With the winter solstice approaching, the magi of Domus Aureus met again, and maybe for the last time, in Jarcovius' tent. Several important matters needed to be discussed, and the meeting agenda was distrubuted to each of the Council members a month beforehand.
One by one, the magi of Domus Aureus entered the tent, and sat around the table, exchanging their individual opinion on the topics that would be discussed later. When every Council members, as well as Talus, had arrived and the council was declared in session by Antonius by hitting the table three times with a wooden hammer. He waited a few seconds for everyone to go silent and then said:
"Welcome to this session of the council. The agenda was distributed to you earlier this month. As we don't convene often, does someone want to include an addendum ?"
After a a few addenda were made, the subject of Talus Ex Bonisagus and Terra Ex Miscellanea memberships was shortly debated, and it was unanimously decided that they would be admitted as full members of the covenant of Domus Aureus; this had been already debated earlier, and the goal was merely to formalize things. The covenant charter was read aloud, and then Terra, followed by Talus swore he Oath of Covenant, before apposing their signature on the document.
When they were done, the Council welcomed them again, this time as full members, with all the duties and rights this implied. Antonius, hoped to the rest would go as smoothly, but he knew that the debates would go late into the night.
"So, the second point on the agenda is ....
(OOC: I skipped the part about discussing their membership, as we mostly already had agreed in other thread. I think it would shorten the meeting considerably if everyone gave their opinion on all the topics at once, so we dont have to go over all of them one by one.)
Impressed with the plans the magi of Domus Aureus have for the covenant, and delighted to have found a place where his gifts are encouraged and appreciated rather than dismissed, Talus is happy to give up his restrictive position in Durenmar and join this new covenant. He's discussed the matter previously with the other magi as well as Pallas, and comes into the council meeting ready to cut his previous ties and swear to the new covenant. This he does when the time comes.
Afterward, he turns his attention to the new matters for discussion. "I wonder if for the sake of Terra and myself you could give a quick precis of the situation with respect to the situation vis a vis Count Henri of Malta, the town charter, and covenants resources."
OOC: I'll do it later in character, but for now:
-We need to discuss what source of income we will have (we mostly did it out of character).
-We need to discuss the need to find sources of vis in Malta.
-We need to mend relation with count Henri after Maffeo screwed his pirating operation at the blue cave.
-We need to formalize the town charter.
-We need to discuss who gets citizenship (that will impact what we pay each year).
This year Tartessos is able to join the others in their yearly vigil on the hills, hoping against hope for the return of Jarcovius. Due to the nature of Hermetic Magic, no one actually expected him to return for another seven years, but their experience with ancient magic has taught the group to take nothing for granted. The last sliver of the sun dipped below the hills, cloaking the magi in shadow. After subdued conversation they slowly make their way to Jarcovius' tent where Antonius calls the gathering to order and sets the agenda.
Tartessos does have additional agenda items, namely the assignment and claiming of Sanctums and expeditions to the to Tribunals this year; he also has some thoughts on income but will wait until that item is raised.
"Welcome Sodales! For our newest members, I would be happy to give a summary of our current resources and relations" OOC, I think Maffeo would actually be doing this, but Astoim has not been on the boards for almost a month and did not reply to a message I sent; at the very least he is unavailable for the time being. Likewise Xandran has not been present since May.
"We currently have large stores of both vis and mundane silver, although I believe those will both be depleted rapidly if we do not take action to make them renewable."...Detailed in the Covenant Resources thread... "Our Library contains a few impressive texts, but is very light on hermetic writings. We have the capability to expand this rapidly through purchases at the two tribunals occurring this year "(plan for adventures in the fall, I think. Details of our library are present in the Covenant Library thread and an Excel file is in the Player Generated Resources thread. "Here is a list of Hermetic devices present at the covenant; most are privately owned, but as I stated when I returned, they are available for use for all magi assuming I do not have an exigent need for them at the time." Magic Item Tracker Excel file added under Player Generated Resource thread.
"I understand our relation with the good Count to be thus: He was using a base near Hagar Qim to support his privateering efforts, and this base was made public during a judicial hearing, on the mistaken assumption it belonged to someone else. Since the base was no longer secret, he offered to trade us access to the environs in return for outfitting and operating a ship as a privateer; it is possible he would want sometimes to direct the target. In return we would gain an Intellego aspected aura of unprecedented strength. We rejected the offer in favor of settling here at Tarxien, but indicated it was due to lack of resources, not interest. This hopefully kept the offer open for when we do have resources. All indications is that he is irritated at us or our indiscretion, but is willing to put that aside for more concrete gain.
"The town charter is fairly standard language. The land is owned by a foreign noble whose interests mostly lie elsewhere. Our most pressing obligation is to pay a modest head tax on town citizens; part of what we determine tonight is what constitutes citizenship. Of more long range consideration is what happens if our liege lord comes into conflict with Count Henri.
"Vincente reported that the count is irritated with us indeed, and if there is someone that we should avoid displeasing it's him. From what I know he is a pragmatical man. Sure, we inconvenienced and perhaps embarassed him. However, should we show ourselves as useful, we could have a profitable relationship, and I think that he, too, would be keen on keeping our dealings secrets."
"What does a noble like count Henri wants and what are we willing to offer ? That is the question. Money and power would be a good place to start, but somehow I think Henri sees money more as a mean to reach power, than as a goal itself. A bribe would be crude and probably insulting, but if we are to have a trading business, I suggest we establish it in the harbour of Mgarr, instead of dealing with the Al Faquesh again. That way, we would provide work to his folks, and by paying whatever taxes and tariffs he deems necessary, our covenant will cease to be a source of annoyance an for him an become an asset."
"Still, even if we were all to agree, he must too. And after Maffeo's blunder that might prove difficult..." Antonius then looks at Tartessos. "What I will be suggesting next might offend you, but you alone will decide, as your property is not anyone but yours to give, but please hear me out. I suggest we give him the armor Garcin wear at times, and that in addition to being of excellent craftmanship, offer unmatched protection. Count Henri has dangerous... occupations, and would definetly appreciate an armor that offer so much protection without sinking you like a stone if you go overboard. Also, there are precedent of such object being sold to knights, so any tribunal would be hard pressed to charge us. The way I see it, the longer he stays alive, the longer we don't have to renegotiate with a someone else. We would only be ....protecting our investment."
Tartessos lets out a short laugh. "You've never been able to offend me, Antonius. I see that your suggestion is firmly rooted concern for us as a group, and I certainly would be willing to sacrifice should it be needed. In this case would say nay for two reasons.
First is that it is an non-replaceable resource, one that could save a life later down the line. If that in itself is not enough to reserve it, then I suggest we consider that with several strong rego craft magi, we could actually make a suit of armor of near magical quality (Excellent +2 would add +2 to Protection). It would not be equal to the IOQ, but it should be as good or better than anything the Count has ever laid eyes on. That should fill the same need, but would be very replaceable.
If, for some reason that was not sufficient, then I would feel better spending a season making a Doublet of Impenetrable Silk with expiry to donate instead. Actually a Doublet would be more of a side project, done at the same time as another enchantment.
Note on finances- this year has cost roughly 82 pounds of silver, aside from the wine purchase, and next year is likely to see at least 92 pounds in expenses.
"I partly agree with you, Tartessos, but the count as probably already the best armor his coins can buy. If we are to make ourselves indespensable, the gift that we will present him needs to be truly spectacular. I was in no way proposing that you would give the armor without being properly compensated... Maybe we could arrange to buy another to replace the one you would loose ?Do you know anoyne in Verdi capable of producing more ?"
He thinks for a moment:
"Hum... maybe something else could be as valuable as this. If we adopt trade as a source of income, surely the enchantments you are capable of making will give our ships and edge over the competition. Maybe count Henri would be more interested in, for example, always having favorable winds or a ship that cannot be burned, even by Greek fire."
This is what I propose:
"We offer him an armor of excellent properties, be it the aforementionned armor, or an armor enchanted by Tartessos to apologize for the inconvenience we caused. We would then bargain for the right to use the port of Mdine for our trading company, possibly offering him something to help him in his unofficial activities. If any of my esteemed collegue has other plans with regards to possible sources of income, please detail them."
