Setting: Spring 1219, Outside the town of Autun. Evening
A small traveling group goes about setting up a camp for the night. They are six in number. Two women and four men. They set up the camp in a manner that would suggest they are seasoned travelers. Four of them wore distinctive red caps. The leader of the group is a slim man with grey hair. He gives pays attention to the youngest of their group, a boy of 15 years, as he digs a fire pit. The boy looks up from his work. “ Is this alright Father..I mean Master? (in Italian). He nods and moves to the edge of the camp where the donkeys are tethered. One of their number is kneeling by a donkey, cleaning up some small items and carefully putting them back in a pack. The man appears to be younger but appearances are deceiving.
“How is he?” (In Italian)
“Francese (Now in french) I need practice”
Sigh...”How is he?(in french)
“Better now. You would have had to trade him in the town if I had not been here. I used some vis from the stores.
“Make sure you note the usage in the ledger”
“I will. Daro looks like he is doing well.”
The old man looks back at the boy, now arranging tinder in the fire pit. “Yes. I do not worry about him out here. His training will begin when we deliver the messages. You saw how he balked at you when we started? He can not do that.”
“They know he is an apprentice. Just keep him away from Dorothea. She is too proud might take it the wrong way.
After a short silence the old man speaks again.
“So you are planning on leaving Harco, Father?”
The younger man pauses what he was doing for a moment. “ Yes. Not soon but yes, I’m going to leave.”
“It is because of Floriana isn’t it. They would not let you train her.”
“My own child, the last one I would have and they refused. I can not stay there any more.”
“Where will you go?”
“I’ve not decided yet.”
The younger man pulls a wine skin from a nearby pack and takes a drink. He hands it to the old man.
“We met Gretta’s troop from the Rhine here several years ago. No such luck this year” says the young man. “ Why haven’t they built a House here in Autun. Seems like a good place with all the roads and three Tribunals nearby?”
“We’ve looked into it but no sponsor so far.” says the old man taking a pull from the wineskin.” That might change. I understand that a Jerbiton named Apollodorus has permission to build a Covenant here and it will be done next year.
Setting A Manor House outside of Autun. Summer 1219
A soft knock on the door lifted Apollodorus from his painting. With a heavy sign, he put down his paint brush.
“What is it Reynault?”
“There is a RedCap here to see you.”
“Have him leave the message and get him something to eat.”
“He does not carry a letter. He wishes to speak to you.”
“Is it Guido?”
“No. I’ve never seen this one before. His name is Korvin.”
Apollodorus stares at the yellow paint he was mixing, wondering if were the correct shade.
“Have him wait in my Studio, Reynault. I will attend after I clean up.”
Apollodorus came in to see Korvin looking at one of his paintings on display. He walk up to the Redcap and stood beside him. “What do you think of the painting?”
Korvin studied it a moment longer than turned to Apollodorus. “I like it but it might be more because of the woman in it. I could not be a judge of art but this grabs my attention. Her eyes seem to reach out....” He glances back to the painting for a moment then back to Apollodorus and bows. “Korvin of the House Mercere, at your service.”
“Not a low bow.” Apollodorus thinks, “ but a bow of equals.” As he looks Korvin over he see quite a bit of Guido in him. Guido was the Redcap that handled this area and had stopped by every season or so to check on Apollodorus. “Perhaps a younger brother.”
Apollodorus nods his head. “ You asked for a meeting with me and here I am. What is your message?”
Korvin pauses to collect himself, “I understand that you have approval to form a new covenant here....”
“Yes. Yes. Old news. I assume that you are helping Guido or taking over for him in this area. You look a bit like him. Are you a younger brother?”
Korvin allows a small smile to creep up on his mouth. “No. You misunderstand my intentions. I want to see if I could join the new Covenant. It is ideally located on several major roads and near three Tribunal boarders. Perhaps four.“
“Interesting. Normally a Redcap who serviced a Covenant would join. So you are replacing Guido?”
“I should have sent a letter of introduction.” Korven says sotto voce, while shaking his head. “No. I’m not replacing Guido. He is my oldest son. That is why you see a family resemblance. I’m looking to become an active member of the Covenant. I have grown tried of Harco and this location is very good for one such as myself to settle.”
Apollodorus raised an eyebrow in thought then his eyes opened a bit wider. “You are a Mercere Mage! You have the Gift?”
Korvin casts Palm of Flame and then lets it go out.
“We travel as Redcaps so as to better understand and help them. I was on my way back to Harco after delivering messages in the Normandy and Provincial Tribunals. I had thought to stop in and meet you and discuss your new Covenant.”
“A Mercere Mage. I’ve met only one other in my entire lifetime. Please forgive my presumptions.”
Apollodorus gestures for Korvin to follow and they move to a small study with a desk and several chairs. Reynault delivers some wine then leaves. After a few moments, Apollodorus asks. “ I will be blount. Are you fleeing from any trouble? Will taking you in cause problems with your House?”
“No. We can move where we wish but we tend to stay close or go to major Covenants. Covenants along with major Trade routes. We tend to attract other non-gifted members of our house.”
“You are saying that a Mercere House might be created nearby if you move here?”
“ No might about it. It will happen within five years or so.”
“Apollodorus’ taps his fingertips together. “Interesting.”
"And when do you think you can take residence? My problem now is one of funding. I've exhausted most of my available funds in creating labs for Magi who have already responded to me. Both in vis and silver. I hate to turn you away, but I'm afraid that taking you in now would create hardship for everyone. I'll be honest though, I am interested in having you join us, but it is a matter of timing. I've promised considerable amounts to be available to other magi." This description sounds much like what a Jerbiton from Valnastium would propose. Apollodorus is wealthy, he has discovered and able to renew a legacy Tribunal after Tribunal for at least the past five or 6. Additionally, his shrewed management of sheep farming in the area has produced some fine parchment, in addition to other sheep products, and his mundane wealth is legendary.
"These things have a way of working themselves out, though. One of the magi who said they're coming might not, or they find better opportunities more suited to their gifts. If I may, give me a year or two, and revisit me personally, or the covenant as a whole at a later time. See if you like the magi who are here, visit us as our redcap from time to time. I have frequent communications with several Magi of rank throughout the order.
"Come with me, I wish to show you something." Apollodorus takes you to a workshop of sorts, sculptures mostly, but in the midst of them, you see a detailed architectural model.
I would not be able to arrive before the summer of next year. And of course I would not come as a begger. I can supply my own lab materials if you have the space for me.
It is difficult to travel often as a Redcap. Though we like to do it, the Gifted Mercere have larger groups then a normal Redcap might have. When will most of the magi be arriving? I can pass through after that time.