One of the things I would have liked to see more in the setting material, is events that reinforce the separation of mundane and magical societies. Though the Order refuses to swear fealty, there always seemed to me for space in the story and setting for the various leaders of the mundanes to demand fealty, taxes, and other services from the magi. Especially as Europe becomes more centralized in power, these men should continue to demand the service of the so-called magi, even in spite of the warnings from their ministers, priests, etc.
I decided to look at history for some disasters from around the time of the game and see how these events might have been caused by a mundane/magi conflict. This is my first take on this idea:
1091 - Tornado Strikes London
Following the signing of the Signing of the Treaty of Caen by the English King William II and his brother Robert II, Duke of Normandy; William returned to his struggle against the Scots and their current liege, King Malcolm of Scotland. William was attempting to fortify his new yet old territory of Cumberland and Westmorland with castles and men, while the Scots continued their own efforts to solidify their control of Cumbria.
Within Cumberland, William’s commander and quartermaster Lord Robert de Mowbray found the fortified and dilapidated castle of Ungulus, due to reports of locals. Over the late summer and early fall de Mowbray continued to pressure the hermit knights, for so he had heard them called for support of the English Crown. By September he had sent them an ultimatum through their strange crimson capped messengers, “Support the rightful Sovereign or we will topple your walls!”
That October Regus of Tytalus visited London. After a short visit to some old friends, a brief stop at the Mercer House, and an hour in prayer at St. Mary's Church; he sent his own message to Robert who was in London at the time, “Do not presume that we recognize any sovereign, rightful or otherwise; your answer will come tomorrow!” The next morning, Regus was seen on the banks of the Thames performing some unknown ritual and surrounded by frightening looking warriors. He summoned a great beast of a storm from the cloudless sky, and sent it scampering across the city; destroying London Bridge and a number of churches. It killed two men, much to Regus later horror, as he had tried to assure it was destructive but not deadly.
The storm and destruction finally got William’s attention, and in mounting horror he listened to de Mowbray’s diatribe describing what was obviously a conflict with one of the Houses of the Most Ancient Order of the Society of Hermes and Merlin, such as he had been taught and told to avoid. Letter of contrition and support were quickly dispatched. The Most Ancient House sent many pounds of silver for the families of the dead, and a skilled but strange architect was sent to assist in the repairs to the churches; as such William considered the matter closed and returned his divided attention to Scotland and Normandy.
Regus was fined 5 pawns of Vis for each man killed, and was required to craft three powerful devices associated with storms for the use of the Tribunal. Though the tribunal was ruled invalid, the magus paid the dues as a matter of both principal and politics.
de Mowbray avoided the fortress of Ungulus and other such fortifications, and killed King Malcolm of Scotland nearly a year later at the battle of Alnwick. He rebelled himself before the end of the century and spent his remaining years imprisoned in Windsor Castle and St Albans, as a monk. Till his death in 1125, he claimed that he was not of right mind during the failed rebellion and conspiracy, and there was talk in the Tribunal of 1200 about possible hermetic Influence on his choice to rebel and complete failure to do so. But the issue was never resolved.
Ungulus is listed as a Winter Covenant in Heirs of Merlin, and some of the various Tribunal maps floating around have it in about the right place for our story. I like the idea thrown about in some of the source books that the mundane leadership know about the Magi, and to avoid them, while others don't. As we have all seen in the modern day, leaders can be frightfully ignorant of very important things regarding their "jobs." I made up Regus of Tytalus, but wanted an old powerful mage that might be able to create a 50 to 65 level effect/ritual within London and the audacity to do so. de Mowbray's rebellion seems, on short reading, to have been poorly planned, and he was caught out when the conspiracy dissolved around him.