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

«Whatever you decide, I had better head back to Ungulus,» says Chronos, «if you come the same way, I shall be happy for the company. If you go elsewhere, I would like to leave tomorrow morning.»

You have about half the season left, and could go to Carpatian Gate or Farnes island, or both if you do not run into trouble, and still be back to Ungulus for the solstice.

"So you're not a member of Ungulus. Are you a member of any covenant? If you're not tied down anywhere, is there a reason you wish to leave? There's no reason we can't have a redcap join our future covenant-to-be, wherever we place it."

«Leave? It is more a question if I ought to settle. There is still a war, isn't there? My old covenant is long gone. However that may be, Ungulus is the place to meet and regroup. Caelha is still there, you say, so I need to hear her story before making plans.»

"That would be most kind. There is a physician at Ungulus but she only delivers babies rarely and has none of the benefits of magical skill, as far as I know."

In response to Janus: "I can't say I would be of much use prosecuting the war but Ungulus seems one of the preferrable sites. Perhaps Blackpool would also be of interest for those of us less capable in battle. I would still be curious to explore these last sites though."

Thadeus waits for the other magi to pronounce themselves about their preferred site, listening with interest. He's already explained his reasons for thinking that Ungulus would be a good choice, but is open-minded enough to listen to other options. Particularly since he hasn't visited the other sites.

"I think I'd like to see the Farnes Islands, which was one of the most promising sites, as I recall. On our end, I can share we found a functional lab under Wicker Hill. The local lord has resettled the place. The lab seemed somewhat advanced as well, although site has an aura of 4, and I'm unsure whether the lord would consider us settling there at all. I certainly wouldn't want to do so under supervision, his agents seemed nosy. We also found a giant's regio in the sky with a large which would be highly defensible... but there's at least one giant alive, and my concern is less about defending it than reliably leaving it. How did the other group fare?"

"I concur. We can hardly make plans without including her in one way, shape or form."

“Caela is an apprentice not a maga, she has no say in the affairs of Members of the Order. Once she has revealed the secrets of Ungulus she can travel to Blackthorn to be with her house superiors” states Janus

Thom appears concerned at Janus's talk of the War and military outposts, but his expression relaxes when he looks over at Cath'rinne after her question.

"We visited a number of promising locations on our journey. The Midsummer Copse near Cauldron Falls was an interesting place, for sure. There was no faerie aura there, but we would need to negotiate relations with the King of the White Foam to gain access to the regio behind his falls. The copse itself is rather strong (Aura 7) in a very tight circle about 50 paces across. It's a small circle, but there is some promise," says Thom thoughtfully.

"We also went to St. Alban's Well where we found the way into the regio that contains the Roman Baths. It's a rather interesting regio of modest power (Aura 4) with statues of Vesta and Suli I believe. But we will need to deal with the spirits there, and I'm not sure we fully explored the time differential in that regio," continues Thom with a slight wince of remembering. "It will take significant work to settle there."

"We found a nice hilltop with some magical power (Aura 3) with some airy spirits but they were challenging to pin down. And the midwinter copse of pine trees had a similar strength. That copse has some element of healing strength but didn't really seem suitable as a place to settle down."

"We have a good lead on the Boar Bog and know where to find it, but it will need a more militant part to deal with it, as Betula said," adds Thom.

"Since we are together, I think we should go ahead and visit the Farnes and the Gate if we think we can make it back by midwinter. We'll then have a complete picture which should help our decisions. I appreciate Master Janus's concern for the war, but I am not interested in finding ourselves in the center of a political battle with Blackthorn and they Tremere."

Thom looks at the northern group.

"Did you find any Diedne warbands on your journey?"

"Apprentice or not, she's an heir to one of Ungulus's magi, Janus. And frankly, someone who runs a covenant alone is no apprentice in my mind. If I was part of a societates or a quaesitor, I'd have offered to give her a gauntlet. She also treated us with courtesy, and we owe her the same."

"A seventh magnitude aura??? Wow, tell me more."

"What kind of spirits? Maybe I can help."

Cath'rinne shakes her head. "Just a mundane who still acted on their behalf, afraid they would come back."

“She is an apprentice by law, not a magus. The fact you think she has done a good job does not elevate her beyond her status or her rights. A mundane could act as castellan in a covenant and we would never consider their elevation. None of use here are Tremere or Guernicus and so have no right or authority to change her status, so that is for her house to manage. Anyway enough talk for me, I travel to Ungulus with our Redcap sodalis tomorrow.”

OOC: Note that I added a sentence to my reply to you while you were writing, Janus.

Cath'rinne frowns visibly. "So you're not coming with us to the Farnes islands, I guess. What do you plan to do in Ungulus?"

“Claim membership, explore the resources and membership and decide how and where to set up a lab. I want to get a base before the weather sets in and starts to freeze the terrain.” Replies Janus

Not to spoil your adventure, but Thom still feels a wee bit battered after his bath, and could need a month's rest before further adventure.

Chronos raises an eyebrow over Janus' asserted plan, but says nothing. He just looks around at the others and reaches for his book to write down some new notes.

"Oh la... May I ask some precisions ? Who is Caela ? What's this story of an apprentice in the head of a covenant ? I just join the group, but I would like understand the situation, what purpose have the group... I heard about the creation of a new covenant, not join another one."

Sionag doesn't really like this feeling to don't have all information.

“Tessa ex Tytalus, Tacitus ex Tremere, Parens of Caela, and Frederic ex Flambau were the three magi resident at Ungulus covenant to the west. The three investigated a Diedne site at Wicker hill in Scotland with a strong band of grogs about three seasons ago. The group that has just joined you investigated their fate and determined Tacitus and Fredric had been killed, while Tessa was missing.Tessa's trail ran cold so we turned back to make this meeting at Salmon river. Caela was appointed as castellan at Ungulus by the resident magi. The covenant now has no resident magi, assuming Tessa is also dead, as such I intend to claim membership by that absence and by the fact the covenant is dedicated to the Schism war with house Diedne, which aligns with my activities in prosecuting the war over the last ten years. Other magi of this group may well intent to create a new covenant as an altenative.

"And the age of the apprentice ? How many years of apprenticeship ?"

Unclear but Caela said she had a number of years remaining as I remember

Thom listens.

“I could join Master Janus in the morning.”

He seems a bit sad, perhaps reluctant to miss the discovery of new places or the wear of his injuries.

"She's at the end of her twelfth year of her apprenticeship. Considering she's spent most of the year alone with an entire library at her disposal... she's probably learned her arts from books as much as she would have in fifteen years with one season of teaching a year. She shouldn't be that far from having the skills for her gauntlet. Although I do concur it's not for me to decide unless I claim her for my house... which would not be wise."