As it happens, the land where you are is famous for its horses, but it is said that a great hind inhabits there as well. Of course, there are also various beasts of prey: beasts of quality I'm sure you will find if you search hard enough, though no lions have been sighted there in some generations. As for more fantastic beasts, I recall one tale of a river monster, and perhaps creatures dwell in the swamps.

What is it that I can tell you of our cult? As you know, we must be careful about revealing the names of our members, even those who have long since passed into Twilight. Have you corresponded with Sophos recently?


(a season has gone by since the last letter)
(since we've got a new player, I'll again mention that this letter is in code, and sent via the mundane cult members, rather than the normal Redcap system)


My apologies for the delay in replying. A certain amount of luck is involved in any hunt, especially when searching for such particular game, and the dice have yet to fall my way. Given the timing, I have decided to focus on creating a longevity potion myself, rather than seek to earn enough vis through hunting to buy the favor from someone.

In the meantime, I would appreciate any additional information you might have on the local fauna. These beasts of quality, in particular, interest me.

In truth, I had assumed our messenger would not know how to reach Sophos, and so I have not tried writing to him.

I have some ideas about integrating the mathematics of our founder into the development of my longevity ritual. If there is perfection to be found in the simplest geometric shapes, then it follows that more complex shapes may be broken down into similar mathematics, in the same way that any number can be expanded into its root prime numbers....

(the letter goes on to describe various theories about applying Hermetic Numerology/Geometry to Corpus in general, and longevity in particular)

In strict accordance with mathematical principles,

[Whoops, forgot about this letter--I'll respond to it within the next day.]



I'm afraid there's little more that I can tell you about the beasts there: it's a region little reported in the travels of those from our part of the world.

I do think you should correspond with Sophos, though, and I've made sure that our messenger has means to convey him a letter.


To Tribune Boustaphan, Gigas.

Honoured Tribune,

Exploration of the Necropoli

As instructed, I have carried out a reconnaissance of the two sets of barrows located close to Nova Castra.

The Western Necropolis consists of 15 barrows, arranged regularly in a 3 x 5 block. The site has a magical aura of the second magnitude throughout. Many of the catacombs appear to have collapsed in on themselves, and the local plantlife is sparse and there are no apparent burrowing animals. The central barrow is covered in a strange grass, which Intellego Herbam revealed to be a single plant usually found in the Loch Leagan tribunal. I enclose a sample with my letter, which I believe should last as an arcane connection for several months. This barrow appears to have been the site of a considerable magical battle during the timeframe of the previous covenant, with considerable effort being put into trying to blow up the end of the hill.

The Eastern Necropolis is considerably larger, containing over a hundred barrows. The magic aura is predominently of the second magnitude, but varies in places and by time. I have located four key features of interest.

There is a faerie regio in one of the southern barrows, which can be entered by touching the light which sometimes emanates from the central coffins. Within the regio humans take on the appearence of a child, although this appears to just be an illusion. There are a number of "children" within the barrow, some of whom are ghosts and the others illusions cast over skeletons. The central fae is a puppetmaker and story-teller. Exiting the regio is a simple matter of passing into the shadow of a natural object. Mobile puppets appear to "live" in the barrow in the mundane world.

There is an infernal aura of the first magnitude at a spot in the north-eastern area of the barrows. Present at the spot is a hermetic device with an enchantment in in which detects when humans are present and then creates a warning message in Latin to attempt to scare them away. Underneath the device is a hole, and there are the tracks of mice sized creatures in the area. The local hills are less uniform in shape than in much of the rest of the necropolis, and one hill has a concave shape with carvings on it.

Towards the east side of the necropolis are five barrows radiating from a central point. At this centre is an unfinished barrow, containing an empty bier. The magic aura here is of the fourth magnitude. The tomb itself is around 1,500 years old. The floor of the bier is covered in carven runes, centred around the bier. I enclose a copy of the runes. Fray of Bonisagus, to whom I showed the runes, noted that the runes included Mercurian influences, but that these were peripheral to the main rune language. When I attempted to cast an Intellego Terram spell on the barrow to discover whether there was anything more to its structure, I instead received a vision of a grand statue inside a pentagonal room, each wall containing an archway guarded by a warrior. After the vision had faded, I noticed that one of the runes are glowing, and on closer examination appeared to be a runic representation of the completed building plans.[strike]Note that the room itself as it stands is square, so[/strike] I speculate that [strike]the pentagonal shape of the room with[/strike] the archways denotes some link to the five surrounding barrows - the walls as they currently stand do not have them. This theory is lent weight by the fact that my spellcasting attracted the attention of ghosts from the surrounding barrows. These ghosts questioned me as to whether their king has come, whom I assume to be the intended occupant on the bier. I intend to attempt to discover more information regarding this king; however tracing his body currently seems a difficult task, as there is no obvious arcane connection to use unless his gravesite should serve as one.

