Societas Viridi Pollices

In early December 1271, Fiona posts a notice in the students' common room, low enough that hopefully everyone can read it.

[i]Attention all students:

Starting on the Ides of February, Maga Fiona will hold the first session of the Societas Viridi Pollices, which will focus on the mundane knowledge of the area of Herbam, as well as learning how to grow and care for plant life of all kinds.

Participation in the Societas is entirely voluntary, and will have no direct effect on your marks.

Anyone interested should speak with Maga Fiona outside of class.[/i]

One day, after class, Imric hangs back as the others are leaving. "Professor Fiona," he says. "I saw your notice in the common room, and I'd like to join the Societas Viridi Pollices. When will it's first meeting be?"

Fiona smiles. [color=blue]"As I recall, the notice said starting on the Ides of that would be February 13th?

"I'm looking forward to having someone to pass along some of my muggle knowledge to."

When Averell sees the notice posted on the wall, he immediately goes looking for Fiona. When he finds her, he makes sure she is alone so he can talk to her.

"Professor, I am interested in learning about Herbam, but I'm afraid that I may not have any magical talent at all. I mess things up, I can't produce any effects I..."

He stalls slightly, unsure of his words or himself. He looks at the floor, then up to the Professor.

"What I mean is, I'm trying to find my way and figure out what it is I'm good at. Which so far is next to nothing. I don't want to intrude on the class if I'm only going to be a detriment to your teaching it..."

Fiona looks at him for a long moment before she finally sighs. [color=blue]"Have a seat, Averell," she says, and then sits on the floor next to him. Even then, she's still taller than he, but at least it's a little more level.

[color=blue]"Lad, don't ever believe you don't have any talent. Out of all the possible apprentices in the world, everyone with the Gift who wasn't already apprenticed to someone, we chose you to be in our school's first class. And we would not have chosen you if we didn't recognize that you have great potential.

"There's nothing wrong with not being able to produce any effects yet. We haven't taught the students any spells, what we call 'formulaic' magic, yet. It's possible that spontaneous magic isn't your strength, and there's nothing wrong with that." She leans in and whispers in his ear, [color=blue]"There's a reason you don't see me casting very many spontaneous spells...but don't tell anyone else." She leans back again and does the pick-a-lock lip gesture.

[color=blue]"Do any of the Arts we've touched so far have any great appeal, any that feel like they're calling to you?"

[color=blue]"As far as figuring out what you're good at...the key phrase in what you said is 'so far.' We haven't found your strength yet. But just because we haven't yet doesn't mean we're going to stop looking.

"Now, my Green Thumbs Society won't focus much on the Art of Herbam, per se. It's more focusing on mundane gardening and herbology. Every wizard should be well-rounded, have interests outside the lab. One of mine is my gardens. Give it a try for a few weeks, see if you like it. If not, you don't have to stay. But I would like you to at least give it a try."

Averell thinks on the Fiona's words for a bit, and then speaks. More to himself than to the professor, but it comes out loud enough for her to hear.

"I just don't understand why I'm the only one that can't produce anything just yet."

He shifts nervously in his seat, thinking hard about what does or does not appeal to him. He thinks long and hard before responding.

"I don't know what appeals to me because I haven't really done anything. I mean, I like to read, but I find that after some time I just don't need the books any longer; it's like the words are just there, you know? I can see them in my mind without having to think on it too hard."

He shifts again, trying to look anywhere but directly into the professor's eyes; he doesn't want her to see how sad he really is over this.

"I guess if I had to pick something that we've talked about, I Or Muto? You know, the idea of being able to create something from nothing. Or to create something from something else. I guess?"

Fiona says nothing, but merely nods. She's said what needs to be said; now it's up to Averell to let the seeds of confidence take root.

((Trying to figure out just what he means by this. Is this his Apt Student or Magical Memory? I don't think either one does this.

[color=blue]"I can help you with Muto, if you want. And I think Professor Catrina has a way with Creo, if you'd like her to help you with it."

"Thanks, Professor. I'll take all the help I can get. Even if I can't master the concepts, I just want to be able to do something."

((OOC: I was trying to show Magical Memory through that post about the books as it allows for a character to not have to use or keep Lab texts to get their benefits when in the Lab. I assume our characters have been in the lab at some point, even if we are RPing spontaneous creation. I'm just trying to put a bit of fluff on his Magical Memory to show that he will become a lab rat, even though at the moment he may not realize it.))

