Chapter 3c (Autumn 1228): The Tribunal of Thebes

Mid-way through Autumn 1228, Viola and Gregorius prepare to embark for the Tribunal of Thebes. Viola in particular hopes she might be able to find an apprentice at the gathering; Gregorius' goals are probably more political. Salutor, unless there's some special preparation you'd like to undertake, the two magi will arrive at the tribunal location without incident, with grogs in two, and probably Calliope and the two musicians as well.

How will the new magi arrive?


Timaios is a Greek local so he's probably no stranger. Very likely he's been tasked to show up and ask some questions about what exactly went on that broke the mind of the last Guernicus.

Asena had felt out of her element since she had boarded the ship at Smyrna, together with redcaps from the Alexandria covenant. She knew that Delos wasn't stationary, and had neither the ability nor the desire to hunt down the island.

In a way, the sea was not so dissimilar to the steppe, endless horizons and monotony but she knew little about ships and less about water magic, and so she felt as if she had been left on the wide grasslands without a horse, or worse actually, for a horse would have been easy enough to summon with her magics.

She passed the time chatting with a redcap that spoke Latin and was willing to explain to her the customs of the tribunal. It dismayed her that Greek was used for the proceedings: She would understand little to nothing, and it would make it more difficult for her to apply for citizenship. For a moment, she wished she was still in Novgorod, a land with few rules and customns. But this was her only chance to become a member of the covenant in Kipchak lands, so she'd have to adapt again.

She focused on the redcap's words and repeated them: "Ionian, Aegean, Kretan, Propontian."
"Efcharistó", she added, one of few words in the Greek language that she had picked up.

Suddenly, there was noise on board: Voices were shouting and people were pointing. Quickly, Aseana started to string her bow, but the redcap gently put his hand on her arm: "Delos!", he said, smiling.

She smiled back and said: "May I ask you for one last favor? Show me where I can find a magus from Nova Castra."

Gregorius' reasons for being at the tribunal are indeed largely political - primarily he wants to become a polites (i.e. a full citizen of the Theban tribunal), but he also intends to attend the gathering of the Tremere which always happens a few days before the start of tribunals. And, of course, he needs to represent the covenant.

He'll therefore be looking to arrive at tribunal early - as, presumably, will Viola for the apprentice presentation. As he is not yet a citizen, Gregorius will not have been one of the young magi assigned to extend their Parma over the potential apprentices and otherwise look after them; however, it is possible some of the young magi who were apprenticed in the Theban tribunal will have been.

[OOC: I am going to run a minor story thread for Viola looking for an apprentice; any of the players of young magi gauntleted in the Theban tribunal can choose to be one of the apprentice guardians - IC this will involve a couple of days looking after small children and extending your Parma over them whilst they're being interviewed by potential masters.]

Wishbone will travel by boat from Polyaigos with the magi attending the tribunal. Once he arrives he will thank them for their help and support during his apprenticeship. He will take his few belongings and start mingling with the other magi and Redcaps, asking if they know of any Covenants who may be recruiting.

[Before we go further, let me make my assumptions clear: from a game standpoint, I don't see much reason to do anything beyond introducing the new magi and finding Viola an apprentice--the sooner we can move on with the next spate of stories the better. That would imply that politics at the tribunal is relatively quiescent, maintaining the status quo (and all its tensions). Does anyone object to doing it this way?]


[That is easily done. Have the tribunal refuse citizen status without prior good deeds for the tribunal - and we have got nothing to say at all]

Sounds good to me.

[That's fine with me.]

Timaios is already at Delos before the Tribunal starts - as a newly-Gauntleted magus without a home in the Theban Tribunal, he arrives early to help with set-up. Cleaning the isle is a tedious task, given that the tribunal meets here only once every seven years; not to mention the business of bringing in food and drink for all the magi who will be in attendance, since there is no local food supply and the killing of animals on the isle is prohibited. Thus, the jurist finds himself roped primarily into moving crates and boxes, sweeping away leaves, and generally involved in busywork.

Unlike many just-released apprentices, he makes no complaints about this - even though his magical talents do not much lend him to these tasks, thereby requiring that he do actual physical labor. Instead he accepts instructions readily and goes about his jobs silently.

To those who have not previously seen him, Timaios might be mistaken for one of the grogs; he is an unremarkable Greek man with a curly beard and shoulder-length black hair, an olive complexion, and a large, slightly aquiline nose. He is not especially strong and his attire is plain, predominantly made from local wool. When he receives directions from the senior magi he simply nods his head and proceeds to work as directed; and, since he does not cause the unease usually associated with the Gift, it would be easy to mistake him for a simple laborer.

