Aqaba covenant

Aqaba is in ruins, but well located, and probably has strong remnants of divine aura as there have been multiple mosques built in the area and used from 650 to 1116, meaning the divine aura would decay to zero by 1582. However the Muslim city was built outside the walls of an older pagan city captured by Muslims in 650 which had existed since 4000 BC, and had been prosperous since 735 BC, which again means there could be some major magical auras or regio just outside the remaining divine aura the divine aura at this point would be at level 2 throughout the old city boundaries.
Aqaba is along a trade route, but it is also way outside of the crusader kingdoms and the mass of Hermetic covenants (such as it is), and deep in Arab lands, south of Petra. To play what the book considers a medium strength covenant it would need to be either summer or autumn. Given the location I would suggest Summer, where what was a small outpost has managed to get itself past the founding pains and established in the region, but has not yet developed a strong political reputation, indeed it would probably have the hook of unsafe and the boon of ungoverned, or possibly a major hook of war zone, depending on whether we want to assume that the troops marching between Egypt and Damascus would get close enough to involve the covenant.. At the time of the story it is not actively used as a trade route, and what remains of the community (displaced from both original sites) is a simple fishing village.

So, I was wondering if I could have Terpsichore stationed here. Why would she be here, I don't know...
Maybe it was an outpost for expansion, established here when things were looking more bright for the Order, with the Crusades gaining traction. Now that the Crusades are receding, what could be left here, that someone in the Order wants to protect ?

Given the expendable nature of the Illegittimate Lineage of Terpshichore, she could have been asked/tasked to support a remote Mercere operation. A Mercere Portal, or an expedition ?

probably not a portal- considering that Rhine has 2 mercere portals and both are at significant autumn covenants I don't see Aqaba having one or being in line for one. The reason for an outpost is fairly clear, with the strong magical auras and potential troves of ancient magical discovery, plus being likely the farthest outpost for any magi seeking the Garden of Eden or other middle eastern sites outside the levant, she could well be stationed as support for redcaps that might have to come through the area.

I was also thinking about this. What about placing the covenant on Pharao's Island ?

It's less than 10 nautical miles away from mainland Aqaba, by 1217 is reported being inhabited by a fishing village and populated by Muslims and captive. Fortifications, insular, maybe lower dominion aura

It would be possible, but why? It is isolated, even from rarely traveled roads that magi might wander, which gives little reason for it to have a mercere presence and the aura is going to be dominion, unless a faerie has moved in to play at being the island inhabitants, possibly taking vitality from prisoners. Given the rich potential for auras in ancient ruined temples in Aqaba and the possibility of being a new route for magi traveling east Pharoh's island seems like a poor choice by comparison- the only potential it has is defensibility.

Maybe then I'm missing something. I thought Aqaba had too much divine aura around.

Let's just ignore Pharao's Island and move back to Aqaba.

What could be found there ? An ancient Edomite temple ? Some clues to Canaanite Magic ?

Thinking about ancient temple, I think Terpsichore could be interested in something related to Baal. So, a covenant in a ruined temple ?

It has both- the ancient pagan city was razed to the ground and a new Muslim city was built next to it, then it too was razed, so there is a ruined city with a divine aura right next to truly ancient ruins with magic auras.

Given how ancient the ruins in question would be it might not be possible to know when the covenant is established which deity the temple was consecrated to- indeed the ruins are likely little more than an outline of where the walls were in the base stones from those ruins. If it is a large covenant and the temples were small it could even cover multiple temples with a varying magic aura.

okay, trying to get things kick started here:
obviously the covenant will have a mercere house major hook, and a choice between hedge tradition or rival in the order of Seuleman, and should have the seclusion minor boon, and the ungoverned minor boon. Fallen temple is obviously a required minor hook, and pharoh's island would count as an ungarrisoned castle (minor hook), leading to a net of one major hook before you choose between the hedge tradition (minor hook) or rival (major hook) with the OoS. Possibilities with auras, regios, portals (not mercere), and monsters or other supernatural entities range all over the place...

What about this ?

Aura x2 (minor boon)
Seclusion (minor boon)
Ungoverned (minor boon)
Mystical Portal (minor boon)
Regio (minor boon)
Unnatural Law (minor boon)
Mercer House (Major hook)
Fallen Temple (minor hook)
Rival (Major Hook) (OoS)

the math certainly works out- the portal type would need to be defined, as would the unnatural law. Also the covenant would be new enough that the regio and the portal could easily be converted into hooks- uncontrolled portal for a minor hook and either major or minor hook for the regio, which gives an opportunity to explore these instead of simply having them as established. I do think the ungarrisoned castle is necessary for Pharoh's Island being so close. Obviously this means more boons that can be purchased, even if the only change otherwise is to add the ungarrisoned castle.

I thought we were leaving out Pharao's Island, but it's ok for me. Let's just add these to to introduce it, since it was possibly required for the Levant:

Ungarrisoned Castle (minor hook)
Felicitous Tribunal (minor boon)

For your other points, I'd like as well to explore the regio and the portal. Leaving math aside for a moment,
I have beeing thinking about a possibile reason for the covenant existence that could connect a bunch of dots.

Everything links to Solomon.

The covenant supports the search for the Lost Mines of Solomon. They're supposed being in Africa, the Portal leads there, somewhere around Ethyopia, and House Mercere is exploring the possibility. I'd say the region could be the mines themselves, or something related.

Under the aura of the covenant, Fair is Fair is something that goes beyond a way of saying, something enforces it throughout the entire aura. It could be a place where treaties could be signed between distrusting parties, and where justice could be found. Obviously, fairness is not always the desired outcome, so it's a double edged sword.

The Order of Suleiman would be surely interested in this place. Why leave it in the hands of the Order of Hermes ?

