1229.4 Haven't A Leg To Stand On

Sometime in late 1229.3, shortly after his return from Confluensis, Marcus receives a letter.

[hr][/hr]To Marcus ex Tytalus, cenobite at the Covenant of Mons Electi, Normandy Tribunal,
From Saraid MacMurtaugh, scholae Bonisagi, Disceptatrix of the Covenant of Machaera Aqua, Novgorod Tribunal,

I hope this letter finds you well. Actually, no, I don't. I hope this letter finds you able to travel, and don't much care beyond that.

Four months ago, we found Isenvox of Criamon (the former Disceptatrix -- I am certain you remember her) seated at her desk within the library, with the wax tablet she was using in her divinations in front of her. She was in Wizard's Twilight. She is still in Wizard's Twilight as of the time I write these words. The tablet in front of her was covered, top to bottom, one side to the other, in renditions of your name.

Since then, Machaera Aqua has been under siege by the forest itself. Yarra Flambonis was killed -- gored by a boar -- during a perfectly routine vis hunt. Miklo Vladovich Bjornaeris is gone as well: we have no idea what happened to him. Our grogs don't return from cutting firewood. Our Aegis shudders daily under mystical attacks of indeterminate origin. Our covenfolk are deserting in droves. Wolves howl at the walls every night, speaking in human voices, demanding "send out to us the legless freak".

I don't know what you did to so incense the fae. It doesn't matter. However you annoyed them, whatever it was you did: [size=120]come back and fix it[/size]. I am certain I do not need to remind you what the Code says about molesting the fae, and thereby bringing ruination upon your sodales. I am equally certain I do not need to remind you of the penalty for breaching one of the core tenets of the Code.

I await your reply.
Scratch that. No reply is needed.
I await your arrival.

Saraid MacMurtaugh, scholae Bonisagi, Disceptatrix of Machaera Aqua
(her seal and sigil)
(Machaera Aqua's Covenant seal)

From what Marcus remembers, Saraid is the last person one would entrust with the governance of a covenant. Well, that's not quite true: call her second to last, because the honor of last place belongs to the only Machaera Aqua magus not mentioned in the letter. One Percailis of Bjornaer, a pugnacious and self-important waste of space. His heartbeast is a woodcock.

In Marcus' estimation, Saraid is young, unprepared, and overwhelmed by the responsibility that has landed on her shoulders. The strident and hostile tone of the letter is additional proof of that.

Her threat of legal action is not quite as potent as she makes it sound. Depending on the evidence she has, if she were to bring a case against Marcus, the decision could easily swing either way. Assuming, of course, that the case could get a fair hearing.

Given the general attitudes of the Quaesitori towards Mons Electi, the chances of a fair hearing are, perhaps, slightly diminished. Slightly.

(( Quick question, just so I know what to plan for. I don't know who Marcus is planning to invite, but -- given an invitation -- which magi would want to come along on a trip into the back end of nowhere?))

((I'd been delaying responding while finishing up Marcus's development, but we can go timey-wimey, and I can do the response to Saraid later. My intention isn't to ask Fiona to come, but to ask her to call a meeting on my behalf, so that I could talk to everyone there. Alternatively, I could go to each magus, and really make this timey-wimey.))
Since Marcus isn't a member of the Council of Mons Electi, he can't call for a council meeting, nor would he over a matter like this. So, he goes to who he feels closest to, and that would be Fiona. Marcus glides effortlessly over the snow, at his slow speed. Sometimes being legless has benefits. Makes his way to the manor house and ultimately to Fiona's cottage and knocks on the door.
To the door he says, "It's Marcus, I need to speak to Fiona."

