The Return Brings Change (spring 1198, 12th season after apprenticeship)
The delay at the end of winter was a side trip to a shrouded Magical Regio at the site Porta Capena on the Appian Way. Mariana completed a task for a spirit there guarding an ancient Mercurian well, receiving a small amount of water from the well as a reward.
Ophilio and Mariana returned to Aedes Mercurii a little bit into the spring season, but before her 30th birthday. For her birthday Mariana had two big celebrations, one with her family as this might be the last the five of them had together, and one with a bunch of Redcaps in a Roman orgy to also acknowledge the coming ritual.
On May 15th, the date of the ancient festival of Mercuralia the ceremony was conducted. During the ceremony Mariana's head was sprinkled with the water she'd won. She formally forswore any allegiant to other faiths, dedicating herself to the old pagan gods of Rome. In this process she took on the official title of Priestess of Diana.
Separately, Mariana was happy to see that a number of her lab texts had arrived, with a note that the remainder would come soon.
Initiation: Consecration of the Priamitus → Mercurian Magic, Pagan
Exposure: Organization Lore: Cult of Mercury +2 → Organization Lore: Cult of Mercury 1 (6)
Starting to Learn the Rituals (summer 1198, 13th season after apprenticeship)
Now the Cult of Heroes could start training her in the rituals they wanted her to use. They could save some vis by having her cast their Mentem rituals. So Ophilio arranged for several CrMe lab texts to head her direction. The first of them was Communication of the Followers. Examining it cursorily, Mariana decided it wasn't going to be so difficult, so she added one of her own lab texts to her docket: Construct the Memory Palace.
This summer the Redcaps came for Elena, too. The family celebrated quite a bit, as they had for Elena's two older brothers. But Elena's departure saddened Mariana more than even Bernardo's, her first, departure. With her Parma Magica Mariana had been able to spend more quality time with her youngest two children. And Elena was her only daughter, so that bond was special in another way. But becoming a Redcap would put Elena in a great place for the rest of her life, so Mariana accepted in wholeheartedly, even while weeping.
Learn spells: Int 3 + Cr 14 + Me 16 + Foc 14 + MT 5 + Lab/Aura 3 = 55 ≥ 20 + 35
New spells: Construct the Memory Palace (CrMe 20 Ritual), Communication of the Followers (CrMe 35 Ritual), Wizard's Vigil (MuVi 20), Wizard's Vigil (MuVi 35)
Exposure: Creo +1 → Creo 14 (1), Mentem +2 → Mentem 13+3 (2)
Learning a Harder Ritual (autumn 1198, 14th season after apprenticeship)
The ease with which Mariana learned the first ritual pleased Ophilio. It also indicated to him she was ready for harder ones, which would also be more useful to the Cult of Heroes. He had a lab text of Communication of the Heroes sent to her. Glancing at that, Mariana knew it was near her limit. Still, learning a 12th magnitude spell less that four years from gauntlet should impress some and make her value her more. So Mariana set to work.
Family life was subdued this season. The dynamic of the past several years had been shaken up by Elena's departure. Mariana still spent a lot of time with Rolando. There just wasn't the same energy that there had been. Still, getting out and about before the full cold of the winter set in was a good thing.
Learn spells: Int 3 + Cr 14 + Me 16 + Foc 14 + MT 5 + Lab/Aura 3 + Similar 7 = 62 ≥ 60
New spells: Communication of the Heroes (CrMe 60 Ritual), Wizards' Vigil (MuVi 60 Ritual)
Exposure: Creo +1 → Creo 14 (2), Mentem +2 → Mentem 13+3 (4)
Learning a Second Harder Ritual (winter 1198, 15th season after apprenticeship)
After her success with the first of the rituals, Ophilio had a second one, Presence of the Heroes, delivered to her. Most of the season went well, with everyone cooped up for the winter. But things really fell apart at the end of the season for Mariana. First her father died defending Pila of Flambeau as she pursued her hoplite activities. While it was an honorable death, that did little to console Mariana. Meanwhile she tried to do her best with Rolando as his ninth birthday arrived and he mourned the loss of his grandfather. But then the Redcaps came for Rolando to begin his apprenticeship. With only Mariana, her mother, and Rolando there and grieving, his send-off wasn't as celebratory as the other children's had been. Due to all this and in spite of her determined nature, Mariana missed a lot of time from the laboratory and only just managed to salvage her work at the end of the season.
Learn spells: Int 3 + Cr 14 + Me 16 + Foc 14 + MT 5 + Lab/Aura 3 + Similar 12 - Distraction 6 = 61
New spells: Presence of the Heroes (CrMe 60 Ritual)
Exposure: Creo +1 → Creo 14 (3), Mentem +2 → Mentem 13+3 (6)