Chapter 7: The return to Ungulus (End of Autumn 1013)

"By a strict reading of the charter, which requires three members," begins Thadeus somberly, rising to speak, "a case could be made that the covenant is no longer viable and is automatically disolved. Two of the members are confirmed dead. The third have been missing for almost a year, probably dead. At a minimum she is unable to name new members and to protect the covenant. A covenant that was founded to pursue the war. And we are still at war, let us remember that."

"Caelha, you have performed admirably in difficult conditions. There is no one here who would say otherwise. But as Janus says, you cannot by yourself sustain Ungulus. Tessa is probably dead. How long should we wait, while the enemy might still launch an attack against Ungulus? You may also be recalled to Blackthorn at any time, to complete your apprenticeship under a new master or mistress. What then? That magus would have no more standing than we do to assume leadership for the covenant."

"I propose that those of us interested in settling here do so. Let us refound the covenant and strengthen Ungulus so that we can hunt down the last pockets of Diedne power. And then settle back into peaceful vigilance and grow the covenant."

With that, he sits back down with a nod.

"Are we still at war?" asks Thom quietly, not standing, seemingly grateful to finally be able to sit and rest for a time.

"I saw that giant heading back to the north countries when I was coming to Ungulus with Master Luciu. I don't believe any of you who headed north into Galloway encountered the enemy. By what you've told us, you saw evidence of war and conflict, but only the one lingering spy with the cloak of the raven. Are there still Diedne left to fight? Have we seen or heard battle continues? I for one hope we are at an end of war and conflict in the Order."

Thom shrugs though.

"For myself, I want a place to settle down and study. I want to see us rebuild the strength of the Order here... in peace. If that means joining alongside Master Janus in subduing the rogue House, then that is a means to that end. And Blackthorn may need to be checked a bit to bring balance back to the Tribunal if this war is over... or nearly so. Ungulus has a great deal to speak for it, but it isn't the only location we have found that could form the foundation of a covenant."

Caelha answers Nauvi's question. «Usually, guests use the lab in here.» You are now in the magḯ's common room, and she points at the workbench on the far wall. The room clearly doubles, I mean triples, as council chamber, library, and lab. «There is also one in a cottage outside, but that has not been used for years. Other than that, there is only the three sanctums.»

When Thadeus has spoken, she looks at Chronos and whispers something briefly to him, but neither one speaks yet.

To Thom's question, Cjronos responds. «Honestly, we do not know the state of the war at the moment. We have heard your accounts from Mercia, Northumbria, Galloway, and Northumbria, but we do not know if the Diedne are beaten or if they have just gone into hiding to regroup. The Giants appear to be active, although they have only ever been a threat under the guidance of the Diedne. When did you last hear from Blackthorn, Caelha?»

«Oh, that was about the time Tacitus departed,» she replies. «I had a chance to send worth down last month, but the redcap came over from Hibernia, and had no news from Blackthorn. Hibernia is in a bad place, they say, only a half a dozen magi left, and far too few to search the land for remaining Diedne.»

«Right,» continues Chronos, «so we know next to Nothing about the other tribunals, or even Blackthorn or Cad Gadu, and we never knew much of the situation North of Galloway. It is possible that we have won the war, but we need to lick our wounds and take stock.»

He pauses in contemplation, but quickly composes himself and waves at the magæ who have not spoken yet.

"Caelha, I would propose to enter the sanctum of Tessa under your supervision, and only for the purpose of seeking an arcane connection to determine whether she is dead. I will not seek to penetrate or seek to know more. At this point, we need confirmation as to whether there is a member of the covenant which is alive. If there are none, then it seems to me there is no council to determine who can join this covenant, and this this covenant can legally be claimed by those magi who are here."


"I can help disarm any magical traps," Thadeus nods.

«Oh, that's your area of speciality, Cath'rinne? That would be most useful,» says Caelha. «I do not think there would be any traps, in any of the sancti. The masters gave all to the cause, and knew that they might not be coming back.»

It is getting darker and the sun will be setting soon. «Maybe we can continue this discussion tomorrow? I am sure we can find a satisfactory solution. If we can learn Tessa's fate, it may be easier.» Chronos adds, «I second that. Let's not speak in haste.»

You have an hour of fading light to enter Tessa's lab in the evening, but may continue in the morning. Caelha opens the door without fear for traps. The lab is sparsely furnished, and the room looks overly large. Several ostentatious items are displayed on the wall: a giant greatsword, in plain materials but with detailed ornamentation, a bishop's staff in white wood, and an expensive, blue cloak. The lab looks complete with no personalisation.

