"Oh, my, yes. Plenty of opportunities for learning, but if your Gift isn't gentle, it can be a challenge. One thing, and I'm sure my filius will confirm it so, is that the Arts necessary to work magic to make things aren't really all that difficult. The challenge is the control one must exercise over their magic to make their vision match what they are creating, which is altogether different than Arts. I could instill the effects necessary to do the spells, and teach anyone how to control it. It's nothing special." Matthieus takes a glass of wine and savors the bouquet. "This is lovely. Anyway, we have two Itineria. One for gently Gifted and one for normally Gifted Jerbiton apprentices, so we are always looking for magi who are themselves interested in culture and can extend their Parma over one or two to keep things well in hand. I'm sure you can imagine what happens if you stick 5 Gifted individuals in some tavern room that the results are not good."
Tranquillina emits a bubbly laugh. "I can imagine! A couple of years ago I finished reading the famed treatise Magus Invictus, a copy of which we obtained from my House's library; it mentions such a situation as a useful application of the Founder's breakthrough." She adopts a thoughtful expression, wondering how many other people she could actually protect at one time with her Parma Magica. "Hmmm ... do these Itineraria take place in a small period of time? or several events over the course of months? Or is it essentially one's focus for the entire time?"
"It will probably be no surprise to you," she continues, tilting her head back towards the laboratory they both toured, "to learn that I have an interest in how our magic can address matters usually left to the medicus or chirurgeon. My pater eventually became extremely knowledgeable in medicine, something I have not yet had time to address. Are there courses of study in these fields to be had in Paris? Or perhaps you know of some suitable reading material for a beginner...."
"The Itinerium is a season long event. The time spent in Paris is about a month."
"The school of Medicine in Paris is foundering. It is not a good school for Medicine, but you may learn enough. You would be better off pursuing an education in Bolagna or one of the Italian universities. Your Gift will be disadvantageous to you, though. As to suitable reading material. I sadly have none. Medicine does not interest me, and well, the quality of those texts easily available in Paris is... suspect."
"Hmmm ... thank you for this valuable information, sodalis," Tranquillina muses.
As the main course is being cleared away, she casually moves to what in her mind is the most important aspect of this meeting. "So, Mathieus ... how do you find the location of this Tribunal? And the construction of the main buildings? Of course much of the artistic excellence is due to our friend here," she smiles at Praxiteles. "Are you comfortable in your lodgings? I would be happy to hear any suggestions for improvement, indeed any feedback you might have, positive or negative." She holds her breath.
"Truly marvelous. No expense was spared in this endeavor. We should make this place our true and final home for the Tribunal, as the Regio is so vast. I'll mention it to Celeres later this evening. Privacy is virtually assured in this place, too." And throwing this conversation to something Tranquillina has heard, mentioned by others, Apollodorus's absence has been noticed. "Where is my House brother. Apollodorus in Twilight? He's awfully young for it, but it's not uncommon. This covenant is a jewel, and these accommodations could be a suitable stop for the Gifted Itinerium." ((Apollodorus was reupted to be about 50 years PG, which would make him , about a decade older than Praxiteles.))
Tranquillina has to pause for a long moment, making sure she really heard what she heard, before responding in a burst. "Oh, I am so glad to hear that, I had not even thought about future Tribunals, but you are quite gracious to consider that possibility, I hope you will spread the word among your House that their valuable feedback can be given to the mundane helpers or directly to myself or any of the Mons Electi magi." With all of the complaints she had heard earlier that day, she couldn't have hoped for anything better than a generally positive review with some misgivings. She double-checks Mathieus for any sign of guile, but finds none.
A light knock at the door is followed by the appearance of Loys's face. "Begging your pardon, respected sirs," he says in Latin with a bow, then crosses over to Tranquillina to whisper in her ear. "Florence sends her thanks for the three vis petals, and is pleased to inform you that ________* is the senior Bonisagus present at this Tribunal." He then retreats to just outside the doorway, ready to run other errands if necessary.
- ((JL can tell me who this is!))
The interruption gives Tranquillina a little time to gather her thoughts about Mathieu's last question. "It could well be Twilight, sodalis, and I can't pretend not to be worried about that possibility. I suppose he might also simply be shielding himself from the press of Tribunal, but perhaps that is only hope speaking. I know he would have much to teach me about the Itinerarium that you have described to me. It sounds like a very interested opportunity for more senior magi, although it is hard for a researcher such as myself to secure the time that would be necessary to participate." She hopes the return to a previous topic will deflect attention away from Apollodorus. ((Com 3 + Guile 3 + stress die 0 (no botch) = 6.))
Celeres it the most senior member of House Bonisagus at this Tribunal.
Mathieus inquires further as to Apollodorus, "So, which is it? I'd hoped to have an in-depth discussion with him. He and Andru seem to have developed some refreshing attitudes towards the militarizing of our House. Many young Jerbi are now interested in progressing to aggressive negotiations when diplomacy fails. We have a few competitors in the Dimicatio and Certamen contests this year, unlike years past. It's an open secret in the House that Apollodorus is the force behind this change in the House."
