[tab][/tab][tab][/tab][tab][/tab]Birds of a Flock: Bjornaer Stuff
[tab][/tab]This is some things happening with the Bjornaer pair, mainly the Gathering of twelve years. If you are not Bjornaer please do not post here.
[tab][/tab]Springtime finds the sons of Birna busy with their new home. Pavo is cutting a swath among the covenfolk, most people look stunned when they first meet him. He is usually followed around by the younger children and though he is treated with respect, its more awe than fear contrary to most other magi. Anastaj warns him that some of the younger girls might be infatuated with him.
[tab][/tab]Arni spends most of his time in eagle form. The mountains are a majestic environment, a place where flight is both exhilarating and dangerous. The Gorges themselves are a marvel of nature, full of life and color, but they do represent hardship; the shadowplaces and the cold running waters make for weird thermals and its a struggle to gain altitude. The Tymfi mastiff on the other hand gathers much heat on the south side during the day to make rising easy. The Tabletop and the alpine meadows are another matter; weird weather, strong winds and mysterious mists are the norm up there, Arni decides to take Anastaj's warnings to heart.
[tab][/tab] There are too many things to see, too many places to visit. Arni tries to sample everything. Tymfi has several places of interest (please see general descriptions). Searching for magic, the eagle is astounded by the weave of auras around the mountains. Both Gorges are literally covered by a magic carpet, though strangely some spots seem bare, like something else suppresses the magic. Of note the Agkstromenhs springs are one such place, several shadowplaces and some bends on the rivers, some glades at the banks and even one wooden bridge outside the Aoos gorge, upstreams. The Towers are a natural magnet of magic, the whole massif has an aura of some strength. Arni is sure this extends above on the plateau, but wisely chooses to investigate from higher up. It is a desolate place of stones and rocks, with very few vegetation, open, empty and forlorn. However several times Arni has caught movement. His eagle eyes spotted small herds of long haired goats moving in that altitude, a moment later mysteriously disappearing. More alarming he has caught at the edge of his vision large shapes plodding around the plateau or huge round stone structures appearing through the mists, but turning to catch a glimpse of them turns futile, there is nothing there. Arni remembers the stories about drakoi living in this place and give it a wide breadth. Dragonlake looks like a giant, round single eye from above. It gave a weird feeling to the eagle that while it was looking at it, the lake was looking right back. Perhaps it was prudent not to fly over that place as there is definitely some kind of supernatural scrutiny. One last place where magic surprisingly appeared to be strong was the old, dilapidated castle at the entrance of the Aoos gorge. There was movement there and what seemed to be renovations going on, a weird place for a noble to claim.
[tab][/tab] Around Tymfi are other mountains and the eagle has flown over some of them too. To the north the Nemërçkë ranges, twin mountains going in parallel lines marking the steady progress of Aoos towards the Adriatic sea. Tall and snowed in, they seem to be just bare rock and moss, with few stunted trees. The northern slops though are milder and huge Fir forests cover a vast area. Those dark forests are sure to be teaming with magic and fae. South is Mitsikeli, a low range on the east side of Ioannina lake. There are some hints of magic on that hilly place, but the aura of the lake makes find them from air difficult. The watery volume itself is sure to be hidding many secrets, there are places where magic spikes or dissapears altogether. Lygkos to the east and Trapezitsa to the north look like normal mountains. However their forests and rivers are sure to be hiding things, as the eagle catches glimpses of magic creatures hiding among the slopes. Smolikas is another matter. Highest of the Pindos peaks, it is a sight from afar. However its cliffs are home to a colony of Harpies, strange creatures half hags half vultures, very dangerous and very territorial. Arni spots them flying over their mountain from afar and their sentries seem to spot the eagle too. A trio launched from the cliffs and made a bee-lined for Arni. The Bjornae prudently changed flight path and after a brief chase (the eagle being slightly faster than the hags), the harpies returned to their roosts. What brief look Arni had of Smolikas showed him that its a dangerous place, and yet instict tells him that there is something there....
Gathering of 12 years.
[tab][/tab] It is late spring or early summer when the Bjornaer leave the covenant for their trek north. Anastaj has provided for them and their retinue, both in provisions and money. After Arni's prompting he entrusts the magi with some vis too; an apple (10 points of mentem worth) and some of the Creo vis your sodales brought (10 pawns worth). The more precious apple was given to Pavo, the rest to Arni. They will be responsible and accountable for the vis and will be allowed to trade it on behalf of the covenant. Unfortunately he does not have other things of trade value to give. He does seem a bit worried about your trip and gently asks if they would leave some kind of arcane connection behind, just in case.
