1221: The second thread in our saga

With less than 24 hours preparation before departure, the Covenant was bustling. Or, at least, it should have been - it was, relative to its usual sleepy appearance. The grounds were hardly centralized, and between the underground passages, the underwater facilities, the docks and Iohannes' ship, and the various warehouses and offices that comprised the mundane "front", the innocent public face of the covenant, it was hard to know where every last soul was at any one time.

Where in Hades is everyone?, thought Vispillius, striding through one of the warehouses with a double-arm-load of clothing and provisions for the trip. Never find a grog when you need one... a body would think they were cursed for life with nothing but difficult underlings or some such...

A loud knock on the heavy door leading to the street slowed him as he passed. He thought about calling out for someone to respond, but if the knock were not heard, his voice was unlikely to be as well, and those outside would hear the latter. He ignored it and hurried past, when it was repeated, a bit louder.

Oh, Twilight take me now...

With a sigh he slowed, stopped, and, shifting the bundle in his arms, managed to free one hand to make the gesture of Intellego, speaking only loud enough to carry to the door.

His vision changed, giving him a slightly foggy view from the door itself, clear enough but slightly warped, of four guardmen in chain, and a fifth, in a blue cloak, waiting expectantly. Vispilius took a moment more to scan the street beyond, for any more who might be waiting, or watching, then abandoned the view.

Could be a member of the Order, but if it's another merchant selling something, I will learn the Corpus version of Torpid Toad...

He set his bundle down, and with another flourish his body grew a bit in height and weight, and his features changed into those of a gruff sea-salt, a proverbial ancient mariner, with deep lines creasing his face, bad teeth and a long-broken nose foremost.

Won't hide The Gift, but it's better than nothing... we've got to get a watchman's slot put in here...

Placing a boot behind the sill to prevent any further opening, cracking the door a bit and summoning up his best "sea salt" accent (which included the bad Latin he remembered from such wanderers combined with a dab of the local), he opened the door just wide enough to leer through, and greeted the petitioners.

"Ya, goot day to ye - und what being you want?"

Scipio gives a brief glance and a small nod of greeting towards the 'grizzled sailor' at the door before tugging off the glove upon his right hand, followed by a ring. The device bears a signet, which is shown to the man before the ring is reversed to reveal the seal of House Tremere engraved on the inner surface. Then the ring is transfered to one of the guardsmen who then offers it to the 'door-man'. Scipio speaks only latin, and it is fluent. "Goodman, Go and bear this to your Masters, and announce me and mine. I shall await their reply." He stands firm and expectant again, yet... slowly his expression seems to gather a bit more 'knowing' about it. Yet, he says nothing. He simply watches, with no small intensity, the reaction of the 'sailor'.

The guardsmen keep much as before, three in a semi-circle now, forming a small barrier of flesh and steel between the blue-cloaked Magi and city. The fourth stands as a barrier between he and the door, offering his master's ring forth.

The sailor shows some small surprise at the ring, surprise that, in and of itself, implies recognition. The accent changes to good educated Latin - hardly elegant, and echoing a bit of the thick dialect of the Provencal, but no worse than the vast majority of the Order. And with the accent, the voice modulates as well, less weathered and coarse, and more youthful and fresh.

"Well, in that case, Tremere... enter freely, and of your own will."

The sailor steps back and pulls the door open wide, and a simple entry hall is revealed, flanked by carved wooden benches with sidetables, a flagstone floor, and a narrow staircase in the rear leading to upper floors.

"Forgive the facade, but... well, we're in a bit of a flurry here at the moment, and our usual custos not here to make the usual greetings. Come in, be at ease, I am Vispilius ex Tytalus. Welcome to Lubeck Lautus..."

Once in, the "salt" begs pardon a moment, and another Muto Corpus spell returns his features to his usual self, a young man of around 30 summers, distinctly handsome and just as distinctly bearing the features of fae lineage. Just as he does so, a pair of servants walk through a doorway, talking and laughing to each other. Upon seeing the group, they stop in their tracks, give a quick bow and turn to leave.

"YOU! HALT!" The greeter speaks loudly and with authority to the two would-be refugees, no small amount of irritation in his voice.

"If you would not become toads, rush to find the others of your masters, and tell them we have company. Tell them 'of our Order'. Go separately, and hurry!"

He turns again to the guests with a repressed sigh as the two exchange a quick glance and bolt, and as if nothing much had just happened, the young magus asks, with a bland smile and sincere curiosity,

"What brings House Tremere to these halls?"

Scipio accepts his ring back, replacing it upon his hand followed by the glove that formerly covered it. He nods and smiles his acceptance of the fellow Magi's offer of entry. A very deliberate step is made over the threshold, rather formal seeming.

