Letters, we got your letters

Dearest Viscaria,
What an unexpected surprise this is. Unfortunately, as you can tell when you receive this letter, I am indisposed, so Virgil is coming in my stead. I hope this isn't problematic...


((This note arrives with Virgil, I'll introduce him into Mother's Footsteps after I finish up some other business.))

In the early autumn of 1222, the following letter is sent to Mons Electi; it is addressed to Apollodorus, care of Reynault, but arrives after their deaths. All these delightful morsels of political speculation are so tasty to Theraphosa, however, that she offers to respond to the letter. Poor overworked Henri agrees and scarcely thinks more of it; Thera completely intends to reply, once she has finished researching all this political trivia....

Salve, Apollodorus.

The Stonehenge Tribunal is now completed, and I feel I have dispatched my duties well towards Nigrasaxa and my pater. The very fact of our meeting is a good sign, although I am not without my complaints about its dispensation. The local Quaesitors are putting even less effort towards hide their desire to influence proceedings in which they ought remain neutral: each one instructs a Redcap to vote on certain matters, so that any unseemly vote-swaying appears to originate with Mercere and not Guernicus - a fiction that is rapidly thinning. Tria warned me of the existence of less-than-noble Quaesitors; I am saddened to have to witness it in such important matters.

The prize for the fiercest politics that played out during the Tribunal must be awarded to the covenant of Ungulus! After the Wizard's War death of William Fireheart two years ago, the continued degeneration of Ungulus seemed certain, and Voluntas has not so subtly sought claims over magical resources that were disputed with the Winter covenant. But Flavius, no matter how soft and close to Twilight he appears, outdid himself on the Tribunal floor: at one point he had not just figuratively but literally backed Julia into a corner during arguments. We also witnessed a thoroughly crafted accusation of diabolism against Blackthorn, this one orchestrated by none other than Edward Milton ex Jerbiton, whose mind is as sharp as ever. Now I am no staunch ally of Blackthorn, but truly these magi go out of their way to slap that powerful covenant whenever they can - not particularly constructively, in my opinion. I suspect that Edward's true purpose was to divert attention from Schola Pythagoranis's dealings with the mundanes, notably (here I counsel you to confidence, as this conclusion is but my own based on circumstantial evidence) their magical support of the self-styled new Earl of Cornwall. In any case, these matters were entertaining enough to those in attendance that Nigrasaxa's quarrels with Libellus and Astolat over local resources will scarce be remembered, contrary to the prediction in my previous letter.

Speaking of my covenant, they have come to terms with my upcoming resignation from the council. Indeed, I should be so bold as to say that none of them count me as a traitor nor enemy, although only Thamik has come to me with overtures of continued friendship. Certainly I did not have to fight (hard, at least) to maintain possession of the equipment and enchantments within my sanctum, nor my private notes; I was even able to convince them to grant me a pittance from the covenant library (texts for two spells of my pater that nobody else would ever read, and our lesser summa on Mentem). In all honesty, the reaction to my imminent departure would surely have been less frosty were I the only one leaving. Ariel's sudden ascension to her House's leadership was quite unexpected, and although Nigrasaxa is not lacking in vigor, the loss of two active magae in the same year would be unsettling to anyone.

Finally we come to the main point of this prolix letter. I am asking your formal permission to take up residence at Mons Electi and join the council there. Of course you were right not to make any such promise before I explicitly resigned from Nigrasaxa; but I think our recent correspondence has made it clear that we are of the same mind on this. I will spend the autumn packing thoroughly and should start making my way there at the beginning of December (by which time I imagine I will have received your affirmative response). I very much look forward to meeting you in person and representing my new sodales and Tribunal with the distinction you deserve.

Yours most sincerely,

(nb: I did receive those records from Edward that you had requested; I will deliver them to your hand upon my arrival)

Enclosed with the letter is a brief note, scrawled by Maximianus, affirming that Tranquillina will be giving up her membership at Nigrasaxa, effective on the winter solstice at the end of 1222.

((OOC: what I imagine happened is that Tranquillina, having heard nothing back from Mons Electi by December, contacted Tria and learned only then of Apollodorus's death. As Tranquillina was already committed to departing Nigrasaxa, Tria invited her to stay at Le Maison temporarily while matters could be resolved.))

Late Spring, 1225
To: Praxiteles Jerbitonis of Laurus Argenti, Rhine Tribunal
From: Viscaria Lynchis Verditii of Mons Electi, Normandy Tribunal

Let me begin with an amusing anecodote for you. I write all my letters using the stylus and wax, since even here amidst the finest parchment manufacturer in mundane world, we have little scrap material. I use the same shorthand codes when composing these letters as I do for my lab notes, and today as began your letter with your name, shortened to Praxis.

An delicious pun, do you not think? For praxis means to theorize without practicing, and this is exactly the thing you avoid doing, which makes you such a dear friend, while also being exactly what our entire friendship is about. We write, we compose, we theorize, for over two years now we have corresponded and waxed eloquent about this mutual passion.

Often I have said that I am deeply indebted to you, for the delight you have taken in instructing me, novice that I am, in the delicate manipulation of our Art. Now at last I have determined a manner by which to repay you.

