Chapter 1: An unexpected visitor

The morning sun is rising over the forest. Birds are starting to chirp and the nocturnal animals are slowly returning to their caves and burrows. There lies a silence between the animal sounds which is both tranquil and eerie, and the light morn mist enhances the feel of a paradisic morning. Thump. The sound is broken by the splitting of wood.

"Well master Aristarcus, it seems that ol' elm is not about to give up now." The grog point s at a large, old elm tree lying across the path. It was hard enough to get the carriage in here, harder still to traverse the small streams, but now...

"Yes I see Nijls." The man looks at the elm, his long ponytail hanging out the carraige window. "We will continue on foot. At least some of us. The rest of you will make sure the carriage get through. Just follow the map I gave you." He walks out of the carriage, and by his side walks a white swan, looking far more intelligently at the grogs, than any swan should.

"Nijls, Claus, Pierre and Weltha, you will accompany me. The rest..." he waves dispassionately around with a finger, as if to say: Do whatever you think I want you to. Then he starts walking forward.

Some hours later, walking uphill and passing quite a few streams, Aristarcus feet are sore from walking, and the grogs seem still alert, though also talking amongst themselves.

"I hope they have a fine wench or two."
"Shh..Master Ari will hear you.."
"Bah...more important with beer...or cider...something about they brew cider."

"We're here!" Aristarcus clear voice broke through their chatter and they quickly ran to stand next to him. Looking over the hilltop, further into the distance lay a grove surrounded by hillocks and swatches of trees and streams. Idyllic, peaceful and with small coloums of smoke from chimneys.

One of the grogs whistled...
"Quaint...not like those Tytalus, nor cathedrally-likey like the"
"Shut up Weltha you dumb ox!"

"Gentlemen, make haste, and we shall be there at noon!" Aristarcus strode boldly down the trodden path, his swan flying low overhead. Nearing the Covenant, Aristarcus saw small patches of rosebushes, surrounding a mosscovered statue...there a fountain, old inlaid with crystals and further up, there was a wooden stair covered in ivy snaking its way up a hillside to a series of terraces with delicate and beautiful woodcarvings, where song birds where chirping. Also there was the river and small waterfalls lying adjacent to and beneath the covenant, making small bridges and walkways plentiful. Everywhere airstarcus saw there was greenery, and behind the covenant he spotted the orchards, which would have been planted last year. As he walked closer a tingling started in his feet and moved all the way up to the crown of his head. His blue eyes almost itched and then it stopped. Charming...and powerful."

Warmer here, than expected, Aristarcus removed his scarf and gloves and eyed a young girl plucking the first flowers of spring. Unnoticed they walked closer by.

"You there! Where are your masters?" Startled, the girl jumped up and dropped her flowers. She eyed them suspiciously. What strange accent that man had.

"Well, who might be asking?" She was a sweet thing. Not more than 13 summers probably, but with a seasoned eye for detail it seemed.

"Right of you to ask. I am Master Aristarcus ex Guernicus, please tell your masters, that I have come to speak with them."

"...Magic stuff?"


"Yes Magic stuff, now move along, my men would like som hot cider and what ever your kitchen is serving." Aristarcus wondered about the lack in security. Weird, he would have to discuss this with them.

The girl ran up some stairs and inside the wooden main building. Banners displaying the various houses represented were fluttering in the light breeze and he also saw something heraldic, maybe local. Right something about a woman being here....hmmm.

Mathilda, the young flower girl, ran to one of the terraces where she new the magi sometimes dined together, to have a good start of the day, before they went to their laboratories. Running past some of the gartners, she entered the terrace and catching her breath stammered.

"M-m-m...Aris-tri-cartis or something is here, he just...walked right in talking about magic stuff!"

Well a visitor coming through the proverbial front door and announcing his presence shouldnt be anything dangerous. At least not in the mundane sense of the word...

Sodales, it sounds just like a fellow magus honoring our young covenant with his visit. I´m curious who it´s going to be and what he has to say. But don´t let us give him the impression, that our new covenant isn´t fully functional yet by meeting him out here under the open sky. I say let us gather in our council hall and then have our guest brought to us. Jahn could do this.

Vibius look at his lab, scratches his head and pick up a piece of chalk. Then walk up to the drawing board next to his desk and begin to draw a schematic. He then looks at his work, scratches his head once again and remove the drawings from the board. He put the chalk to his board and begin to draw once again. As soon as the first line is drawn he gets an idea and begin to draw, write and think about his project that he is about to begin. He put down his chalk next to the board and leave his laboratory. I must see if there is a suitable lab text in the library. Wonder if there is any lab text in the library. Vibius walk to the library.

