Ancient Discovery (Winter 1244)


It's a week later and everyone is relaxing in a meeting room at Andorra. Vibria has a new dress, Roberto sits with his wounds finally bandaged, and Rilcheaux has only just returned from his cleanup work in Paris. Lucas sits drinking a goblet of wine, while Arachne sits in a corner contemplating the situation. Santiago and Diego have traveled to Andorra to see Flavia, who is finally reunited with her familiar, an owl named Daedalus.

"Flavia," Santiago says, taking the woman into an embrace. "It's good to see you safe. We were all worried when you disappeared, and it seems for good reason. We had no idea that you'd been taken as far as Paris. I'm just glad that Roberto's team is as competent as they are to both rescue you and recover the scrolls."

"I'm sorry, old friend," he adds to Roberto, "that you had to suffer such injuries in the course of this mission. But you and your team have my thanks for a job well done."

"And if I may ask," he continues, turning his attention back to Flavia. "We've all had a long, and quite tense, wait to hear about your research. May we finally hear about what you discovered?"

Flavia returns the embrace. "I've thanked my rescuers already," she says. "Now I'll thank you as well. I owe you all a great debt. And I hope to repay it by the information I have to reveal." She looks around the room at the gathered magi and continues. "What I discovered may shake the foundations of the Order. These scrolls are but the culmination of years of research. They have the clues I needed, but are still cryptic to those without the fifteen years of foundational investigation that I have. That's why Forratus had trouble making heads or tails of them."

"What I have found," she continues, "is none other than the location of what I believe is a standing temple of the Cult of Mercury." She pauses a moment to let that sink in. "As you all know, the Order is built on the shoulders of the Cult of Mercury, though precious little of its original knowledge is left - just a few spells and rituals that have carried over. I've spent my entire career as a Seeker, searching for information about the lost Cult of Mercury, and now I think that research has paid off. If this is what I think it is, then who knows what treasures might yet remain. No standing temple of the ancient Cult of Mercury has ever been found before. This is a find of unprecedented value."

"The temple is in Northern Africa," Flavia explains. "Too many magi have been looking in the Roman and Theban tribunals. But those areas have been combed over for centuries. If something was there, it would have been uncovered ages ago. I looked farther afield in the Levant and Northern Africa. And it seems like my efforts have not gone unrewarded."

"These scrolls give hints of a location in the old Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis that I believe is the site of a temple of the Cult of Mercury. Darius has apparently been following my research more closely than I thought. He got wind that I had made an important discovery and his people took me on the streets of Rome. The rest you know."

"Now, if there's one thing I learned in the past few weeks, it's that I'm not capable of standing up to Darius and his forces on my own. I fully intend to explore this temple. But I need help. I've trusted you with this information and I'm going to trust you with more than that. Will you, or the people you choose, come with me to Northern Africa to seek out the temple of the Cult of Mercury?"

Vibria grins. [color=red]"Northern Africa? Where it's nice and toasty warm? And maybe I won't feel so chilly all the time? I'm in. Oh....wait. I should probably talk to my husband first. Then I'm in."

I would suggest Autumn 43 or Winter 44. This is what Roberto has on his plate...

  • Spring 42 Ancient History
  • Summer 42 Vacation (recover and heal at Heracleion)
  • Then The Exarch
  • Train Edith and Lucien
  • Study Mastery of Lancea Magica and gain Resistance
  • Study Parma and improve score
  • Enchant Familiar Bond with Endurance
    That will put me at Fall 43

I count that as leaving Roberto busy until Winter 44. So as much as Flavia would like to get the place explored Right Now, she'll wait until Winter 44 for the exploration.

Besides, there are preparations that can be made in the meanwhile.

((And, of course, as soon as I leave for work this morning, I think of what Vibria says next.))

[color=red]"Come to think of husband is a very talented linguist. Since I doubt that they speak much Latin or Occitan in Africa, I'm sure he'd be a definite benefit on the expedition."

That's just fine, and better that way on all counts :smiley:
(Btw: Yes, I'm alive, don't worry)

The Temple of Mercury bit didn't grab much of Arachné's attention. Her magic is quite different from the ancient order's huge rituals, and, while it is still useful knowledge to have and/or to track, there are few chances it'll be of much use to her.
But the temple?
This would mean a place sufficiently hidden, probably with a magic aura, in THE land she herself appraised as being far from potential trouble.
This would be perfect... If too many people aren't aware of the situation.

This is interesting.
How many people know about this? Are there copies of these scrolls?

I can't go there. Too much uncertainty, too much wasted time... If only Eva was old enough! But she's not yet ready for this, in trust or knowledge. I need a proxy there, but who?

"I'll go," Lucas adds. "I have to admit that I'm curious about what a temple to Mercury would look like. And since I've seen this at the beginning, I'd like to see it through to the end."

"Does he speak Arabic?" Flavia replies. "That's what matters where we'd be going. I speak it myself, so we won't be at sea. But the more that can converse in the local language the better."

