Chapter 1: Gate of Light

When we are up and running, we will start with this as our opening scene :smiley:

[color=green]Carmen of Flambeau: [color=red]Father! Are you even paying attention to me? Carmen frowns with pouty lips as her hair blows in the wind (an indoor wind that is).

Antonio, busy stuffing stuffing items of vis into his satchel, turns to respond [color=green]Antonio of Flambeau: [color=red]What in the world is you problem this time? Look, I have to travel up north in France, the Normandy Tribunal. That upstart pipsqueak Erat Caccus is going to come to an agreement about the Obsidian Ring on his own accord, or an agreement is going to be made for him. Antonio grits his teeth in rage, eyes cackling with raw energy, then he swallows his anger and regains his composure. [color=red]Look, Pietro will be visiting us next week, and I want to make sure all the loose ends from that nasty affair are wrapped up before he asks any more questions. I also want to try and forge an alliance with him, get his support for my agenda. Antonio scowls when he thinks about Pietro, a man who is indeed a true friend but also a constant thorn in his side. [color=red]He is a good choice for a mentor for you. A bit redundant as far as what he can teach you, but he certainly can help you with the advancement of your political career as you mature. His brow furrows as he continues. [color=red]I mean, before he won his contest and gained admittance, I was the Auram Flambeau magus. Decades later, his career is flying high and here I am stagnating. Then when he became an Archmagus, right away everyone is all “Ooh! We should make him the new Antares! What was his stupid challenge anyways? No one remembers. Me, I kill the dragon of the Baelric Islands, and what do I get? I’m the leader of a pseudo mystery cult, and all my followers are either cutthroats passing themselves off as clean faced caballeros, or they are overzealous fanatics that imagine we are a Hermetic version of the blessed Knights of Saint James. If we could attract more people like that Santiago and his sidekick Roberto, then we would be a force to reckon with.

[color=green]Carmen: [color=red]Arrgh!! I talk to you until I am blue in the face, and then when I complain you’re not listening, you give me a stupid soliloquy about your social schedule. Then you complain you can’t attract good followers, and you still won’t let me join. And I think you care more about this musty old covenant than you do your societas. Your best recruits you have kept here, and the rest of the empty spaces you filled with the prettiest sorceresses you could find. Now, what’s up with that?!

[color=green]Antonio: Smiles quietly. He didn’t plan it that way, it just worked out in his favor. [color=red]Look, they came here. I never recruited any of them. The one girl, Marie, she thinks that fate has guided her here to restore her hands. I am thinking that maybe my Verditius brother (Fixer)[color=red] can make some magical gauntlets. But I have a feeling that maybe her quest has a deeper meaning. Oh! And that girl Viola I met off wherever it was I met her, you should see her hair! And that fairy tale princess, whatever her name is, I always forget. I honestly have no idea why she is here. As for Marcella, she is a fierce and famous huntress! You two have been friends since you were little. Otavius is a good man to have aboard too. He is a hero! I want to see if I can get the Senecans to loosen the rules and bring him on boards. And Xalbador! He is too good of a recruit to let slip away from our covenant. I don’t assign Senecans to covenants, he likes it here. I have made an effort to retain him, and even indulged him in a renaming ceremony. He gets it. It doesn’t matter if it was all made up, the Four Illuminations still have a deep and solemn meaning. He had enough confidence to come out and ask for membership, it was just after they elected me “Grandmaster” (geeze, I hate that title), I pushed hard for him to be elected because he knows how to look within in order to look beyond himself. He knows, first hand, that the most important above all others is not power, magic, or glory. He remembers how Inigo came to him, looking for and a sanctuary for his little girl. It was then Antonio decided that no challenge or quest would suit his initiation. The man needed to spend some time fasting in deep contemplation, reflecting upon why he wanted to pursue this path. He mumbled something of wanting to take on a new name to symbolize rebirth, so Antonio called him Salvadore. He heard it as Xalbador, and that’s good enough.

[color=red]The reason I don’t want you to join the Knights is because you are not ready. It has nothing to do with power. When I was your age, I was much bolder and brasher than you, so that isn’t what I mean either. You gotta, hmm.. I don’t know how to explain it. You gotta see it. Okay, do you remember Coronado? He died when you were still little. My own parens, the Infamous Coronado Cortez, I’m [i]still]/i] trying to live down his legacy! But that redeeming quality, what kept him united with his brethren, was his unwavering stalwart loyalty. Bravery, he had plenty. But his Wisdom was often questionable and temperance, well, he knew none. Sometimes a man’s purpose is to be a good example of a bad example.
And me, I seriously think being apprenticed into this thing from the start cheapened the whole experience. I didn’t exemplify anything except excessive bravery when I was your age, and if not for the guidance of my own mentor, Fuego Conflagaratius, I would have headed down that same path. And you need to get out from under my shadow! If you want to be a Knight of Seneca, you don’t want to have people thinking you are a daddy’s girl, do you? Study under Pietro. It was fortunate that you met him while he was traveling, he could be your gate into the Alpine Tribunal (and I want an agent in his camp, get with the program girl!).

grin "I'm here to see the world, fight the good fight and find True Love," probably didn't cut it for him.



