Chapter 3: Location, location location

With the season over, you traveled back to Durenmar. A few grogs from Dankmar traveled with you to the Kinzig road, and without the snow, the journe was completely uneventful (apart from the beer at Alpirsbach).

Horst only stayed long enough at Durenmar to report and pick up new letters before going on to Fengheld, not without wishing you the best.

You have been sent an invitation for an audience with Murion. She hasn't said what she wants but she has made it very clear that Horst's report impressed her and she wants to reward you in some way.

The meeting is in the Mercere hall again, and Xavier ex Mercere is present as well.

Murion and Xavier welcome the characters and invite them to tell of their winter adventure. They listen, interested, and when they end, Murion begins to speak:

"I see you have done the Order at great favor and you are capable young magi. I am not without gratitude. Of all the young magi in the Tribunal, you seem to be the most practical ones. This is why I have chosen you to recolonize the empty heart of Germany - I will use the strength of my house, my guild and my covenant to enable you to found a covenant.
You will be allowed to choose the location yourselves - but remeber that all other covenants must accept your decision, so I recommend that you avoid a location that is too close to one of the existing covenants. It would be a shame if nobody explored and used the vis that can surely be found in the Rhine region. Xavier will give you the details."
She rises, nods and vanishes.
Xavier blinks and says: "I've had my new apprentice make a list of four sites that used to be covenants that all failed for some reason. First there is Rudaria - fallen prey to the devil, then there is Oakdell - home to the traiterous Diedne before the Schism War, then Rheinstein and Trier - both had trouble with the archbishop of Trier. You may of course visit other sites but decent magic auras are rare as you know. If I were you, I'd explore the sites and then decide on the most auspicous one. Of course you can start building there as soon as you've found an arrangement with the locals, but remember: You will not be a covenant unless you find a sponsor from each other Rhine covenant. You will have to act quickly if you want to be approved by the 1221 tribunal: You've only got a bit more than a year till then. Of course you can wait till the 1227 Tribunal but without the approval, you will not have the full rights of a covenant. Those sponsors will usually provide you with starting gifts - you will need magic, money, vis and allies to succeed. I wish you the best of luck."

ooc: the list is p. 116 of GotF. If you want to include other sites you'll need area lore.

"Curious, quite curious " Arturous comments as he strokes his short beard.
"I wonder what greater Game has just begun. Durenmar is willing to throw their weight behind a few inexperienced Magi, just out of their gauntlets. And the task must be difficult - after all, none of the mentioned covenants endured in these 'vis rich' lands.
Quite curious indeed"

He pauses for a few short seconds

"Still, it is an opportunity to achieve greatness, and the freedom to do things our way. What do you think?"

"I agree that kindness and good will are most certainly not the only driving forces behind this offer. But its a generous offer nonetheless and if we can get the approval of the whole Tribunal, we will be a covenant in its own rights, not just a chapter house of Durenmar. If we can achieve this, it would be a great step out of the shadows of our masters and into our own magical life."

The more Rabanus thinks and talks about it, the more enthusiastic he gets.

"But of all those places Master Xavier mentioned, i don´t know a single one. I have traveled to the great alps and back again, but of this area i know precious little. From what i know, it is even forbidden to practice magic in the rhein valley area. Or has that time passed?"

ooc: Anyone with an appropriate Area Lore that can fill us in? As a player i got the book, but Rabanus is rather clueless im afraid.

"I am not from these parts, and afraid I know little of the area"
Arturous says in his characteristic accent
"But we do have a member of house Mercere with us. Have you traversed the Rhine before, Hildegard?"

[size=85]OOC: Diedriek could be an excellent guide in the region, having Rhine area lore of 4, but I not sure if we picked up on it during our time with him.[/size]

Hildegard says: "It is the Alps tribunal and its border to the Rhine that I know about. But Diederik hails from there. He won't know much about magic of course, but maybe he can tell us about stories and legends."

ooc: Changed Diederik's Dialect to fit his regional knowledge. If you want to explore diferent sites, what are you looking for? Tell me what you want ooc or by pm and I'll decide if such a site exists

Honorus listens to the news quietly. After Murion leaves he bows his heads in thought. His fingertips touching together forming a peak and tapping, silently against his chin. At a pause in the conversation he says, "Can we ask the Redcaps to see if they have any information on these sites? I would assume they were visited by Redcaps when they were active."

Hildegard nods: "This list we've been given looks like a history of the sites. But I'll ask around. We must know how to access these sites, and so on. I doubt there will be any living redcap that knows much about the Diedne site or Rudaria, but Rheinstein and Trier are a different story. "
I am sure the local redcaps will tell me what they know, and I'll write to Harco for more information, but it will take a season or two before we have all the information we want.
I think there is some kind of warning against wearing the red cap in Trier, but that is also something for me to look up.

