The maga nova Cygna stood in her future laboratory, deeply contemplating a table. Although it was carelessly covered with a meager assortment of Hermetic accoutrements, she couldn't help but feel that it was just a hair out of place. After several minutes of careful deliberation, she knelt and moved the table two fingers-breadths closer to the wall. She got back up and slowly circled the table, carefully working out the next thing that was just a shade off.
As she reached to move one of the glass apparatuses, the bell in her antechamber rang loudly. She started and knocked the contraption to the floor. She let fly an oath as she looked at the shards, ignoring the deep chuckle from one side, then stormed out of the lab and through the antechamber.
She threw open the door and glared at the young page waiting nervously. “What is it, Edgar?”
“Begging your pardon, Kater...I mean Maga Cygna, but you're wanted in the Council chambers.”
“Magus Vucar did ask that I bring you to the chambers, so I believe so, yes.”
Cygna huffed. “Very well,” she said as she reached for her cloak. She strode toward the Old Tower, her hood pulled up against the chill drizzle. Her long legs forced Edgar to almost run to keep pace with her.
She waited impatiently outside the Council Chamber as the out-of-breath page informed the Council of her arrival. It was only a moment later when Edgar opened the door. He ushered her in and announced her to the Council of Magi of the Covenant at Riversedge, then closed the door as he resumed his post in the foyer.
“You sent for me, Princeps?” she said to Vucar. She tried in vain to fight down the resentment she felt at being summoned like a mere apprentice. It had been over a month since she had passed her Gauntlet, and though she expected the magi of the other houses to be slow to accept her as an equal, she had thought better of Grus and Vucar (the former being her mater, the latter her uncle).
It was possible, she thought, that they believed that more of Adorjan Megidézó had rubbed off on her than they thought in all the seasons she was forced to serve him. She unconsciously clenched her fist at the thought.
As Cygna looked around the council chamber, she noticed the Redcap Aristella, who had been to the covenant countless times in the past, seated against one wall.
“Relax, Cygna,” Vucar said. “You're not here to face an inquiry. Aristella has a letter that she will only read if all the magi are present.”
“It had better be important,” grumbled Petros of Verditius. “I am on the verge of a breakthrough on Androcles.”
“I am certain that Aristella is well aware of the value of everyone's time, my friend,” Vucar said. He then looked around the room. “I believe that this all of the magi. Cygna, if you wish, you may have a seat. Aristella, if you would?”
Cygna took a seat against the wall nearest her mater as Aristella reached into her pouch. After removing a parchment, the Redcap rose to her feet. She then proceeded to read the letter detailing the invitation from Phoenix Covenant for full membership to any member of the Order, in exchange for their votes at Tribunal.
As she finished, the magi's reactions ranged from apathy or ignorance to impressed surprise to indignation that they would try to buy a magus away from Stonehenge.
“I have no further information about the offer,” Aristella said to forestall any questions. “I will be leaving the letter here for your perusal and examination.”
“Have any of the other magi of Stonehenge accepted their offer, to your knowledge?” Grus asked.
“As you are most certainly aware, Maga, I am not permitted to reveal the contents of anything I am given to deliver. And, in case anyone's forgotten, as a member of House Mercere, I am under the full protection of the Oath we have all sworn.”
“We all remember,” Vucar said coldly.
Aristella placed the letter on the table and returned to her seat. After Vucar adjourned the council meeting and the other magi went their separate ways, Cygna continued to sit thoughtfully.