To satisfy debts owed to one of my brethren here at Mons Electi, I have been commissioned to enchant a steed worthy of her half-giant-blooded stature. I wish to commission you to sculpt a winged beast from a stone of your choosing, which I shall then invest with such powers of life and movement as to make mortal men tremble at her approach.

I suspect that such a prize will take at least 10 cubic paces of stone to sculpt properly. My only specifications are: it must satisfy the Socratic Ideals[1], she must be able to ride it, and it must have wings. Beyond that, you are free to indulge in your imagination.Which brings us back to your previous letter! As you know, our own stone quarries have been providing us with ample amounts of stone for me to test your theories about natural suitability for hermetic manipulation.....

(therein a long discussion about abstract ideals of Finesse begins)

As always, I look forward to our next missive,
Viscaria Lynchis

[1] meaning, it has to look like it could walk and move and fly, etc. Has to look like it could be a real thing.

Spring of 1226, a letter is delivered to Mons Electi, addressed to Isen, Alexei and Jacques.

To: Isen and Jacques Flambonis, Alexei von Kroistau
From: Ariel, Prima House Flambeau

My dear magi,

i have been asked to handle a matter of some delicacy. As you may or may not know, Florum and her vassals are not participating in your Normandy Tribunal next summer. This has created some discontent with one of the magi in residence at one of Novus Mane's vassals. Further, they would like to have some sort of voice in the Tribunal, while they are not present at the Tribunal proceedings. To that end, the mentor of a fine and trustworthy Flambeau, Santiago, has entreated me to act on his behalf and request either Protected Guest status or outright membership in Mons Electi for one Roberto Rodriguez. Both magi have my utmost trust and confidence, and I would ask that you extend the trust you give to me to both of them and welcome Roberto into your covenant. He is a bit younger than most of your members, but that can be useful to breath life into a covenant, especially in light of events of 4 years ago.

I hope this letter finds you well. Work on reforming Val Negra continues apace. We have not been bothered by Lucius or any of his compatriots. That concerns me a bit.

Ariel, Prima House Flambeau

This letter is penned early in 1224, while winter still reigns over Mons Electi. It is written in a simple hand, with rather thin letters, on one of Mons Electi's excellent parchments; the impression in the wax seal seems to have been made with a coin of some sort.

Salve, Aurulentus ex Jerbiton.

Perhaps it is bold to hope that you remember me from fifteen years ago or so, during a period when you were visiting the covenant of Voluntas. When my neighbor Julia mentioned your presence in a message, I composed a letter of introduction for you, in which I described briefly (among other things) the work I was engaged in that related to discerning from afar the locations of people. You were kind enough to respond then, making some key points about the interactions of such designs with the Parma Magica, which (as it turns out) I was able to successfully integrate into my inventions once I had mastered the incantations in question. More importantly for my present purposes, you wrote in some detail about your research into human fertility; hence when the particular issue I am about to describe arose, you were the first magus I thought to write. I hope you will forgive this unheralded query.

There is a faithful servant here at my covenant, a young lady not too far into adulthood: she and her husband had some difficulty conceiving their daughter, and the obstacle seems to be even more entrenched now, as they have not been able to extend their family. Perhaps it is simple misfortune, as the interval has been only two years and a half; yet I would desire to give her what assistance I can, at least to see about a diagnosis. Some of my thoughts follow on the ceremony I might concoct to delve into the causes of her infertility or that of her husband; but I wholeheartedly seek and invite your commentary, for it is no secret that your expertise on such matters far exceeds my own and perhaps that of any known magus.

First, although my knowledge of natural philosophy is meagre, I would like to discuss the body's humours. It seems to me that the Technique of Intellego needs to be coaxed into separating the humours from one another, perhaps by invoking the various planets in turn from an astrological casting. I wonder, however, whether the following approach to investigating (for the sake of example) the phlegmatic might have some hope of succeeding.... (There follows almost a page and a half of discussion concerning the Form of Corpus and its ability to mimic the medicinal diagnoses of a trained doctor.)

By the way, I should mention that although my first introduction to you was as a member of Nigrasaxa, I have left Stonehenge and am now on the council at Mons Electi, a new but prosperous covenant in the Normandy Tribunal. We are often considered a Flambeau covenant by those who have met us, but the reality is broader and more complex. Of course this is scarcely closer to your home than was Stonehenge; still, know that you have my welcome and that of my sodales should you find yourself nigh. Please accept my prayers for God's blessings upon your wife and children, as well as my utmost regard for you.

Tranquillina Bonisagi

((If anyone wants to respond to this, that's great; but I know that correspondence is a little up in the air right now. This particular letter fits well with the story playing out with Tranquillina, Moire, and Viscaria, so I wanted to go ahead and write it no matter what.))

In a reclusive harbor on the Flemish coast, there exists a small shanty-town of fishermen and merchant sailors. And pirates. No one has bothered to put a proper name to it, each referring to the town in slang or parlance of their trade. Some call it simply the fisher's harbor or pirate's cove; some refer to myths of surrounding geography such as "the town by the ruined temple" or "Sea Hag Harbor".