[OOC: I've got no major objections to keeping things fairly brief. I'm a little wary about Pralix's suggestion, though - I wouldn't want it to apply to Gregorius (but he can probably argue for good deeds), and it'll put the characters from within the Theban tribunal (who get citzenship automatically) in an advantaged position relative to those from outside it.]

Gregorius takes a little effort for people to find - few of the other magi or Redcaps at the tribunal know him by sight - but only a little. When not in conference with the other Tremere, he is out and about - meeting people, discovering to his frustration but not really suprise that he doesn't have a common language with some of them and browsing vendors' wares (he's not buying anything now, but he's interested in anyone selling Intellego and or Vim enchantments). Before the tribunal starts, his blue-black robes* mark him as Tremere by anyone with a basic knowledge of the Order. For the Hermetic Assembly itself he changes into grey robes, as befits his status as a metoikos - with the intent to change again to white robes if and when he has been made a polites.

He is notably absent from the Ceremony of Propitiation, and instead spends his time talking to the other magi who are also not attending it about the League Against Idolatory. [OOC: Not looking for anything particularly active here, just putting down a marker for future interests.]

[*Those in his House, or making an OoHL roll against an EF of 12 can tell from that if nothing else that he must be a pretty junior Tremere, as the robes change colour as they age.]

I don't want to prejudge citizenship. We can assume any of the characters who'd ordinarily be in line for it get it--particularly Gregorius, given his work at the covenant. When the time comes, Gregorius is awarded polites status, and may change into his white robes. In fact, he's commended by many at the tribunal for his handling of a string of difficult situations, though his house membership and his absence at the Ceremony of Propitiation make some suspicious.

Viola, for her part, spends a portion of her time sizing up potential apprentices, and another portion of it cultivating a select few fellow Merinita magi. Given her status as the senior maga at the covenant, she can't avoid talking to a number of individuals interested in the goings-on there, but she's not exactly encouraging the conversations.


Asena quickly seeks out the magi from Nova Castra.

She introduces herself politely: "My name is Asena ex Flambeau, freshly gauntleted from the covenant Praesidium Progressus (Lat. Outpost of Progress) in the Novgorod Tribunal. I am of Kipchak stock, and thereby would like to join this tribunal, and, more importantly, your covenant, which is probably the only place in the Order where I have the opportunity of being in contact with my people. I have also lived among the Mongol Horde, and I am a competent user of Animal magic."

Gregorius and Viola spend extremely little time together once at the tribunal, so Asena has to talk to them separately. He greets Asena in turn (although with a Per + Folk Ken roll against EF 9 she may notice he looks a bit blank at her reference to the Mongol horde),

"Salve, sodalis - I am Gregorius of Tremere, the leader of Nova Castra. You are most welcome to stay as a visitor at our covenant, although I should warn you that the charter the tribunal gave us requires three years of residency as a visitor before you would be eligable for membership."

"You said you used Animal magic - are you a follower of one of the Schools of Sebastian?"

Slightly over a dozen apprentices are being kept in a building to the side of the tribunal site. When Viola arrives there, a young magus introducing himself as Eosphoros of Flambeau shows Viola the written record of the children's circumstances, and offers to extend his Parma over any of the apprentices Viola wants to interview.

Based on the record, the apprentices include:

  • The child of a Constantinople doctor.
  • A Constanople street rat, believed to have goblin blood.
  • The child of a Constantinople silk manufacturer.
  • Another child of a Thessalonian silk manufacturer.
  • The child of a Nereid, whose faerie mother murdered her father after recovering her stolen cloth, and attempted to murder the daughter.
  • A child from one of the Cyclades islands. Apparently his pregnant mother went missing on a sea voyage and was believed to have drowned, but then turned up on his father's doorstep in the middle of the night just long enough to hand over her son and then walk back into the darkness.
  • A Vlach goat herd. Can speak to animals.
  • The daughter of a Redcap. Believed to have the blood of Mercere.
  • A child discovered near Smyrna following an old man who asked the Redcap how "his works" have faired and recited Homer's poems to him. The old man is speculated to be either a faerie pretending to be Homer or the man himself transformed into a magical being by the power of his art.
  • A devout young woman from a nunnery. Appears to have some form of visions. Also appears to have some sort of connection to Hades she's not very happy about.
  • A child from Arta discovered rescued from a mob after apparently attempting to control people and animals to steal for him. Has both Entrancement and Animal Ken.
  • The child of a deposed greek noble.
  • The son of a greek wise woman. Appears to have some sort of minor peasant magic which allows him to speed the healing of people and animals.
  • A cretan girl apparently obsessed with creating puzzles.

