Chapter 3: A tale of mystery

Polycarpus summons his soldaes to the main hall of the covenant and once everyone is there he can announce that the redcaps have given them a name. Onesimus Ex Verditius seems to be the one who the seal belongs to. He lives outside Venice but his venditor has a townhouse in Venice. Polona has informed Nestor that her mistress appear in the darkest hour of night and only when the moon is at it’s darkest (opposite from full moon).

ooc: is the redcap around where we can ask him questions in council?

OOC: No, the redcap has just left Polycarpus with a bundle of pamphlets about different Verditius magi in the tribunal and the adjacent ones and there where a match.

"Well, it appears that the items are not infernal in nature from the rough analysis I've done. I could attempt to actually touch the items to determine whether they are infernal, or not, though I'm unwilling to touch devices which have been in a diabolic place without knowing more about them. We could return them, expect a reward, return them with a fee, or we could keep them, investigate them and proceed once we know what the items are capable of doing.

"Nestor, what did you find out about the woman you visited?"

Nestor tells them his findings. He finishes with the sentence: "This is why I offered the poor woman a job at our covenant. It might be a good idea to keep an eye on her, and to free her from evil."

"We should kill her and her child and then seek out to destroy the demon. She is an admitted diabolist and one we should destroy by the code. She is a threat to everything we hold dear. Still, she confirms that she placed the magical items there having gotten them somehow, so that means they are likely not tainted that I will spend a season investigating them to see what they do." Kalliste speaks. "I will be happy to deal with her if you do not feel up to it."

"I'm truly dismayed that such a learned man such as yourself would take actions that could put us in such jeopardy. She is a diabolist, and our history as an Order should demonstrate that it is simple steps that lead down a slippery slope. Are you prepared to keep her in your house, and yours alone with your children and wife, trusting that she won't slit your throat at the first opportunity? That is the only way I'll have her in this covenant. She should, at the least be sent far away, perhaps to a convent for her to repent her sins.

"Has the child been baptized?"


"If I understand the story correctly, it was the mother who interacted with the spirit, not the child.

Should the spirit prove to be a demon, she would be the one who is technically a diabolist.

The child may or may not be tainted, but in my mind is in the same category as the magic items. Exposed yes, but tainted remains to be seen.

As for the mother, while I agree it sounds like she interacted with a demon, we have not actually yet proved that so I'm not sure we are entirely on solid ground in Hermetic law to just start killing someone another magus in good standing has taken into his protection. The spirit, after all, might have been a faerie, an old pagan entity such as the Furies are described to be or even the ghost of the magus we found crushed there.

Whether it is prudent to execute her just to be safe or more prudent to try to bring her away from her path of vengeance and break the hold the spirit has on her
is something I am personally not sure, and without that certainty I will not challenge the decision Nestor has made without more evidence.

Nestor has chosen the course of redemption and Kalliste seems to prefer the path of extermination. You are both free agents, you can work it out between you, although as Nestor has claimed her as his own, I would presume the burden is on Kalliste to initiate Ceratamen, Wizard War or some kind of tribunal peripheral code decision presenting the evidence that the woman is a diabolist. My only comment on this matter is if you do decide to execute the woman, you'd better also kill the child because such an act will certainly send the child down a dark path of vengeance. "

"The site is infernal. The woman admitted to sacrificing her own child for revenge. My house knows all too well the price of allowing diabolists to live. Deal with it in house before we get swarmed by queasitors who might decide to march us all." Kalliste speaks firmly. "From the story, the child was being trained to serve the demon when she was gone. How far that training has gone remains to be seen but it is best that both be killed swiftly. I am sure that Nestor is wise enough not to want such a woman near his own daughter that there is no need for certamen."

Nestor realizes that the others might have a problem with his course of action. He listens to their protests and waits until it is quiet enough for him to speak without interruption.

"The woman may be - or have been - a diabolist, and I see your point. I am neither endangering the Order by allowing a lowly unGifted human to work for us, nor am I knowingly dealing with demons - for I believe her to be human.

I challenge any one of you to a formal debate on whether we can allow her to stay here, or whether I shall give her enough money to live elsewhere. I win - you support me - I lose, she leaves.

You think you have got reasons for her to leave? Name them!

Have you got the guts to debate this?"

ooc: a 5 round debate using the HoH:S rules. I've always wanted to try them, and it looks like I've got plenty of time this week. First person who takes the challenge will represent the other side.

Atlas looks at Nestor coolly and says in a calm, deadly tone, "No, I don't have the patience to debate this. I'll just report you to the Quaesitores. Unless you get her to swear on a stack of Bibles while gargling holy water, I won't trust her, and it's likely not even then. The more you stand up for her, the more likely I'm to believe you're tainted yourself. I don't need Quaesitores to have anymore reasons to initiate an investigation about me, as it is. Get. Rid. Of. Her."

Continuing without waiting for Nestor to respond, "If certamen can't be used to compel someone to violate or overlok a violation the Code, then debate certainly can't be used to do so either. Since consorting with diabolists is a High Crime, your debate is useless."

