A bit of Monkey business (Spring 1239)

Antoine receives a letter written by the head of the brothel in Barcelona "Knowing that you were looking for a beast with magical properties, I thought I should forward on to you a tale told one of the girls the other other day. The sailor she bedded spoke primarily in Italian, though he spoke other languages well enough to handle the necessary transactions, and spoke of seeing a short hairy man arranging cargo for a ship sailing out of[strike]Palermo[/strike] Salerno, the man was rather odd looking, the fact that he stood around a yard tall and was covered toe to crown in hair would seem odd enough, but his face seemed a bit out of sorts as well. The man recounted how he bargained at length with a factor regarding the cargo, the details of that aspect of the story I'm afraid the girl did not recall, but apparently when the transaction was finished this man then proceeded to climb the sheer face, at least as the man told it, of a nearby building, remove an apple from his pocket, and proceeded to eat the apple as calmly as if he were seated in a chair at a café. From this tale I presume the short man is actually some form of enchanted beast and might be of some interest to you."

Antoine receives the letter with great excitement. The brothel owner is definitely a shrewd one, recognising the tale for what it is; plus, a short hair "man" who can climb like that is surely some kind of monkey, which Antoine had already determined was well-suited to his arts. He writes a reply:

Thank you for your letter, which I received with great excitement. Your instincts are sharp, and I believe that this "man" is indeed a magical beast well suited to my purposes. I would very much like to pursue this matter further - do you think there is much to be gained by questioning your girl further? I presume the sailor himself is long gone by now. Please advise by return courier, so I may decide whether to visit you or to begin my enquiries in Palermo.

He then seeks out Lucas, who has always seemed an eminently helpful and friendly magus, to enquire about how he found and befriended Horus. Finally, he lets Carmen know that he intends to take the season out, looking for this creature; and could he please borrow the carpet?

That falls under the authority of the Artifex and/or Quartermaster. I suppose Arachne is Artifex pro tempore, and I sponsored you. I think you fit the definition of quarterofamaster. Or whatever. Blong I deputize you Quartermaster. So knock yourself out.
Oh, I would like to put in a formal for the carpet to use an entire season next year. I am planning a little trip. And it features something you might be interested in. I'll tell you more latter.

Lucas is in his tower, having moved back from Majorca just a few months previously. He's a bachelor for the season, Cecilia being out on Redcap duty, so he's more than happy for the company. When he's informed by Andre that Antoine is here to see him, the magus sets down the book he's reading asks that Antoine be brought up to the sitting room. The sitting room is a well-appointed room taking up about half of the fourth level of the tower. It has a table and chairs on one side and several comfortable chairs on the other. Tapestries hang on the wall and there are a few carpets on the floor. Fires burn in twin hearths on either side of the room.

"Welcome sodales," he says when Antoine is brought up. "Come, sit and have some mulled wine. It's an excellent vintage from Burgundy." He glances over at his servant and says, "some more mulled wine, Andre." The servant nods and departs.

"So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?" Lucas asks. And when told the purpose, he rubs his chin for a moment. "It was quite some time ago. But I remember it as if it were yesterday. Thinking of finding a familiar for yourself, are you?"

After a little more chit-chat, the mulled wine arrives and Lucas gets down to business.

"I started my journey toward a finding a familiar by doing research. Typical magus tactic, I suppose. I ran down numerous stories about odd creatures and fantastic beasts. Eventually, after about a month of looking, I found one that seemed based more in reality than the others. I heard rumors of a community of intelligent falcons in the White Mountains. Well, that was just the beginning. It took about five weeks of searching the White Mountains before I finally located their nesting ground. Let me tell you, I was never so happy to have my spell of warmth as then."

"The falcons were a bit stand-offish, having not always had good reactions with men. But in the end I won them over. I spent a few weeks living up there with them, and during that time, I came to know a young falcon named Horus. He and I hit it off right away; he liked my sense of humor. So, after a while I asked if he would be willing to come with me and be my familiar. Oh, it wasn't quite as simple as that. I made sure I explained the ups and the downs of the arrangement. And he had lots of questions. But in the end, he was an adventurous type and said yes."

"The rest followed from there. He came with me back to Cunfin, and we bonded within weeks. He's been with me ever since."

"I should tell you, though, that it was an interesting balancing act at the beginning, having a wife and a familiar. Horus and Cecilia are both completely reasonable and wonderful. But even so, there was some inevitable friction. I won't go so far as to say it amounted to jealousy. But both relationships are incredibly close and personal. It took some time for us to settle into a dynamic that worked for the three of us. And a little care at the beginning has really paid off. Now Cecilia and Horus are the best of friends. Sometimes they'll even gang up on me when they think I'm being unreasonable." Lucas smiles.

"My advice is to take some time to get to know your potential familiar. If you bind together, you'll be with each other for a long while to come."

