As per part one,
One of the PC scholarly Companions is planning on researching and writing up the History of my SG mage's lineage. Up till now I had a few broad notes and a lot of hand-waving, but now it is crunch time, and I have been rushing out something that I hope should cover all my previous hand-waving, plus hooks in my notes, in sufficient detail that the PCs can look at the scholarly companion character and say "well done".
Here is part two , the bit I suspect I went a bit overboard on:
The original London Covenant
Due to a very effective memory wiping ritual centuries ago, very few in the Stonehenge Tribunal realise it exists, and those that do tend not to mention it. First and foremost, the Autocrat of Cad Gadu knows of it, since it is written in his book of lore that it has been tradition since the time of Pralix that every 7 years Cad Gadu and London Covenant exchange certain ceremonial gifts. However Prima Immanola, early in her reign, arranged it so that the other magi of Cad Gadu would not hear about London Covenant, and only the autocrat would keep the ceremonial connection alive.
If you scour the Tribunal records and Peripheral Code, you can find assorted references to various Aegidii magi, but rarely do any mention they are from London.
The London Covenant that most Magi know from History is due to the actions of the highly charismatic, extremely Optimistic and rather Overconfident Marcus Secundus Aegidus who, on his journey across Europe, and using extravagant promises he was certain his superior would honour, managed to convince several magi to join him in London to form a multi-House Covenant.
However, the senior Aegidus would not honour all of Marcus Secundus' promises, primarily access to the regios and resources on Ludgate Hill. Thus Marcus' Covenant had to take other lodgings in London. Until then the Aegidii magi had not been aware of how much extra trouble the Blessing of Lud (Ways of the Land - Towns/Cities) averted, compared to the problems "normal" Gifted Magi had within a city. Eventually not even Marcus' charm could keep the Covenant going, and the Magi dispersed acrimoniously, each believing that Marcus Secundus, and by extension all the the Aegidii, owed them a lot.
One of the disgruntled magi, either the Criamon, the Diedne, the Jerbiton, the Mercere, or the Child of Pralix, cast a ritual that caused everyone in Stonehenge to forget the Aegidii and Ludgate Hill. It didn't have much Penetration, so many Magi were not affected (including all the Aegidii). Most of the covenfolk at Ludgate Hill knew it as Rotas Yard and the "masters", so they weren't noticeably affected. However, the Redcaps, who were entreated to tell all they knew of the fall of London Covenant, found they had a very spotty history to recall. And thus the mystery of London Covenant became widespread. The Aegidii remained insular and didn't hear this version of the news because they thought the disgruntled Mercere mage had used his influence to have Redcaps avoid Ludgate Hill.
It wouldn't be until after the Schism War, when the veteran Isadore Quadraticus Aegidus began regular correspondence with his mainly continental hoplite amicii, that any Redcaps regularly visted Ludgate Hill again. By then, no outsider associated it the mysterious London Covenant.
Description of the Ludgate regios
The Ludgate Hill regios are a collection of level 3 Magical Aura regios, many of them are merely short twisty underground passages, though there is at least a dozen larger open caverns, with 4 that access the sky. It is not always obvious how to get from one regionne to a connecting one, and sometimes a mis-step can cause someone to stumble into an unexpected passageway. The odd thing is that these regios re-arrange how they connect to each other during the Lunar cycle in a complex pattern that repeats every 12 cycles. The Aegidii learn and jealously guard the particular Area Lore in order to navigate this changing maze.
There is a monster that lurks in the unlit underground regios, known as the Gruesome Death. It has never been seen by the vanishingly few survivors, and only inhabits pitch darkness. The smallest light drives it away. If you ever lose all light in any of the underground regios, it will find you within a couple of minutes, and kill you unless you can reach a lighted regionne. It is believed to be able to walk through walls and regionne boundaries at will. The Aegidii count on this monster as part of the defence of their deepest secrets, by strategically and tactically controlling the lighting in the lowest levels.
On the side of Ludgate hill, behind the cathedral is a cluster of buildings surrounding a yard, known as Rotas Yard, from the various pre-Hermetic building stones inscribed (and enchanted) with the magical square:
Though there is at least one stone where the inscription is rotated so that SATOR is at the top.
Originally the site of the small villa belonging to Ioannes Constantinus Aegidus in the 4th Century. All the buildings are owned by the Aegidus "family" and are rented to various trusted tenants. The buildings are in a no aura Lacuna of oscillating width, surrounding a weak magical aura in the mundane level of the yard. Hidden in the mundane yard is a secret tunnel that leads to a farmhouse 2 miles outside the town walls - it was created over many years, and a trained eye can see how Isadore Quadraticus' Terram score and Finesse ability had improved as each section of the tunnel was constructed.
The gated entrance to the yard is under pre-Hermetic enchantments that can open the main entrance to the regios.
Like the entrance to the Yard, the main entrance to the regios is about large enough for a horse and cart to travel through. It opens to a twisty passage that after a short while enters one of the 4 open sky regionnes, though which passage it is changes from month to month, as does which open sky regionne it leads to, and from which direction.
