March 1218. New beginnings

It is 1218. The Holy Roman Emperor is dying, and everybody knows it. Mundane powers are realigning towards the victor’s camp and taking revenge on the loyalists of Otto that did not turn their coats fast enough. Like them, you all have known war in the last decade, and so has the castle you know approach. Lucien’s Folly, a moniker for a castle that a count built to boost his power and become a new Landgrave or Duke more than 100 years ago. It happened to be a plan to grand for him. The castle was never finished, and you see the half built outer walls, and the incomplete upper floor of the keep, where a ramshackle roof holds the elements at bay. Since then the castle has passed to the Holy roman Emperor, and from him, to the wise men of Triamore. The men and women that has sent you the letter you now carry with you. A letter of invitation to join them at their covenant.

You might have been digging some information about them, or you might have heard here and there. In any case you know that Triamore is in a complicated situation. Only 2 Casters remain of the original complement of six. And as the power of the Emperors wanes so does the peace for Triamore. This area is a hotspot of conflict, and Triamore is in the centre of a lot of the power struggles. With a full complement of Casters Triamore could have weathered the situation quite easily, but now the mundane powers (and maybe some mystical ones) are smelling the blood like a pack of rabid hounds.

As you approach the castle you see that the outer wall is only half finished. It would not hold out an attack for more than 10 minutes with its stone structure. However, you see labourer filling the gaps with a sturdy palisade made using tree trunks from the nearby forest, that is being cleared in front of the barbican. A makeshift measure, but way better than nothing. And clearing forest in front of one’s wall is always a good idea.

YANNIS (priest of Arduinna)
(You approach Triamore from the forest).
You received your letter a month ago. White Paws’ pack, a wolf family you have known for a long time, brought it to you. You know that the leader of the pack shares a bond with one of the magi of Triamore, Remi. He has some understanding of the forest and has interacted with you on occasion. He even asked Arduinna to build a hut where to do his magics a while ago, and Arduinna accepted. You did not fully agree, since Bois de Haillot is a village that encroaches on the borders of the Ardennes, but the spirit overruled you. She must have her own plans.
White Paws’ pack abandoned you when you approached the border of the forest. No problem at all. Your connection with Arduinna remains strong and you trust the forest spirit to look after you. You have passed a hamlet, and now approach the castle. You see the village fields and the castle as an unhealed superficial wound on the Ardennes, but a wound none the less. Let’s hope things are for the better. You are curious about the invitation of Triamore, but the recent and past obertures of their magi towards Arduinna place them positively in her regard. They have always tended to be more oriented towards the northern parts, out of her reach, but they have never tried to encroach further into her domain than what they already found. That is more than what can be said about most villages around Her Sacred Boundary.

You approach Triamore through the ford. What you see is what is in the writing of Sicero of Tremere in the Triamore book, just less whinny.

The weather is overcast today, but fortunately it has not started raining. You approach Triamore with your letter of invitation. It reached you last week in Arbois, your dwelling place, making an appointment for today, the first day of March. You know about them, and have been in bois de haillot before. However, you have never been in the castle. You tend to interact more with the peasants than the nobility, so that is not a strange case. Arbois and Bois de Haillot are very interlinked, so having a reputation here as well is quite normal for the likes of you. Gossip travels fast.

The castle is an imposing land feature. You do not like it much, but have interacted with such structures before. This one seems quite dilapidated, but still impressive on its hill dominating the Meuse. Some peasants wave at you from the fields as you pass them. They are hurrying in their labour before the sky opens up and it starts to rain. They are preparing the fields for planting.

The letter has impacted you. You do not receive an invitation from Daria LaGris lightly. She might be the mistress of a single manor, but everybody in Lorraine and beyond knows about her. Not only a noblewoman, but a magician and one of the leaders of the Augustans a coven off heathens. The priest of Arbois told you about that last bit with some horror in his voice, but it just picked your curiosity.

You are already in the castle. Having come here a few weeks ago to peruse the library for some texts on Theology that the Holy roman Emperors made theirs when a monastery in constested lands losts its case in the imperial court. That was not very Christian of the dead Emperor in your opinion, but at least the books are available to consultation and held at Triamore.

You have been here for 4 weeks now. After the trek through that dark and desolate Ardennes forest the vision of Bois the haillot and is hamlets made you thank the Almighty. Triamore impacted you, since you were not expecting a library to be held in a castle, nor a castle this big to be here. Since this original impact you came to know why the castle is here and why the library is here as well, but these power plays of the nobility still puzzle you given the only true Truth of the existence of God and his manifest power on earth. You have in the past blamed demons for such human behaviours, but have come to appreciate that demons can be on leave of absence and humankind would still perform most terrible things. Well, it is your mission to correct that and make sure more souls end up in heaven after judgement day, so you know you have a purpose.