Some call it Novus Mane, for it sits in the shadow of that covenant of magi so named.

Carlos Gutierrez sat while playing his guitar, singing Spanish love songs to a barmaid named Betty. Betty, who also owned the tavern, sat fascinated as if mesmerized by the talents and charms of this handsome foreign rogue. Betty's fidelity to her husband was unshakable, Carlos had tried before. But Betty's husband Johan was passed out drunk in the corner, and her son was occupied in a fistfight surrounded by a crowd of spectators. Carlos figured to try his luck again.

Johan Junior was a brawny young lad of average height, rough and unkempt looking with a deranged grin on his face. His opponent was much more menacing though, eight feet of muscles and scars. How the fight between Junior and Black Dougal the Dogeater began had already been forgotten. Some misperceived slight or purposeful boast, egged on by others around, had escalated into a high stakes match with some spectators wagering as much as their entire ship and cargo on one contestant or the other.

Junior had already landed a score of punches, splintered a chair against the Dogeather's head, and a kick to the groin which produced no more than a grunt. Dougal was stalwart and unfazed, but had failed at a dozen attempted blows. Until just a moment ago when he managed to land one against Junior's jaw and knocked him down. The crowd roared, Junior stood up, spit out a tooth, and that is when he smiled.

Betty's attention was thus drawn away from Carlos and now nervously fixed upon her son. He sighed and resigned himself to the situation, and switched to playing a dramatic flamenco to add a little accent to the excitement. He was startled when suddenly he felt a gentle touch upon his shoulder, and turned to see his employer and long time comrade Roberto. It seemed as if he had malicious intent in his eyes and was up to some devious plan, but Carlos knew to put initial perceptions aside. The air of menace surrounding Roberto, he knew, was the curse a wizard must bear as the cost for his mighty power, the Lord's way of keeping him humble he supposed. The two had been friends and comrades in arms for twenty years now, and Carlos knew the man behind the magus.

Indeed, the look on Roberto's face was serious and his eyes were full of concern. "[color=red]Santiago sent a letter."
"[color=brown]Has he an adventure or quest in mind? I have been bored as of late."
"[color=red]Get your things. We're moving to a new post."
Carlos was stunned and struggled for response. "[color=brown]wha.., Why? We were starting to adapt to this place, I just learned the language, there's things I'm not finished with..." Carlos glanced over at Betty, who had revived her husband so he could watch his son's prize fight. "[color=brown]Crap. What's the deal? What's going on? Play it straight."
"[color=red]Santiago's letter explains it all. He needs help. I'll read it to you and Pedro later together".
At that moment there was heard a hideous crack followed by a deep throated howl of pain. Johan Junior had actually managed a grappling move on the behemoth Black Dougal, the results of which splintered his elbow so that his arm flopped backward. Dougal fell to his knees clutching his arm and howling in pain. The crowd screamed and roared. Junior smiled. Then Black Dougal Dogeater was laid unconscious with a blow that dislocated his jaw.
Roberto raised his eyebrows and nodded his head. He turned to Carlos and said "[color=red]Hire that kid", then stalked off to find Pedro.

Roberto sat alone in his sanctum, contemplating the journey ahead to commence upon the morrow. It had taken three days to prepare two days longer than he intended. He had already bid farewell to his sodales, and even invited for some to make the journey with him. Wirth was the hardest to say goodbye too. Earlier that evening they shared a bottle of wine, Wirth listening while Roberto spoke of his concerns, his reticence, and his sense of obligation.

"[color=red]Blast Santiago! He blathers on endlessly about begging for favor, regretting needing help, and then saying I don't owe him anything and I don't have to do this favor for him after all, unless I really want to. I owe the man my life if he asks it! And yet he asks me to leave my home of six years, the longest I have ever stayed in one place, and immerse myself in politics and intrigue I know nothing nor care nothing about."
Wirth savored his wine a moment, quietly contemplating before he replied. "[color=blue]If the Prima calls upon you, it must be serious. And an Honor!"
"[color=red]I know, I know, it's just that, it seems all a bit above me. I read his letter three times, and I have only a vague idea of what he's talking about. I wonder if he does either."
"[color=blue]Don't tell me that the brave and bold Roberto is loosing faith in himself!"
"[color=red]No! Never. I'm sure I can accomplish whatever task is required of me. It is just that I have no idea what will result of it all. I fear not death my dear friend, I fear becoming a politician."
"[color=blue]Ha ha! Well you know I will always have your back. We will correspond through the Redcaps, call on me if ever you need help. And, here, take this token, an Arcane Connection to my sanctum. Learn the Seven League Stride or Leap of Homecoming, you can hide out there if you ever need too."
"[color=blue]Pays to have a backup plan. But if you don't ever write to me, I retain the right to kill you."

The two Flambeau magi burst out laughing, and had spent the rest of the evening discussing battle-axes and poison daggers.

