A conversation before the trip to Visby

During a lull amidst preparations for travel, various magi sit together in a relaxed way, perhaps over a meal before leavetaking. I will assume that formal introductions have been made.

Iohannes strides into the common room and relaxed yet purposeful, a mug of ale in his hand and a bowl with fresh bread and some kind of fish and vegetables balanced on the crook of his elbow. There are no grogs or covenant servitors here, only magi.

"Hello," he says, as he sits down, and sets his food on the table. "We'll be ready to leave as planned."

He looks to the new magus, Scipio. "Will you be joining us?"

Scipio looks up and nods after a moment, letting his breath out slowly. Lazy curls of smoke drift up and around his face as he exhales. One hand manages the pipe responsible for the smoke as the other wields a pen against the paper set out on the leather of his writing kit to cover the uneven surface of the table.

The scent of the smoke is spicy and cloy, clinging to the man and air around him. When Scipio speaks it is with an appearance of weighing his words. "It would be untoward of me to do otherwise. I have no proper Sanctum here as of yet and I am certain my equipment will take it's time in coming from Coeris through Durenmar's Gate's. So, among us, I will probably lose the least time of value in undertaking this task. That and I take the defense of our Order with some gravity. A Mercere should fear nothing on road, if only because that which he should fear... should fear us more."

He chews on the end of his pipe thoughtfully for a moment, continuing to scribe on his papers. "I now write instructions for the covenfolk. I would have them begin construction on the space that I would put my gear in when it arrives. It may be some time before we return after all. Though, you being a proper seaman perhaps you know more of the obstacles we may encounter on this journey?"

"I expect a ship full of zombies. It happens all the time...."



"This is a good time to sail. It might get a bit cold at night. If we're a bit unlucky, we'll get a winter storm. But that's not likely. A little storm, more likely. Nothing that'll bother the Sanctum Mysterium. Most boats are already getting out for the season, or will be soon. Once we're a few hours out on open water, we'll have the sea to ourselves. Pirates prefer to wait along the shore, because that's where most boats are. And if some pirate stumbles across us, she's likely to take one look and then search for easier prey. (Timothy, does the pirate covenant from GoF exist?)

"But Visby? It's a good, clean run... if you know where it is. Even if we hit a patch of bad weather, we won't get lost, won't lose time. I might lose some sleep though. Might. Once we get there... that's something else."

Again the Tremere wieghs his words carefully, his look of concentration much like a man playing chess. He puffs his pipe a bit more in the interim before speaking, more smoke coming forth with his words. "I suggest we first contact this Archmage Aurian who dwells there. Either we will have there our greatest ally or our greatest enemy in this endeavor, and I'd as soon know which before beginning anything else. He will know where this witch might be found if our intelligence is true. The child and the witch, Roto's goal, seem to have been of interest to him. What his stance on this matter is however I'm not certain. We do not know 'why' this child was being sent for. It could be a nondescript sale of the boy to another Magus. Or it could be a Bonisagi invoking his rights much to the Archmagus' displeasure. There is much we don't know that can be answered with a, hopefully, peacefull and polite conversation with the man."

"Aye," says Iohannes.

(If there's something to be said about the sanctum part of Sanctum Mysterium, this is the place. :>)

Visplilius arrives to the table late, bustling in with eagerness for the food, if no comment on his tardiness. He pours himself a full glass of the white wine into a stoneware goblet, and uses that to wash down a first mouthful of fresh bread before speaking as quickly as he eats.

"mmm - I have made the decision to accompany you on the ship. Normally I would take my own counsel and fly there myself, but the difficulties in finding you later, should one or both of us get sidetracked, outweigh the day of time saved."

He cuts into a roast chicken while speaking, and continues stoking the fires of life as he talks and listens.

"Scipio - how goes the settling in process?... Even now, making preparations for your sanctum and labs? Excellent, well done - and you're joining us? Splendid new, new Sodales, my compliments to meeting this challenge under such short notice and tenuous invitation. mmm - more wine?..."

He passes the pitcher over without waiting for response, the question being prompted by him having filled his own goblet again.

"Iohannes - what will be the accommodations for all the magi concerned? Where exactly does your sanctum stop on that ship, and the guest quarters begin? And is there anything, erm, unusually delicate, or hazardous, that we should be aware of?"

He pops a small dumpling in his mouth, as if in emphasis, and chews quickly while he waits for a response.

Scipio pours himself some wine, setting the cup and pitcher aside for now however. "Indeed I am, and thank you." he offers with a slight smile. "And those are questions I was wondering myself. There is only the one ship we intend to take then?" Scipio adds after a moment, one brow raising. "If the entire vessel is Sanctum, which I would fully agree and understand your decision if it were... it leaves your covenmates with nowhere, properly speaking, to keep themselves."

Iohannes nods. "That's a good choice. It's surprisingly easy to get lost out there." More interested, "Though maybe you've studied navigation? I'd love to talk shop sometime."

Iohannes smiles. "The crew is preparing a hold for the magi. It won't be luxurious, but it will be comfortable. The whole ship is my sanctum--if you feel nervous we can talk about that. I'd like to accomodate you in any reasonable way that doesn't jeapordize my ship or crew.

"Delicate and hazardous?" Iohannes thinks it over. "Passengers are usually the greatest hazards, the more important they are, the more hazardous. But the Sanctum Mysterium is a safe ship."

OOC: We wonders where he got the potato from! :slight_smile:

Iohannes looks to Scipio and says, "Properly speaking? What do you mean?" He looks as though he really doesn't understand.

Scipio now puts down his pen, rubbing the writing hand with the other for a moment as he considers. "There could be a perception created about us among others that those of us who stay overlong in your Sanctum are serving you there. Right or wrong, I believe it is a concern."

"Hmm. I never thought of it that way. An invited passenger is always an honored guest. I've always seen it the opposite way around, that when I have passengers aboard, I'm serving them." Iohannes smiles slowly. "Sometimes the most nobly born of them--or their flunky-in-chief--feel a need to remind me." He chuckles reminiscently. "Even after enjoying some Rego Mentem."

More seriously, "Is a sea voyage overlong? Who would perceive it so? And why?"

Scipio takes a breath and nods gently as he lets it out. "It is an unusual circumstance. I'm not well versed in Sanctum law in regards to vessels. It being a mobile thing it presents many difficulties. Yet, as that may be, I do agree with your desire to declare it so. It is logical for one in your cirumstances." He pauses for a moment to take his pipe back in hand and chew the end as his breath brings it back to life. "And as for why, and who. Well. It would be 'my' assumption, were I to hear of Magi in another Covenant so spending their time. That they 'must' be working together on some project or another. It would be of note to me which Sanctum was used and thus who was the leader of that group. Such would be the natural assumption and perception of many I would think. At least if we were present overlong. That we were thus assisting you in some project, and that we thus were in deference to you. I'm open for suggestions as to how to prevent this, while still maintaining the legal standing and protections of the ship."

"Indeed...", Vispilius began slowly, between mouthfuls of chicken, "while most any mundane on a mundane ship might be 'an honored guest', a magus of the Hermetic Order must submit to the will of the owner when they traverse the threshold of any properly declared Sanctum. I cannot claim to be a scholar in this obscure corner of the Code, yet that much I am clear on."

Pausing only a moment to chew and swallow a biteful, he delays his repast to use his two-pronged, black wrought-iron fork as a prop to emphasize his point, wagging it in the air.

"Scipio's point has merit, that a vessel declared as Sanctum may be viewed differently, but until we have the official opinion and clarification of a Quaesitore - or preferably of the House, rather than an individual - we need to formalize this between us. Regardless of intent, the...," with a nod to Scipio, "...perception... could have repercussions beyond what we can predict.

"So, if you are to treat us as 'honored magi', as well as honored guests, what would you offer for our consideration?"

And he stabs at another dumpling, cutting it in half, and resuming his refueling of nature's furnace.

Iohannes listens to both magi, and replies, "I think you are right to bring this up. My own lineage lies enough outside the mainstream of Hermetic culture that I am less sensitive to this kind of taboo. I thought it applied only to research assistants.

"Marcus had me learn a bit about the Code, and nothing that I've seen says anything about one magus becoming subordinate to another. But laws... laws are what men make of them. And ranking matters, for all that the church talks of first being last and last being first. And so does the appearance of rank, for all that... No, I don't want anyone to believe that I am your master or better. Especially since both of you know more magic than I do."

Iohannes pauses. "What would satisfy you? I want to preserve the integrity of my ship and my command of it, but I also want to preserve your dignity and status in your Houses. This would be easier if you were kings! Or merchant princes.

"I don't think this is about what the Guernicans would say; this is about custom, not law. What would other magi think?"

"Well, since this is most likely outside the usual considerations of the Code, I'd suggest a written agreement. On one hand, you don't want to surrender any part of your sanctum, since it's a whole unto itself, nor risk damage to it, and on the other, we prefer to have sureties to make our status and passage clear.

"So... some document wherein we swear not to abuse or risk your ship - based on the "deprive of magical power" clause, and you, in turn, do likewise, with additional attention to addressing the "slay or attempt to slay" issue, considering that any passengers will largely be at the mercy of and dependent upon the ship for safe passage.

"The scrying clause speaks for itself, tho' you could insert something about mundane prying. And we, in turn, would get some small consideration for whatever corner we are allocated.

"As for the perception of others, there is little to be done, I believe, except on a case by case basis, citing the agreement if the issue were ever to come up."

He looks to Scipio for additional input, gesturing such with a wave of his goblet and a shrug of his shoulders as he finishes off the last of his meal.

Yes, but they don't call themselves "The Pirate Covenant". 8)

That is, yes, but IC you may not know about them unless you are really interested in these sorts of things.

Iohannes not interested in goings on at sea? Area Lore 5? A magus and mariner? Color him "really interested."

Scipio sips his wine now, just a bit, before returning to his slow nursing of the pipe. His fingers thrum on the table for a moment, then he speaks. "I believe a provision should be made for a certain area of the ship, which would be the area we Magi will use when aboard as quarters and the like, to be subinfeudated as a common space to the Covenant."

As Scipio speaks he seems to gather his own mental support around the idea, voice becoming more firm and gesturing with more emphasis. "Thereby allowing for no specific individuals who may change over time, but granting your covenmates the rights to dwelling there and passage to and from in a clear and legal manner. Likewise such a declaration does not render the space non-sanctum to any other individuals... only to the members of our Covenant. Which both protects your rights and ship and removes any onus on us for remaining there for any length of time."

Stopping for a moment the man considers his words a bit more carefully, as he prepares the powders, inks, and a fresh pen for the document still in discussion. "As a condition to the subinfeudation you may stipulate that any damages to the ship, trespasses into private areas, or likewise any similar violation of the Code in regards to your greater Sanctum presence and rights will be a violation of the agreement subject to forfieture of immunity and Tribunal rulings as normal. I would also suggest you stipulate that the agreement becomes void should you ever cease to be a member of this Covenant. Though that would be your own affair. The finished document should be copied and ratified by our Coven-council, then posted to the Mercer House and the Praeco. This ensures that there would be no misunderstandings on the part of others and that the document has legal authority. Does this sound reasonable gentlemen?" Finishing Scipio comes out from his own thoughts to look around and gauge the reception of them by the others...

Iohannes says, "I am leaning toward Vispilius' approach. Rather than getting technical about areas of the ship, and magi quarters, which might change from journey to journey, it defines your rights and status whenever they are aboard ship by invitation, as well as responsibilities. I don't even want to think about easements! And what he says about the ship being a whole..." Iohannes looks at Vispilius, "gets to the heart of it."

"A written agreement that all can see is a good thing. We can take oath as Vispilius suggests. If I invite a magus from the covenant aboard, I would simultaneously waive some of my sanctum rights regarding him for the duration of the invitation, and agree not to revoke that invitation until the end of the journey or visit, as long as that magus upholds his end of the bargain. I would also agree that whatever authority I have is about mundane captaincy.

"That might still leave the perception problem, but I think mundane laws suggest an approach: a transaction is not binding unless there is an exchange of value, a symmetry. So you would recognize that I have rights as host and ship captain and that ship and crew are part of my magical power, just as I recognize your own rights as magi, and, in exchange for my waiving some of my sanctum rights and protections, you agree to act to champion and protect my ship while you are a guest, which is something I imagine you would do anyway. Anyone who reads our agreement will see the authority and rank I gain as captain balanced or even exceeded by a magus Ex Miscellanea accepting the protection of another magus, and perhaps believe that I traded for this. If they are clever enough, they will see deeper, and appreciate how we navigated through some tricky Hermetic waters.

"As for scrying," Iohannes spreads his hands. "There's an old saying that there are no secrets aboard a ship. I will not pry into your thoughts or try to ferret out your affairs, but some of the crew can see things, and the cats... see deeper. And they keep their own counsel."

Iohannes looks to Scipio. "That kind of subinfeudation doesn't appeal to me; it's been ruinous on land and can only be worse at sea. I'm not a Tremere, but my parens and especially my years at sea have taught me a similar respect for rightful authority and wholeness; I think you would be poorly served by subinfeudating mine. Especially since I think we can satisfy your purpose, and get the best of all worlds."