Chapter 0 - Sneak preview

Salve Sodalis,

the covenant of Phoenix has fallen into another deep winter. Maria, a redcap sent there on her mail duties in 1216, reported that she was unable to meet any living inhabitant of the covenant. Jonah, a second redcap sent there before the tribunal of 1360AA (1221 AD) confirmed this report.

The tribunal has decided to ask you to explore the covenant, rescue surviving magi, secure left-over books and other resources. To prevent enroachment from our northern neighbors, the Normandy tribunal, continuity of residence at the loaction is highly desirable to our tribunal. Should there be no survivors, you are asked to proceed and rekindle Phoenix.

If no magus of the covenant can be found you are entitled to:

  • any vis-sources belonging to Phoenix
  • any vis belonging to Phoenix
  • any mundane items belonging to Phoenix
  • any mundane or magical animals belonging to Phoenix
  • any grogs, companions or servants found there willing to help you
  • any magical items that are found
  • the copyright of any books that you find and that legally lies with Phoenix. Should you fail to send a copy of any book to this tribunal within 10 years for safe-keeping, the copyright is automatically transferred to the Provencal tribunal.

You have to
-swear allegiance to the Provencal tribunal, and no other tribunal.

  • follow the Order's regulations
  • establish a guest lab of at least standard quality within the next seven years.
  • report at the tribunal of 1228AD
  • pay the usual fees for re-registering the vis sources.

We assume that - freshly gauntleted as you are - you realise the immense generosity of this offer.

Provencal Tribunal, on behalf of the council
Optrix ex Bonisagus
Gwissifath ex Guernicus

The magi of Phoenix, written by Optrix ex Bonisagus
Directions to the covenant site written by Jonah ex Mercere

Viscaria asks the Redcap if he knows who else received a copy of this letter, and if there is any way to get in touch with them to coordinate travel plans. She checks to see if her Paren's covenant has any records regarding Phoenix, magi who knew the inhabitants, and maps of the area. She then formally petitions the covenant for resources to aid her on the quest.

Only then does she read the two appendices.

Helena stands, " May I also ask this Tribunal what action should we take if we find a laboratories sigl intact?, entering under this condition would, I believe be against the code, however if the disappearance was caused by experiments gone awry may be the only way to truly investigate"

Note: This is a letter you received shortly after tribunal. The redcap doesn't know the total number of recipients, but believes it went out to all magi gauntletted in 1221. She assumes that some 5 or 6 magi will take the offer.

Also, is there any way to catch up to the two redcaps mentioned in the letter, or otherwise talk to a magi who has been to Phoenix?

I haven't written the appendices yet (mostly to make sure that people who haven't created their characters yet do not know more about Phoenix than you do), but the directions appendix will speak of a meeting with Jonah at a site near the covenant (where the magi meet). There, some questions will be answered.

For reasons explained elsewhere, Hiems is more than willing to go.

Most likely the following magi are dead or in final twilight. Until this has been proved, the present tense is used.

Archmagus Cuniculus ex Mercere: The Orders leading expert on Mercere portals and magical transportation. Many a redcap has been equipped by him. His plan is to deliver some of the mail magically (he calls it m-mail). He wants to create an instant message service run by his House. His line ends with him (his two filii died in a lab accident in 1202) if he dies now. His goods therefore belong to this Tribunal. Age: 162 years.

Maga Leonora ex Merinita
An illusionist reknown for her close contacts to Pucks, a race of elven tricksters. Her gender is reported to have undergone at least 4 changes. She is currently training an apprentice (started in 1211). Age: 73 years

Magus Leodain ex Criamon
A heavily tattooed, large magus – born blind but attuned to seeing more than others. He has made several cryptic predictions about the future which seem to have come true. He has made the covenant change its name to Phoenix in 1188. Before that they were called “Salle de Glace”. His apprentice has been disowned because he chose the Path of Strife.