Now, well past midnight, Roberto sat awake unable to sleep. He decided to take out his sword and study the patterning of the steel and engravings. It was a new sword, a gift from Santiago, a very well crafted and high quality weapon. Even Pedro was impressed. He claimed he could forge one just as good if not better if provided the materials, but he was truly fascinated by the artistic detail of the blade. He recommended Roberto set aside his old blade and use this one. That yard of iron was over fifteen years old and had so many battle scars that it almost wasn't worth repairing. And Pedro always doubted Roberto's claim that setting it ablaze as often as he did cause it no harm. The old sword was a good sword, a trusty sword, it still had many years of use left to it. But Pedro was right. This new one was a better sword, if not for he quality and craftsmanship, then for the mere fact that it was not nicked or word as the old one was.
The old sword he gave to Wirth, to use as an Arcane Connection to himself. "its name is Clemente, after my father", he had told him.
Then he held the new blade up to the light. "[color=red]You are indeed a work of art. Bejeweled even. Worthy of enchantment. Is that what the old man intended? A new sword needs a new name. Something symbolic, something introspective, something naming its purpose..."

Sent at the end of Spring 1226 to arrive in Summer 1226:

To: Ariel Prima of House Flambeau, May her Stewardship be long and prosperous!,
Roberto Rodriguez ex Flambeau and Santiago ex Flambeau

My dearest Prima Ariel and esteemed Flambeau Santiago and Roberto, it is with great delight that we here at Mons Electi have received your letter and earnest request. Given the state of affairs at both the Tribunal and our dear Covenant, such help and support as well as confidence is most welcome. I have discussed the request with the members of our House that reside in mons Electi; Isen and Jacques and are enthusiastically resolved that we should extend our invitation to young Roberto. Further, after discussing with the rest of Mons Electi, we are all of a mind to have him visit us as a protected guest, with intent to join as a perspective member, as is allowed by our Charter, ratified upon our joining the Covenant of Mons Electi.

To this end I, Alexei von Kroitsau ex Flambeau, member in good standing of the Milites and Imperator of Mons Electi, shall act as sponsor to Roberto Rodriguez ex Flambeau and extend to him the invitation to attend Mons Electi and enjoy the unique amenities it provides as well as the many challenges that await. We thank our Prima for this oppourtunity and are eager to meet Roberto and see the fine qualities that you have spoken of.

Alexei von Kroitsau

Autumn, 1224

To: Marós filia Mirella ex Miscellanea Kore tes Kirkes, Insula Canaria, Loch Leglean

From: Fiona filia Marós ex Miscellanea Kore tes Kirkes

Dearest mater,

All is progressing well here in Normandy, and I am making gradual progress with trying to get "normal" magi to see people like me as people and not merely as giants or half-giant as we appear on the outside. Naturally, some people are coming to this conclusion more readily than others, but I carry on.

I am deeply grateful for Sheelagh. She is progressing nicely in her studies, and is now fluent in Latin and has learned her letters. I have spent the last few months teaching her how to be more efficient in her application of Corpus, and next year I plan to teach her how to bring out the mythic attunements in various plants.

I think you might like to know, if you've not already heard, that I am putting together a summit here at Mons Electi, a few weeks after the Tribunal in the summer of 1227, for members of the Order who have Giant blood to get together to discuss the various advantages and disadvantages that our heritage gives us, and to possibly work together to find ways to overcome those disadvantages. I would very much like for you to attend, even though you are not Giant-blood yourself, so that we can discuss what has been going the past few years and to share your analysis on what we discuss.

I look forward to hearing from you, and especially to seeing you again.

Your faithful filia,


(Spring 1226, addressed to Angus mac Ossian and delivered via mundane means)

Dear cousin,

I am making slow but steady progress gaining acceptance despite what I am. I am hearing fewer comments than I used to, and one of my fellow wizards has finally noticed that I am a woman, in addition to being half giant.

I'm sorry that I have not written more often, but there has not been much to discuss.

I am hosting a meeting of as many giant blooded wizards as I can find, to discuss the problems that we have dealing with those smaller than us, among other things. The meeting will be here at my home in France. I have had replies from as far as Greece for the meeting, so my hope is that it will be well attended and that we will be able to accomplish much more as a group than I would be as an individual.

I hope everything is going well for you. Give my love to the whole clan.


Delivered the beginning of summer 1225

To: Viscaria Lynchis Verditii of Mons Electi, Normandy Tribunal
From: Praxiteles Jerbitonis of Laurus Argenti, Rhein Tribunal

Dearest Viscaria,
It is good of you to write. I accept the commission. We can discuss the details of said commission when I arrive. This letter should precede me by a few days. After I complete my work, I will be off to visit an amicus, and then my pater in Paris on my return trip.

I've already undertaken the selection of a suitable slab. If she is giant blooded and significantly larger than the average man, I'm thinking 10 cubic paces [note 10 cubic paces is 270 cubic feet, see the rough dimensions I marked out below] is woefully inadequate. If we assume that a standard horse length is 8 feet, which, in my experience with horses is a very reasonable determination, we can easily see that 10 cubic paces, while it seems sufficient is actually rather small when you take into consideration the wingspan of a winged beast. War horses are anywhere from 14 to 16 hands high, and for an aesthetically pleasing look, the wing span at full extension must be at least twice the length of the horse. Taking all that into account, I think I have an unfinished block of just over 11 feet long, nearly 6 feet tall, and a hairs breadth over 20 feet wide, which should be suitable for this project. I have another larger block, as well, if we should desire to go a bit taller. I'll take a corner chip from each block, and we can handle the transport of the block once I have a casting token and have prepared a workshop.

