Building on Marko's idea to brainstorm for the Andorran Guard, I'm posting my thoughts on our relations with other covenants and tribunals.
I'm not sure exactly what Fedora's plan was for relations with other magi. But here are my thoughts (subject to the masters' approval of course).
We're headed into some important political times, as I see it. Right now one thing of great importance is to get our house in order and make sure that lines of communication are open with other covenants. Information is key, and I want to maximize the information we have available.
My first way of addressing the information issue is Lucas's two seasons visiting Iberia and Provencal. He's spending a full season traveling through the Iberian Tribunal and a full season traveling through the Provencal Tribunal. I want him to visit every covenant in each tribunal (if possible). There are ten covenants in Iberia, for example, and about 90 days in a season. That's 9 days for travel and visiting in each covenant. With swift travel, he might manage a full week at each covenant. (I'm not sure how many covenants there are in Provencal, as I don't have that book. But I'm betting its around ten.) A week (or even five days, being conservative) seems enough to make a contact or two.
My goal is to have a contact in every covenant in Iberia and Provencal - someone Lucas at least knows well enough to correspond with. If he can make friends with some of them, so much the better. But let's make sure that he has a contact point in each covenant. I figure trying to write a minimum of one letter to each contact a season in the future seems eminently doable. That's only twenty letters, or one every four or five days. And it's not like the letters have to be treatises. Barring any great need for communication, they can be relatively succinct messages.
My second way of addressing the information issue is to keep friendly with the Redcaps in Andorra. They visit everywhere, ultimately. That means they're one of our best sources of information. I'm not saying that Lucas should try and treat them as his own personal spy network. That's too arrogant. But just hanging out with them and listening to what they say has to be useful. And hopefully Lucas will have some decent gossip to share with them at times to make it more of a two way street. This shouldn't be a problem, since Lucas is a Mercere, and he genuinely likes spending time with Redcaps. And given his Gentle Gift and Silent/Subtle spellcasting, he acts like a Redcap most of the time. But for the lack of wearing an actual red cap, I wouldn't be surprised if some visitors to the covenant didn't mistake him for a Redcap at first.
So that's the foundation I want Lucas to build for the covenant's diplomatic efforts. The next question (and it's one I don't have a solid answer for) is what then? What are the covenant's diplomatic goals? What information are we trying to get from other covenants? What agendas are we trying to push? I've heard some and inferred a good bit more. But I'd rather know for certain than make guesses. Can any of the masters provide any guidance as to what in particular Lucas should be looking for or pushing during his visitation seasons?
I don't remember that Fédora actually had a plan. She got too busy getting pregnant, having kids, raising kids, repeat for anything to really take root in my head before I lost her voice.
But a question that just occurred to me is this: whose Redcaps include Andorra in their regular routes? Provençal, Iberia, Normandy, or a combination of two or all three of these? Or none, and everything gets routed through Harco and then to us (and back the other way)?
Given some of our goals as a covenant, we need to try and be in good relationships with a majority of the tribunals, or at least establish a reputation that can net us the new tribunal status we want before someone else can pressure the grand tribunal into deciding for us one way or the other.
That's a good question. I'd guess that it's probably a combination of at least Iberia and Provençal, if not all three. That's one reason I wanted to hit Iberia and Provençal first. As our nearest neighbors, they're likely to be the most relevant to us.
Definitely. Other tribunals are certainly on my radar for just that reason. But as a foundation I at least wanted contacts with our immediate neighbors. After Iberi and Provençal, I have Normandy, Stonehenge, and Roman Tribunals set for the next wave. I haven't planned beyond that, but there are plenty of other Tribunals to put on the list.
I would expect that we probably have a lot of gate traffic, including to Harco which acts as a master hub with Andorra acting as a lesser hub for Provencal, ibaria, and possibly Normandy (given both location and paucity of resources in Normandy)- actually I would suspect (and this is pure conjecture on my part) that there is another lesser hub in Stonehenge and we probably split Normandy with that hub...
Sadly, Arachné hasn't much to contribute. She spends too much time already on her duties, and is totally disconnected from any thing political.
But what she wants, once again, is for Andorra to be secure.
This would mean first ensuring we keep our "non-tribunal" status against future machinations. She thinks Valgravian tried to pull a fast one, doesn't trust him, and wants to be protected from any future attempts to force Andorra to join a tribunal or encroach on our terrotory.
Since both Provencal and Iberia are probably not our friends on this, we might be able to weaken them by playing on their dissensions, and surprise them by finding allies in far-off tribunals.
Second, she's thinking trade partners for books, and, more importantly, to find new friends that could help us if needed, whether on the hermetic scene, with mundane factions (especially the church) or supernatural enemies.
I definitely have plans to go to some farther tribunals. I just figured it was best to size up our neighbors first and see who among all the covenants might be our friends, and also see what the lay of the land is. If we want to play one covenant off against another, we ought to know who we're dealing with.
From what I remember...
Barcelona is an ally (or perhaps just a fair weather friend).
Duresca does not like the situation, but they strongly disapprove of the use of manipulation or force in any decision. They are the ones that rules the GT must decide. Their preference is for us to join Iberia.
Doissetep (aka Aedas Mercurri) supports us all the way. They see great advantage in their being a "neutral" covenant.
Estancia Escarida is an ally of the Knights of Seneca wherever they are, dating back to the days of El Cid & Vaencia.
The other covenants of Iberia are fabrications for this saga and not much thought has been put to them. The other covenants of Provencal are in Faith & Flame and I need to contemplate them.
Bellaquin is in our back yard.
In terms of lore, the Normandy tribunal book has details of an attempt by some members of its tribunal to split Normandy into two separate segments. This was apparently the original structure and some magi want that to return. If you're ok including that lore then the covenant might find allies in that faction.
Hope I'm not misrepresenting that book, only skim read the history so far.
That proposition failed in 1227 and never came before GT 1228. Our status never came up for referrendum either. Next GT is 1262. The seperatis fction of Normandy may try again, but that is a ways off.
Lucas would have been a voting member of Normandy at that time and may know something about who voted which way. Roberto was there. He voted against it.