Now you are waiting to be summoned. You received a formal letter for a meeting with Daria LaGris and Remi of Mouseau yesterday in your room. The are also members of the order of Hermes, like yourself, but you have not interacted much with them. They belong to other mystical traditions after all. Madamme LaGris is an Augustan Sister. You are unsure about the tradition of the knight Mousseau, but she doesn’t seem to be as learned as her. Anyway, you are in the outer bailey now looking at the servants go about their business while you recite the rosary while waiting.

All of you: you can make whatever introductions and interactions you like with NPCs and yourselves. Except Daria, Remi and Morris. They are not available right now. You can introduce new elements in the narration, including features of the covenfolk, stuff about the covenant or the village.... whatever you think. This is a collective project, so player feedback creativity and story building is encouraged. Go out and mess around :slight_smile:

Frère Sulpice will have arrived with Fra Taddeo. He has taken whatever quarters and accomodations the covenant staff has provided to both. He is very friendly, sociable and generally easy to please.

For Frère Sulpice this means, that he has quickly organized the place to read his daily mass: best in Triamore's chapel, but also the church of Bois de Haillot would do. All he needs is a consecrated altar, chalice, paten, host and wine.
He has acquainted himself with Hugo the priest of Bois de Haillot, and should know how service and sacraments for the villagers are provided, when the last visitation on behalf of the prince-bishop took place, and whether he can or shall provide help. He knows, that he should not preach on theological subjects or confess in the village without authorization of the prince-bishop - but will not shirk occasions to otherwise fortify Hugo's parishioners or the covenant staff. What is his general impression of Hugo, how he serves his parish and the people from Triamore? Are there other people involved with church life in Triamore and Bois de Haillot?
Furthermore Frère Sulpice will have asked at Triamore library how to exchange letters with Paris, in particular with some university professors and Fra Pacifico there.

Has Frère Sulpice worked with these books now? Has he an idea how the library works in general?
He will have common acquaintances in Paris with Isabel of Bruges the librarian, and might share their current conditions with her. He will be quite impressed by her dedication to education. What has she told him of her travels so far?

Yannis takes in the work being done by the covenfolk in shoring up defenses and motions Ernest to come along. Passing through the gatehouse he attempts to catch the attention of a boy when he notices a passingly familiar pace.

He raises his voice to be heard above the din "Sulpice! Is that you?!"

As he moves closer he becomes certain that the man was his childhood friend and realizes he's wearing the robes of a monk. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in Paris or back at Reims? And why are you wearing a habit?!"

Frère Sulpice doesn't exactly wear a habit. He is tonsured all right, but wears trousers and a cowl from rough fabric, tied with a rope. Nothing to wear in any monastery Yannis has ever seen or heard of.

Apparently it takes some time for Sulpice to recognize Yannis. Once he realizes, surprise and joy flash on his face and he answers: Yannis, aide to Eliza the healer from Reims? What happened to you after we both departed from Reims? Sulpice looks quite comfortable in his weird rags, and does not make any attempt to explain or excuse them.

Yannis gives a very Gallic shrug.

"The apprenticeship with Eliza did not work out, but it was very educational and memorable all the same. I went back home and took up where I left off as an apprentice under my father. Afterwards, I suppose I was employed by Philippe Auguste, eh? Seeing as I work as one of his gamekeepers."

Yannis glances up at the sky and eyes the pregnant clouds thoughtfully before assessing his childhood companion.

"So what is a city boy like you doing in a backwoods like Bois de Haillot?"

Frère Sulpice nods to Yannis' explanation, and asks back. A post for life with Philippe II?

Then he takes up the question: My studies in Paris bore far more fruit than just an academic degree! Far, far more fruits, which we may discuss in depth some time later! Suffice it for now, that I try to live up to all of them the best I can - and this will take the rest of my life for sure.

The library of this place has a fame extending to Paris. I am checking out some of its contents right now.

Sophie strolls along comfortably, even with the small pack of her meager belongings - really just a few sets of clothing - slung over a shoulder and a traveling cloak hugging her slender frame. Something about her stride seems off as well, somewhat like she is gliding. She seems to be moving as fast as a jog while walking truly casually.

As she passes the peasants she waves and smiles to them. As she passes one young boy she inquires about his mother's health, to which she gets a grin and a thankful reply. While she slows some for these interactions, she does not stop walking. Her preternaturally short journey here is near and end, and she needs to finish it.