Pelegan, our security system consists of a stammering child with bits of flowers caught in her dress. I think whoever this is already has an impression of the place. But, I'll join you in the hall; I'm interested to know what this is about. Saevitius brushes the wayward lock of hair from his forehead, and decides to cut short his morning walk.

Of course, now that we've settled in, we start getting visitors. Probably time to start work on the Watching Ward spell; it would be good to have some surprises along the path. I wonder if I know any magus by the name "Aristricartis"...

Mathilda nods with wide eyes.

"I take it Masters, that I shall invite them into the Council Chamber?"

Avellana smiles at her, sipping at her tea. Avellana is wearing a pale green gown, more appropriate for a gentlewoman, yet it is still heavily embroided with the symbols for Mentem and Imaginem. Her long brown hair hangs loosely past her shoulders and reaches the curve in her back. She adjusts a bejewelled bracelet and takes her last bite of bread.

"Yes Mathilda, please invite them into the hall. Go fetch Jahn though as Master Pelegan said, they might have questions you can't answer. were picking flowers? How nice. Please pick some more, it will brighten up the Council Chamber!" Avellana rises and follows Saevitius.

"Master Saevitius, might I walk with you to the Council Chambers? I would like to hear if you know of this visiting magus. And Master Pelegan, too. You know of him?"

(OOC: Saevitius: you know that Aristarcus ex Guernicus is a Transitionalist. He lives in Normandy and has a calm personality. Pelegan: You know that he enjoys a good wine and advocates peaceful relations with the church.)


on your way to the library, which is situated in an oval room with wide open doors opening out to a terrace overlooking a small waterfall (Not the best place for books!), you run into Jahn Krueger, the Turb Captain.

He is tall, blonde, handsome, yet with a worried brow at this moment.

"Ahh, Master Vibius. Good Morning. Little Mathilda ran me up and told me we had visitors, I am heeding down to greet them and take them to the Council Chamber. It seems, the other Masters and the Mistress will be there. Oh, if I may..." He brushes a considerable amount of chalk of your shoulders, "there can't have our Magi meet a Quaesitor like that" he grins.

"The kitchen is bringing up wine, cider, fruits and cake. Are there other things we should think of?" he rests his left hand on his side, and looks curiously at Vibius.

"Some cheese perhaps," Magnes says as he approaches the two, carrying a big pile of paper on his arms. "You said a Quaesitor has arrived? What is his name then?"

Magnes had spent the last seasons preparing his own laboratory and sanctum at Almelo, and was not entirely acquainted with the whole place yet. He would have to spend the next season exploring, he decided, as he tried to remember who Mathilda was.

When the turb captain brush the chalk of Vibius shoulders he first looks a bit startled as if he not used to anyone touching him. Thanks, he whispers then raise his voice to normal level. I will go visit them then. I can’t think of anything that you will need to do.

Vibius starts to walk down to the council chamber then he suddently freezes. Perhaps I should change robes, he thinks and looks down on his robes. They are great for laboratory work but filled with soot, stains, discolorations and a bit of powdered chalk. I must change outfit, he thinks and then make hast towards his laboratory.

In side his sanctum he drops the robe to the floor just inside the door and walk towards his closet. Now what to wear? He has two robes that are not for laboratory work one is green and heavily worn but with a deep green trim with a floral pattern sewn onto it. The other is a plain grey robe with a keyhole neckline and wide sleeves. I’ll go for the grey, at least it is not worn. I should make an appointment with a tailor as soon as I get a pause from my lab work. Vibius then open his second closet and look at his hat collection. One can not have to many hats he thinks and look at the rows of headwear. This will do, Vibius thinks and pick up a red leather cap made out of smooth leather. He also goes for a pair of boots and a belt made out of red leather. Now this will do he thinks and walks towards the council chamber. On his way out he kicks his lab robe as it lies in the way of the door. The robe flies into a corner and without a thought Vibius walks to the council chamber.

Saevitius walks with Avellana and Pelegan toward the council chamber, his long black robe accumulating a grey tinge along its hem from the ground. As he walks, he folds his hands into his sleeves, the cuffs embroidered with grey spirals.

If I understood the child correctly, I believe our visitor is Aristarchus ex Guernicus. While we have never met in person, I understand that he shares some of the same ideas about his house and the Order as Master Liparea.

