Chapter 4: Preparing for Autumn 1013

A bit late to the meeting, Adrien meekly enters the room to see the gathering of people he has yet to meet
after a bit of a surprise he introduces himself to everyone

Greatings sodales. My name is Adrien of House Bonisagus, a specalist on the subject of human body and healing. I am not quite sure how I managed to miss you before, seeing as there is not much place for privacy here.

He pauses and looks at Janus before continuing

We're still planning on going trough with that expedition, correct? I of course will accompany you in this endevour, although I am not much of a fighter as you might guess, still if there is fighting I am not entirely useless.

Thom's smile returns when Adrien comes into the room, growing even warmer as he looks around the group. The young Merinita remembers the earliest days of his apprenticeship before the War when more than one or two magi gathered. Maybe there is reason to hope again!

Thom stands behind a chair in this impromptu council room and grins.

"I suppose we should call this meeting to order, right? Since we have what might be called a quorum of mages. Though I guess that assumes we've got a common purpose and that might be a big presumption on my part." The bouncy blond fellow smiles again.

"So… Uh… I don't know about the rest of you but I was always kind of under the impression that we mages do our best work when we can settle down in a safe place. I've not felt that since my gauntlet. Do you… Do you all plan to find a place to rebuild a covenant?"

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Betula laughs at Janus' reference to the time as an apprentice she hit him square in the forehead with a rock. A terrible memory made light with the passage of time. A wry smile crosses her lips, "You have little to worry about from me, sodales, I do not throw rocks these days... much."

She listens to the others. Her hands often going to her belly.

"That is exactly what I plan to do," her hands unconsciously moving to her stomach again before she moves them away, "I plan to rest here some then perhaps I and..." looking to Cath'rinne, "some others would be able to seek out new sites that might be appropriate for a new covenant. I feel a need to find a new home, to form one... I, I have not introduced myself and there are many new faces. I am Betula of Criamon. While I began my apprenticeship at the same covenant as Janus, Castellum Veridian, early in The Troubles my pater, Vineus, and I went to The Cave of Twisting Shadows to wait out the storm. I am not interested in this search. It is not where my skills lie, nor my needs in the near future so seeking a place to call home will be what I will do before... for a season, no more I don't think. Winter would be a bad time for travel anyway" She looks around expectantly at the rest of the room, hoping they did not catch her slip.


Possible. Let's ignore Rubellius's sword, then, because I'm trying to figure out whether I should note down something about the quaesitor's sword, from the below quote.

You're not outlining that it's magical. Does it have quality?

"I'm awfully sorry to hear that. I understand he received the Chief Quaesitor's testimony before his death. Did he have the chance to pass it on to your group before he trespassed?"

If answered negatively, Cath'rinne will ask "I know he was part of your group... would you be okay if I contacted him via Whispers through the Black Gate before his spirit moves on from this world?"

"We came to the isles with the hopes of finding a good place to settle down, yes. I think there is strength in numbers. If you're of a like mind, perhaps we may join forces." she says that looking at the others as well as looking at Thom.

Cath'rinne and Turold seem oblivious. She chimes in after Betula. "I understand your priority, sister. I'm torn because I'd like to help with the search and rescue... yet how we decide to found a covenant is too important a decision for me to ignore. And we came here together."

Betula gives a meaningful look to Cath'rinne, somewhere between relief and pleading that no more be said about it. Then, opening up her gaze to the rest of the room, "perhaps two parties then... One searching for the missing, one for a place to call home. But we should discuss our needs and wants in a covenant site. With folks like this... witchhunter about, it must be defensible, hidden, maybe. A magical regio would be that, could be that, and I think we should hope to find such a site. I would feel most at home in a forest, at least nearbone would definitely be preferred... but, did I speak too soon? Are we all decided that working together, strength in numbers as Cath'rinne says, is the way forward? We are all young as Magi go, yes, even you Janus. Do we want to form an alliance, a covenant?"

"He did leave behind a number of things and his travel chest," answers Thom. "You could look in his things. He might have something there of interest." The young Merinita shrugs.

"Honestly I think Master Luciu wouldn't mind you talking to him," says Thom quietly to Cath'rinne. "I only knew him a short time… since we met near Castruum…. Near the Wall. If it would help the Order, I think you should talk to him."

He looks around the group.

"Unless someone else has an objection?"

Thom smiles at Betula's suggestion but waits for others to answer.

It is not magical. The helmet and the seashell are. The sword is nothing special. The PQ was found near Diana, by Luciu, as the grogs can confirm.

It is almost night when a trio of travellers approach the gates of Ungulus. The apparent leader carries a staff, something at the top catching the light of the disappearing sun as he calls out a greeting. His two companions, a man and a woman, are dressed in furs and each carry a short spear.

"Hello there! Is this Ungulus?" The call is in Latin, but also repeated in English.

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Ealhstan's sharp ears catch the commotion out the window, he says, "keep having your meeting, I'll make sure this new arrival is taken care of or sent on his way." And he disappears at a quick pace down the stairs.

Jogging towards the edge of the covenant, "I can't invite you in but I can welcome you. Unsure where the guards are," as he looks around, "probably Ben snuck off for a bite and Alder is napping under a bush again. I'm Ealhstan and you are at Ungulus. What sort of business bring you?"

