Chapter 1bis (Spring 1013) Arrival in Calais

She smiles at Bearnadict. “Benedict’s house is different than the others… most of them do not have The Gift and are messengers of our Order. As a House they continued this service to the Order but Benedict did not take part in the fighting. As a House I know they were on the side of our eleven other Houses rather than the one that was singled out but they are Magi in name only so any part they may have played was not the cause of the devastation you mentioned, scouts and guides and warriors and do you blame the conscript for their lord’s choices?”

“As to which side is winning… we have all lost, even those who took no part, but the war is nearly over and the only place I heard there is still fighting is north of here. The single House has lost or will have lost the war.”

«Hum.» Malhad shrugs without answering. «Seeing that you are peaceful Houses, what do you plan to do next? How do you propose to make a living under Eadric's nose?»

“I do not know. I first heard of the witch hunters in the city across the Channel. I was hoping to learn from you all. We will definitely need more knowledge of what has happened in these lands.”

Cath'rinne will rise and stretch her wings. She wishes to see the new locale, in the glorious daylight hours. She casts Voice of the Bjornaer Magi, followed by a spont (no fatigue/5) Sun duration Sense of the Magical power. She tops that with Piercing the Magical Veil. She'll fly about for a few minutes, checking if there's any deeper regio levels or obvious vis source that the locals may or may not be aware of, before reporting for breakfast if she doesn't find anything of interest.

Spellcasting is 28 towards InVi, which yields a fourteen, so this would cost 3 stamina.

You are certainly in an aura, which seems to be centred around a large pond, or maybe it qualifies as a lake, 100-200 paces diameter. The spell does not say more, but you have the impression of a fairly strong one, at least five.

There is no sign of a regio, and there is no sign of any residents but the camp, which is well hidden, about 25 paces from the lake and a similar distance from the stream feeding it.

Anything of interest from looking into the large pond / small lake?

The water looks completely black, as if it is extra-ordinarily deep for its surface size, but no, nothing else to be seen from the bird's eye perspective.

From flying arround, how large would the aura appear to be?

«What do you need to know? As you have seen, your War has been quiet for years. Now it is Eadric we worry about. He controls every village and town, and everybody is afraid. Magic is practiced in hiding, and few practitioners dare staying in one place for too long.»

It extends almost a hundred paces away from the pond.

Satisfied from her early reconnaissance, Cath'rinne will return to her sleeping spot, change forms, dress up and join the rest of the camp for breakfast.

“Do we ever know what we need to know before we know it?” She stares off into space for a minute thinking on this riddle, realizing that yes, no, sometimes, and maybe are all too readily apparent answers to be anything but the shallow one. “I will have to think about that riddle,” she says cryptically, “where were we? What do we need to know… perhaps what happened to Castel… White Horse. More about these witch hunters of Eadric’s. A safe place to hide, perhaps a regio,” realizing she has used the Latin term and he likely does not understand, “a place apart or hidden from the world with secret entrances, a magical place. And I would like to know more of your group, to understand your communion with the forests… I can see there is much wisdom in that.”

«You speak in riddles, and I do not understand half your questions even.» A deep furrow is forming in Malhad's forehead. The witch hunters come in many forms; most are just common men-at-arms or knights, arresting people on the tiniest suspicion. Much as Eadric hates magic, he barely knows what it is, and he has condemned many people merely because they were wise or knowledgeable, or just helpful to others. There are a few, maybe what we should call the true witch hunters, who are more knowledgeable. Some seem to wield magic powers themselves, although they would claim it to be Gifts from God. It is true that some of them were monks, but I honestly do not know what made them what they are.»

He pauses to judge the reaction. «What else did you ask? Oh, the White Horse. Well, I was nowhere near it when it fell, so I know only the rumours, which ran in abundance. Only a few of them could possibly be true, and I do not know which ones. One of the stories was Scottish warlock riding dragons, burning the place down. Others said Roman wizards, with lions and hippogriffs. Maybe more plausible was an army of four score giants. The only thing that is certain is that the wizards of the White Horse did not stand a chance. There was a rumour too, that the attackers where not such a strong force, but that the White Horse was badly defended after Eadric executed the wizards. It is all hearsay though, and I honestly know nothing. »

Having eaten some of the stew, Cath'rinne will approach Betula and Malhad. "Good morning" she says to both in Latin, hoping Betula will translate. "Mind if I join you?" If they acquiesce to her presence, "I hope I'm not interrupting anything, but did I understand last night the group here was planning to leave?"

Obstetrix rouses herself early, and out of habit was starting to eat the grass, when the people of the camp came awake, and started making breakfast. She will have changed back to her human form, a bit to the side, but not too hidden. If there was one thing she learned in Crinthera, it was that the natural form is natural, and one doesn't need to shy from it, but she knew that the world at large wasn't quite ready for that truth.
Dressing in her green robes, she makes her way to Betula and the others, and greets them good morning. When she sees the poor fare, she is touched, and will eat some, so as not to offend them, and will then ask Betula "Will you ask them if they would like some apples, I can create some that will last them for the day at least."

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“Bonum mane, Sodale. Placet discumbere,” [Good morning, sodale. Please sit] Betula says to Cath’rinne then, turning to Malhad, says in Saxon, “Cath’rinne wishes you a good morning," back to Cathrinne and Latin, "They are planning to leave but decisions must be made and allowances for those less healthy such as our friend here. They plan to meet after breakfast and, I believe, we will be allowed to take part in the deliberation if not the decision... Ah, here is Obstetrix. Bonum mane, Sodale,” and motions towards the a place to sit with them.

"Would that be wise? They will be traveling on empty enough stomachs, an apple like that will provide no sustenance for their walk and may grant them expectations that we can provide even more sumptuous meals... I was just telling Cath'rinne that they plan to have a meeting to decide... a few things, most likely. I believe we will be able to speak on our behalf." Betula does not seem bothered in the least by the implications of the last thing she said and she turns to Malhad reassuring him that she was merely telling Obstetrix of the meeting.

Cath'rinne is unclear why they think they should leave, but she figures that subject will be on the agenda soon enough. She focuses on something else for now. "Do you think you could ask him what he knows of the small lake nearby? Or if he would recommend I ask someone else about it? It seems intriguingly deep."

“There is a deep lake nearby? Interesting,” Betula says to Cath’rinne then translates the question.

OOC: Feel free to consider Betula translates accurately, even Obstetrix’s offer of the apples if she further insists.

Benedict is amused at being called Bearnedict, he lets Betula take the lead when she wakes up refreshed and talkative, and the other magi as well, hoping that they can reconcile the others to their gifts a little.

«The lake,» says Malhad, «is a site of power. In ancient times it was a site of execution and sacrifice, and when the moon is up, you can sometimes hear the ghosts. It is best to keep a distance, and whatever you do, do not fall into the water.» Pointing to his bowl, he excuses himself. «I need to finish this and join the meeting. Only the adult members of the tribe will meet, so I trust Mordred can answer more of your questions.»

Soon after, the adults of the camp move uphill to make their meeting, while the elder children clean up the area around the campfire. «Do you want me to clean your bowls?» asks Mordred with a smile.