The two of the open sky regionnes most likely to be reached from the entrance both contain (Marcus) Secundus' Folly, a 5 storey apartment block (insulae) of complex design, enclosing a square courtyard, having been created by a custom CrTe Ritual to be "grown" from a "seed" made from a chunk of magically warped Roman Concrete. There are multiple passages burrowing through the apartment blocks that lead from one open sky regio to the other, in ways that would make Euclid give up geometry (ie the outside of the apartment block seen from one courtyard in one regionne is the inside of the apartment block seen from the courtyard in the other regionne, but the relationships between individual apartments and floors don't match up). Twenty apartments are large and elaborate enough to be coverted into Laboratories, with enough terraces and staircases to isolate each Laboratory along with several apartments in case a mage wanted to make a sanctum. At ground level are various tabernae (workshops), as well as passages to other regionnes (the passages change from month to month) in each of the cardinal directions. The sigil of Marcus Secundus (3 intertwined angular snakes), and to a lesser extent the sigils of his two assistants in casting the ritual, decorates much of the Insulae.
In one of these courtyards is an enchanted fountain magically producing water that lasts for Sun duration (made by Isadore Quadraticus Aegidus). The inhabitants have learnt not to depend on it for quenching thirst, but the washerwomen know that using its waters for laundry will cause the laundry to dry at sunset/sunrise, and both the apothecary and alewife make use of this property.
In the other square are the statues of 3 Magi in the act of casting a ritual spell. This seems to be all that is left of Marcus Secundus Aegidus and his two assistants after they hastily cast the experimental ritual during the Diedne raid as the other Aegidii fought the invaders. A couple of wall sections of the Insulae seem to have an odd wrinkle or bump, apparently where it tried to grow over/through existing structures, or where it engulfed and smothered the invaders.
There is some evidence that Secundus' Folly may be slowly growing over the decades. On each anniversary of the ritual's casting, a lump of concrete always falls from somewhere high on the Folly, occasionally causing harm to those below - yet no part of the Folly can be found to be broken, and the fallen concrete contains Creo Vis.
The other two open-sky regionnes are more rustic. In one of them it is possible to summon the ghost of an AngloSaxon Rune Master desperately trying to teach his recalcitrant apprentices. If you talk to the ghost in AngloSaxon, he assumes you are one of his apprentices and will teach you AngloSaxon runes. His mystagogue ability is not high enough to normally Open the Gift of someone already initiated into the Hermetic Arts.
Trying to leave the regio via the sky usually leaves you high above London. All 4 open-sky regionnes seem to reach the same point in the London sky. Birds, especially ravens, seem to be able to find the entrance from the London sky, and possibly distinguish which of the 4 open-sky regionnes they fly into. Unfortunately, embers from any of the great fires in London seem to inevitably enter the open-sky regios and set flammable material alight. After each such fire, which are years and decades apart, it is possible to find Ignem Vis to harvest.
In one of the partially lit caverns is a magically bound Fomorian giant, being used as an aura tether and Vis source. This cavern is usually only one or two twisty passageways away from one of the open-sky regionnes. The giant was captured in the 8th Century by the then young Martellus Aegidus. The giant is normally somnolent, waking just enough to eat every now and then, thus Rotas Yard usually needs a lot of beer and ingrediants for porridge and stew at short notice.
Trimming the giant's moss-covered hair yields Herbam Vis, trimming its fingernails and toenails yields Terram Vis, the blood weeping from its gouged eye socket yields Corpus Vis, its urine yields Aquam Vis, and its excrement yields Perdo Vis. Capturing yawns is rumoured to yield Auram Vis, and the occasional vomit may yield Muto Vis. Enough Vis can be harvested per year to keep a single, average maga more than comfortable.
The problem is, every few decades the giant temporarily breaks free of its magical bonds, in order to slake its carnal lusts. The giant tends to be indiscriminate in its violent "affections". One time it managed to crawl out of the regionnes, but since at that time the Vikings were beseiging London and Thorkell the Tall was at the head of the defenders, it wasn't too difficult to modify the memories of witnesses into something of more mundane destruction and rapine. Still, the rumours have grown into a legend that the giant Gogmagog will rise to the city's defence during London's need.
Usually the Aegidii will use various tricks to help the giant safely slake its lusts and return to its cavern to sleep - a huge doll covered by illusions, or a temporarily transformed cow, or more unpleasant means. The Aegidii have various useful Casting tablets for whichever member is on hand when the giant stirs. It is also traditional that female covenfolk abandon their duties and run to safety on these occassions. At these times the giant is known to provide copious quantities of Creo Vis.
Some of the other caves, particularly the partially lit ones, are utilised by the Aegidii for storage and other purposes, though no longer as Laboratories since Secundus' Folly came into existence. Many caves are ritually marked as a stronghold of the Cult of Mercury. The hall of records used to hold the earlier history of the Aegidii family/lineage (including keeping track of the descendants of Ioannes Constantinius Aegidus) on fired clay or stone tablets. However, much of these were shattered during the Diedne attack in the lawlessness prior to the Schism War. The routes to any location changes each month, as the various caves/regionnes re-arrange their "positioning" and connections to each other.
