Background and Personal Journals
The boy was born in the outskirts of Dijon from a family of potters. His parents would make the pots, plates and jars that are used every day by the common people, but also the merchants, churchmen and even the households of the nobility. He was the fifth child, with three older brothers and an older sister, so this made for a busy household. It only became more so two years later, when his younger brother was born.
Like his siblings, the boy was exposed at an early age to the tools and raw material of the family’s business. He played with clay and water, sometimes imitating his parents trying to make bowls and containers, but also modeling it to make small toys, houses, animals and characters with which he played, inventing stories that went with them. He was particularly imaginative and creative. But he also tended to play alone, for his brother and sisters were often ill at ease with him.
This unease only grew more pronounced as the years passed and was not limited to his immediate family. It was even worse when other children or their parents were concerned. One could hear the terms “eery”, “fey” and other less delicate words. These were further fed by the many small unnatural disturbances that occured when the boy was nearby.
This widening reputation is probably why, before his ninth birthday, a richly-dressed older man showed up at the family’s shop and inquired about the boy. He introduced himself as Leonard, a scholar. After a few visit, he offered to take the boy to be tutored in the Latin and in the arts, raising him to a better life. Though the boy's parents were quite reluctant at first, they relented after a while. Within a week, the boy was leaving his home and family behind.
The old man was Leonardus of Jerbiton. He did not take the boy as his own apprentice, for the simple reason that he already had one at the time. Instead, he brought the boy north to the first maga he'd trained, Flavia. At the time, she was living at the powerful covenant of Confluensis in the Normandy Tribunal.
During the trip to Confluensis, Leonardus began instructing the boy in how to behave and what to expect from his apprenticeship. He gave the boy one very important command, which he reinforced with magic: "Your name is now Giles. You will no longer use or respond to the name your parents gave you. Do not speak of your home town or family with anyone but me. "
Flavia was not completely happy to get custody of Giles. Though she was ready to take an apprentice, her plan had been to select one from the nobility (like herself) instead of some low-born boy, let alone one whose Gift showed all signs of being unGentle. But she could not deny her pater this request.
Over the course of Giles' apprenticeship, Flavia never asked any questions about his former life – she knew he was low-born and the life of the common people held little interest to her. On the other hand, she encouraged him to develop his artistic side – he could contribute to the beautification of life even despite the deficiencies of his blood.
Like her own pater, Flavia was strong in the Art of Muto, an aptitude she shared with Giles when opening his Arts. She shaped his natural aptitude with fluids into a focus with the transformation of water, while also giving him great flexibility with spells. This came at a cost, however, for Giles would share her inability to expert herself when working spontaneous magic.
After opening his Arts, Flavia set him to the tasks of learning Latin and becoming literate, all the while helping her in her own work. She would often dress him as a page in those early years, instruct him in proper behaviour and send him on errands around the covenant. When she travelled, she brought him along to introduce him to other members of the House and their own entourage of artists.
With such a powerful presence of Quaesitors in Confluensis, Giles could not help but pick up some elements of the laws governing the Order of Hermes, as well as its history and customs. Leonardus visited Confluensis a few times to consult his old friend Augustus Nero of House Guernicus, but also to see the boy and share stories with him. Nero kindly kept an eye on the boy's progress and well-being over the years, suggesting areas of further study and providing advice to the young man.
A few months before Giles passed his Gauntlet, taking the name Quintus Clusius (he uses Quentin amongst mundanes and just Clusius with friends), Leonardus disappeared into Twilight. His passing was declared final and his estate was settled by Nero a few years later.
Journal entries for 1198 A.D.
My first trip with Augustus Nero was to the city of Ghent and the covenant of Florum. The trip was uneventful. My mater's lessons about travelling amongst the mundane population was well-learned, so Augustus and I kept a low profile whenever we had to stop at an inn. Augustus had a well-trained and experience group a grogs who took care of any interactions with townsfolk we met.
One of the few advantages I had over Augustus was that I could ride on my own, instead of being tossed around in a cart or a sedan chair, like the one Augustus uses. I may not have a Gentle Gift, as my mater often complained, but at least I don't draw any unusual reaction from animals. So I rode near Augustus.
We soon reached Ghent, a bustling trade city. Florum has a large flax farm near the city, and several hundred people work there in the textile factory. We were welcomed there by Rhesus of House Verditius, who was proud to show us around. He warned us against blatant uses of magic even on the covenant's grounds, as many of their mundanes are unaware that their employers are magi. After I was introduced by Augustus, who also explained that I was looking for a place to reside for a while, I was assigned guest quarters. I was surprised to find that they included a laboratory, as well as access to the library. Apparently they are looking for more magi to join them.