At the south [strike]east[/strike] west of the camp is a large barrow with a second magnitude aura. The barrow itself seems to be completely indisturbed, but contains a number of ornate sarcophagi. I attach a copy of the symbols I found on the sarcophagai. I experienced a premonition that disturbing a sarcophagus would result in the dead rising and actively resisting the invasion. Given the complete lack of disturbance of the tomb, I speculate that attempting to dig into the mound might also provoke either a reaction from its occupants or trigger a regio opening. The tomb itself appeared to be around 1,300 years old. There were no magic items apparent in the tomb.

Other Matters

As mentioned above, a new magus has arrived at the covenant named Fray of Bonisagus, from the Stonehenge tribunal. He is a specialist in Muto transformation magic, and has expressed an interest in taking commissions from the House. I have seen him cast such spells of his own design of sixth magnitude.


I'll come up with a full reply later, but a couple of quick things:

The building in the pool is pentagonal, like the building in the premonition (I just went back to double-check). The difference is, the actual building has solid walls, rather than archways.

The scary barrow Gregorius had to teleport inside is at the western edge of the necropolis. Have a look at the map amul posted:

Oh, and this is not at all important, but I don't think you'd call an aura of 2 "second magnitude"; I'd think that phrase would mean "10".


(written shortly after arriving at Nova Castra, to his former Master, Amilica of Gwynedd)(written in Breton)

I have arrived well at Nova Castra and it is better, well worse than I had imagined. As a site for work there is almost no aspect of the covenant or it's surrounding grounds which does not need serious attention and improvement. A challenge worthy of some time, and I thank you for the advice and encouragement to travel here. I have not forgotten, but I am frequently distracted from the end of Woodenhall. I maintain that Callser and the Tremere will pay their debts to Leola and I eventually.

The grounds are littered in barrows and burial mounts form the former city, and the resident magi have discovered a plethora of auras, tombs, and supernatural creatures. The temple appears to be a central part of the old city, but as the old city also was far bigger and closer to the local population who now reside astride the river, the covenant is still a short walk from these strange mysteries.

I am most of all concerned with the attack which ruined the covenant just after it's recent re-founding. You mentioned that the covenant was again being established as a weigh station for hermetic travelers, but I think there is more to this strange disappearance of the former magi than the Order would have tell. There must be those who know more about Nova Castra's heritage.

As the Magi here are well past their gauntlet I find that they are frequently sufficiently equipped to deal with their challenges. I am curious about several, and the opportunities to research specific solutions for them. Weaponizing Vim magics has already been raised, as to has the prospect of enhancing the Turb in a manner akin to those at Woodenhall. Strong arms make for powerful defenders. For the little it did, I dread to consider how little of my former covenant would have remained had we not prepared for a magical war.

I send too some notes on various theories and some innocuous effects which were used in the investigations thus far.

Travel well, wind at your back, and fire at your hearth.

I was looking at the map. Apparently my ability to distinguish east and west deserted me.

I'd sort of wondered about the aura terminolgy, but thought I remembered seeing it somewhere before (may not be anywhere canonical), and couldn't think of a better IC description. Level sounds iffy, and can refer to regio levels.

Will go back and edit the post for the pentagonal thing (although I had a quick look through the thread and other than his vision of the pool as a pentagon couldn't see anything saying the room was pentagonal - could you link me to the relevant post?)

Here's the pentagonal link:


Aha - thanks.

If you want to sound all classically/medievally on the aura thing, you could use "of the second order", but "level" actually matches the language used to describe exactly the same thing when it comes to spells.


[The following letter arrives in Spring of 1228, just before Gregorius' foray into the caves.]

To Gregorius

Thank you for your detailed report on the necropoli. It would seem that you have found nothing that poses an immediate threat to either your covenant or the Order, though your explorations might yield useful information or resources. If it proves feasible for you to conduct additional exploration of the sites, please keep me informed.

After some discussion among your seniors, we have decided that your first priority should be to investigate the fall of the previous covenant. While we think it unlikely that the covenant's attackers might threaten the Order as a whole, if they threaten even your covenant, that could jeopardize your entire mission.

We would also like you to begin wider explorations. We are especially interested in the trade conducted in the area, since it could bring both information and exotic products or specimens from distant lands.

