Autumn 1220: A Conference of Quaesitors

The autumn leaves have just started to turn when Constantine visits Whitburh Frithowebba in Horsinghas covenant. He's fortunate in that he caught her at home, since she's often out visiting covenants. But fortune is with him as a grog informs the magus that Whitburh is in her chambers. Constantine knows the woman fairly well as they are the only two Guernicus magi in the entire tribunal. In fact, once he leaves, all the work will fall to her.

"If you'll come this way," the grog says, ushering Constantine into a comfortable chamber. "I'll send for my mistress."

It's only a short time later that Whitburh comes into the room, a smile on her face. "Good afternoon, Constantine," she says. "To what do I owe the visit? I hope it's not some damn fool magus making more work for us." The maga smiles. "Come, let's sit. I have my maid making some mulled cider for us. It's fresh and nothing beats fresh cider."

"Well there is a story to this, so fresh cider is a fine addition." He too is smiling. "It is less of a social call, though I think this to be positive news not another set of stupid low crimes to sift through".

After she is comfortable he begins. "I'll be direct, as I am not sure how much you know: I and several other Magi in good standing from across the Order have successfully found the lost city of Atlantis, and raised it up as a new island far off the western coast of Europe. Our intent is to form a covenant." All said deadpan.

Watching her reaction, and then probably laughing a little as he says "I know that look and I'm not kidding. We found it. Atlantis."

"Should I perhaps explain the back story?" As he takes a healthy swig of cider.

"Many years ago I came across a Bonisagus with a mad dream to find Atlantis. (?He was raised in this tribunal too but our paths didn't cross significantly till a lock-in vote caused us to be held up amid a tribunal drama I forget now?) I've always been more of a researcher than a politician and the idea of finding a lost city was a welcome distraction from my normal study. Certainly very different from what you and I deal with day to day. I started a regular friendly correspondence with him, and over many years we became friends, well, friends as much that two wizards might be when we only sit to talk together once every handful of years. "
"Then in more recent years I took an interest in the myths of Atlantis too. Too many years of hearing about it put it into my mind. We started talking more seriously about expeditions and eventually I assisted in some of his journeys. I did a few small tours myself but never found anything of consequence. It was odd that his passion had lasted so long with nothing to show for it."
"I kept my interest quiet at his request, but it suited me to not appear as a seeker, or worse as if I'd lost my mind. "
"Then very recently they found a mundane artefact, which then led to a submerged temple; which confirmed the lost city. "
"After that we researched the area, and the same Bonisagus raised an island where the city fell. "

Whitburh's reaction is about what Constantine expected. At first she gives him a reflexive snort of disbelief. But then she sees that he's not pulling her leg and gets more interested.

"You're serious," she says at last. "You really did find the lost city of Atlantis. And then you raised the island from the sea? That must have been a nice piece of magic. I imagine it's a dream come true for that Bonisagus - an impressive spell on a prestigious location. I can only imagine what Durenmar would have to say about that."

"So, now you want to settle the island and put a covenant on it." Whitburh lets out a long whistle. "You don't go by half measures at all." She takes a long drink from her cider. "I suppose that means you're leaving me to handle the tribunal alone now." Constantine can tell from her tone that she's not truly annoyed, not that she'd ever admit that. "It's more work for me, you know. But you'll have your hands full too. A brand new covenant will mean work. Finding vis, gathering grogs, and negotiating with a new tribunal." She raises one eyebrow. "It is a new tribunal, isn't it? I suppose it's too much to hope for that the island is off the coast of Scotland."

"I'll have to leave Loch Leglean for sure, and I feel melancholy about that. We've worked particularly well together over the years and truthfully you've been a mentor as well as friend. Had the Atlantean ruins not been found I'd be staying for certain, but it is an staggering opportunity. So many years of success here though. "
He looks to her "A group of wizards undertaking this challenge also shouldn't do so outside the Order. Right from the outset I've asked the group to consider the Order's desires and to maintain our laws. For the Order this is an opportunity to demonstrate that we can establish a new permanent presence without transgressing on local customs and manage responsibly. I'm openly a strong transitionalist but I do understand the views of the traditionalists. I have a great respect for our history and the work of those who came before us, however depending on the past to dictate the solutions to future problems only gives limited options and will likely lead to the same outcomes and the same mistakes. Personally I want the Order to grow and improve."
More softly " In part it frustrates me that each of us gets a label which so poorly demonstrates our thoughts .. But anyway."
"I think a new tribunal makes the most sense. The island is so far west into the ocean, that it would be faster to fly between Rome and London than fly from the western coast to our island. When the distance is so vast remote administration is made difficult. Even with magic the inhabitants will not feel connected to Loch Leglean or anywhere else."
"No tribunal acts in isolation either, a Tribunal of Atlantis will need allies and friends. There will be trades, travel, and politics to account for. And growth to plan for."
"Mainly I want you to hear about the change from me, but I also would wish to find out how we plan my transition from Loch Leglean properly, and what we might establish to Loch Leglean's advantage. Two of the covenants here are at least in passing favourable to Atlantis, and I hope we can do more. "
"Would you support our move to act as a new tribunal?"

"Well, I can assure you that we'll all be sorry to see you go," Whitburh replies. "None more than me. But I can see that it's quite the opportunity for you, so I'll say naught but good luck."

"And you're not going by half measures either, are you. A new tribunal. I'm sure you know how tall an order that is. Frankly, I don't think distance alone will carry the argument. It's a long way between covenants in Novgorod, and they seem to manage alright. There will certainly be some who say that your island could easily be managed by a tribunal on the mainland."

"I'm sure you're prepared for the fact that if you refuse to join a tribunal, someone will raise your status at the Grand Tribunal meeting in eight years. New covenants on new land, and Atlantis, no less. It's just too much to walk away from. If I had to guess, I'd say that Iberia, Hibernia, and Stonehenge will easily claim authority over your island. Normandy and Loch Leglean might try too, just to keep the others from getting it. And you won't have a vote in the Grand Tribuinal. The way votes go is by existing tribunals. By claiming you don't belong to any of them, you'll be out in the cold."

"You'll have to convince the magi of the Order that it's in their best interests to allow you to get what no one's gotten in centuries - a new tribunal. That's not going to be easy."

"I'm not sure what I can do for you, either. I won't be a representative at the Grand Tribunal, I can tell you that. Never was political enough to gather up voting sigils. You'll need to find out who the represenatitves are and start working on them for support. They'll be set at the next tribunal meeting, so you'll have some time. What you really need is a few of them on your side."

"But I'll do what I can to help," she adds at last. "Little though it may be."

"Well any help will be wonderful. My work has been so far from hermetic politics that I'm starting very cold. Too many problems with the local mundanes to sup up my time. "

"You're right, the odds are plainly against us. But having ourselves organised will hopefully bring the odds in a little."

"Even just keeping me posted on the happenings here now and then. And if you are interested I'll keep you posted too. I'm going to start traveling the Order soon looking for support. "

"We are also going to tread carefully in recruitment; to try and find those who would join us in earnest. It's not much of a covenant without people. "
OOC: I picture Constantine more as a labrat of the House than a politician now that he's bee generated. I'm seeking to see if Whitburh will become a source of correspondence for OoH lore and CoH.

"Good luck, then," Whitburh replies. "And do keep me informed. I'll let you know if anything of interest happens here in the tribunal."

"I hope you find a good group of recruits."

You can have her as a Code of Hermes correspondent. I'm limiting correspondents to one subject.