Chapter 1: The Journey to Nowhere

Well, that's a surprise. The aura in the ring of trees is 3, but the aura once you enter the clearing is 4--one higher than what the Redcaps reported.


Portia is still around-- she's still busy with non-fatiguing InVi to check the aura, scribbling a map into her wax tablet.

Gregorius enters the house carefully with the shield grog. He'll head directly towards the room the butterfly indicated the resident-grog was in, but be quite cautious about doing so - checking steps, casting Prying Eyes on any extra doors, etc. [He should be able to cast Prying Eyes reliably unless he botches, assuming the aura doesn't decrease]. He'll lead the way in front of the shield grog, although will get behind him rapidly if attacked.

Once he reaches the door of the room the grog's in, he'll cast Ward Against Metal again (Re 7 + Terram 7 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 6 ( = 6, works. He'll then examine the room, looking for traps and the grog.

[Should it become relevant, please remember that Gregorius has Premonitions. Ease factor for imminent mortal peril is 3; for imminent minor inconvinience 15; mortal peril a week in the future 9. If he beats the ease factor by 3 or more, he gets a sense of the nature of the peril, with more detail if he rolls highly. His base ability in it is Premonitions (allies) (3) + Per (3) + Aura (3/4 at the moment) + die = 9/10 + die.]

On a side note, we'll assume that Constantine engaged in some very effective butterfly pantomine, since I don't think he can talk (yet) after all.

The grog is in there, crouched in a defensible corner, with a sword in hand and raised. Your Premonitions tell you something bad is gonna happen if you go through that door--not mortal peril, but bad nonetheless.


[But there's nothing obvious he can see to cause it from Prying Eyes? (Other than the grog.)]

That's right, just the grog.


Gregorius will drop the Prying Eyes, and instruct the shield-grog very quietly: The door doesn't seem to be trapped. Gregorius will put the grog to sleep; when he gives him the signal, the shield-grog's to go in quietly, disarm and then restrain the resident grog.

He'll catch his breath, then recast Ward Against Metal: Re 7 + Terram 7 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + Mastery 1 + die 6 (, goes off without fatigue.

He then casts a diameter version of Prying Eyes: (In 6 + Im 0 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 2 ( /2 = 6, goes off.

He then casts Call to Slumber on the grog: Re 7 + Me 6 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 8 ( = 25/26. Goes off, penetration 12 + Aura, should it be relevant.

[I think that should work - the grog is within voice range, and he can sense him through the Prying eyes spell. No concentration roll needed as it's diameter duration.]

If it works, he then gives the shield-grog the nod.

OK, he's asleep. Now what?


Once the shield-grog has gone in disarmed and restrained the resident grog, Gregorius will either wait for the Prying Eyes to end, or if there's a reason he needs to get rid of it quickly, unravel it with a sponted Perdo Vim spell (Pe 0 + Vi 5 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 - quiet casting (5) + die 7)/2 = 5/6, will unravel a spell of level 5/6 + 10 + stress die (no botch), so should work. (

He'll then enter the room and approach the restrained grog. If possible, he wants to make eye contact with him - if the grog is still asleep, he'll have him woken, and try to catch him in the moments of confusion upon waking; if the grog is already awake and not avoiding eye contact, so much the better.

Spell: Aura of Righteous Authority: Re 7 + Me 6 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 4 = 21/22, goes off without fatigue (

He'll then command him:

"Look at me. You have already wasted a considerable amount of my time, and tried to hurt me and mine. My patience is not without limits, so answer my questions - and do not attempt to lie, for I will know."

He'll then cast Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie: In 6 + Me 6 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 9 = 25/26, goes off without fatigue.

If he can't get eye contact because the grog's awake and actively avoiding it, he'll try once more by putting him back to sleep and having him woken again; if that doesn't work, he'll reluctantly ask the butterfly to request of Viola that she send in a couple more shield grogs so he can apply the "getting at least two people to hold the victim down" method.

The grog glares at you, but a glare is eye contact. What are you wanting to ask him?


Initial things Gregorius wants to know:

  • Why is the grog so afraid, and why of them?
  • Where has the grog trapped, and how? Has the grog told them everywhere?
  • Where is the entrance to the local cave network?
  • How did the grog survive the original destruction of the covenant, and the time since?

He considers asking after any vis sites the grog knows of (worded so the grog understands what he means), but isn't quite sure where that comes under the prohibitions against scrying (Code of Hermes 1 + Int 1 + die roll 9 = 11 ( Similarly, he'll ask about the destruction of the previous covenant, but will try to avoid asking about its magi.

[OOC: Questioning under Aura of Rightful Authority is explicitly considered scrying according to the spell description of "Trust Me" on pg 73 of HoH:TL. The extent to which that applies when the magi in question are probably dead, and the question is about what should be your own (covenant's) property, I'm less sure.]

[OOC: This'll probably take a while IC. Please feel free to have your magi turn up and get involved if they would want to.]

Aetos watches the procedure in eagle form (he transformed where the grog didn't see him).

Just to be clear: are you telling him who you are and why you're here?


Gregorius had his identity (loudly) announced when he turned up at the door of the house in the first place. The grog should know his name, and that he's a Tremere magus of the Order (or at least, that such a person exists and is around). He's not trying to hide that they've come to found a covenant.