The Levant tribunal really isn't a felicitous tribunal.
I'm not sure what fair is fair really means in real terms. Examples in the book are concrete such as "glass is as strong as steel" or "children can fly".
As to the mystical portal, aside from Mercere portals, portals through space are essentially non-existent, though an alternative explanation could certainly apply- King Soloman's mine is believed to be in Africa, but Aqaba is a site of ancient copper mines, and it is entirely possible that King Solomon's mine was in fact a regio in Aqaba... and perhaps he spread stories of it being in Africa to defend it... it also pairs well with his reputation as summoner of Djinn both geographically and in terms of the associations of copper/brass with that art.

I took Felicitous Tribunal since you hinted it could be required (and since this is the only covenant here, so far...)

There's an example of what I mean by the concept "Fair is Fair" and how it could work here.
From Covenants, page 26, under Hermetic Market:

The covenant’s Unnatural Law refers
to powerful truth magic that affects the
place. Here, broken oaths cause the
tongue of liars to bleed, forged items
reveal themselves through chance, and
light or heavy measures break or refuse to
weigh. This effect has Penetration 15, but
is believed by many to be higher

What I was thinking is something along this line, except that in the covenant it's not the truth that is somehow enforced, but the fairness. Which, by the way, does not simply imply that everything must be equal. It would be fair, for example, that a conqueror could enslave a defeated opponent, and it would not be fair for someone to bargain for more than it deserves. This is what I had in mind.

I'm ok with the other points

I did consider it, and the point to it still stands that there are certainly considerable interests in cooperation... part of the issue is that this tribunal has no official 5th edition version and past versions have shifted considerably in how the Order handled this tribunal- mostly the argument against it being Felicitous is that it tends to be highly disorganized and pretty much exists in an ongoing war zone of crusader states, waves of actual crusades, a rival order, and on and on... let me sleep on this one- again.

I see where you are coming from on fairness, but fairness is also much more ambiguous a term than truth, often relating to rules or justice which is culturally derived, and given the origins of these auras is likely not to be what Europeans think of as fair- this would be more from the time of the Code of Hammurabi where "an eye for an eye but only a tooth for a tooth" would have been considered incredibly liberal and progressive...

which then brings up the question 9for me) as to whether the covenfolk would consider the magi responsible for (in)justices brought about by the unnatural laws...

I'm not specifically in favour of the Felicitous Tribunal boon, so these are just opinions with no strong feelings in either direction. I'd anyway say that the points you mentioned against being Felicitous could be instead the main driving factors for it, to the point that the Tribunal has ruled against incoming crusading mages with the threat of a March. That alone would require a cohesive approach in order to be enforced, which means that each single covenant must be well regarded. Besides that, it looks like The Levant is on the losing side of the crusades, and the Order faces a serious threat in this part of the world, since it risks losing access to all middle-east if it plays its cards wrong.

It's deliberately ambigue. I personally like this sort of approach, because instead of having a clear-cut template it offers a great degree of freedom in presenting options. Generally speaking, one could have an idea of what is considered fair there, but there could be unknown factors that would change the outcome. There could be ways of circumventing it, tricks and literal interpretations. Or maybe there is a hidden place where the actual rules are written, and whoever gains access to them could exploit them. So many possibilities...

As for the actual origin, I like the hint to Code of Hammurabi, but I was thinking more to a sort of "King Solomon's Fairness", if it makes sense. There could be a Genius Loci of considerable power bound there by King Solomon himself that enforces Fairness in the way the King administered justice. Which brings up another interesting route for this covenant.

As for your last question, I'd say that the covenfolk would not attribute explicitly it to the magi, since it predates the magi themselves. It's always been this way, in this area, since the days of the fathers of the fathers. Of course, the magi could be accused of exploiting it in their dirty ways... (that is to say, just the normal effect of the Gift on the people)

There are no people there whose fathers and forefathers lived in this aura. If there were you would have to take the Indegene flaw, or else rebellious covenfolk if the conquest was very recent, which as a spring covenant it likely would be. In any case the history of the region doesn't support the idea of anyone having lived on the actual covenant site since 650 AD, and nobody next to the site (In the Islamic city) since 1116. There is a small fishing village down the coast, but these people would not simply join your covenant because you showed up, so they would either need to have been conquered (Indegenes or rebellious as before) or your people moved out here with you.

Let's go with the Indigenes hook then. Would they be enough to support the covenant, or we'd need something more ? Given it's a dangerous zone, and possibly a war zone, a bit of defense would not harm.

Note: I'm a bit worried we could be adding too many hooks to effectively bring them in play. I'll leave that to your call anyway.

hooks don't prevent a covenant from coming into play- hooks make life interesting- often in a "live in interesting times" sort of way.
Before we get to the portal or regio, we have room for a major boon or three minors- I don't see that it needs to be both a portal and a regio for Solomon's mine, but I think whichever it is should be unexplored at the beginning of the saga as another minor hook. This leaves 4 "points" for boons...

There is a mountain range near modern day Aqaba which is likely where the old city and mine would be, which allows for the 'difficult access' boon, leaving Aqaba with a major boon or three minor boons to be claimed, and most fortifications would require the castle hook, which can then be used for the base of the fortifications themselves, or you can go for a manor house or small tower- free choices that do not require the castle hook...

The main thing we will need are starting magi to fill the covenant, though if nobody else steps up I will probably create a couple of NPC mages for it.

I don't like the idea of a Castle for the covenant, it's too far away from the rest of the crusader kingdoms. I'd go with Manor House instead.

For the Major Boon, what about Defensive Environment ? There could be sweeping sandstorms, and given the Major Focus of Terpsichore in Weather it would also explain why she has been tasked there