1227.4 Stop, Collaborate And Listen

No problem :smiley:

Since Thera handles mundanities well, Isen will let her and Adeline run things. Social graces, what a bother!!! :laughing:

((Let's come back to this thread... Tranquillina may want to interrogate Tria a bit, too. She was not present at Tribunal, and had given her proxy to Maris.))

After a couple of days, when it seems that Tria will have had time to restore herself, Tranquillina will invite the visitor to her receiving room for lunch and conversation. She will certainly spare no expense (nor the servants' time) in presenting a luxurious spread for Tria. Tranquillina will not change her facial appearance (although she will sport a formal hairdo), but she will wear a distinctive outfit: a leather-hued dress adorned all over with the markings, contours, and annotations of a map, interrupted only by her Bonisagus fibula. As she passes through the door from her sanctum area to the receiving room, she decides to leave it open, as a silent half-invitation should Tria desire a tour.

"Welcome, sodalis," she greets Tria, with the usual self-consciousness of remembering not to display the same deference she did while Tria's apprentice. "I heard that you have had a harrowing few days. You were attacked by Valerian the Hoplite?"

"Yes. I a goodbye kiss, if you will. I have been busy in Rome lo these many years. I will, perhaps, moderate my excursions there over the next year. The next choice for Tenens will be more conventional in their approach, I'm sure."

"I hope you will not let a bully and Hermetic criminal affect your choices," Tranquillina says grimly, motioning Tria to sit with her and enjoy the repast. "But I am interested in your experiences as Tenens. What sort of research projects did you have contact with over these past years? Were there times when our knowledge was in danger of falling into mundane hands? Did you," she asks almost breathlessly, "ever need to embargo a Bonisagi's research?"

"I'm not afraid of being killed. I'm afraid of being captured. So, someone else will be acting Tenens for Rome, probably the Iberian Tenens, it's a matter for the Prima. I've done enough to certainly create cover for that choice." ((An OoH Lore check of Very Hard would reveal more, or she can ask directly, too.))

Tria deftly changes the subject, "Are you at last prepared to begin some research of your own? We need more magi who do research, like Ra'am, and fewer like Methuselah who, while prolific writers, actually push the borders of Hermetic Theory. Have you made an effort to cultivate a relationship with Ra'am?"

((Order of Hermes Lore roll: Int 3 + OoH 1 + stress die 1/exploder 9 = 22. Not just Very Hard but Remarkable 8) Pay up buddy!))

((and the second topic, in parallel:))
Tranquillina smiles at the question. "That suggestion is rather well timed, respected elder," she answers with a twinkle in her eye. "For the past five years I have been settling into this new home; assembling the kind of laboratory I could only dream of back at Nigrasaxa; inventing only a couple of spells, for defensive purposes; and running around gauging alliances and influencing votes at the Tribunal we hosted. All satisfactory accomplishments, to be sure - but they have passed, and now there is time to sink into a longer-term project, if a suitable one be found."

Standing, Tranquillina motions to the open door marked with the sanctum sign. "Would you care to see my laboratory? It might inspire us as we discuss the topic of research."

Scuttlebutt says that Tria has been doing an extremely poor job as Tenens, which is uncharacteristic. She's been combative with Bonisagi, and several have lodged formal complaints about her, three coming from Rome itself.

Tria seems unenthusiastic about the prospect of visiting Tranquillina's lab, but does say "Of course." Tranquillina, from previous experience with Tria, knows that she doesn't really care to be in a lab. Libraries are fine, but labs, she tends to avoid. While she was apprenticed to Tria they never spent any time in a lab. She has one. She's seen it. She's just never seen Tria use a lab. Of course, the fact that Tria is showing this is a demonstration that she feels entirely comfortable in her present surroundings, and it isn't offered as an insult, but as a compliment.

"But if you're looking to me to inspire you on a research topic, you will be unfulfilled. There is Ra'am's and Aurulentus Jerbitonis's work, Korvin is making some moves towards research into Longeivty Rituals as well, if the rumblings I've heard are true. And there is Petronious of the Rhein who I have stopped in to visit from time to time who is doing work with Portals. But their research is their own, what they are passionate about. What passions do you have?"

"You are welcomed into my sanctum, sodalis," Tranquillina says officially, before directing the servant (and witness) present to clean up the remnants of lunch. "Don't mind the spell circle," she points as they step over the threshold, "it's just a Ward Against the Curious Scullion." The two walk the few paces down a short hall, passing doors to Tranquillina's bedroom and writing nook on the right, and traverse the door at the end to enter the laboratory. Tranquillia ushers Tria in, smiling broadly: in the back of her mind is the awareness that Tria doesn't really care about the lab, but she still feels the urge to show off some of her accomplishment to a former mentor.

