1223.2a Interludes in Surreal Time

Tranquillina can see Mont Beuvray, probably about a half day away. Aegis, as far as Tranquillina knows is a ritual with a year duration and a boundary target, both of those individually would make a spell a ritual. Tranquillina can't make any observations about the duration, but the trench going around the bivouac appears to be circular.

[color=magenta]"You are most kind," Tranquillina responds. She smiles genuinely as she takes the token, both because of the wolf and because it is a coin to begin with. She is sorely tempted to give herself a decent outfit again and maybe even a nicer hairstyle, but she decides to wait for a quieter moment.

Tranquillina is momentarily fascinated by the unexpected profanity ((in what language?)), wondering if the strain of being judged by Maris was getting to the poor apprentice. Her mind drifts to relief that there is no vis in the vicinity - before suddenly putting the two together. Tranquillina gasps, agape, and stares at Rose.

[color=magenta]"You ... erected this Aegis of the Hearth ... without vis?!"

Rose shakes her head, "No, I misspoke, I meant more vis." She looks expectantly at Tranquillina to see if she bought the poor cover-up. Rose then looks at the tokens again. "Yes, I think Maris will be along momentarily." Rose walks to the door and calls out to the guard, "I'm ending the exercise, recall the search parties. Maris will be arriving presently."
"Indeed. I never left, Rose." Maris's disembodied voice can be heard. "I'm glad you ended it this way, rather than waiting for me to return." She takes a deep breath, "The first lesson is sleep. You must get your rest. As maga, we have some means of ensuring that. By not getting any sleep you proceeded to make mistakes which compounded and snowballed. But we will discuss this in-depth. Later." She turns to Tranquillina, "Welcome to our camp. Mont Beuvray is about a half day walk away." She says that with a side long glance at Rose, suggesting another error. "We will be breaking camp within the hour." As she says this a bustle of activity erupts outside as men can be heard barking orders related to breaking camp.
"Is there anything else you needed, Tranquillina?" She says it dismissively, as if there isn't anything else that Tranquillina needs, and if there is, she isn't likely to get it.

Fortunately, Tranquillina is already overstartled, so she manages to take Maris's sudden appearance in stride. [color=magenta]Tytalus's tits! (she would be angry to realize she picked this curse up from her first mater) [color=magenta]why can I feel the presence of auras and magical beasts but not our own damn spells?! Through the sounds of breaking camp she interjects [color=magenta]"Hold on!", only just stopping short of grabbing Maris's arm.

[color=magenta]"We need to talk about this! This ... this is a true breakthrough," she motions unhelpfully all around, [color=magenta]"- how long have you been able to create a, a field Aegis? Why does House Bonisagus not know about this? Why doesn't the Order know?!"

Tranquillina's arm gets a bit too close to Maris, as if it is going to grab her and stops suddenly, in fact her whole body is held rigid, "Do not touch me. We don't need to talk about anything. We are done here. I also suggest that you don't talk about this to any one, except those of your new covenant. Eventually, you may discover more than you bargained for, but I'm not going to reveal anything to you here and now. I am my pater's filia. He has decided to share his legacy with many not of his original House. I don't have to like it, and I don't have to do it myself." She walks out, as if what she just said explained everything.

From outside, Tranquillina can here Maris call out to Rose, "Your test is over, you've failed, you are not ready to be gauntleted, despite your insistence. We are departing immediately for Coeris. Soldaten will return to Le Maison." About a minute later, Tranquillina can find she can move again. When she goes outside, Maris and Rose are gone, and the soldiers are preparing to leave.

Despite having cast a spell (!) upon Tranquillina and being a general cur, Maris actually provided some unexpected information. [color=magenta]Her pater? Maris's pater, that would be ... she racks her brain fruitlessly. ((Int 3 + Order of Hermes Lore (lineages) 2 + stress die 3 = 8)) She races out of the stone building, her heart racing, and sees a bunch of soldiers but no maga nor apprentice. Her most urgent goal is to see whether the field Aegis is still present, and if so to keep it there; the danger is that the soldiers might break the Circle presumably bounding the spell. Does she still feel the tingle of the Aegis? (if not, ignore the rest of this post)

Thinking quickly, she slaps herself in the stomach twice, invoking her talisman's Gift of the Bear’s Fortitude effect. This also has the effect of determining whether her casting token is still good or whether the Aegis is once again suppressing her magic. If her token is no good, she will loudly and exaggeratedly cast Wizard's Leap to put herself outside the trench. ((Sta -3 + Re 9 + Corpus 27 + Mastery 2 + Talisman attunement (travel) 4 + words/gestures 2 + stress die 8 = 49; Penetration is 49 - 15 + bonus of 16 as before = 50, not too shabby.)) She doesn't mind being blatant - in fact she wants the soldiers' attention.

Either way, she can now cast spells unsurpressed. If it looks like the soldiers aren't breaking the trench in the next few seconds, she'll use her cloak's Aura of Ennobled Presence upon herself. She will spont a Fatiguing CrIm spell of a very loud voice commanding, [color=magenta]"Attention, soldiers!" in Latin. ((Base 1, +1 words, +2 Voice(?), rolling up for Size/loudness: Sta -3 + Cr 6 + Im 10 + words/gestures 2 + stress die 0 (no botch if 3 botch dice or less) = 15, halved is 8; only as loud as 10 people shouting, unless you interpolate....))

Finally, she will call out to the squad: [color=magenta]"I am Tranquillina Bonisagi, a member of the Order of Hermes and colleague of Maris ex Tremere. As you complete your preparations for departure, it is very important that you leave this trench exactly as it is now; do not dig into it or otherwise disturb it." ((stupid side note: "dis-turb" has a double meaning in this situation!)) ((Probably need a Leadership roll here: Prs 2 + Leadership 1 + ennobled presence 3, probably -3 for the Gift, + stress die 4 = 7.))

((sorry for all the IFs - when you figure out what happens, I'm curious to find out! :smiley: ))

The soldiers laugh. And then they point to a spot where the trench has been filled in. Once a token is given, there isn't anymore tingling. Tranquillina can console herself that even if the trench had been undisturbed, the Tremere soldiers wouldn't listen to her.

((I had a couple more intimidating things I could have tried ... save em for the next scene! :smiling_imp: ))

Tranquillina fumes at the soldiers' laughter. A series of retributive possibilities flashes through her mind (weeping wounds ... put panic in their minds ... a little gift of explosive diarrhea ... lift them into the air and drop them ...) before she shuts her eyes and forces herself to be more rational, slowly and deliberately stooping over and palming a stone from the ground. Still almost snarling, she flings a Veil of Invisibility over herself without a word or gesture, then silently Wizard's Leaps a few dozen paces from the trench. From there she simply walks away for a few minutes, until she's sure she's alone.

Sitting on a large rock she encounters on a gently sloping hillside, she takes several deep breaths, her anger not yet gone at all. But after a few minutes, she begins to feel other things besides anger: remembered excitement from when she arose this morning, suspecting it would be her moving day; a second magical effort that succeeded (and, for that matter, successfully Leaping into a foreign Aegis!); the utter amazement, still undiminished, at the knowledge of a field Aegis; the indignity of being controlled by another's spell ([color=magenta]what am I, an apprentice?!); the derision of the turb, the honest danger (maga or not) of being a Gifted woman surrounded by unsympathetic soldiers in the middle of nowhere. All these emotions pushing against one another, making it hard to think straight, making it incomparable to virtually any day from the last thirty years of her life.

She feels alive.

Not calm and comfortable, like back at Nigrasaxa - not in control of her small, constrained world - but alive, exposed to a new land, to the larger Order, to reasons for reading and tinkering and involving herself. [color=magenta]Am I wrong, she interrogates herself, [color=magenta]to be ... motivated, by upheaval? To feel allure, for risk? The triangle of Mont Beuvray on the horizon offers no response. Her fingers glide over the smooth stone she took from the trenchside, then place it in her pouch next to the wolf-coin. [color=magenta]Scant evidence, but at least something concrete to show. And Maris all but ordered me to tell this tale to the magi at Mons Electi.... she affirms wryly.

Finally Tranquillina stands; sees her own shadow through her body; performs twice the Unraveling formula to restore her image to normal. Assumes again the Eyes of the Eagle. Feeling hunger, she takes out a piece of salted meat, but after a moment stows it back away; [color=magenta]I feel more like a fresh meal, she grins. Rapidly she drops to all fours, her cloak nearly covering her, and rolls sideways three times; by the end of the third roll, her body is that of a wolf. She lolls her tongue out to breathe deeply, and catches the scents on the wind. Lining her path up with Mont Beuvray, Tranquillina lopes off at a good pace, scanning the world for prey.

If you go chasing two birds you'll likely end up with none. Mos Electi or hunting?

Poetic license :slight_smile: A half-day journey by human should be even shorter by wolf, so unless an easy lunch opportunity presents itself, let's get to the covenant.

About two hours away, Tranquillina comes to the road going up to Mons Electi. Transform back to human form or try and stay out of sight and get as close as possible while in wolf form?

Her intention is definitely to greet the covenant in human form. Still, running is easier as a wolf - she could do that all day - a far cry from her usual easily tired self.
Hmm ... I was just about to say let's keep going by wolf, thinking that the main risk was getting shot at before she could interact with anyone. But then I just remembered that if she smells sheep, she's probably going to be compelled to go kill one.
Let's play it safe: she'll transform back into a human. Hopefully with as short a walk remaining as possible (she's got Eyes of the Eagle going - that should help her estimate the distance remaining). And she probably will have a bit of that salted meat now :unamused:

((Here is where I hand the remainder of this story to the troupe.))
Tranquillina arrives at the south gates of Mons Electi.

