ooc - good point. Is there anything anyone wishes to add before we proceed on to the next scene in this thread?
With the covenant sealed off from the outside, no one came out to inform Viola about these events. Edward, Viola's shield grog, is seen arguing with a guard at the gate, and then with high superiors, that he should be allowed out to alert his mistress.
Yeah, it is Alberto that stands in the way.
[color=green]Alberto: [color=red]Sorry holmes, but the whole place is on lockdown. No one goes in or out without the magi. Your mistress should have arranged some etter way to keep in contact.
Fortunately, the pontifici have already considered such matters when they designed the emergency drills. It is Rodrigo who comes and gets you. He is the Mercere after all. The normal contingency plan would be for him to send a herald, which nowadays would be Jehan. But we are on 7th magnitude lockdown (don't ask, it is something silly they invented decades ago and makes as much sense as the Homeland Security threat level alert system).
Oh, good, because Viola mad is something you definitely want to see.
Hey, that might be interesting and exciting!
Walking and 'striding' among the valleys and mountains beyond the Covenant, Vares has spent the night making observations of the heavens, gathering information, comparing the horoscopes of adjacent regions. Though he has not announced it to the Covenant, he has ideas for forecasting the fortunes of many based on collating regional horoscopes and comparing them to those who dwell within. If a great calamity is approaching--such as the arrival of the Crusaders--it should be presaged by changes in the futures of the common folk. And if something great is about to disturb the world, that, too, will leave ripples.
It is thus that he hears the explosion atop Andorra before he sees it. Eyes sensitive and keen in the darkness, he gains a closer look at the burning tower--and casts "The Whispering Winds" to hear what is happening. Strictly speaking, his magic threads the boundary of magical surveillance, but he IS a member of the Covenant, the events are outside, and something terrible has happened.
He catches only snatches in the chaos, and is underway at once. Crossing the ground to reach the Covenant will take too long, so he 'strides' from Astrological boundary to Astrological boundary, covering the distance in precisely measured, carefully Mastered leaps...
Speaking to the nearest guard, he elicits more information on what has transpired. Carmen is missing and there has been an attack on the Vault. With the seniormost Magi down toward the Vault, he proceeds there (if he may; his membership in the Covenant is still newly-approved).
OOC: I honestly thought that this thread dealt with events elsewhere, so I hadn't read anything after the initial (prologue) post.
This should account for Vares' absence during the initial events in the story.
Yeah, looking at the stars, you have a hunch that something bad is about to happen right now. Then you hear the explosion.
You leap along quickly to the castle, and you are blocked at the gate by Alberto.
[color=red]Hold up gayo, can't let you through until you have been checked out.
This of course frustrates you, but I shall presume you are patient enough for Inigo and Moe to arrive and pass you.
They divert you from the vault (you would get likewise blocked there and have to wait for Dimir Tarr to pass you).
Instead you are diverted to the tower, where Antonio has been impatiently awaiting you.
[color=red]I'm putting you in charge of this investigation. Find out what happened here in this tower. So far, I have managed to determine that the fire was caused by a Jinn. I presume it was Khyron al-Efreet, but of this I need to be certain before I commit this covenant to war.
I am assigning sergeant Armando and these three men to your command. I am headed downstairs to check with Marie and Dimir Taar. I want you in the council chamber ready to report within the hour.
OOC: Vares could have simply teleported past the gate, coming in via a jump to the wall and then the courtyard if he didn't use one of his many Arcane Connections. As a participant in the casting of "Aegis of the Hearth" it wouldn't have impeded his transit.
IC: Encountering the sergeant before descending into the Vault, Vares quickly joins Antonia to learn of the situation.
"Was anyone killed during the attack? If Carmen has survived, we must assume her sancta rights are intact. I can search for the remnant traces; I do not know how much I will be able to reassemble. Is Ludoviccio anywhere in the Covenant? His spirit contacts may be able to tell us something if the Efreet or his agents were here."
Flatly, he asks, "Do I have permission to use scrying within the tower, outside of Carmen's sancta?" He may accidentally spot one of the other Magi, but, again, this is a crisis, he is a member of the Covenant, and certain interpretations of the Code are in flux.
Once the current store of information has been gained, Vares sends two of the men at his disposal to help search the extent of the destruction.
OOC: Vares isn't exactly an Intellego "expert". He uses several different, relatively low-level spells to gather information.
"Strings of the Arcane Connection" is the first spell he'll be casting. So recently after the violent attack there may be a number of active traces for him to follow.
Not when the castle is on 7th magnitude lockdown you couldn't.
That's where Antonio gives you his little speech above. Then he responds to your questions.
[color=green]Antonio: [color=red]I pray not so (crosses self), I am depending on you to find out what happened to her and where she is.
