1260.1 A Beginning Is a Very Delicate Time

Several of the magi have come to the covenant site, but not seen anyone in attendance. Each has feared that their discussions and planning have been for naught, or feared that their future sodales had been taken ill. Not trusting to being able to support themselves, alone, the first magi who have arrived have made their way to Tooru's Repast. The finest Inn serving many of the merchants who come in and out of Turku to trade...

((OOC: Just needing to get started, and starting out at the covenant's planned site seemed...forced, to me. Arrive as you'd like, even if the flying ship lands at the covenant site, you might still leave people behind and come to Turku to try and find out where everyone is at.))

In the corner of the inn, a man of early middle years sits eating his supper with two boys, both about ten years of age. The man is of average height with fair hair and blue eyes wearing clothes that wouldn't be out of place on a merchant. In fact, that's what he's told the innkeeper - that he's a scholar and a merchant, who just recently arrived in Turku from England with his two sons looking to settle nearby. But while that story is not entirely false, it's also not entirely true. The man is not a merchant, but is, in fact, a magus - a magician - who has come to Finland to flee a magical plague that ravages Mythic Europe. Here he hopes to find a refuge from the terrible disease that ruthlessly steals magic from those blessed with the ability to use it.

The man, Galen by name, has been here for a three days, waiting for his sodales. He'd expected at least one of them to be here by now and had secretly checked out the distant covenant site the first evening he arrived only to find none of the other magi had arrived yet. He could have taken his wards and made the trip without the others, of course. But for now he thought it best to wait in Turku until at least one of them arrived. Not that he was worried about them showing up. But it paid to be careful in one's actions. He's spent his days so far getting to know the city and showing its sights to the boys, so there was no time lost. But always in the back of his mind he keeps wondering when the others will show up.

As he looks now at the two boys talking quietly between themselves - for neither knows the local language - he muses that they both could use a bit more to eat. He's almost forgotten what it was to be young and growing and always looking for something more to eat. But what dim recollection he has leads him to see the boys fed. He hails one of the inn's serving women, holding up a coin, and asks her to send over a loaf of bread for the boys as well as another mug of small beer for him. When the two arrive, he hands the bread to the eager boys and quietly sips his drink, idly watching the door and absently listening to the ebb and flow of conversation in the taproom. He he knows he can't wait here forever. But he decides to give the others a few more days. Travel was always chancy and there were plenty of legitimate reasons for delay. With any luck, at least one of his sodales would arrive soon.

Below the decks of a flying ship, two Tremere in the charcoal robes of experienced magi are in conversation.

"Thyra, I cannot thank you enough for transporting my entourage this far north. I am confident we will be able to locate this covenant site and make sure the vis sources are secured", says Tacitus ex Tremere.

((OOC: Err, did I pick you up? I thought I had just gotten Bartholomeus. He may come in shortly))

If anyone had been there, they would have been amazed at two women seemingly appearing out of nowhere. The Folly is on the beach, between a couple of large rocks, and invisible. The rocks are just far enough apart to fit the Folly, no captain would dare steer his craft into such a narrow place.

Two women enter the inn, both quite short of stature. They both are wearing long cloaks, with hoods. One throws back her hood, revealing a young face, and smiles. A number of the men gesture or nudge their mates, a sight such her looks is unusual. The second says nothing, and keeps the hood obscuring her face. The maiden asks for refreshment for two and hands a cup to her silent companion. The two try to find a place closer to the fire. The light glints off the silver cloak clasp of the silent one, a stylized "C."

((OOC Might have been some confusion that Thyra had the flying boat. I do agree that Tacitus and Thyra will travel together))

The farmsteads and villages around Kovula talk of the procession of merchants who do not seem to sell anything. At least they thought they were merchants. A long mule train loaded with packs. Armed guards all in matching colors. Centered in the group are a man and a woman in charcoal dark robes to whom the guards defer. The group bypasses the town and heads for the shore of the lake near Suurisaari ( the lsland) and make camp.