When she gets to nearly the castle itself she finally stops walking and sets her pack upon a stone. She turns to look about, and a small, blue and tan songbird lands on her left shoulder. She smiles at it and pets it gently while it sings to her. She turns and starts walking at a more casual pace toward the castle until the bird stops its song and starts piping a warning at her. As she tries to go further it hops into the air and flits about until she retreats some and it can return to her shoulder. Quite familiar with wards, she says to it, "Very well, Siffleur. We shall wait here." She finds a nice stone to sit on and casually waits while singing a peasant song.

First a technical question: Is the outer bailey under the Aegis, and do its walls thus prevent Sophie to be seen by Yannis and Frère Sulpice?

Anyway, Sulpice addresses Yannis: What brings you here from your work in the woods?

the outer bailey is part of Triamore proper, and so is under the Aegis. That is what I have always thought even if we can reconsider it if you all want. No problem.

Regarding the Aura, it covers the whole forested hill where Triamore is located

Perfect about the organisation of the covenant. As you know Hugo is the priest in the village, but since you are invited to the covenant he will not intervene if you try to conduct mass there. He will not like if you try to encroach on his parish church, though, even if he will be friendly and younwill find that he shares a few tenets of your Order, even if he thinks that your powrrty bow is too strict; he believes that a modicum of decorum and wealth is necessary in order to attend one's flock. He has no problem discussing such things with you in the village green for everybody to hear, since he believes that such debates fortify the faith of the flock: both of you are Christian priests even if you do not fully share the finer points of practice.

Triamore grants you access to their chapel without problems. Other religious characters will join you there. You even see Daria in one of the masses accompanies by a young woman dressed as sternly as herself.

The prince bishop of Liege has not attended in a few years, since he has been busy fighting off invasions of his lands and fighting some heretics there.

Regarding letters, there are Redcaps, messengers of the Order that leave for Paris and some other cities every 2 months or so. There are also more mundane messengers that you can contract once per month that go to Namur and from there wherever you pay them to go. The teamsters that Dinant or Namur for supplies will tell you who they are.

The books: the library is quite badly organized from your point of view. However, the library staff seems to have a strong knowledge of where everything is located. Not the best system but one that you have seen in a lot of convents, monasteries and church houses as well so nothing weird here. It is big!!! For what you have been told, it's contents are more mundane than what you would find in a monastery, since they represent the interests of the nobility, but there are a few books on the lives.of saints and even papal bulls rolled into the collection. You have been after the Confessions of Boethius and a life of Saint Patrick. There are 6 books covering the treatise of the Latin author. They are not together and the staff have tracked 3 of the volumes so far. The book on Saint Patrick is currently in your reading lantern.

Isabel has travelled extensively in Brabant, but is more a pen traveller in recent years. He refuses to leave her cherished library for long. She has a strong knowledge of the current debates in academia regarding library organisation and is not a very strong defender of the current young Pope for what you can get from her comments. Too much mundane politics there for her liking. Any specifics you want to talk with her? She has acwuantance sin the church butnhe also harbours resentment towards the institution for how she was treated at some points , some areas she is reserved.

Yannis shakes his head. "Nice to see some things haven't changed. You still have your nose buried in books."

"Remi of Museau sent me an invitation to come here through a common acquaintance." Yannis then taps a leather scroll case tied to his belt. "Don't rightly know the exact message is seeing as I haven't read it, but I was told enough that it was easy to figure out. Speaking of Remi, would you happen to know where he is?"

Sulpice smiles and nods: Far more so now!

I reckon he will meet us here soon.

After a while a man comes from the woods dressed in fine forester clothes and sits by your side. You have never met him, but you know from hearsay who he might be. he is certainly not Thurold. Remi of Mouseau, one of the members of Triamore the coven at Lucien's Folly. Unless you say something he stays there for a minute or so, looking at the men building the wooden palisade and generally looking relaxed. After a while he looks up to the sky, gets up and says we'd better get inside. It seems it will rain. I am sure your friend can stay here and be OK. if all goes well we will get him an invite from Daria later. You coming? Without further ado he starts walking towards the open barbican.

Hugo - and his parishioners - will find, that Frère Sulpice is by no means opposed to decently equiped churches. To the contrary, Sulpice agrees with Francis, that all things used in the sacraments should be of top quality, in keeping with their key importance for the lives of the parishioners.

After he checked altar (it must be consecrated!), chalice, paten, wine and hosts, Sulpice will consecrate hosts and wine for the chapel and lock them up in a suitable place and container there. Sulpice is very pleased to hold his daily mass in the chapel then.
He makes the times he will do so known in advance (likely in early morning), and will commune attendants - both magi and covenant staff - who desire so. The mass will be complete but brief. He will make clear, that he cannot currently confess attendants, lacking the license by the prince-bishop to do so: he has to assume, that those willing to receive the sacrament are also in a state of grace allowing them to do so.