While engaging in a library exchange at Duresca, Florenzo of Jerbiton happens to meet Dragan Talamh Ex-Miscellanea. He is of a unique tradition that Florenzo has never heard of, which he finds most intriguing. Dragan came to Iberia in search of potential connections between the ancestors of his tradition (the extremely few that there are) and a similar ancient Celtic tradition that was once practiced in Iberia. He has had disappointing results so far.

Though he thought he had a promising lead investigating the Basques, that trail fell dead cold quite quickly. The modern Basques are all (apparently) Christian now, and furthermore, he discovered that they are not Celtic at all. The most he was able to discover, from a wise old woman, was an ancient legend. Supposedly, the ancestors of the Basques were the first men to ever come to Iberia after the flood receded. At that time the land was inhabited by savage troglodytes and monstrous ogres. The ancestors of the Basques supposedly subjugated these beasts and ruled an empire that encompassed the whole of the Pyrenees. The mighty empire fragmented into tribes, and with the invasion of successive wave of Celts, all were wiped not save for the Basques.

Then Dragan went to Duresca, to investigate the theory that it was originally a Diedne covenant before Quaesitors of House Gurnicus took over. The ancient records of Durenmar indicate that it may have originally been a multi House covenant, and some of its members may have indeed been Diedne magi. There is no proof, but the names of several past members have been deliberately stricken from the records, which is a typical tell-tale sign that is found in other covenants as well. However, it seems unlikely that the Diedne actually established and built the original covenant structures, and since all of the pre Duresca Scrolls controversy magi are long gone, there is no telling what the origins of this noble covenant originally were.

At Duresca, he meets Florenzo of Jerbiton, member of the Quill of the Eye League (based in Barcelona, dedicated to the literary arts). He is dropping off a number of manuscripts at Duresca that he brought with him from his home covenant of Barcelona (I am changing his background).

Florenzo is interested in this strange exotic wizard that he meets, and tells Dragan Talamh all about his original home covenant, fair Andorra, and about the magical wilderness and the Caverns of Chaos and his missing father. There is plenty of space open there, and as his personal guest, you will have full access to the place, and with his recommendation you may become a member (which happened the day before play begins :wink: ). Don’t ask why there is so much space open, that is a tale for later (those who have been here a long time already, send me a private message and I will clue you in).

Prologue: A Conversation between Archmagi

[color=green]Pietro of Flambeau: [color=red]So, did Erat Caecus give you any trouble?

[color=green]Antonio of Flambeau: [color=red]Hardly. We are talking about a guy who was raised up in an imaginary covenant and took multiple tries to pass his Gauntlet. I told him we could engange in Certamen over the issue, but that would just waste my time and embarrass him. Then I slapped him.

[color=green]Pietro: [color=red]That is just too funny! Did he put up a fight?

[color=green]Antonio: [color=red]Oh, to his credit he did try. Gotta give him that. He is a tricky one, Abaddon trained him well. He started with some illusions, some were phantasms even! It seems he has mastered Theurgy since our last encounter. But I just applied Vancasitum’s doctrine; make use of the right spell for the situation, have every contingency covered, and above all else, be faster than you opponent.

[color=green]Pietro: [color=red]Vancasitum was a wise warrior. Ironic that you know his teachings so much better that Erat Caecus does!

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] Haha! Well, to his credit, he grew up inside the bottled covenant of Taglyn, and probably never had a chance to meet his true covenant mates. And he did escape, remember. If only he was more cooperative, he could be a great asset to our plan!

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Well, I wouldn’t want to cooperate if I was him either. Abaddon used a simulacrum of Coracol for his apprenticeship! Now, realize that I was originally of House Tytalus, and as messed up as I think they are, at least my former Housemate have some sort of ethical consistency. Coracol was held up to us as an example of crossing the line, of a master who went too far. If Abaddon was posing as Coracol to train him, well poor Erat Caecus certainly had a harsh time of it I am certain. And even afterwards he was kept at Taglyn for ten years before he got out! How he managed to learn he was living in a dream, I don’t quite understand all of his story. And neither does he I am certain! He was certainly quite the admired celebrity when he first showed up at Fudarus thirty years ago, but he quickly fated into obscurity after that. Reclusive and addled he is, probably scarred for life from his experience. But there he is, the last apprentice of lost Val-Negra.