[color=green]Antonio: [color=red]What are you? A Quaesitor? Look around you. This is no longer the top floor, this is the roof! The place is devidtated. There is no longer a door to hang a sigil upon for christ's sake!
[color=green]Antonio: [color=red]Rodrigo is gathering Viola and Ludo. I have a task in mind for each of them, and we will all meet within the hour to discuss these matters.
[color=green]Antonio: [color=red]Look, kid, just do what you have to do. I just want results. You don't hav to tell me what you did to get them.
Antonio is better at Intellego than you, but he knows few applicible spells. He's become a "Formulaic Only" kind of spell caster in his old age, and the two spells he tries were "Eyes of the Sage" (which produced no results) and "Tales of the Ashes" (which told him that the fire was caused by a jinn and that none of these ashes belong to Carmen's corpse or anything. She is not here and he does not know where she is or what has become of her. A father has lost his little girl, and he is depending on you guys to find her.
"Strings of the Arcane Connection" eh? That is a Range-Personal spell, so I presume you are using Flexible magic to cast it at a range of "Touch". You forgot to mention that. You also forgot to roll a die...
a 1 followed by a 4 makes 8
plus your casting total of +18 and the aura of 5 equals 31.
Level of the spell was flexed to 35, so you succeed but loose a Fatigue level.
The question is, what object did you cast this spell on?
"All of the Aegis tokens must be accounted for. If the enemy breached our defenses, and was the Efreet, he must have had a way through. The tokens are the most likely vulnerability." Though not the only one. Vares has some ideas in that respect.
OOC: Vares is also casting "Tales of the Ashes"--to find out the pattern of the explosion and its flames. Forensic pyromancy is a common practice among investigative Flambeau.
And in so doing he can find the source of the flames. Specifically, any of the flames that remain. Created by Khyron, they should act as a short-lived Arcane Connection to him, as he is a being OF flame. Vares will naturally protect himself with "Ward Against Heat and Flame" when he does the examination. If his surmise is correct, the thread--which will dissipate soon--should point in Khyron's direction. He will take steps (i.e. suppying fuel; preferably something already ignited by the blast to avoid weakening the connection) to see that the fire isn't extinguished.
If Carmen's sancta rights are considered void, Vares will also search for anything of hers that remains. He can then confirm its presence as an Arcane Connection to her.
At present he has the advantage of the local Horoscope, the target's associated Nickname, and possible Arcane Connections giving him x4 for his Penetration when it becomes applicable. Not that he has a high Penetration score.
All tokens were automatically rescinded when the 7th magnitude lockdown order was given, then reassigned as needed. That’s why you were blocked from leaping through the gate. Andorra’s Aegis is cast on the Winter Solstice. It was only just now on the Spring Equinox when you were made a member, so you are still using a token for now. Inigo reinvited you when you were checked at the gate, and the other journeymen have been “retokened” as well.
You don't know that spell. You have to spont, and roll a die. I don't want to do your math, as I will mess it up royally (see below).
Do the math for me and roll dice. I am lazy today
It isn’t that they are void. It is that this wreckage can no longer be considered a sanctum.
Which reminds me, I screwed up on your last spell. You did not loose fatigue. I was confused by the notations on your character sheet
You had written
That totally threw me off. You were basing it off of this spell…
The scale I am using for the base level goes like this…
Base 2 – detect Indefinite & Fixed Arcane Connections
Base 3 – detect Arcane Connections lasting years or decades or longer
Base 4 – detect Arcane Connections lasting weeks or months or longer
Base 5 – detect Arcane Connections lasting hours or days or longer
Vares version has a base magnitude of 5, and allows him to detect Arcane Connections of any strength. Flexing the Range to Touch allows him to see strings leading to objects or people that share an Arcane Connection with the target.
Now here is where I messed up the math when I rolled dice for you. The original level was InVi30, and you Flexed it to InVi35.
Your numbers are: Sta +1, In 5, Vi 6, Mastery 1 (no mastery ability chosen).
This equals only +13 for your base casting total. Plus the Aura of 5 equals 18, plus the die roll of 8 equals 26. The spell still succeeds and you loose fatigue. So I don’t know why I am complaining. Just do your won math
You need to choose a Mastery Ability. I would suggest either Ceremonial Casting or Stalwart Casting.
So anyway, at first you attempt to use the spell confuses you. You started with some broken lab equipment, and all you see is faint weak strings to the other broken pieces.
Then you think of your idea of trying the spell on the small secondary fires. You then reason that they would only form a connection between each other and the main fire (which was extinguished).
So then you go about searching for anything of Carmen’s that remains. You look about at the wreckage around you. The heart of the explosion was in the lab, here where you are standing. Her sanctum was on the top floor of the tower, along the western wall. with a large balcony facing the mountains outside the castle.
I am going to presume you successfully cast Tales of the Ashes. You loose another fatigue level and are now down two.
