Chapter 17: Light of Renewal

It it time for the annual covenant meeting. There have been a few since the last adventure ended, mainly focused on rebuilding the village and dealing with our short supplies of vis. But now it is time to vote on making Titus a new Journeyman member :smiley:

Vares is prepared for the annual Spring Council meeting. He proceeds down the now highly familiar corridors of Andorra until he reaches the Hall, and then moves toward the Council Chamber proper. For this occasion, he has chosen to wear a cloak of twilight blue, shading from deep cerulean to darker hues. Beneath it, his tunic is pure black shot through with silver stitching, his fine trousers are white with bright red, belt and boots an unusual, amber-toned leather. His presentation is immaculate.

'Salve Sodale!' Titus' booming voice echoes down the stone corridor as he approaches Vares. Standing in stark contrast to Vares' immaculate presentation, Titus looks like he just stepped off the road. His clothing is covered in mud and torn in many places, but his armor and weapons, while showing signs of heavy use appear to be in pristine condition. He also seems to be carrying the severed head of a Drake of some kind, its eyes glowing a fiery red.

Vares turns at the sound of Titus' voice echoing the length of the hall. He takes in the other Magus' appearance at a glance--and the form of the burden held in the other's hand. Instantly, he evaluates the Drake's countenance to discern if it is one he recognises, and, if he does, if it is one of Andorra's sometime allies or known enemies.

He waits for Titus to approach and give account.

It is one of the beastial drakes from the valley. The trio of intelligent drakes that we are allies with now reside on the other side of that mountain, in the "neutral zone" of the Dragon Sigmundo.

As Titus is showing off his prize and Vares examines it, Antonio comes along and slaps Titus on the back.
[color=red]Well done sodale! I have heard you have been a busy hunter as of late! Come, let us hasten to the council room where you can share with us the tales of your exploits!

Titus' smile does not abate as he approaches the other Magus. "Master Vares" he says giving a slight bow "I trust I find you well? I had hoped to speak with you before the upcoming vote." Glancing to the side Titus glares at what appears to be the shadows "Cadoc, stop skulking about!" Reprimanded, Titus' familiar Cadoc slinks out of hiding and towards the pair.

"You have my apologies Master Vares, Cadoc is a bit... paranoid at time. Old habits and what have you. But as I was saying, this upcoming vote is something of no small importance to me. I would view it as a great personal favor if you would vote to accept me as a member of your Covenant..."

Their talk interrupted, Titus smiles and nods before following Antonio down the hall. "Indeed I have Archmagus." As they enter the council room Titus looks around before turning to the two Flambeau "Allow me to present the fruits of my hunts." he says, raising the severed drake head. "I present to the Covenant of Andorra this gift of three rooks of Vis, in the hopes that my contributions will not be forgotten when it comes time to vote."

[color=red]Most excellent indeed! This will go a long way towards helping heal our losses as of late. Which reminds me, finances and vis supply will be another major topic of discussion for this meeting. We spend a lot of money repairing the village and making reparations to the families of those who died. We threw away gobs of vis battling the giants and the genies. I don't want to slip from Summer to Autumn just yet, so I am open to litening to ideas.

Well we could always do as I have done and hunt down creatures for their vis. A temporary solution, but one that would help restore our stocks. It would also serve the dual purpose of securing our borders and to serve as a warning for others who might seek to repeat the actions of our dear friend Kriegar. As for wealth, I can't pretend to have an understanding of mundanes and their trading practices, so I'm afraid I will be of little use there. Regardless it would seem that a rationing of our supplies is in order until we fully recover from the events of three years ago.

[color=red]Well, I have cut back on Vis rations for the past three years, which has helped to keep us stable. Our vis income is solid, we just don't have the same levels of reserves we once had.
Hunting is an option, but at the same time we don't want to deplete the population of magical beasts.

Recognising the head as that of one of the more troublesome and less-intelligent Drakes, Vares gives Titus a sign of approval at his valour. Cadoc's skulking is noted, but not remarked upon.

He is about to answer Titus when Rodrigo arrives, the Archmagus making his own bold statements with his presence.

"Three rooks of Vis is an impressive sum. How many did you have to vanquish in order to secure it?"

With his own plans for dealing with the current status of Andorra, he patiently reminds Rodrigo, "I've offered to instruct others in the ways of Alchemy. My own research allows for more effective extraction of Vis of various Techniques whilst other studies are pursued. Using it wisely is always advisable. Though our obligations consume significant quantities.

