Chapter 2f (Spring 1228): Tasia Is Missing

About the time Stephen arrives, the magi of Nova Castra begin to wonder if Tasia is missing--she disappeared suddenly, and, while she's not exactly required to report her movements to anyone else, she's been absent for several weeks now. If she doesn't return soon, the covenant will have to find another way to case the Aegis.


Gregorius is definitely beginning to become somewhat concerned. Looking for Terram vis sources is useful, but it seems unlikely Tasia would put it ahead of casting the Aegis. Of course, she could just turn up at the last minute, but he'd rather not rely on that...

He arranges to meet with Viola.

"I'm starting to get worried that something might have happened to Tasia. Did she say anything more to you than that she was going to explore, whilst complaining about our paucity of Terram vis?"

He'll also note:

"We don't have time for anyone else to learn an Aegis before our current one runs out. If we can't find Tasia, how do you want to deal with this? We could hire someone in, or buy a casting tablet - the latter would have the benefit that it should stop us getting stuck in this situation for a third time, and also means that we don't have to give someone else unrevocable access to our Aegis. I'm not sure we have time to put either of those two options into practice, either, though - when's our next Redcap due? Are you able to get anywhere useful quickly?"

Separately from his meeting with Viola, he sits down and has a think about where he thinks there might be potential Terram vis sources that Tasia could have gone to investigate. The mud of other streams emerging from underground caverns is one possibility (along the lines of the one minor Terram source they have already found) - is there anywhere else that occurs to him?

[Int 1 + Area Lore 2 (+1 places?) / + Magic Lore 2 + die]

[Investigating her sanctum for further clues/arcane connections is a possibility that has occurred to him, but he's seeing if any of the approaches that don't involve walking into someone else's sanctum look likely to bear fruit first.]

Viola snorts at the suggestion that Tasia would have told her something. She does however seem to think that a casting tablet might not be a bad idea: "If I have to, I can travel a long way to get it. Who would have one?"

Well, those are certainly possible sources of Terram--but there are a thousands of different things that could provide Terram vis sources, and so that route would probably be a needle in a haystack, unless Gregorius can find some hint about a particular source Tasia had clues to.


Gregorius just shrugs at Viola's snort.

"I assume the Mercere would have one - and if they don't, they're the most likely people to know who does. Failing that, the Tremere would almost certainly be able to loan me one, but I'm less sure about an outright purchase."

He takes Alcimus on a quick jaunt to a couple of the more local stream outflows he's aware of, just on the offchance that there might be some signs of Tasia's presence at them (he's not optimistic here). [Alcimus has Per 2 + Hunt 4/Awareness 3. Gregorius has Per 3 + Hunt 1 (+1 tracking?)/Awareness 2 (+1 searching?).]

Assuming that fails, it's sanctum time. He spends a few minutes knocking on the door and waiting for an answer, feeling slightly silly as he does so. Then he carefully pushes the door open with a stick, and enters into her quarters. He doesn't think Tasia's the type to set up elaborate sanctum traps, or to immediately take advantage of the legal opportunity to kill him when he enters her sanctum, but he's being wary nonetheless.

Assuming he enters without incident, and there's nothing inside immediately attracting his attention, he'll search her quarters first (which I think based on the map are what is immediately inside the door), followed by her lab. In an ideal world, he's looking for a map saying "I have gone here", but he's settle for something more ambiguous or an arcane connect of a decent duration. He's also trying to avoid looking into things which it's apparent have nothing to do with finding Tasia, and isn't using magic.*

[*With the exception of his Premonitions, which I don't think he could turn off if he wanted to.]

Gregorius has one stroke of luck: Tasia proves not to be terribly organized, at least not in her note-taking. There are fragmentary notes scattered on bits of parchment all over her quarters, rather than that a nice, neat set of notes that she probably would have taken with her. It takes quite a while to go through them, but Gregorius manages to figure out that Tasia had been actively investigating the disappearance of the previous covenant: she'd been taking trips into countryside, trading for information, and even, possibly, hiring spies--all without letting her covenant-mates know. None of that, of course, helps to locate her, but Gregorius does find scraps with a few of what appear to be place-names (transliterated into Latin, of course).


Does he recognise any of the placenames? And if he doesn't, does Theodoric?

He'll jot down any contacts mentioned.

Is there any obvious link between her searches and Terram vis sources? Anything on Terram vis sources at all? (He's wondering if that was a separate project, or a cover.)

Theodoric listens to the list of names, and realizes that most of them to the east and south, along the shore of the Sea of Azov (or the "Maeotis Swamp", as it's called in Greek and Latin).

The notes don't provide any clues as to the motive behind Tasia's vis hunt. Gregorius, though, has gotten the impression that she's a voracious consumer of Terram vis, which means she's likely to combine a Terram vis hunt with any nearby trip. What Gregorius does know for sure is that she wasn't very forthcoming about having another reason to explore.


