, a storm can brew in hours or minutes. Or less."
Iohannes grins. "But that doesn't mean a magus should forsake the sky! Especially once he has good Rego Auram.
"If it works for a stick, a more powerful version of the spell might work for a small boat. Carry a pilot and passengers. Magi and grogs. Someone to watch while you sleep."
Iohannes returns to the main subject. "I think who goes and when depends on how we travel."