"Our contacts in Barcelona are useful in matters of trade. There are several ventures which have the promise of considerable return--and with House Mercere's interest, opportunities abound."

You mean Antonio. Antonio is the Archmagus. Rodrigo is just an old guy who is barely a magus.
But since you mention hism...

Rodrigo: What do you have in the way of Self Initiations into Alchemy? I may be interested, but on my own time and in my own way.

As a side note, I have decided that Vulgar Alchemy has the side benefit in that it allows you to add the Form & Effect bonus of materials directly to your Magic Theory instead of the Lab Total. Minor semantics, but in effect this allows you to use a greater amount of vis in a season when enchanting items, This cannot be combined with special multipliers such as Faerie Magic or Verditius Elder Runes.

Antonio questions Vares [color=red]Is it true that you can use alchemy to change lead into gold without spending vis? I can already create gold using vis, but that worsens one problem to solve another.
As for Barcelona, I forsee that they will be having economic problems of their own if the rumors I hear are true. The crown of Aragon is yet unable to amalgamate the Barcelona currency into the royal system, but there is talk of debasing the Quarternale to using only one-eight silver as opposed to the current standard of one-quarter. Economics is not my forte, but as I understand it, this will make it cheeper for the crown to pay down their debts.
Does anyone know anything about mundane economics? What long term effect will this have? And is there anyway we can profit from it and help shield the Covenant of Barcelona from any ill effects?

Another option is Andalusia. The Tafia kings pay massive amounts of gold to the king of Castile and the kingdom or Aragon. Protection money. But the Almohades have interrupted that flow somewhat. Now, I am not saying we should interfere with mundanes in such a wa as to bring ruin upon our sodales. But if we were subtle about it, I am sure there could be some profit to be gained by "nudging" events in the favor of mundane allies.

Titus perks up at the mention of the Almohades "The chance to kill Sahir would be most welcome."

OOC - I need to research the Quarternale issue a bit. I am pulling the idea from a history text of mine I read last month, and I may have gotten some facts wrong. For example, I think the year that this took place in was actually 1227. Not sure. I will read up on it.

Antonio: [color=red]Calm thyself. The Iberian Sahirs are members of the Order and our allies. The fundamentalist Almohades are opposed to the Sahirs. They use a different tradition of Hedge Magic; self proclaimed hereditary saints known as Marabouts.

Titus glares slightly at Antonio "With all due respect Archmagus, you can trust a Sahir about as far as you can throw him. This is the tradition of those who slew our founder! They may be our 'allies' now, but that is only because they fear us! Sahir are little better than animals and deserve naught but extermination."

(( OOC: Titus has Hatred: Hedge Wizards... and he's a Flambeau. No use in trying to reason with em! ))

Vares answers Rodrigo with, "The method of extracting Vis whilst performing other studies is one that can be 'Self-Initiated'. I devised it myself. I also know one that allows the extraction of other Forms of Vis. The two can be combined, but the effects are not as strong with other Forms as with Vim."

He sighs a bit at the mention of transmuting lead into gold. "Permanent transmutation is inferior to Creation. There are stories that methods have been perfected, but no result has been circulated. You would be better off creating gems, anyway. Or in refining magic to find metal or gem. With the value of good steel, a capable Alchemist can produce large quantities for use far more cheaply than a forge-smith. The Romans had their methods. We can improve on them."

"And what of the Sahirs who are members of Houses Criamon and Ex Miscellanea? Our allies in Estancia es Karida include Sahirs among their number, and they are loyal to the Order." Vares voice is cold to Titus' heat. "Do not forget, either, that Solomon himself was the greatest of all Sahirs and perhaps the greatest of mages. If Sahirs are our enemies by aggression against the Order, then they are our enemies because of that--not because of their own Arts."

Ludovico's normally languid manner seems to have been at first perked and amused and then mildly enflamed by the conversation. He is dressed immaculately today, his royal finery in full display. His eyes shift from amusement to annoyance in an instant as he focuses on Antonio and Vares in turn. [color=red]"Sahir? Surely you jest. Those that joined, they only did so to escape the wrath of Flambeau. What -genuine- loyalty can be expected of loyalty compelled on the edge of a blade? I will never trust them. Damnable -Islamists-. They could be -in league- with the bloody Caliphates for all we know for any geniune truth. Those self-same Djinn 'could' be in closer, -Latinate-, hands. Those of a genuine ally. An ally most certainly -not- descended from their damnable line. Be wary whose lineage you disparage with so broad a brush, Amicus Vares. The Sahir may practice a bastard son's version of the great Solomon's magic, but they are -not- the heirs of his tradition, and he was not one of them."