"Well met, Ealhstan. I am Thadeus and these are my grogs, Sasso and Telsa. I am just arrived back in Stonehenge, to... well, help defend my sodales against the Diedne. I heard this was the place to come."

"If you would have me, I would join you. I left… the Wall in hopes I could find a new place to start my work," says Thom with smile as he looks over at Betula.

Thom looks around at the other magi gathered in the room: the war mage, the Bjornaer necromancer, the tree loving Criamon, the corpus scholar. (OOC: Not sure Nauvi's been introduced?)

"I'm not entirely sure what I need other than a safe place and a way into Faerie. So much to be learned…" The young man rests a six-fingered hand on the table.

"And a home for the nisse and his goats. He's had quite a trip so far."

"Yes, come in. The Magi and the apprentice are in the council chambers deciding their fates you are welcome to join them, food can be brought. Your shield grogs can be shown their sleeping arrangements and get some scraps. It is rather packed at the moment."

Ealstan leads them to the tower, hands the grogs off to the steward then leads Thadeus to where the magi are still talking.

Caelha enters the main door and catches up just as Ealhstan and Thadeus head for the stairs. She is young, about twenty you would guess, with long, dark hair and a beautiful bright blue robe, of the style that is worn by certain self-conscious and self-righteous wizards.

Oh! New arrival? I am sorry, I was outside and did not see you coming. My name is Caelha filia Tacitus and I have been left in charge of the covenant in my master's absence.

Presumably, Thadeus introduces himself as he did to Ealhstan.

Great! You are most welcome; we need all the reinforcements we can get. Janus ex Flambeau is organising a campaign to find my master and the two other magi of the covenant. They went North into Loch Leglean last year, and we have not had news since mid-Winter. I reckon they will leave any day now; they cannot delay lest they get stuck in the Highlands. They are upstairs in the library, I think. Please come on in.

The grogs are introduced to the local grogs and settle in if Thadeus does not need them immediately. Food is also brought the library, serving as council room, for you, assuming that Thadeus is hungry after the journey.

Telsa and Sasso look both impressed and slightly intimidated by the large tower, but follow Thadeus in as the magus thanks Ealstan for his hospitality.

When Caelha arrives, Thadeus greets her and introduces himself and his grogs. When she mentions the current circumstances of the covenant, he stops, surprised. "Are you telling me that all of the other magi of this covenant are missing and have been for over six months? Is that why there is no Aegis of the Hearth protecting the covenant?"

She raises an eyebrow. «So you noticed that,» she says ruefully. «Yes; it is right. We have a tablet, but I cannot muster the tenth magnitude casting.»

"Very few young magi could," Thadeus says, shaking his head. "It must be difficult to be left alone in charge of a whole covenant. How have you fared?"

After a few moment, he seems to realize something. "You mentionned other magi in the council chamber, how come you weren't with them planning the campaign?"

«It has been quiet here; thank God. The land gives good produce, and with the minimal crew, there has not been more that we could do. The reinforcements have been arriving over the last six weeks. That has made it busier, but I reckon it will be quiet once again soon enough.»

«Oh.» She sounds a bit surprised. «I have to manage the covenant. Much as I am eager to find Tacitus, I cannot leave the covenant, and I think Janus needs some space to make his plans. I'll be with you shortly in case there is more information that you might need.»

Thadeus nods in apparent understanding, although he isn't sure he fully understands the situation. "You mentioned reinforcements. How many magi and grogs are we talking about? What is the situation in the north? As I mentioned to Ealstan, I have just returned to Stonehenge. Most of the last decade I have lived in the eastern reaches of the Rhine, and news of the war were slow to reach us. I understand that the largest Diedne stronghold has fallen and that they have retreated north of the wall, but I did not hear much details about the current situation."

«Let's go upstairs to the others. We do not know an awful lot about the situation, and we can just as well go through it together, at once.»

She leads the way up to the fourth floor, which is rather cramped. There is a council table in the middle, book cases with a dozen tomes or so, some work tables with lab equipment, maybe half of what you would need for a decent lab, as well as beds that have been installed for the visiting magi.

«Hello, everyone. This is Thadeus, recently arrived.» She introduces all the other magi who are there, hopefully most of them; Janus, Betula, Thomas, Cath'rinne, Nauvi, and Adrien. (EDIT) When the magi have had a chance to introduce themselves, Caelha gives the information she has.

Alas, I know far too little.

Tacitus and the others left last Autumn on a campaign into Galloway,
following rumours of sorcerers practicing human sacrifice. They believed
them to be followers of Diedne. Maine the Redcap returned before the Winter,
telling us that they had made friendly connections with the villagers of
Dunwald, about a day or two North of Dumfries. The magi were allowed to use
that as a base for further exploration. In the Spring, Maine went back to
Galloway, seeking news, but he has not returned.

The magi had a good army. Half a dozen shield grogs were equipped with
enchanted devices. They had a dozen mounted sergeants, three score
auxiliaries, and two score archers. It is quite disconcerting that
none of them managed to return with a message.