((He writes a bit on finesse, but it seems distracted, and this is indicative of the times where he seems focused on a new project, such as the one Viscaria just commissioned.))


((Korvin will take some of the Bishop's advice and try some statecraft))
Send 1223.4 Roman Tribunal - Harco

Alessandro ex Mercere

My dear Parens,

I am writing to invite you to Mons Electi in the summer of 1227. Mons Electi is hosting the Normandy Tribunal and there will be a large gathering of our brothers and sisters for the Mercere Fair. I would like to have as many of the Gifted Mercere come as well. Many of us have not gathered together as happens to often with our House.

You are parnes to many of us I hope you see a need for we Gifted members of Mercere to begin to work together for our greater good. Our House has become too split. I understand your thoughts more clearly now as I grow older when you spoke of our House as being seen as servants by the Order. I found myself echoing those words recently. While we cannot correct everything at once we can start by talking and working together. I hope for your attendance and support in this mater.

your filius,


This letter written and sent in Autumn 1226, after Roberto arrives at Mons Electi...

[color=brown]To my dear friend Wirth,
Salve sodale.
I have recently arrived at Mos Electi, but the journey was not without incident. Almost at my destination, my cart mysteriously broke down. Pedro broke his arm and the VanHalen kid got scuffed up. I got them to Mons Electi for medical attention, and when I returned the cart had been looted and burned. But any mystically related resources were laid to the side. An obvious case of Hermetic Banditry. My lab equipment was trashed, so it may take some time before I can learn Leap of Homcoming so as to come visit.
There are strange doings transpiring here. It seems the covenant has made a rival out of a Valarian of Gurnicus, a hoplite (and a horses ass). Another is Rotiger of Flambeau, formerlly of Tremere) who is also an asshole. I am going to have to deal with them sooner or later.
Also, some of these magi seem to be deluded about conspiracy theories concerning the history of the Order. My opinion: let the dead worry about the past. The present is for the living. But I will investigate. One never knows.
It was with a heavy heart that I left Novus Mane, but duty calls. I hope to secure an alliance between our covenants, and I hope to resolve the mystery of what happened to our former primus. I have heard that Prima Ariel is at Val-Negra attempting restoration. Let us hope she discovers the truth of our Founder while there. I hope to meet with her soon, either here at Mons Electi or to visit her there.
I hope all is well with you and the rest. How is Clara doing? Is she with child yet? Tell Betty & Johan their son is well. I hope to see you soon, and I invite you and any of the others to come visit me.
Until we meet again.

-Roberto Rodruigez of Flambeau

This letter is penned in the spring of 1223. It is written quickly in a casual, familiar hand, with rather thin letters, on a plain parchment; the impression in the wax seal has been made with a coin of some sort.

Dear Thamik,

It is late in the evening, but I promised myself I would write my dear friend this week, and tomorrow is the Sabbath. Truly I am tired, and a bit ill from this new climate - not that the relative warmth is unpleasant, but there are many plants flowering all around, and some of them seem not to agree with my breathing. The journey itself was without trouble, other than steeling myself for Tria's unique mode of travel. And her sodales here at Le Maison d'Levrier have been cordial enough, though none particularly effusive. No, it is simply the new location, and knowing that I don't really have a home right now.

Did you finish the cabinets for your laboratory? I never did get around to prying out of you how you intended to enchant them. I regret not being able to see the finished product, sleek and aesthetic as they would surely be under your hand. I wonder if I should be regretting, more generally, my decision to resign from Nigrasaxa before I heard back from Apollodorus. Perhaps it was still the right choice ... but I miss the lowlands, and our sodales (distant as they can sometimes be), and even that penny-pinching chamberlain of ours. Of course I miss my conversations with you most of all ... you, who have been most understanding about my peculiar condition.

Speaking of which, I have pondering your theory that my ability to perceive magical creatures and locales is related to the mystical bonds inherent in Arcane Connections. It does not seem likely to me (no insult is intended - I know you advance it only tentatively), but let's see how far we can go with the idea. Magical auras, for example, are manifestations of the Realm of Magic, as is the vis that saturated my body during my apprenticeship; thus theoretically, the aura could be said to be a part of me, or more precisely a part of part of me. Immediately though, we come to the undeniable fact that I cannot sense objects that are Arcane Connections to myself - not with my sensitivity to magic, at any rate. I do grant your point that this theory helps to explain why sensing Hermetic spells is nearly impossible, while sensing even lowly magical creatures is not uncommon for me.

Ultimately these questions return to the proper definition of the Form of Vim. That we know it when we see it is of no theoretical help (regardless of your prowess in the laboratory, I say to forestall your sure reaction!): the typical foundational writings on the topic are circular at best. "If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way," to quote Aristotle; and so we should conceive of that definition of Vim with the property that it is the best possible manifestation of Vim. Consider for example an empty regio, containing a magical aura but no recognizable landscape.... The letter continues for another page or so, running through a thought experiment about the nature of Vim. I know you will quickly find problems with this conclusion, dear friend, with your detail-oriented mind. But perhaps "that which can alter the nature of other" is a step in a forward direction.