Perform well, Gregorius. Your house has faith in your ability to carry out this important mission.

Tribune Boustaphan, Gigas


[This letter arrives for Fray at the end of Winter, 1228. I assume the previous letter, from Fray to Amilica, should be dated 1227, not 1226.]

My Dear Filius,

I think that your concern over the attack that destroyed the previous covenant is not misplaced. Of course, you should not let concern over this threat distract you from the work of making new discoveries.

As you say, the older magi at the covenant should be quite capable of protecting it, and many of them will come from much more martial houses than ours. Rely on them: for many, fighting is their role, while our role is to explore the boundaries of magic. I hope that you will be able to establish a sufficient laboratory even in this wild place, though I worry that you might lack the sort of safe, stable dwelling-place that fosters research. On the other hand, perhaps you will stumble on exotic discoveries that help spur your investigations.

I wish you the best, and hope that you can find happiness again in this new home.

Please let me hear from you soon,


(From Fray to a friend and old covenant member Hardouin, Follower of Criamon - written in Spring 1228 in Latin, and then obfuscated using Disguise the Words as Written to make the text nonsensical for a month)

To Hardouin,

I hope you and the other members are well and prospering. My sojourn to the far east has been rewarding in that it is a wonderful distraction from the recent years, but I find myself thinking of Woodenhall. Hopefully the rebuilding and healing has begun well, and the tribunal's noise has lessened somewhat.

I also do miss our discussions of abstract theories and the vexing questions. Included here are some recent observations on materials as they move through states from solids to other forms, which I hope you will find interesting as our old discussions. If you have the time I would greatly welcome your thoughts. Those moments where we agreed were almost as wonderful as the arguments where we debated so strongly.

Your friend, Fray.

[Sent Spring 1228]

To Tribune Boustaphan, Gigas.

Honoured Tribune,

Threat from Amazon Raiders

Earlier this spring, Quaesitor Tasia went missing whilst investigating the disappearence of the previous covenant in the lands to the east of the Sea of Azov. With the assistance of the magi Fray and Stephan of Bonisagus, both currently in residence at the covenant, we retraced her footsteps and discovered that she was being held captive by the warriors of a group of female raiders, known as Amazons. As part of our attempts to track Tasia, I used an Intangible Tunnel cast and maintained by my companions to Pose the Silent Question on the band's leader in their camp at [description of location], and discovered information of considerable interest.

From her mind, I learnt that it was another group of her people who attacked the previous covenant, although she does not know the exact identities of those involved. She knows something about Hermetic magi, and her and her people have at least some understanding of how to impede them. According to her mind, the amazons have a home in the Caspian Sea, and I believe this to bear further investigation. Moving to the present, I learnt that her people were currently holding Tasia at a site that was being kept unknown to her, presumably to make it more difficult to track down.

I successfully extracted the location of a drop off point she was using to communicate with her people holding Tasia captive, and we were able to follow them back and rescue Tasia. When rescued, Tasia was very confused, but was able to tell us that she was captured whilst sleeping following her assistance in the defence of a village against amazon raiders. Once captured, they were able to prevent her working magic, but she was not sure how. Her ability to work magic appeared to have returned after we released her, as she Leapt back to the covenant soon afterwards. She resisted suggestions to immediately pursue any of her captors, and would not tell us of any information they had learnt from her. Instead we returned to the covenant to discover that she had already left, apparently to report to her superiors. Her familiar and shield grogs remain missing.

Aid Requested

Although I learnt from the amazon leader's mind that she had no immediate plans to attack the covenant, we believe a raid is likely to come at some point not too distant. The covenant is therefore considering ways to enhance its defences, and I have been authorised to approach the Tremere about hiring a specialist to create a curtain wall around the covenant. The covenant does not have the Terram vis to create such a wall, but has stocks of other arts to recompense the caster for his time and vis used, subject to a suitable agreement.

In addition, I request the urgent loan of a casting tablet for Aegis of the Hearth of around the fifth to sixth magnitude. I return the Magic Theory book I currently have on loan. Alternatively, if you have such a tablet available for sale, the covenant might be interested in purchasing it.

Local Trade

Nova Castra is situated near the Venetian outpost of Tana, which appears to act as an interchange between goods from the interior and the sea route on to Constantinople. The primary goods are furs and slaves. The latter is distasteful, but with the right magical item it offers an opportunity to screen for gifted children.