Therefore all the covenant's possessions are for the Tribunal to distribute.
signature cannot be read

Directions: Meet at St. Peter and Paul* in the church of St. Juist in Narbonne at noon to meet Jonah the redcap and each other. The covenant is in a Pyrenean Valley about two days of foot travel from Narbonne.
The covenant is a normal-looking village Agraves sur Mas – no special defenses. A simple hut disguises the entrance to a series of secluded spots (or is regiones?) where the magi live. Anyway, they are connected by Cuniculus travel magic.

Jonah ex Mercere

Ooc: the valley is ficticious
*late January, enough time to get there for your character, but not enough to make big detours.


Who has this letter gone out to. Considering our varying backgrounds we're not all in Provence at present?

All freshly gauntletted magi from the tribunal, plus a few others, from other tribunals (based on recommendation, maybe?)
You don't know.

But assume there are others - not just the characters - who just don't show up for the meeting (because they are not interested? or too interested?)


I'll assume this came to me due to the fact I come from Provence originally.

Helena will start preparations for leaving if her Paren's is there or Murien if not. She will discuss the proposition and the implications of such an action, request a suitable number of grogs to accompany me for the journey.

While waiting for my things to be prepared I guess I do what I do best; research. I go to the library and research what I can about these three Magi and the covenant, especially Leodain's prophecies.

OOC: I have a question for these games. For questions and private communiques do we PM the SG or do we assume a more story based approach so everyone can see what each of us are thinking?

Use pm only if you want to surprise/keep secrets from other players.

Berenguer, having been gauntleted in a (largely Jerbiton) covenant in Toulouse, asks his parens for a shield grog and a servant to accompany him to Narbonne, and then, if necessary, to Phoenix. Funds for the journey and horses for the two covenant staff would also be appreciated.

On the journey, he will tell tales to the folk with whom he lodges, as an extra payment for thier hospitality. Assuming that there is sufficient time between recipt of the invitation and the rendezvous, he will spend two weeks making the journey. [Living graciously is important.]

The grogs will be reminded (if necessary) to refer to Brenguer as "Master" and "Sir."

Since you are not part of your parens covenant anymore you won't get grogs from there. Asking - as you know - would be considered a sign of immaturity (so I assume you won't unless you ask again).
Your parentes will give you 10 silver coins and that is it. If you are gentle gifted, you can hire people (who will be as faithful as mercenaries are - and they are unlikely to be great fighters unlike you can make them believe that you are a nobleman or major churchman. Of course they will run when they encounter anything supernatural). Other magi can try to hire some too.

ooc: Why? Creating grog characters takes time and is against the spirit of you building your own covenant. If you hire somebody take a template from the book and reduce all weapon skills by 2.

Anyway, you'll all safely arrive at the meeting point because that is where chapter one starts.

Quick research will only tell you that Phoenix (Salle de glace) is a foundation that was started by Archmagus Cuniculus (and two magi that went into final twilight before 1200) when he was 27 years old.
The covenant is known for its magical doors connecting different parts. It survives on long-distance trading. It is said to have an excellent library (including non-Latin texts). Reports on the aura are contradictory. Its entry point is a hut (domus) in a perfectly normal Pyrenaen village. There are no mundane defenses there - and the covenant doen't maintain a larg turb. Cuniculus usually voted with all the sigils at tribunal. In 1193, they were fined for molesting the fay (5p) - something to do with a Rego vis source.

Anyway chapter 1 is up now - so the games can begin.

Grus ex Bjornaer stood at the lectern in her sancta, her lanky form hunched over a set of papers pinned to the top. She had just turned to make a notation on the tablet when she heard a loud pounding on her door. She lifted her eyes heavenward and ran a hand through her red hair as she sighed deeply.

“Come in, Cygna,” she called out.

Her former apprentice opened the door and slammed it behind her, waving a parchment in her hand. “I've just received a letter from the Provençal Tribunal!”

