an amalgamation of late nights, casual conversations an heated arguments condensed into it's own thread.
One evening at a dinner gathering, Argentius looks over at Silas while taking a sip of his beer.
"Has anything changed in how you are thinking about amending the covenant charter?"
The handsome Verditius doesn't wait for an answer but goes on.
"The more I think about it, it would probably be wisest for us to sign the existing charter without change. It has been approved by the Quesitor, so that provides us some degree of safety. An amendment of any kind would require an official review. It might be best to take the parsimonistic path in this case and simply sign the charter… again."
Argentius takes a bite of the stew being served, looking at Silas and then the others across the room.
Silas grabs more food as he looks at the other Verditius with some interest.
“If my position has changed? Not particularly no… Well our suggestions were both rejected, we shall simply take the strength of each in such a case. We will cut away all the bloat from mine, keeping only the vital and go for something more in spirit of yours and the Code.”
Silas stuff some food in his mouth and chews before continuing.
“Our positions now are different so our charter should naturally be different. This is something that will haunt us for a long time to come, I imagine at least. But don’t worry about Quaesitor approval. That can happen in due time. No need for us to rush the matter…”
Argentius nods to Silas after listening attentively. "Fair enough. Like it or not, we're bound together in this situation." He takes a drink of the beer, thoughtful for a moment.
"Perhaps we can meet later to talk over what we should cut away, what we should add."
Argentius grows quiet for a moment then turns back to Silas.
"I do want you to know this, Silas. I am not here to compete with you. I realize that is the tradition of our house. And maybe some year in the future we may find ourselves driven to compete for pride of place and position." The handsome artificer shrugs.
"But for now, I need colleagues and friends I can trust and who can trust me. You will have that trust and loyalty from me without guile or competition. In the situation we're in, we need each other far more than we need to jockey for position and rank."
Silas looks at his food as he answers, avoiding looking at the other magi as he addresses them.
“Yes yes, together we shall imitate the noble stone mason, chiselling away until a strong pillar remains. A pillar our covenant can lean on in these troubling times. Plasmatoris you should join us as well, your speech about the virtue and vices of both our suggestion did shed some new light for me at least. As well as any other of our sodales of course.”
As he finishes, he begins anew in a different tone. Silas tries his best to sound pitiful and uncertain, though his acting does leave much to be desired. Perhaps as a consequence of both his pride and resentment of feeling forced to play the victim. Even with Silas looking down at the plate its clear that his face is starting to take on a more reddish colour.
“But sodalis you got me all wrong. Competition whatever could you be referring to? All I have done is offer my own propositions. There is no maliciousness here. Indeed, we are not our House. Yes, there should only be trust between us. Which does make me worried why you felt the need to bring up this unpleasant topic once more, and once again in front of all our sodales. Surely you are as confident in trusting me as any of the others. Surely if I had done anything that troubled you, you would have sought me out by yourself. Surely you don’t wish to characterize me as some petty troublemaker to the others, don’t play up our House stereotypes to the others.”
Silas suddenly looks up from his plate, making eye contact with Argentius for a short moment. His eyes are filled with envy and his face shows sign of holding back both embarrassment and anger. He returns his gaze to the food in front of him and tries to make himself look small.
Argentius listens to Silas's response and then simp nods. "Thank you for that assurance."
The handsome Verditius turns back to his meal, thoughtful.
Plasmatoris, who had been studying the his food and piling it into different color patterns on his plate, but his attention snapped up as Silas began talking about stonemasonry. His unkempt hair was pulled back from his face, and the Jerbiton is suddenly trying to make himself look more respectable. "Actually, as much as I am bound into long-term interest in our Covenant, and as much as I desire to shape things for everyone's mutual gain, I often find myself better at picking apart ideas than building them. I feel like I'm disecting concepts for their elemental pigments, and try to find new ways to blend them togehter..." He trails off, and looks down, realizing he's been trying to design his dinner into a more aesthetically pleasing shape. Then he continues, suddenly, "But with paints I understand what's coming out of it, while with covenant leadership and laws, I have no idea what I'm doing."