"Well, if you were not already sure about my passion for Corpus, this should confirm it," she grins. Indeed, the quarter of the laboratory directly in front of the door seems entirely devoted (other than a small astrolabe stationed with a table and chair by the window on the left) to the human Form. Most prominently, a workspace has been cleared around what first appears to be a statue of a human, standing upon a well-carved wooden pedestal that shows indications of having been enchanted. On closer inspection, however, the statue is revealed to be an actual human corpse, propped by wooden struts in an upright posture; the corpse is extremely well preserved despite its exposure to the air, other than several blemishes that look like deliberate dissections. "And the setting of Mons Electi would suggest an advantageous pairing with the Technique of Rego. Subject-wise, I do share my pater's interest in wellness and illness - in troth, my interest is personal as well." She frowns at a bruise on her forearm. "I have little grounding in mundane medicine at the moment, but might nevertheless be interested to pursue some magical research along those lines."

The section of the lab surrounding the corpse statue contains a well-positioned tool bench, dissection surface, and nearby wax tablet for recording observations, as well as a standing mirror that doubles as a screen in front of some unrelated lab equipment. Against the far wall there is also a pallet (with, one might notice, leather straps for binding a person thereto) and, oddly, an earthen plot built into the floor with indeterminate contents, complete with nearby shovel and pail. "I have kept up a correspondence with Ra'am on the Founder's theory, ever since we met after his flying accident - perhaps still the best first impression I have ever made on another," Tranquillina chuckles (although she still winces inwardly at the second or third impression, where she was caught drunk with Ulrich). "His knowledge is quite extensive and illuminating. And yes, Aurulentus has done some extremely advanced research into fertility, which is at least tangential to my own interests in health. Although his application to Longevity Rituals, and that of Korvin for that matter, do not form as engaging a subject to me."

"What did you say about Ra'am?" She appears extremely concerned.

Tranquillina turns quickly at Tria's gasp. "You - didn't hear about his accident? Oh dear, I am so sorry to alarm you - he is fine," she reassures her visitor. "This was years ago. Let's see, in the summer of 1223 - that's right, you had installed me at Le Maison just that spring and set me loose on those Creo Corpus laboratory texts. Which was a very fortunate thing, as I had mastered Body Made Whole by the time Ra'am arrived. He was conveying others by flying carpet, including our own Imperator, but lost control during the descent and crashed into the ground. I am surprised the others escaped unharmed, but Ra'am broke several bones and many other injuries besides." Tranquillina's hands unconsciously trace the locations of some of these injuries upon the corpse statue as she describes the scene. "Some of the magi present joined with me in Communion, and with their aid I conducted the healing ritual, successfully. He was back to health, chiding his apprentice only two days later," she says wryly.

She leads Tria towards the other side of the laboratory, passing a fireplace on the far wall and two differently sized spell circles in the middle of an open section of the room. "I had not realized that you never heard about this incident," she says, looking carefully at the older maga's face, mindful of the surprising reports she has heard about her performance as Tenens. "How have you been, these last few years? Have you been ... under stress?"

"Nevermind me. Why was Alexei with Ra'am? Why did they come to Le Maison? Was Ulrich with him? Where was Maris during all this?" She seems a bit disturbed.

Tranquillina was getting ready to point out the organization of her lab texts, behind a large writing desk bearing matching inkpot and quill holder of exquisite design; she blinks at the barrage of questions. "Well, yes, that is where I first met Ulrich - he had come along with them. Maris was present, briefly: she summoned me to Ra'am's side after his accident, but left and did not participate in the Communion due to some demands by his daughter. This was shortly before she and the other Tremere left for Coeris."

"As for why, why Alexei accompanied Ra'am to Le Maison d'Levrier," she continues, frowning, "that I cannot say. Remember that I had met neither of them before this, and did not speak to either in depth before moving here. I cannot even speculate as to their motivations. Do you want us to find Alexei now and inquire?" She reaches into her pouch for the small piece of tile she keeps within.

In response to the comment about Elizabeth's demands, "Yes, they're Jewish, and Corpus vis is almost always going to be forbidden. I think there are a few Corpus vis sources that Ra'am can use, but the holders of those sources have stopped traiding or started charging too high a price, if I recall. Creo sources of vis tend to be allowable, more often than not."

About the Alexei and Ra'am arriving together, "Well, I would have thought that a deeper examination of the motives of the magi would pique your interest. I can guess the how Alexei came to Ra'am, through Abigail who is with Korvin here at Mons Electi. But the why of the matter is something that I thought would have investigated a bit." She shrugs as if Tranquillina is misisng the point, and Tranquillina gets the feeling that what's going on now is closer to a lesson than a discussion.

