And through the cold, snowy weather they travel...
In the early morning, Animus starts off from Triamore. As is usual for him, he casts Personal Veil of Invisibility once he is out of sight from anyone, before setting up at an easy jog under the effect of his Running Like the Wind personal power. Although the plan calls for Adele to bring him food every evening, he still carries some supplies for the road, along with his winter blanket and camping gear. And hard currency as well, although nowhere near as much as the magi travelling directly to Harco need to bring to pay for food and lodging along the way.
The winter conditions slow him down a little, but not as much as it would a mundane traveler, since he can simply run on top of the snow without breaking its surface. He follows the roads, resting as often as necessary, to make his way across Germania. As needed, he stops to ask for directions from local folks, lifting his invisibility spell in an out-of-sight place before he approaches a town along an unfamiliar road, and recasting his spell afterwards.
He follows the Meuse River up until he reaches the road to Trier, then moves down the Mosel River to arrive in Koblenz by mid-afternoon. Seeing that he has some sunlight left, he crosses the Rhine and moves up the much smaller Lahn River to the trading town of Limburg. Although he might be able to make it to the next town, he decides to stop in Limburg for the evening, as the accomodations there are more than adequate. The owner of the room he books for the night looks at him suspisciously, but Animus pays the grossly inflated price he charges without protesting too much.
He then leaves town briefly, finding a small copse of trees that provides protection from mundane eyes. There, he plants the wooden rod and waits for Adele to arrive. As he expects her to arrives some time after sunset, he takes advantage of the wait to renew his Parma Magica for the night.
When she appears, he greets her, "Vale, sodalis. Anything new in Triamore?"
Prior to Animus's departure, Adele makes sure she knows where he is headed first. She does have a connection directly to Fengheld, after all.
During the day she tries to learn her own way around Triamore, having missed the others' explorations. She doesn't try to get in anywhere specifically, just get the lay of the land so she doesn't get lost in the future.
The first evening she makes sure she has a warm dinner packed up for her trip as well as some food supplies for tomorrow for Animus. Immediately after sunset she renews her Parma Magica. She adds a simple personal ward against cold and makes sure she is dressed appropriately. Then she casts The Leap of Homecoming. She loses 1 Fatigue (21 + 2 (loud, big) + 2 (aura) + 3 = 28), which she'll recover during dinner.
When she arrives she first looks about for Animus. Seeing him she replies, "Greetings. I bring a warm meal and some extra provisions. Oh, I've just been exploring Triamore, making up for the time I missed while at Fengheld." She offers a friendly smile. Then she looks about to see if they can set up a decent place for dinner. "Not as fancy as eating at Durenmar, but we should be able to make due."
"Thank you for the warm meal. I'm afraid this may not be the best place to eat, as I preferred a more discreet place for you to appear than directly in place I arranged for the night. The owner is already suspicious enough, because of my Gift, that I preferred not drawing attention to me." He indicates the winter blanket he placed on packed snow, "It's not much to sit on, I'm afraid. But if you'd like to see the town after we've eaten, we can do that." He thanks her again for the warm food.
"The town is called Limburg and it's a trading town near Koblenz," he says between bites, "which sits at the joining of the Mosel and Rhine rivers. There's not much to tell about it, aside from the fact that it was a convenient place to stop."
"I'm not certain that I'll be able to make it to Fengheld before sunset tomorrow. The days are so short in the winter, that doesn't leave as much time for travelling. And there are fewer roads near the covenant, so it is a bit more roundabout to get there." He smiles, "I could bypass the roads, but in my experience that doesn't really saves time. So perhaps you should wait two hours before leaping in tomorrow. What say you?"
"Out here is fine. Discreet and avoiding issue with the Gift are both good things for me as well, especially when I appear out of nowhere." Ali sets out the meal for them and hands Animus the extra day's supplies she brought. "My one worry with seeing the town would be the questions that would arise should anyone see me and wonder where I'd gone for the night. It wouldn't affect me, but it might draw more suspicion on you. But we can take our time with our meal and enjoy it."
While eating Adele seems more interested in Animus and the Tremere than the town. "I actually came to Triamore in hopes of being able to work with House Mercere and House Tremere. I figure they would have the most use of my transportation and warding enchanted devices. As an outsider I also admire their organization, though I have no idea what apprenticeship would be like within it." She's not digging for secrets or anything like that, but she does try to keep Animus talking a bit about what his experiences have been like. She is open to responses in kind as well, not specifically trying to keep the conversation just on him.
"I will try to time my arrival at Fengheld with you. I can use the arcane connection I have to just outside of Fengheld so that if I happen to arrive before you there won't be a problem. Look for me by the tree that was described earlier. Then we can arrive at Fengheld together."
"This is a trading town, so there are many places one can stay the night. Although it is also winter, so traffic is light, so perhaps you are right that you'd be noticed. You are certainly pretty enough that local lads might notice and wonder where you went."