[Sent Spring 1228]

To Whom it May Concern, Magvillus

Salvete Sodales,

My name is Gregorius of Tremere, a resident member of the covenant of Nova Castra in the Theban Tribunal. I am writing in respect of the leader of my covenant, Tasia of Guernicus.

Over the season of Spring 1228, it became apparent that Tasia had not returned from her mission to investigate the cause of the destruction of the previous covenant at the site of Nova Castra. Concerned, myself and two of my sodales, Fray and Stephen, both of Bonisagus, sought and successfuly found her. She had been captured whilst sleeping by a warband of female raiders - Amazons - and then had her gift suppressed. These amazons are apparently the ones who had destroyed the previous covenant. On rescue, she appeared confused, and her familiar and shield grogs remain missing. She used Leap of Homecoming to return to the covenant, but by the time we returned she had already left, leaving a message only that she was going to report to her superiors. She has not yet returned, and given her confusion when last seen I am concerned still for her welfare.

Has she reported to Magvillus? If so, are you able to tell me whether she has recovered, and if she intends to return to Nova Castra?


[Sent Spring 1228]

[Gregorius gives this to the Redcap with no address, but some extra silver, asking them to pass it on to Tasia if the Redcap network find out where she is.]

Sodalis Tasia,

I have asked the Redcaps to pass on this letter to you - I hope it finds you well, and that you have suceeded in reuniting with Vrahos. Your sudden departure from the covenant took me by surprise; although I understand the import of reporting what occurred to your superiors, I would also appreciate a more detailed account of what occurred myself. In particular, did your captors appear interested in our covenant, or its inhabitants, or give you any reason to think an attack upon it was planned? I am concerned for our own safety, so any information you can give us about our enemies would be useful.

Do you intend your absence to only be a temporary one, and to return to the covenant in time?


Gregorius receives no reply from Tasia, but the following letter from Magvillus arrives a few weeks after he sends his letter there:

Sodalis Gregorius,

I am sure it will relieve you to learn that your covenantmate Tasia is safe, and she has been reunited with her familiar, Vrahos. She has reported the incident you describe to the other Quaesitores, and we are most grateful to you, Fray, and Stephan for effective her rescue. We have every confidence that you can meet the Amazon threat, and do so without drawing undue attention from the mundanes.

For the moment, Tasia has retired to a location that I cannot divulge. It will be for her to decide when she wants to discuss her encounter with the Amazons.

Wishing you good fortune,
Quaesitor Hadrianus of Guernicus


Gregorius also receives a quick reply from the Boustaphan:

To Gregorius:

We understand the gravity of your situation. We will dispatch an architect to assist you before the snows fall. After he has made an assessment of the situation, we can discuss payment for his services.

In the meantime, we have provided you a casting tablet for Aegis of the Hearth of the sixth magnitude. While you may keep this tablet as long as you need it, I would advise that one of your number learn the spell before your next casting. We would be pleased to loan you laboratory notes for a spell of the proper magnitude, once you have made us aware of the magnitude needed.

Tribune Boustaphan, Gigas

[The proper level for lab notes is going to be 36, unless Viola improves her CrVi score or her lab in the meantime.]


To Tribune Boustaphan, Gigas.

Honoured Tribune

Threat from Amazon Raiders
Our plans to seek out the Amazons appear to have been pre-empted by their own raiders. Nova Castra has received word of small raids by them moving gradually in our direction. The most recent such raid I am aware of, on [date], was around 50 miles southeast of the covenant. The pattern of the attacks appears to be following the course of the river Lik.

The raids themselves appear to be intended to take prisoners (primarily men and girls), and to acquire provisions. It is not therefore clear whether the raids have us in mind as a target, or whether they are simply heading in our direction by happenstance. Given the events that befell Tasia, however, my inclination is to act assuming the worst; that the raids, whilst apparently small, are part of a larger effort seeking our destruction.

I am therefore preparing to intercept the raids before they can reach the covenant. With me are coming Fray of Bonisagus, [Timaios of Guernicus?] and Wishbone and Asena of Flambeau. Viola of Merinita is remaining at the covenant.

Our plan is to kill the raiding party, capturing and interrogating its leader in the process if possible. I am also looking to interrogate one of the Amazon's magic users, and we may travel further towards the Amazons' lands to achieve this if necessary.

I do have some concerns about Asena's involvement. Whilst her wolves are highly useful, she has a fascination with the idea of Amazons which goes well beyond the bounds of good sense, and appears to feel a sense of kinship with them. I do not know how far she is likely to take this, and may be altogether misjudging her, but I intend to keep an eye on her behaviour during the mission.