Ancient History (Spring 1242)

Vibria will see Roberto, Arachné, and Lucas off. [color=red]"Fair travels, sodales, and we will see you very soon."

From practically the moment that Roberto brought up the subject, Vibria has started working to get rid of some of the rust. She was surprised at how long it had been since she had done more than a token sparring session with the Andorran Guard. And she was shocked, shocked at how her armour fit anymore. It was snug in all the wrong places. And she couldn't blame all of her softness on having two children. She had spent so much of the last three years with her nose in the books trying to learn enough to recapture the sensation of taking a dragon's form that she had neglected her body, and her martial training. [color=red]No more, she thinks to herself as she finds herself gasping for breath after only half an hour of sword exercises. [color=red]I need to dedicate at least a couple of months a year to keep myself in fighting trim. What would happen if the covenant were attacked again?

That night, after a relaxing and much-needed boil-bath and checking on the children, she collapses in bed around her husband and holds him tight. She's found, over the years, that even if she doesn't expect him to understand her problems, somehow he (almost) always does and helps her sort them out.

The next morning, she's in the training yard, fully armed and armoured, right down to her Draconian helm, and spends as much time as she can training and sparring until Roberto et al return.

At some point before departure, Roberto takes Vibria aside for a Flambeau conversation.
So which do you prefer? Battle Axes or Poison Daggers?
Do you get the reference?
We first met some eight years ago, when Barcelona & Andorra teamed up and annexed the magical properties of the Balearic Islands. Ironically, I moved to Ibiza to get away from covenant politics and Hermetic culture. Yet these eight years is the longest I have ever been part of any one covenant.
Back then you were headed out on some soul searching quest, and you were gone some four years or so. When you came back, some four years ago, I didn't understand the big deal about your vacation or about your return. And I still don't get it.
I did some checking up on you. My cat seems to like you. I remember him saying how he rescued your ruby necklace when your lab caught fire. Carlos seems to like you. He likes practically every woman he has ever met though. Still, he listens to the gossip and rumors and has done some follow up. It's a good report. Dragon heritage, wyrm slayer, war hero, and proven to be of decent morality despite what people whisper.
Me? I don't dislike you. You seem decent enough.And your reputation proceeds you. But I do have one criticism. You have let yourself get fat and lazy over the past four years. Having children is a most honorable activity, don't get me wrong. My utmost respect goes out to the mothers of this world, Blessed be they in the spirit of Mary.
But people like us, we are not normal. We are magi. And not just any magi. We are Flambeau. House of the Enlightened. We are the best of the best. Even when we slack we are still better. But so much more is expected of us and criticized of us.
I want you on this mission, but I will cut you no slack. The council has made me (Deputy) Marshal, and I take my duties seriously. When it comes time to select grogs for this mission, I will be careful to choose veterans that are familiar with you so that we can fight in groups as needed. And so that they are used to your gift and magical style.
Your husband, Jack. He is a good fighter. I want him with us, but he seems to be kind of touched in the head. Like a stooge. But he's not. Still, I'll rank him as a Corporal only because of his high skill level and magical nature. But he has to be willing to follow orders from the others.

[color=red]"I understand," Vibria replies, [color=red]"and I wouldn't want any preferential treatment. I'm sorry for letting myself go like I have. I just got so focused on trying to learn how to take a dragon's form again that I lost sight of the rest of what makes me, me. I'm starting to work on getting back in shape, and when we return from Campo de Marte, I will work with the sergeants to help me lose some of my flab."

[color=red]"Yes, he is. He's a very good fighter, almost vicious in a way. I love him with all my heart, but there are times that he doesn't know when to stop, and he might keep fighting even when the battle's done. Just in case you wanted to factor that into your strategy. If you want me to stay close to him, I can try to reel him in if he does get like that."

Eh. Don't let me get under your skin. I piss and moan a lot, and then usually just get over it at that instant. Like just now. I won't be rough on you. Really, the main reason I want you in on this is to help you get back into shape. And to show you off to Santiago. A Flambeau of Dragon Blood and a War Hero to boot!

As for Jake, I haven't seen him go berserk or anything like that. Though now that you mention it, when sparring he holds nothing back and he has this look like he wants to eat the guy or something. He can get pretty scary to some people some times, but he is such a goof ball that it sets them back at ease.
I do believe you mentioned that he is also dragon blooded?

[color=red]"Yes, he is. Not a descendant of Sigmundo, obviously. He's the great-great-grandson of Smok Vavalski, a Polish dragon."