((Sorry, JL, I didn't mean to rush you. And, I should have made it clear what I was asking.
OOC, which players have an interest in sending their magus, or a companion, along with Marcus? Grogs I am not so worried about. :smiley:))

Marcus can hear women's voices on the other side of the door (or maybe a woman and a girl?) After a minute, the door is opened by a brown-haired girl, who looks up at Marcus and says, "Come in, magus, I get Fiona." Or, that's what he thinks she said...it's obvious she's just learning Latin, and her grammar and pronunciation leave a lot to be desired. The girl then looks at Moire (Fiona's maidservant) standing to one side, says something quickly in Gaelic, and goes running down the hall.

"My apologies, Marcus. I'm training Viviene to be a maga's maidservant, and she wanted to greet guests properly."

Before long, Fiona gets pulled through the doorway by Viviene, who has a firm grasp on the front of the maga's skirt.

[color=blue]"Marcus, what a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?"

"Fiona, thanks for welcoming me." Marcus floats into the cottage. "I was wondering if you could call a council meeting on my behalf?" Marcus doesn't waste time beating around the bush. "As you know, I've maintained being separate from the council of Mons Electi, as I think it suits our mutual interest best. However, a situation from my past has arisen that may have some impact on Mons Electi. My past coming back to haunt me, and I don't wish for that to affect Mons Electi. However, I am ill equipped to deal with the problem, and could use some assistance. I would like to lay out the situation and let everyone know at once, but if I ignore it or fail, it may cause problems for Mons Electi with Quaesitores, or at least give them an excuse to poke around more."
He goes on, "I might need someone knowledgeable of the Fae, as I have little. And I might need to take some grogs, and borrow some additional resources or personnel."

[color=blue]"How big of an impact are we talking about?" Fiona asks, then quickly waves Marcus off. [color=blue]"Never mind...it would be better if you told the story once, and didn't have to repeat yourself. How about immediately after sundown?" ((I'm assuming it's early to mid-afternoon, for some reason.))

[color=blue]"As far as I can recall, we don't have many people who know much about the Fae. Wilhelm, the woodsman, mentioned last year that his sister is Merinita, and his apprentice is fae-blood. I don't know if anyone else knows about the Fae or not, though. Wait just a moment."

Fiona gets up and talks to Moire in the next room, to ask if she knows if any of the covenfolk have any knowledge of the wee folk. ((I haven't advanced Moire for 1228 yet, but I was planning on putting all her points in Covenant Lore, which would give her a score of 3. Her roll would be Int 1 + Covenant Lore 3 + die roll of 0 (with a both check of 5) = 4.))

Fiona returns and relays whatever information Moire came up with. [color=blue]"As far as taking our grogs – of course, that's up to the Council, but I would have no problem with you taking a reasonable number of volunteers."

Once the council is convened, Marcus addresses them.
"My amici, I am in need of assistance. I have a problem that exceeds my capacity to solve it. You see, many years ago, before coming to Mons Electi, or even to Normandy, I was in Novgorod for a time, exploring places of power. I had been pursuing membership with a covenant there, and had been investigating places of power. These places were Fae, and I was hoping to discover more about them, and was researching things in the covenant's library, when the Disceptator convened a council meeting and summarily dismissed me from the covenant. As I wasn't a member, and no allies on the council, I left, and abandoned my investigation, which truthfully had barely begun. And so it was a few days ago, I received this letter, from the acting Disceptatrix. She indicates that the Disceptator is in Twilight and had written my name repeatedly on a wax tablet, and that the fae in the neighboring forest are calling for me. I need to borrow or trade some resources. And I'm wondering if anyone is interested in coming with me. If Viscaria were here, I'd ask her, with her knowledge of the fae being rather useful."

Korvin listens intently and nods at the end. You have done much for us and I would give you some of our vis stores for your adventure but it is not for me alone to decide. Unfortunately, I can not go as I have other pressing matters here.

Jacques speaks up. I will go with you if you'll have me.

