"Perhaps if we had told her that he was a Norman diabolist..." Drystan says with a wry smile.
"But, as she said, he is not a diabolist wizard, but a diabolist apprentice, or former apprentice since his master had apparently, for somewhat obvious reasons, neglected his obligatory season of teaching. And we have only his word that he has the Parma...he vanished immediately after that happened, and we've not seen him since."
Thinking back, she can remember seeing them both until about two, two and a half years ago. Faileas seemed obsessed with Duncan's education, and was determined to see him Gauntleted before Final Twilight took him. But since then, it's only been the one or the other. (Duncan was able to escape his master's watchful eye on occasion.)
Halie sighs, "I'm on the Outer Council, dear. Besides the Presiding Quaesitor of each Tribunal, there is one non-Guernicus Quaesitor from each of the other Houses, and I am currently the only Bjornaer Quaesitor." She shifts uncomfortably in her chair, and shakes her right wrist, where an ornate diamond bracelet jangles. "I'm a shackled beast. Whitburh is the only member who would have known, and she's certainly not going to report that she's a lackadaisical incompetent, now is she? More likely, someone on the Inner Council was aware that Loch Leglean needed rather more representation than it currently has."
Eilid looks surprised at Halie's revelation that she is the Quaesitor Bjornaeris. "What happened to Eule?" she asks, referring to Halie's predecessor.
((Halie knows that Whitburh has a Reputation within the Quaesitors as being somewhat shady...in that, while she doesn't break the Code or shelter flagrant Code-breakers, she has been known to either look the other way when her sodales skirt the code, or push for a lighter or stiffer punishment than the circumstances might warrant, depending on the political views of the magus in question. There are also rumours, allegations, what have you, that she may charge an honorarium for performing her duties...which, while not technically "illegal," is certainly frowned upon. Unethical? Quite likely. Incompetent? Not really. She knows the law and how to apply it...it's just a question of whether she chooses to apply it.))
Talia snorts, "Do you now? And you just said you were shackled. In all seriousness, this Duncan business colors things a bit, but I am ready to put down roots, and will do whatever I may to aid in his capture, trial and execution. Were Duncan a Tytalus, he would've been named a full magus and his Diabolical plans would continue under the cover of his protections under the code. By only some happy accident he was not."
"My skills aren't paricularly well-suited to battle, though my master and his sodalis saw fit to teach me Pilum of Fire no matter the cost. And some of my sailors are skilled with weapons."
Halie glances sharply at Talia. "Then perhaps you should leave such business to those of us suited for it, and opine where you're qualified to do so."
She turns to Eilid. "Eule has... retired from duty. She has not taken human shape for over a decade, so... It is likely that she succumbed to Final Twilight some time ago." She bows her head in the universal sign of mourning.
Trimalchio decides to speak, in order to try and shift the topic of conversation.
"It is a shame that this diabolism business will cause problems that it will fall to us to clear, for the sake of this covenant's honour. Nevertheless, between us we have a range of skills that one diabolist and his cohorts will be hard-pushed to match. I am sure that dealing with Duncan is within our capabilities, it is the tracking down the miscreant that will require our quaesitorial sodalis' special skills.
I wish to know how our relations are with other covenants, and if there are any non-hermetic magi nearby? As a keen pralixian, I would love to meet those of interesting practices. I also wish to know if we are on cordial terms with the MacGruagachan."
"Very well, I'll remove myself from this business and leave the matter entirely in your capable hands. I'm gratified to know we have such a gifted Quaesitor among us, well skilled in combat Arts and Intellego." Talia smiles with aplomb.
((Talia has something of an inferiority complex. When challenged, she'll tend to disengage, but in that passive/aggressive manner that suggests something opposite of what she says.))
Eilid looks shocked at the news, and maybe a little disturbed.
Drystan thinks for a minute before answering. "I would say that we're on decent terms with most of the other covenants. We're far enough from most of them that there's not much threat of raiding. It's been about ten or fifteen years since MacGruagach has raided us, and Loch Leglean Covenant traditionally hasn't been involved in raiding, either as aggressor or victim. Fiona's been our representative at Tribunal while she was here, she seemed to take an interest in that kind of thing. She tried to raid Mhor Rath once or twice, quite a few years ago, but that was a waste of time."
He thinks some more. "Most of the covenants are well to the south of us. There's a few aonaranan scattered around the Highlands, though.
"I honestly couldn't tell you if there are any hedge wizards in the area," he says with a glance at Halie. "We do, on occasion, have giants pay us a visit."
"So about that charter..." Halie injerjects abruptly. "I would be happy to represent us at Tribunal. I must say I am concerned about this 'common lab.' What is the aura in the rest of the covenant? And what is to stop the eldest magus from maintaining an indefinite monopoly on the only strong aura in the covenant? Is there some reason a tower has not been built on Eilean Chon, such that multiple labs could take advantage of the increased aura?"
Talia fans herself a bit, coming out of her reverie. "There's a common lab? I'm interested in such a lab, because I can't enchant items in my present lab" she says nodding at Drystan, "And what's wrong with the aura here? At least there is an aura, much of my time I've been outside of an aura."
"The rest of the covenant," Eilid says, "and the rest of the loch, for that matter, enjoys a Aura of the third magnitude, while Eilean Chon is twice that. We still haven't been able to determine why Eilean Chon enjoys such a powerful aura, or for that matter why the whole loch has an Aura of Magic. I'm fairly certain that the loch's aura stems from the Niseag, and I suspect that Eilean Chon's aura is related. But I'm leery of building anything that might disrupt the island's aura.
"As to the other...the times that there were conflicting designs on the Common Lab, if the younger maga needed it badly enough she was able to work out a bargain with the elder."
"Matters of Hermetic research should not be contingent upon one's bartering ability. I propose that the charter be amended to provide equal and fair access to the facilities, or that dispensation be made such that the space available may be divided more equitably among the covenant's members. If I had any tolerance for being held back in my studies due to my age, I'd move to Crintera."
((As near as I can tell, no one's actually signed the charter yet, even with the lifetime commitment provision removed.))
"Is this a matter that you refuse to sign unless it's changed," Drystan says, "or will you prefer to consult with your sodales, see how they feel, and change the charter if there is consent?
"As for the magae and I, we have decided that 75 years of living under an autocrat is quite enough, thank you, and will abide by the decisions of our sodales in any changes to our charter that they feel need to be made. If your concern is that, once you've signed the same charter we've lived under for so long, that we will force you to do the same, I assure you that is not our intent. But neither will we rewrite our charter for naught.
"We can discuss changes all you like, but I...we would also like to see fresh blood and new ideas in our covenant. We are all old. Don't look at me like that, Doineann. And it's possible that we have grown stagnant. Complacent. But we would like to see our lifes' work continue on. If that means that the new members of the covenant will rewrite the charter, so be it. But I would prefer that it be rewritten by the members, and not by those seeking to join.