Mildly irritated that yet another Quaesitor is now at the convenant, and that his walk was interrupted, Saevitius is nonetheless curious about this visit, and hopes some advantage will come of it.

[OOC: Saevitius may have met Aristarchus in person, but in disguise; S has spent time travelling through Normandy and, more recently, Flanders as a wine merchant, and has developed a network of "contacts" throughout the area.]

Aristarcus, yes, that makes sense. Good thinking. But i´m afraid, i know little more then the name of this particular magus.
You are of course right about our security, master Saevitius. This is something we will have to work on, the earlier the better. And its not the only thing which needs to be done, far from it. But if you do, like me, look past what this place is now and look for what this place could become, then i think we need not worry.

With that, the 3 magi enter the council chamber where they will await their fellow magi and their mysteirous guest.

Pelegan btw, despite his aristocratic ancestry, is dressed in a very simple scholarly robe which bears no ornamentations. He does wear a small silver cross around his neck though. Some strands of his hair are starting to match the robes colour, which is grey. Not knowing what news our guest will bring, his facial expression is concentrated and serious, like it often is. Only rarely will someone see him laugh.

"Cheese, good idea!" Jahn walks off to greet the visiting magi.

Hmm...We need more archers definately, posted by that large elm, and that birch. Or maybe, a wall of shield grogs....oh best not wish for too much, as far as I remember Mistress Avellana's words we are quite poor for a covenant.

Jahn walks on the rotting leaves of autumn and winter as he nears Aristarcus and smiles at him.

He looks like a viper! smooth and calculating. Best keep my wits about me.

"Master Aristarcus? I am Jahn Krueger, the Turb Captain. A...pleasure. I have been instructed to escort you to the Council Chambers and for your men to have food and rest."

"and beer!"

"Shut UP!"


"The magi are all in residence today, so you will get to talk with them all. may I?" He extends his hand towards the covenant.

"Thank you, Good Man Krueger. Those dolts behind can sit outside with their food, t'will teach them some manners." Jahn nods and smiles at the grogs.

That one has nice eyes...

Aristarcus walks the corridors and walkways and notices that the environment is quite breathtaking. Everywhere there are details, symbols, plants, statues, carvings, allegories, and much more to draw a person closer to the noble art of Vim! He can see it, yet does not grasp it from the short look. Intriguing indeed!
They come to a nice set of double doors, still with a little ivy on the top, where Jahn knocks at the door and opens.

Avellana, Saevitius and Pelegan are seated at the round table. Aristarcus enters. He is a man in his late thirties by his looks, with a very long ponytail, of average height and looks. His off-white robe is discreetly stictched with the Guernicus symbol over his heart and in his belt are a few pouches. By his side waddles a white swan.

Vibius, you almost run to the Council chamber just to see Jahn close the door.

"Master, he is already in there!" From the other side comes Magnes. Jahn sighs and opens the doors again. You both enter, as the other four look at you.

Vivius walks into the council chamber at a slow worthy pace. Salve soldaes and welcome to our covenant magus…? Vibius tries to act as if it is nothing strange that he showed up a bit late.

Yes, i think i speak for the whole of us by welcoming you to our covenant, fellow Guernicus.
I´m afraid we haven´t been introduced so far. My name is Pelegan ex Jerbiton and these are my sodales, Vibius Cornelius Bulba ex Bonisagus, Avellana ex Tremere, Saevitius ex Tytalus and you probably know Magnes Liparea ex Guernicus.

How can we be of help to you and your noble house, Magus.....?

(SO no one told me the guy's name yet? I imagine I recognize him though...?

(Yan you do recognise him - you have never really had the time to do more than chit chat however)

"Aristarcus is my name. And thank you, it is a pleasure to be here," his observant eyes scan the council chamber.
It is circular in shape and consists of a gallery running around the edge of the room, with four places for a stairs, which lead half a story down. At the core of the chamber, is an old mosaic floor depicting a woman dressed in white, with a sickle in her upraised right hand and a sprig of mistletoein the other, at her belt. The huge round oak table dominating the floor is nicely decked with fruits, sweets, cake, mugs, and a small hard white cheese. The doors are open at the other end from entering, showing some sort of balcony.

Aristarcus' swan has entered with him and is waddling up on a chair. It looks interested at the different kinds of things and then looks at Aristarcus. He seats himself and looks at the swan,
" don't happen to have any jam do you? Strawberry preferably? As soon as Silverwing can get some jam, we can proceed with why I am here."