"Bashir speaks Arabic, I know," Lucas adds. "I'm sure we could convince him to tutor someone in the language before we go. I know Cecelia has been talking about picking up some Arabic for ages. She keeps threatening that she'll spend a few seasons in the Levant to learn it. I'm sure if Jasick doesn't already speak Arabic, he could pick some up prior to our departure."

"At the moment, I believe that only those of us in this room know the precise details of this find," Flavia replies. "Darius ex Tytalus knows that I've found something powerful, though I don't think that he knows it's a temple of Mercury, or even the exact location. It's possible, of course, that he has more information than I thought."

"It's also possible that he might have made copies of some or all of the scrolls. However, if so, I doubt that he'd have shared them with anyone. He's quite secretive about sources of power."

"Indeed he is, Flavia," Santiago agrees. "He'd sooner part with his left arm than share power with anyone."

FWIW, Bashir speaks Arabic as a native language and is a very good teacher (24/21/18). He could certainly hold Arabic classes for people if they want.

[color=red]My familiar, Cidito, has the Gift of Tongues. To remain subtle, he can telepathically tell me what people say, but I cannot respond.
I am in this for Santiago, and to oppose wicked magi. If there are any benefits, all the better. If there must be sacrifice, so be it.
But on a side not guys, I am tired of North Africa. This will be my third trip and I am sure three more are coming. I want to see Greece again, go to Denmark or England, visit the Holy Land.
This is the most international covenant I have ever known. I am sure we can make it happen :slight_smile:
Roberto is just being smarmy :slight_smile:

[color=red]"He has what some people call the gift of tongues. He can speak and understand any language under the sun."

"What a useful ability," Flavia replies. "It certainly wouldn't hurt having another Arabic speaker with us."

Clearly I made a mistake when making up Cecelia. I spent a point giving her the Linguist Virtue when I should have spent that point giving her the Gift of Tongues Virtue.I had thought that Virtue was not allowed. :frowning:

It is a Virtue with requisites. All Heroic Virtues & Flaws require one or more of the following: Mythic Blood, Latent Magic, Legacy, Blood of Heroes, Magic (being), and not sure what else.
Linguist makes it easier to read & write new languages though, and teach them. Tongues does not.

He is completely unaware of all of this, but Acutus is always up for adventure! In addition, Selim is a native Arabic speaker, has Faerie Speech (the Faerie version of Gift of Tongues), is good with camels, desert survival, and perhaps most importantly, has Ways of the Desert.

Trogdor, if it makes you feel any better, Solomon also has the Linguist virtue, and speaks a number of languages that he spent XP on.

Of course. Lucas would certainly remember Acutus' love for adventure from their undersea adventure, and Selim's useful skills from the City of Brass adventure. He'll recommend them both and Flavia will certainly defer to the adventurous sorts as to who to bring.

Awesome :slight_smile:
Also, earlier, I was not trying to question the importance of this find as a player. I was roleplaying Roberto's ignorance. Lucas knows the temple at Doisettep was conjured by Primatius. Roberto believes the lie that it is real.

"So, I get the feeling that you're not going to be ready to go immediately," Flavia replies. "Obviously I want to head out as soon as possible. But I also understand the need to prepare. Why don't I give you all a season to get some resources together, talk among yourselves, and I'll do some leg work in North Africa. I'll meet back here and we can make better plans then. Does that sound reasonable to people?"

Lucas nods and replies that it's perfectly fine with him.

"I'll leave Andorra to this exploration," Santiago adds, "As exciting as it sounds, I'll help you best by trying to harass Darius and keep him off-balance. Let me know if I can help in any way."

This is a good opportunity to have other characters brought into the group when it reconvenes.They can have been recruited in the meanwhile.

[color=red]Victory is in the Preparation, and Preparation depends on intelligence. Right now, I have a rough idea of what the enemy can do, and I have a plan for counter-measures. But I need time to heal and think. Plus I am training a small team of side-kicks Edith and Lucien. The lad is yet an apprentice, but the senorita is a fierce young Flambeau maga eager for adventure. Her skills will be an asset to the task force you request we form.
I cannot speak for my covenant as a whole, but we assembled magi are here to volunteer ourselves to your cause. These blackguards have violated your dignity and deprived you of your freedom to work magic. I cannot tolorate this. I shall bring this up sith Solomon and see what legal action cn be taken.

Mentally insert where Roberto tells Solomon all about this, with a slight spin on how his fight went down, and see what we can do.
I have a full update plan, that includes Lucien and Edith, so if IBT wants to jump in as Lucien. I nominate Fixer for Edith.

Yep, love to play Lucien through this!

Euh, sure, why not?
What's an Edith, btw?

(And FYI, I'm taking a few days next week, so don't be surprised if you don't hear from me, I'm not sure I'll be able to connect)

I need to update Lucien's Training and IBT needs to update the rest. Edith needs tweaking. Roberto is all caught up, but on the side he would like to acquire a few Charged Items.

This is a potentially active story, and is something I would like to explore. If Trogdor is up to it.