Carlo's return (spring 1221)

"We might be interested, depending on the canditates. This is position that is still vacant here; and surely this would help ease the mistrust that the count may have towards us. Finally, just so we are absolutely clear, this town will not accept more than a few settlers, altought we are prepared to sponsors many more that would settler elsewhere in Malta."

"If our business is concluded here, would you like to visit the town ? I am certain the architect that made it all possible would be delighted to show you around, as would I and my colleagues, if their schedule allow them to join the visit."

"Yes," Talus agrees. "We're quite proud of the town and would enjoy the chance to show you our progress."

"I would definitely welcome a chance to visit what you have accomplished with this land."

The buildings are clearly few but magnificent, and he observes quietly until you arrive at the dig site. "What then is this? A most peculiar Labyrinth it appears."

"We discovered this underground structure when we were excavating the basement for the building that Paphos designed over here. The are made of huge monolithic stones as you can see. We do not know who built them or for which purposes, but they seems to be really ancients, perhaps as old as the pyramids that Herodotus described. Unfortunately, the don't seem to contain anything of worth, or if they do we havent found anything except for dirt and some statues of large breasted women."

"However, from a scholarly perspective this is a wonderful discovery, and a mystery than remains to be solved, and a very challenging one I might add. Perhaps the people who built this place were only a few generations remote from Adam and Eve, but this is only a conjecture."

"Should an agent of the church be examining it then?"

"Ah yes... The bishop of Malta is supposed to assign a priest to our town as soon as he finds a suitable candidate. When he arrives, it will indeed be interesting to have his perspective on these ruins."

Antonius try to direct the conversation to another topic:

"Carlo, it is our understanding that the untimely disclosure of the blue grotto operations by a former colleague was a cause embarassement for count Henri, and we wish to apologize for him, although he his no longer with us."

"I bear some responsibility for that as well, it was my job to prevent discovery. Apparently I was too slow in arresting your past colleague to prevent that inconvenience, but your apology is most welcome. I will speak with the count about what I have seen and what we have spoken of, and will return with what offer as he might be disposed to counter with."

Three days later he returns with the following points by which to establish negotiations:
first: that the council of Domus Aureus will agree to allow Henri to assign a Mayor to the town who will operate under the authority of the council to manage the growth and productivity of the town itself.
second: That the council of Domus Aureus will not oppose Henri in asserting his rightful authority in superceding the charter, nor assist Al Faquesh militarily should he decide to resist such just application of the law.
third: The count would like to receive a list of places which the hospital? College? He would like to know what exactly to call your organization, separate from the name of the town, the places they would like to acquire authority over. These would then obviously form negotiating points on your side.
fourth: the count would like for you to undertake an investigation of Al Faquesh, and discuss what reward you would receive if you are able to produce evidence he is trading in Christian slaves.

Looking over that list, Tomas looks at the other magi "this looks like things we can work with. We probably can't get all the locations we want so we need to figure out which ones are more important to us. The Mayor is going to be interesting, but probably is actually beneficial."

Talus nods as he reviews the list. "This would be acceptable," he says. They'd be getting a spy in the mayor. But that couldn't be helped. Whether overtly or covertly, the Count was going to pay attention to the covenant. They might as well get some benefit from it. And if they could find evidence of Al Faquesh dealing in Christian slaves -- well, bad as that would be, it would make some things a lot simpler.

Tartessos looks ready to explode, "Beneficial?!? This so called mayor will be running the area like it actually is a town! People not under our influence will be all over the place, and that will pretty much spell the end of our usage of spectacular magics. What happens when they create a dominion aura that saps our magical one? They will fear our the council's dominion over the "town" because of the Gift effect, and our relations will always be poor with this mayor for the same reason. I see no benefit to having an outsider run our mundanes, if for no other reason than we will be liable for their actions against any other magus, simple because the town charter alone counts as interference.

I say no on the mayor idea, it will result in eventual disaster!

I think all the other stipulations are reasonable, but will also clearly constitute interfering with mundanes. We would be much better off focusing on ourselves as a scholarly society uninterested in the grand politics surrounding us.

