1227.3: An Unexpected Vis-i-Tour

((Hmm, yeah, I got confused. I knew Praxiteles was Dr. Finesse, but I had it in my mind that maybe he learned it from Petronius, or they studied together, or whatever.... :blush: Anyway, as you say, it's still worth writing him a couple of times about Finesse, both for his own knowledge and for his access to Prax's writings. She would also be thrilled to keep up a Magic Theory correspondence.))

"Mm. The home of a giantess could hardly be called a 'cottage' in my book. All the same, I could enjoy a pleasant walk. How direct is this route, and why mulberries?" he asks.

Fiona's cottage emerges in the distance, a rather plain thing which is smaller than Gerulf might have expected. The path is well-worn up to the door, but becomes a bit shaggier with grass further along. The home is surrounded by verdant life: the sharp colors of autumn flowers, the deeper hues of vegetables, and of course the soft green of many herbs. Nearer, their aroma is quite powerful in spite of the cold: a perfume of nature which is at once pleasant and discomforting. "Not unlike the giantess herself," Gerulf muses quietly. "Does she tend this all on her own, I wonder?" He looks at Tranquillina, both as a shared question and a curiosity as to whether she knows the answer.

As Gerulf speaks, almost as though he had summoned her, the door to Fiona's cottage opens and the ex Miscellanea comes outside, wearing a simple homespun dress and carrying what appears to be a small scythe. Directly behind her, impossible as it seems, is an even larger young woman – Fiona's apprentice Sheelagh. The two make head to where the grass is shaggiest, where Fiona hands the apprentice the scythe and speaks, pointing around the grass although the two are too far away to make out what they're saying.

After a moment, Sheelagh kneels and starts to run the scythe over the grass while Fiona starts to inspect the beds of herbs, occasionally reaching down to pull something from the ground and place them in one of two bags she has on her hips.

If she sees Gerulf and Tranquillina, she doesn't give any sign.

((Speak of the Devil-ess. :smiley: ))

"More direct than you might hope," Tranquillina quips with a twinkle in her eye. "The path here, leading past Fiona's abode, is level enough ... but once we start ascending the mountain...." She does not finish the joke, partially because the implication is clear already, and partially because she herself does not relish the climb ahead of them. "And as for the mulberries," she continues, "they are the preferred diet of certain special silkworms, who comprise the first of the vis sources we will see today."

Tranquillina stops for a moment when Fiona and Sheelagh emerge from the maga's cottage. She stands quietly for a moment, intensely curious to witness this somewhat private moment in the very private Fiona's life. Then, feeling a bit ashamed, she motions to Gerulf and strides forward, hailing the two giantesses clearly.

Fiona waves, then makes her way to the two. [color=blue]"Salve, sodales. What brings you my way?" she says with a smile.

"Heading up the mountain," Tranquillina answers, looking up at Fiona with a smile (she tends to refer to the mundane side as Mont Beuvray, but the regio side as simply "the mountain"); "I am showing our new Aedilis all our nearby vis sources. We will be seeing the Widow later this evening, if you are interested at all - the grogs reported that the rose is blooming."

Fiona thinks for a moment, then nods. [color=blue]"Of course. It's been too long since I've seen the Black Rose. And some of my herbs should be about ready to harvest over there, too. I can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. If you'll give me a moment?"

She darts into her cottage and returns a couple of minutes later with a satchel slung over her shoulder, to go with the two burlap sacks on her hips.

"Why, certainly!" Tranquillina beams. An instant later she adds - "I - that is, if you approve of the change to the composition of our vis-tallying band, Gerulf." She winces a little bit inside, knowing that Gerulf isn't in a position to object even if he wanted to; she couldn't think of a graceful way not to seem to decide for him.

"Of course, we would be happy to have you along," Gerulf replies as congenially as possible ((Com 1 + Guile 2 + 2 [Congeniality] + stress die 9 = 14)). As she steps inside, Gerulf takes a cursory look at the garden, curious as to which flowers are most prominent, which vegetables are granted the most space, and which herbs seem greenest. He bends down to inspect some of the nearest varieties.

"I suppose," he says to Tranquillina, "that answers the question." He observes the other giantess with interest. "Two in one place," he notes to himself. "Related?" ((If Sheelagh is standing with them, he is directing the question to her. Else, it is another aside to Tranquillina.))

Fiona looks at the two briefly, making sure she's not the proverbial fifth wheel and that their "vis hunt" isn't actually an excuse for them to be alone. ((Per 0 + Folk Ken (Magi) 2 + die roll of 4 = 6.))

Fiona takes her time walking up the trail, seeming to pay more attention to what's on either side than what's in front of her. Every so often, she will head off the trail and examine a plant, occasionally pulling a tool out of her bag to harvest it.

"I guess you have not been formally introduced to Sheelagh," Tranquillina acknolwedges to Gerulf. "She is Fiona's apprentice." The pair stop to wait for Fiona to closely examine a bland flower of some sort; Tranquillina is glad for every rest, since the uphill trail is beginning to steepen. "I do not see her often at all - perhaps because the manor is not particularly comfortable for her." Fiona pinches off a piece of a weed beneath the flower (Tranquillina notes with puzzlement) and rejoins them on the trail.

For the first several minutes out of the mansion, their path has been traversing the slope with only modest elevation game. But now it dead-ends into a two-way trail that charges close to straight up and down the mountain; there are switchbacks, to be sure, but the feeling of being on the side of a cliff is hard to ignore. "We are ascending from here ... pardon me a moment." She removes her boots and places them to the side of the trail, grabbing a flat rock from the earth and stuffing it into a pouch at her side. As she gazes up the steep route, she casually mutters some Hermetic Latin and motions towards her feet with easily spotted Muto gestures; the feet change shape and color, becoming the thin, strong hind hooves of a mountain goat.* "Good, I am ready if you are," she says over shoulder; interestingly, the walk to this point seemed to tire her more than the spell she just cast. "Unless - " she turns to them both - "you would like a similar enhancement for our walk upwards?"

