Christmas in Barcelona (Winter 1234)

This is the perfect timing and set up for this. Everyone should have developed all through 1233, and it is now the start of 1234. The regional tribunals are held next year, and if held to my promise, there are still two more years to finish the cycle through 1235 (regardless of what we are doing as a troupe with the Sa Dragonera chapter).

The Set Up: Solomon of Gurnicus is meeting with the Barcelona magi to discuss Mercere Portals. They are well aware of the discussion at hand and both sides are sure to have had backdoor discussions in the past few years. The deal is sealed with the Mercere, they are ready with materials and magic to establish portals right away between Andorra to Doisettep and again to Barcelona. They are ready to start projects in (around) Barcelona as soon as it is green-lighted.
They know why Solomon is here, and they know they will have to come to some sort of agreement. But they will still want to milk it for what it is worth and minimize as much as possible.
It is Christmastime, 1233. The Aegis ritual has been conducted, these are the ten fee days at the end of the season. The New Year begins at the end of the month. Everyone who wants to vacation in Barcelona is invited to come along. Carmen will be going to visit her mom. At least one of the two Redcaps should go. New players can start here, as it will make a good introduction point, and anyone else is welcome to come along or happen to be there as I weave my clever tale of mystery and suspense...

This is an image from modern Barcelona at night, but I think the statue bit is pretty old :slight_smile:
To me, Barcelona is like a mythical faerie land that I have only read about and dream of visiting some day. Xavi lives there, and I can imagine him rolling his eyes at me :unamused:
I get the same thing, being a resident of the very finest city in the US, yet I can be sorta "meh" about it.

Barcelona is unique. It is one of the few major metropolises of the 13th century, far exceeding London at this time and more on par with cities such as Constantinople or Baghdad. It also exists outside the normal feudal system, operating to their own system of rights and customs known as the Usages of Barcelona.

The magi of Barcelona are diverse and eclectic. The venerable Carles of Jerbiton owns and operates an occult bookstore, right in plain view of mundane society. And he has been getting away with it for years. Eras Pavo of Jerbiton associates with heretics and musicians and plays at every tavern and nightclub he can. Especially the Gold Gryphon. Farusca of Jerbiton lives as a retired heiress, and her protégé Odo of Jerbition runs the Silver Rooster Inn. Franc Several of Jerbiton faked his death several years ago and set up Constans of Jerbiton in his place. However, Franc cannot help but to meddle and get involved and still manages a small private financial empire operated through his agents. Then there is Miguel of Mercere, a Master Redcap in charge of the traffic and parcels of his House that pass through the city.

A situation that cannot be helped, one that causes the magi there some concern but they have been able to (barely) manage. Mythic Barcelona has become something of a Hermetic Casablanca. Part of this can be blamed on Erat Caecus of Tytalus, though not much can be proven. Rumor has it that he has more agents on his personal staff in Barcelona than the entirety of that covenant. Still, this is but a fraction of the situation. There are many other magi that conduct operations in Barcelona from afar, operating through agents and co-conspiritors. There are Venditiors, Hermetic scribes, Almogavars wth Hermetic Experience, spies, assassins, black market dealers, and anything you want if you have the connections.

There is also a large Jewish population in Barcelona in this era, dwelling in segregated neighborhoods known as "Calls". There are two major ones I do believe. Carmen has family here, most of whom live in these calls and are somewhat leery of her. But then there is her mother Golda.
Golda is a woman unlike any other, yet at the same time fits so many classic stereotypes.
Golda has always been a party girl, sensuous and salacious. Very free spirited and compassionate. Her husband Frederique own and operates the Gold Gryphon, a nightclub and tavern where thing coincidentally happen to thread together. Golda has a parlor in the basement where she does tarot card readings and stuff with tea leaves.

Well, quite a week. Reading SR#13 I discovered that one of my play mates is Flambeau, and now it happens that all of us are faeries!!

I will not burst Marko's hype about the statue, but I will dig some medieval and earlier pictures of Barcelona from you from my hard drive and post them online. A while ago I started a series of "pictures of the middle ages" from Barcelona, so I should have a few of them, even if it never progresseed much. Can try to work something this weeked.

The following pictures correspond to the old El Born quarter and what is known as the gothic neighbourhood (barri gotic). The palaces are somewhat more modern (XIV-XVI centuries) but you get the idea. The palace corresponds to El Tinell. ... 20Medieval

These are not great pictures, but are the ones I have saved. I can try to get better images and a more or less coherent trip around the old quarter if you fancy that. I thought I had another folder with Roman ruins, but I cannot find it...

Solomon leans heavily on his staff as he steps slowly down from the carriage, his leg stiff and uncooperative after the long journey. His eyes take in the façade of the Silver Rooster Inn as Sophia circles overhead, filling his mind with her awe at the sights of Barcelona.

He nods silently to the grog who offers to take his luggage into the Inn as he begins to limp his way in himself.

(Solomon prefers to travel mundanely by carriage whenever possible and he would have offered for anyone else from the covenant to join him if they wished. I’m assuming that someone from Barcelona would be waiting to meet him at the Inn.)

Carmen will accompany you, and she will bring Oscar and Carlos from the Andorran Guard.

Here are some aerial shots of Barcelona for your enjoyment


EDIT: you will need to select the images and make them open in another window to see them whole.

The medieval city (superimposed on the current map of the city). At the time of the Andorra saga the city has overgrown its Roman walls and is basically a wall-less city. The Roman wall (/Heavily edited) is still in use in the old quarter of the city, but it has fallen in disrepair in a lot of places, being re-used as walls for more modern buildings. The port district is extremely active, as is El Born where the main productive facilities are located along the Rec Comtal (the channel of the Count), an artificial river constructed in the 800's IIRC. Tanners, bleachers, leatherers... all work here taking advantage of the current. Santa Maria del Mar, the iconic image of the Gothic Barcelona is still a century in the future (1329+)

In 1250 a new program of re-fortification starts and the medieval walls of the city take shape.