Do please write soon, if you can. Our friendship is dear to me; and in my mind, distance already threatens to decay it.

Written in the midst of Winter 1226

To Roberto Flambonis, Mons Electi


I was sad to see you go. Glad to know you're well, despite your problems. I hope you'll teach these men to respect you, and will avenge Pedro.
I heard Mons Electi is quite rich. So, hopefully, your hermetic loss won't be very great.
Beware, though. I don't know Rotiger, but I've heard Valerian is quite a Master at terram. Don't expect your parma to protect you, and avoid metal armor and weapons at all costs.

Being in a covenant of nutcases... I don't envy you. But take care. One or two, okay. But if these magi are all deluded, there must be a reason.
Either they claims are true but unprovable, they interpret the facts wrongly, or someone manipulates them. But there must be a root to their thinking. I advise you to find out what it is. And act accordingly.
Another thing. If their delusion is strong, they may be prone to stupid moves. Like attacking someone, or accusing him. Conspiracy theories lend themselves well to finding ennemies. Don't get caught in the fallout of their eventual mistakes.
Did Ariel know about this before she send you to them? And is so, why? And why did she care?

Talking about conspiracy theories... I spoke with Sandra Flambonis, from Clair de Lune. There are rumors. About Garus being murdered. And that Ariel doesn't trust the magi of Castra Solis with her life. I don't know if this is true. But if it is, beware. You'll be seen as an agent of Ariel, and thus, a target. And you'll be alone. I won't be here to have your back.

Every thing is fine here. Edward* is growing up nicely. Clara spoils him a lot. I try to compensate. I'll tell Betty and Johan. They'll be happy. Alieanus almost made his lab explode last month, but everything's okay now. iolar... just flies out, I don't see her much.

Until the end,

Wirth, of Flambeau.

*Remember, they had a son!

(forgot about the son :blush:. Um, Roberto was inquiring about Wirth's attempts to have a second child before starting Longevity.)
written to Wirth at Novus Mane, at the end of 1226.4 (though Roberto dates it as Winter 1227 because he goes by the ecclesiastical calander)
[color=brown]Salve sodale!
Good to hear from you. I hope to see you this summer at Tribunal, which is being hosted here at Mons Electi. You know how I hate the Normandy Tournament, but as a social gathering this will be an important event. I need to make allies, gather information, and build a network. This sounds so very unlike me, but it is what is needed. As I told you, I do not fear death. I fear becoming a politician.
As for "delusions" of my new covenant mates, I exaggerate. As far as I am aware, no one here is utterly mad or anything. It is just that I have a hard time swallowing it. But it seems obviously tied into the events at hand. I will speak more specifically whence we next meet in person. I do not feel comfortable writing it down for there may be spies everywhere.
As for Valarian, I am not so worried about him. Terram specialist? I wear leather armor and fight using fire. But still, he seems like a man just doing his job. He may be an @$$hole, but he has yet to do anything to really torque me. Besides, he is a Hoplite of Gurnicus. Such men are often made gruff by the sorid experiences they are forced to deal with. And if he gets out of line, I'll break his nose. Let's see the Terram expert halt a fist in the face!
Aelianus, alsways with the crazy inventions. And Iolar. The fiery beauty. There could have been something there if she wasn't so set in her pagan ways. I can be quite tolorant and open minded, but I cannot compromise my faith.
Have you heard from Havlard lately?
There is Flambeau magus here I think you might know. He seems to be of your lineage, the Perdo magi of Apromor. He specialized in cold and ice. His name is Issen (I think), and he reminds me of you.
I am now in the midst of rebuilding my lab and outfitting it the way I like. Mons Electi has provided me with Venitian glassware and other superior equipment to replace what was broken, plus some well crafted tools superior to those I had before. It is time consuming, but this lab will grow to exceed the quality of my old one by the time I am finished.
These people gawked when I installed living quarters in my lab. The sanctum has plenty of room, I just like staying close to my projects as they percolate. I might move it later, or use the extra space in the tower for storage. I need to rebuild my armory. My main gear is intact. All of the extra weapons I had been collecting were looted though. Good thing I gave you my old sword! That's the only item I can think of, other than the gear I wear, which would serve as an Arcane Connection to me.
Until we meet again my friend. Hope to see you this summer.
-Roberto of Flambeau

In response to this letter from Tranquillina, the following letter is delivered by Renaud late in the spring of 1224. It is written upon papyrus, sealed in wax that contains a piece of walnut shell still embedded in the seal.