We're to be kept waiting because a swan needs a snack? This visitor must think a great deal of himself,Saevitius muses silently.

If a servant is present in the room, Saevitius addresses him or her: Will you please see that some strawberry jam is brought for our guest?

If a servant is not present, Saevitius goes to the door, and makes the same request of any nearby grog outside, but thinks to himself I think we will be hard pressed to make a worse impression. But then, the image of a poor, defenseless covenant could have some advantages.

Once again seated at the table, Saevitius addresses Aristarchus: I hope your journey here was pleasant, Aristarchus?

Saevitius you need to go outside the door, where Jahn is sitting, legs crossed, napping. After you have poked at him and sternly told him to go get jam, you return to the council chamber.

Jahn reappears with a bowl of strawberry jam, and places it on the table, he withdraws smiling and nodding.

" you go Silverwing." Aristarcus places the bowl in front of Silverwing. The swan gobbles down some of it, then spreads its wings slightly.

"He likes it! Ahh.. good, not many people can make a jam that Silverwing really likes." Aristarcus looks enthusiastically at you. To the sounds of jam being finished of, Aristarcus talks:

"Well my journey was quite uneventful, these flat lands and marshes are not exactly mindshattering and it would be a strain to call riding in a wagon an ardous journey, however there were a small group of bandits just outside...well I forgot the name of the village, but it was a long way from anything, so I could afford to be alittle impressive." He folds his hands and smiles at Avellana.

"By the way, I am glad to hear that Daria was cleared of all charges regarding that unfortunate incident in Aachen...I am sure she will be more prudent now."

"Don't count on it Master Aristarcus," Avellana retorts, yet also smiling and biting into an apple.

His brows arch, but he makes nothing more of it. Silverwing is licking the bowl making sounds best translatable as "I am pleased".

"As some of you might know," he nods at Magnes, "I am from Normandy and thus outside my usual jurisdiction. We at Confluensis, my covenant, are contemplating creating a vassal...oh...chapter house I reckon you call it here in the Rhine - yes a chapter house in the region. Now the rules for such are not as strict as a new covenant, but we would still like to inform people of our intentions. It simply seems the right thing to do. Now in return for your goodwill, I have been authorised to offer a...juicy bit of information. Now I am in a bit of predicament...for it is hard for me to go on, lest I have your support....?"

"Well it is quite hard for us to offer it, sodales, without knowing where you intend your vassal to be located, how many magi are supposed to live there or their houses, even," Magnes says calmly as he observes the other Guernicus' expressions. "A predicament indeed," he adds with a polite bur forced smile.

"But tell me, how is Master Valerian? It has been some time since I last saw my pater," and if Confluensis wants to establish a vassal covenant so near me, I find it highly unlikely he would have not informed me before, asking that I support it, he thinks. "Still growing cobwebs in his sanctum while he hunts criminals north and south, I suppose," he answers his own question then, thinking something strange is happening, and wondering whether the Tremere and Jerbiton, who are perhaps more used to deception and plots are thinking the same thing.

But he knew what was going on, didn't he? The Traditionalists wanted a foot in the new Tribunal, should the Lothatingians ever manage to create it. They wanted to ensure it didn't turn into a Transitionalist's nest with their distorted revolutionary ideas. To hell with them. Lotharingia would shine as a beacon of hope and prosperity to the whole order - a vision of the New Dawn of the Order.

Well of course we are generally supportive towards the founding of a new covenant. How could we not be in light of our current status of just having founded our own? Unless you have a particular reason to believe that our supportiveness could be put in question, you should not worry about it too much.
But Master Magnes is of course right. What little information you gave us so far is hardly enough to offer you our unconditional support.
Pelegan smiles (and it looks just a little bit forced and strange, since he´s not very practiced at smiling) and tries to give a "supportive" look.
So please go on just a little bit more and be assured, that if there are no insourmountable obstacles, we will be discussing this matter with a favourable and supportive attitude.

Vibius takes his chair at the council table a listen to the Guernicus offer. I concur with my soldaes. Please tell us more before we can offer our support. However we are both supportive and willing to cooperate with those that uphold our laws. Vibius tries to look interested and supportive though his mind is already staring to stray. He ponders “if I add three drops of spring water into a parsley mixture and boil that with queen bee honey then…”. Vibius returns to the present his laboratory experiment will have to wait. If the man could just spill his beans and we’ll be over with it. If he has something important to offer then we could give him support.