Chapter 7: The ghost of Kolberg

Monday the 4th of April 1222.

It takes a few days to get to Kolberg. Who will go? Do you dare to cross the depressing Pomeranian to visit Kolberg and who knows what horrors await. Make a short post each about what preparations that are being made before you go. If someone does not wish to send a magus then you may use a grog. I know there are no grogs made up but you can use the stats from the core rulebook for a guard.

Petrulus is most eager to go. He'd also like to stop by in one of those werewolf villages on the way to get a first impression of this community (due to his strange gift most of his comparable previous encounters were rather nice compared to those with normal people). But before he leaves he would like to spend some days to draw up some chartae which will give him some spell-like powers.

Petrulus can use the following lab total: 2(Technique)+11(Form)+3(Intelligence)+4(Artes Liberales)+10(Strong Amulet Magic)+3(Aura)+10(nativity horoscope, a learned magician is bound to have one for himself)=43; each charta will take 9 hours of work, so it seems reasonable to assume that he can do one per day.

Two will use the general VuMa guideline 'ward against creature from a single realm (here:infernal and magical)' at level 20, are made for moon duration (+1 magnitude due to higher base duration, lasts until 28th of April) and include a penetration of 36 (+ 18 levels, hopefully enough even in a dominion aura - especially, as he will inscribe formula to entreat the divine powers into these amulets).

The other two will use the SuMa 20 guideline 'Grant a major supernatural virtue' again with moon duration (+2 magnitudes), an inbuilt Penetration of 26 (+13 levels) and also Entreatment of Divine Powers. The virtues given are two 'Greater Powers' (cf. ROP:M), duplicating the hermetic spells to slay supernatural creatures (one for infernal, one for magical beings)
50 points: 30 levels are divided into a level 10 version of DEO/Sap the Griffin's Might and 20 levels of penetration, 15 points are used to bring the fatigue-costs per use to zero, and the last five result in an bonus of one to the initiative).

If the other magi insist on haste, his priorities wil be: DEO, Warding Against Demonic Entities, Sap the Griffin's Strength, Warding Against Magical Entities.

edit (06-08-2009): just ortographic correction
edit (09-08-2009): corrected the covenant's aura (3 not 2) and adjusted the chartae's penetration accordingly by +2 each

Mariella has little in the way of preperations to make. When she learns that Alexios needs to delay she sends a letter ahead to her Brother in Kolberg. Otherwise she insures that 3 grogs are available for the journey

If there is adventure involved, Riccardo offers to come along. He is sort of a "special foes" Redcap. he is not a messanger. As a member of the Cult of Heroes, he was encouraged to seek adventure and glory, and to encourage other magi to do the same.

OOC: I am back from that wedding and ready to play.

I hate to start without having all the information available. So one other evening I go to visit Horst.

"Good evening, Master Horst, may I enter? ... As you sureley know, I am the newest among the magi of our covenant, and this evening I have come for two reasons. First, I wanted to introduce myself and show you and your wife the respect due to the village's spokesman and his lady..."
[some further smalltalk, if this doesn't go smoothly first because of my Gift this will include the following offer:] "Master Horst, I am afraid, the unpleasant side effects of my Gift put you ill at ease. Please allow me to put a small charm on you. I swear to God that this won't have any effect but to make you indifferent to this effect for a while."
If Horst agrees, I'll cast a 'Grant serenity in the face of Hermes' Blessings' on him (including an Entreatment of the Divine powers to overcome the village's Dominion) - repeatedly for the further conversation if necessary, as I don't want to warp Horst with the level 30 version of 'Magician's Second Wind (duration)', if not - well, even Mariella seems to get along with him, and I am a charming guy at heart. Finally I will change the subject.
"Master Horst, during the last council meeting you informed my sodales about your son in law's plea for help because of a ghost terrorizing his city. This is the second reason for this visit. I am happy to announce to you that we will happily respond to our neighbour's plea and that I and my sodales Riccardo and Mariella will travel to Kolberg within a few days to take care of the situation. In order to be as effective as possible we need every relevant information we can get on the subject. So, have you heard anything more than that what you have told the council?...
So, Master Horst, thank you for your cooperation. Rest assured, that we will do our best to solve your family's problems. Ah, and if you ever have a problem down here in the village and are not sure, whether you should to take it to the council or not or if you can't wait until the next meeting, don't hesitate to come to me. If I am not too occupied, I am always willing to help. Have a good night!"

OOC: As probably obvious, this visit really serves two agendas. Petrulus is searching for relevant information and trying to build up good relations to Horst, which later might be usefull.