A familiar twinge of inadequacy pulses inside Tranquillina, a reaction to old teachers that might well never go away. But in this case, she is not without partial excuses. "Well, Alexei was at Le Maison for a grand total of two days, if I'm not mistaken; during that time I was gravely occupied with saving Ra'am's life, and with exploring my resettlement here, so there was not much time to spare. Fortunately, Alexei is easy to get in touch with, so we can ask him ourselves." She uses the piece of tile, which was chipped from the floor at her outer doorway, to spontaneously cast a spell creating the sound of her voice saying "Ask Alexei to come here immediately." ((CrIm Base 1, +1 intelligible speech, +4 Range: Arc for level 10 spell. Sta -3 + Cr 6 + Im 10 + aura 5 + stress die 7 = 25, halved is 12.)) She knows that the servant stationed there will comply. "As for Ra'am, I concede that I could have looked more closely into his motivations during my last month there."

Tranquillina takes a moment to gather her thoughts, stalling by indicating the six connected specimen cabinets spanning the twenty-foot wall on the opposite side of the laboratory from the corpse statue; the cabinets, each topped by a display case, hold what must be hundreds of organs, tissues, pieces of bone and sinew, and entire body parts, all organized by type and extremely well preserved. "While we await our Imperator's arrival," she resumes, "this will be an excellent chance to take your advice to heart: when initial information piques my interest, I should take the initiative to investigate further." She stops walking around the lab and turns to look Tria directly in the eye. "In my correspondence with magi of our House in other Tribunals, I have heard stories - secondhand - about arguments with their Tenens Occultorum. I have heard of protests delivered to Durenmar against you: more than one. What has been going on, Tria? Have you been unwell? Or is there some faction within our House making your job harder?"

((Some of the complaints have come from Rome ... is that Tribunal part of Tria's assigned area as T.O.?))

((Uh-oh, I'm in another thread, what did I do? Where is this taking place also?))

((No worries - Tranquillina wants Alexei to come to her sanctum, or the receiving room outside it if you prefer. Tria is at the covenant (this is a couple of days after Valerian tried to bring down the cave roof upon her), and in fact the two magae are talking to each other. But you don't have to know anything else since your character doesn't. :slight_smile: ))

((Ok...this could be interesting...Alexei has an aging crisis this season...))

Alexei comes with Helmut leading the way, holding a rod that is lit by magic. Alexei follows along, he looks haggard; his armour seems to be hanging very uncomfortably on him, his footsteps drag, and his face looks ashen and grey. He coughs wetly as he leans heavily on his staff.

"Master 'Lexie, you should be back in your sanctum, you're not well!" Helmut says, obvious concern in his voice.

"Nonsense. I'm fine." He has to stop for a few moments as he coughs again, wiping at his mouth with a handkerchief, it comes away slightly reddened and his hand strays on a scar from an old wound on his left collarbone. "Who..who needed me?"

"Tranquilana, she said it was urgent." Helmut says, fighting the urge to help him walk, knowing that he would not allow it.

"Then I shall be there." he says as he tucks the handkerchief away. Soon they arrive outside her sanctum.

"I'm fine. I may have been a bit more inquisitive in Rome than some of our House mates would have liked. And they might have complained a bit about it. And then if I should be removed as Tenons, or the Tenons shifted in Tribunal coverage, no one will complain. Of course, it is only in Rome that magi have complained.

When Alexei arrives, "I see you're at the end of your longevity ritual, Alexei. Is this your first? You're awfully young. Consider revisiting Ra'am, he can make you a rather good ritual. Korvin could too, I suppose. In any event, I wanted to know some details of your trip to Phoenix and then Le Maison several years back."

Helmut hovers near Alexei, never seeing him so weak except after a battle. "No Master Alexei can't be aging, he said he had taken care of that!" he helps him to his chair and frets with his cloak.

"Some wine Helmut." Alexei rasps as he clutches the cloak tighter and squints at the woman who spoke. "Tr-Tria? Ah...sorry, my eyes, something I've always had issues with, even in my youth...it is why I never was a good shot." he laughs and then begins gasping and coughing, his shoulders racking from the intensity. Only after wetting his lips with wine is he able to speak.

"You should have tea, I'll make you some." Helmut says and rushes off.

"Korvin had mentioned about making a new ritual...I don't understand why this is failing so soon, my Arts in Corpus are more than adequate...perhaps it is the stress I put on myself. You want to know...about my trip to Phoenix? When did I...yes, alright. I came to Phoenix to see someone's master, I needed lore on the jinn. When I arrived at Phoenix I met Ra'am and promptly insulted him and his new student with a poor joke, but he saw past it and decided to help me anyway. We flew to Le Maison on his carpet and nearly died, I managed to transport to safety and Ra'am saved his own before crashing. I...met with Tranquilana after that and told her what transpired here at Mons Electi and sponsored her membership. I got a wand to help me with my problems and then left to rescue Mufarrj, the reason I went there in the first place." He stops to drink some more wine and sits wheezing in the chair.