As long as you maintain concentration, it tells you what the ashes you are touching once were, how log ago they were burned and how they were burned. This is all divined from markings and signs in the ashes. You can tell the ashes were items normally found in a lab (texts, furnishings, etceteras), and they were burned up less than an hour ago. You can tell there was an explosion. Half the roof was blown off, and part of the western wall was blown out (where the balcony was, now a pile of rubble down below). Looking around, touching the ashes, you can tell that the explosion emanated from somewhere in the middle of the lab and was directed out towards the balcony. Then you find the telltale sign of the cause of the blast. The faint trace of scorch-marked footprints, large feet (size 18 at least). The charring left by the scorching feet has a slight tinge the color of brass.
So, standing at the blast point, you look towards the blown out wall. Though the blast was directed that way, the circumference was wide enough to wreck just about everything. As Antonio said, the door to the sanctum (behind you) was destroyed in the back-blast.
Or was it? The door is gone, but where is it? Was it blown out or in?
Anyways, as I said, half the roof is blown off. The lab took up half of the top floor, and this is the area where the roof is gone. So there must be more to this floor. You look around, and to the other side in the far corner there is a door, still intact.
Dare you open it?
OOC: Vares can use extra Care when Sponting "Tales of the Ashes", adding in his Concentration. This will bring his round up score high enough that it can yield "Tales From the Ashes" without expending Fatigue.
The strongest Arcane Connection should be the hoofprints. Left by the maker of the Fire, they should be Hours-lasting (at least; they ARE burnt into stone) Arcane Connections to the maker of the fire which destroyed the building. At a minimum, they should point in the direction of their maker.
Ok, there is something much bigger which needs to be hashed out post haste. I reread "Aegis of the Hearth". I've been confused by the "Level 35 lockdown" to which you're referring. To my knowledge, a place can have only ONE "Aegis" on it. Unless the core members of the Covenant took the nearly two hours to create a new Aegis after the explosion (which they'd still be doing when Vares arrived) the original is still in effect. In previous editions they could have used a ReVi35 effect to simulate it as a Charm Against Magic, but that's nearly "impossible" according to the stupid 5th Ed. revisionism.
Second, are you saying that none of the Magi who were up for membership participated in the Aegis ritual? What about the members of the Covenant who aren't Magi? They usually do, or else it impedes them, too.
Third, and this is very, very important: according to the RAW text it is impossible to rescind the invittations of unknown parties. No blanket revocation can be done. Each person given an invitation must be revoked BY NAME. In other words, the core Magi would have had to choose to rescind the invitations given to the others, including those who are new members! If any who participated in the ritual extended invitations unknown to the others, those invitations would still be valid.
This strikes me as a near-fatal flaw in the spell. All it takes is one corrupted or befuddled member of the Covenant to be suborned by an outside power to give out invitations allowing them into the Aegis and then have their memories wiped to prevent anyone from finding out that the Aegis is now vulnerable to an untold number of agencies. Infernal Corruption would be almost unstoppable as they trick Covenant after Covenant into letting them in and prevent anyone from remembering that it happened until it is much, much too late.
Concentration does not add a spellcasting bonus. What you could have done is cast ceremonially, which would have yielded a +6 bonus (Artes Liberales 4 and Philosophiae 2). Still, this would have given you a casting total of only 21. You need a 25 to spont TotA without fatigue.
Foot prints, not hoof prints. Regular human shaped feet, unshod and huge in size, but normal human shape.
These scorch markings, tinged with the color of bronze, are more like a sigil. You detected them through use of Tales of the Ashes, they are not normally apparent. Still, I will throw you a bone because you are being clever
You find something that Antonio must have missed. A bronze dagger, of an Egyptian or Moroccan design, with tiny Arabic inscriptions. This could be an important clue, and will provide the Arcane Connection you are seeking.
You cast your spell, and you see the strings going...
Frustrating, yes, but this is also a clue.
I will leave you with those clues, and push the plot along. Antonio pops back in real quick, looking slightly embarrassed.
[color=red]Oh, by the way, I already checked her bedroom (points to the door mentioned earlier). [color=red]You can go in there if you need to, I already disarmed the door. Just, um, when you conduct your investigation, stay away from, um, her, her lady things. You know what mean. Just, be delicate.
Then he pops out to go prepare for the emergency meeting.
Personal Items of Carmen’s should certainly provide the link you need!
You cast your spell (loosing another fatigue), and the results are fruitless yet again.
Yet this is another clue. It is not a matter of Penetration. You mentioned horoscope earlier, and I just realized I have Carmes birthday listed forall to see . But you are targeting the item, not Carmen. Trails to her might fade away before you could find her, but you would still see them on the item. Some of Carmen’s items have links to each other, such as items that match to form certain outfits. Some might form links to their original maker, such as the Italian craftsman that made the shoes Ludo gave her as a gift. These are distractions. You search for something that would provide a unique and true link, only to Carmen.