Horst welcome in Petrulus into his home. After the small talk is concluded, Horst seems like a pleasant person that is easy to become friends with. I thanks for the offer but it is not necessary to put your charm upon me. I am use to this strange effects that magi give of. I have know Justus for some time even before he funded this covenant. I worked at Fengheld then. When Justus asked me for a favour I could not refuse. Isn’t it strange how Justus make people do all sorts of favour for him. You should have seen when they built this covenant. Quite a few magi and their apprentices helped with the effort. I am sorry but I can’t help you more with information about the ghost. I have only heard that they found a family of prominent merchant’s dead in their home. Blue faces they had and the door where locked from the inside, no window broken. The city guards had to use an axe to open the door as it had many sturdy locks on the inside.

Will you be visiting the werewolves or go directly to Kolberg?

The other Magi might become restless if we delay any longer, and who knows what will happen in Kolberg if we wait too long. So I think it wiser to visit them on the way back. But was that village not basically on the way to Kolberg and a natural place to rest after a day's travel? (I got that impression from the earlier stories.)

Yes it is but there are some strange things to look at if you wish. But I skip that for now. The travell go without problems. What will you do when you come to Kolberg and still are outside the city?

Well, during our journey I certainly have asked my sodales and the grogs a bit about the city. Unless wished otherwise, I don't think we should go into any detail there. I will just use the knowledge I got from reading the previous stories. I also think that we would have tried to get any rumours available from travellers we met on the road. (Probably this would have been Ricardo's job or something for the grogs - if not I would have tried my best.)

Now, with Kolberg barely in sight range:

Wait, Sodales. I would like to check whether anything strange can already be seen from afar. We should perhaps also decide, whether we enter openly as the mages whom the mayor has called for or perhaps keep a lower profile, until we have heard more. Perhaps we are officially just here for the market and for Mariella to visit her brother. After we have discreetly picked up a bit more of information, we can then visit the mayor tomorrow. Which way would you prefer, sodales?

After this is settled I will make sure to be out of the sight and earshot of any travellers, farmers or city guards (...)and I start to chant loudly a row of Latin prayers and charms in order to Invoke the Second sight (and stabilize it for sun duration):

  1. Gift of the Seer (SuMa 15/ casting total 16(Su+Ma+Com)+2(shouting and extreme gestures)+aura+die)
  2. Magician's Second Wind (duration) (SuMa 20/ casting total 16(Su+Ma+Com)+2(shouting and extreme gestures)+aura+die) on the previous spell
  3. Strengthening of the Mystical Eye (SuMa 15/ casting total 16(Su+Ma+Com)+2(shouting and extreme gestures)+aura+die)
  4. Magician's Second Wind (duration) (SuMa 20/ casting total 16(Su+Ma+Com)+2(shouting and extreme gestures)+aura+die) on the previous spell

These dice shouldn't be stressed, as there is no time to hurry. Nevertheless, if we have reason to believe that we are already in a Dominion-Aura, I will try to 'Entreat the Divine Powers' before each spell, which would mean 4 times a stress roll+4. If I botch (probably 1+aura botch dice) there I risk Intervention (my traditions equivalent of Twilight), if not the malus of the Dominion is reduced by the result but can't go below 0.

Hopefully, after 4 rounds I have something very similar to Second Sight 7 (actually Second Sight 4 and a bonus of 3 to every roll) and start to have a good look at the city and the surrounding land, again praying to God's Angels that they may allow me this use of magic - a further use of the Entreatment skill to counter the crippling effects of the Dominion on supernatural abilities.

I have no intention of announcing my status as a mage , but I will not deny it if asked. I plan on going to speak to Horst's relative who wanted our help , find out what he wants and then procede from there. I will later visit my brother and see what he has learned . As for accomodation we can either see if my Brother can arrange acomodation at the abbey or we can impose upon the mayor who has asked us for his aid

Ah, sometimes I have my head in the clouds. Two evenings before we left I visited Horst, and he reported what he has heard: Basically a complete merchant family has been found dead, their faces blue as if they have suffocated or frozen to death, in their house. The house was locked from within, and there were no traces of anybody breaking into the building. Of course, this is only what Horst knew when he came to us. More might have happened since then. But I wasn't proposing to hide our status as mages. Probably you are known here anyway, honesty is a virtue everybody should aspire to, and - finally - there is no reason to lie about this. And if we are really faced with a ghost, there won't be any harm in directly going to the mayor and announcing our readiness to help him. But - and that is my point - these people here might speak of a ghost because they can't think of any other explanation. But I can: other wizards, demons, infernalists, poison and probably some more, if I concentrate hard. If any of these are in town and hear that we are here to look into their affairs, they have time to prepare or to flee, and I would prefer, not to give them that warning. Anyway, finding shelter at the abbey seems to be a good idea. There you can get first information from a trustworthy source without alarming anybody, and I can probably go to confession. In the face of all those spiritual troubles at home I deemed it unwise to do so there just yet. I also would like to find out which books the abbey's library holds. Perhaps they are willing to trade some of them. I am afraid that our covenant's library lacks in most areas beyond magic, and it would surely be good to have some theological writings there as well.

edit: again a late night mistake, in line 4 I used the wrong word, I meant aspire.