I spent the season exploring the city (discreetely of course), meeting the other magi and checking out the library. I did not study much, but that was nice change of pace after fifteen years of constantly scurrying to do Flavia's errands. I learned a bit about the local language as well, if only to be able to ask some basic questions and directions.
I am a bit stumped about what to study. There is so much yet to learn! Should I broaden my knowledge of the Arts or deepen my understanding in my specialties? Study the Arts or learn some spells? It is so hard to decide!
Florum's library is not as large as that of Confluensis. But I was never allowed to delve into the Confluensis' library, so that hardly matters. I finally settled with studying Corpus, to make it easier for me to cast some of the spells I knew.
When I mentioned a willingness to pay Florum back for their hospitality, Rhesus explained that the covenant could always use more Vim vis to sustain the Aegis. It was only normal that I offer to spend the season extracting vis.
The maga Prunellie of Merinita offered the assistance of her apprentice Lisebette so that I could extract more vis. She claimed it would be a good experience for the 'girl'. I have trouble using that word for Lisebette, for she is certainly more woman than girl at seventeen. After those months working side-by-side, I had a feeling that she has a crush on me. That was a bit awkward for me. You see, Prunellie had clearly expressed her interest in having a thryst with me. Though a mature woman, she remained quite attractive and I was more than willing to participate.
I was quite surprised, however, when near the end of the season Prunellie invited Lisebette to join us.
Journal entries for 1199 A.D.
I spent most of my time in the lab, learning low-level spells to compensate for my weakness with spontaneous magic.
My thryst with Prunellie – and Lisebette – continued for several weeks, but then Prunellie sent her apprentice to Florum's vassal at Spider's Palace. Was it jealousy from the older maga for the attention I was giving to Lisebette? I thought so at first. But perhaps the only reason the young woman joined us was to get pregnant. I haven't shared my suspicion with Prunellie, but a distance has grown between us.
Over the last few seasons, I have tried to pratice my art and see if any of the magi here at Florum are interested in making their covenant more beautiful. Alas, there seems to be little interest in art; all they can think of is their textile business.
Augustus and I have exchanged letters by redcap. I shared with him my experiences at Florum, as well as my musings about Prunellie's behaviour and Lisebette's departure. He wrote of his experience regarding maga who desire children from other magi, hoping for Gifted offspring. Apparently the practice of getting a female apprentice pregnant is not uncommon. At least in this case Lisebette seemed to be a willing participant.
Leaving Florum behind was an easy decision to make. They lack of opportunity for me to develop and display my art here was the main factor. It will also make it easier for Lisebette to end her exile to Spider's Palace, since it is obvious that Prunellie does not want me to claim the child.
So when Augustus showed up, making a detour on his way to the Rhine Tribunal border, it was an easy decision for me to join him. We made our way to the city of Reims, in Picardy. South of the city is a forest, where several vis sources had been plundered by parties unknown. The covenants who held those as tropaeum raised the issue with the Quaesitor at Confluensis, and Augustus Nero was sent to investigate.
It took Augustus a while to trace the culprits for the theft, which proved to be a fairly powerful hedge mage leading a small band of thieves and brigands. He did not seem inclined to Join, and no match for Augustus. For my part, I helped our grogs deal with the more numerous brigands.
When we investigated their camp (a collection of crude huts), we found vis, silver and a few prisoners. Women and a few children, forced to cook and clean for the brigands. Most eventually returned to their families, but two of the older children had none. A strapping lad aged 13 called Louis and a girl named Adeline a year younger, who both swore to serve me.
There was more vis in the loot than what had been declared stolen. Augustus eventually tracked two previously unknown sources, which he plans on reporting at the next Tribunal meeting. Even after returning the stolen vis to the rightful owners, there was quite a bit of vis left. I also got a share of the silver and other valuables.
With Confluensis hosting the next Tribunal Meeting next summer, I was asked to remain as a guest this year in exchange for helping prepare the covenant in anticipation of this large gathering and participate in the Tourney for Confluensis. At the last meeting I was still an apprentice, so this would be my first chance to participate. I would also be able to display my art before all of the magi of the Tribunal. What a fantastic opportunity!
In anticipation for this event, I had to select an event where I could make at least some contribution as part of Confluensis' team. The hastiludium seemed my best option. As a junior magus, no one expected me to win, but at least I could ride a mundane horse, which was a requirement for this event. Confluensis was weak in this event, so they had nothing to lose.