Thanks to a quick stop before reaching the gates, where she used a quick Outfit for any Occasion and Disguise of the New Visage after reverting back to human form, Tranquillina doesn't look like she's been traveling overland; instead she is wearing an opulent red dress with golden strip highlights and white sleeves, certainly more of a Stonehenge style, but one that complements her coloration well; she has also lengthened and curled her brownish-red hair, and aged her appearance slightly to a woman in her mid-twenties.

(Ok, this is not me to describe this kind of things, as this is more Alexei's domain, but this makes sense, and serves to highlight how we've done something)

By then, the grogs have certainly be drilled by Alexei to warn of any intruder, especially in the regio.
Since tranquillina arrives openly, alarm isn't raised, but still, the watchmen become more alter, some surveying tranquillina, while the others stay at their post and scan the surroundings in case this is a diversion. As her clothes clearly signal her as an extraordinary traveler, a belt is ringed, to warn the magi that there's a visitor from the OOH

She is quickly told to stop before the gates, in what is basically an open field, should they fire on her: All wood and natural cover has been cleared from the covenant's surroundings, should the crossbowmen fire on her.
(Sorry, I have a headache, thus the poor descriptive text and lack of roleplay. Hard to think.)

Hearing the bell ring, Isen uses one of the ACs he has collected to various points of the covenant, and use 7-league stride to teleport there,
1d10=3 + Dex 1 + Finesse 6 = 10, arriving gracefully.

He then comes out of the walls towards Tranquillina. Not that it is his role to handle hermetic diplomacy: The serious talks should be done with fiona. But it is his, and Alexei and Jacques, role to ensure the visitor is not an agressor. To be the first line.

Salve Sodales. And welcome to Mons Electi. What brings you to our home?

((Alexei isn't at Mons Electi, so for Isen to step up isn't unreasonable. And handling situations differently than Alexei is part of the story, IMO. For ST:TNG fans think of the switch over from Picard to Jellico in Chain of Command. That being said, the aggressor would have to be insanely powerful to walk up on a known covenant and start attacking. Especially when they are by themselves. I think that Isen would run those things through his mind before being too confrontational.))

((Summer of 1223, we're still using the seasonal princeps rotation system. Viscaria is Princeps that season, and Isen Vice-Princeps, since he was Princeps the season before. If someone does want to fetch Fiona for whatever reason, she's teaching Sheelagh, so she'd bring her apprentice along unless she thinks it would be dangerous.))

((Or powerfully insane! :mrgreen: ))

Tranquillina stands patiently while she waits for a magus to arrive - all standard procedure, in her experience - and passes the time by observing the mundane fortifications. The fact that there are several guards at this one entrance speaks to her of the covenant's resources: even though this is surely the main way in, she knows from past correspondence with Apollodorus that there are vast pasturelands that need patrolling as well. So the turb must be plentiful, a couple dozen at a bare minimum. Seeing more than one crossbow pointed in her direction, she has to resist the urge to cast Wizard's Sidestep.

"Salve, good sir. I am Tranquillina Bonisagi, and I bring a petition to your council." She removes the copy of her letter from her pouch, and offers it to the unnamed magus to read. When he finishes, she adds, "The original letter, of which this is but a copy, bears the signature of our friend Alexei von Kroitsau ex Flambeau. I am unsure whether the Redcaps have yet delivered that letter to you here - it was dispatched about a month ago."

The letter has been received, and all of the magi have been made aware of it. Whether Viscaria or Isen received the letter, I think it's reasonable that other magi would have been informed of the contents of said letter...

Yup, this is why the alarm wasn't raised.
As I see it, it kinda ran like this:

  • It attacked, ring the alarm bell
  • If it's an announced visitor ("I shall come tomorrow"), welcome him in, go fetch the magi who's waiting for X
  • If it's anything else, it means it managed to get into our regio, so it's not ordinary. Ring the "May a magus come, please?" bell.

Also, there's the power of diversion :wink:
So, no, Isen is not confrontational (Hum. I mean, he doesn't intend to, he's just grumpy as usual), but he wonders what/who the visitor is.
(Head feeling better, but still...)

Salve, sodales. Isen Flambonis, current vice-princeps of Mons Electi.
He’ll take the letter and inspect it. He hasn’t yet blown into full-on paranoid mode due to his defense reflexions, so he doesn’t expect tranquillina to be an impostor, yet he’ll take care to signs that this was well written by Alexei, such as turn of phrases and context.
We were expecting you, but you are a little late. Did you have any problems coming here?
He’s thinking of valerian, of course, but then realizes he sounds like a cop. So he adds
Some of our most recent visitors had… trouble on the road here. I hope you were not similarly bothered.