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] So, do you want me to set you up on a date with him? Look, you can wax on romantically all you want. He tried to kill me, ineffectively as his efforts may have been. All I wanted was the Obsidian Ring. He knows first hand how serious the situation might be, and still he forced me to use aggression to procure it from him.

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] What sort of shape did you leave him in?

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] Oh, he’s fine. Some minor scrapes, nothing serious. I still wish we could recruit him

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] For your Knights of Seneca?

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] No, just for Andorra. I need to divorce the activities of the Knights form Andorra. I am thinking of moving in the next decade or so, had my lab over to my daughter and appoint Xalbador or Marcellus as Martial or some title I make up. There are plent of mature magi here to replace me. I’m thinking of sponsoring a new covenant near Toldeo maybe. Velasco is already there and he says he has found the perfect spot. But before I can even think about any of that, I have to find Rodrigo, or at least find out what happened to him. And I am certain that the Obsidian Ring is the key! My guess is that he set out in search of Val-Negra in order to achieve the Third Step of the Path of Potency, and he is either lost or trapped in Twilight.

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Yes, about this Mystery the two of you developed. I have never considered Mysteries to be worth the effort, and these self initiated Wilderness Mysteries are by far the most erratic of the lot. I have a worry that it won’t truly be worth the effort. And perhaps your mucking about with the Mountain Spirits is the source and origin of the problem you are having with the Caverns of Entropy. Maybe that is where your friend Rodrigo is lost?

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] Hmmm… Probably not. It was that Bonisagus Seeker. I should never have let him explore down in there. He opened up a Pandora’s Box. In fact, I think it is the Caverns that have something to do with the Black Fir growing over there (points to Viola’s new Sanctum)[color=red]. I recruited a Merinita maga to investigate these things, and she found a lost lab in a region in the tree. I wanted to chop it down for fire wood. She sniffled and quivered her lip…, Ah! Women always get the best of me!

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Haha! Is that why you don’t allow women into your societates?

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] What? Not true! Who told you that?

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Your daughter told me that! Haha! She insists that’s why you won’t let her join. Why you didn’t train her as a “squire”.

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] No, that’s not it. Look, I just want better things for my daughter, okay? I mean, you and I are two of the youngest Archmagi. But despite our youth, we are not part of this generation. Our was a harsher time. You are one of the last to have to face the Contest of Seven Champions to join the House. I had to do the Spartan thing, left in the wild to fend for myself and make my way back home. Nowadays it is always a Quest or a Tournament. Garus has an enlightened vision. I think his code is a little pompous, but I think he has the vision that will carry our house into the future.

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Well, that’s where I disagree with you. I think it is leading to a generation of softer magi. Perhaps I do retain a bit of the Tytalan philosophy. But conflict made us stronger, kept us sharp, kept the enemies of the Order at bay.

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] Erat Caecus was raised up the old way, and look how easily I threw him around.

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Touché. Now, what of that Obsidian Ring?

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] Fuego has it. He is comparing it to his own. Apparently it has also ceased to function, just like his own. Fuego was also an apprentice of Val-Negra you know. From back in the old days, when Vancasitum was young, Fuego was his third filius I think.

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Indeed. I am surprised that the old arsonist is still breathing. There is no way his parens is still alive.

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] There is no way of knowing. No one has been there in so long, and no one remembers how to get there.

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] Well then, this could be quite the opportunity. If it is abandoned, then there would be so many resources just waiting to be salvaged. Why, imagine the library!

[color=green]Antonio:[color=red] Indeed. We think alike. Still, I have this ominous feeling. Anyways, let us walk out in the yard. Perhaps I can introduce you to the other members of my covenant. What do you say to a contest of Dimicatio?

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red] You are going to try and compete with me in mastery of the Incantation of Lightning again, aren’t you? I admit your counter spell is impressive, but you are just not fast enough. How many bolts are you up to?

[color=green]Antonio: :slight_smile: [color=red] Ten!

[color=green]Pietro: :smiley: [color=red]I am up to twelve. Let’s go!

Pietro of Flambeau is going to be here for the next couple of days before moving on to the next location he plans to visit. Carmen is giving him a tour of the place, showing him around and introducing him to people one by one. There is Alexandro Pedro Perez, Antonio’s son and eldest child. And absolutely mundane, not magical in the least. He is Captain of the Andorran Guard (the Turb). Then there is (the Chamberlain and the Steward, you guys make these people up). And the rest of the colorful characters that make up our covenfolk, which we will create as we go along. You each get a companion and two grogs to call your own.

Anyway, she will introduce him to each of you as she comes across you; perhaps in the library, in the storage, in the feasting hall, walking the perimeter, and etceteras. You will each note he is a wity conversationalist, much more than I, and is very clever in the way he gets you to volunteer information about yourself.

His is a good jumping off point for each of you to introduce yourselves in character. Tell us where you came from, how long you have been here, and what you want other people to think about you.