So I started my training under the expert care of the master of arms. I saw that Louis has also started training to become my shield grog.
Journal entries for 1200 A.D.
I am continuing my training for the Tourney. One of my sparring partners is Louis, who is already much better than I am with a sword. But he doesn't know how to ride yet, so for the lance it is another grog that is my training partner. My bruises have bruises!
Adeline has expressed a desire to learn her letters, so I have arranged for her to receive appropriate teaching in this area.
The Tribunal meeting was amazing! I was toroughly trounced by my first opponent in the hastiludium. My opponent, Alexei of Flambeau, literally sent me flying from my horse on the second pass. My landing was rough, and the chirurgeon told me that I cracked two ribs. Alexei graciously offered vis to help heal my injuries, but I waved it off. Moving around causes me pain, but my injuries are far from life-threathening.
Thankfully, I had already finished my best water sculptures, and with their duration augmented they last for a moon instead of a day. My live demonstration of the art a few days later was more dificult, but one of my fellow Jerbiton applied a bit of magic to help mute the pain.
I got to meet many of my sodales. Some were really unpleasant, but I made several friends. Alexei, for one, praised my courage in attending the hastiludium with so little advance training. My mater of course offered a snide comment about my lack of noble blood, but I barely heard it. Her opinion of me hardly matter anymore.
Several important votes were taken. After all our guests had departed, Augustus spent some time with me to discuss the implications of each one, pointing out the maneuvering that took place behind the scenes and the likely reasons for each covenant's voting on those issues. Fascinating!
After all the noise and excitement of the last year, including the Tribunal meeting, I needed some time to relax and to think. So I returned to my clay and my art to help me put all of these thoughts into shape. This allowed me to reach two conclusions.
The first one was that I was not and would never be a great warrior. Despite all the excitement and pride that my participation in the hastiludium has brought me, hitting people did not bring me any satisfaction. In fact, I've had nightmares about how some of the brigands died last year. I can recall their screams and whimpers much too clearly. Now, speaking to Louis and Adeline helped me understand that such violence is sometimes necessary, but I don't want to shape my life around it.
The second was that Flavia's attitude towards me would never change. She saw me as inferior for not having born from the nobility and for not have a Gentle Gift. I could either fight this, trying over and over again to convince to her that I was 'good enough' to be her equal. Or I could use it for my own purposes, manipulating her like I saw the various magi manipulating each others at Tribunal. My problem was that I clearly didn't know how to do that effectively. But I knew someone who did.
Now that the Tribunal meeting is past, I am starting to get the feeling that my presence at Confluensis is no longer so welcome. Although my status as a guest of Augustus has not been challenged by the council, I think it would be best if I did not wait until it is before leaving.
So I have asked if it would be possible for me to arrange for some basic texts, either copies or older books, so that I can continue my studies until I find a covenant to accept me as a member. It has been grudgingly allowed by the librarian. I get the feeling that I will not get the most current texts. Still, these should do for now.
In exchange for those copies, I am spending the season fixing an arcane connection to make it permanent. It is boring and demeaning work, something usually done by apprentices. A not-so-subtle hint.
At the end of the season, I was surprised by how many texts I was allowed to leave with. Two old primers on Mentem and Vim, as well as a recent copy of a root on Animal.
Journal entries for 1201 A.D.
A few weeks before I was set to leave, Augustus Nero told me he that it might be a good idea for me to travel to the Rhine Tribunal. My grand-pater, Leonardus, was a member of the Covenant of Triamore. Although he had not returned from Twilight, there was still hope that he would. Augustus had exchanged a number of letters with Ulisterius, the leader of the covenant, and he'd agreed to grant me guest status for a few years if I wanted to come and visit. Augustus further suggested that I take advantage of Triamore's library as much as I could, when not advancing my Arts, for it was well stocked in mundane texts of all sorts. He recommended that I read Gregory de Tours' Decem Libri Historiarum if I had the chance.
Augustus also presented me with parting gifts. A considerable amount of silver 'to support me in my travels', and more importantly the services of one of his personal grogs, Eustache. His experience would be valuable to me, and he could continue Louis' training.
Indeed, both Louis and Adeline were adamant that they wanted to come with me when they learned I was leaving. I feel responsible for them, but more then that I respect the oath they swore to me.
