Amid the hustle and bustle of the regular covenant events a servant asks Rilcheaux to break fast with Vocis, at his leisure, in the private solar outside Vocis' sanctum.
Vocis's aides are instructed that this meeting will be permitted to interrupt the "do not disturb" policy of recent years. Vocis also has his non lab clothes prepared and staff told that the Master will forego his simple morning meal when talking to Rilcheaux and expects to be impressed by the fare on offer.
(timing wise Vocis would have asked for the meeting long before the recent in-game years, but it's ok whenever as that might add more flavour for the conversation)
In preparation Vocis will practice some Imagonem scrambling effects (unless I get around to writing them into his advancement, in which case they'll get used).
Rilcheaux shows up at the requested time, wearing a set of black robes with green trim.
Rilcheaux is greeted warmly by Vocis's aide, and promptly Vocis enters the lower chamber and greets him, "Rilcheaux thank you for joining me". Vocis is bowing slightly, "join me in the solar, I've tasked the covenant to scrap my regular gruel-ish breakfast for something fancier. I've no idea what will be on offer, but I'm looking forward to the change."
Assuming Rilcheaux follows he leads up a set of stairs into a well furnished but plain room. On the far wall is a sanctum marker above a solid looking door, and seated atop a near cabinet is Vocis's familiar. "Please sit" as he takes one of the chairs around a low table.
"We have not crossed paths often and I have a need which I think you can help with; if my assumptions of your skills is correct."
As the first part of the food is brought up into the room, Vocis continues, "I'll be plain - I wish to gather intelligence on several personalities and places, and I understand you have a growing network? "
"I do, though its growth to date has emphasized certain priorities. Having a new direction to take it in would be welcome, depending on the reason these people need to be watched."
"I seek an competitive advantage and to mitigate certain risks. The politic arrangements are very peculiar, and I would like a more subtle way to gather intelligence and a way to ratify the intelligence I already have." Vocis continues eating as you talk. "I'm not sure if you are aware but my background is in communications and signaling. The House trained me to deal with the types of immediate needs a Magus would encounter under duress, but I have not developed my own network as yet. I thought to enquire of you before I set about establishing my own. It is highly desirable as it will strengthen my work and the covenant's position without running foul of the Peripheral code. "
Rilcheaux nods as Vocis uses a lot of words to say very little, except for one key point that Rilcheaux was listening for. "Very well, if you give me a list of names I will start developing my intelligence network in that direction, unless some of them are at Bellaquin, in which case I already have some ability to monitor there."
"A source in the Covenant of Barcelona to begin with."
"This makes sense, I will begin on this in fairly short order. Opportunities may arise elsewhere, however, are there other avenues you would like me to pursue?""
"My interest also has to do with the Obsidian Ring. Perhaps more reliable information about it, and I think that will prove exceedingly difficult."
Rilcheaux smiles "ah, a worthy challenge then. I will see what I can do."
"Thank you Rilcheaux", then looking at you with respect in his eyes he continues "the challenge of spying on spies, assassins, and thieves will likely be fascinating too. If you have thoughts of material resources needed when the time comes let me know."
Rilcheaux nods pensively "Of course."
When the meal is coming to an end Vocis will suggest, "shall we meet regularly, once a season?"
"I believe that would be a good idea."
This being probably the best place for that.
If, at some point, Vocis and Arachné discuss Andorra's security...
I have done what I can to secure our covenant, magically speaking. I still am. Roberto and Vibria are doing good with our armed forces.
But there's a full-time danger I can't deal with, and which, to the best of my opinion, escapes their skills.
I wouldn't be surprised to know we have spies in our midst, at least from Barcelona and Bellaquin. Now, some of our grogs and companions might be suited to the task, but I'm not sure I trust them fully. It might be worthwhile, should such a matter interest you, for you to try and uncover them, that we may feed them false information.
"Barcelona probably, I'm not sure Bellaquin has the organizational capability to place or recruit a spy, but I would certainly be willing to look into it."
In reply to Arachne during their conversation Vocis says (and this is a little disjointed but hopefully the gist is there):
"Discovering spies is certainly difficult without at least risking skirting parts of the peripheral code. I have been thinking on a similar topic and we have options."
"I was more concerned with the security of our materials in terms of stolen arcane connections than a mundane stealing our secrets until you raised this, but we should do something. I think a device to neutralise ACs is something worth investing in. "
"The library and our personal aides are a high risk areas and also have access to key resources. Frankly we as magi tend not to discuss secret matters outside ourselves so our notes and materials are a good attack method."
"We should also consider that we may have loyal companions and grogs who are easy to exploit magically. For example the Redcaps travel frequently and are protected by the code, but really do not have significant protection from scrying or Mentem investigation. It's a secondary consideration but still a useful vector."
"I am currently looking at scrying options, scrying defenses, and how to craft deployable scrying assets. I was considering how to build a scrying network."
"Using a direct Mentem spell on our inhabitants discreetly is distasteful to me, but it is the best option to find a spy. An enchantment on a gateway will do that well. Or we cast directly. I could work in that direction too if we agree that is the path forward. "
"Otherwise watching our covenfolk for odd behaviour is the best option and we should use both magical and mundane means."
OCC - I assume as it was asked directly of Vocis that Rich wasn't there for the conversation.
I thought Rilcheaux was the one being addressed- please clarify before we continue...
So I responded as Vocis, without Rich being present.
Yes, IBT is right.
Truth be told, I was thinking more of mundane mesures, but if you're willing to use magic, all the better! If you can avoid warping our covenfolks, of course. Ideally, both should be done.
Likewise, I am more worried about enemies learning mundane informations about us, such as who we are and what are our intentions, than learning our magical secrets, although, I agree, all of these are important.
Still, I'm glad to learn you've thought about the matter.