High Noon in Evissa

Sant Antoni de Portmany, at this point in time, is an old Roman harbor town and fishing village on the coast of Ibiza. No nightclubs or DJ's or any of that yet. There is a flavor in local culture that celebrates festivities and dancing that dates back to the pagan Phonecians, but this is irrelevant. Ibiza was recently conquered by Count Peter of Urgell, but it has yet to be pacified and the count has recently developed other problems.
Roberto occupies an old lighthouse tower built by the Romans. Long out of use (replaced by a larger one some two hundred years ago), the building is still in perfect shape and is an exquisite example of Roman engineering. Also, because of being situated on a sea cliff, it is the highest point in the area. There is a magic aura that exists only on the top floor of the tower, where Roberto plans on installing his lab.
Because it had been abandoned, in favor of a larger tower with easier access, and because of his heroic acts defending a local merchant against pirates, and because he has the Gentle Gift now; the villagers were fine with letting him move in.

Arnau d'Orfes, a "Combustion" and leader of 60 men (5 "Torches", 40 soldiers, and 15 auxiliary), has come to investigate rumors of some sort of wizard active in the area. His commander, Bernat de Ferrofós (a "Conflagaration"), has sent him with three ships and double the normal compliment of soldiers (just to be safe), for the purpose of investigating these rumors and insuring that the population is indeed pacified.
Roberto had spotted him on the horizon around mid morning. He has heard of these Flame Brothers and their recent activities, and this concerns him.
Roberto goes out to the docks to meet them as their ships sail into port around noon. He has Johan and a band of rough sailors take to the Malaga and hide in the bay while submerged. He has Wen use the carpet to take to the clouds with Cidito for recon.
Roberto himself waits at the docks with Carlos and a handful of his soldiers...
He hopes for a peaceful parley, but if not, then Desperta ferro...

Arnau stands at the fore of the Firestorm, his dromōn, a Byzantine design favoured by the Fire Brothers for combat operations. He looks at the welcome party in the shore through his polished glass. Seeing things upside down and distorted always causes him, headaches, but seeing the images amplified has many advantages. There aren't many people there. They are too cocky for his own liking, though. He wants no surprises, so he signals Mateu to take a detour and land to the left of the village with his dromōn. The other Conflagration acknowledges and Arnau sees the Fiery Love deviate and head for the second beach. The Firestorm and the Caress of the Sun continue sailing towards the main landing zone of the beach.

The captain of the Firestorm orders to increase speed, Arnau and his most trusted companions put themselves in the fore of the ship. He always likes this way to enter a scene. He grins wolfishly.

With a building sense of anticipation, the dromōn keeps building speed and heads for the beach. The drum sounds in their ears and the wind hits their faces. He can see the look of surprise in some of the people in the beach since dromōns don't tend to make direct landfall. Except if they are Flame Brother dromōns, kiddo. However the central figure in the beach appears unruffled by the approaching ships.

With an impact, the Firestorm hits the sand of the beach and is carried forward by her own impetus stopping herself a few paces in front of the armed men in the beach. Arnau (with difficulty, damn lameness) and around 30 flames jump to the beach taking advantage of the impetus provided by the ship, in a well practiced maneuver. He can see similar numbers of flame brothers doing the same in front of the Caress of the Sun.

The almogavers are armed and armored, but they do not show an especially aggressive attitude. At least for a mercenary band famous for the conquest of Ciutat de Mallorca. They appear confident and relaxed but ready to react. They scan the group and environments. There do not seem to be the usual tell-tale signs of Sahir and Berber magics around. No clouds of dust, no strange constructions, no sand of strange colors… If there is a magician here, he must be well disguised. Arnau can see that Mateu has already landed in the other side of the village, and is starting to deploy his Flames to cover the watchtower and approach the village from the other side. One of the Torches is already leading a group of flames towards the lighthouse. He supposes he will be Pere el Jove (Peter the Young), since his party contains several flames with second sight.

Arnau advances towards the welcome party and smiles candidly. You can see a wolf grin. He is armed and lightly armoured with gambeson and chain mail hauberk, but has his sword sheathed and carries a walking stick in his hand instead. He wears no helmet. He dresses like a nobleman that has been in campaign too long to care about the state of his clothes. They are orange and red in color. His black hair is stained with salt. You can see a red star (personal heraldry) over clasped hands (the sign of the flame brothers) on his shield.