Fair greetings, sodalis. Please forgive this aging old man who could not directly remember receiving the letter to which you referred; fortunately it was still ensconced in my stored belongings, and hence I was able after reflection to call our introduction to mind. You have moved quite a great distance since that time, as you say - perhaps not so unusual, although I far prefer to remain here amidst the stability of home and family. Your prayers on their behalf are kind and welcome: when we received your last letter, Semira called for a mass to amplify your intentions and to echo the Lord's favor back upon you. My children and grandchildren are well indeed, although my nephew Sopros was thrown from his horse and is confined to his Convalescence Bed; I thank you for your prayers in his name also. Arbus Tutus (my 7th) is now raising a daughter, praise God, and will soon begin siring sons of my great-great-grandfather's bloodline.

But you asked about Hermetic matters, in particular the art of diagnosis. The best use of this quill is to inform you that much of what I might tell you is also available to the Order at large, as I have sent two volumes detailing my research to your House's vaunted library. Most in demand will be my treatise on Longevity Rituals and fertility, but your inquiry leads me to suggest the other volume, in which I describe Artemis' Fertility which demonstrably increases the likelihood of conception for the spell's beneficiary. Among other incantations, the diagnostic The Maculate Noblewoman is most directly related to your question; I should attempt to summarize its main ideas briefly here, for your medical beliefs (if I might say so without offending) are suffering from a few minor misapprehensions.

First, while you are correct that the humours derive from the chyle that is delivered to the liver via the appetitive force, it is not the liver alone that mediates the second concoction producing the four humours, but only the aspect governing the sanguineous humour. Indeed the natural faculty must be distributed as far as the pituitary before all four humours can be derived. On the plus side, this demonstrates that your hypothetical Intellego spell can be centered upon one of these organs alone, the pituitary in your example of detecting the creation of the serous humour. Contrarily, Intellego trained upon the liver alone cannot detect the balance of humours. Moreover, the transformation into cambion (and, more pertinently, sperma) is far removed from this second concoction, and so - while the balance of the humours is of course essential for the health of the human vessel in which flourishes the cambion, it is not directly involved in that creation. In fact my grandfather Alboin was the first to demonstrate conclusively that cambion can indeed be magically created....
(He includes a brief description of his grandfather's spell, then goes into more details about his diagnostic incantation and the elements of Corpus magic that differentiate its effects on the various bodily tissues and fluids. Much of this description is understandable, but a few details involving both advanced medical knowledge and newly discovered Hermetic theory are difficult for even Tranquillina to fully comprehend.)
In this way, we see that additionally to the reduction or amplification of any one humour, it is crucial that the total fluid content of the patient be preserved, else one might induce hypohydration or, in the other direction, even burst an organ with excess. This is the danger (one danger - not the only) of weaving Rego power into a diagnostic spell, which is why I prefer to regulate the patient with mundane methods (simple fluid intake, administering a spontaneous purgatory, or leeching) and confine such investigations to the Technique of Intellego alone.

Perhaps these simple observations might assist you in pulling together a lesser version of The Maculate Noblewoman, to allow some investigation into your servant's condition while you gain access to the perfected spell at Durenmar; I hope I have given you some reason to be hopeful. I will pray for her fertility at the next full moon. Your invitation is most kind, but I have a large family to oversee here, and indeed enchantments to design for the first of my great-grandchildren.
Aurulentus ex Jerbiton

Back to Roberto, at the start of 1227

Salve Amicus

I had planned to skip the tribunal altogether, but Edward seems quite eager to see it, so I guess I'll come. It'll be something he'll remember.
I'll hear you about these magi. I hope to be able to shed some insight in this.
Havlard... We still keep to each other, so I can't much tell. You know what it is. Not a friend, not a foe, just the neighbour.
Quite funny that you'd speak to me of Isen. We had a correspondance a few seasons ago.
Sandra Flambonis send him to me, assuming, like you, that we shared the same lineage. We don't. I'm from Apromor, and favor Perdo Corpus and stealth. He's from Sebastian, and is all about Creo, Rego, and Aquam. Still, we managed to find something to discuss with Parma. Seemed like a nice guy, I agree, although a bit obsessive. I hope you two will become friends. It'll make your stay easier.
I'm glad you've got such good equipment for your lab. You're lucky ME is so wealthy and generous. Some covenants would have left you out dry. As per your lab and sanctum, it's yours, so who cares? Do as you like.
And have no fear for your sword. I've put it on display in my lab. It reminds me of our friendship every day. And I'll kill anyone who tries to take it.

See you this summer, then. Clara sends her regards. Edward does, too. He misses you and your stories, says you were funny.

To: Ra'am of Bonisagus
[tab][/tab]Covenant of Phoenix, Iberian Tribunal.

From: Fiona ex Miscellanea Kore tes Kirkes
[tab][/tab]Covenant of Mons Electi, Normandy Tribunal

(early to mid-summer, 1225...about three days or so after Praxiteles and Alips arrive))

Esteemed sodalis,

I do not know if you remember our chance meeting at the most recent Normandy Tribunal meeting, but I recall well the measure of success that you had with the stall you had set up for your Longevity Rituals.

Unfortunately, my knowledge of this particular application of our Arts is somewhat limited, and so I turn to you for help.

A magus whom I have commissioned for a project, has requested that I find a superior Longevity Ritual for his wife. His wife is already under the protection of a Longevity Ritual and, although she claims to be in her seventh decade of live, looks to be no more than 20.

I immediately thought of you, due to your success at Tribunal and the fact that, as a Bonisagus, your knowledge and application of the various areas of magic are surely nonpareil.

I trust that this commission is one that strikes your fancy and that you respond at your earliest opportunity so that we may work toward a mutually beneficial bargain.

[center]Fiona ex Miscellanea Kore tes Kirkes[/center]

About two weeks later, a letter is returned...

To: Fiona ex Miscellanea Kore tes Kirkes
Covenant of Mons Electi, Normandy Tribunal

From: Ra'am of Bonisagus
Covenant of Phoenix, Iberian Tribunal.


I do remember you. Pardon me for saying it, I have been told that I am direct, but I don't mean any disrespect, you are not easily forgotten. There are a few magi of your physical stature, so you and your kind have a tendency to stand-out. My apologies if that came out poorly. I am direct, not mean-spirited. I could tell you many a tale of where I told one of my amici here at Phoenix to do something and it was ill-received.

I am extremely surprised to have received this note, as Korvin is probably well versed at creating longevity rituals. So I must ask, is there a reason you seek me out, rather than your covenant mate? Is there some matter of confidentiality that must be maintained? A certain amount of discretion into your affairs required?

I am currently engaged in research related to maintaining fertility after commencing the longevity ritual. I offer standard rituals and experimental rituals to further my research goals. In the event of a flawed ritual that comes as a result of an experiment, I will reperform a standard ritual for half the cost. For the woman in question, my knowledge is more than capable of making her a ritual. Depending on whether extra vis is used, I can probably achieve as high 19th magnitude ritual, or 15th magnitude if no vis is used. Of course, this is at my lab here in Phoenix. Regardless of whether you chose an experimental or standard ritual, my vis fee is one half of the amount of vis necessary for the ritual. In her case that means my fee is 7 to 13 pawns of vis, above and beyond the cost of the ritual. I waive my fee for any ritual that needs to be reperformed, so you can exclude that from your calculations. We provide full hospitality for the duration of their stay here, and our environment is pleasing and relaxing while they are here[1].


[1] Ra'am is running a spa. :laughing:

Letters go back and forth between Mons Electi and Nigrasaxa multiple times a year. The following letter was sent to Tranquillina in the late autumn of 1224. It is scribed with a meticulous, almost pretentious handwriting, upon flax paper of higher than the usual mediocre quality.

My dear friend - so good of you to stop by for dinner last month. I'm sure everyone was as glad to see you as I was - I'm sure you know not to read into Herrit's games of the mind, nor Siffed's criamonic vagaries. We much enjoyed the bottle of Burgundy wine you brought - small recompense, I suppose, for you having to learn that hooligan Norman tongue. Now when will you get around to preserving that damn Arcane Connection here so that you can visit indefinitely?! I would spend the week myself on your behalf if I wasn't staunch in my commitment not to let you off the hook where viswork was concerned. I vow I will learn Pilum of Fire and cast it at your head if you go through with your incomprehensible plan to remove the distillation equipment from your lab. Expansion, my toll-toine. (partial jest)

Anyway, as we predicted the bitter cold has come early this year. Don't even tell me what balmy breeze you're living under. Interesting to hear about the environment at Mons Electi and how conducive it is to casting wards. I'd ask for the lab notes for your upcoming creation but I know it will end up in a folio anyway - ! This Viscaria sounds like quite a character. True that the Tribunal City you described to me seems like it will be quite impressive, if a bit ostentatious - I know many of my sodales are wont to show off unnecessarily. (say you nothing!)

Well, I guess we caught up on personal matters aplenty last month, so I might as well spend some time on our ongoing Vim discussion. Look, Tranquillina, I know your theoretical bent, and I trust that it really is your House training and not some weird coping mechanism for your condition; I respect your Hermetic knowledge and grant that there is some (distant, philosophical) validity to your point of view. But I am a practical man. I know Vim when I see it in action. When I sense a magical aura, or walk into a foreign Aegis, or cast one spell upon another, or investigate an enchantment. And, yes, when I open an item for enchantment, absolutely. To divorce yourself from actual, tangible Vim is to look at the matter with one eye closed.

Let me further my point with an example. Last year, Morlen went out to parley with a newly contacted Sidhe tribe; in the process, the faeries' stags charged our party, and one of the stags had to be slain. Morlen was near inconsolable, and not just because it soured the negotiations. Anyway, the stag's body was brought back to Nigrasaxa, and I went about harvesting the vis. Since I was in no hurry, I decided to boost my magic slowly, to test the resistance of the fae creature even after death.... (There follow a few paragraphs about some small-scale Intellego Vim and Muto Vim experiments that he performed on the corpse.) My hands stank to heaven for a week thereafter, but it was worth it to see the look on Maximianus's face!

Well, let's hope some of that will be useful to you in your quest to understand your own corporeal connection to Vim. I have to get back to this commission. Bloody hell but some days it's not worth the vis, to have to work in an unheated lab for half a year. I hope word of the finished product makes it around the Tribunal - I'm adding a few (necessary) flourishes to the larder to make it a little more impressive to the untrained eye. Take care of yourself down there - stay away from fire giants,