Pietro will tell you he is from the Alpine Tribunal, that he is the Antares of the Archmagi, and he is the one that taught Antonio Mastery of the Incantation of Lightning.

Just be clear, do you want us to make our own companions or should we follow the new 5ed practice of making companions for the covenant and thus likely for one of our sodales?

Dimir taar is found in the great hall, quietly drinking fine wine while poking over some unbound papers, probably lab notes.

As a comely maid passes by, he smiles at her, a dangerous smile, akin to a wolf seeing a lamb, but not devoid of affection. She is, after all, one of her faithful servants. Still, maybe she'll serve him in some other ways. Or not. There are still those ideas from Antonio, and this must be handled finely, and with enough magnificence to fit us. And then, I've gotto find suitable spirits, cajole then, and then, either enslave them or make a pact with them [color=blue](For exemple, this makes the difference between enchantment and charged items).
Later, then, he'll ask for her tonight.

Decimus arrive later that day to the covenant for the first time. He is dressed in a plain toga and wears a red cap as if he where a plain redcap and with a heavy backpack on his back. Decimus walk up to who ever guard the gate and ask for admittance. He asks to see who ever is the covenant leader as he has a errand to trouble them with. Decimus are covered with road dust and longs for something to eat and a bath.

Carmen comes along with her mentor Pietro, and introduces him to Dimir Taar. You notice him looking at what you are looking at, and Carmen rolls her eyes. :unamused:

They are prolly accustomed to you, as we do sponsor a Mercere House. Food, ath, wine, and company are provided for you. Antonio will speak with you at dinner. He is out of the building at the moment. Dimir Taar is in the great hall if it is urgent.

Marie looked at the 20 grogs as they ran through the inner courtyard, after a pig bladder. When she had introduced Harpastum five years ago, they had been sceptical about a woman (and a cripple at that - though they wouldn't dare say it) suggesting a new form of exercising.
Now everyone seemed to enjoy the competition. They had grouped themselves into six decuriae by now - and played 45 games per year. She hadn't taken the role of the arbitrix for weeks now - there was so much to do, and she never quite seemed to get around to it, but now she enjoyed it.
She smiled when she remembered how she had had to limit the number of spectators because the grogs had started to neglect their guard duties: And all of this to win the privilege to eat from metal plates: "Incrementum ex certamine" - definitely.

OOC (edit): Eating from metal plates is quite unsusual in the Middle Ages. It is intended as a symbolic recognition (like a trophy), not as a serious advantage. I didn't believe the food on the plates was any different.

I myself am interested to know more about this game! Sound awesome!

Minor correction, our men would not ever compete for privileges. Proper treatment and eating utensils is a right. It is part of our hooks :slight_smile: Our guys are very well treated, paid a wage, given health care, and a pension when they retire. And they can quit any time they want. They are free men (an unusual concept in most of Europe, and totally foreign in Catalan, we have a bit of Castilian culture going on in here. We keep them here by paying them well.

So, rather, they compete for a prize, a title, or a privilege system they work out on their own (looser has to pull kp for the winner). It is an unusual situation, true, but part of our characteristic uniqueness.

Viola is inside the castle only because Antonio suggested she should meet Pietro. At the moment, she's arguing vigorously if incoherently with a butterfly, which doesn't seem to be arguing back. When Pietro appears with Carmen she takes a moment to wave hello, but doesn't put much effort into it. She looks annoyed. She usually looks annoyed.

:laughing: that's okay. You had me looking up history of Plates and Dishes on wikipedia yesterday! Then I decided I am too nit picky, so metal plates it is!

[color=green]Pietro:[color=red]Hmmm... what's her problem?

[color=green]Viola:[color=red]I dunno. Faeries :unamused:. Viola! Come meet my mentor Pietro!

OOC: People tended to use bread trenchers, right? So you did in fact "eat your dish", so to speak.

Glacius will be being tended in the infirmary for the time being. When they undress me they see several wounds that used to be magically healed being open again, causing the collapse of the magus into unconsciousness.

I am naked as well, wehich would indicate that I have used some of my transformation spells.


[color=green]Nurse Xemina: [color=red]He probably was using temporary binding magic to hold his wounds closed until he could get here. Vivian! Go get one of the magi, quickly! Tell them it is a serious matter of grave injury! Tsk... hold still, this will sting (applies alchohol, witch hazel, or whatever they used for astringent in that day)

Decimus looks around the hall that he has been placed his eating a modest amount of food and drinking a glass of wine. He search for any other magus to start a conversation with. If he finds someone (Dimir taar?) in the great hall he starts to introduce himself and tries to ask questions about the covenant.

Viola looks back at Carmen, display the boredom of a particularly obstreperous teenager. She finally speaks: "Yes?"