“Well there. We always like welcome committees. Who is in charge here?”

(Question: Perhaps you can translate the jargon terminology into Catalan? So that when you say you "cover (something) in Flames", we know you are talking about your soldiers. And it adds a bit of fancy flare :smiley:

In the sky, Wen has a clear view of the adjusted change in course of the ships. Johan waits beneath the waters. Cidito is in constant mental communication with Roberto, and that cat can endlessly wink in & out to check on Wen and Johan and maintain a communication link. Johan performs some undersea maneuvers and brings himself just behind the visitors closest to Roberto's tower.

(just to clarify, there are two lighthouse watchtowers; on old one that Roberto lives in and is hard to get to, and a larger newer one that is easier to access. You have a three pronged approach (very tactically wise good sir :wink: ), so I do not know which group Arnau is in. My instinct is to protect my tower, but for game purposes, Anau is the one I need to be F2F with at the moment. So I will just roll with it...

I presume we are speaking Catalan? Roberto has a score of 4.
He is clad in his studded leather hauberk, sword in scabbard and shield at his side (a large round shield with a seven pointed star).
The Lord Jesus Christ is always in charge, and all subsequent authority proceeds through him.
If you refer to temporal authority, these villagers operate in a cooperative and a town council, which has yielded authority to Count Peter and King James.
Further, they have chosen me to be their guardian and defender. My name is Roberto Rodriguez of House Flambeau. To borrow a term from the English, I am the Sheriff round these parts. Or maybe Marshall? Whatever.
Let's cut to the chase. Why are you deploying an invasion force in my town? And how can we handle this with a minimum of bloodshed. I really am not in the mood to kill anyone today. If you are looking for something to do, there are pirates in Ibiza town and rebels in San Eularia.
Roberto mentally singnals to Cidito, who pops up to Wen and has her hover over the ground party on the carpet, using whatever cloud cover they can. When things go south, he will drop down and she will fly off.
Johan hovers just below the surface of the water next to the ship closest to Roberto's tower.

[i]Ok, about the names. Maybe this way you will stop giving modern castilian names to your almogavers :mrgreen:


  • Flame = soldier = Flama
  • Torch = sergeant = Torxa or Teia
  • Bonfire = captain = Foguera
  • Combustion = Middle ranking officer [Arnau is one of them] = Incendi
  • Conflagration = Inner council (3 of them) = Combustió
  • Phoenix = The Big Guy = Fènix

I was heading straight were you were standing. I thought you were in front of the village, not your lab. So the guys that appeared in the previous post were going after your lab. I can change it if necessary, no biggie. [/i]

The grin of Arnau widens. Correct answer! Flambeau, eh? Are you hunting heathens? We got reports of heathen magicians around here and we came to check. Some of them are quite a bunch of bastards, so we erring on the side of caution.

Arnau makes a half reverence. We are the Flame Brothers, mercenary almogavers and witch hunters. I am Arnau d'Orfes, on of their incendis. At your service, hermetic. Given your response and affiliation you do not seem to be a heathen, so I will leave it to you to tell us if you are the only caster presence around or you have detected more spellscasters. We are ordered to cleanse the island of heaten casters. But if there are none, maybe we can take a stroll to the local tavern! He laughs. Have you investigated those two towers? They sound like a good hiding place for a heathen magician.

Every name I have thus far used is one that belonged to at least one person I actually know or knew. Roberto was the name of the broiler cook at a steakhouse I worked at around the turn of the century, he used to slide me food all the time. Carmen is named for my old buddy Carmello. Carlos is Carmello's brother. Pedro is a door guy at the club I work at, and there have been other (more "Latin") Pedro's in the past. Alberto, Florenzo, Oscar, Edgar, Javier, Armondo, yaddayaddayadda; all names of cooks I have worked with. Valerie Veleze, I looked her name up and it is totally Catalan. Valerie Valencia is Vibria's grandmother
I will start researching Catalan names :smiley:

Roberto scowls in thought. what does this guy mean, "correct answer"? I am the one asking questions here. Okay, keep it in check, maintain, you are the master of reality. Control the frame...
OoH Lore check to see what, if anything, Roberto knows about these guys.
Int +2, OoH Lore 2 (Flambeau, roll of 1d10=8; equals 13.
Yes, I have heard of you in tales of old. I did not realize your band still existed. Times are different though. The Sahirs have joined the Order, mundane politics are none of our concern, and there is the greater threat of infernal forces such as were commanded by the Flaming Shadows and the Diedne.
When I was a child, I thought as a child and I spoke as a child. But when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
You have no concerns here, for this island and the others are now under the authority of the Order of Hermes, and any magicians here, heathen or otherwise, are our concern. And our concern only.
You seem to know more about magic than I am comfortable with, and the legends of old claim that certain members of your sect are actually a cult that practices their own magics. If this is true, then we have an issue.
The old tower is mine, the large tower is the lighthouse for this harbor. They are both under my protection, as is this entire town. If you and a handful of others wish to have a chat at the tavern, you are welcome and invited. But you will remove your invasion forces immediately. If you need a place to camp, there is a beach around the other side of the bay. There is not enough room to accommodate you here, even if I were to allow it. Which I shall not.
And if you are a wizard, good sir, then I have no choice but to make you an offer that cannot be refused.
Join or Die.

Arnau starts to laugh heartily. So heartily in fact that he bends over from the laughter. Some of the watching almogavers look somewhat dubious at what this means, while others are grinning as well or chuckling. When he recovers, Arnau makes a signal towards the ship and
a drummer starts beating what sounds like a code. The almogavers that were scaling towards the lighthouses stop and start moving back. A guy very similar in appearence to Arnau, with clasped hands and a white ruby over it in his shield approaches at the distance he is around 50 metres from you. He seems somewhat older than Arnau, but not by much. When he reaches your position he salutes with the head and asks "what is so funny Arnau?"

"This guy here. He is a flambeau". A look of recognition crosses over the new man's face. "And he just offered me to join or die!". At this thought, both men start rolling again with laughter.

Roberto mentally signals to Cidito...
They are withdrawing. Have Wen circle high above the bay out of sight, checking on them periodically. Then go visit Johan, tell him go deep and wait in the middle of the bay just in case.
Then he looks at the two laughing officers with a puzzled and concerned expression.
Glad you are amused, but this is no joke. You make claims to be part of some old defunct cabal. I thought you no longer existed, but seeing as you are here, you obviously still are active. And according to lore, there is a cult of magicians at the heart of your cabal. The officers and inner council. Is this true?
Come, we can discuss matters of amusement and seriousness over a cask of wine and some steaks. My treat.
then thoughts transmitted to Cidito...
After you talk to Johan, go back up and hang out with Wen. Keep me posted on the withdrawing of soldiers.

Arnau and his companion straighten themselves. Sorry for that, but we could not stop ourselves. For starters, we are not invaders, since this land belongs to king Jaume, not you. We are here in the name of the king on an official mission, so careful about whom you protect from whom. We are not the enemy. He smiles and gestures to defuse tension. But first, I think you deserve a demonstration. "Brothers, flame on!". Once he says that, some of the almogavers disappear in plain sight, some others kneel on their shields and take to the sky and 5 of them, including Aernau and Mateu, the new officer, snap their fingers and generate a flame at the tip of their fingers while looking at you straight. Without stopping his flame, Arnau talks to Roberto again. He is deadly serious now.

As you can see, you should be making that offer to quite a few of us. Some of these abilities were even given to us by members of your own House Flambeau. But you would be mistaken making that offer to any of us. We are friends of your House, and work for the Quaesitores more than once in a while, last time we took part in the Shadow wars as auxiliaries. But we treasure our role as mundanes and our place in mundane society. Both your primus and the primus of Guernicus awarded us dispensation from what you just did. It seems we are more useful to you if we can mess with mundanes. We are not joining your Order, even if we are more than happy to share the world with you and work for you if you have enough money and other resources to pay our fees!. Arnau smiles at you. You look like a good fellow, and we would prefer if you do not menace us with violence again. We are quite tired about being at the sea for the time being, so we will be camping over there for the night. We want to be sure that really there are no Muslim casters that you have overlooked. If nothing else, we have a few eyes that can take a look around!! Arnau snaps his fingers again and the flames disappear. The rest of the Flame brothers do the same, and you can see that the dozen or so almogavers that did show other supernatural abilities are also going down. Arnau smiles.

I invite you to dinner at our camp in that hill, Flambeau. We hope you like Shiraz and mutton. We got quite a stock of both when we conquered Menorca. We can discuss suzerainty over the islands and details like that over a good glass of wine.