"I'm not certain it's as dire as all that," Talus replies. "The note does say that he'll 'operate under the authority of the council' to manage the growth and productivity of the town. Presumably that means that the council has the final say over any action he may take. And you must realize that the Count will have someone watching over us, whether it's someone overt or someone covert. This way we know who at least one of his spies is."

"Besides, I'm not sure how this makes things any worse than if we let the town grow naturally. Unless we were planning on forbidding the practice of Christianity or Islam, we're going to run the risk of a Dominion Aura arising in town. I had assumed that we were going to partition off a certain area for the 'hospital' in which we would not allow churches or mosques to keep us safe."

"As for spectacular magics, I'm not sure that was going to be a good idea with a town around anyway. We can't expect an entire town to behave like covenfolk. Sure, Durenmar manages that. But Durenmar grew to its size gradually. We're trying to do it all at once. We'll have to be circumspect around the townsfolk regardless of whether or not we have a mayor provided by the Count."

"You say it will result in disaster. What other options do we have? I ask this as a genuine question and not a rhetorical one. If you have a suggestion that would not be a spider web of trouble, I'd very much like to hear it."

"My thought is that if we're worried about the town charter counting as interference with the mundane world, and therefore a violtation of the Code, then now is the time to consider it, and find a way to divorce ourselves from the town before we're so entangled that there's no escape. Simply denying the Count's mayorial candidate does not solve the problem of us interfering with the town. In fact, having a mayor separate from us seems to be a good thing rather than a bad thing, as it makes us one step removed from the running of the town - though I can see the argument that we would be better off providing our own mayor. That is, if we had anyone suitable."

"If we want to avoid interfering with politics, then we should offload the running of the town to someone else - maybe the Count, maybe someone else, and focus on running the 'hospital' instead. We can certainly mark of enough grounds for the hospital to create a reasonable buffer between our magical Aura and any Dominion Aura that might arise in the town."

All of your arguments are correct, but assume we want a town. My arguments stem from this: a town gives us no (or very little) advantage, and presents huge drawbacks, especially in the long term.

The only reason a "town" even entered the discussion was because a charter was the only way to get the land.

Let us continue instead this fiction that there is a town and keep to our own academic devices. If we must accept a representative from the Count, let us be clear that he will not be mayor over a normal town.

In fact, given the proclivities of our familiars and grogs, we might as well call ourselves a collegium and be done with it.

If I am outvoted on this, I present an alternative: the mayor will not serve as executive, but rather as first among equals of guild dean heads. Which will include Penko, Paphos, Asha, Madaleen, Patrice and any others we can think of.

"Ah," Talus says and pauses for a moment. "What with all the talk of towns and town councils, I had not understood it to be a mere act of bureaucratic ledgerdemain. Now things make a great deal more sense." He nods. "I agree that we're better off without a town. But I'm not sure that's possible given the desire to create a great hospital or collegium or whatever it ends up being called."

"If we're looking to draw people here to the hospital, or for education, or anything, we'll get a settlement whether we like it or not - that is unless we actively prevent it from happening. And in that case, the fiction that we're creating a town will evaporate like a morning fog as the sun comes out. I'm afraid if we wanted to be isolated, then creating the hospital was not the best way to go about that. I think the best we can do is to focus the growth that will inevitably come. Trying to prevent it is like trying to hold back the tide."

"My suggestion is that we declare that the area within the walls will be dedicated to the collegium, centered around the hospital. The town, such as it is, will be formed outside of the wall, much as a town will grow up outside of a castle. And over time we can try and focus the expansion of the town to suit our needs as best we're able, making sure that the collegium grounds remain inviolate to mundane encroachment, and the Dominion Aura that may form around the town."

"As a side thought, I doubt very much that either the Count or Al Faquesh will accept us sitting on a town charter and not actually building a town. Regardless of who gave us the grant, they'll expect some kind of growth, and I don't doubt that they'll step in if they see no forward progress. Better that we give them slow, measured progress than nothing at all."

"I do like your idea of naming several of the covenfolk as Deans, with powers and privileges that go along with the position, and making the mayor the equivalent of a dean, but with the responsibility to protect the interests of the town. I suppose then we'll be the Council of Regents above them all."

