There are two vis sources which are to be gathered in spring. The first is an apple tree at the site of some ancient Welsh ruins, said to be the home of Morgana LeFay. It is rumoured that any who eat the few golden apples the tree produces, will receive visions of the future; the red apples are nothing special, though they are quite tasty. The second source is Myrddin's Well, an ancient magical stone well which can only be drawn by one with the Gift. The well's waters turn to blood every Imbolc; it contains eight pawns of Corpus.
((Due to the headache that's been handling everyone's individual threads when folks splitting up in Chapter 2, I'd like to request that y'all not split up again. At least not for a while. If individual magi aren't interested in certain story threads, then a player can bring a grog or a companion, and we'll run each segment serially rather than in parallel.))
There aren't any residents who can tell you much about vis gathering, besides the previous shield grogs. Neither Annelise nor Emilio speak any Latin. The Tremere grogs maintain that there have never been any problems on any covenant business because no one would dare oppose such a highly respected Tremere as Justinius. Knut tells Rhodri about a magical snake that guards the golden apples on the tree, and also tells him that the red apples are safe to eat and quite delicious, especially with some honey and fishes. Devorah tells Rhodri about some bandits they've encountered on various roads throughout Wales, and also tells him that Annelise has a wild conspiracy theory about how the bandits are actually an organised group on an English payroll, hired to create chaos throughout Wales in an attempt to legitimize English rule. Groth takes one look at Rhodri and decides he doesn't like you... racist goblins.
"Ooh!" Aequi exclaims. "Marike made the most mouth watering applie pie last year - not only did she have the usual nutmeg and cinnamon but I swear she added in a pinch of cayenne pepper which gave it just enough of a kick for a sweet explosion of melting flavors. And her honey glaze on top should have made it too sweet, but it just gave it the perfect crunch of a crust. Why, I almost remembered next year's Yuletide it was so good. Can I come too?" His eyes are shining like a kid in a candy store. "Maybe if I gather enough extra apples she'll make me my own tart!"
Sinmore wasn't very certain about the prospect of gathering vis, mainly because she wasn't even a probationary member of the Covenant yet. At the mention of bandits though she perks up. "Bandits? Count me in!" she says eagerly, rubbing her hands together. At the mention of the food she cocks an ear towards him and one can see her lips smacking. "Sounds delicious...who the hell are you anyway?"
Sinmore smiles at that. "Just the two of us then?" she asks with a wink. Then looks over to the strange magus who had been talking about apples. "Or maybe the three of us? Well there's plenty of me to go around!" she adds with a laugh and sway of her hip. "But I'd at least like a grog or two to carry things perhaps, who would we talk to about acquiring some? Attravare?"
Attravere is certainly interested. "Of course, Sodales. With our vis sources contested we should ensure that a strong presence is shown. I will come with you. If we are searching for porters we might do better to speak with Stephen about acquiring help."
Attravere will also speak with the members of his house about anything they should do regarding these contested vis sources.
Great William (who insists that Attravere, his fellow Italian, call him Guglielmo) is the official Tribunal scribe, making him the best one to speak with regarding this subject.
"Since your covenant's charter defined quorum so strictly, once the covenant lost quorum your claims on vis sources were... in a legal state of limbo. So the first covenant to file a claim would have the immediate rights to harvest from any of your sources, though of course Gallus Florensis' claims would not be revoked until the new claims were ratified at the next Tribunal. Were I a betting man, which of course I'm not, I would venture that the competition for your vis sources are as follows...
Voluntas wants your Perdo source. Voluntas and Nigrasaxa want your Corpus source. Ungulas and Voluntas both want your Animal source. Voluntas, Cad Gadu, and your old allies, Libellas, want your Intellego source.
It's funny, because I've heard they all filed, or intended to file, claims on all these vis sources." Guglielmo's face maintains the utmost solemnity as he adds, "Sure would be a shame if anything happened to all that paperwork. Now my friend, if you'll excuse me, I seem to recall having left some candles burning in my study... do you smell smoke? Oh my--" his face animates a mockery of surprise-- "I should go tend to that, before any important tribunal paperwork gets damaged. Please forgive my rudeness in excusing myself so abruptly in my hurry to protect the interests of the myriad member-covenants of the tribunal." Big Will then turns and walks deliberately towards his office, hands in pockets, and whistling tunelessly.
Stefan recommends that Attravere take Devorah with him; she was Maribus' shield grog, and she is both intelligent and reliable. Though he reminds you that from sundown Friday until after sundown Saturday, Devorah will not carry anything, nor travel (because she will not wear leather shoes) nor light a fire. So he also recommends that the expedition take along Sir Michael of Kent and his friend Keith of Kent, as both have strong backs, are handy with a blade, due to their professions as travelling musicians they are familiar with most of the isles and have many outdoors skills that would make them useful to have about. Stefan makes full disclosure that two are roustabouts who cause trouble among the covenfolk and would benefit from having some work to do.
Sinmore makes sure to give William the Greater plenty of 'friendly' looks as she twirls a scarlet lock of her hair. It's not often she finds someone taller than her, and such a gentleman!
Sinmore looks confused at the requirements of when Devorah would and would not work. "I don't understand, are you saying the Grog will not work if there's work to be done? And it's not on a Sunday? Why is that?"
"Regarding the turb, I had done some watching of them over the Winter, and the ones that could use the most direction in my opinion were the archers. But Aye, a little expedition would shape up the disposition of some of those. Why not an archer, those two men from Kent, and bring Devorah. Though I hope the bandits don't attack Friday eve or Saturday morning."