Roberto smirks as he watches the overt display of magic that could get the Order (and himself) implicated in all sorts of trouble with mundane authorities. The sort that could certainly bring ruin upon his sodales.
[size=70]When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.[/size]
Then after the offer for mutton and wine of Jerez...
A most generous offer. I will visit your camp around sunset then, I thank you.
He then has Wen keep patrolling from the air and Johan follow the mercenary ships submerged. Then he goes to the tavern to sit and have lunch and think.
So they are hedge wizards, but they only have a few simple tricks at best. Still, it is quite flamboyant and can get us into trouble be getting falsely accused of their activities. And their grudge against moslem wizards, some of those may be Hermetic magi and I am honor bound to protect my sodales. No, this cannot be allowed to go unchecked, and must be reigned in. And his claims? Primus Garus is a tool and full of bad decisions. But this does not seem like one of them. An earlier primus? Maybe. The Quaesitores? Unlikely. But he seems to be competent with knowledge of our Order. This is concerning. Likely a band of loose cannons set into play generations ago and forgotten about. Certainly pre-Schism. And I have a hard time conceiving what role he imagines having played during the Shadow Wars, but he knows about it.
This is, our fault. House Flambeau. Joel, my parens, he was like this. He was a criminal, and it was fun being his violent yet innocent apprentice. But is was wrong, ethically and morally.
I cannot permit this. I have to either pacify them or kill them all. And I am really not in the mood to kill anyone today.
There has to be a better way...
And I think I know what it is :smiling_imp:

Set the scene for your camp, and I will write up Roberto's arrival :smiley:

Eivissa, S'estanyol, just south of Sant Antoni Portmany. Flame Brother's camp.

The flame brothers have a camp full of red tents and pendants. It is obvious that they are not here hiding. There are guards around the tents. At first sight they seem to be distributed in an awkward way, but as Roberto approaches the camp he realizes that the camp has the shape of an hourglass, with tents concentrated in one half and the other half left as an open area. There are trestle table being put up in the open area. There are sentries around the perimeter and bonfires burning in several places. The centre of the hourglass is occupied by a pair of large tents, the leaders' no doubt. There are guards at the door, but in general it seems that the camp is quite relaxed.

As he approaches the camp, roberto sees a pair of falcons cry far above him.

Just a pause while I contemplate a good writing :smiley:
In the meantime, meditate upon this

Powerful scene. Been a while since I saw it.

Roberto comes along standing upon his flying carpet, hovering a few feet off the ground. He wears his studded leather hauberk, sword in scabbard, shield in hand, tattered red cape fluttering in the wind. Cidito stands next to him, arms folded, wearing his fancy coat.
It is just after sunset, his Parma freshly cast as well as any auxiliary combat Sun Duration spells he might need. On Cidito too if he can.
He approaches the perimeter guards, Ciditio speaks and they hear him in their fluent native tongue.
I present to you the magus Roberto Rodriguez of House Flambeau, filius Joel Muniz and student of Santiago, Knight of Seneca from the lineage of Delendos, Champion of Novus Mane, Imperior of Mons Electi, Warden of San Miguel de Portmany as part of the Sa Dragonera Chapter of the Covenant of Andorra.
Roberto shakes his head.
Why don't you tell them my parent's names and names of the gangs I ran with when I was twelve.
Cidito starts to open his mouth and Roberto scowls and mentally tells him not to.
I am Roberto of Flambeau. Your commander has invited me to supper.

12 AM here. Time to close the shop. Nice reading in any case :slight_smile: I will reply tomorrow. In any case I do not see the need for combat preparations to drink wine and eat mutton. :wink:

How optimistic of you :mrgreen:

The guards look at your armaments suspiciously, but let you pass. You see a young boy run on a parallel course towards the central tents. He says something to one of the guards. When you arrive there you are directed inside the central tent. There you find Arnau d'Orfes and Mateu de Capmany sitting at a table drinking wine. They rise and salute you. They wear robes and only quality light armors. Looking at them without their heavy mail makes them look more like warriors than before. Arnau has a clear limp and Mateu is lacking an eye. Mateu is older, but he clearly defers to Arnau to do the talking. 2 younger officers are also in the tent, standing up and with a cup in their hands as well. At least one of them you recognize with difficulty (he was wearing a helmet) as having created a flame as well. You are unsure about the second one. All of them are dressed quite flamboyantly, specially Arnau, and with a multiplicity of styles and bright colors, from Tolouse tunics to Arabic breeches. They look at Roberto's clearly combat-combat appearance and rise an eyebrow, but do not seem especially alarmed by it. Mateu looks at Roberto attentively with his single eye. Roberto feels like he is being thoroughly scanned.