"It seemed inevitable to me that we would have a town if we succeeded in having a successful hospital. The amount of support we will want assumes this. I like the idea of making a clearer distinction between the collegium and the town."

"Yes, indeed it was a bureaucratic legerdemain, as Talos eloquently said. However, we got more than we bargained for I fear. Our actions are already bordering the limits layed in the Code, and we only have been in charge of this town for a few seasons. Furthermore, it was inhabited by people over which we had a great measure of control. If more citizen establish themselves here, we are doomed. I agree entirely in with Tartessos' outlook on the situation."

"Because of our actions, this covenant is part of this town, wether we like it or not. We can only mitigate the negative consequences. Of course, the pratice of our art requires privacy. I tend to lean in the same direction than Talus, but think we should go further and still claim all the land which we currently own. However, we should put it to use swiftly before the settlers arrives. There were talks of planting olive, lemon, pommegrenate and various other trees, I suggest we do it right away, before the settlers arrive. We will get yearly harvests, but more importantly provide us with an additionnal layer of privacy, which would supplement the wall. This should allow us to cast spells more or less openly inside the confine of the covenant."

"As for the management of the town, we should surrender it entirely to its citizen, provided that the town charter doesn't allow for our land to be seized, ever, and our taxes to become unreasonable. Nobody here has the legal knowledge to write such a charter, so I suggest we hire scholar, well versed in civil law, to write it for us. Nothing prevents us from influencing councilors from the shadows. Tartessos had an excellent idea; a few of our most talented and trusted covenfolk can be our agents in the town council, limiting our apparent involvment. They might have to move their workshop in the town proper, away from the covenant, so they are not seen to be too closely associated with us."

(OOC: Nicolae has been exploring the islands for some seasons with the vis locating enchantments. Any results on that ?

For the place to be placed under our supervision, I suggest Hagar Quim, the blue grotto, ghar dalam, fungus rock, maybe a few of the caves on the Gozo islands? )

Terra having remained mostly silent does have some opinions about a town Whatever we call it we will develop a town. Especially if we want a serious support from covenfolk in our activities, which quite frankly we should. Similarly if we present ourselves as a college we will get students or those who wish education. I'm not fond of mundane entanglements, but the benefits are immense. If we can clearly mark the boundary between general town and our college all the better. We can't control the coming and goings in a successful town, but a subsection can be so controlled. In short, a clear boundary between town and college is essential and it should keep out the casual explorer. It can also double as a boundary for the Aegis.

When Antonius mentions planting, Talus nods his head in agreement. "I think surrounding the walls with orchards is a great idea," he replies. "It will bring in much-needed money and provide another layer of insulation between us and the town. And I like the idea of making a powerful town council packed with deans of the collegium, or at least those friendly to the covenant. Hiring someone with the necessary skill to draft it all up is an excellent idea. "

"As for the boundary of the Aegis," Talus adds, "I assume it's to be the collegium walls."

Despite his bluster, Tartessos also sees the town as a fait accompli, abeit an unwanted one. "Perhaps I misspoke; when I mentioned deans I did not necessarily envision academic Deans, but rather Deans of their respective guild. Penko, for example, will be the Dean of the local chapter of Mason's Guild, with mundaneauthority over all who follow in his footsteps. Likewise the Scribes fall under Asha's authority and the Weavers/Tailors will fall under Madaleen's.

Guild Deans wield immense power and authority over their aspects of town life, and also have some insulation from the tribulations that afflict lesser ranked individuals.

"I see," Talus replies. "That makes good sense. But I do think we ought to name someone the mundane Dean of the Collegium, and perhaps someone as Administrator for the Hospital, and name them as town councilors as well - or at least retain the right to. If the Hospital and the Collegium ultimately take on a life beyond the covenant, we'll want them protected."

Tartessos will give a hearty laugh. "I think nominating anyone to Dean of the Collegium without advancing Vulpus' name would result in a lifetime of emnity! As for the Hospitaler, I cannot think of anyone better suited for the position than Tomas. If he does not care for the position then a leader should be groomed to assume it in his place, perhaps that nurse who joined last year could receive some training in leadership?

While we are nominating individuals for titles full of delusions of grandeur, I suggest Garcin be named Guardia, or whatever the locals title their city guard.