1227.3: An Unexpected Vis-i-Tour

((Not sure if you'd ever get him to leave. :slight_smile: ))

Gerulf also watches the feather quizzically. It seems quite out of place here. Though everything might not necessarily be termed 'orderly' in this regio, most (if not all) of it has a purpose...

He returns his attention to the vista. "A significant mystery," he replies, his eyebrow arched. "However, is the question 'how the regio resembles a vast area', or is the question 'what or who is preventing us from reaching beyond the boundary'? I suspect that there is much to be discovered here, should we find time to apply ourselves to the work. Has anyone made an attempt to research and understand the nature of this invisible wall?" The tattered edge of his robe flaps absently in the breeze, threads twisting and grasping at the air.

"Let us examine a premise behind your question, sodalis," Tranquilina recites - a phrase Gerulf instantly recognizes as standard in House Bonisagus discussions, maybe even a direct quote from the Founder himself. "In positing that I might mean 'who or what is preventing us from reaching beyond the boundary', one must first believe in the existence of something beyond the boundary. Yet that very existence is controversial." Tranquillina turns and begins heading, very slowly, up the winding path. "From one point of view, 'beyond the boundary' might just refer to the mundane world outside the regio; in that sense, nothing prevents us from journeying there - if we employ the right locations, that is. From another point of view, 'beyond the boundary' might refer to a contentless utterance: what exists seven leagues away from us, if we live in a world only one league wide?"

She stops talking for a couple of minutes as the way up the cliff steepens. After the next switchback the sun is behind the trio, and it is easier to see bits of grass, and the odd flower petal or piece of tree bark, wafting by on the irregular but always strong wind. The call of a native bird is answered by another, both birds far below where the magi now walk. "Anyway," Tranquillina offers suddenly, perhaps as the completion of thoughts that stayed inside her mind, "Petronius is the best one to ask about such things. He visits, not infrequently, to study this regio and its ways of egress; he specializes in such phenomena."

Gerulf nods appreciatively. Perhaps it is the evocation of memory by the phrase. Perhaps it is the opening of a conversational pastime which he enjoys. In either case, he quickly engages as they trudge up the path. "That could be, sodalis, if the premise weren't flawed. No one needs to be on the other side of the barrier. They might instead reside on this side of that boundary," he says pointedly, "which raises some very interesting questions indeed. And, of course, we are discussing the limits of the regio. The mundane is entirely reachable simply by leaving the regio and then making appropriate travel arrangements. The ultimate question, beyond the cause of the boundary is why it must exist in the first place. What is its purpose?"

Gerulf takes Tranquillina's sudden drop of the conversation to hold significant meaning, and he respectfully allows it to pass along with the flowers and the diminishing song of birds. "I will correspond with him, then, either when he arrives or by letter. The subject is too intriguing not to," he replies between breaths.

"Most regiones have boundaries of one sort or another, often quite tangible and close. Still, yours is an appropriate question," Tranquillina concedes. "One that might be hard to answer without being able to pinpoint the 'purpose' of this regio itself, whatever that might mean. Clearly a great conjunction of magically significant forces must have occurred to create this place - and I have little way of imagining what might have aligned its aura so strongly with the Technique of Rego." She is greatly enjoying the speculative conversation with a fellow Bonisagus (she has not resided with one for over four years, after decades with her pater always around the corner); Gerulf's boundless curiosity, while unsurprising, is extremely gratifying to her. While she judges that an overt comment to that effect might be taken as condescending, she does favor him with a genuine, guileless smile.

The narrow path turns around a hillock, and suddenly the moving air is far stronger, a gale caused by the different angle of wind meeting mountainside. The few small shrubs dotting the steep slope are bent halfway over from its power. Tranquillina taps her left hoof in annoyance, then looks back at the other two magi. "Do you see that small shelf, about forty paces hence?" she near shouts, pointing ahead of them on the path. "We might find some small shelter there from these winds, or take steps to mitigate them. But traversing this path, with the gusts as forceful as they are, could be hazardous. What do you think?"

Gerulf seems ready and willing to continue the conversation, but the wind has begun to make speaking difficult. He decides to hold off until they are in more comfortable surrounds.

Gerulf bites his lower lip and shifts on his feet. "It may be... possible." At length, he scoffs at himself and shakes his head. "Here we are. Hold still a moment, and I'll see what I can't work something other than blindness."

((ReAu Base 3 + R: Touch [1] + D: Sun [2] + T: Group [2] = 8 ))
((Re 12 + Au 0 + Aura 5 [+5] + stress die 0 [Seriously?!?] // Botch Die 3))

"My ward has failed. I'm beginning to question the true alignment of this aura, Tranquillina," he shouts, looking up toward the sky. "I'm no use here. What shall we do?" He looks to each of the other two in turn.