Silas seems to calm himself and empties his plate and beverage as the Jerbiton speaks. Once he has finished, Silas looks up and speaks. A faint redness is still visible.
“Oh such humility is simply below a magi. We are all beginners, that’s why we need everyone’s help. Though naturally it’s your own choice to attend. Perhaps we should gather at Argentius’ studio?”
Silas already feeling fairly confident that Argentius doesn’t have studio smiles as innocently as he can towards his fellow house member.
Plasmatoris gives Silas a grin that is perhaps just a little cadaverous. "I think you mistake panic and despair for humility," he says in a casual, light tone. "It is a strange thing, that these magi come out of their Gauntlet, young and impressionable, and older than others who are beginning to become experts in their field. There is so much to study, in our Hermetic Arts, that we will be considered by some as upstart beginners long after our experts die of old age."
Then the smile is gone, and he once again looks tired. He slumps back into his chair and picks up his goblet. "Wine," he says, and then mutters a short spell over his glass of water before drinking. "Well. I would invite you to discuss in my studio, but I'm afraid the place is over-run with faeries all vying for position to be the heroes in my paintings." His voice is irritated, a hint of disgust.
"I would be more than happy to host a discussion in the shady arches of my sanctum. The tiles are really beautiful in the early evening light and it often catches a cool breeze off the desert. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, Plasmatoris. Maybe a subject for your art someday," offers Argentius with a nod to Silas. "Thank you for suggesting it."
Silas eyes the Jerbiton suspiciously as he speaks. His interest seems to deepen as the faeries are mentioned, though he doesn’t probe the artist for more information. Instead, he answers calmly.
“Nonsense. You speak of age, but don’t forget yourself now. We all have spent at least some 90 years out of apprenticeship. Lack of memories of that time hardly matters. Let’s hold our heads high. Worrying about what we can not do is pointless, its simply to do it. The artist who never dares pick up a new tool can only create the same piece, in perpetually. All things are our tools, why should we shy away from any?”
As the other Verditius finishes Silas looks a little confused, he was expecting explanations or excuses, not an immediate acceptance. Does Argentius have a studio after all? Did I walk head fist into a chance for him to show-off his creations?
Silas gathers himself and mutters outs.
“Shall we meet there by tomorrow then?
Tastheus heard about some parts of the discussion.
"May I join you ? I heard some fear about new Code and I took time to learn it again and I would help."
Argentius looks over at Silas and nods. "Sounds like a plan. Perhaps we can gather there after dinner tomorrow."
The handsome Verditius looks over at Tastheus with a smile. "By all means, please join us. A more learned perspective on this topic can only help."
The artificer then turns to Plasmatoris. "Faeries? In your studio? Now that's interesting. I wouldn't mind stopping by sometime to see them."
Plasmatoris makes a rather gutteral sound in the back of his throat, saying something probably unfriendly in his native Venetian. Then, he sighs, continuing in Latin. "You may have 90 years out of apprenticeship, but I have not. I have been weeks out of apprenticeship. It is not a matter of 'lack of memories', but lack of existence. My body has not aged, my mind has not developed. I have not learned new skills, I have not mastered arts. Someone else did, and now I'm in their studio, with their name, in their life, however they took it after we parted ways. No, Magus Silas. I have not 90 years of experience to draw upon, I have 90 years of problems to dig through, but luckily this other Magus I may one day become, luckily he solved some of them himself before he left them to me."
"You are welcome to come see them, friend Argentius. Perhaps I will be lucky, and they will follow you home." Plasmatoris gives a grin at that idea.
Silas looks at the Jerbiton and shakes his head at him.
“Plasmatoris my first impressions of you weren’t as such a self-defeatist. You speak of not existing, but don’t you see the mountain you have carved around yourself? What more proof do you want of your own existence? Our bodies or minds may have not been hurt or gained by these 90 years, but the world around us has been affected. The world will not let you sit and claim that no time has passed. You wish to reject your own reflection because it scares you? I will have no part in such folly.”