Inside he is instantly flanked by his guardsmen once again, one to each side in a stiff formation... until he speaks softly in latin "Be at ease, we are 'within the walls' as it were.". Then the men visibly lessen in tension, after a few furtive glances about and at their master. Shields are moved from arms to backs and the wary demeanor relaxes tenfold. Scipio's demeanor likewise becomes less guarded.

Afterwards Scipio steps forward producing a sealed writ in one hand. "A pleasure to meet you Magus Vispilius of Tytalus. I am Scipio. My Parens, Archmagus Forlitace of Coeris, has arranged with Magus Petrus of Jerbiton, formerly of these halls, for me to join this Covenant. His words are writ here, if any of those extant members wish to see. If his judgement still stands in this regard I am here on that account."

As he speaks with Vispilius the guardsmen allow the degree of seperation between them and their master to grow until they form their own small group clustered together and speaking softly to one another, waiting.

Vispilius cocks an eyebrow in surprise, and accepts the letter, reading it over once, and then checking a couple points again before returning it.

"Indeed? Well, if it is not already evident, it will not long be a secret that this is not the most organized covenant I have heard of. No word of your arrival preceded you, nor are proper facilities ready. But we'll find something, there's room, just not prepared. I'd apologize, but no one apologized to me when I arrived to the same welcome, and that's simply the state of affairs. But come along, we can at least get you off your feet and food in your bellies, I'd wager that's high on your men's list, if not yours as well, and we can speak in more comfort..."

Working back away from the street, he leads Scipio down narrow, functional halls to a nearby room with a long sturdy table in the middle and a half score chairs around it. Vispilius motions Scipio to one, and directs the guardsmen off toward the kitchens, and calls back for the staff. This time there is an answer, a matronly woman in apron and wielding a large wooden spoon, who could only be a cook, and she nods and waves him off and returns to whence she came before Vispilius needs explain the situation.

The room overlooks a small inner courtyard, flagstoned and cluttered with crates and rigging, via several small open windows, and is plastered and whitewashed, so the light is good. Vispilius takes a seat across from the one he had offered Scipio, turning it sideways a bit and leaning in on one elbow.

"Have you no baggage? To be honest, the state of affairs is less dependable than usual - the majority of the sodales are leaving on a sea journey tomorrow morning, to seek a missing redcap from a nearby friendly covenant, and one whom we know and respect, so all is in turmoil in preparations. Once the others arrive, we can better assess your immediate options.

"I don't know what you've been told, so I'll cover the points I found most of interest..."

Until the food arrives, he makes conversation on the virtues, and weaknesses, of the covenant - the Aquam ward and its aura, the options for labs, the working side of the warehouses and docks, and Iohaness' ship, answering whatever questions Scipio may have as best he can...

Scipio accompanies Vispilius in silence, hands clasped behind his back, until they seem settled in at the table in the other room. He seems quite interested in even these mundane surroundings as they go, noting everything with a keen eye.

The amber-eyed guardsmen follow and when dismissed by Vispilius glance towards their master and instead go and squat huddled together in a corner of the room speaking in soft tones in their own tongue.

Remaining mostly silent through to the end of Vispilius' words he seems to weigh his response with some heavy thought. Then he begins to withdraw instruments of writing, ink, and paper from his bag. Soon, as he speaks, he sets to writing. "If there is trouble for our Order, I will help my brothers to settle it. I am ahead of my baggage, and my Master intends to send the bulk of my materials through the Gates of Durenmar from Coeris once I am secure here. Likely all will be arrived once I return from helping with this matter. I write now my missive to him that there is no trouble here and to proceed in sending it."

Again he pauses for thought, scratching absently behind one ear in a momentary pause of his scribbling. As he does so one of the guards stands, silently... his unspoken request is however acknowledged by a wave from Scipio, and the man speaks. Scipio nods back towards him, turning back to Vispilius. "The baggage I have on the road should be here by nightfall... and should be easily transfered to your vessel. We can work out all of these matters for who shall put their Sancta where and whatnot when this immediate matter is over. Are there any other concerns? Ah, yes... We have been a'foot on the road for some time. If we are to leave again in the morning my men and I would have some refreshment before we go. Have a girl and boy sent to them after they have supped and they should be in good spirits again. I should like a maid sent to see to a bath and a good bed for the night for myself as well."

Then he is back to writing, and soon finishes the missive. Dusting the document liberally with powder he allows it to dry while he prepares the sealing wax and his ring. "If I am not destined to return from this trouble we have ahead... it was most pleasant to meet you Magus Vispilius. I hope we shall get along well."