Grus couldn't tell if Cygna was angry or excited about having received the letter...but having known the newly-gauntleted maga practically her whole life, she was leaning toward the former. “Indeed. I take it that it's good?”

“They want me to explore and re-establish a covenant that's fallen into Winter, see if any of the magi there still live, and keep it from being claimed by the Normandy tribunal!” Cygna tossed the letter onto a table, within arm's reach of her mater. “You wouldn't happen to know anything about this invitation, would you?”

Grus smiled almost to herself. “It's possible that word may have gotten out that we have a new maga that may be interested in becoming established in another covenant. Provençal may have gotten wind and thought that you may be particularly suited for that particular endeavor. And,” Grus held up a hand to forestall Cygna's objection. “And I would be inclined to agree with them.”

“But, I was to continue my residence here at Riversedge, continue my studies and...”

“Were you?” Grus interrupted. “Or had you simply assumed that? Or believed that, because that was what you thought you wished, that it would be so?”

“Look about you, my child. Look at the other magi of the Council here. Of all the magi here, only I was even gauntleted in Stonehenge. We come from all over the Order, from Novgorod and Rome, and Hibernia and...Transylvania.”

“But Riversedge is the only home that I've ever known!” Cygna said. “How can you expect me to just pull up roots and move to a new covenant where I know nobody, where I have no friends or family?”

“Cygna, if you are being asked to re-establish a Winter covenant, I sincerely doubt that you will be the only one there who has been uprooted. It will be good for you. And I think you will find that being in a place where you did not grow up will be good for you, that you will be able to grow faster than you would here, where you won't always be Vucar's niece, or Alexander and Ilyana's little girl.”

“You think I should go, then.”

“I think you should think about it. You are a maga of the Order of Hermes, now, and free to make your own decision regarding your future. And yet, you are still but a probationary member of the Covenant of Riversedge, with no guarantee that you will be permitted to stay beyond that time.

“I am not making a threat, my child,” Grus said when she saw the look on Cygna's face. “I am simply remind you that it is foolish to make assumptions, particularly where others are concerned. You do not have to go to Provençal if you do not wish to. I only ask that you do not decide rashly. Think about it, pray about it if you will, and let them and us know what your decision will be. The redcap will only be here another couple of days, but I'm certain that we can locate him if we need to get a letter to him after he is gone.

“Now, if you would be so kind as to show yourself out, I really must return to my studies while there is still light.”

Three nights later, Cygna sat next to Grus at the High Table during dinner. Grus looked up at her filia in surprise. “Not eating dinner with your family tonight, Cygna?”

“I will be, shortly. I just wanted to ask to address the Council at their next meeting, and as a probationary member, I must go through a full member.”

“I see.” Grus paused to take a sip of her wine. “May I ask the topic of your discussion?”

“I have sent a letter to Provençal Tribunal, informing them that I will accept their invitation in regards to the Phoenix Covenant. I am to be at a church in Narbonne by the end of January, which means that I should leave no later than year's-end if I am to have any hope of making it in time. I would prefer to leave before Christmas.”

“That only gives you a few weeks to prepare, Cygna. Do you think you will be ready?”

“I will have to be ready, won't I, mater? Luckily I don't have much in the way of my own belongings to take, so perhaps I will be able to pass as a pilgrim.”

Grus said nothing with regards to her filia's plan, or lack thereof. “I do believe that you have made the right decision, Cygna. And I believe the others will agree that you will take our best wishes with you, and hope that you keep in contact with us.”

Cygna simply nodded and asked her mater's leave to dine with her family as was her custom, then left the Great Hall briskly, for what would be one of the last times.

I really do not understand this phrasing. Is this some kind of reference to a calendar system that was used in the Middle Ages?

I assumed it to be the feast of st peter and paul

They used the days of saints (most people).
St Peter and Paul is really late June, but I moved it to January.

fwiw, in period the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter was celebrated on January 18, while the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul was (and is) celebrated on January 25. My assumption was that the meeting was somewhere in that time frame.