((The present conversation is still happening on day 1 of the Tribunal. I propose we handwave the delivery of the gift basket to Celeres, which is what Tranquillina now plans to do with it. On day 2 she will certainly find out that Celeres has a high opinion of Mons Electi's running of the Tribunal; she can imagine, if she likes, that her sucking up had some part in that.))
Tranquillina sits silently for a very long moment, looking at the wall above the closed door to the hallway. "I joined Mons Electi almost five years ago," she almost whispers. "I have never set eyes upon Apollodorus. I cannot imagine that would be the case, were it simply up to his intentions." She looks Mathieus in the eyes, not unkindly, but mutely.
"That would be an amazingly long twilight experience for a magus of his age. He's not much older than my filius, Praxiteles." Praxiteles nods in mute agreement. In fact, his silence should not be lost upon Tranquillina. He has deferred almost all conversation to his pater, and has only made slight comments about the quality of the meal...
((Quick Folk Ken roll for Tranquillina to guess at Praxiteles's state of mind. Deferentially polite? Intimidated by his pater's presence? Distracted? Depressed?
Per 2 + Folk Ken 3 + stress die 8 = 13.))
Praxiteles facial expressions have been one of mild disapproval of the adjustment of the House's politics, and that he differs with his pater's view. Make love, not war is Praxitele's motto...
((These two questions might have to be separated by a small period of transitionary chit-chat, but I'll post them both at the same time.))
To Mathieus: "You mentioned a shift in attitudes towards 'aggressive negotiations', and readiness for battle in general. Does House Jerbiton perceive a particular sort of threat that spurred these attitudes? Certainly I would not expect magi to fear mundane conflict...." she leaves the other option unspoken.
To Praxiteles: "I saw the Tournament lists, and I noted that you are one of our Dimicatio contestants! Best of luck to you; are you looking forward to the competition? I myself have signed up for the Certamen bouts, although with no real expectation of extended success."
"And if it's a mundane army rampaging through a city, such as what happened with Constantinople? My dear, you've never been with an Army, they often create their own Divine Aura by fervent prayers. There is a riddle here that none of my Criamon sodales have been able to answer, of how an army can be covered by a Divine aura, while committing atrocities. "
"I suppose, my pater suggested I enter the Dimicatio, my finesse with magic is unusually good, and I have a few defensive spells mastered, as I live in a city, and don't wish to call attention to myself."
The mention of the Dimicatio seems to open Praxiteles up, "Pater, I've done it. I've completed my magnum opus, the quality is not so great as yours, but I offer it up to you to have it properly scribed, bound and illuminated, as I know you have many contacts in the Parisian book manufacturing guilds. I'm sure you can find someone to improve my works, and I invite your commentary on it as well. Of course, you won't learn much from it, but your insight can favor these Antigones that you favor so."
Tranquillina ponders this sobering thought. "This, 'militarization' within House Jerbiton, that you mentioned ... is it an observation of magi taking it personally upon themselves to become more ready for battle, swayed by individual arguments - some from Apollodorus?" She almost adds, as I have done these past three years, but holds her tongue. "Or is your House organizing this effort more officially?" She motions for the servants to serve the dessert, freshly baked thin pastry with honey and cherry brandy coulis.
"I'm sure you will fare well in the Dimicatio," Tranquillina predicts. She smiles at his announcement, although it wasn't directed at her. "Congratulations! Should I assume that you refer to a summa on Finesse? I hope," she adds with an overty sly grin, "that you will use Mons Electi parchment."
Well, it's not just Apollodorus, it is myself, Andru, and others who have pursued this course of action. The fall of Constantinople, it seems, had been foreseen by Apollodorus, and he railed against the coming monsters. His warning was swiftly heeded when Constantinople fell.
"Thank you, I appreciate your well wishes. As to the parchment? I'm sure you sell vast amounts to the bookmakers of Paris. That really becomes Mathieus's task, as I've completed the favor he requested, since my own ability to finely control magic has exceeded even his own."
"I am sure we at Mons Electi would covet a copy of your work as much as any - we certainly know of your great skill, after your masterful work on the Tribunal setting. We currently have a copy of 'Threading the Hermetic Needle', perhaps you know of it?" Tranquillina tries to remain expressionless as she picks her next words with care. ((Pre 2 + Guile 3 + stress die 8 = 13.)) "The Hoplite that was part of the proceedings this morning ... Valerian, I believe he is a friend of yours, with whom you have shared your knowledge of the finer control of magic?"
"Regarding established magi who help with your apprentices whose Gift is disturbing to mundanes, as you described: Does your House tend to arrange compensation for this assistance?"
Praxiteles clearly notices the efforts Tranquillina takes. "Yes." he says simply. He makes no effort to hide his disdain for discussing the subject further.
"Compensation is the improving of our Youth and exposing them to the multitude of ways to study our Arts." Matthieus seems slightly amused by the suggestion people get paid for this. ((Awareness roll.))
((Tranquillina: master of tact! ))
((Per 2 + Awareness 2 + stress die 7 = 11.))
She notices... Heck if she botched, she'd notice Praxiteles disdain.