Chapter 6: Rendez-Vous at Salmon River (Autumn 1013)

"I'm the only one who find all of this, weird ? Animals with perfect healths, rooms, cauldrons, plants... And no trace of human beings ? Can someone looks to find a track or somethings similar ?"

"The sheep are magical," Thadeus tells Sionag (and anyone else close enough to hear), "but I am unable to penetrate their magic resistance so I cannot find out more about the type of magic affecting them. They may just be magical animals, or they could be under some sort of active effect. They could be transformed humans, for all I know. Let me try something."

He casts The Heathen Witch Reborn (level 20) on the closest sheep. (The spell cancels transformation magic from a virtue. Casting total of 40, so a Penetration Total of 15. I'm considering using a Confidence point to boost Penetration. Effectiveness of 38, so works against an ability of up to 7.)

If that doesn't work, he will try Unravelling the Fabric of Corpus. He doubts they are under a Hermetic effect, but who knows? (Casting total of 30, so Penetration of 15. Considering Confidence again. Effectiveness of 32, so will cancel any Corpus spell of up to that level.)

None of the spells work. Thadeus slowly realises that the animal has might¹, and if there were an active effect he would have seen it.

¹ OOC maybe I should have been clearer the first time, but well.

He checks the other animals, as well as the plants, to see if they are magical as well.

All the animals are similarly magical. The plants are different. The soil they grow is magical without magic resistance, so when Thadeus spends some time and effort, he understands that the soil magically grow and replenish the crops. The crops could be harvested for 4p Creo vis per plot, but that would probably kill the magic of the garden.

Shaking his head at the unlikely setting, Thadeus moves on to investigate one of the cottages. More specifically, the one with the barley behind it (number 8).

This looks more like half Scriptorium and half peasant's kitchen. The reading stand is competing with the cauldron for dominance of the room, flanked by a table holding piles of papers.

Most of the papers are letters, signed by Pralix and other likely magi. There is a book, in Latin, called conversations with Pralix, and dated around his time.

There is a pot of ink, more than half full, but the ink is completely dry, and the quills crumble to dust at the lightest touch.

Thadeus' eyes widen as he sees these. Do the papers and book appear to be in good condition? Has he ever heard or seen a book like that? Or heard of the other magi who signed the letters? (Order of Hermes roll of 21!)

Thadeus recognises a couple of letter authors, most notably Damhan-Allaidh who was Pralix' main adversary, and a couple of first-generation Hermetic converts that Pralix recruited. There are a few more whom he does not recognise.

A quick skimming through the book reveals that it is a description of the Order of Hermes as Pralix sees (sorry, saw) it, and it can be read as a tractatus on Hermes Lore of subvain quality. Thadeus does not know of many books on Hermes lore, but most of those that exist take this form, somebody presenting the Order to somebody else, written either by the presenter or the receiver. The author is just named Donald.

Thom steps over to Cottage 6 (Swedes) and knocks on the door, pausing for a response, before he opens the door and peers in.

This is definitely an over-sized peasant kitchen, with an unusual assortment of cauldrons and cooking pots arranged in a ring around the central fireplace. Among the many storage cupboards there is one rack of open shelves with classware, mostly empty vials, but on the top shelf there are five vials of oddly coloured potions, with different markers, red linen band, white linen band, green linen band, hemp line with a monkey fist (knot), and one with a black feather tied to the neck with a black leather string.

Thom doesn't touch anything in Cottage 6 but steps back out, looking for Thadeus and Sionag.

"There's a half-dozen or so potions in the cottage there with the swedes growing behind it. Looks like the kitchen of this place."

With regret, Thadeus leaves the papers behind in the scriptorium. He'll certainly want to read them later, but for now he adresses Thom, "Do you want me to check if they are magical? This here appears to be a scriptorium, with letters written by the founder of my lineage and House!" His voice rises a bit in excitement at the end.

"Yes, please. Most of the kitchen appeared to be a regular old kitchen but those potions were on a top shelf and looked special. They have different markers on them. Probably identifying them somehow. I'm going to go look into that Cottage (8) with the barley growing behind it."

Thom starts away and then turns back.

"Wait. Did you say the founder of your lineage and House?? Letters written by him? Are you serious? That's incredible!"

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Thadeus can quickly identify the five vials as containing enchanted items, probably charged given the potion format. They are non-Hermetic, and do not precisely match familiar arts. The white band feels like ReMe, the others are clearly Corpus effects, the green one probably Muto, the others Rego or Perdo. Obviously it takes a lab season or straight-forward trial and error to discern the effect.

You recognise some typical utensils for lab work, like decanters and measures, and the scales are the finest quality. A bit much for a peasant, but there is far too much missing for you to use it in your own work.

You find no texts in this kitchen, not even a reading stand, nor ink or quills.

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"That's the scriptorium," Thadeus mentions while going to investigate the kitchen (cottage 6).

Once he is done there, he will move to the cottage with the pig behind it (cottage 7).

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Janus will look in to the cottage with the pig behind it (7)

Yet another peasant's kitchen, this one doubles up as a store room for a turb of rangers and scouts. The top shelf displays three vials, two marked with a round pebble attached with a leather string through a small hole, and the third similarly marked with a sharp-edged piece of quartz. Next to the vials, there is a handful of Y-shaped rods, each marked with runes that Janus does not recognise.

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Janus take the potions and roots and show them to the other magi.

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And Thadeus inevitably analyze them with Comprehend Magic, sharing the result with his sodales.

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