When you get around to reading it there is a short message from the Madame that she has already questioned the girl thoroughly, so unless you have some magic that will bring up details she has either forgotten or refused to bring up, and the madam knows of no reason for there to be any of the later, there would be little purpose in further questioning the girl. Also be advised that memories restored may not be related to your quest, as this was essentially the passing on of information from pillow talk.

Antoine puts his right fist over his heart in a gesture of one accepting orders. "Madame Pontifex, you honour me. I appreciate the office, and will serve faithfully. Truth be told, I've been wanting a reason to see everything the covenant has to offer, and now I have an excuse - I'll take an inventory when I return! And you may certainly use the carpet next year. Your trip sounds most intriguing - I look forward to it. [OOC: That's Waddenzee, isn't it?]

Antoine is always faintly jealous of Lucas's apartments; most of his own sanctum is taken up with the Forge, and he hasn't had time to make it his own yet. And Isolde is the main influence in his living quarters, which makes for comfortable furnishings, but not always to his taste.

I am. I figured I could use some help around the forge - I can best serve the covenant when I can make powerful items after all, and some of Mistress Arachné's - I mean Pontifex Arachné, of course - some of her ideas would definitely tax me. Also, I worry that if I spend too much time with my forge I could easily lose track of the outside world; a familiar would let me almost be in two places at once - keep tabs on life outside, if you will.

Ah, I think I have the jump on you there! One of our contacts in Barcelona has apparently heard tell of... well, let me read you his letter, and see what you make of it. "A short hairy man arranging cargo for a ship sailing out of Palermo... around a yard tall and was covered toe to crown in hair... face seemed a bit out of sorts as well... this man then proceeded to climb the sheer face of a nearby building, remove an apple from his pocket, and proceeded to eat the apple as calmly as if he were seated in a chair at a café." Eh? Anyway, it sounds like I shall have to prepare myself for spending some time with my potential familiar. It seems he's a sailor; maybe a sea-voyage is in my future. I shall be glad of Cloak of Duck's Feathers!

Ah, thank you for the warning, sodale. I knew the familiar bond was close, but I confess I hadn't thought how it would affect Isolde. And I suspect a monkey - if such this proves to be - may not be as reasonable as your Horus. It will take some management. Of course, I've spoken about it to her before now, but I should discuss it more fully before I set off.

Thank you. It is good advice, as good as this wine, and I'll take it gratefully.

Very well. Then Antoine will, after having the above discussion with Isolde (which I'm happy to handwave), make preparations to leave for Palermo. How far can he get by portal, before switching to the carpet?

"A familiar is useful in keeping tabs on the world. When I'm reading a summae Horus helps keep me grounded in what's going on in the covenant. That's especially handy since Cecilia is gone half the time. Be thankful you don't have to worry about that with Isolde."

"Sounds like a monkey to me. I imagine you'll have your hands full with a monkey as a familiar."

"True. But Isolde's a good woman. She'll cope better than most."

OOC: my goof, it should have been Salerno, not Palermo. sounds similar, really different politically (though the monkey could conceivably make both ports).
The closest portal would be Harco, roughly 400 miles from Salerno.

Ha! True, very true. Still - it can't be harder than Roberto's Cidito, heh?

Ok, Salerno it is. Antoine will do a little more research if he can find anyone who knows - anything about the port he should know, any nearby covenants or magus-friendly houses, a map; that sort of thing. Once suitably prepared, he'll set off early one morning accompanied by his shield grog Phelippe, taking the portal to Harco. He's looking to be airborne by about 7am, since it should be around 12 hours flying to Salerno. He'll take appropriate precautions; once Phelippe is seated comfortably on the carpet, he'll turn him invisible with "Invisibility of the Standing Wizard" (formulaic, CT 17 + Aura vs level 15), warning him to move as little as possible. Before that, he'll ceremonially spont a version of the same spell to make the carpet invisible*, then finally use his ring to turn himself invisible. Once in the air, he recasts Phelippe's Invisibility every time he (inevitably) moves. He's looking to stay in some kind of inn or Hermetic safe house near Salerno that night.

*He knows it's a tough call, so he gives himself as much of a chance as possible. CT: [Pe 3 + Im 9 + Sta 1 + Talisman 4 + Ceremonial 3 + Loud 1 + Gestures 1 + Aura x + Stress Die 4] / 2 = (26 + x) / 2 = 13 + x/2 vs level 15. Succeeds so long as Harco is Aura 4+.

(Frederika studied in Salerno, so she may know someone.)
(Alas, Harco is listed as having Aura 2; Redcaps don't care much about Aura.)

Seriously? Well then we have option 2 - MuIm spont to make the carpet look like a cloud. Which, thinking about it, works better for Phelippe as well.