Smaug Wawalvski? Never heard of him. But it sounds pretty cool. Smaug. Smogg?
So that's your new surname now? Vibria Wawalski?

[color=red]"He apparently actually rules a city in Poland, and lets the humans run it for him.

"And I think my married mundane name would be Elena Vavalski. Not sure about Vibria Vavalski, I didn't think magae normally took their husband's surnames.*"

[size=25]"Quickly! To the Bookmobile, boy wonder!"[/size]

Oh. I didn't know Vibria was a nomme de guer. My buddy Wirth does that. Known him for years and I can't remember his real name :laughing:
Hello Elena. My name is Roberto Miguel Rodriguez-Oestridez, filius Joel Muniz and protoge of Santiago, House Flambeau, Knight of Seneca.
Fair warning. Santiago is way more into the whole Seneca mythology and the Delendos legends. i look at the whole thing as a bunch of parables, and a body of lore you can build your own parables upon. I swear Santi sounds like he is making up stuff half the time just to make a point or teach a lesson.
Quick research on Wikipedia concerning Polish Names has yielded some interesting information I did not know. Apparently you can: keep your own tame, take the name of one or the other, combine names, or just make something up.
But there are strict rules.
The Bookmobile and the Boy Wonder are of no help. Instead, Jaksick tells you all about it, and comes up with the following suggestion.

"Vibria Elana Smokski"
See, "Smok" means Dragon, "Vavel" is the name of the town, and "ski" means of. So Smok Vavalski literally means "Dragon of Vavel", or Vavel Dragon.
His real name is unknown :wink:
"Smokski" means "of the dragon", pertaining to both your heritages.

(( [size=85]Side note: King Henry I died in 1238, and Henry II is killed by Mongols in 1241. Them Dragons of the East :wink: The new king, Boleslaw II, was put into place by Smok[/size] ))

OOC: Are we ready to move on to Campo de Marte?

Roberto, Arachné, and Lucas gather together and ready themselves to depart. He has everyone prepare themselves with all pomp and circumstance, and advises everyone it is no shame to arrive with a full compliment of defensive spells in place.
This is a Flambeau covenant. Dress to impress. That includes your magic. :wink:

Lucas nods at Roberto's suggestion and pauses a moment. There's a slight flickering around him and then his outfit begins to change. The clothes, which were nice to begin with, become fancier and take on a slightly more military style. "I hope this will do," he says.

Then, once any other preparations are made, the three cast their spells and in the wink of an eye are transported elsewhere. All three immediately appear next to an outcropping of rock in a small woods that could easily be in Castille. As the letter suggested, there is a trail visible just a short distance from where they stand. Turning left on the trail should lead the visitors to Campo de Marte. No doubt Santiago picked a place distant from the covenant to prevent any trouble with the Aegis - that and as a bit of added security.

"So far so good," Lucas says when they arrive. "Arachné, you wanted to take the stealthy approach, right?"

Lucas will cast Aura of Ennobled Presence, Doublet of Impenetrable Silk, Magus' Sidestep, Wings of Daedalus, and Remake the Tailor's Craft. All are auto success cast in the Andorra Aura and non-stress.
Finesse check for Remake the Tailor's Craft: Finesse roll: 1D10+6 = [4]+6 = 10
Roll for LoH: Leap of Homecoming: 1D10+32 = [8]+32 = 40; success

While in Andorra, the Spider takes a little wooden spider out of her bag, and removes a sliver of wood with a knife, giving the Spider to Lucas.
She casts an Intangible Tunnel upon it, and then, activates* her Bracelet of Relief.

If you take this spider with you, I'll be able to use it to passively receive species, and see through its eyes.
That way, should you fall into an ambush, I'll know it, and will be your hidden card. If I see something before you do, I'll animate it towards the direction of the danger, so as to warn you. And if the way is safe, I'll just relocate to it. In the meantime, I'll just hide.

While in Andorra, she'll also cast her Ward Against Heat and Flames, Perfect Ward against Steel (+30 soak against Metal attacks, whether conscious or not), Eyes of the Hawk, Veil of Invisibility, Soar with the Birds (Bracelet of Relief to hold it**), and, last but not least, Sight of the Active Magics, also held***.

She feels almost ready to go, but doubt seize her. What if this is an ambush, and I have to relocate fast? I'm not sure I can fast-cast Leap of Homecoming reliably... Better prepare. She thus cast her Patient Spell, using ber bracelet of Relief on it, followed by a Leap of Homecoming to Andorra****

Yes. Don't worry about me, says her disembodied voice.