At the end of one tunnel that is too constrained to build a functional Laboratory, is installed a Mercere Portal from the time of Pralix, that leads to a sealed room in Cad Gadu. Intended to be an emergency "tunnel" should Damhain-Allaidh reappear and besiege Cad Gadu, it is protected in numerous fashions. The former Prima Immanola had it sealed off at the Cad Gadu end, to await the day she had forseen.
There are numerous magical light sources, to keep the Gruesome Death at bay. However, in the deepest part of the regionnes, closest to the Well of Nodens and the Genius Loci, the regular passageways are enchanted to quench light (unless the correct pass phrase is used), using Mercurian enchantments, Runic magic, and recently Hermetic enchantments. As the passageways rearrange each month, some of the light quenching passages occasionally get close to the "surface", and pose a threat to the mundane inhabitants as they travel between the open-sky regionnes. The habit of daring each other to leap into a light quenching passageway has only few supporters amongst the covenfolk.
The cavern where the Genius Loci "resides", and where the Well of Nodens is to be found, is the "deepest" level, and can only be reached by traversing at least a dozen other regionne passages and caves, a route that changes with the Lunar cycle. No-one but the Aegidii come down here (except for the times Pralix was invited), and the details of this location are kept secret, though it is believed to have its own light source. All the twisting passageways (which change according to the Lunar cycle) that directly connect to this cavern have received enchantments to quench any light sources in them.
Usually found deeper in the regio complex, often near to the Well of Nodens, are the 3 Realm caves.
The cave known as the Lake Entrance opens out onto a mist obscured body of water. This is magical Lake regio network, and by correctly navigating it you can reach another lake, usually in the mundane world, connected to a magical regio. The entry to the Lake network changes per the Lunar cycle, as per the rest of the regio caves. While Martellus Aegidus and his former apprentice Formidus Nullus both had the ability to navigate the Lake network, later generations of Aegidii lost the ability. They do have a few charts and maps of how to navigate on some months of the Lunar cycle, to some of the more popular locations and return (though all too easy to make a mistake), mostly in the British Isles. Sometime about the time that the Founder Bjornaer learnt the secret of the HeartBeast, an apprentice named Odd failed his Gauntlet and was transformed into a man-plus sized otter who could navigate the Lake network. The Aegidii leave food (including Odd's favourite - cheese puff pastries) so that the beast Odd guards this entrance, and can occasionally be entreated to lead a small boat through the Lake network to where he thinks you need to go (and then bring you back). The oddest place Odd has taken a boat to is to a swamp far to the East in order to talk to a Bjornaer Great Beast known as Stolitzya the swimmer. It is known that the first ice that forms on this shoreline each year contains a pawn of Aquam Vis.
The cave known as the Grand Chimney has a natural(?) staircase leading up and down. There is no easily discernable top or bottom. The Aura changes to Divine as you climb up, though most people can't climb too far - the correct supernatural perception suggests there is an angelic presence interfering with the ability to climb higher. If you climb down the Aura turns Infernal, but at that point the staircase and much of the chimney has been blocked and barricaded by human agency. It is claimed that occassional enticing whispers from below are to be half-heard. In the Magical midsection, silvery droplets containing Vim Vis exude from the walls. All passages that lead to the Grand Chimney are naturally pitch dark, any creature entering or leaving the Grand Chimney needs to carry a light lest they perish by the Gruesome Death.
The last of the 3 Realm caves contains the Tunnel of Roses. On one wall of this cave is a grotto of sculpted rock, resembling a great rose that leads to a tall and wide paved tunnel that leads into faerie land. Or perhaps 12 different Faerie Lands, that just happen to look very similar to each other, for like the rest of the Regionnes, the destination Faerie Lands change over a cycle of 12 moons. There is an equal number of months where the Faerie Land is Bright and where it is Dark, as there is an equal number months where the destination is Winter, Summer, Spring, or Autumn. Just as there is an equal number of months where arrival in the Faerie Land is always Morning, Afternoon, or the Middle of the Night. The Aegidii have installed a mighty gate, made of rowan wood bound in Iron, plated in Bronze, with elaborate and delicate Silver inlay, to prevent travel through the paved tunnel unless at their convenience. The inhabitants of the Faerie Lands could not normally enter the paved tunnel, unless explicitly invited, but long ago a disgruntled apprentice uttered an open invitation. The Aegidii have various names for the different Faerie Lands (and sometimes more than one name for the same Faerie Land), including the Cliff Above Mermaid Cove, Goblin Runs, Unicorn Meadows, Centaur Fields, the Grim Dark, and Dwarf Chase to name a few. All have peril to enter, some much more than others. But sometimes an Aegidus mage will dare to enter the Courts of Dancing during the time of the Summer Festival to compete in the games and possibly win prizes, including Vis. Though recently various Merinita magi also compete, and gang up against any Ex Misc magi.