Answering her comments regarding House Tremere and apprenticeship, Animus adds, shrugging, "I have little experience in the apprenticeship of others. My pater certainly provided me with a rigorous one, concentrating on discipline and esprit de corps as much as magical training. Our duty," he looks out, as if watching out for danger, "is to protect the Order from its enemies. And my duty, as a Tremeris, is to fulfill this duty and serve my House to the best of my abilities. Which," he grins, "are still fairly modest at this time." He moves on to questions about Adele's own apprenticeship, on the same tone and with a similar intent as hers.
"Best just show up at the gatehouse and announce yourself. The first one to arrive at Fengheld can let them know that the other is coming. No sense in waiting out outside in the cold."
ooc: no trouble on the road
Late the next day, Animus arrives at Fengheld and is joined by Adele not too long after. "Shall we start by checking with Horst to see if he's learned anything new regarding Felix?"
"My parens tried to teach me to be an expert in an area so I would be most useful as a Verditius. The Order doesn't need a bunch of Verditius magi who are dabblers in everything; experts can accomplish so much more. And houses who work together can afford such experts. My parens was good to me and very persistent." She openly shares many smaller details of her apprenticeship. It's also clear she believes in her skills and would like to be employed by House Tremere and/or House Mercere.
"That sounds reasonable. I'll arrive shortly after sunset, and assuming you haven't arrived will let them know you will be arriving shortly."
The next evening Adele arrives at Fengheld a little after sunset there with some more supplies for Animus, as planned. This time she is sure to grab a stone from a road/path not too far from the covenant in case her current Arcane Connection fades soon. She walks to Fengheld and introduces herself again. She lets them know Animus will be arriving shortly. She waits on doing anything of import until he arrives, but she does ask that Horst be informed she is here and that the two of them would like to talk to him after Animus has arrived.
"It wouldn't surprise me if Horst has made progress. He was quite unhappy to hear of the imposter. Hopefully he will be available soon..."
(So we ask to see Horst as soon as possible.)
You are led into Horst's warm study without any fuss. He welcomes you.
"Back so soon?", he asks, "do you bring news?"
"Hello, master Horst," says Animus to the rotund redcap. "Not much in the way of news regarding Felix. We are trying to retrace his recent travels, or rather those of his impersonator, so that we might find him. We figured we'd start here to see when he was last seen here, then visit other covenants of the Tribunal. If we can figure out what his path was, then perhaps we can determine where he went. And, who knows, perhaps he mentioned something to someone, and that might help us as well."
"We were also wondering if it might be possible to find an arcane connection to the impersonator, and to real Felix. With the approval of a Quaesitor, we might be able to locate them and tell them apart." He forestalls any protest about using magic to scry upon a magus by, "We are aware of the implications regarding the Code, but hopefully a Quaesitor may be willing to do this for us. After all, impersonating a redcap can have serious consequences on your House and on the Order. Serious enough that trying to locate the real Felix might be deemed a minor enough transgression, justified by the larger crime that was committed." The young Tremeris smiles as he completes his explanation, "We don't plan on using such a spell ourselves, you understand. It is a Quaesitor, as part of his investigation of the crime, who would be doing this. We would simply provide him with the arcane connection."
"What of you? Have you anything news that concerns this mess?
Horst nods: "House Mercere has some express means of communications, so Harco is already informed of this business. They have asked Magvillus to send a quaesitor. Tabanus ex Guernicus has been dispatched to the Rhine. He will arrive at Triamore in a week or two. I hope he will be able to help you shed light on this mystery."
ooc: you do not know Tabanus, yet.
"Good to know. For my part, I forgot to mention that a group of those other magi who were handed letter by the Felix impersonator are also making their way to Harco as we speak."
"Now, do you think it likely that we can find an arcane connection to the person passing off as Felix?"
Having already spoken to Horst, Adele lets Animus do the talking for now. When Horst mentions the quaesitor headed to Triamore Adele replies more to Animus than to Horst, "I can meet Tabanus ex Guernicus at Triamore when he gets there. That should not interrupt our planned search in any significant way." She stays quiet as Animus resumes his request for an arcane connection.
Horst lights his pipe.
"Luckily, I won't have to decide about the connection. If your Sodales manage to convince Harco, they will provide you with a connection if one is available."
He blows a smoke ring, then another one.
"That would be fair enough, if we were simply pursuing Felix himself. But," notes Animus, "if we are indeed dealing with an impersonator, then Harco won't have an arcane conneciton to that individual. Hence the value in trying to find a connection to the 'Felix' that last visited here. Don't you agree?"
Horst shakes his head: "I think too much time has passed for you to find something usable. And how would you go about it? You can't just start casting spells on single hairs you find - they might belong to members of the Order who were guests here, or to residents who would not take kindly to your activities."
His pipe glows as he inhales thoughtfully.
"Perhaps having detailed accounts of his activities when he visited last time, from covenant staff for example, might help locate such an item." Animus shrugs, "We know that it's a long shot, but one that is still worth pursuing. After all, we still don't know what the impersonator was trying to achieve by luring all of these magi to Triamore under false pretense."
Adele adds, "Even if we cannot find an arcane connection, such detailed accounts may help us figure out his route from one place to another if he happened to mention anything related to his travels. We know the order in which he delivered the letters, and so we know when he was at certain covenants. But we know little of the time between those."