Viola laughs a little at this self-introduction, and pulls out her quill talisman for assisting with communication. "We can't keep you away: our covenant provides a home to any maga who asks. But in any case, yes, a Kipchak could be very useful."


Viola finds a couple of these unlikely choices (and one of them is I think an obvious favorite), but she'd like to learn more about all of them. Before she talks to the apprentices themselves, is there any possibility of finding out how they've performed as students?


The two standouts, intelligence-wise, are the doctor's child and the cretan girl. Both are obviously very bright, although the doctor's child had more formal schooling before coming to Polyaigos than the cretan, who appears to have been taught bits and pieces and then worked from there herself.

Beyond that:

  • The two silk manufacturers' children, whilst intelligent enough, seem to be more interested in outdoing each other than the lessons themselves.
  • The child of the Nereid was only discovered shortly before the tribunal. Whilst this would usually be considered auspicious, she's spent much of the short amount of time she had been present very closed in on herself, which makes it difficult to get a handle on her potential.
  • The cylcadian boy appears to be solid, and works hard, but isn't anything particular special. The other children appear to like him, though.
  • The goatherd has a tendency to refuse to admit when he's wrong, or doesn't know something - which given he's an uneducated peasant, doesn't serve him well.
  • The Redcap's daughter - bright, and knows it.
  • The Smyrnan appears to have an excellent memory, and a lively curiousity.
  • The woman from a nunnery - appears to try to avoiding attention to herself, which would be easier if she wasn't in her mid teens and the eldest in the room. Seems quite wary of what she's being taught.
  • The boy from Arta keeps entrancing his classmates to do his work for him. From what his teachers can tell between this, seems bright enough himself, but seems to want to avoid putting the work in.
  • The deposed greek noble's child was already educated before he came to Polyaigos, but doesn't appear to be anything special in terms of raw talent.
  • The wise-woman's son appears to be moderately bright, but patient and diligent. He's been seen helping some of the others when they're struggling.

Eosphoros is a little way through consulting his notes on the various children when three more magi come in together. Two of them are wearing the white robes of the politoi; Viola recognises the elderly man as Leontius, the primary Redcap she dealt with in Alexandria (and the current chief administrator of the tribunal, the logothete). Viola doesn't recognise the white-robed middle aged woman with him, nor the middle man in his thirties with them, although from his hat he is another Redcap.

Eosphoros apologises to Viola and goes to call another attendant to see to them.

[OOC: No-one seems to have bitten on the apprentice-sitting suggestion, so I'll have an NPC appear unless someone jumps in.]

[There was an apprentice-sitting suggestion?]

Viola will put in at least a perfunctory chat with each potential, but she's not going to waste much time on the ones who are out of reach (most notably, the Mercere are not going to let go of that Redcap's girl, and it's hard to imagine that the Cretan wouldn't be pursued vigorously by a Criamon). Have the teachers found any of the group inordinately stubborn or independent (aside from the goatherd)?

She wants to spend the most time with the following:

The doctor's child
The street rate (I think you skipped him)
The Nereid's daughter
The Cycladian boy
The Smyrnan
The nun
The wise-woman's boy

In general, Viola is looking for the following:

  • The extent to which each has a high tolerance or even desire for spending time indoors trying to figure things out
  • Attitudes toward the fae
  • Creative talent of some sort (construed broadly--in game terms, this could encompass Inventive Genius as well as Free Expression)

The Nereid's daughter is going to require some extra work, but she might be an excellent choice.

BTW, what does Viola know about other magi seeking apprentices this tribunal? If she has to, she'll ask Gregorius what he knows of the subject.


Asena fails to notice the look on the Tremere magus' face. She blushes when she talks about her fighting style: "I am a follower of Ramius...mostly. My style is influenced by the horsemen of the east who ride into battle and shoot their bows from horseback. Most sodales who fight in the style of Ramius prefer melee weapons, but at five foot nothing, I can clearly see the difference between honor and foolishness."

She turns toward the maga: "I have no objections to being a guest magus before becoming a full member of the covenant. It's a sensible rule and I have no doubt I can prove my worth to you.
I am unfamiliar with the proceedings of this tribunal, but on the way here, a redcap has explained to me that full tribunal membership is not easy to achieve. Still, I'd be grateful, if you'd point me in the right direction, so I can fully join in 7 years' time - another vote for your, our covenant. For now, despite my lack of Greek, is there anything I can do to assist you here?"