Damiano Merceris rises and after he is recognized by the Praeco speaks, "I think we are agreed that they have not transgressed against the Code. Let this be a warning to all who would use Redcaps as pawn in their political machinations. It is unlikely that we could have other mundane messengers carrying messages, as they would have no protections under the Code, and their rights could be regularly and continually violated. The Redcap system works because they are treated as magi, with all the rights and privileges thereto. It is unwise to turn this into a political debate about whether Redcaps deserve to be called magi. I submit, that any messenger must be a magus, for the protections of the Code it offers. Without Redcaps, the magi Trianomae would be without many of the benefits they rely upon, the Tribunals would have to appoint a Gifted magus to handle the treasury, and they would have to elect or appoint an officer to deliver the notice of Tribunal. A redcap that isn't named a magus can have his vis taken from him, forcibly, without recourse, can be killed out of pique by any magus, and there are other protections a Redcap would be stripped of. Finally, I submit, this is not a case for this Tribunal, and if it is the desire of magi to strip Redcaps of their standing as a magus, that the true place for that discussion is at Grand Tribunal, if you can convince the Prima Bonisagus to put it on the agenda, that is." He sits down smiling, feeling he has made his point.
Redcaps begin refusing messages for and from Demnon Nious's. He still gets the legal notice of Tribunal, but all other messages are politely refused. When visiting his covenant, they refuse letters and messages written in his hand. Letters to and from his correspondents addressed to others at the covenant are delivered, but there is a delay much longer than there had been in the past, especially so if the sender has never sent a message to the recipient before. Demnon makes a polite inquiry, or someone on his behalf does, and it is suggested an apology is made, and a formal retraction of his statement be read into the record of the previous Tribunal.
Actually Demnon was suggesting the opposite. That Redcaps not acting in the best interests of the order might cause Bad Stuff (TM) to happen to the Order at large. As such, that behaviour cannot be supported. HOWEVER that this is only applicable to messages, not funky stuff like stones to be dropped here and there. He would endorse fully redcaps having a 100% margin of negotiation in such cases (including flat out refusal), since they are not part of the common duties of a redcap. I would say this opinion could easily be shared by a majority of magi.
Still, it is not the role of a tribunal to vote on that since this is an internal issue for House Mercere to decide. Reputation is quite paramount to the House, and I doubt that this would not be looked in detail by the Prima, and I would not expect retribution to be wrought on a magus for stating such a wide impression. The merceres are seen as useful SERVANTS, but servants none the less. They know it, acknowledge it, and thrive under those assumed conditions.
"I think may sodales failed to fully undertand the testimony of the redcaps of House Mercere," says Petronius Bonisagii. "They have clearly indicated that the notification of Wizard's War was sent as a verbal message, not a written one."
Raising one finger to forestall any interruption, he adds, "Now, I am not an expert of Hermetic Law, but isn't one of the requirement of formal Wizard's War that a written declaration be sent? If, as our esteemed redcap sodales say, this was not the case, then I would submit that this declaration was illegal."
"Furthermore, the attempt of High Crag to use neutral parties to plant arcane connections distasteful at the least. This is essentially asking the redcaps to commit an Hermetic Crime, as this be construed as helping deprive a fellow magus from his magical power. After all, these arcane connections would have clearly been used in the pursuance of this illegal Wizard's War."
Ecelo shakes his head.
"Redcaps are not servants. Redcaps are full members of the Order like you and me. Mercere was not cast out of the Order when he lost his Gift, just as a magus is not cast out of the Order when Twilight temporarily takes him and he becomes unable to work magic. Personally, Demnon, I think it will turn out that speaking in such terms of the Redcaps will bring you far more grief than a curse by the Queen of Winter herself."
With that quotation as a basis of understanding, Redcaps delivering the declaration is a matter of convenience and a matter of custom, which may be enshrined by the PC of a Tribunal, or some other method is used. I haven't seen anything about it needing to be written.
That may be, if they aren't acting in the best interests of the Order. However, that is not the charge here, is it? If a magus is going to go around treating Redcaps as servants, well, expect them to act like Difficult Underlings. If a magus comes out and publicly suggests that Redcaps could be stripped of their standing as magi of the Order, expect it to be misconstrued.