The Raval (outskirts) to the left of the picture are not enclosed yet. It will be at mod XIVth century that they will be protected inside the city walls.

((Vocis will pass, mainly because I plan to bring Pere into this thread at some point.))

Vibria will go. Fédora won't. She's very pregnant (two seasons in, and her and Vulcanus's third child is due in Spring 1234), and after having a relatively difficult time evicting Anneke, she doesn't want to take any chances.

Vibria would love to be able to fly there. But, since she can't take dragon form (yet[sup]1[/sup]), she will “settle” for using the Arma Draco that Vulcanus made for her a few years ago (and she is still surprised that he did, considering what happened). I don't know off the top of my head what kind of flight speed the armour grants her, but if she has to travel with others, she will at least spend as much of her time as she can airborne.

[sup]1[/sup] [color=red]”Grandpa, when can I turn into a dragon? Can I learn now? Pleeeeeeease?”

Carmen, Solomon, Vibria, Carlos, and Oscar.
Any other magi!
Any grogs?
New characters you want to introduce in this thread?

Oh. Alejandro and Lucia will go, to try to keep Vibria out of trouble (although for different reasons).

Do we want a big entourage, or just a few?

It is up to you. Carmen doesn't mind, and she will foot the bill for everyone. Though the best of the best will be reserved for the best of us.
There are so many sights I want to show you guys! The old city, the Roman ruins, the street of books, the Gold Gryphon, the Brass Bull, the beach, the largest sea port you have ever seen, I want you guys to meet my mom. Mia Francesca! Have you guys ever tries Italian food? And Mykanos House, Greek elegance. And if you guys wanna try kosher food, I know a bunch of fabulous places to go.

We take different means of travel, carriage and/or flight and whatever. But we all gather together as we enter the city, meet up with a few escorts and porters that take us to the Silver Rooster, where we are graciously met by Odo of Jerbiton.
Salve Sodales, welcome to Barcelona. It is my privilege to be your host and make all arrangements you may need.

So I'm thinking maybe Stephanos is introduced to the covenant here. I wanted him to be a very recent maybe he's not even a venditor yet. Perhaps he meets one or more of the covenant members (most likely one of the attractive female members) while trying to make his way as a merchant (having recently been disowned by his family in Greece) and somehow gets invited back to Andorra? There he meets Vulcanus and becomes his venditor. Just a thought.

Carmen, Solomon, Vibria, Alejandro, Carlos, Lucia, and Oscar.
It shall be somewhere in this thread that we shall meet Pere and Stephanos.

Well, Tiana would certainly enjoy a trip to Barcelona, now that you mention it.

Cynara my Pharmacopoeian Maga will be there with her two grogs Magdalena and Cecile.

Three women in traditional healer garb leave the Hospital de Sant Nicolau. "What a waste of time coming back here." complains the smallest one. "With even the last of them dead how shall we ever know what valley the right one is?". After a few guards pass the trio the bigger one mumbles: "Even the one with the map was delirious Cynara! Trying to follow his ramblings was a... " but an icy stare from the smaller one makes sure that silence reigns again.
As the trio reaches the old city walls Cynara turns to the youngest of the three and says:"Go and find someone who can use a pendulum or whatever Cecile, I want to know the name of the valley!"and with a quick nod the youngest vanishes in the crowd.

[color=red]”I think I missed meeting your mother the last time I was here, Carmen,” Vibria says. [color=red]”She's the fortune teller, right?” She looks thoughtful. [color=red]”Yes, I would definitely like to meet her.”

Vibria curtsies. [color=red]”It's a pleasure to meet you, sodalis. I look forward to enjoying all your city has to offer.”

Miss Perez has arranged for accommodations for everyone here at the Silver Rooster Inn. And based on our relationship with her, we are comfortable in allowing you a bit of freedom to roam about and stay where you will. We only ask that you maintain a place here as a central point of your activity. Also, you are all invited to a banquet held in your honor to be held here tonight, and we hope you will be entertained by the performance of our very own Eras Pavo.
Then, almost as if she was sneaking up out of nowhere, another maga directly approaches Solomon.
Salva Sodale. I am Farusca of Jerbiton. As I understand, you and I will have much to talk about over the next few days.
Off to the side, one of our grogs seems to be in a stare off with one of their grogs (check your own Perception & Awareness/Folk Ken scores). Oscar the fearless, one of our elite seven that is known for staring down dragons; is in a locked gaze with Matteu, a grizzled and muscle-bound old man that is in charge of security for the Barcelona magi. It started with Matteu sizing everyone up, because that's part of his job, and Oscar taking notice and locking gazes to demonstrate he is not intimidated. Neither flinches or twitches, but slowly they each start to smile subtly, then they nod in recognition of respect for whatever internal qualities they may perceive in each other.

Then as Odo begins to instruct porters to handle our luggage, Carmen seems to be bewildered as she looks past Odo and over his shoulder.
Odo, there is a man jumping up and down behind you shouting in whispers to get your attention. And of course the rest of you can see nothing, and Carmen can tell by your expressions. Yea, I am kind of new at this and I think I am starting to develop some of my mother's talents in my old age. But Odo, I think you have a ghost here. Solomon, you are a gifted Intellego magus. Perhaps your spells can see more clearly than my weak vision.

((Vibria failed her Awareness roll (probably – total of 3). Lucia got a 7 on her Awareness and a 7 on her Folk Ken. Alejandro got a 10 on his Awareness (11 if his Specialization of Bodyguarding applies), and an 11 on his Folk Ken.))