In the beginning of this thread Florimel makes several statements that I'd like to inquire about. These questions are in the venue of any prior knowledge that Scipio might have, or knowledge potentially acquired since the start of this story.

Any information about this Archmage, his abilities and magical interests, and political leanings would be interesting. Is there some political issue of his at stake here somehow? Particularly I'm curious why they would think it best not to write about him in their missive to us? Is there some connection between he and the Mercere Maga Nyssa?

Any indications about the witches of Visby and what they traditionally study and/or are capable of?

Speaking of which, the same information about her I'd also find interesting.

Any information about this Mage, his House, his magic etc. would be nice. What manner of political happening is it that he is trying to be drawn in... and why is he important in it?

Why are we, Magi from another tribunal, being asked to investigate this matter? What political sensitivity is at issue here in regards to us? And... is there any potential perception of us taking sides in whatever political conflict is going on (if there is one) by us coming to Roto's aid here?

Aiding the Mercere is pretty much expected of all members of the Order. Confluensis is not on bad terms with anyone that you know of. Dragon's Rest has no political enemies that you know of. Why you? You have a honking great magical ship, for one thing.

Hearing of the arrival of a new mage Theodora will go to meet him. Arriving in the meeting room she introduces herself
"I am Theodora Ex Miscallanea , Are you another addition to our covenant?"
After catching up on the conversation
"You have elected to accomapny the expedition then? I have chosen to stay here and ensure the covenant is safe , I don't think my abilities as a Necromancer will be of any use unless either you find Roto dead or you are attacked by a Ghost ship or something equally unlikely. I wish you luck in your travels and a safe journey backk to the covenant"

[Bwahahahaha. Oh, sorry, I thought I was over at Mad Scientist University. :laughing: ]

Scipio bows crisply as he is introduced to Theodora, smiling slightly with a curiousity apparent in his features. "Most pleasant to meet you Maga Theodora." he says, softly at first. "And you may be suprised. My House was once nearly purely of similar praxis. Many still are. As a matter of fact I intend to make a study of those arts myself when I am sufficiently finished in my current interest. Death, like Life, is to be found practically everywhere. And where it isn't... we can bring it. That said it is quite important not to leave home undefended. One never knows what could occur in our absence were we so foolish. It is good of you not to be caught up in these affairs. We should always have at least one of us here I should think."

As he speaks he finishes the preparation of the sealing wax for his letter and goes about removing the powder, rolling, and sealing it. He is in no rush with it, simply going through long-practiced motions.

The kitchen produces several small loaves of freshbaked dark bread, a small block of butter and a larger of cheese, a dozen apples, plates and knives, a platter with mugs and a pitcher of simple beer, and another with goblets and one of good Rhine wine, which are left with a poorly pronounced word in Latin - "more" - before the bearer returns from whence they came.

Vispilius helps himself to one of the apples, using one of the knives to cut and spear a chunk of cheese, and then proceeds to take slow slices out of the fruit, and equally deliberate bites of both.

"Your men at arms, Scipio - what is their background? And what language is that they're muttering? Will they be generally available, or are they bound to you alone?"

ooc: Iohannes is probably rather occupied while all this is happening.

Finishing the preparations of the letter he gives an inquiring look towards Vispilius for a moment before coming around to the questions he has just received. Blinking for a moment he looks back towards his men and then returning to Vispilius before he speaks. "Ah. They mutter amongst themselves in Dacian. It is a common tongue amongst our locals. Or I should say the locals of Coeris. The retainers of my House abroad also make common use of it. These are my personal sergeants. Valko Viktorson, Yanko Mikelson, and the brothers Asen and Zelyasko Boykoson. They are my personal guard for now, one my parting gifts from my Pater. Long of my service and of the stock of Coeris for several generations now. Indeed however I have every desire to contribute to our Covenant's success. If you intend to be about something dangerous brother, I would aid you with both their strong arms and my own skills should you feel the need. And if you favor their skills and bearing... I have been considering bargaining with my Master for more of their ilk to be sent to me here. Once there are more than the minimum for my own guard I would be quite willing to consider them a mutual property. Or do you bear some other interest?"

[OOC: Invitation to Ken to post entrance here. 8) This thread is taking place on the day before our departure on the sea voyage... so I think is the logical place for this discussion. I promise to conveniently forget Scipio can cast a decent Aegis throughout... :unamused: ]


OOC: I'm going to take this to a new thread, to divorce the conversation from any particular moment and especially so that any magus who wants to be in the conversation (Titius, Theodora) can already be here. Perhaps over dinner, or something.