Redcaps are aware of the services they provide, they are aware of their rights as magi, too. Keep in mind Redcaps don't vote at Tribunals, although they are legally entitled to do so. You may not expect retribution for an impression, but publicly stating it in Tribunal, as a matter of public record, is another thing altogether. Meaning, the magus may treat Redcaps as servants, the Redcaps put up with it, but as long as everyone keeps their mouth shut, nothing bad happens. But now, he's opened his big mouth, and he's angered the entire House. Domiano's words were circumspect, what Demnon suggested was a political stance, not related to the matter of Lex Hermetica under debate. He used a legal forum to advance a political agenda, and then pontificated about how House Mercere should discipline their own. Yeah, that's not going down well, no matter the intention. And if none of the Redcaps were covered under Parma (very likely), his words were taken in the worst possible light.
And here you have a second case for your tribunal if Demnon had a high score in the social abilities and Mentem scores. Ah, the wonders of social manipulation. Angered redcaps and Gifted magi thinking he has a very valid point. Now redcaps attack their opposition. maybe they have been treated too kindly for too long? Raw power vs information power. QUITE a conflict there! You could spin a whole saga around that.
Argentus of Bonisagus, of the Trianoma line, tries to broker some peace.
"I would suggest to this Tribunal that the matter is resolved. The redcaps were certainly within their legal rights to refuse to both plant the arcane connections and deliver the message.
I would also, personally, congradulate the redcaps on their good sense in refusing to deliver traps to their sodales' covenant; if ay redcaps started delivering traps, they might find hospitality waning.
I would, however, also caution the redcaps that refusing to deliver the messages was probably unwise, as there is no legal problem with it; if any redcaps started refusing to deliver messages, they might likewise find the hospitality offered to them waning.
But these are matters for House Mercere to sort out amongst themselves. As far as the Code is concerned, there has been no violation. Let us move on, then, to other issues."
I can see Redcaps and the Merceris magi present taking affront to this. If it's a matter to be resolved internally, within their House, a public declaration on what Argentus thinks Redcaps should and shouldn't do is a pretty strong rebuke, only reinforcing what Demnon Nious said; Redcaps are servants. I can only imagine that Argentus botched his Intrigue roll here. A skilled politician should be working behind the scenes, taking the Merceris magi aside and having a more discreet discussion with them. If the question and answer phase of a Tribunal trial allows members to ask questions or make unrestricted statements, this Tribunal is doing more to anger the Redcaps than being asked to deliver Wizard's War declarations and Arcane Connections.
((I also think there's a flaw in the Redcaps being asked to carry Arcane Connections to the opposing covenant. They are not bidirectional, so I'm not clear how these could be used as presented.))
That would presume that ACs are bidirectional, which isn't in RAW, except for the talisman (serf's parma). The Leap of Homecoming allows the magus to transport to any location to which they possess an AC. In this example, they do not possess an AC. They sent an AC to another place. So, for this to work, ACs must be bidirectional.
ACs aren't bi-directional.
So planting an AC to myself in a foreign place will not allow me to affect that place, it will simply allow someone in that place to affect me.
Putting an AC to myself in the pool of my enemy is silly.
However, the stones can easily be "half-a-stones", with the other half being fixed as an AC to the part suggeste hidden by the redcaps.
It does make sense, but not in exactly the way the (mundane) redcaps explain it.
"Should the stones have been placed, the redcaps would have been accessories to a hermetic crime in that they would have been mages who had not declared wizard war, taking actions for persecution of the war. They were also right not to carry an oral message for then they could be blamed for poor wording or speaking it incorrectly. I think these redcaps need to be commended for this stance. They should be censored though for not speaking clearly that they could deliver written messages of such. This is the type of duty for which they have membership within the order."
OK, time to wrap this one up, because again the facts were largely as presented. This one was interesting to me as it sent me back to HOH: True Lineages, to learn more about the Redcaps, and just how informal their relationship is with the Order. Despite their duties, they have a lot more freedom to carry mail or not as they choose than I had hitherto believed, and judging by the outrage of some magi present many of us feel appropriate Still, this is an internal issue for Harco and House Mercere - they appear to have acted wisely on this occasion in to becoming involved in a Wizard's War and bringing the Redcaps in to disrepute by carrying the stones at least.
CASE CLOSED - Comments still very welcome - but I am unsure if the ruling would be clear cut. For now: RULING -- CASE DISMISSED