He shifts in his seat, shaking his head for a moment. Taking a breath he pauses, seeming to calm himself. [color=red]"There are a variety of suggestions I could make in regards to improving our mystical and mundane resources. First, the most pressing and important, the Vis and other aspects of our mystical situation. Foremost. It is time we stopped -reacting- to the prods of our opposition abroad attempting to goad us into selecting a tribunal as to their will. Instead we must -act- to reinforce our desired position and the establishment of a new tribunal with us at it's heart. To that end I propose we recruit and help foster the establishment of chapter house covenants in the area to further establish our claim and legitimacy. And thereby, with the vis ties they will owe us, increase our income."

The contempt in Titus' voice is thick as he responds "Ex Miscellanea? Hah! That 'house' should have been wiped out centuries ago, along with the traitor Pralix! They are nothing but a band of disorganized Hedge Wizards who don't deserve to call themselves members of the Order!" Titus smiles slightly and nods to Ludovcio. "Thank you Master Ludovico. Finally, someone is making sense!" Turning back to Vares his smile vanishes "Loyal? They are nothing but whipped dogs who turned tail and fled after killing our Founder! Now they seek to hide in the Order and claim friendship? Hah! I would have expected Flambeau such as yourselves to know better!"

Vares' tone is not nearly as cold when dealing with Ludoviccio, despite his remarks. "Lduoviccio, by your logic, one defeated in battle can never be trusted. If we held to that standard, all Europe would have been laid to waste and none allowed to join the Order except the Founders' own children--and then, Bonisagus' children. Nor could we trust those bested in a duel to uphold the terms of defeat or of surrender. And those who were defeated, died long ago. Kingdoms absorb the territories of their vanquished rivals. The grandchildren of those vanquished may become loyal to the conqueror. Rome learned that under Gaius Juilius Caesar. He expanded the Senate to include territories taken outside of the bounds of Rome itself, and lands he conquered consider themselves 'Roman' to this day!"

As he speaks, his voice becomes more moderate, reason prevailing. "Titus, such arguments led into the Schism War. When we persecute those who are loyal, who merely differ in their Practices but not in their allegiance to the Order, we weaken ourselves. You are right in that Pralix's actions called for a March against her. She made her vows, and then dissolved them. Those who gathered to her banner were, at the time, never members of the Order. They betrayed none with their actions--and the enemy they faced was real. The decision to bring them into the Order gave us other strengths, other assets than those we possessed before. If the Grand Tribunal made its vote to accept Pralix back in as a prodigal child who had added to the Order's glory, then that was its decision. Only she vanished before that, so it is likely any forgiveness was posthumous. Even a prodigal child can still do good work.

"Think also of our own House. We accept those who have proven themselves worthy, though they may have begun their studies outside the Order. It is true that the Hermetic Arts are the finest yet known, but we can learn from those we face. Fail to, and it can come at cost. The Romans never did match the Assyrians' archers, nor their horsemen. When the Huns came, they used similar tactics, and the Empire suffered for it. Remember that the Goths who were made enemies by Roman treachery--aye, they wanted to BE Romans, till corrupt officials made them sell their own children into slavery in exchange for morsels of food, and that stirred their rage enough to sack Rome itself--were instrumental to battling Attilla's forces! Reculed, who we know as Flambeau the Founder, was proud of being a Roman Visigoth! Two heritages, blended into one, the enmities of prior generations left in the past."

He says in summary, "Judge an individual by his or her own actions, not those of their forebears--nor their distant relatives. Those who are loyal, who are demonstrayably loyal, Honourable, and true are worthy of respect. A master archer is an asset as much as a chevalier, a skilled and armoured infantryman as much as light cavalry. We combine our forces, combine our talents and our abilities to make the whole stronger."

Titus was listening rather intently until the Schism War is mentioned. His face turning red he responds quickly "Excuse me Master Vares, are you trying to tell me that we shouldn't have killed those human sacrificing Druids? The Schism War did not go far enough I say! Those traitorous Houses who harbor the remaining Diedne also deserve to be punished! They have committed treason against the Order and deserve nothing less." Pausing for a moment he recovers his composure and continues "Regardless of what you think I have no problem with these 'Hedge Wizards', when they know their place. But when one presumes himself my equal..." his voice trails off.