"So it would appear that the demon was seeking items of what ends? Any ideas?"

"Report me then", Nestor says. "Earn yourself a shard, my son. "

ooc: great roleplaying, John. It becomes immediately obvious that your character has not invested a single xp in Code of Hermes. I assume characters who have will know that Atlas is wrong.

Kalliste speaks carefully, "He is correct, certamen can not force someone to overlook an actual violation of code and she is by her own words as you reported, a diabolist. Certamen can force a person not to investigate where there is mere suspicion and limit actions that might lead to revelation of code violations. Personally, I would just kill her and then find you a new servant so that you have no claim of loss of magical power. Not that such a claim would hold much water if she was indeed a diabolist." She studies Nestor, "Debate makes for interesting activity but neither it nor certamen overrules code and even debate is not binding where certamen is."

Nestor sighs:
"A Tytalus who is afraid of her house discipline. Right, we will then have to wait until the next tribunal or until the Quaesitores decide."
He leaves and puts the woman in his sanctum (which is likely to be on the large side anyway, since his family will certainly be protected by the sanctum marker as well).

Then he returns and asks: "In the meantime, I am using this woman to clean my lab and keep her in my sanctum. If anything happens to my lab or my lab helper - then we have a high crime.
Now, can we get rid of the infernal creature that tempted the poor woman?"


  1. this will resolve this for now (in real life, the next tribunal may well be years away).
  2. if Max doesn't want to deal with it, he can always have the woman die a peaceful death in her sleep before that tribunal. Or have her steal something, so it becomes clear that she cannot be redeemed.
    btw It is not only my character, but also me, the player, who believes that the high crime is about "dealing with devils", not about civilians.

Polycarpus: How about letting the village priest know the truth about this poor woman and let him monitor her spiritual welfare while Nestor provide for her. Perhaps she will find her way back to the light perhaps not. Now about this spirit does anyone have the magic needed to destroy spirits and creatures of the dark one?

Nestor agrees with Polycarpus:
"I think that is a wonderful idea. The priest will know what to do with her. If we play our cards right, the church will be grateful for our help in fighting her enemies. Do I have your word that you will not harm the woman unless she returns to her diabolist ways?"
He adds:
"And in gratitude, we might even sponsor a little shrine to a local saint at the site of the aura, to drive away the evil that has tainted the area."

"But we have to deal with the evil spirit first. I know Demon's Eternal Oblivion, but my penetration is rather low. If we had an Arcane connection or something to boost the spell...
We can use vis - but that seems a rather expensive way, and not without dangers."

Kalliste says softly. "I do have demon's eternal oblivion at the first magnitude as result of prior demon hunts. I wound them with my claw and use the blood as arcane connection for the spell. I have not yet had time to master it being as I learned it barely more than a year ago. I could use more time studying vim though and perdo to get my skills up to stronger penetration. Last year, a diabolist slew one of my house but was using his lab and identity for their evil. Myself and my paren went to deal with the matter in house since we thought it was one of the house that went bad. It was not something we wanted coming out. Normally we can't stand each other but in this, we stood together for the house. We slew the diabolist clearing our housemate."

Kalliste looks hard at Nestor as she speaks tale hoping that he catches on to it as a warning.

OOC: This was part of Kalliste's original 7 years when I first created her. She is very anti-diabolist and also very hands on in dealing with it without anyone else finding out. (Tytalus after all).

Caput does wish he could find the time to get around to studying what the Code actually says. He does know that it's not nearly as simple as our Tremere friend seems to believe.

He does show a bit of surprise when Kalliste backs down from the debate. She must respect Nestor in that arena.

For the moment, he's satisfied with Nestor's approach to the problem. Nestor is taking both the risk and the responsibility, which is right and prpoer by his lights.

Responding to the comment about killing the demon, not his victim
"Well that's the usual difficulty with those creatures. If you can actually get them to manifest they usually aren't that hard to dispatch, even by physical means when Perdo Vim isn't your strong point. Forcing a confrontation is the difficulty. They seem to be happier working with proxies most of the time. Nestor's new maid may prove helpful in the end, she does after all have experience with knowing when the spirit generally manifests and how.

Should it manifest while I'm present, I'll do my best to provide a blood or ichor sample to whichever of Kalliste or Nestor is handiest. "

"Perhaps this woman calls the demon by it's name when she's worked the rites she has. Why don't we ask it of her before turning her over to the priest? And then once we have it, then go into battle immediately. I don't wish to leave the temptation of her demon around for any length of time. If we remove temptation from her, that is the best course of action. Also, I will point out that the items we discovered were in the presence of the demon for a long time. They may still maintain enough of a sympathetic connection to it for us to use against it, as well. With a name and the items that were in its presence it could be enough to smite it utterly."

Nestor talks to the woman whose protector he has so suddenly become to find out if she knows anything that might help penetrate the demon's protections.