It's a start, at least (although given where the covenant is located, it would seem hard for it to be much further east and on the Sea of Azov than they are now - I assume we're talking generally the eastern shore of the Sea of Azov, though?).

Is there any indication of which places she's already been to / where she's still planning to go? Is he has the former, he'll see if he can make out a pattern in her travels (is she just travelling in a straight line?)

He'll also keep looking for something that might count as an active arcane connection.*

[*I'd put this is a previous post, but it was conditional, so not sure if you've already processed it or not.]


It doesn't look like an itinerary--in fact, the names aren't even in a single list in a single document.

Sorry about that. No, Tasia's evidently been very careful--but then what would you expect for a Quaesitor?


The towns seem to be the best lead he's got, but it's not nearly as solid as Gregorius would like. He questions Theodoric for basic details about the towns - the local languages, notable features, who's in charge. He also asks him whether he ever went to any of them with the previous covenant, or whether Tasia's been asking him him any questions about the area (he's not making any particular secret about the fact that he's concerned for her welfare to Theodoric).

Alongside this, he begins to pack for a trip. In the absence of any better leads, his current plan involves going to the towns and trying to find out if anyone's seen Tasia, via Posing the Silent Question if possible (but aura penalties are likely to make that tricky), via flat out asking if necessary. Unfortunately, her Leap of Homecoming means she probably won't have been staying at any of the local inns, but she might have been asking questions in them.

One other thing he does before leaving is find an excuse to be in a non-negative aura with the local wise-woman (he's been generally cultivating her over the last couple of years, so this shouldn't be too difficult). He doesn't mention Tasia's disappearence to her initially. Under the cover of their conversation, he'll drop a few Posing the Silent Questions silently and without gestures:

  • What Magical Defenses does she have (the answer to this question might possibly cause him to forgo the other questions)?
  • Has she been speaking to Tasia recently?
  • If so, was it about anything that would cause her to head to those towns?
  • What does she know about possible causes of Tasia's disappearence?

[OOC: He has a casting total of +14 with this spell, plus one level of mastery in Quiet Casting, meaning a -10 penalty for casting it silently and without gestures. He may therefore not always succeed in casting it, and is likely to be fatigued in most cases, but he probably doesn't have any botch dice. Note that the target isn't normally aware of the questioning - his intent is that she shouldn't know he's doing this. And yes, he's scrying on Tasia now, albeit he's trying to keep it fairly focussed. He's doing it this way because he doesn't 100% trust her not to be in on it.]

When packing, he deliberately only wears standard quality clothing, and generally does his best to look like a normal grog rather than a magus. He's bringing his armour and axe.

Oh well. Worth a try.

...and then I got sick again.....

Theodoric has never been to any of these places, but he can tell you one thing: no big market towns are on the list. These are mostly just villages.

I do have to ask exactly how he's going to do that, since, as I recall, he's been visiting her on her home turf.


Gregorius will try one more thing with the pieces of paper with the town names written on them - he'll take them down to the regio (for maximum aura), and then cast an Aquam variant of Eyes of the Eons on the ink to get an idea of how long ago they were written - he's particularly interested in relative age, and whether any were written immedidately before Tasia's departure.

[In Aq Base 3 (learn all the mundane properties of a liquid) + 1 Touch + 2 Group = 10. Casting total is (In 6 + Aq 0 + Sta 1 + Aura 7 + W&G 2 + die 4) /2 = 10 (

After a bit of mulling it over, Gregorius asks her up to the covenant for dinner. During the meal, he brings up a topic that's been in the back of his mind for a while - Petrus isn't getting any younger. It's time the apothecary took an apprentice. He's talking to her about this for several reasons:

  • He thinks she might know a suitable youngster.
  • He's wondering whether it might be worthwhile doing something more complicated than just having Petrus train a single apprentice. Maybe have him take a couple of apprentices, one to focus their future service on the covenant and the other the village? The second option would potentially tread on her toes, though - or act as her successor [OOC I'm not sure how old she is]. If this approach was taken, it would make sense to have her involved in the training as well.

Petrus and Theodoric will also be present at the dinner (the latter to translate) - he'll have talked it over with Petrus first for his input. Note that this isn't (just) a cover - Gregorius is interested in getting this going in its own right.

They were written at different times--some as recently as right before her departure, but others months earlier.

She has an apprentice already, but she's open to the idea of letting him spend some time with Petrus, to see what he can learn, and she has an idea of another girl whom Petrus might be able to teach--she never seemed to have much aptitude for magic, but she seems clever.

The women is middle-aged, by the way.


He'll prioritise the most recently written names.

Did his Posing the Silent Questions go off? Assuming there haven't been any problems with them, he'll add one more question on to the end: what are her motives in recommending this girl as an apprentice?


