Chapter 1: slow travel group

And through the cold snowy weather they travel.

HIldegarde takes some time to package properly in the evening before the departure, she tries to remember her pater's advice on the matter. She arrange with the grogs for a meeting place early in the morning the next day.

She gets up early to make sure they can begin their travel at daybreak. indeed the days were the shortest of the year and the roads were covered with snow so they had to hurry to reach Harco at the same time as the fast group. She wears a thick woolen travel cape embroidered with leaves pattern, tied on her shoulder by a large wooden brooch representing a rose. She wears her hair in plaits wrapped around her head. She asked for Andreas to Join, She wasn't really afraid of encounters during the trip but rather of Andrea's Behavior in the covenant in her absence.

When her bags are ready, She walks to the wagon and begin to load up her luggage. When she's finished, she waits for the other magi to arrive and discuss the route with the grogs while sharing a bottle of warm mead with them.

As her fellow magi arrive, She helps them to load their luggage and gets into the wagon, She asks "greetings, Are we ready for departure ?"

Menatia gets herself ready for the long journey. She hadn't unpacked most of her things since coming here yet so she just asked some of the grogs to help her with some washing and drying of the clothes she had used recently the day before departure.

On the morning of departure she had two grogs carry her large wooden chest down to the wagon and load it properly while dressing herself in a woolen gown and foxfur-brimmed cloak to keep herself warm during the travel. She had her brown hair plaited and bundled in the back of her head, then covered by a linen headdress.

"Good morning sodalis Hildegarde." she says when she meets the Flambeau maga by the wagon. "You look stunning today. I'm ready to depart. Have you seen your Housemate?"

HIldegarde blushed a little at the unexpected compliment[b] "Thanks, your attire is sumptuous, appropriate for a noble lady. I haven't seen Eduardo yet, but I'm sure he won't be long. I'm glad we can visit Harco, I'd hoped this could be under better circumstances but I prefer to see It as an opportunity.

I guess you haven't seen Andreas yet"[/b] She points him " He's my usual shield grog. he doesn't speak latin but he speaks French in case you need protection yourself. He's a nice guy, but he had a faery upbringing so he might sound odd sometimes, well most of the time would be a more accurate description...He also has second sight because of this, so that's a decent compensation I guess."

"I too look forward to visiting Harco. A redcap I spent some time with told me a lot about it, but I'm not sure all is true so it shall be interesting to see with my own eyes." Menatia tells Hildegarde.

As she is introduced to Andreas she smiles charmingly at the sturdy shield grog. "Nice to meet you Andreas. It will be a pleasure to have you travelling along with us." she says to him in French.

Andreas turns to Menatia, he lights up when she smiles and says (in French : Norman) : "Nice to meet you too, I guess you must be lady Menatia. " He bows slightly.

(ooc: It's been 3 days since original post, let's move on...)

Eduardo would catch up to the group as he tugged his bright scarlet robes closer around his person, settling his chunky rings onto his fingers as he straightened himself out as he put a small pack upon the carriage and settling the black underclothes Never too late i hope, hopefully this will not be a damn fools errand. At least if anything else we can see the heart of the Mercere, and beautiful...whatever sort of weather this is supposed to be. Well at least both of you Maga look sterling, hopefully we will all look this good by the time we get there.

The journey to harco takes one day longer than anticipated because of poor weather conditions.

Once you arrive, you are given guest quarters and invited to meet Primus Insatella's daughter, Maria, the next day after breakfast. You are taken to a room with a nice view of the Italian Alps, its floor richly decorated with carpets from the orient. An old man with a long grey beard man and a young woman with ginger hair are sitting at a table. A woman with ginger hair rises when you enter and introduces herself as Maria. "And this is Quaesitor Renaldo", she adds. "We have received a first report from Horst so I thought his presence might be of use."

Renaldo doesn't react at all. In fact he seems to be on the verge of falling asleep.

Hildegarde refrains her urge to jump on the main subject immediately and tries to be on her best behavior. "Nice to meet you both, I'm Hildegarde Ex Flambeau" she bows slightly and turns her gaze at the windows. "The landscape is stunning, Harco is really a welcoming place, tastefully decorated, It really lives up to his reputation. You've anticipated our needs by calling Quaesitor Renaldo that's really appreciated. We're sorry for the inconvenience, but this is my duty to inform you that a second group of two magi will join us soon and increase the burden on your covenant" She knows Harco is probably one of the richest covenant but this is basic politeness.

Turning to Renaldo "I hope this case won't waste too much of your time, we have the best intentions but that doesn't allow us to proceed without your consent. If you had a report from Horst you already know we're searching for Felix the Redcap. We have good reasons to believe that someone impersonated him and delivered a forged message using master Daria ex Tremere, signature. We believe It's important to find out who's impersonating Felix and request your Help."

Menatia uses her social skills to have them stay at as decent inns or guesthouses as possible along the journey.