Other valuables are neatly arranged on shelves opposite the display of items. Thadeus quickly identifies the vis, a rook of Auram in dried leaves, 6p of Aquam in small vials. A small wand with silver decor lies next to it. There is a small, locked chest displaying her sigil and a sanctum marker. A larger chest under the shelves contains her lab texts.

Tessa's bed chamber makes up an unusually large part of the floor, but is equally sparsely furnished. A big wardrobe contains an assortment of clothes, mostly well-worn ranger's clothing, but also a formal robe, which might look brand new if you brush the dust off it.

What kind of items would you be looking for as an arcane connection? Anything you want to touch/scrutinise?

After dinner while the others are looking into Tessa's lab, Thom heads out to check on the goats and the nisse, hopeful that his little friend may stil lbe around. He brought a bit of cheese, fresh bread, and a sweet treat made with nuts and honey along with him.

When Thom gets to the goat pen, he looks about with Second Sight. [Roll: 22]

The nisse is shy and runs away to hide as soon as he is spotted. Does Thom leave the gifts for him, or does he persist the search?

Thom sets out the gifts for the nisse, smiling at the shyness of the little fellow.

He steps away, still looking about the area to see if other of the small faeries may be about.

I think you left the nisse with goats he already knew, in one of the sheep shacks belonging to the covenant. Please correct me if I am wrong. The area is then an outbuilding with barely enough room for the four goats and twice as many sheep. You do not see any other faeries in the building.

The sheep shack is one of several buildings circling a small courtyard. There are both cottages and animal sheds. Whether it is dusk or dawn, nobody else is outside at the moment. Smoke rises from all the cottages.

Looking inside the cowshed, Thom spots another brownie or nisse-like faerie, sweeping hay from the floor.

Thom smiles and says, "Hello there! What a nice clean place you have here. Do you need anything to help you in your duties?"

Cath'rinne will ask Caelha if Tessa was known for any favored tool or clothing that she wore frequently, or whether she believes any of the prominently displayed items might be enchanted items made by her?

The brownie is startled and runs away to ides.

Caelha explains, «Tessa usually wore ranger's clothes, like the ones in the wardrobe. She had different sets, but always in the same style. The robe was her formal attire. I only ever saw her wear it at WInter solstice. The items on the wall, I think, are trophees. She came home with the sword two years ago, having defeated Damien mac Dallan. The other two she had when she arrived at Ungulus; I do not know their story at all.»

Cath'rinne will ask for a token to cast with the morning after. She will then ceremonially cast Sight of the Molting Magus. With a casting total of 17, this costs her 1+2 fatigue. She will take her time to inspect the ranger's clothes for corpus material (blood, hair), but also walk arround the room, knowing blood on ranger's clothes might not necessarily be Tessa's, and so she ideally looks for several corpus sample to test before releasing her concentration. She searches the bedchamber, in particular where Tessa might be grooming herself. She figures not all magi obsessively clean the hairbrushes or pillows. If the search is inconclusive, she will maintain concentration throughout her walk through the sanctum. Otherwise, she will validate whatever corpus material she may have found with The Whole from the Part to see if it belongs to her.

Ungulus has no Aegis at the moment, if I remember correctly.


Cath'rinne only finds strains of hair, not the locks that might have lasted the year Tessa has been away as arcane connections. Same for blood, nothing that would have lasted more than months.

@Arthur is right about the Aegis, there is none.

According to AM5 p. 84, blood is Years, not months.

Thom steps inside the cowshed, sitting on a nearby stool. He spots a small scattering of hay toward where the brownie moved away and smiles. His hands start to move and his voice lilts as he casts a spell [Image Phantom MuIm 20 Roll: 23]. In place of the random tangle of hay, a small patch of autumn crocus (colchicm autumnale) takes the place of the hay, the fading light of the day softly shining on the little flowers through the door of the shed.

Then Thom begins to speak softly, his normally light voice continuing to lilt as he invites the brownie forward:

"In the dim-lit barn where shadows sway
A brownie toils, both night and day.
With broom in hand, he sweeps the hay,
Whistling tunes of the ancient fey.

"Oh, cowherd brownie, cease your chore,
Come share your tales by sunset's glow!"
I'll weave enchantments, secrets galore,
To coax you from your hidden hol... hollow."

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It is, but quantity matters, as it does for hair. There is no noticeable bloodstain on the clothes, nor any other sufficient amount of blood. The sanctum is rather tidy, and the clothes seem to have been washed before they were hung in the wardrobe.

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"Any old footwear, like boots or slippers, that she might have worn regularly when at the covenant? Caelha, what was Tessa's favourite activity when she was here?"

Thadeus looks for anything magical, such as enchanted items used in the lab, but avoids touching anything.