Chapter 1h: The Matter of the Aegis

(This takes place the day before Bernhard departs for his redcap duties, and also before the meeting with elders of the village.)

As the magi are assembled at the end of the day, to share the results of their respective efforts, Bernhard asks hesitantly, "Hmmm... magi... when do you plan on raising an Aegis over the covenant? I... I mean... as a redcap, I have some enchanted items put at my disposal by my House to... help me with my duties. So... I mean... it would be best... I mean, for me to be able to be there? When you raise the Aegis?"

(IIRC it is spring now?)

Right now there is no covenant or many resources to be protected much, so be hasty and start doing it as soon as possible might be unnecessary. I would cast it once we have settled down and as a celebration. As it is the tradition of most covenants, I eould do it on the winter solstice. What do you think, sodales?

((You are at the end of April. So between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.))

No need to hurry. What is this about items, Bernhard? Anything we can use?

Bernhard stammers, "No! I mean... well... these are items entrusted... by my House... I mean, to help perform my duties. I am... hmmm... not at liberty to... to use them for other... ah... purposes?" Sweat glistens on his brow and he looks hesitantly at the magi, as if expecting them to turn him into a frog or something. He wipes his brow with his hand, "They would... I mean.. would not be of use for the covenant. I am not... not... hmmm... allowed to say more about them?"

Rest assured that we will not deprive you of your items nor of their powers. We plan to have you around when we perform the Aegis ritual, but before that we need to secure a few things, like a structure worth protecting and a clearly defined boundary.

And remember: I'm keeping an eye on you and your secret items! Mentem magus, remember?

Prochorus taps his temple, gives Bernhard a long, meaningful, slightly menacing look ... then bursts out laughing.

Kidding, kidding, don't mostly worry.

Bernhard goes pale and breaks out in a sweat. He tries a few times to talk, then his eyes roll back and he faints.

Really, this man needs to develop some spine! Still, it might be wiser not to try to upset him much since he clearly has a problem around magi and he is our only real link to the Order until we get our covenant recognized.

Prochorus chuckles happily.

You are right, of course, but how could I possibly help it?

After a few moments, Bernhard regains consciousness, confused and worried.

"You are one of us now Bernhard. No need to worry or distrust us. Next time you come back we should have the covenant area set up and some construction work started. Then we can discuss when and how to perform the Aegis ritual. I guess we should have a council and all that too to go through the practicalities. Bernhard, is there any way we could contact you in case of an emergency? Not that there will be any but you know, we might get lonely and want your company." Japik smiles warmly at the Redcap.

"What? Errr... where am I? Ah..."" He looks uncertainly at Japik, no understanding of the Bjornaer's words apparent on his face. He rises laboriously from where he had collapsed. When he catches sight of Prochorus, he goes pale again and stammers unintelligible words. It takes long minutes before he can say anything coherent.

When he is finally able, he answers part of Japik's question. "I... travel a lot... well... I am... I mean... a redcap... so contact... it's me who usually..." He shakes his head, wipes his face and directs a fearful glance at Prochorus. "But I can... I mean... I come to the island... err... often? Maybe... every month or two?" More wiping off sweat again, "It is on... my... regular routes."

From that point on, until the time he departs from the island, Bernhard never again looks straight at Prochorus.

Quercus smiles broadly at the Redcap. It looks like he needs quite some encouragement.

No problem then! We will be casting the Aegis at a solstice or equinox, so as long as you can make it to be there in one of those moment it would be perfectly fine. We still need to gather enough vis to cast it, so it will take at least 2 months for us to get ready to cast it, more likely 5 months from now. Do not worry, you are a very valued member of this covenant and we are not leaving you out.

Quercus is not the most accomplished social talker, but hopes this cuddling eases the nervousness of Bernhard. If he is around, Fresse is likely to roll his eyes. Later he will slap Bernhard with a few strong pints of ale to make him more comfortable if the magi scared him too much. He has done that before.

We only have 2 Vim vis and no rego, so yeah, we need to get vis ASAP if we want to get any kind of protection that are now lousy low level (sponted) wards.