((No one has been in the lab yet. All of the apprentices are barely useful in the lab at this stage not knowing Magic Theory and having low or even negative Intelligence due to aging modifiers. Access to the labs will be a 4th year and later option. Exceptional students might be asked to assist a professor in the lab in their free season during the school year, at the expense of the student's "extracurricular" season. Students will miss out on some XP, but they will get something else out of it.))

((OOC: That's...unfortunate. My character was built specifically on the premise of being a lab rat with very little usefulness outside of the lab. Having to wait until the 4th year is going to be...hard.))

I'm not saying it won't happen before then. You'll just need to put more effort into Magic Theory instruction... Maybe this is where your character sacrifices some of the extracurricular activities and spends time over a mouldy old tome of Magic Theory (tractatus) to get a leg up.

So, it looks like Imric and Averell are joining the group.

On the appointed day, the boys meet at Fiona's cottage, where they find the door open and two mugs of hot tea waiting on a table in the foyer. The maga gives them enough time to warm up from the winter's snowy chill before she joins them. Unlike her normal white Hermetic robes, she is wearing a blouse and a long skirt that fit in a way that they will likely greatly appreciate when they're a little older.

[color=blue]"Thank you both for showing up. Before we head ye both know how to magic your clothes to keep you warm? It's fairly simple in theory, but it does require some knowledge in Creo and Ignem. And with us being in a fairly powerful magical aura should help. Do you want to give it a try?"

If they do, she will coach them on what to do. It's a base 2 Creo Ignem spell, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2, for a final spell level of 5. Looking at their character sheets, Imric would need a 2 (Sta 1 + Cr 2 + Ig 1 + Aura 4 = 8 ), while Averell would need a 7 (Sta -2 + Cr 1 + Ig 0 + Aura 4 = 3).

[color=blue]"Today, I'm just going to take you on a tour of my gardens and greenhouse. The garden is rubbish right now, since it's the dead of winter and there's a foot of snow on the ground*. But the greenhouse..." Fiona smiles with pride.

She starts off with her gardens, pointing out the stone edgings for each plot. [color=blue]"These stones serve two purposes. They're not only decorative, you'll notice that they also serve as small boundaries. I've enchanted my Talisman" (which she holds out for a moment for demonstrative purposes) [color=blue]"so that it furrows the ground within an area drawn by it. These edgings mark the area large enough for my Talisman to work. Do you want to see how it works?"

Assuming they do, she will first clear off the snow on the ground within a plot, by reducing the snow down to a snowball. Perdo Aquam, base 5 ("Greatly reduce the amount of a liquid without destroying it completely"), R: Touch +1, T: Part +1, for a final spell level of 15. Her CT is Sta 3 + Pe 12 + Aq 8 + Aura 4 + (die roll of 0, with a Botch Check of 5) 0 = 27, halved is 14. Oh, so very close. Fiona scowls. [color=blue][size=50]"Let's see...ho, haha, guard, turn, parry, dodge, spin, thrust. Got it."[/size] She then tries again, this time with a CT of 27 + die roll of 6 = 33, halved is 16. Spot on. And where there was a cover of snow, there is now a decent-sized snowball centered in the plot. She picks it up and looks around for anyone to chuck it at. If she sees no one, she hands it to one of the boys. [color=blue]"You'll know what to do with this when the time comes," she says with a playful grin.

She then drags the butt of the staff along the edging of the now-clear plot, finishing up with an [color=blue]"E-I-E-I-O", at which the dirt in the plot turns white for a moment, then becomes turned, harrowed, plowed, etc, and perfect for planting (and its normal colour again).

After she shows them her snowed-under gardens, she takes them to a huge wooden structure, with no windows or shutters. She opens a door and motions them inside. Once they're within the building, they may be awestruck. If they didn't know that the walls were there, they wouldn't know the walls were there. The ReIm effect makes it appear utterly transparent. And there are pots of varying sizes, ranging from small ones suitable for violets to large ones that hold small trees.

Fiona grins. [color=blue]"I've been working on this for four decades. I've traded, cajoled, pleaded, and did things that I very much enjoyed to get these plants from all over the world." She shows them a plaque hanging from what one assumes is a wall. [color=blue]"This item is marvelous. It not only carries the species hitting it from outside to the inside, so you can see outside perfectly, but it also transmits the sun's heat so that it's nice and warm in here most of the year. It also keeps all the plants here in perfect health, and they grow as if they were in their native soil. For example, this little beauty..." Fiona takes them to a large tree that almost touches the ceiling some 25 feet above the ground, [color=blue]"is a fig tree...the same kind as in the Bible. I had a lot of fun getting the original tree from a magus from the Levant." Fiona pauses to reminisce about the noisy nights they had spent together and to give time for the students to explore the Greenhouse.