[tab][/tab] It is a long arduous journey, especially for Arni. Eventually the Bjornaer reach Rutgen Isle in the Baltic sea and make their way to Stubnitz forest. Leaving your retinue behind, you follow the traditional trail down the Watching Path and allow the partial transformations to occur each time to pass a regio until such time you enter Crintera proper. You present yourself to Istvan Pada, the current Elder of the Horse, who takes census and you exchange news. Slowly most Bjoarnaer magi from the Order gather on the Island to attend the Rite, bringing potential apprentices with them. The climate though seems like clam before a storm; the wilderist/harmonist debate is in full force, magi gathering in groups of same minded people exclusively. Poison is brewing...
[tab][/tab] Arni request a meeting with the Swan Elder, Ardea. She is an old, pensive woman, rumors have it that it is past time the House has found a replacement. Never the less she is very capable and the head of your clan. She listens to your halting request and looks you over with a scrutinizing eye. She says a name ''Kуропа́тка''. Just as you are about to say your thanks and take your leave, she halts you with a raised hand, wrinkled with age ''Young one, you and your brother will take your duties far south and help your brothers and sisters as you should. But for my help I require of you... something new'' She smiles a gap toothed smile ''You will know what to bring when you find it'' and after that cryptic remark allows you to leave without explaining further.
[tab][/tab] Kуропа́тка is a middle aged maga of clan Ilfetu descendant of some Novgorod pagan tribe or other. Stout, plump and quite judgemental, she is unpleasantly surprised (appalled! Simply appalled!) by your lack of mastery in Gothic. In a lilting voice and perfect Gothic, she berates you about your lack of knowledge, about avoiding your responsibilities and accuses you (and all young people) of purposefully ignoring custom and flying in the face of tradition. She vows to rectify the situation for you and that other puffed one, warns you not to try her patience, she will take care of the matter, expect results inside the next year, and like a tyrant takes control of your life for the next weeks. You are stunned by her tirade, barely catching one word in two. She starts you down the path you seek, but she is a very strict master, expecting perfection. Plenty of times she berates you about your lack of familiarity with Gothic, and she also unleashes her tongue on Pavo too. After the rite of twelve years, she initiates you on the Trial of the Oath of the Prophet and tells you she expect you to treat the 'tutor' with every courtesy and respect when he arrives at your doorstep. She sniffs and declines to explain any further.
[tab][/tab] The mystagogue Kуропа́тка surprisingly did not ask for payment. Inquiry into the woman reveals that she has a feud with your parens, Ulfhildur. There is bad blood between those two and it seems she uses you to thumb his nose. Ulfhildur was present at the rite, but purposefully avoided Arni and the mentor. Arni has seen him look at him darkly and having whispered conversations with groups of wilderists.
[tab][/tab] During the Gathering, you are also approached by a pair of magi....
[tab][/tab] It is now Autumn and things have started settling down after your travel to the cold North. You now have the time to do some of the stuff you wanted to do, maybe catch some downtime and have some contact with mundanes. Though life starts slowing down for the coming winter, it is a very busy season non the less.
[tab][/tab] Pavo has come from the Gathering with new experiences and new worries. Particularly the expected arrival of his traveling mentor sometime next year is... troubling. From what he gathered , he will be staying around for at least a season if even more. Pavo has some unflattering thoughts about Arni for that, but then again it will be good to see his mentor again. As for the covenant itself, the young greek has been noticing some strange things. His relationship with the covenfolk had become a bit smoother, he still awes people with his presence (as he should), but now there is something else too. Children simply love to tag along, following him at a distance, seeing what he is doing and mimicking him. At times they can be such a nuisance but they mean no harm. A couple of girls make long eyes and give off sighs, but Anastaj warned him out that. Old folk have started being more open towards him, though still respectful. But there is something about the adult population, especially married couples that seems...off. There are frowns, suspicious looks, some scowls of discontent directed at the young man when no-one is looking. Pavo just cannot put his finger on it. There is an apprehension that wasnt here seasons ago....
[tab][/tab] Arni is dealing with the herd situation. His slav maid has done her best to find out about the herders, mostly talking to women folk, but they seem to be a close knit group. She did made the initial encounter with Tomas easier, but the elder seemed very gruff and unresponsive to Arni's overtures. He had the women folk and children hidden and he kept asking about Anastaj and how they always talked to him and there was no problems when they talked to him. Tough customer. The maid will try to smooth things over. She managed to make some headway about how to manage and expand the herds.