Appearance of a Cloud (MuIm 4)
(Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

CT: [Mu 5 + Im 9 + Sta 1 + Aura 2 + Talisman 4]/5 = 21/5 = 4.2. Spell cast as non-fatiguing.

Yep :smiley:
So if you loose it, you have to retcon a season to make a new one. :mrgreen:


Actually, if there's no specific Hermetic place near Salerno, this would be an ideal occasion to lean on Antoine's Goldsmithing past (Social Contacts: Goldsmiths) - Pre 0 + simple die 2 vs 6.

Uh, or perhaps not. :frowning:

There will be a covenant near Salerno, simply because ethe school will have been used (one way or another) by magi wishing to learn medicine for the last couple of centuries, or who have gently gifted apprentices they wish to send to learn their Latin and Artes Liberales. However at this point in time the city is in decline politically, as Henry and his son Fredrick II have born a grudge against the city for first capitulating so easily to invaders and then when they sought to retake the area being one of the few cities which held out, after being entrusted with the care of Constance, Henry's wife and Fredrick's mother. They are no longer a self ruling city as a result, and the control of the city has fallen to a noble appointee of Fredrick II. As a result trade has been taxed more than is traditional and has suffered significantly, which may have an impact on how you handle questions down at the docks. This information was available from Fredrika and the redcap quarter...

arriving by flying carpet near sunset, the doors to the city walls are being shut for the night, not that anyone pays much attention to a cloud passing over the city. You can see there is still work being done at the docks, but the rest of the city seems to be closing down, aside from a few taverns where stragglers come in for dinner.

Neither Antoine nor Phelippe speaks any Italian (or Piedmontese, or whatever the local tongue is), although both a native French speakers for the purposes of Similar Language (Marko's house rules don't extend to Italianesque languages). Antoine would therefore prefer to try seeking room and board at the local covenant, with the idea that maybe he can hire a local grog to serve as translator and guide. Is the covenant within or outside the city?

(Assuming he can get to the covenant), he will set down a short distance away and approach the covenant's gates. Knocking, he introduces himself: Salve. I am Antoine, of House Verditius; I am visiting from Andorra covenant and I would seek lodging for the night. Could you please inform one of your superiors?

(If that's not possible), he will simply set down somewhere unnoticed (before sundown!) and make his way to a reputable-looking tavern near the commercial quarter.

The covenant is about a league from the city, posing as a local vineyard. You are welcomed in, and brought to a sitting room while one of the magi is retrieved. "Salve Antoine, What brings you to Galen's Vinyard?"

They are not HR's. They are an extension of cannon rules on languages as interpreted for the languages present in Iberia. The only HR present is the ease of learning languages related to your native tongue (using your "adjusted score" as a starting point). Italian and related tongues fall into the Latin family of languages. In the Thebes book, it mentions that Italian is closely related to Castililan (Spanish). Italian versus French would count as Distantly or Somewhat Related to French. Which results in a -3 or -4 to both speakers. Which is functionally useless. You can say/understand "Hello", "Good Bye", "Thank You", and maybe a few swear words.

Hey, I'll be dealing with sailors! That might be all I need :mrgreen:

Reports and rumours. I'm searching for a familiar, and one of our contacts heard a sailor's tale about what I believe could be an enchanted monkey, or similar, last sighted in Salerno. Of course it may be nothing, but I wanted to see if I could track it down.

I've travelled from Harco today, and was hoping I might be able to stay the night here. Unfortunately my shield grog and I speak only French and Latin, so I don't know how widely we'll be understood in town.

Interesting experience earlier today. I was looking for a piece of equipment, and I did not know how to explain what I was looking for in Spanish. Hell, I don't know the name of the think in English! It is this smasher type thingamabob with a grid of blades, used for dicing mass amounts quickly. So me with my Spanish score of 2 and the dishwasher with English 3 were making no progress. The knife guy, one a week he swaps all our knives out and takes them back to shop for grinding/sharpening, he helped out. I was amazed at how good his Spanish was! I asked him about it, and was surprised to discover he is Italian from Italy (as opposed to Italian from Chicago). He said it was very-very easy for him to pick up, commenting on how they are both Latin. So his English score was likely 5, and his native tongue is Italian at 5. And he seemingly spoke at a 4 or 5 in Spanish.
Me, I have English 6, Spanish 2, and Greek 0.4 (or only 2xp set aside for it LOL).
In general terms that is. No one really has a score of this or that in any language. It is more of a general rating. And though I do consider myself quite proficient in English, my grammar and spelling can quickly degenerate into slang and jibber jabber. And I know how to read and write words I cannot pronounce, for they have never had any use in my conversations. Just pretentious expanded vocabulary.

"We will send a grog with you, he speaks Itallian and Latin, as well he can read and write and most of all is unaffected by the gift, so he can be your agent when you do not need to be there personally. In fact if you wish we can send him to inquire while you rest here, if you don't mind leaving part of your search in his hands."