Chapter III (1230-1234)

((I'll try to keep the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey...stuff to a minimum :laughing: ))

About three weeks after Fédora and Tiana's initial meeting, a page knocks on Vulcanus's door. After being told by Vulcanus that (a) he's not home and (b) go away, the page somewhat insistently pounds again and hollers that he has a letter for Vulcanus. The Flambeau, after being assured that the page is, indeed, alone, reluctantly opens the door, grabs the letter, closes the door, reads the letter, and swears softly in German.[sup]1[/sup]

The letter has just the faintest aroma of rosewater on it.

The page waits outside for Vulcanus's response.

[sup]1[/sup] ((Hope you don't mind my presumptiveness on Vulcanus's reaction...I didn't feel like doing six posts trying to get the letter to him, and based on what you said to Vibria, I thought this might be appropriate. If not, let me know and I can edit.))

The smith swears in German profusely, and finally turns to the page. "Tell Fedora I send my deepest regrets, but my laboratory time is booked solid for the next year. If she has a commission in mind we can discuss it in half a year's time." He then shuts the door abruptly and melts against it, slumping to the floor in exhaustion while his staff members (all of whom refused to answer the door) laugh uproariously.

Vibria raises a brow and bites her lip. [color=red]"Has it gotten so bad that you have to treat it like a seige?"

[color=red]"Yes, those were probably not the best examples," Vibria admits.

Vibria looks at him curiously. [color=red]"Yes, they do tend to be rather possessive of their children...especially if they turn out to be Gifted."

[color=red]"If they're hell-bent on marrying into the covenant to better secure their claim here, would it have to be a magus? Maybe one of the mortals with strong ties here, or to one of the magi here?"

Vibria looks down, as well, and gasps. She quickly grabs her napkin and moves to kneel next to Vulcanus, dabbing at the spill on his trousers. [color=red]"Here, let me. We don't want that to stain."

"It IS a siege!" he exclaims. "This messenger came by, camped outside my door for an hour before he finally went away! And then only because I put the galvanized quench bucket near the window and blew the air out so the smell would drift right by him."

"Who knows how crazy people think?"

Vulcanus becomes very still, and then suddenly stands, nearly knocking Vibria over in his abruptness. "I've forgotten something in my lab. I have to go," he mutters semi-apologetically on his way out the door.

Vibria looks at the door, confusion on her face as she tries to figure out what happened. She replays the last few moments in her mind, and it dawns on her what he thought she was going to do. She throws the napkin on the floor angrily and yells [color=red]"Maleïda sigui!"

She dons her armour and strides angrily to the training yard to demand a practice sword from the sergeant on duty so she can spar with one of the Andorran Guard to work out some of her...irritation.

A week later, a shifty-looking grog Vibria hasn't met yet (but will by the time Spring rolls 'round...) comes by with a letter and a box. He doesn't say anything, just scowls at her furiously and shoves the box and letter at her. He mutters something which Vibria doesn't understand, but she's pretty sure it was something foul... unless that's just how German sounds.

My dear sodalis,

Please forgive my hasty departure when last we spoke. It has been some time since last a woman laid hands on me, and it elicited memories for which I was not prepared. Please accept this small sample of my work as apology. The enamel is prone to chip, though easily enough repaired-- the price we pay for cosmetic enhancement of functional objects.


Within the box is a very unorthodox looking helm.

There are Seven remaining members of the old Andorran Guard. The rest of our grogs are mercenary almogavars of the Gold Griffon division of the Vibria Company out of Barcelona.
But still, we have these seven champions!
Alexandro, Commander of the Andorran Guard, Captain of the Grex, Marshall of the Gold Gryphons
Moe, the retired sergeant with Second Sight, the last of Antonio's old stooges, now the covenant Autocrat
Armando, the wise old seargeant that knows more about magical combat strategy than most magi
Javier, expedition sergeant and keeper of the Sword of the Avenger
Oscar, fearless and stoic corporal, was Carmen's shield grog for several years and once stared unblinking face to face with Diablo Rojo
Alberto, corporal with a smart mouth known to be bold and reckless
Roger, the ghost grog, died saving a child during the Val-Negra expedition from injuries suufered by the hand of Metron, but his ghost has reappeared at several essential moments. Moe claims that he saw Roger during the attack, as he was laying in a pool of blood from the injuries he suffered. Roger told him to hold on, and went to get the attention of Valentino, who saved Moe's life before perishing himself.

Then there is Fausto, the Weapons instructor, who just caught my eye. He's an Almogavar, but he is the henchman of Vocis and not part of the Gold Gryphons. The veteran old gaurd have taken a liking to him, and he has been able to teach them a thing or two about swordplay.
He has drawn out sword circles, and is training with Oscar and Javier and six of the Gold Gryphons.

((Sometimes, I think that the German language is proof that Klingons are real and that they'd settled in Northern Europe at some point.))

[color=red]"Thank you," Vibria says in Latin, then again in Catalan if he didn't seem to understand her Latin. She then politely closes the door and takes the box back to her sanctum. (What? He's not waiting for a tip, is he? :smiley: )

Vibria squeals with delight when she opens the box and sees the helm, carefully taking it out and examining it closely. She then sets it down and casts a spontaneous Intellego Terram to determine if it's of enchantable quality. [sup]1[/sup]

The next time she sees Vulcanus, she walks up and stops just outside hug range, clasping her hands behind her. [color=red]"I want to apologize for the other day, Vulcanus. When you left suddenly like that...I assumed that you had misinterpreted my actions, for the worst. I should have known better, and I'm sorry.

"And thank you very much for the new helm. It is exquisite, and I can't wait to wear it."