Fiona looks around her, and finds what looks like a study rock. [color=blue]"I should be able to make it there without losing my footing," she says. [color=blue]"If we tie the rope around this rock, I can carry the other end over to that ledge, and you can hold on to it as you walk along the path."

If there are no objections, she will cast a spontaneous Creo Herbam to create a very long, sturdy length of rope (think something like ship's rigging).

((Base 2 to create a processed plant product, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2, T: Individual, and the base Individual, a cubic pace of wood, should be enough to make a sufficiently long length of rope to make it there and back again; the final Spell Level should be 5. Her CT is Sta 3 + Cr 6 + He 10 + Aura 5 + die roll of 6 = 30, halved is 15.))

She looks at the rope, the distant ledge, and her sodales thoughtfully. [color=blue]"Although I should be able to simply have the rope wrap itself around you and carry you there, if you wish."

This is a really nice attempt, Ulfengaard! Too bad the stress die turned out to be 0 :frowning: but I really like the idea of the wind-warding spell, especially given your strength in Rego.

A couple of mechanical notes. First, remember that each additional magnitude adds 1 level up to Level 5, but then each magnitude adds 5 Levels (ArM5 page 114). So from a Base 3, adding five magnitudes as you have done: the first two magnitudes increase the level from 3 to 5, but then the last three magnitudes increase it from 5 to Level 20.
On the other hand, we might have gotten away with D: Diameter here, which would have reduced it to a Level 15 spell - still within Gerulf's capabilities.

Second note: a stress die of 0 risks a botch, of course - but if you don't get a botch, you still add the 0 to your casting score. In this case, your casting total is 12+0+10+0 = 22. (And you could add in Loud words and Exaggerated gestures in this friendly situation, if you wanted, for an additional +2 (ArM5 page 83).) Unfortunately the bad die roll prevented you from getting the 30 you wanted here - but in other situations, the casting score+0 might still be high enough.

Wait until you roll your first 1 on a stress die ... happiness is just around the corner :mrgreen:

((Note that the base individual for Herbam is a plant that occupies a cubic pace, which is noticeably less than a cubic pace of solid wood. But you have plenty of room for a Size +1 modifier even if we decided you need one. Rope ho! :smiley: ))

"Hmm, well, since I would have to suppress my Parma Magica, I would rather try your first plan," Tranquillina declines. Although there is no specific reason she has for not lowering her magic resistance, the idea alone is enough to make her choose any other reasonable option. "Be safe heading across, sodalis," she encourages Fiona, inspecting her spider's limbs to ease her worry.

Fiona simply nods at Tranquillina's decision and ties the rope around the rock as securely as she can. She gives it a couple of good, firm tugs to be sure the knot is tight, then heads along the pathway, letting the rope play out behind her as she moves sure-footedly, just once or twice slowing down to look behind and before. Once she gets to the other side, she finds another rock to tie her end of the rope to, making sure that it is good and taut. She then waves to the others to come across.

((Athletics, I guess, roll to make it across if she needs it: Dex 0 + Athletics 3 + die roll of 2 = 5 + whatever bonus her spider's legs give her.))

((Bonus of +3 at a bare minimum. I might be inclined to make it higher, since you transformed all four of your limbs into spider legs (right?). Of course, that could make tying the rope more difficult.... :wink: ))

Tranquillina watches carefully as Fiona navigates the scant trail against the hostile winds, magical rope in tow. She isn't completely sure Fiona would have avoided trouble without her modified limbs. When the giantess secures the rope and waves, Tranquillina ducks under the rope to the cliffside, grasps it firmly with both hands, and takes a deep breath before setting hoof on the trail. ((This might be Tranquillina's first Dex roll ever.... Dex -1 + Athletics 2 + hooves 3 + stress die 2 = 6. Hrm. Well, maybe with the rope in place, this is an Easy task (with the wind just making multiple botch dice)...?)) More than once she feels like she would have slipped, at least to the point of needing to lean against the rock face, without her magically enhanced feet. After what seems like a whole day of inching along the rope, she steps out onto the wider plateau next to Fiona, smoothing her cloak out as she faces away from the vast panorama.

When all three are safely across, Tranquillina steps as close to the edge as she dares, and raises her voice to match her sweeping gestures. She calls upon all her knowledge of Perdo, hoping to pacify to the winds despite nothing more than a perfunctory study of Auram magic. ((She's trying a PeAu spell like Quiet the Raging Wings, but whatever Base Level she can achieve with her roll. Sta -3 + Pe 14 + Au 0 + words/gestures 2 + Talisman attunement (peace) 4 + aura 5 + stress die 6 = 28; she'll spend a Confidence Point to add 3, making it 31; halved is 16. That's enough for a Base Level 4 version.)) Although they do not cease, the winds do noticeably drop in intensity the moment the last word leaves her lips, lessening the amount of debris with which the plateau is bombarded. "That should help this spot be safer for a little while, until after we depart," she declares with a faint smile, breathing heavily.