We left on 17th day of March, Eustache and I riding horses, while Louis and Adeline were riding a cart with our group's belongings and supplies. This would be a fairly long trip, so we paced ourselves and took good care of our horses. On the evenings, Eustache sparred with Louis for an hour, after they'd taken care of our horses. Meanwhile, Adeline and I took care of setting up camp and preparing the meal. The youngsters were surprised that I would dirty my hands so. To them, magi are much like the nobility. Not surprising, since this is pretty much how most of the magi at Confluensis act. Well, to be honest it is probably the same at most covenants.
We crossed the distance to Triamore in a bit less than a month. We had to make a few detours when the roads were in bad condition, or if we heard about brigands. Louis would have had us go hunting for them, looking for revenge for the fate of his family. We didn't, and Eustache had a talk with him.
When we finally arrived at Bois de Haillot, our first sight of Triamore was somewhat disappointing. The keep appears unfinished and a bit uncared for, although the gatehouse looks well maintained. Ulisterius welcomed me warmly. He is a Jerbiton like me and called a Council meeting so I would also get to meet the other magi: Aline of House Bonisagus, a jovial and friendly older man; Cardrew Ex Miscellanea, a tight-lipped man from Wales; Daria La Gris of House Tremere, who somehow reminds me of my mater, for she dresses splendily and condust herself with the hauteur usually seen in the nobility; Remi of Museau, the recently Gauntleted filius of Ulisterius, who looks more like a warrior than a magus. I was also introduced to Daria's apprentice, a lad she calls Versus.
I was assigned guest quarters and given acces to the library. I'm told that is I need a laboratory, I will be able to use one set up for guests, though occasionally Daria's apprentice gets to use it. Louis and Eustache will be lodged and train with the other grogs, while Adeline will assist the librarian, Isabel, who will also oversee the girl's studies.
It seems a shame to waste such a beautiful summer in study, but that is in fact what I did. Augustus was right, Triamore's library is a wonder, with hundreds upon hundreds of texts. One could probably spend a century trying to study them all. And fail, for there are just too many.
I shall settle for a few seasons improving my knowledge of Muto.
This is the time of harvests, both for the peasants and for the covenant. While mundanes harvest their crops, the magi harvest their vis sources. As a guest, I got to help supervise the grogs.
Aside from that, I spent the season extracting vis for the covenant, so that the Aegis can be maintained. Apparently there was some trouble in recent years, so they maintain one that is stronger than average. Creo Vim is certainly not my strongest combination, but every little bit helps!
Studying Muto again, a subject that I find fascinating. Particularly since it was Leonardus himself who wrote this text. He still hasn't reappeared. I think most of his covenant mates have given up on him. That makes me sad. I'm sure he will come back. Doesn't Twilight just get longer the older you are?
Journal entries for 1202 A.D.
I finished studying the text on Muto. It was certainly an excellent text.
Adeline's studies and Louis' training are progressing well. They also both started riding lessons, so future travel should be faster. Adeline says she'd like to become my personal scribe when she is good enough. I certainly wouldn't mind someone to keep things organized. I still have my lab notes from a few years ago, but they aren't very well organised.
It is good to get out of the library and spend some time outside in the summer, so I joined Louis during his riding lessons. Adeline also occasionally riding with us. I'm proud of both of them for their considerable efforts in turning their lives around after their painful experiences, and for becoming such reliable helpers. I told them as much, while they shared their happiness at the opportunities I am giving them to learn and see more of the world. Louis just turned 16 and has grown much in the last 3 years, while Adeline is turning into a smart and articulate young woman at 15.
I finally followed Augustus' advice and started reading Decem Libri Historiarum, which is indeed fascinating. I wish I had more time to study it. I wonder If I could ask the librarian to prepare a copy for me, so that I could add it to my personal collection?
After I demonstrated my water sculptures to the covenant for Christmas, Ulisterius asked me if I could provide the covenant a copy of the lab text for Sculpt the Living Water. It is apparently not a widely circulated spell, so Triamore's library doesn't own a copy. I took the opportunity to go through my lab notes and write them down fully. I will start with Sculpt , so that Adeline can copy it for Triamore as soon as it's ready. She will also check with the librarian to see if any of my other spells might be useful, but I doubt it. I have yet to create anything original in the magical arts.
Journal entries for 1203 A.D.
Writing down lab texts last winter reminded me that I have yet to invent a single spell on my own. So I decided to spend some time in the lab trying to come up with something new. A spell that would shape water into any tool I needed for sculpting, giving it the hardness and strength of steel. It could even be used to make weapons, should we have to need. I just need to study Terram a bit first.