After the tents are set up a wolf emerges from one of them to sit by the woman as she and the man confrere.

You may go to town if you wish Tacitus or send a man. I wish to look over the site and prepare. I want to look at the stone of the site to see what I have to work with.

My men do not speak the local language. I can use Mentem to understand their speech, but until I find someone who speaks more civilised tongues I fear magic will be my only means of communication. I will briefly go into town and see how receptive they are to strangers."

From the place where the two women have appeared on the beach, a one-sided discussion can be heard. "...so you see, it is better for you to remain aboard ship for now. This is just another man-place, where they go to eat and drink. There might be hunters there, who would like nothing better than to catch you. Here you will be safe. I promise to bring you back some fresh vegetables to snack on."

A second voice says, gently interrupting, "We need to go, master, the ladies are waiting."

"You are right, Sergei," replies the first voice, "let me just grab my staff here." There's a thumping noise and a grunt, "Oops, sorry about that, Kozka. Are you all right?" A rattle of wood on wood, followed by a crash. "Darn! Sorry about that, guys. Let me help you pick that up..."

The second voice comes back, interrupting in a patient tone, "We really need to go, master Bartholomeus. I'm sure they can sort that out when we are on our way. Come now, I'm sure they can fix that while we are gone."

"All right then, if you say so..."

A moment later, two man appear from the same place as the women. They both appear to be in their mid-thirties and fairly tall, but the similarities end there. The one leading the way is red-headed and blue-eyed, dressed in woolen pants and long tunic, with a large carry-on leather satchel. He carries a short sturdy staff bound with iron. He is followed by a dark-haired and bearded man wearing leather armor and a sword at his belt, as well as a dagger. As the red-headed man turns to speak to his companion, the movement brings the bottom of his staff in the path his feet were taking, tangling them and making him collapse in a heap in the sand. The staff goes flying to one side, bouncing off harmlessly on one of the rocks. As he tries to pick himself off, his satchel becomes up-ended and spills most of its content on the sand. The second man collects the staff be remains at a same distance while the first one collects his scattered belongings.

Eventually, though, everything is picked up and stowed back into the bag. "Here, master," says Sergei, handing him his staff back. "Let's walk slowly, this sand looks treacherous and I wouldn't want to twist and ankle."

They catch up with the women as they enter the inn, entering a few moments after they do.

This will be a nightmare for a while. If the men we picked up at Fenghold did not speak Latin, we would be pantomiming everything.

Thyra pauses for a moment in thought.

The merchants may speak German so you could take Johan to translate.

((ooc: I will format later when I get home.))

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Yes, taking Johan to translate would be a good idea. I have not had cause to learn German so far, I left the Saxons to their corner of Transylvania

Tacitus pauses to address his men in Latin - "Men, I shall take the merchant into town to translate. Once we have secured our site, we shall set up a rota for who gets to travel into town to start learning the local language."

[OOC: the 3 specialists I took all have the Virtue from Grogs that allows them to spend 50xp on Latin, OOH Lore, Code of Hermes, so they all have Latin 3 and know a bit about the order from their experience of serving the Tremere]

Galan is watching the general direction of the door when the other magi enter. He recognizes them as his sodales, and a slight smile crosses his face. Not that I thought they weren't coming, he thinks with an inward chuckle. Then he stands up and glances down at his two wards. "Stay here and don't cause trouble." He hopes his look is stern enough to ensure compliance. Thankfully he'd already protected them with his Parma so they'd be able to tolerate the other magi without trouble. It would have been unfortunate if the Gift has caused them to be rude.

That was one thing Galan would have to work on now that the other magi had arrived. The effects of the Gift were by no means subtle among the common people. And as he recalled, Calpurnia's Gift was blatant. Galan didn't see any noticeable reaction among the crowd this soon after their arrival, but he couldn't imagine that the locals in the inn would react particularly well to the newcomers.