"We should not wait for a season or two. I would like to leave as soon as possible, even tonight.
We can gather whatever information we need first hand once we get to the sites of the former covenants. Let us talk with the redcaps and our guides for more specific directions and depart"
"I dislike putting off action"

"Action without direction is pointless. We must know where these Covenants were so we can find the auras. The best we could do is go to Trier and search while waiting for the list to reach us." Honorus pauses for a moment as if listening to someone. "Yes. That would be a good compromise. I suggest that we wait here for a week while Hildegard's house tries to find information for us and we can prepare for the journey. After a week we can leave for Trier. If we have the information we can make further decisions. Otherwise it must catch up to use at Trier."

"I trust it would not take an entire week just to get directions to the former covenants of this tribunal. There must be some sort of records here in Durenmar. It is just a matter of finding them"

Arturous turns to Hildegard

"How do the Redcaps know the locations of the covenants? I assume that it is not all by word of mouth. Where are the records kept? Only in Harco?"

Hildegard pouts, then replies: "Where we keep our records? This is house business. Just so much: We've got the history right here on this sheet. Information on access to the 4 sites can be made available within less than a week - at no cost. Iassume it will take us a week anyway to make the necessary arrangements for travelling.
We'd only have to wait for a season if we wanted reports by redcaps that may be on the road fulfilling their duties. It's a shame that Horst has already left for Fengheld, the records say that he seems to be the redcap that reported the fall of Rheinstein - but there is no Hermes Portal to Fengheld.
We can have messages forwarded - to any German town really - except for Trier itself. The city is not officially blacklisted, but it was only taken off the list two years ago. I doubt we will find redcaps eager to go there before we have investigated whether it is safe. We could write Horst and I could ask a redcap to deliver to a place of our choosing - but it will be 4-6 weeks before we have an answer.

It will take time before we hear again from Fengheld - letters have to be carried all the way.

She looks at Xavier: "Can we investigate all the sights this season if we start travelling next week?"
Xavier strokes his chin and starts murmuring to himself: Then he looks up and says: "It's a bit rushed, but you could do this in one season - if you only spend a day or two at each of the four sites and don't go sightseeing en route. And you'd have to do it in an order that saves time, like Rudaria first, and then Rheinstein, Oakdell and Trier - or the other way around, starting with Trier.
You won't have time to make it back to Durenmar before the days get shorter again, anyway. But then it's still a bit over a year before the Tribunal commences."

"If that is the case, I suggest we begin by travelling to Trier. We will write to Horst, and might have more details regarding the fall of Rheinstein by the time we actually get there.
Regarding the travel plans –
I think we should take our time by scouring the surrounding areas and the sites themselves thoroughly.
I therefore propose we plan for long journey – up until winter"

"Lets wait for the information on where the Covenants are since Hildegard has said it will be available in less than a week."

Arturous nods at Honorus
"Yes, sorry. That was my intent.
Are we all in agreement then regarding the course of action?
Let us see then what kind of help Durenmar can offer for our little scouting expedition…"

Rabanus had sat in the back and listened to his sodales arguing at lenght. Since he knows very little of all those former covenants, he didnt contribute much before. Now he gets up and walks towards the middle of the room to his sodales and speaks up:

"I agree we should gather at least some basic informations before we set forth. In so far we are in agreement about waiting for a week.
But all I have heard so far does not make me anxious to go to Trier. I don´t think a town is a good place to set up a covenant for various reasons, from constant interference with the mundanes to the evergrowing aura of the dominion. Even in a normal town i would not think it a good idea. And with the history of what had happened in Trier, even if we don´t know all the details, it would be an even worse idea to set up our home in this location.
Why should we put ourselfs in this situation deliberately?"

I tend to agree with you, Rabanus. I would prefer a more secluded place myself, but we cannot rule it out completely before at least visiting the location.

Furthermore, and perhaps of greater importance, I believe we might be able to uncover invaluable information in Trier - if the old covenant site was not already plundered by others. We might be able to find the covenants stores of vis, tomes, and magical artifacts. Perhaps even information regarding the nearby vis sources and how to harvest them.
I think a short visit is in order, even for the slimmest chance that the investigation of the old site might yield something.

Xavier points out that there is a Reichstag in Frankfurt in April where the archbishops and counts of Germany will meet Friedrich II.

Hildegard then takes her leave to travel to Harco via Hermes Portal and leaves the other magi to decide on an itinerary.

Only two days later, Hildegard returns from her excursion. When she meets she others, she triumphantly brandishes a sheet of paper, and her sparkling eyes and glowing red cheeks make her look more gretel-like than ever before.

"I've got it all here", she pipes. "the name of the shop and its owner in Trier, the description of the path through the woods to Oakdell - though it may be somewhat overgrown, the location of Rheinstein and the name of its current owner.
The information on Rudaria is probably dated, but I doubt that a castle simply vanishes off the map, and no one remembers. So what have you been up to? Where are we going first? I'm eager to see all these locations!"

If we wish to avoid the gathering of nobles we should start with Trier. Otherwise well follow Xavier's advice and go from Rudaria north. I have no preference.

I would rather avoid the gathering – I suggest we start by travelling to Trier.