Welcome Roberto of Flambeau. Have a seat and drink some wine with us while the mutton is roasted to perfection. You do not need all those armaments here. We are here to drink, eat and talk, not fight. There is plenty of time for that in another moment! They laugh heartily. You have already met Mateu de Capmany. Those two over there are Bernat Ferrofós and Joan Ibars. They all salute you with their cups.

I suppose you come here dressed like that because of our little display at the village. Sorry if that bothered you. We use villages like this one to voice our presence to the supernatural community without worrying the mundanes. Those displays have the benefit of being spectacular but not very public, so they spread as hearsay. It helps our spy and contact networks, since people interested in those rumors are also interesting to us: they are either potential employers or potential quarry. So here you can say that we were funneling foxes out of their dens! The rest of the people present chuckle at the joke. The smell of roasting mutton starts entering the tent. You hear the almogavers starting to move to the open area with the trestle tables. But rest assured that we have no intention of harming your protégées. After all, they are supposed to be loyal subjects of our employer, count Pere d'Urgell, so we are here to protect them as well.

I came here like this so that you know I am serious. I brought no soldiers, only my cat. And I am all too glad to be festive with you. Eat, drink, and be merry. But there are issues to be resolved, and I do not intend to walk away unsatisfied. And I will list these issues clearly for you.
I did not like the way you made a "mock invasion" of my village. San Miguel, and indeed this whole island, are under my protection. If you want to explore the island, you are free men and it is not my personal property. I just don't want you here.
As far as magical matters are concerned, which includes hedge wizards foreign or domestic, all of these islands are now under Hermetic authority. The Covenant of Andorra has established themselves here with the Chapterhouse of Sa Dragonera. Any potent hedge wizards in the area, if they pose no threat to civil authority, will be given the option to Join or Die. Their individual religion matters not. Once a member of the Order, we are sworn not to interfere with mundanes and likewise sworn to protect each other. And there might even be full magi joining our chapter that are of various faiths. Christian, Moslem, Jew, Pagan, whatever. It is there right, and they are Hermetic magi.
And finally, I am concerned about the status of rogue wizards within your cabal. Now I don't know if you are a wizard or someone just gave you a magic wand or whatever. And I am not worried about one or two supernatural powers. I am concerned about Gifted wizards and/or those forming a mystery cult that is able to teach or initiate further magical abilities ad infinitum. Such a wizard or group of wizards would certainly be welcome into the Order. Or like the Basque witches, those gifted become magi and the ungifted often serve and assist their gifted sisters. But either way, you guys are loose cannons running around without any supervision or authority. Sort of like paramilitary magi. You want to participate in mundane political strife and battle, this is your right. I walked away from the war twenty years ago, but I ain't gonna tell you how to live your life. But you gotta tone it down with the spectacular displays of magic. You know, I am the one catching flack for it! I got accused of capriciously setting fire to ships and interfering with mundanes. I had one fight with some pirates, allied with a hedge wizard using a whirlwhind to help them attack a merchant ship. I killed him and set fire to that ship, but nothing more. Lives were at stake and rival magic was being used. But I had nothing to do with the other fires, and though I was able to prove I was elsewhere at the times, the eye of suspicion is still upon me. And now I am guessing that it is you guys that are getting me in trouble. Knock it off.

Now, having stated my position and knowing I do not intend to leave here unsatisfied, you can invite me in to discuss it or try to challenge me. If you invite me in, I shall remove my armor and lay my sword and shield outside the tent. If you wish to challenge me...
...that would be unfortunate.

OK, I have to decide if I cast you out of the Order of Hermes or not. Will sleep on it, but I certainly think that Roberto has overstepped himself. Considering that I work for the mundane ruler of the islands, Roberto has no proof whatsoever of all the stuff he is throwing our way, the brothers know about the Order and have already sent information that a Hermetic Wizard is around to Ciutat d'Eivissa and the Brother's HQ, I think I have the higher ground. So if Arnau develops a confrontational attitude, Roberto can even be Marched, I would say....

I suppose I need a third party metagame perspective here.
But my (Markoko's) perspective is that he is legally in the right, and further his hands are tied and he is obligated to react like this.

And I like the Mexican standoff / old-west vibe we are generating :mrgreen: