Chapter 13, the Hidden Story

Antonio uses one of his trinkets, a coin that creates an interactive illusion of himself. It has come in handy more than once when he was in a pinch :smiley:
He seeks out Ludovicio.
[color=red]I have a job for you...

The apartments of Ludovico in Andorra have recently been reappointed with his confirmation as a full member. It is also evident that his taste for the finer things in life is still quite vibrant and alive. While not 'everything' in the room has been replaced, the only exceptions are the major items of furniture. All the accents and the like are now items of aristocratic italian origin, of a fine and expensive make. The future transformation of the rooms is evident and indeed already begun. Ludovico himself is just seating himself for some breakfast and is not yet fully dressed. Yasmine is in attendance, setting out the breakfast.

Ludovico does not finish seating himself instead rising and waving the Archmagus into the room with a warm smile. [color=red] "Come, come! Join me, I insist." he says. After the mention of a task, Ludovico settles back down into his seat, his expression at once curious and intent. [color=red] "I can hardly refuse a Sodale that I have so recently sworn an Oath to, and who favored my cause to see that Oath accepted. Whatever I can do for you, gladly." he says, consideration and thought showing within his eyes.

As he speaks, Ludovico takes up the tea-pot and pours Antonio a cup himself, there seeming perhaps some gravity to the action on his part. Then he pours one for himself. Yasmine is at hand, fussing and managing the other items and offerings on display afterwhich she fades to the background... literally. After this he moves Antonio's teacup over to set it before him, allowing a quiet moment to pass.

Ludovico speaks, looking down at his cup and in a soft light tone. [color=red] "If the matter is personal, you can be confident in my discretion."

[color=red]The others, they did not succeed in their investigation as to who or what shattered the door to the Vault of Valdarius. Nor do we know who stole the Phoenix Sword. We are operating under the presumption that the spirit of Khyron was hidden in the sword, and that whomever broke into the vault released him frm it.
But I need to be certain. I want to know exactly what happened, who did it, and why. This is major breech of security and must be resolved.

By the way, this is pretty good tea. Imported?

Ludovico nods once, whether to himself or Antonio is unclear. He inhales deeply, slowly, and then speaks. His manner is as if he has already given this matter some considerable thought. [color=red] "Ah. Yes, this matter is troubling and has been left unresolved for too long. Not just this latest incident, yet... the entire affair with this Efrit. If you recall I have had my own run-ins with him. I believe he thought I would be easy to manipulate. Perhaps he was attempting to trick me into summoning him within the covenant and thereby attempt to gain the sword... and when that failed, used other means. It makes me curious how he knew I had perceived his deception as well. Once I had guessed his ruse he didn't answer any further summons. However.

I do not think that Khyron is bound within the sword itself. If that were so, I would not have thought he 'could' have appeared to me when the sword was secured away within our Aegis. Or that he would have allowed Magus Rodrigo to have carried the blade back within the Aegis to begin with after his own adventures. There have been many opportunities where the blade was in nominally weak control or security, were this so, for him to effect an escape. Though it is still a possiblity. Are we absolutely certain nothing else is missing? From the Vault? From the covenant at large?

I think it still however the lesser likely of the possibilities. The Vis that the Essence of Khyron was condensed into when you defeated him the first time was stored in the sword. Then, later, in a moment of uncontrolled magic run awry, he managed to escape this state and reconstitute himself. This... long 'inhabiting' if you will, and within an item with similar sympathetic traits to begin with, may have engendered the formation of a Connection between the two. Much as people often have latent connections to their homes or Magi to the Sanctum. And would explain why he would desire us to not have the sword, yet could not at first or whim get within our Aegis to acquire it. Though then I would also be forced to question why he did not simply attempt to kill Rodgigo and take it.

There is quite a quandary here. It is curious to me that he even still concerns himself with us, instead of seeking to return unto the Realm of Magic and his former demense. Usurper or no, he could like as not restore his throne if he is truly the rightful ruler. The Genie are not so chaotic, all things considered.

Ah? Oh, yes. It is from one of the trading houses in Venice that I favor. I undersand it is from very far abroad indeed. My mother favored it, and I have no cause to disagree."

Here Ludovico pauses, his expression darkening for a moment as something runs through his mind. He sniffs a moment, looking down at his own cup and then taking a sip. Afterwards he nods, as if to himself, and continues.

[color=red] "I have a gambit I would offer to attempt, though it is... perilous. After the immediate investigation here. The Usurper who lays claim to Khyron's former realm is, ah, while not an ally... at least an enemy of our enemy. And one with intimate knowledge of our foe. With the right, ah, diplomacy... one might be able to convince such a being to acquire and divulge Khyron's True Name. If there were a more likely source I would be hard put to find it. And while we investigate the hows and whys of his actions, he plans the next one. It would be better to go straight to the heart of the matter and acquire leverage over him he can not deny, and deal with him from a position of strength and power. Instead of as a vulnerable target he appears to be able to strike at whim."

[color=red]One theory I have is that Khyron used the sword to smuggle himself into the Aegis. How he was then able to appear to you seems inconsistent with that theory. You bring up many of the unaswered questions I myself have, but each answer leads to more questions and inconsistencies.
Investigate the vault and the wreckage of the door. See what you can come up with. As for myself, I have two hysterical women to deal with.
I would find it easier to deal with a Wizard War against another Archmagus...

Ludovico sighs softly, and nod his acceptance while a wry turn at the corner of his mouth betrays his amusement at Antonio's other predicament. [color=red] "Hysteria can not be reasoned with. One is ill advised even to try. They will only try and upset the balance of your own emotions. As if you 'should' be hysterical as well, and all that other feminine blather. I suggest you pay them no mind unless you actually 'need' one of them for something, until this is all resolved. But of course, your affairs are your own."

When he is finished speaing Ludovico begins to eat in earnest, while Yasmine and Kartesh fade in and out of normal vision while waiting upon him. He is no longer taking his time with his food, and instead seems full of purpose and haste. It is a matter of scant minutes before he is finished with the meal.

[ I assume some time before he is done with breakfast, Antonio departs. If not, feel free to correct me. ]

Rising from the table and retiring deeper into his rooms Ludovico performs his usual ablutions then dresses, in his 'business' highwayman's garb. Leathers, daggers, and sword in place, he raises his customary defensive wards and enchantments, hanging them to the lunar cycle as usual. Resting from this his usual 'pre-travel' preparations, it is then nearly mid-day by the time he is ready to proceed with his investigation.

Before he begins however he stops for a few moments to kneel and make the offering of four doves before the altar he has in his quarters. Praying earnestly he asks Olympus for the safe return of Carmen, the comforting of Antonio's heart, the safe-keeping of his new home and comrades, and guidance and wisdom in his charge to see to the heart of the matter.

[ If anyone wants to interject something here with Cornelius Sirco feel free. Could be some interesting RP. ]

His prayers, sacrifices, and consultation with Cornelius Sirco ( Spirit/Ghost Priest of Mercury ) take perhaps half of an hour. By this time Joseph has been summoned by Ludo's retinue and arrives in full gear. It is at this point he exits his rooms and proceeds with unhurried and confident steps down the Vault of Valdarius. Joseph paces him, quiet and observant, taking his cue from Ludo who seems quite ready for anything to happen.

You go downstars to the Vaultchamber, and you see the rocks and rubble that were the door. The Door itself was an enchanted device, and likely did nothave any magic resistance of its own. A magic being such as Khyron or one of his servants would not be hampered by the Aegis once inside. True, their Penetration is reduced by half. But if the door had no resistance, Penetration does not matter.

OOC: Aftersom research, I have concluded that Summoning/Sihir would bring a spirit inside the aegis without need of a token. They nevercross the "border" of it, they are instantly inside, and likewise have their penetration halved unless the summoner/sahir grants them a token.

Surveying the wreckage of the Vault, Ludovico stands with his thumbs hooked into his belt for a long moment before he begins his investigation in earnest. Quietly, first, he moves through the vault. It would be hopeless to expect to know if any particular item were missing in a space of such chaotic jumble. Yet such places still have an arrangement and order all their own. It is possible that, if an item had remained in the vault long enough, and had other things arranged around it's presence, one could notice it's lack now.

So he looks. In the span of perhaps five to ten minutes he walks through the entire vault, searching for any minor detail that might indicate that something other than the Phoenix Sword is out of place. Finishing this inspection he returns to the entrance of the Vault and looks back, frowning slightly.

There he kneels at the entrance and begins to inspect the site where the spell that shattered the doorway must have been cast. Searching earnestly there, he seeks any sign or trace of the caster, or indeed any lingering effects of his passing or magic.

[color=blue] His entourage are with him the entire while, though unseen. Ordobos and Arash post themselves at the entranceway, while Araris shadows the Magus himself into the Vault. Yasmine appears mildly bored by the place, until she starts to look at some of the artifacts stored within. Then her interest seems to be piqued, until Ludo tells her in no uncertain terms she isn't to take anything without asking him. This warrants a sulky expression.

Mattias seems at once amazed at the wonders found within the Vault and completely -appalled- at it's lack of any seeming order. He walks through the place attempting to assist Ludo in his hope of identifying any other missing objects.

When he begins to inspect the site of the destruction of the vault's door, Cornelius comes forward to assist, his manner mild and introspective.

[ I agree concerning summoning things directly into an aegis, however I disagree re: 5th ed effects of an Aegis on a creature with might. This is declared plainly in the third paragraph of the description of Aegis of the Hearth on ArM5, pg 161 where it says 'Penetration Totals for Magical Creatures are reduced by the same ammount.' meaning the 1/2 the level of the Aegis. Andorra's level 60 Aegis would thus mean all foreign/uninvited creatures have -30. For the record Ludo would typically invite a spirit he had personally bound but only for so long as it was in his service, uninviting it the instant he dismissed it. ]

Nothing else appears to be missing.
What sort of spell or effect are you using to investigate any sign or trace of the caster or any lingering effects of his passing or magic?
As for penetration, I will look it up again. However, where there is no resistance, there is no need to worry about penetration. The Aegis only resists things form the outside, not anything that occurs within.


You are correct about that aspect of the aegis. Once whatever/whoever did it was inside, they could have blown apart that door with a penetration of zero. Carmen on the other hand would have been different, but, we don't know what exactly happened there.

Back to Ludo.

First he is simply looking for physical 'evidence' or leavings, if there are any. After that...

Ludovico's first instinct is to fall back on the familiar even though it may not be entirely applicable here. Spirits.

An in depth examination of the area using second sight and gentle proddings with Vim to attempt to see if there are any native ( or foreign... ) spirits in the area, or indeed in or of the Vault itself, that are aware/intelligent enough to perhaps have perceived and remembered something about what happened. This would take a while. Spirits of say, stone, that may have useful knowledge can still be rather slow to respond. From the vault he will pick up perhaps a rook of vis and use it as a 'bribe in hand', attempting to coax any of the local spirits to come forward with information. At this Ludo would be rather trained and patient. He knows this can take a while, both to coax something into interaction and for word to spread among the local spirits he is looking for something and offering vis in exchange. Eventually, after covering the immediate vicinity for a few hours, he would draw a circle and make a few scouring attempts to see what he could come up with and to further spread the word among the spirits. He may even attempt to see if the vault itself has a spirit of it's own, or can act as an AC to one ( Did Valdarius get a proper burial? ... )

While this is going on his personal spirits are also spreading said word among the local spirits and investigating on their own, once given leave. The spirit/ghost thieves are immediately sent out, the others once his initial inspection of the vault is done, in turn, keeping a reasonable bodyguard with him... but attempting to let them all have a few successive turns beating the local bushes as it were.

If none of this works he will proceed to attempting to spont the biggest spell trace detection/analysis vim effect he can manage, though this would already feel like defeat to him. :unamused: Pshaw. 'Normal' Magic.

If 'that' doesn't work, he would attempt to spont some rego spells and gather up detritus etc from within and immediately outside the vault... hoping to gather something that may have been overlooked as an AC.

The final fate of Valdarius (and Deledos) is unknown.
Scouring for spirits and getting one to respon will be slow (and I need rolls). You do not detect anything foreign though.
Give me a Summoning roll, and as a back up, a roll for a spont InVi spell. I will then determine what results you turn up :smiley:

Investigation, Investigation done by spirits, Scouring, Spont. Check

5, 3, 8 ,5

Investigation ( Perception + Awareness ( Searching ) + 5 ): 9

Investigation done by spirits ( Who knows + 3 ) ?

( Presence + Rego + Vim(2) + Aura + Penetration )

( 1 + 20 + 20(2) + 5 + 4 + 8 ): 78 ( A might 35 or so spirit. )

[ Note that this assumes nothing in the area was detected as a likely AC, etc. ]

( Sta + Intellego + Vim + Aura + die ) / 2

( 0 + 0 + 20 + 5 + 5 ) ( /2 ): 15 ( Probably not so great. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: One day I will have time to bump my intellego. And... And... And... ) ( If all of this doesn't turn up anything I may retry a spont with a bunch of vis. )

I forgot about this side story thread :blush:
I will catch up with it after the weekend.

This was brought up before: Unless Marko rules otherwise (which IMO, he shoudldn't, as you prove day after day):

  • Focis only apply to arts
  • You're substituting Arts scores for abilities, be they accelerated or not
  • Thus, the focus shouldn't apply.
    Note also that, in the elementalist write-up, which is VERY similar to goetic magic, they can't have a focus applied to their scores.

OOC While you can use the art score in place the ability, it is still ability in the formula. This is reason 1 that foci doesn't apply since it isn't art. Reason 2: Foci only apply to spell casting and labwork involving the arts. Scouring is not hermetic spellcasting or labwork (there is reason it is a HERMETIC VIRTUE). This drops it down to a 58 or might 28 or less creature which is still pretty respectable.

More ooc talk in the story thread :slight_smile:

Anyways, Vortigern! I am waiting for you to post that bit we talked about.
To the others, Vort and I worked out the details of the hidden secrets and how he discovered them. I agreed to let him write and post some prose concerning the matter.


Indeed, it was brought up before, and I thought resolved in favor of my view at that point? If you wish to discuss this further, I'd appreciatte it if you didn't state your opinion as fact in seeming disregard for the history of this longstanding debate/objection. I've posted in the development thread about my opinion regarding hedge magic and hermetic virtues, so I would welcome discussion on that matter in regard to this.

I've reviewed the elementalists from hedge magic for this and I've not found anything that prohibits them from having a focus. If you can point it out to me I'd welcome the correction/knowledge. As is I find no reason I wouldn't allow them to have such and use it. Even more so with Ludovico and using his hermetic arts in goetic magic, in place of goetic -arts- ( not abilities. ), using the focus is exactly correct IMO. If this is a persisting disagreement of sufficient strength perhaps we should make a thread just for this debate and have a troupe vote on the matter when we are ready. My understanding however was that this was already resolved.

Also in my post in the development thread I pointed out that 'hermetic' virtues are open to anyone with the gift, hedgie or hermetic. This is RAW by ArM5. Attempting to restrict their purchase/use/application to hermetics only is incorrect. Anyway, this assertion is incorrect for other reasons, which I illustrate above and in my other post ( see development. )

I have been having a lot of 'reintegration' drama and work etc. with my having gotten home in the past week. I will try and get you a worthy response that isn't fatigue addled soon.

When Ludovico finished his initial inspection of the 'scene of the crime' he returned to the entrance of the vault with a slow pace, his expression betraying the distracting nature of his thoughts. He stands silently for a long moment, hooking his thumbs into his belt and looking down. There was little to the physical facts of the situation that would prove useful to his investigation. The intensity of his concentration was not however on continueing to search for some niggling 'clue' from the physical detritus that had so far refused to yield one. Instead it was on blocking away the spiritual aspects of this place, this situation, so that he could appertain the physical aspect unclouded at first. The time for that however was at an end.

Ludovico closes his eyes for a brief breath, letting it out and then opening his eyes as a breathes in once again. This momentary action mimicks his intent of bringing in the 'other' world. The spiritual. Of course he has long ago stopped thinking of it as another world. It is there for those who can't see it just as well.

While the physical vault was relatively at peace, if not order, the spiritual microcosm of the same space was in complete chaos and uproar. The silence apparent to those without spiritual senses concealed a strikingly different cacophony of cries and upset in the spirits of the place.

Ludovico had seen the minds of weaker men broken by lesser sights. Those unprepared for the true splendor of the -reality- of the world in all of it's hidden majesty. Village Seers, old and broken by their many encounters with spirits they knew how to see yet not how to put down. Apprentices in his own tradition succumbed to ambition greater than their power, left in bloody ruin by that which they had called up yet could not contain.

Not so he. He, he had survived, and in so doing garnered knowledge. And power.

The spirits of the vault are many, he came to see. Many of the great artifacts therein had mighty spirits of their own. Some were bound, in the forging. Others were accruals of sympathy and power with the might and significance of the artifact itself. The place, indeed, had it's own somber spirits in attendance. They looked perhaps as if long ago they had striven to keep order here, and long ago given up.

The vault, like much else in the world for those who sought truth in earnest, was a world unto itself. All of this assaulted his senses at once, and left him blinking for a moment. Then control returned and he again surveyed the vault with his cool eyes.

The spirit of a magical vigil candle crumpled and sobbed at his feet when it realized he could see it. A shrivelled spirit, withered with age and frail of form. It's eyes, eyes indeed, were bright, sharp, and vibrant things. A keen wit if a simple intellect dwelled therein. [color=blue] "I SAW them! Oh, Master, I SAW them! But I wasn't LIT! How can I warn you Master, if I am not LIT? Oh the HORROR! I saw! I saw the Carpet, the gutter-sneak! I've known, I've known for YEARS! But I've never been lit! Oh, Master... Master I've wanted to tell. Waited, for ANYONE. Oh, how I've waited. But now you've come! Now I can tell you! The Carpet, oh that vile creature, the Carpet is a TRAITOR!" The small creature continued on. It spoke with vim and verve, a lively thing. The loathing of the Carpet and it's treachery was obvious and intense, full of grave gestures and murderous hatred.

The pitiful creature's obvious loyalty had a winning effect on Ludovico immediately. He knelt down and confered with it more closely, offering some consolation with his expression and an outstretched hand. [color=red] "Tell me Candle, and tell me true. How do you know of such villainy on the part of the Carpet? The Carpet has been a servant of the Castle for long and long, I am told. The Masters would be shocked to hear of such treachery."

The conspiracy goes even deeper than that. Many of the magi items crafted by Dimir Taar and his mater Kyra made use of spirits for assistance. Some of these spirits were resentful of their slavery, and have taken sides with the traitor. Khyron has set the wheels of our destruction in motion. He may have recently struck a bargain with Vares not to harm the magi while they assist in liberating his realm, and that he will not harm them for two moons afterward and also he will not harm those who invoke the name of a Prophet (Moses, Abraham, Solomon, Mohommed, and even Jesus all count as prophets to him).

However, this has nothing do do with plans already set into motion. This suddenly becomes apparent when an enchanted battleaxe loosens itself from the weapons rack and falls right towards you. It misses and gets stuck in the floor, and you can see it is weakly wiggling to try and free itself.