You find her journal (dare you read a girl’s diary?). But it’s only connection leads to the pen she writes in it with.
Where could Carmen be or what could have happened to her that causes all Arcane Connections are interrupted or severed?
You are fatigued, and the hour will soon expire.
BTW, I took your Aegis discussion over to the Table Talk thread.
OOC: Int+Intellego+Ignem+Aura gives Vares a base Spont total of 20. Concentration 3 (Magic) gives a +4, or Spont total of 24. If he does something he normally never does and exaggerates his gestures (normally, he doesn't use any at all) he can get another +1 for a total of 25. Divide by 5 and the total is 5, or enough for "Tales of the Ashes". Taking Care when casting spells has been a part of the game for a long time. Or is that something ELSE that got erased by 5th Ed's revisionism?
IC: The complex interaction of Arcane Connections without any leading to Carmen point toward one conclusion: Twilight or some other passage into the Magic Realm. Were Carmen deceased, the Arcane Connections would "feel" different.
The fact that those which should point to the Efreet have a similar lack of direction suggest to Vares that he may also have passed into that zone. It decreases the likelihood of Twilight somewhat (he has never heard of anyone except a Familiar being drawn into Twilight with another, and the Efreet should be immune).
The Dagger itself will be examined in greater detail, but as soon as he has his reasonable surmise--and Carmen's journal (for safekeeping)--he will inform Antonio.
OOC - Concentration does not add to spellcasting (I don't think it did in 4th either, except for rituals). You could have instead cast Ceremonially, which would take only 15 minutes for a First Magnitude spell. This would give you a total of only 21. From what I read on the posted character sheet, your spont base is only +16 (Sta +1, Intéllego 5, Ignem 5, Aura 5). Add +7 for Artes Liberales 4 (Astronomy) & Philosophiae 3 (Natural Philosophy), and your total is +23.
my math was wrong too.
add +2 for loud words and exaggerated gestures, and you have +25
I see where your formula went wrong also. You are using Intelligence for Spontaneous Magic. That is something that was revised. All spellcasting is based on Stamina in 5th edition.
Anyways, Vares has some found very important clues and has formulated some hypotheses. You take the dagger and the diary, and you will regain all your spent fatigue by the time the emergency council convenes.
On to the others.
Dimir Taar and Marie:
You guys are down in the Vault of Valdarius. What sort of investigations do you engage in? What sort of measures do you take to resecure the vault?
Ludo, oh Ludo, where are you?
Rodrigo takes you down to where the Eternal Flame of Andorra is located. It is located in an underground sublevel like the Vault is, but the two areas are not connected (you would have to go back upstairs and down a different set of stairs).
[color=green]Rodrigo: [color=red]I know that those who study the arcane secrets of the fae have the ability to weild Hermetic magic in a way that other magi cannot. I am not quite sure what the extent of your abilities are, but I do know that the Merinita are capable of utilizing fire to cast spells of long duration. Know this; The Eternal Flame of Andorra can never go out.
I do not know what advantage you may gain from this. Nor do I know what role you will come to play in this emerging crisis. But i do know that we need every advantage we can get, and you assistance in this matter is crucial.
Valention, Txatxu, and anyone else:
If you have any ideas of what to do or if you are seeking guidance, shout out
OK, rereading this, I now have the impression that "you" is Viola--that is, Rodrigo came and got Viola, so she's now inside the covenant? At first I think I thought you meant he got Edward.
Marie looks around in the vault, since it's her first time there. She also tells the Verditius Magus about the situation outside and the meeting at the council chamber.
I am sorry for the pronoun confusion
Anyays, Rodrigo brings Viola to the Eternal Flame, as mentioned above. It is a symboloic moment. I have no idea what you are going to do with the flame, but I figured you might be able to think of some clever use for it combined with your spontaneous magic and the Faerie Range of Fire.
Remember, it can never go out. And there is a purposeful vagarity in my choice of words. It could either mean that it is imperitive that it never goes out, or that it is imposile to put it out. English is a screwy language. I wonder if it can be worded with the same double meaning using Latin?
By the way, the very fact that Rodrigo is able to open the door to the chamber containing the Eternal Flame indicates that he is a member of the Knights of Seneca (they are mostly Flambeau magi, but not exclusively), and that somewhere on his body he bears the Brand of Andorra. The door is enchanted so that only such a person can open it. You may or may not be aware of this, depends on how much of the lore of the covenant you are specifically or casually familiar with. If you are, you also know that Rodrigo has never revealed himself to be a Knight of Seneca to you or anyone else (except to Antonio, who inducted him). Even if you don't realize this right away, you will eventually figure this out when chatting with other magi or by chatting with your grogs (who chat with the other grogs).