((Here's where I go timey-wimey.))
CR: is there still a valid AC to Saraid on this letter? I made sure to invent Whole from the Part for Marcus during my development. I'm almost finished with him.
As soon as Marcus finishes reading the letter he casts The Whole from the Part (HoH:TL, page 72) on the letter. ((I think this is a bad spell, by the way, but I never really considered it until I just used it, and never thought of it when Tranquillina cast it on the AC of Cumhachd, but anyway...))
Responding to Jacques offer, "Are you experienced with the Fae? I think that is what I most need now. It was something I turned away from pursuing when I left Machaera Aqua. And do you think you can convince some of the grogs to travel in the bitter cold?"

(( I'm going to say there is still a valid AC. Are you trying to ascertain that it was Saraid who wrote it, or is there other information you're looking for? ))

Yeah, the spell should give me an image of the person who wrote it, as long as they are human or human like.
And then Marcus will start fixing the AC as soon as he can find some vis...

You're right, it's not a good spell. :slight_smile:
The writer does, indeed, appear to be Saraid.

((I may retcon it as an InVi spell of the same level. AFAIK, Tranquillina is the only other magus with the spell, and I think she knew it at the saga start, so her lab total is probably sufficient to have learned it. And Marcus's InVI Lt is 40+, so he can learn it as an InVi spell. I'd even handwave any requisites that are listed, because it's just so bad.))

We've previously established that there is a (crude) map of Europe in the Princeps office (probably more likely the library) which Marcus goes to, and then he casts The Inexorable Search with the Arcane Connection to Saraid.
His InCo CS is 40 in this Aura, and he has a penetration of 3 He rolls a 0, but can't botch. His penetration is 40-20; 20 + (1+2) multiplier * Penetration of (3+1 (Inexorable Search Mastery Abilit Score of 1, Penetration)) is a total of 32 penetration. If that's not enough now he will finish fixing the connection and repeat it for a bigger bang.
((I'm not going to roll against Marcus's magic addiction for the non botching stress die situation due to his mastery and it being a non-stressful situation [where 4th Edition would call it a quality die], do you agree with that interpretation? I'll always roll for it in otherwise stressful situations.))

If the map is as 'precise' as the one in the back of the Ars Magica book, all you can get is that she's somewhere around Vladimir. (That's kind of what you would expect: Machaera Aqua is fairly close to Niznhy Novgorod, which is east of Vladimir.)

Want to check that? I'm not sure he could actually penetrate the Aegis and her resistance with that. And as to the Aegis, I've given him (trust me, I'll post this soon) an Covenant Lore: Marchera Aqua (no specialty) score of 1. So, let's roll on that to see what he remembers about the Aegis...
total of 11

Machaera Aqua has a fairly decent Aegis: Magnitude 6 or so. Added to Saraid's Parma, a 32 really shouldn't have penetrated, you are correct.
Nonetheless, it did.

Also, one thing Marcus would remember about Novgorod Tribunal in winter. In most Tribunals, people travel in Summer/Spring/Fall and stay home in the Winter. In Novgorod, good seasons to travel are actually Summer and Winter. Horse-drawn sleds go easily over snow and frozen rivers are as good as roads.

Besides, there's a nifty word in Russian that describes conditions during early spring and late fall. Rasputitza -- literally translates as 'The Time Of Impassable Roads'.... :smiley:

Marcus won't have any problem keeping warm, or keeping other people warm, for that matter. :smiley: ((Did you have a preference on setting the closest portal, or do you want to RP Marcus going to Harco to find out about it?

Marcus can certainly go to Harco, but I don't really want to RP it out.

Problem from the point of view of the Redcaps is that the Novgorod Tribunal is so huge and spread out that a "central collection point" doesn't really save a whole lot of time. On the other hand, if there's one thing that Novgorod has in plenty, it's vis. So I'm tempted to say there's two or three collection points, linked by portals between themselves, with one of them having a connection to Harco. If you're OK with that, the closest portal would be pretty close by: in Suzdal, a bit north of Vladimir.