"Now, while we are on the subject of ressources for the covenant, how many enchantement enabling grogs to use vis can you make in a season, Tartessos ? We ourselves are quite busy with establishing our laboratories, writing about our researchs or building the covenants. We all know the transiant nature of vis, one of the simplier solutions would probably to pay certains individuals that travel extensively around the islands to use them year long, so that they may find vis or sources of vis for us. What do you all think?"
"Unfortunately House politics keep Items of Quality as a bit of second class citizen in the magic department. The Primus sets pricing and thus IOQs simply are not profitable in the primary market. Few magi learn the mystery and those few rarely stay at Verdi due to the prejudice. There is a something of a secondary market for used IOQs but as they are rarely available the prices are ironically astronomical. In short, it's not a replaceable resource.
I am interested in your ideas on trade and ship design. I too believe our destiny will be ruled by the sea and have been musing over ideas to aid those endeavors. I do not think we should give Henri anything blatantly supernatural lest we be accused of meddling in mundane affairs. Plus we want our ship to be valuable to Henri so that we gain access to the auras in an around Hagar Qim.
As you say, he likely has the best armor coin can buy; suppose we offer him an advantage in the political arena? Madaleen has a selection of fine French fabrics that could be rego crafted at that same Excellent quality we are discussing. It could further be enchanted as a Doublet. Thus he has magnificent regalia to impress his fractious followers, and also has hidden protection against a knife in the back. Still spectacular, but... subtle too. After all, is that not the trait we want to impress upon him after our early bluntness?
Lastly, are you asking about an enchantment so grogs can find vis? If so, I already have one made, plus a lab text to make more. I could easily make four or possible five more in a single season. Of course anyone loaned one of these would have to be of the utmost trustworthiness, both to care for the item, and also to not reveal the secrets of what we desire, lest mundanes cut off access. Lastly, they would need the knowledge of how to manage these vis sources so as to not destroy a recurring one. For example, if the crabs of Hagar Qim were hunted out, would the source manifest in a new way, or go extinct? I think these vis hunters are a fabulous idea, but need to be properly trained before unleashing them. Let us train one, and then decide if we want to make more earrings.
"I'm curious," Talus asks. "How much does the count know about our ... unique abilities? Is he aware we're magi, or does he think we're simply scholars? The less he knows, the more subtle we have to be. And even so, I tend to agree that subtle is the way to go regardless. An enchanted doublet does seem like a good initial offering."
"I can safely say that he knows who we are. Hell, by now probably every single Matlese is aware of that fact too. There is no way we could have employed enough masons and laborers to accomplish what we have done during the last few months. Don't forget, news travel fast in small communities, especially on an island. Even if he did not, I would advise that we are straightforward with him, as he does not seems a man overly fond of intrigue."
"I a way, perhaps we are overthinking things. Let us meet with him, and offer him the choose from a selection of minor enchantments, that will not see us dragged in front of the Quaesitores. Then, let us discuss business with him. That would be the simplest solution, and perhaps the best."
"As for the idea of employing people to look for vis, the goal is not to have them gather it; I assume that we would still do it ourselves, but to detect it. The count's warden comes to mind, he travel extensively around the island. I am sure Garcin and Nicolae would be adequates canditates too. Maybe someone in Mgarr too, as it is close to the ruined temple of Skorba. We would simply pay them to come and tell us anytime they ring."
"As for the citizenship, we have an understanding with the Al Faquesh that muslims should have the same right as the christian in the city. I would say this is fair, as our Order allows magi practicing different religions in it. I would disagree, that there should be any place of worship inside the current walls, as over time the magic aura could diminish. Outside of them, it is not our business. "
"One last thing I would have liked to discuss is this; I suggest we try to find and employ skilled craftmen such as silversmith, goldsmith, lapidary and perhaps mechanics. We could rely on them to provide our lab with the necessary equipment, and in exchange could offer them protection, salary, free time. Jews are persecuted across Europe, and give our town charter, many would probably be interested in having equal rights."