No strange things can be seen with second sight.

The magi visit the abbey and Mariella’s bother meet with them. Happy to see his sister he makes arrangement for both something for the travellers to eat and a location for them to sleep. A guesthouse that is in a separate building. In reply of question regarding the state of affairs in Kolberg he has the following to say.

There have been some dire events in the city I can tell. There has been that grizzly murder of the merchants, one of the city’s most prominent families. Then there have been rumours that the Jews are behind the foul sorcery that lead to their deaths. The magistrate has ordered that the Jewish quarter should be sealed off to prevent hostilities against the Jews but there has been violence. I can’t tell you much but there is much hostility in the town. I would suggest that you try not to draw attention toward yourself when you travel the streets. As you know and I don’t mean to offend you but you have a way of making folk uneasy.

Hm, tensions between the Jewish and the Christian population you said? Well, it might be just a chance coincidence, but back at home our turb captain was reporting a growing violent disposition among his men towards those Jews we have there as well. I hope this isn't part of any bigger conspiracy. Thank you for the warning, so me and Mariella, we shouldn't keep too high a profile. Riccardo, would you then take care for the responsibility to interview witnesses and the like? Perhaps one or two of the grogs can be useful, too. I think, as for accomodations, we would feel most secure as your guests, but you must tell us if we besome too disturbing. Anyway, we can't just sit around and wait until that crime is repeated or the citizens start a progrome. So I daresay that we visit the mayor and then proceed to the crimeside before the sun sets. Perhaps we can find some lingering traces of the power used there, or there might be more mundane pieces of evidence that give us a hint who might have wished these people ill. - Ah, father, you don't - by chance or divine foresight - number a competent exorcist among your brethren, whose divinely gifted ability to detect demonic forces is more reliable than earthly magic? Mariella, Riccardo, sodales, can we agree on this path of action?

[color=red]I do not cause the same unease as the rest of you do. I will go talk to the people and see what I can learn.

"Any time anything strange or supernatural happens the common people blame either Women or Jews it is all their bigoted souls can handle . I most sincerely doubt that the Jews have anything to do with this"
Mariella says in a cynical voice, and earning a mutterred reproach rom her brother
"The Mayor has asked for our help so I intend to go and ask him for information. I will try to avoid trouble with superstitous peasents but if It happens it will be their problem

So we are of one mind. Let's get to the Mayor and then proceed to the house where that atrocity was committed. We shouldn't make conclusions too early, and everybody here will do the things she or he is best suited to. Let's be off then.

The magi leave the monastery a little while later. Now do you go alone or do you take guards with you. At the gates to the city there seems to be a few sturdy guards checking everyone who pass into the city, questioning them about their errand in the city.

Well, sodales. Given the warnings we received we should perhaps take along one or two of our grogs. Having armed guards is only appropriate to show a magus' status, and they might just be helpful to avoid quarrels with the inahbitants. I would never doubt the abilities of a follower of Flambeau to protect us if neccessary, but we should have less troble afterwards if we stick to mundane methods as long as they are sufficient. Mariella and me, we will stay quiet, and you, Riccardo, can do the talking to the guards. Is that all right with you, sodales?

The Grogs may impress the mundanes but they are not needed for defense. Mundane soldiers pose no threat to me, I presume these guards work for the Mayor of this town as he wishes our aid they should be cooperative to us

Mariella, I am aware that you could handle any mundane threat to us, and I also know that I don't need to fear such threats as long as I stay close to you. Damn, had I considered problems from such an direction beforehand, I could even do some nasty things myself, but so I gladly trust in your asteemed competence. My point is that mundanes impressed by a obviously armed guardd are less likely to cause trouble, whereas in your case they will only find out that they are more than outmatched, when the damage is done. Apart from that there might be minor inconveniences which the grogs are sufficient to deal with. Let's just think of some madman who decides to hurl a bit of dirt or a rock. If our guards tackle him or even give him a good beating, most people would consider them to do the right thing. If we only did halve the damage to him with magic, this might start a riot, and I am sure you don't like the idea to kill dozens of fellow Christians any more than I do. Actually, I do not really fear the guards at the gate. If they are disciplined men, and they believe that the Mayor sent for us, they won't cause problems. And I have faith in the ability of a member of House Mercere to convince them.