I wasn't positive he was doing that just yet. Yes, the spells do work, but they don't reveal much that the wise woman was unwilling to divulge on her own. Yes, she did talk to Tasia, and Tasia was asking questions about local hedge wizards (not that the woman uses anything like that term, of course). She took an interest not only in current practitioners, but in arts that were practiced before the Kipchaks moved into the area.

As for the girl, her motives are pretty transparent--just trying to be helpful to both parties.


[OOC: I assume that's a typo and it should be "do work"? Also, just because he's paranoid doesn't mean someone's out to get him. Did he get a specific answer on whether she thinks anything she'd told Tasia would have caused her to head to those towns? (If so, he'll follow up with a specific "what was it?").]

He'll ask the woman to introduce Petrus to the girl's parents to make suitable arrangements. Assuming Petrus thinks the girl is suitable (or rather, this being Petrus, doesn't think he's likely to find significantly better candidates easily), he can begin her training. He'll also leave it to Petrus to make exact arrangements with the wise-woman's apprentice as suit them both - Gregorius doesn't need to be involved in the minutiae (whatever his like of knowing what's going on might tell him).

He'll consult with Theodoric on the best way of getting to these villages is - boat or overland? If it's boat, he'll need to leave Alcimus behind (and will need to leave him outside the villages regardless). He's not entirely happy about this, but having a monstrous familiar does have its downsides. He has brief ideas of attempting to disguise the wolf via illusion as a pack-pony, but can't really see the (proud) wolf pulling it off even before you get to the issue that he'd need Viola to cast it for him.

With him he's planning to take Theodoric, and Simon for sneaky stuff, together with Aison for general "use in a fight / shield grog if things turn that way". He's mulling over whether to take Bogdan and Godzimir as well, for additional languages and fighting. In the end, he checks with Miklos whether the covenant can spare the men (I think we should still have a fair number of ex-leper grogs?), and then take them if he can.


She can't really judge--Tasia's not the sort to discuss her motives, and so the woman isn't sure. She does however think he stories about earlier peoples captured Tasia's interest.

All of that goes smoothly, and the girl begins work as Petrus' apprentice.

In general, it's going to be easiest to move along the coast by boat, but a lot of the villages are some ways inland, which means that, unless Gregorius pays the boat crew to wait around for him, he'll have to hire more than one boat.



What does she know about these earlier people?

He considers hiring the boat to wait around for him, but then remembers that the covenant is beginning to run short on money, and he'll need some for bribes for information (he'll take a couple of pounds of silver with him, as well as possibly some small and portable goods if Theodoric reckons there's a good chance of silver not being of use to the locals). They'll therefore take a boat to their first destination, and then play it by ear. What's the local terrain? Are we talking mostly clear, or forested?

If possible, he gets Fray to cast Moon duration versions of Doublet of Impenetrable Silk on all grogs wearing suitable armour, plus Gregorius. He also asks Fray to cast a Moon duration version of Disguise of the New Visage on him (he's not going for anything specific, just non-remarkable and not Gregorius). [OOC: Fray has Flexible Formulaic magic, and knows the spells formulaicly as Range Touch Duration Sun). I'm not sure how around Ironboundtome is, so we probably want to keep on with the story and hope he's confirmed whether or not he's happy to do this before they become relevant.]

He'll brief the grogs:

  • Tasia has gone missing. It's possible this is entirely innocuous, and she's just been delayed. It's possible that she's had a magical accident, or got into trouble unrelated to being a magus. However, she may have been investigating the destruction of the previous covenant, and been specifically targetted. They're going to find out what's happened to her.
  • Gregorius is going to be part of the mission, but disguised, so that if there are hostile magicians they'll have a surprise to play. Gregorius will be known as Doru for the duration of the mission.
  • Theodoric is in apparent command of this mission. If he needs instructions from Gregorius, he should ask a question beginning "What do you reckon?". If Gregorius needs to give instructions without breaking cover, he'll start the sentence with "How about we...". If Gregorius is giving up the cover, he'll declare "Forget this!" (starting to fling around obvious amounts of magic may also be a clue).

Once that's sorted, they'll leave to start travelling to the nearest of the villages which the ink indicated Tasia had been writing about recently. Before he goes, he'll give Viola a summary of where he's going, and what he's found out about Tasia's doing (glossing over how he got the information).

Yes, agreed and done.
CT is +35 vs 20 for Doublet of Impenetrable Silk, and same for Disguise of the New Visage. Both should be easy within the aura.
I'm around and reading everything. :slight_smile:

All kinds of stories, going all the way back to the Amazons, through the Scythians (the inhabitants when the Greeks got here), the Sarmations, and so on--but it's hard to say how accurate any of them are.

East of the delta, the land becomes steppe--so fairly easy to move across, even when covered by snow, but relatively cold in winter, due to the fact that there's nothing to break the wind.

Anything else before leaving?