"I think being frank with the count is a good idea," Talus replies. "I believe that there is definitely level of 'gift' that can be given to him without it being considered to be 'interfering.' In fact, quite the opposite, we've giving him the gift to try and keep from having him force us to interfere with his further actions."
"But I would strongly advise against using anyone outside the covenant to search for vis. The moment the count knows vis is important to us, and that there's a way for him to find it, is the moment he starts hoarding it, not because he can use it, but because he knows it's valuable to us. Far better that we keep that information to ourselves."
"As to the Jews, I can appreciate the idea of recruiting them, and it may be workable. But do keep in mind that we'll have to deal with local prejudices if we have a large population of Jews. And we may get some undesirables like usurers and the like. There will be down sides as well as up sides."
David pays more attention at the mention of recruiting craftsmen by Antonius. "That sounds like a good idea. As with other suggestions, we likely can use our shipping to sell any quality goods we don't need. Which many craftsmen would find attractive. Recruiting from persecuted groups sounds sensible to me. As long as we bring in a range of folks, and they reside with us, we can probably manage any negative local reaction. of course, many other covenants have used this source, so it may take some time to get out the word, and get results."
Tartessos will lean back and listen to the magi debate. "I think the issue of the gift is settled, then? We shall make a gift to the Count, exact nature to be determined, but currently leaning towards a doublet?
There are a few details that need to be worked out. First, while we have better rego crafters here than I, I would gain significant advantage on the enchanting side if I were the one to make the item. Detail one - better level of craftsmanship (excellent +2 vs excellent +1) versus using Verditius runes while crafting?
The second detail is that I may not sell directly to a mundane, and currently do not have a Venditore. This is a formality; we may designate any non-magi as my Venditore, but this must be done before any gifting.
Lastly, if I am going to be spending a season crafting MuAn, what else would we like me to make? As I will be using expiry, I could craft a bit more than usual. For example, I could place this same protection on several leather jacks for grogs to wear aboard ship. I could make three, perhaps four enchantments of this magnitude, or any other effect of similar level that would play nice with expiry.
Antonius - I do want to revisit your thought on a vis survey. I am not necessarily opposed to an outsider doing it, but only if they are of extreme trustworthiness. Do you think Carlo qualifies on this account, or did you have someone else in mind?
Terra is late, and she has bandages on her arms. And looks moderately unhappy "Sorry, I'm late I may have injured myself in what was definitely not a mystery ritual. Would anyone like teaching on a topic? And does anyone have a spell to accelerate healing? Or better yet, a spell for curing a moderate wound? I can provide the vis and a bit on top, of course. "
"I'm sorry," Talus replies. "Healing was never one of my strengths. I haven't learned any spells that might help you."
Tomas looks over at Talus comment, and then turns to Terra. "I would be happy to help." He steps (more precisely, limps) over, and takes Terra's arm in his hand. "Just how badly did you hurt yourself?" Spont a version of physicians eye aimed at evaluating the wound. (InCo level 5, using In 5, Co 25, Sta 2 is plenty.) Upon determining that it is a moderate wound, he says to her "I can't cause immediate healing, but I can essentially guarantee proper healing if you wish." Assuming she agrees, he casts his Enhanced purification of the festering wound (Range: Touch, Target: Ind, Dur: Moon, effect: +18 to recovery).
He then adds "My chiurgy is probably irrelevant on top of that assistance."
When he finishes, Tomas starts to turn away, then stops and turns back. "I understand that there is much that you want to do for the next month. I can take away the pain as well. I would have to cast this for you every morning. You would still be in pain in the evenings. And it would double the time it takes you to actually recover from the wound. This does not seem to me a good idea, but it is up to you."
(OOC I hope I have understood "bind wound" properly. I can spont that as well if wanted.)
While Tomas is observing the wound and casting the healing spell Frederic will have a look at it. He is curious what sort of wound it is. Is it a cut, a stab, or a bruise or something else?
“I don´t want to be indiscrete, but could you tell us how that happened?”
After posing this question Frederic will watch her Face to detect any emotional expression if there is one.