March 20, 1220
The iciness and cold of winter rushing off the mountain is starting to subside, and the smell of a fresh, new year hangs over Semita Errabunda. Water is flowing from the melting ice, simple streams beginning to take on the appearance of rivers, the nearby lake beginning to refill as the snow pack recedes every higher above the Covenant upon the mountainside. Trees are threatening to bud, while the heartier grasses are showing signs of becoming green again, beckoning the deer and moose and other alpine animal residents to wake from their winter slumbers and dine. Birds are singing, insects are crawling, the air is warming.
Outside, on the Covenant grounds, the mundanes are beginning to stir and make their way from their homes for extended periods of time. Clothes are washed in tubs of water and hung on makeshift lines, the soil is being tilled and prepared for the coming planting season, the farmers are tending to the animals, and the foresters are pointing out which trees need to be cut down to make way for new growth. Fresh batches of wine made from the first buds of the local flowering plants and vines are starting to be made, roofs and walls of the homes are being repaired from the damage of winter storms, and the fish in the lake are jumping as young children and old fishermen alike are casting lines with worms into the icy cold waters.
Inside the central building, in the Magi Council room, a long, half-circular table with 12 identical chairs is being prepared for the annual Vernal Equinox meeting. The room has long since been polished top to bottom, several formulaic and spontaneous versions of cleaning spells having washed the room thoroughly, every speck of dirt and dust removed to show respect not only for the Magi who use the room, but to the Covenant as a whole that nothing shall become out of place or in disrepair. Even the shelves that line the far wall, books and papers outlining agenda and notes from meetings past have been rearranged and resorted, nary a sheet of parchment or bottle of ink seemingly out of place. And the Mappa Mundi has been pulled out and is on full display in the center of the circular meeting area in front of the Magi's table, the image of a ship sailing towards Normandy, gently telling all who look upon it that much-needed supplies are on their way home.
Normally, only Magi and their charges are permitted inside the Council room. But today, on the day of the Vernal Equinox, just a mere 9 days off from Easter, a young woman waits in the Council room, her presence at the Covenant a reminder that the Order always has a place at any table the Magi call their own. Her reddish-blonde hair drapes from under her cap, flowing over her shoulders and the leather waistcoat that tightens itself against her body, the signet ring bearing the mark of the House of Mercere designating her position as Redcap displayed in full for all the Magi of the Covenant to see. Ash, as she has informed you she is to be known as in the day-and-a-half she's been here waiting for this meeting, sits in a chair, near the Magi table but not at it, silently waiting for the meeting to begin so that she can divulge the information the Order has deigned her to give.