Shmuel looks irritated at this. "Maga, allow me to translate the book of Exodus for you, which unless I'm mistaken (and I'm not) is included in your own Bible: 'Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, and do all work, but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any manner of work, you, nor your family nor anyone else; For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.' The seventh day of the week is, as you know, Saturday. The only reason western Christians call Sunday the Sabbath is that your church was established in Rome by Emperor Constantine I, who was himself a pagan worshipper of Sol Invictus, the Roman god of the sun. That's why you see the imagery of a halo on the heads of your saints. You celebrate Christ's death and call it Easter but you use all the trappings of the pagans' spring fertility festival, Eostre-- eggs and bunnies and whatnot. You celebrate the pagan festival of Yuletide under the pretense of Christ's birthday, when in actuality your writings about Christ make it clear he was born in late summer. Eastern Christians, at least, remember how to count to seven. As do the Lord's chosen people." Sam looks very satisfied with himself as he returns to his porridge.
Shmuel scoffs into his porridge. "AN archer? Are you expecting to come under a very small siege in a very small building so you can fend off a single cavalryman with a single archer?" He smirks. "That reminds me, we haven't had any honey since Leona disappeared. Maybe I'll go make friends with ONE bee so it can make me ONE drop of honey." After an initial look of self-satisfaction, his face is then crossed with worry as he clarifies, "You do know that it takes the entire hive's cooperation to make honey at all, right? I just hate it when my sarcasm is lost on people due to their lack of education."
Stefan the butler, who is normally the height of politeness, slaps Samuel on the back of his head. "Remember your manners, boy," he chides. Stefan then turns back to Attravere, and says, "The archers are trained to fight as a unit and they are generally useless for anything but siege, though if you wish to bring one with you I can select whichever might be the most useful. Though of course, Master Rhodri is the only one who would be able to issue any orders to the Welshmen. Devorah and the men from Kent all have passable ability speaking Latin."
Sinmore was about to roll up her sleeve and provide a cuff to Samuel herself, but let it go when the butler stepped in. She usually found his antics cute, but not with regards to more military matters.
"Samuel...this may come as a surprise to you...but I'm not from Christian Europe, or Jewish lands. My Pater found me in Muspelheim, the land of the fire giants. Though he said he had me baptized when he came back with me, I don't remember it. So all the talk of this holiday or that, or the world being made in 6 days rather than being formed from the corpse of Ymir is just as amusing to me. I mainly knew that at the Covenants I stayed at, Sunday was when the grogs became rather lazy and got drunk most of the time and my Pater performed no labwork, though always had chores for me. She pauses and looks down at him fondly though.
"As for bringing one Archer...well, you since you know about bees and their hive yes? Well you know then that there is a King Bee that directs them. When there is an unruly turb of archers, if you take one and straighten him out, the rest tend to follow his example. Plus, you may not have seen the effect of having a Welsh Longbowman, even one, has on potential...violent negotiations. They are devastating, true in the massed formations, but knowing that you have one covering you from hiding is also desired. When you're older and have gone into the field with naught but your Grogs and spells, ye might understand these things. You'll not find all of your wisdom in books ye know." she tossles his hair and nods to the butler.
Samuel's eyes widen. "But that's... well, no, you can't be a demon or you wouldn't be able to use Hermetic magic. But you can't honestly believe you're from the Infernal realm, do you?"
Samuel clears his throat. "Actually, it's a queen bee. And she doesn't direct them at all, she just lays eggs and is the mother of all the workers and guards. Bees all communicate by smell, not by direction, anyone who's been grounded in Imaginem should know that. What makes you think you know anything about Welsh archers? I've lived among a tribe of them for years. How many Welsh longbowmen did you have in France? If you're going to use a fallacious appeal to authority, at least reference a Cymric warrior--" he points to Rhodri, "--instead of implying a French Flambeau is some kind of expert. When I'm older maybe I'll forget what it was like to fight for my life and those of my people against an angry mob of Christians. And maybe then you'll be able to convince me you know more about our turb than I do. Rego Corpus," he says, and disappears, his spoon dropping into his porridge with a splash.
Sinmore wanted to argue her point when the petulant boy poofed off...again. "Some day that boy will stick around to finish an argument!" she says as she takes his bowl of porridge and starts eaating it.
She looks around to others. "Honestly, where does he get all of his information? A queen bee? What nonsense. And as for being French, my pater was English, and we travelled through France. I daresay though that there's likely some French that know pretty well the power of the longbow...the ones that lived that is." after pouring the remnants of the porridge into her mouth and scraping the bowl she adds. "And Muspelheim is not Infernal. It's a magical realm...at least that's what my research has shown. Then again, my Pater's greatest legacy could have been the boasts he made, especially as to where he actually found me."
"We need to get to these Vis sources quickly. Sir William, could you recommend an order in which we should visit them so that we might get to them as quickly as possible?" Rhodri is chomping at the bit to get moving and seems quite disinterested in the debate about bees and such.
Sinmore stands up and wipes her hands on the table cloth. "I'll be ready in a trice Sodale. I keep a bag packed at all times anyway. William?" she asks, batting her eyes. "May we then acquire those few Grogs you suggested? If it's objectionable to bring one of the archers that's fine."
((the main reason I'm suggesting an archer is because I just so happen to have submitted one, and he's got plenty of outdoorsman skills. ))