Prelude: The Gathering (Fiona)

A redcap arrives through Mons Electi's Hemes portal and delivers a note to Fiona.

From: Elizabeth filia Ra'am scholae Bonisagus ab Phoenix
To: Fiona filia Maros ex Miscellanea ab Mons Electi

Dear Fiona,
Your reputation as a teacher precedes you. I had heard from my sister that you might be interested in a change of venue. I would like to visit to discuss an opportunity that might be of interest to you. I am waiting at Harco, and can come to Mons Electi at a moment's notice.

The letter isn't signed but it's clear who wrote it. Fiona does remember that Panacea/Abigail's sister is Elizabeth.

Fiona reads the letter as she reclines in a chair in her bedroom, then closes her eyes to think. She knows that receiving the letter is not a coincidence. She had been, for the past several months (for over a year, in fact), contemplating her future. More so than at any point in the past. Perhaps when they had laid Sorban to rest the year before, and she had taken the vintner's grandson into her bed to console her after the funeral. That was, she thinks, the night that it had struck home how old she truly was, and how the muggle world seemed to pass her by.

Since then, she had started writing letters to...not everyone she knew, but a good number of her acquaintances across the Order, from Stonehenge to Thebes. A letter to the prima of her House, asking if there was a place for her at Cad Gadu. She had heard of a covenant in Asia Minor that was accepting applications, and the Rhine with their legacy of scholarship might also welcome her, considering she was far more knowledgeable in the Bonisagan theories than the stereotypical ex Miscellanea and had shown her willingness and ability to pass on her knowledge. She and Ra'am had corresponded more of late, as well as Tria, in hopes that they might know of a good fit for her. But, until now, she had not received any encouraging responses.

Albus sensed his friend's mood, and the snow-white cat leapt into her lap. He looked up at her before he curled up and started purring loudly. Fiona reached down and started to pet him with a smile on her face – her familiar was always able to lift her spirits in ways no one else could, and she loved him for it.

[color=blue]Ra'am's daughter Elizabeth has heard about my interest in a new place, Fiona thinks to Albus. [color=blue]She says she has something to discuss with me, and can be here at a moment's notice.

[color=dodgerblue]It's worth a listen, I would imagine. Especially if she's willing to drop everything to pay you a call. Whatever she has, I imagine she either thinks it would be perfect for you, or she desperately wants you to sign on before you decide to go somewhere else.

Albus gets up and stretches. [color=dodgerblue]Do you still have an arcane connection to Phoenix, or are you going to make her come to you?

Fiona smiles and shakes her head. [color=blue]I haven't had an arcane connection to Phoenix since Ulrich was gauntleted. She thinks back on the young man who had come to Bibracte at the covenant's founding, and who would likely have been an archmagus by any definition by now if he hadn't felt he had to move so often to be closer to his Rose, and realizes that she hadn't written to them in too long.

[color=blue]I think she needs to pay us a call, to tell us what she has in mind. Perhaps a soak in the tub to melt away our cares while we talk?

Fiona can hear the smirk in Albus's mind when he replies. [color=dodgerblue]I take it I should find a way to amuse myself during her visit, then?

[color=blue]No...I'm not her type. That doesn't mean she's not nice to look at, though, and the tub can be very relaxing.

Albus hops down from Fiona's lap almost before she decides to get up. She heads to her podium and grabs a fresh parchment.

Fiona then rolls and seals the letter, changes into one of her "let's see who I'm taking home tonight" outfits, and heads down to the tavern after putting the letter in the Redcap's out-box for the next time they call.

There is a Redcap waiting outside Fiona's sanctum and takes the message through the portal. "If this is an invitation, Elizabeth will be here momentarily." The Redcap looks Fiona up and down and says, "I believe her business with you is personal. My guess is that your attire will discommode her."

Fiona smiles as she looks the redcap over appraisingly. [color=blue]"We can't have that, now, can we? Give me a few moments to change, and I will be ready to receive her.

"Although..." Her voice drops to a throaty purr. [color=blue]"If you'd like to wait until she leaves, perhaps we can have some very personal business later?"

She turns, leaving the door open just a crack as she changes into something more...professional to receive her guest.