"Welcome sodales," he says to the magi in Latin, walking over to the door. "I have a table over in the corner. He gestures to where the boys are seated. It should just fit all of us if we don't mind being too friendly." Then he catches the eye of one of the serving women and adds in Finnish, "a pitcher of beer and some bread and cheese for the table, if that won't be too much trouble." He keeps a careful eye for the reaction of the tavern keeper to his new customers, knowing that many in the man's position would refuse entry to a maga with the blatant Gift. Galan can only hope that the fact that he and the boys have been here for several days and are accepting Calpurnia as their guest will stay the man's hand.

The two women move toward the table and sit. Calpurnia puts her head very close to Galen, and whispers in Latin. "Well met. You would be Galen of Bonisagus? I am Calpurnia of Verditius. Bartholomeus should be by shortly. With me is Maria, my daughter and apprentice." Maria is trying to talk to the boys, first in German, then haltingly in Latin.

At the next table, behind Calpurnia, a man scowls. A dockworker perhaps? Something is terribly wrong, but he's not sure what it is. He takes a massive drink of his beer.

Calpurnia whispers further: "I cannot tarry. Have you seen the others? None were at the site."

The dockworker still doesn't know what's wrong, but now he knows it's at the next table. He looks a bit, drinks his beer, then turns his chair so that he can watch the table of magi out of the corner of his eye.

"I am,' Galan replies. "I've been here a few days waiting for the rest of you. The ship I was on made very good time and I got here ahead of schedule." He darts a glance over at the scowling man and then back to Calpurnia, a worried look crossing his face. "I took a quick trip out to the covenant site myself and saw no one there, so I decided to wait here. You're the first ...," he struggles for a moment to find a different word for the magi. It was unlikely that anyone within earshot knew Latin. But he wanted to be careful. "Leader," he finally decides on. "You're the first of the covenant's leaders that I've seen." He nods a greeting to Maria and gestures at the boys. "This is Nicholas, my apprentice, and Henry, my ward."

Maria, alas, is disappointed. Aside from knowing how to say hello and goodbye in Latin, the boys speak English alone, a language just close enough to German to be tantalizing, but not close enough to allow communication. Though this doesn't stop the two from peppering her with a flurry of unintelligible questions.

Agnarr looks up from smoothing over the snow disturbed by his camping spells as Karhu speaks into his mind, "men have arrived at one of the sites, the big one." He is covered head to foot in a variety of furs, appearing like a trapper. A set of large and small leather packs are loaded onto a long sled, and in front of the sled are eight dogs shaped from ice, who stand idle waiting for their master's command. "hmm. I'll come to you, please keep watching."
He waves his hand absently as the ground which powders the area covering most of his traces, steps to the back of the dog sled and commands them on. Agnarr will travel to the main site and meet Karhu who sits watching from within a distant treeline, a snowy owl.

[OOC: After watching for a little while Agnarr will eventually sled into the camp, with a humanoid ice servant following; and if nobody is there he will leave the sled and ice creatures at the camp t protect his gear and go to the inn.]

Calpurnia sips a bit of her drink. For a moment, her face is visible: unlined, white as snow, even her lips, high cheekbones, with coal-black orbs where her eyes should be, pointed ears, and a shaved head. There is some resemblance between Calpurnia and Maria, even the ears, although less pronounced. Seeing Galen's reaction, she pulls the hood up firmly.

Continuing even more quietly, "I have a number of covenfolk. They are the wives and children of our turb. We were attacked days before I planned to leave, by vis-seekers. Guillermo of Flambeau perished in the conflict. My former covenant is gone, the others sought refuge at Durenmar."

"In the morning, I'll send some of the ladies to buy more supplies. Afterwards, we'll proceed to the site. You are welcome to join us."

Calpurnia reaches over and catches Maria's hand, who is pantomiming something flying in the air. She stands up, clearly preparing to leave. Maria stands as well.

The scowling dockworker now is talking to his mate, and turns constantly to keep Calpurnia in his vision.