She'll then fly high above, using her enhanced sight, including second sight***** to check on Lucas, Roberto, and their surroundings. If she loses sight of them, she'll cast another spell to use the spider.

She doesn't want to scry needlessly, and is reasonnably sure that the situation if safe, so, as soon as it seems everything is ok, she'll (in that order!) dispell her Veil of Invisibility and teleport to her spider (she'll also do that before they enter any Aegis, though). She's just being a little irrationnal and paranoid, due to having been out of the field for so long, and feeling responsible of Roberto and Lucas: This reminds her too much of her departed sodales. If she's alone and something happens to her, it's fine, but she's not alone, and is the senior maga.

  • Sta 1 + Conc 4 + Concentration Mastery 1 = 6 + 1d10=1, 1d10=9 = 25 vs EF 6, more than enough.

** Sta 1 + Conc 4 + Concentration Mastery 1 = 6 + 1d10=7 = 13

*** To cast: +29 + 5 + 1d10=9 = 41, yes!
To hold: Sta 1 + Conc 4 + Concentration Mastery 1 = 6 + 1d10=2 = 8, barely.

**** To keep the patient spell: Sta 1 + Conc 4 + Concentration Mastery 1 = 6 + 1d10=4 = 10
To cast LoH: +30+5+ 1d10=3 = 38 vs 35

***** Per 02 + Second Sight 03 + 1d10=6 = 11, 12 vs invisible things

Arachne takes to the sky invisibly, one of her spiders, hanging from Lucas' belt as if it were just another magical trinket. Meanwhile, Roberto and Lucas head left down the path, as Santiago indicated they should, and start walking. It's a fine spring day with the trees starting to bloom, animals making up for their winter rest, and birds of prey overhead looking for their next meal.

Not a hundred yards down the path the trees taper off and the two can see what looks like a wall surrounding a large villa. The wall looks as if it has been augmented from its original form, with small towers erected along its length. Shortly after coming within sight of the wall, Roberto and Lucas see a man, who appears to be a soldier on patrol, move purposefully toward them. He wears what might be a uniform, one with the symbol of House Flambeau subtly arranged on it.

"Please state your business," he says in a no-nonsense way when he gets within hearing distance. He takes no hostile action, but Roberto can see the signs that the other guards nearby are aware of their presence and could quickly come to the aid of the lone patroller. In fact, even more careful examination shows that the whole defensive position appears to be coming to alert, with additional guards appearing by the walls or in the towers.

From above, Arachné can see more of the compound. As Roberto and Lucas could perceive, it includes a villa with a substantial wall around it. But what the two ground-based magi could not see is that the compound includes several other buildings, including what appear to be a barracks, a stable, a blacksmith, and some other random buildings. There are soldiers practicing in the yard next to the barracks. But shortly after Arachné starts watching, an alert seems to go through the compound and the soldiers begin to take defensive positions. Also, paranoid as always, Arachné notices that there seem to be more birds of prey in the sky over the compound than you would expect there to be.

Sentinel Awareness check: Awareness roll: 1D10+7 = [2]+7 = 9; success

Awareness check for Arachné: Awareness roll: 1D10+5 = [8]+5 = 13; success

¡Saludo! I am Roberto filius Joel of Flambeau. I have come at the request of Santiago.

"¡Saludo!" the guard replies crisply. "Welcome to Campo de Marte. We were told to expect you. Santiago wants to see you immediately, so please follow me." Then he turns with military precision and starts walking toward the front gate. He doesn't initiate any small talk, though he's responsive to questions. As they approach the gate, even Lucas can start to see that the covenant is on some kind of alert.

Through her spider, Arachné can hear all of what went on below, and see most of it. From looking at the covenant, she can tell that the outer wall is the most likely boundary to use for its Aegis. If she wants to join Roberto and Lucas before they pass through the Aegis, it will have to be soon.

Sorry, I couldn't answer before.
Since she could still use Eyes of the Eagle, she wouldn't have used the spider yet, but this changes nothing anyway.

Seems like a camp on alert, but no sign of a trap. More like they fear an attack. She'll quickly teleport to the spider*, although that'll probably raise the alarm level. Good for them, keep them on their toes.

Once she appears, she won't move and will keep her hands visible (one holding her staff), so that the guards can realise she's not hostile.