Year 6 (1203 A.D.), Summer
I have created my first new spell! I call it Shape the Implement of Neptune's Realm and it allows me to shape water into a variety of tools.
Sometimes, when you are a guest, you are exposed to some awkward incidents. At the latest Council Meeting, I was witness to some rather strong disagreements between the magi of Triamore. I will not go into details, but it gave me some valuable insights into how heated things get get between us.
Nevertheless, things are beginning to get comfortable here. I have not petitioned the covenant to become a member, but I am thinking about it.
It was soon time for me to pay my dues to the covenant, so I decided to go on a vis hunt. Eustache had gathered some interesting stories in the nearby village about a strange creature that has been sighted a few miles south of the covenant. When I spoke of it to Remi, he said that it was close to one of Triamore's vis source, so any threat to it had to be investigated. Apparently, several decades ago one of the magi had killed a serpent living in the caves there. Any such creature was sure to pose great danger to Triamore's grogs when to are sent to harvest the source, so it might be best if he went with them. I offered to join them with Louis and Eustache.
Something new had indeed moved into the caves. Not only did we find and kill a troll, but also a pack of monstrous rats. It took us a few days time to hunt them all down. Our grogs suffered some wounds, but thankfully none were severe. We brought back a good haul of vis, both from harvesting the source and from the bodies of the slain creatures.
I spent the rest of the season training.
It has now been seven years since Leonardus disappeared into Twilight. Since he hasn't reappeared, his Twilight has been declared Final. Augustus Nero, as the Guernicus who registered it, has called his heirs at Triamore for the reading of his Hermetic will, opening of his sanctum and disposition of his belongings.
Though I was not an immediate heir of the older magus, I was present for the proceedings. There was a impressive amount of wealth in gold, raw vis, magical enchantments, books and notes, artifacts and mementos from past adventures. These were easily separated between Flavia, Wilhelm and Eduardus. I was to receive a few minor things, old travel notes and non-magical texts, as well as some mementos.
Things got really interesting when Augustus Nero explained that, amongst Leonardus' possessions were also a secondary sanctum that the old magus had establised away from Triamore. This was a place he went to when he wanted some quiet and tranquility, but he had also some important vis sources out there. It did pause some interesting problems, however, for it was located at almost the exactly between the Tribunals of Normandy, the Rhine and the Greater Alps. None of the vis sources had been registered to those Tribunals. Each Tribunal could (and probably would) claim that the place was within their jurisdiction, if only to get access to those vis sources.
Furthermore, Leonardus had built the kernel of a covenant there, with several buildings and mundanes already in place. He had also set a condition for the location and details of the vis sources be released to his heirs. A covenant had to be established there, and a magus of his line had to lead it and live there. Otherwise knowledge of the vis sources would pass directly to House Jerbiton (embodied by the Primus) and the heirs would have to relinquish any claim to them.
This led to several days of arguments between Flavia, Wilhelm and Eduardus. Honestly, I was bored at first, until I remembered the last Tribunal meeting, Augustus' comments and the stories from Decem Libri Historiarum . I tried to pretend continued disinterest, which wasn't too difficult considering that my elders were essentially ignoring me.
Essentially, all of them wanted to claim the vis sources, but none of them wanted to exile themselves to the remote location and have to head a new covenant. I learned that Flavia had just been offered membership at Valnastium, a considerable honor. Wilhelm was hard at work building a trade empire in Cologne for his powerful covenant, Fenheld. Eduardus, for his part, just said he had no intention of abandoning his active life of intrigue for Montverte. They went at it again and again; they agreed those vis sources were just too valuables to let them go; none of them wanted to be become a simple warden for the others.
In frustration, someone mentioned that they should send the boy to do it – I don't know which one, for despite my best intentions I was drifting a bit. There was a silence, which jolted me back awake. All three were looking at me speculatively.
I almost was panicked. I am certain I stammered. I was no leader, I told them, nor equiped to perform that job. They insisted. I would be able to keep a good part of the vis for the covenant, they said. They pressured me and I had no choice but to comply.
So here I am, trying to come to terms with the fact that I am to create a new covenant. Augustus negociated with the others as to what the terms of my stewardship would be. What the charter of the covenant would be. How much vis would remain for the covenant and how much would be paid to them as a rent.
Privately, Augustus discussed the matter with me. We agreed that I should seek help; assemble a few other magi to help me defend the new covenant and the vis sources. There would be challenges, political and magical. But he was smiling wryly.
I have many letters to write, to seek out magi who will be interested in joining me. Now that the shock has passed, I think that will be fun!