Vibria shows up in the yard, fully armed and armored, and stands nearby impatiently until Fausto notices her.

[color=red]"I would like to spar with the men for a while," she says when he comes over to inquire as to reason for being there.

[hr][/hr][sup]1[/sup]Base 2, to "learn one visible property of an object...that someone with appropriate skills could determine just by looking", R: Voice +2, D: Momentary, T: Individual, for a spell level of 4. Her CT is Sta 2 + In 4 + Terram 4 + Aura 5 + die roll of 6 = 21, halved is 11.

Well, it's high quality high-carbon folded steel, with decorative enamel veneer, but it's not got any vis in it or anything. It's about the quality of what a top-notch blacksmith could crank out in three solid days of work... actually, Bernhard probably made it :stuck_out_tongue: No wonder he doesn't like her!

:laughing: This is the most positive reaction to "I experienced spontaneous tumescence when you touched me, and I'm still hung up on my ex-girlfriend" ever, and if I didn't already know PB was a dude, this would have convinced me :slight_smile:

you are all freaking me out :laughing:

Deine Mutter geht in der Stadt huren.

:stuck_out_tongue: Consider it retribution for leaving Vulc to the mercy of the [strike]wolves[/strike]Mercere!

In my defence, I had forgotten that Vibria already knew about Gemma; I remembered her being mentioned on the island, but not that she had also been mentioned in the initial meeting.

Plus, I also submit that her reaction is in keeping with her Judged Unfairly flaw. To wit: "If you ever find an exceptional someone who sees you as you want to be seen, you will cling to that person."

Vulcanus will let everyone know, at some point, that he is in possession of high-quality texts on Creo ("On the Origin of Origins" by Lissa of Criamon, L16 Q15) and Vim ("The Magical Art of Magic" L10 Q16, also by Lissa of Criamon). He'd be happy to let someone make copies for the covenant library, though he'd like to retain the originals.

(This was originally OOC, but I'll run with it)

Vocis smiles. Oh, I'm not suggesting we necessarily hoard it, just that we parcel it out more slowly and over a larger area. I understand and appreciate Carmen's sentiment toward assisting the village that was plagued by the dragon. I agree that we should extend them some assistance from the dragon's hoard. A much smaller portion would make the village quite prosperous. We could then designate the remainder for building mundane support and goodwill throughout the region, or something similar. He considers a moment. Frankly, I'm not sure how a village that size could even use a large amount of coinage. Any attempt to significantly improve their lot would inevitably lead to attention from unsavory characters. As a wise man once said - more money, more problems.


Carmen considers everything Vocis is saying/has said.
You are right. I was thinking with my heart instead of my head. I propose we instead set up a trust fund of sorts. First throw a party for the people, let them blow some steam off. Have Estaban be our spokesman [size=50](no, not envious of his Gentle Gift, not at all)[/size]. Announce that we have slain the dragon and that we are sharing the treasure with them. Give away presents and some cash to the heads of households and to the poor. That all will cost a fraction of the share we set aside for them.
Then we invest the money in the town. I guess, from their story, they used to be a prosperous salt mine town. I never heard of Salinas salt before. Apparently that was their cover story, but the mine workers knew that the town worked simply to feed the dragon. That was their exonomy, and now it is in ruins. I saw that salt mine. It hasn't been worked in a hundred years. The mine needsto be rebuilt, they need new equipment, they need to hire experienced miners to teach them the profession, and their whole neglected infrastructure needs rebuilding.
All in all, that may cost twice as much or more than the entire horde was worth. But I look at it as an ivestment. Not only of good will, but a business venture. We already own shares in a a silver mine co-op, right? It is listed there with our Boons and Hooks :smiley: . We become partners in the salt business, investing our money to turn greater profits in the future. We get some of our silver mine partners to go to Las Salinas and teach them the trade. In turn, since this villiage has an abundance of laborors specializing in food acquisition and preparation (I guess the dragon liked cooked gormet meals of gigantic proportions), we can hire on a score or more for the covenant. All of our service staff had perrished in the attack. Staffing has been on a skeleton crew and we are growing fast.
Carmen gets that quizzical look as she stares off into space. Then she suddenly snaps back
Yes! Exactly! That will do it! The math all works out in my head. Trust me, I am a genius :smiley: . This will all work out...

I suspect we could save ourselves a sizable portion of the cost by ensuring the mine is in a better state of repair than the miners expect. I am no expert at crafting magic, but we do have at least two among our number. For situations such as this, our Artifex and Warden are likely worth their weight in silver, at least. He smiles again and glances at Vulcanus. Speaking metaphorically, of course.

My only suggestion here is that we hire our service staff using the half we set aside for covenant use. If we don't spend the half you originally proposed for the villagers, it can be used later for other mundane activities.

Vulcanus knits his brow in thought. "I suppose I could stand to put on a bit more weight," he muses with a smile. "I can scout out the area and magically determine where the mine shafts should go. Then I will need to invent a Rego spell for building with iron beams, after which building the mine will only require the building materials and I can do the job alone."

He'll spend some time with "The Miner's Keen Eye" checking for salt... and also metals, just in case.

(I'm not all that certain how Rego Craft magics work, either. But I do have Rego Terram out the wazoo.)

The detailed system is in HoH:Societates, p. 60-61. I seem to remember discussion on the forums about a few of the level benchmarks not exactly matching the core book, though...

Those rules are more intended for art than engineering, but that is a good start point. Basically, it basess the beauty (or quality) of the result upon a Finesse roll. Vulcanus has no mining knowledge, so he will have to rely upon the assesment of experienced engineers as to what needs to be done. But unless he wants to risk casting numerous spontaneous spells, he will have to invent ones for the task or craft useful items.