  • ((This is a spell from one of the Ars Magica books, but that's not even important - we can invent it from scratch (it's much like Eyes of the Cat. Muto Corpus guidelines, base 2: change someone to give them a minor ability. Range stays Personal; Duration: Sun adds two magnitudes, so now level 4; Target stays Individual. She casts it using non-fatiguing spontaneous magic: Sta -3 + Mu 12 + Co 28 + aura 5 - quiet words 5 = 37, divided by 5 is 7, more than enough. Note that there's no die roll with non-fatiguing sponts. Although here it's just for RP, this spell would probably grant a minor bonus, like +3 to rolls involving climbing or balance on slopes.))

"That is a kind offer," Gerulf replies, "but I think I can manage." He takes his cane in hand and speaks a few words, his eyes focused. His body rises just above the ground, hovering as he concentrates. The ambient sound around them mutes slightly, and even the rocks seem just a tad more gray before everything returns to normal. He nods slightly to Tranquillina, but says nothing more, his jaw set as he maintains the spell.

((Spont Rego Flight Spell: ReCo Base 5 + D[Conc] = 10))
((ReCo 17 + Aura (Rego) 10 + stress die 2 = 29/2 = 14)) ((-1 Fatigue Level))
((Int 3 + Con 2 + stress die 3 = 8 vs 5 [Lvl10 Spell / 2] = success))

((Yay, first ArM spell! :smiley: ))

(( applauds Nicely done! Pretty much spot-on, as far as I could tell. ))

((Can't take all the credit. Gerg helped. :slight_smile: ))

Fiona looks at Tranquillina for a moment before she grins. It's obvious that she's trying desperately not to laugh uproariously, although a couple of snickers do manage to slip out.

She finally clears her throat and puts on her serious face, then sits down to remove her shoes before she casts her own spell. ((MuCo(An), base 2 to give someone a minor ability, R: Personal, D: Sun +2, T: Individual, for a target level of 4. Her CT is Sta 3 + Mu 17 + Co/An 7 + Aura 5 = 32 Γ· 5 = 6, for a non-fatiguing spont. She lurches forward and her arms and legs all melt and flow until they become oversized spider's legs, which should enable her to climb up the rock face or what have you as a spider does.))

((β™ͺβ™« Spider-giant, spider-giant, does whatever a spider-giant doesβ™«β™ͺ))

[color=blue]"How's that?" she says as she starts to climb up the mountain. She then looks down at them. [color=blue]"Why do I have this sudden craving for fly?" she mutters.

((Btw, if you increase the duration to Sun, for an additional magnitude, that raises the target level to 15. House rule is that halves round to even, so your division is right, but if you spend a Confidence point to add 3 to the roll, that makes the roll 32 instead of 29, which halves to 16, which is good enough for the Level 15 spell. The advantage to that is that you currently have to maintain concentration, which is devilishly difficult if you're doing anything other than maintaining the spell. Having a conversation or being attacked is downright dangerous, and you don't want to fail a Concentration check over a ravine if you're spooked by a crow or something. With the Sun duration, you just have to Concentrate to change speed or direction, which is normally automatic for just normal moving around. Just fyi.))

(( I'm putting this here since I have time to make a post. Please feel free to ignore it until such a time as it is dramatically appropriate. :smiley: ))

As the three-and-a-half magi (Gerulf, Tranquillina, Fiona and Sheelagh) ascend the mountain, they eventually become aware of irate shouting coming from the direction of the cave -- probably the flat area right in front of it. Most of the words are whipped away by the mountain wind, but from the fragments that drift down, it's obvious that the speaker is in the grip of a towering, overwhelming rage. "... bare-faced gall! How dare you speak to me like that!... have you stoned to death -- you AND your sister!..."

Tranquillina sees the seemingly derisive laughter being contained, and her face reddens. She walks as quickly as she dares up the switchbacked trail, but both Fiona (with her arachnid limbs and white hair) and Gerulf (rising calmly up the cliff face, avoiding the winding path) make it to the mulberry grove significantly before she does. "I'll accept your choice of stakes," she dares them before they can say anything, "on a wager that I can get down to the bottom of the trail faster than either of you, once we decide to return." She does an excellent job at making it seem like a lighthearted line, even though in truth her pride has been deeply wounded. ((Prs 2 + Guile 3 + stress die 9 = 14.))

Too intent on his spell, Gerulf does not notice the wounded tone which entwines itself 'round Tranquillina's words ((Auto Fail)). He is distracted by the sweet taste of magic flowing through him: a rush of exhilaration. He almost involuntarily casts another spell just to heighten the sensation, but he overcomes the urge, the two magi in such close proximity providing a bulwark against wantonness.

He continues to rise, pleased with the result of his magic. A fleeting thought engraves itself as a mental note to formulate this quite useful spell and then perfect it.

((D: Sun would've been a much smarter way to go, you're right. I blame noob-ness. :unamused: ))

((Per 0 + Folk Ken (Magi) 2 + die roll of 2 = 4.)) Fiona has no idea why, or possibly even that, Tranquillina's so put out.

[color=blue]"Any stakes?" Fiona asks with a raised brow. Assuming Tranquillina reiterates what she said, Fiona nods once. [color=blue]"A season of teaching, at any time after next year's Grand Tribunal. The subject of the winner's choosing, at a mutually agreeable time."

((Which is why I suggested it...I thought you might not have thought of it, but thought I'd throw it out there for future reference.))