Sulpice will remember this for the meeting with Daria and Remi: this may set up Triamore for a visitation any time it is politically feasible for the prince-bishop. So Triamore needs to be prepared!

Sulpice is pleased to use their services. Is he right in expecting Marcus of Paris receiving the letters then, to further distribute them in Paris? In that case, he will also write a letter to Marcus himself and set up convenient procedures.

Excellent. Am I right in assuming the Life of Saint Patrick to be rather a book on Dominion Lore than Theology?
That would fit Sulpice's plans very nicely. For improvement of his Theology he can and should rely on instruction by Pahalia for now - which is far superior to most books, until Sulpice has reached a whopping Theology 7.

Sulpice would have expected that. He offers to include her scholarly letters to Paris with his own, and have them distributed by Marcus.

Honorius III is about 70 years old, but indeed only recently enthroned. Sulpice has a hunch, that the acts of the 4th Lateran council will be of importance for Triamore covenant soon, and advises Isabel to look for them - either within the library or without.

Sulpice might tell her of Clare of Assisi, companion of Francis, and of the community of the Poor Ladies of San Damiano she recently founded. He might introduce Fra Taddeo to Isabel, who certainly can talk of Clare from experience.

Just as Yannis sits down on a suitable rock amongst the rocks in the bailey, he notes a man coming through the open gates. "When one speaks of the wolf, one sees its tail."

He puts two fingers in his mouth and blows a shrill whistle then raises his hand to catch Remi's attention.

Botched my Church Lore roll there! I was thinking of Innocent III, not Honorius. I swapped them in my mind
Ok, Isabel does not like what the church has been doing meddling with the affairs of mundanes in the recent decades then. But being a woman that entered a cathedral school posing as a boy she has some very odd views on equality of genders and she is certainly not very religious herself. Certainly not nun potential. She is interested in the new Franciscan movement and the Poor Clares attract her intellectually. She will look into the Lateran Council rolls to see if the library has what you are looking for. Honorius III is in a better footing in his mind, specially regarding church reforms, but she is still waiting on results before casting an opinion. His call for another crusade make her frown, though, since she has not seen that any good came for the previous 4. The sahcking of constantinople interested her voraciously because of the flux of texts towards the weest, but she find it terrible that so many Christians people had to die for it. especially given that some of the leaders of the massacre were from the Triamore area!

The life of Saint Patrick is a mix of Dominion Lore with Legend Lore. Quite an odd mix, In certain passages Patrick looks a lot more like a powerful magic wielder than a user of miracles and faith.

Sulpice takes her views about this very seriously. Why should women not study? The Virgin Mary was well-read when the angel announced to her the conception of Christ: because of that she understood and could accept what happened to her.
He then stresses, how Francis considers Clare his sister, and how this shapes the relation between the Poor Ladies and the Franciscan Order in all respects.

We can provide some stats for that interesting book later, I suppose. :nerd_face:

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As she finishes her ditty, Sophie turns toward the man with a smile. "Hello, she says in Walloon. "I'm Sophie. What's your name? Are you new here, too?"

(Assuming this still happens.)

Toward the songbird on her shoulder Sophie says, Are you OK staying here, Siffleur? I'll be back for you soon. Don't worry."

She turns back toward the man and says (in whatever language he spoke), "That sounds reasonable. You seem to know what's what around here. I'll follow your lead." Sophie stands up and brushes her garments to make them a little more presentable after sitting down, despite the bottom end of everything still being soaked from fording the river.

EDIT: Woops! I deleted this message by mistake. truing to rebuild it from memory...

After a while a man comes from the woods dressed in fine forester clothes and sits by your side. You have never met him, but you know from hearsay who he might be. he is certainly not Thurold. Remi of Mouseau, one of the members of Triamore the coven at Lucien's Folly. Unless you say something he stays there for a minute or so, looking at the men building the wooden palisade and generally looking relaxed. After a while he looks up to the sky, gets up and says

we'd better get inside. It seems it will rain. I am sure your friend can stay here and be OK. if all goes well we will get him an invite from Daria later. You coming? Without further ado he starts walking towards the open barbican.

Remi smiles. he will be well for sure. I have been around for a while. 2 score years more or less. it seems a lot when you spell it out, but I still feel that I am new around here! .

When you enter you see a few covenfolk that bow slightly or salute him. He returns the salutes with a smile. He seems to be well liked by the staff.

"Yes, 'new,' 'young,' and others are certainly quite relative." There seems to be something suggestive to this that Sophie's not really hiding, just vaguely implying. "I would like to meet these others..."