  • 1d10=4 + 30 + Aura ? + Talisman 3 with Corpus (always forget the Amber attunment) = 37 + Aura vs lvl 35, probably okay.

Arachné appears right beside Lucas, a couple of paces behind the guard. There is a shout from the wall and a small armed contingent from the front gate comes rushing over. The guard turns immediately, his hand on his sword and says, "is she one of yours?" Lucas quickly replies that she is, and the guard relaxes, if only slightly.

Before the group can get moving again, the armed contingent arrives, though they take no hostile action after the guard gives a silent signal that Roberto recognizes as indicating that the situation is safe. The obvious leader gets a slightly faraway look on his face that all three magi recognize as meaning he's mentally talking to a familiar.

"Good morning," he says to the group. "My name is Diego ex Flambeau, and welcome to Campo de Marte." He looks over at Arachné. "Would you by any chance have been flying invisibly near the covenant just a moment ago?

The Aura where Arachné is flying is 0. But she still makes the roll.

BTW, how does Arachné get rid of the invisibility? The spell has a duration of Sun.

I didn't realize she was that near.

The crone shrugs
Of course. The message was alarming enough, I wanted to get a lay of the place, should this be a trap for my friends. Good to know you're on your toes, though.

Interesting. How did they detect me? Disregarding Invisibility, I must have been a small target, and most people don't look in the sky anyway. So... a reliable and common means of detecting invisibility, coupled with special protocols? Unless using some unknown magic, the best one can do is probably either Second SIght or Vision Target, but that's too unreliable if you want to scan all the sky... I need my lab, I can't just compute this in my head... If this wasn't just a freak occurrence, I must absolutely find how they did this and implement that for Andorra!
And these birds... Interesting. Do they have some equivalent of Guiverna, or something better? I must know!

She leans on her staff a little, as if tired, then raises herself again, giving him his hand to shake, like the knights do.
Arachné filia Cletho Ex Miscellanea. Pleased to meet you.

Unravelling the Fabric of Imaginem (PeVi 20) vs Veil of Invisibility (PeIm 20). She can unravel any form at lvl (30 + no botch stress die) :smiley:

Easy, a hawk familiar with second sight (and natural eyes of the hawk). I figured if you could see Roberto and Lucas, someone with hawk eyes could see you.

And given that this is a world in which magic is real, it didn't seem odd for me to have them scanning the skies. This is a world where a dragon or a troupe of flying wizards could actually come down on you from above.

Besides, this is a covenant perhaps as keen on security as Arachné is. It's effectively a Flambeau military encampment with military protocols in place.

"A pleasure," Diego says with a bow, taking Arachné's hand and shaking it as he would a knight rather than kissing it as he would a lady's. Then he glances at the guard, raising an eyebrow.

"They're here to see Santiago," the guard says. "They should be the ones he's expecting. He said one of them would be named Roberto. And they came down the trail he said they would."

"Indeed," Diego says. "This is Roberto ex Flambeau. We've met before, though you may not recall it. I was at the Dimicatio tournament in 1227, but didn't compete. As I recall, you did quite well there. I congratulated you on your victories, though we didn't speak for very long." He shakes Roberto's hand. "Now, if you three will follow me, Santiago is expecting you. He's had the sentries on alert since yesterday." Diego then turns and heads back to the gate, gesturing the guard to return to his post.

It's a short walk to the main gate, where Diego has a few words with a sergeant. Walking through the gate, the magi can feel that slightly odd sensation that tells them they've passed into an Aegis. Inside is much as Arachné saw. It's clearly a military camp, with a barracks, mess hall, stables, and the like. The only difference is the beautiful villa up a slight hill overlooking the rest of the camp. The villa is made of the brown stone so common to this area, and is built in the Moorish style, a remnant of when the Moors controlled more of the peninsula. As they make their way to the villa, Roberto, Arachné, and Lucas can see that the alert has been called off and soldiers are moving back to training.

"At the villa, Diego nods to an alert soldier on guard, simply saying, "visitors for Santiago." The soldier nods back with a brisk, "yes sir!" Inside is an entryway with a large archway that leads to a great hall. From this vantage it's clear that there are more soldiers inside studying maps or being spoken to by older soldiers. It seems that fighting is not all that's being taught here. Diego brings the group up a set of stairs to a room on the second floor with a solid wooden door. Pausing before it, he knocks twice.

A voice from inside that Roberto instantly recognizes as Santiago's calls out, "enter!"

I'll pause here to let people back post anything to do with the approach.