Silas, who seems to have gotten more and more passionate as he speech, suddenly bangs his fist as his pent-up thoughts and feeling continues to come out.
“I am myself. My own efforts are my own, I shall never credit anyone else with them. I will reap what I have sown, with no regret nor cursing of myself. Any decision I have ever made I will stand by. For under the same circumstance, I am sure I would repeat them. There is no Silas who isn’t me and I will never be anyone else. I have no doubt in myself.”
Suddenly a bit embarrassed by speaking from the heart, Silas turns towards the other magi and continues.
“It’s beyond time we stop hanging our heads in melancholy, youth and vigour has been granted us once more. Sure, it wasn’t without its cost, but what of worth is? What is called for now is making the most out of it. Sulking about lost experiences won’t suddenly unlock what you once knew. And attributing them to a mysterious other could never achieve anything. Embrace yourself. Embrace your change. Assert yourself.”
Argentius listens to Silas's impassioned words, a look of surprise in his face, a look that soon flows to a broad, handsome smile and a supportive nod. The artificer pounds the table a few times when Silas finishes.
"Well said! Well said, Silas." Argentius looks around at the others then back to Silas.
"You argue for the marriage of carpe diem and acta non verba, magus Silas. Your counsel to seize this moment and to act is wise counsel for all of us not just the good Plasmatoris. Memento vivere!"
He raises his mug.
"To our future."
Later on in his rooms Silas' muse suggests he should produce a woodcarving to celebrate the renewal of the covenant and celebrate their past accomplishments in order to inspire pride in their past accomplishments.
"Self-defeatest?" Plasmatoris asks with a smile. Though the emotional outburst from the Verditius is against his own beliefs, the Jerbiton feels oddly cheered by the display all the same. This man cares, he values his companions. Perhaps it isn't all an act. He's wrong, but he cares. It is a good sign.
"I am not being a defeatest, I am hopeful. I am confident that we, working together, can solve the problem left to us by our forebearers. I am not going to fall into the role some other man has set before me, I will paint my own path and I will do it well." He smiles widely, the expression perhaps a bit ghastly, because Plasmatoris seems to maniacally throw himself into everything, including smiling.
"I am myself. My efforts are my own," he says, echoing Silas's words. "I shall never credit another with them. I did not build this place, but I appreciate it and accept it. I will not hero-worship this other Plasmatoris and try to live up to his demands of me like some child named for a great hero; Instead, I will leave my own mark, find my own art, and be my own man."
"I am not sulking over lost experiences, I am frustrated that everyone seems to be expecting me to. Every one of the magi, the covenfolk, everyone. They all act as if I am some fragile mind-addled flower who has been struck on the head, they treat me as if I am some untrained stage actor who forgot his part, misread his lines." Now his voice has become a bit louder, but Plasmatoris is not made for theatrics, the timbre of his voice has an unnatural sound to it. "I will not be held to another's standard, I will not be blamed for his failures and I do not want credit for his work. I want to be myself, not some half-formed unfired clay in the mold of some other Magi."
Tastheus listens quietly, taking advantage of this time to get to know his new sodales better... "Yes," thinking to himself, "new..." He speaks up, following the train of thought of the other magis busy debating.
"You can't just consider that we weren't there, that we're not our old magi. You can't just say I'm like the child of my former self. You are your former self." He emphasizes the "are."
"We face a difficult challenge, sodales. We must accept who we were and who we are now. We must take on our renewal. And so assume who we were and who we have become. But above all, we must accept that the two are one.
I agree with you, Plasmatoris, about wanting to be known for your new path. But I want to be known for both the old and the new way, not just one of them. I dreamed of being chief quaestor and archmage? Well, I want to be known tomorrow for achieving those goals twice in a lifetime. To be known as a magi who lost everything and gained everything back. And my old self will help me, because this time I know I am capable of making the right decisions and becoming what I dreamed of as a child."
Her voice became more enthusiastic on the last few sentences. Perhaps for the first time since their awakening, Tastheus was regaining his eagerness and ambition. He was once again a young wolf ready to devour life to achieve his goals, and it wasn't an 80-year flashback that was going to stop him.