After they arrive at Harco she makes herself at home in the quarters she is given and asks if she can have a bath to wash herself. She wears a red dress when she goes to meet Maria and Quaesitor Renaldo with her travel-friends.
She greets the two magi with curtsies and presents herself properly."It's so nice to finally be here and the view is fantastic! Really I have never seen anything like this." she exclaims as she walks up to the window and looks out at the mighty mountains.

She turns back to the hosts and after Hildegarde has described their matter to them she adds "When was the last time you saw Felix here? Maybe you have a record of where his last known location is?"

Maria smiles as you compliment Harco. If she's really not gifted, it is amazing how totally unfazed she seems by the fact that she is in a room full of magi.

When Menantia starts firing off questions, a frown appears in her pretty face.
"Sodalis Felix ex Mercere may not want us to divulge his past movements. As you know he is on a sabbatical. So far, I fail to see why someone allegedly forging a signature of Mistress LaGris sends a coterie of journeymen halfway across Europe. If I understood Horst ex Mercere's report right, no damage was done to anyone."

She makes the end of the sentence linger, like a question.

Still Renaldo is staring at his hands sleepily.

"I understand your will to protect the privacy of your sodales." Hildegarde takes a more serious attitude[b] "House Mercere has been a valuable bond between magi of the Order, the Redcap network in particular allows cooperation and trust between us. I doubt you fail to measure How someone impersonating a Redcap undermines the whole purpose of your House. Moreover, If I were Felix, I would like to know as soon as possible that someone is impersonating me and try to stop him.

Mistress LaGris has her own agenda and I would no venture into speaking on her behalf, but the person that delivered the message used Her name, and she probably want to make sure this won't happen again. This person tricked the five of us into traveling half Europe to reach Triamore in the heart of Winter. This would have been the loss of a season worth of work If Mistress Daria and Master Rémi had not chosen to give us a chance."[/b]


Renaldo peers at you sleepily: "Well argued, young one. A High Crime warrants some investigation. Don't worry, Marie. I'm going to keep the intrusion to a minimum."

And back he sinks into his sleepy state. Actually, he seems to snore a little.

Marie rings a small silver bell. A good-looking servant appears. "Bring in the vial and the maps", she instructs him.

After a moment, the handsome young man reappears. He carries several wooden tubes and a vial filled with a red fluid. It has the number MMDCCLI etched into the glass.

Renaldi grunts as the bottle is placed in front of him. He touches it absent-mindedly. Then, he snaps awake, and for the first time you can see his bluish grey eyes, wide with shock:

[center][size=200]"Felix is dead! What a nightmare!"[/size][/center]

Hildegarde has a recoil, as she realizes the implication of what the quaesitor is announcing. She take a solemn voice reciting the oath "The enemies of the Order are my enemies" Her eyes burning in fury she walks one step towards Renaldi and adds "I volunteer to assist you in your quest for justice, if you find me worthy of your company."

After a few seconds a bit more calm, she adds " We must find Felix body and make sure He's given a proper burial for the salvation of his soul"

She then offers condolences to Maria, then steps back and whispers a prayer for Felix.

Menatia becomes paralyzed for a moment after the quaesitor brings the news about Felix's death. "That's horrible." She looks at Hildegarde and then back at Renaldo and Maria. "I'm at your service as well to bring the perpetrator of this deed to justice." she pauses for a second to think "Assuming he has been killed by someone of course, but given the circumstances with the letters and someone impersonating him it is most likely."

She is silent for a while but then adds turning towards the quaesitor "Can we get an approximate time of when he died and possibly where? Did he tell anyone where he would go on his sabbatical? I'm really sorry for questioning all this but it may be that we need to act as soon as possible to try to find both Felix's body and the murderer."

Renaldo half-opens his left eye and looks at you quizzically. "Mildly decomposed. He must have been dead for some time. In a snow-covered forest. On a hillside. Not Egypt - it seems."
After a long silence, he blinks at Marie: "Maps!?" He sighs as they are unrolled.

He wraps the corked vial in a piece of cloth then drops it on the map. It falls into the middle of the Rhine Tribunal. Two more throws on more precise maps allow him to trace the body to a hilly stretch deep within the Westerwald.
Renaldo now looks infinitely tired and slumps into his chair.

Menatia looks at Hildegarde and Eduardo. "Looks like we will just have a short stay here then." she sighs as she looks out through the window again.
"Do you have anything that would work as an Arcane Connection to Felix that we can bring with us? It would help us find the body when we get closer to it." she says turning to Maria.

HIldegarde nods "A short stay indeed..." She seems lost in her thoughts "there're no point in waiting for the second group here, they're much faster than us, they'll catch up. We should determine a meeting point in Westerwald that you could communicate them.

She shakes her head and adds " I still have no idea why He chose to gave us those messages, what's the point of all this..."