Bartholomeus arrives at the table just as Calpurnia rises, followed by his grog Sergei. For some reason, the grog is now holding the magus' staff. The red-headed is smiling and speaks in Latin, "There you are sodales! It is good to have finally arrived and meet some more of our colleagues in person, instead of just through letters." Obviously, he caught some of what Calpurnia was saying, "I also have a number of mundanes with me, that our sodalis graciously transported with us in her ship."

He nods somberly, "They've their share of tragedies as well, though nothing recent, thankfully." But his smile is soon back, "I'm Bartholomeus, by the way." As he holds out his hand for Galen to shake, his sleeve catches one of the mugs, tipping it and spilling most of the content on Galen's lap.

At the site, Thyra has the grogs cleaning up. She and two others are moving around the site with tools for surveying. Some areas are marked with small piles of stones. Other times the group scores trees. Thyra is making notes or calculations on a wax tablet.

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"The grogs I've arranged for are coming on a later ship with most of our supplies," Galan replies to Calpurnia. "I took a swifter ship so that I could get here earlier to make sure everything was set up properly. But I'd very much like to head out to the site now that some of you have arrived."

The boys, meanwhile, are doing their best to impress Maria without the benefit of language. Right now it involves making a number of funny faces.

Galan is about to say more when Bartholomeus arrives. "Salve sodalis," he says by way of greeting. "It is indeed a pleasure to finally meet in person." He raises his hand to shake Bartholomeus' and gets a lap full of beer instead. Galan rises quickly and mops off his tunic, shaking his head and waving away any apology. The boys can't help but giggle at the sight.

"No harm done," Galan says with a smile. "It was just small beer. It'll dry quicker than you think." Then he turns quickly back to business.

"Calpurnia must depart, for obvious reasons." He nods at the murmurs that have been passing through the inn since her arrival. "Will you stay, or shall we all go? I have my man running errands in town with my shield grog, but we could be able to leave as soon as they return."

OOC: I wanted to confirm my understanding. The covenant is a goodly ways away from Turku, right? I mean, it has the Secluded boon. That means it can't be anywhere near a city or town.

Maria waves goodbye, while Calpurnia is still. The two leave the inn and head down the beach. When Calpurnia and Maria reach the rocks, they briefly turn around to ensure no one is following.

Inside the ship, Calpurnia speaks to the dozen-odd women. "We have met another magus, Galan. He will be joining us shortly, with Bartholomeus." Calpurnia speaks to one of the oldest women there, a washerwoman, OLINDA, who was not yet full grown when Calpurnia came to their lost covenant forty years ago.

"Olinda, take two others, and purchase provisions. You've seen where we'll be, get what you think will help us there. Be back before sunset." Calpurnia hands Olinda a number of coins. "If anyone else wishes to go outside, you may, but the ship is not visible outside, and I won't change that. Do not wander off. We are trying not to be noticed. We will leave in the morning to our new home."

Bartholomeus' face flames up with ambarassment at the small mishap, making the gangly magus look like an ackward adolescent instead of the experienced magus that he is. When his stammered apology is waved away by Galen, he sits down at the table. His grog leans in an whisper into the Verditius' ear at Galen's question, and the still red-faced magus nods before turning back to Galen.

"Sergei says that it might be better if we left soon. It seems that our presence might be causing some discomfort from the local crowd and that our continued presence might cause an incident." After some more whispering from the grog, he adds, "In fact, he seems to think that some of them might still decide to follow the ladies as they leave, with nefarious goals in mind. So shall we go and escort them?"

Galan nods to Bartholomeus. He had managed days of waiting without any problem. But just a short visit by some magi without the gentle Gift and already matters were heating up. But that was the way of things. It couldn't be helped.

"You make a good point," he replies. "I"m sure that Calpurnia can take care of herself. But with the blatant Gift, it's unlikely that she'd be able to do it subtly. I'm also not certain if she speaks Finnish. It would lead to more difficulty if she can't.

The magus rises. "Come along, lads," he says to the boys in English. "I'm afraid it's time to leave. You can bring the bread with you if you're still hungry." He takes a few coins from the pouch on his belt and drops them on the table.

"Very well, Bartholomeus. We're ready. Let's go."