Elizabeth arrives, escorted by the Redcap. "Fiona, thank you for seeing me on short notice." As usual she doesn't dance around the subject, "I'm starting a school, I've discovered how to teach the Arts to more than one student at a time. I'm told another magus, some Tremere, has figured out how to mitigate the effects the Gift, and the two together create an unparalleled opportunity. Would you be interested?"

[color=blue]"Teaching the arts to...more than one student at a time?" Fiona looks stunned.

[color=blue]"But...that would..." Her voice trails off as the import of what Elizabeth just mentioned starts to sink in.

[color=blue]"And mitigate the effects of the Gift? So the number of students you could teach at once isn't limited by how strong your magical defences are." She almost immediately afterward realizes that this discovery would make it that much easier for her to coax people into her bed, and she smiles just a wee bit.

[color=blue]"I'm interested. Where is this new school to be located? Is it going to be part of an existing covenant, or will we be starting a new covenant?" She thinks for a moment. [color=blue]"Or would it be based more on the university system and not the traditional covenant model? And would be be solely teachers, or would we have to take up other mantles as well?"

"Teaching responsibilities, and items related to extracurricular activities for students. You will have some degree of freedom to continue to pursue your own studies and also earn a substantial vis salary. I know Bibracte's sources have dwindled as of late, so this may be very appealing. I don't have all of the details, but my guess is this will be in the Transylvania Tribunal, as my Prima is in deep discussions with the Prima Tremeris. But there will be a covenant to sign, where the rights and responsibilities of the teacher will spelled out. And if it is in Transylvania, there will be some peculiarities related to that Tribunal, I'm guessing."

[color=blue]"I take it the students will be the typical age of fresh apprentices? Or does your new method...skew that somewhat?"

[color=blue]"Transylvania will be...interesting. But, as I've said before, every Tribunal has their own ways of doing things, and it will take some getting used to. I don't expect it to be any more traumatic than when I moved to Normandy"

Fiona stands silently, deep in thought for a couple of minutes. [color=blue]"May I have a day to think about it? If you return at the same time tomorrow, I'll have an answer for you."

Once Elizabeth leaves, she activates the Tub of Relaxing and settles in for a good soak while she thinks, and discusses the offer with Albus. After a while, though, she realizes that even with her familiar's help, she's having a hard time staying focused on the problem at hand. Perhaps a good brisk shag or three would clear her mind. So she changes into her Petite form, goes out, gets what she needs, and brings him/her/them home for a few hours.

She continues deliberating for a good part of the next day, but by lunch-time it's degenerated into "Okay, how can I talk myself out of this?"

When Elizabeth returns, Fiona says simply, [color=blue]"I would like to become a teacher at this new school of yours. When will you have more details?"

Apprentices will be the age they are, when they are found. It would be best if they are around the same age, but that isn't realistic. So,e Gifts don't manifest until puberty.". Elizabeth looks at Fiona directly, I'm sure your well aware that there isn't a lack of apprentices nowadays. Even hedge magi are growing their ranks,

Returning the next night, Excellent, there will be an invitation to A specially convened Grand Tribunal coming. Plan to attend, and make preparations to depart, because I think within 6 months of the Grand Tribunal we will begin more formal preparations for the school."

(I think your posting machine ate some letters...I'm assuming she meant "some Gifts"?)

Fiona raises a brow at the "Gifts don't manifest until puberty" remark, but doesn't respond.

[color=blue]"When do you expect the Grand Tribunal to meet?" Fiona can't remember the last time there was a specially convened Grand Tribunal. She knows it wasn't in her life-time, and thinks it was to deal with the Diedne some 250 years ago. So, although she doesn't show it, she is very impressed by how important this new development seems to be. And honoured that she's on the ground floor.

Indeed I did. iPad typing.

"Sometime in the next few weeks. You'll receive an invitation. It's not going to be a large affair."

[color=blue]"I'll be waiting."

Fiona spends the next few weeks on pins and needles waiting for the invitation, but tries to play it cool. The only hint that something's going on with her is that she becomes more passionate in her affairs, treating each encounter as if it could be her last with that particular lover and wanting to make it memorable.