  • She says a's more like two or three inches.

Imric listens as Fiona explains the spell. Then, her instructions in mind, the young apprentice gives it a try. His attempt is weak and a little shaky. But it does the job.[sup]1[/sup] And soon Imric is nice and toasty warm despite the cold outside.

He follows Fiona outside, talking a bit about his own upbringing. It seems he was a very outsdoorsy kid until the Gift was identified in him. So he's always had a love for the outdoors and for plants and animals. That's why he wanted to join the gardening club.

He happily takes the snowball, knowing full well that an opportunity will present itself for its use.

"That's a great spell for planting," he says when Fiona demonstrates her spell for preparing the soil. "I'll bet it saves you a whole lot of time with your garden."

Then she brings them into the wooden greenhouse. Imric's jaw drops when he gets inside, not just because of the transparent walls, but also because of the large variety of plants that Fiona has growing inside. "It's amazing," he finally says. "It's like Noah's ark, except for plants." He starts wandering around, looking and smelling, but not touching. He looks in wonder at the fig tree, but that doesn't keep him distracted for long as he continues to explore. "What do you do with all the fruits and vegetables that you grow here? I'll bet you get a lot of different kinds."

[sup]1[/sup] Casting Roll: (1d10 + 1 (Sta) + 2 (Cr) + 1 (Ig) + 4 (Aura))/2 = 1d10+8=10 = 10/2 = 5
Good thing he only needed a 2.

Averell listens to Fiona talk about the warming spell, and he just hangs his head. To this point, he hasn't gotten magic to work very well, and he really was hoping that this would be a more in-depth discussion of the properties of plants and how to use them as opposed to yet another lecture on magic. He sighs heavily, the look on his face quite clear that he does not even want to try. He goes through the motions of casting the spontaneous CrIg5, and he is wholly surprised when he is able to pull it off with ease[sup]1[/sup]. His face lights up, a smile coming across it; he knows he's done well, and he can't hide it.

He follows the others into the greenhouse, taking in all of the plants and flowers and trees inside. He watches Fiona intently as she mentions the fig tree from the bible. He isn't a religious boy, but she has his full attention.

[sup]1[/sup]: Stress die of 1, so second stress die of 9, doubled is 18. -2 Stamina +1 Creo + 0 Ignem + 4 Aura = 21, halved is 11 (10.5).

Fiona listens and responds with questions and comments (while shedding little, if any, light on her own background or why she has such an interest in gardening and herbology), and includes Averell in the conversation.

[color=blue]"Yes, it does. Plowing and hoeing is the one thing I don't particularly enjoy about gardening. Other than that, I love getting down and dirty. Pulling weeds, spreading mulch, trimming, all of it. It's very relaxing and rewarding like little else I do."

Fiona tries to hide her pride at Imric's comments about the wide variety in her greenhouse ((Com 2 + Guile (hiding true feelings) 4 + die roll of 8 = 14)). [color=blue]"Most of them either go the covenant's kitchens and stores, or to my own. There's no sense in raising fresh produce if you can't enjoy it. Unfortunately, this time of year, not many of my trees are bearing fruit, or flowering. With your help, though, we should have a very good crop of...well, pretty much everything."

Fiona grins at him. During the tour, when Imric's attention is elsewhere, Fiona drops down to give Averell a hug. [color=blue]"I knew you could do it, lad," she whispers. She ends the hug quickly and resumes the tour.

Imric also offers Averell some words of encouragement. "See, you take all the pressure of class away and you have an easy time of it. You just have to learn to relax a bit in class."

Then he follows up on Fiona's comments. "Do you have an orange tree in here? We got oranges from Spain once when I was about seven, and they were wonderful. I've always wanted to have another orange."

[color=blue]"Why, yes, we do," she says, and leads him to a tree in the center part of the greenhouse. [color=blue]"One of the first trees I acquired was an orange tree, from some sodales in Iberia. In fact..." She finds a couple of ripe oranges and pulls them off, handing one to each student. She uses a knife to peel her orange before handing the knife to Imric. She sucks on the orange slices for a moment before eating them, licking the juice from her lips.
[hr][/hr]Before doling out the oranges, Fiona casts a spontaneous Muto Imaginem to make them taste sweeter than they normally would, while still tasting distinctively orangey.

Base 1, R: Touch (+1), D: Sun +2, T: Group + 2, for a spell level of 10. Her CT is Sta 3 + Mu 14 + Im 5 + Aura 4 + (die roll of 1, followed by a die roll of 6) 12 = 38, halved is 19. Well over what she needs.

So, not only do the oranges taste sweeter, but they've also got a bit of a kick to them.