Fiona nods approvingly, then reaches down and hands Tranquillina her flask. [color=blue]"Here. Looks like you could use a jolt." she says with a smile.

((Apologies for the slow post. Lost this one a few times and got frustrated.))

Gerulf watches Tranquillina cross, and his thoughts drift away from the whicketing wind to a young boy tromping around Nuremberg in bare feet and giving people in the streets a fright leaping from one rooftop or ledge to the next. Of course, those days are long behind him, but that doesn't mitigate the wistfulness which suddenly possesses him. He pulls off his shoes and scampers across the rock, barely even touching the rope.

((Dex 0 + stress die 1 + stress die 8 = 18))

Safely with the other two, he nearly cracks a grin before clearing his throat and resuming his customary severity.

Gerulf nods appreciatively to Tranquillina, though he then arches an eyebrow. "Your timing is impeccable, sodalis."

"Well, that was invigorating," he says with a breath. "Shall we proceed, then?"

Fiona looks at Gerulf with an arched brow. [color=blue]"That was...impressive."

Normally Tranquillina would decline, but she is so flush from the success of her athletic crossing that she holds out her hand for the flask. "Sláinte," she toasts as she takes a draught with a grin. She was having trouble recovering her breath anyway from the spell, so her reaction to the strong drink isn't particularly noticeable.

((I take it that Gerulf's reaction was like, why didn't you just calm the winds before crossing? Yeah. I wanted to flow with the story of Fiona's rockin' rope. Maybe it's reasonable to say that Tranquillina's spell wouldn't have affected the wind all the way along the path from where she cast it?))

Tranquillina's mouth isn't quite hanging agape from Gerulf's exhibition of nimbleness, but she does have to swallow before speaking. "You are ... ah, better able than I to push aside fear of the great height. That speaks well of your mental focus, sodalis." Although she doesn't really perceive his momentary mirth ((Per 2 + Folk Ken 3 + stress die 5 = 10)), she does intuit that he is pleased with his crossing and offers him a smile.

The breeze is still strong but no longer uncomfortable, and the small plateau obviates the need to press against the mountainside for safety. Consequently, the magi can concentrate wholly upon the magnificent view and the fresh air. "There is more to this path, but we can see more or less everything we need to see from here," she answers. "In this area, the wind tends to blow most directly towards the mountain. One might be tempted to make a connection to the mansion's location on the other side - except that in troth the mansion was built around the entrance to this regio. Nevertheless, at this spot and at several others not far along, there are places where eddies of wind become trapped against the cliff." She points out a few such locations now within view; each curve in the trail going forward has a noticeable buildup of loose flora beside the footpath. Further around the curve of the peak and higher up, a precisely carved stone staircase stands out from the rough rock, presumably connected to this path via an unseen switchback.

"At these spots, we sometimes send grogs out when storms are in the air. They have been instructed to try to catch items blowing by - leaves, or twigs, for example. Every now and again we find a pawn of Auram vis within one such prize. This is a rare reward, though - not even once per season, typically - so we do not obsess about stationing covenfolk here; only when the winds are at their highest." Tranquillina herself is standing far away from the comforting rock face, glancing nervously at the small airborne bits that are flowing by.

As the three magi acclimatize to the sounds of their environs, they eventually become aware of irate shouting coming from above the stairway. 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!..."

Gerulf tilts his head in gratitude, folding his hands behind his back.

"Indeed. Far less reliable than pools of water or spikes of stone, I would think."

Gerulf strains to make out the voice over the still-steady breeze. ((Tried to wait for InvisCastle to come back on, but it's still down. Hand-waving this.)) As the wind lulls slightly, the sound becomes more clear, and Gerulf takes a shuddering breath as his lips press tightly together. Drawing himself up and smoothing his robes, he looks at the other two, not really attempting to hide his distaste for the meeting which is almost surely in their immediate future.

((It ain't required, just to clarify. You guys can wander off if you so desire. :smiley: ))

((Not at all. Wouldn't miss this. Gerulf's reticence isn't my reticence. He's just a stuffed-shirt, so it'll be interesting to see how Stultus and he get on this time. :wink: ))

After finishing her explanation of the local vis source, Tranquillina winces when she hears Stultus's voice from the place high atop the thing. She looks around helplessly at the other two magi. "Should we ... do you think he ... needs help?" she sputters, trying with partial success to conceal the fact that she would much rather speak to anyone else. ((Prs + Guile roll of 11 - did it offline))

((I was going to ask if Fiona recognized the voice, but I guess that's a moot point now.))

Fiona looks at the others. [color=blue]"I've never heard him yell like that at anyone before. I'm not sure whether he needs help, or the target of his wrath does. But I think we should at least try to calm things down before someone does something they'll regret."

"Sound reasoning," he agrees. "Shall we?" he asks, squinting up at the aperture in the mountain's shoulder.