The day passes as the magi get to know each other and discuss their plans for a new covenant. There is a little bit of frustration mixed into the hope as the absence of Bernhard, and the information he possesses, is felt keenly. Being repeatedly asked by the innkeeper to stay out of the common room, once business picks up in the evening, just makes the waiting more difficult to bear.
It is only the next day, late in the morning, that the innkeeper sends one of the magi's servant to inform them that Bernhard has arrived and wishes to see them in the cellar.
As the magi arrive in the portion of the cellar set aside for their use, they are greeted by the round-faced Bernhard. His pale brown hair and matching beard look even more anonymous than usual in the dim lighting of the cellar. He rises as the magi arrive, his slightly overweight body not deserving any second glance.
Once the four magi are seated, he looks towards the stairs and asks, "Four of you? I guess some didn't make it. Or they decided that they preferred the safety of their current position. Let us hope they didn't flap their mouth too much, but that is why I told you so little." His voice is nervous and uncertain, but nevertheless he rushes to continue.
"I am sure you have many questions regarding my proposal. But I cannot tell you more here, nor for as long as you have not agreed to my conditions regarding the vis source I spoke of when I approached each of you." He looks around at each magi in turn, "As you know, I am a redcap. Although the Order of Hermes recognizes me as a magus, that is a 'courtesy' that is in most parts a sham. Granted only so that the messages enthrusted to me are not interfered with. I do not have magical powers, nor can I call upon most of the resources that real magi can. What I do have is information, gathered as I travel around to deliver messages to other magi."
"It is such information that I offer to you. Some years ago, I discovered a source of what you call vis. Without the magical knowledge that magi possess, I was still able to gather some of it to pay for things that most magi take for granted, such as a longevity potion. Yet, I am no fool, and realize that I may have only been able to gather a fraction of what the source can offer. So I bided my time and tought about it for a long time in secrecy. For I knew that if I shared my knowledge of this source, soon enough it would be claimed by a covenant or a powerful magus."
"So, I have had a contract prepared." He gestures to a scroll on the table, "in it, I establish the following conditions for sharing the information with you. In short, you are to protect the source and share it with me. Other sources that you'd discover in the area you will share with me also, to a lesser degree. Should you officially found a covenant and it is recognized by the Tribunal, I shall be offered membership and the same privileges as other magi."
"Until you have agreed to this, there is nothing more that I can reveal. Once you have signed this contract and it has been registered with a Quaesitor and my House, then I will reveal some more. Not all, because I do not trust other magi not to spy on us and attempt to steal my source. The rest, I will disclose as we travel to the area where it is located."
"Do you have questions that I can answer at this time?"
Bernhard has been wringing his hands all the time while talking, and now looks nervously at the magi. There are beads of sweat on his face. For all you can tell, he seems to think you are ready to turn him into a toad or torture him for the knowledge he possesses.
When the magi read the contract, they can see it is relatively simple and expounds on what Bernhard has said. In short, that every fifth pawn collected from the source will be paid to him, and that every tenth pawn from any other sources collected within ten leagues of the primary source. And that he will be offered membership to your covenant, should you form one.