Thinking back, Gregorius isn't entirely sure his shield-grog mentioned the Order when calling out into the building, although he thinks he mentioned "Tremere". Assuming that you rectify the omission now, the captive grog looks skeptical but somewhat more receptive: "You're magi from the Order? How do I know you're telling the truth?"


"That I'm a magus, you should have little doubt."

To reinforce the point, he takes one of the stones out of his belt pouch, and levitates it:

Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone: Re 7 + Te 7 + Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 3 = 21/22, goes off without fatigue.

It flies around the room (slightly above head height) as fast as a bird flies, pausing just briefly above the resident-grog's head. It then returns to Gregorius and drops (either into his hand, if he thinks he can do that without hurting himself, or at his feet).

Finesse roll: Finesse 7 (or 8 with aiming speciality) + Per 3 + die 4 = 14/15.

[There's no way he can keep the Frosty Breath up through that demonstration, and he won't even try, but he'll put it back up before starting to get information from the grog - under non-stress circumstances he should be able to put it up with only a little risk of fatigue.]

He smiles, briefly and even pleasantly.

"As to the Order: what would satisfy you?" (This is semi-rhetorical, and he doesn't give the grog much time to start making a list of demands.) "I know that there was a covenant founded here nearly 20 years ago by Theban magi, but that it was destroyed only three years later. I know that you were subsequently discovered living in its ruins by scouts sent by the Tribunal, and that my House and the Tribunal have now sent me here, in part, to discover how these things came to be."

"Hmmphh....Why didn't you say in the first place you all were magi? Talking Latin or Greek, you might as well be churchmen, right? I swear, magi have no common sense.

"I'm glad to see you here. You're really going to trying setting up here again? It could be a challenge, but you have my help...if you want it." He breaks into a smile.


Gregorius smiles again, although it's possibly slightly forced at the man's complaint.

He also casts, silently and without gestures, Posing the Silent Question: In 6 + Me 6 +Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + 1 (Mastery: Quiet casting) - 10 (no words or gestures) + die 3 = 10/11 (; goes off but leaves him fatigued (but I think he should have recovered from his earlier spell casting by now). He wants to know whether the man sincerely wishes to help the magi.

"We're going to set up here again, yes. With your knowledge of the area, your help would be very useful, and I would gladly accept it. Fortunately, none of your traps have injured our people, but nonetheless I think it would be a good idea to start with where you've laid them, before that changes. But first, one moment:"

He casts Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie again [In 6 + Me 6 +Sta 1 + Aura 3/4 + die 1 = 17/18 (sadly (as he's rolled at least two 1's), I'm guessing that's a simple die). ( Goes off with fatigue.]

He'll then proceed down his earlier list of questions.

I don't think he's truly had a chance to rest (since he's being attentive, and alert to possible danger).

The grog glances around the room, as if surveying the landscape outside the building's walls. "Did you have a look at this place? And that's after I made some repairs by lugging stones back into place. Something bad happened here, very, very bad: they were on horseback and armed with the standard Kipchak stuff--bows, swords, javelins--but in the five minutes they were running around in a panic before retreating into the caves, I overheard the magi saying they had some kind of magic support, something the magi couldn't figure out and couldn't do much about.

"Personally, I think they had inside help, but who knows? Anyway, we're out on the frontier here, and I don't know who or what is out there, and on top of that, on dark nights this place is crawling with ghosts and God knows what else, and probably has been since shortly after the Cult of Mercury held its last ritual in the Neptune temple, if not earlier."

"Um...I'm going to have to lead you around and show you. In the meantime, maybe your people should try to stick to a small area?"

"I can show you that, too. Down there is...a mess, though, and there's so much rubble I doubt you can get down to the water anymore, though a few of the upper rooms are accessible, including a lab. Theoretically, there are several other entrances in the area, in ravines, and one down on the water, where the underground river comes out (but that one's underwater), but I don't know if you could get anywhere from any of them, after all the collapses. I don't go down there, though....I hear...noises...and I've got enough to worry about up on the surface.

Several of us survived: it was dark, there was chaos, and I don't think they were very interested in hunting down grogs in the first place. I came back a couple of weeks later, to find the place deserted. The ghosts keep the locals away, other than the occasional teenaged daredevil, and adding a few traps in the woods discouraged them even more. I haven't seen much of anyone else since then, other than those Redcaps who visited last year, but it's hard to sleep easy here."


[He'll still cast the Posing the Silent Question. I'm not sure whether he had to cast the Unravelling the Fabric of Imaginem or not (although it didn't sound like he did); either way he should be able to cast this spell without penalty (due to Enduring Constitution). He'll then either be at a -2 penalty or no penalty to the Frosty Breath, and then a -2 penalty or a -4 penalty afterwards. (Ouch.) Let me know which, and what the result of the Posing the Silent Question was? He's trying very hard not to let the grog see how tired he is.]

"Ghosts? From the time of the romans? Interesting. Do they seem to do anything, or want anything, or are they simply present? Have you ever seen them affect anything physical, or attack anyone?"

"Why didn't you return to Thebes with the Redcaps?"

He'll also ask whether the grog has any idea of anything that might have happened to cause how magical the site is to change.