At the mention of what ultimately happened to the previous Verditius, Fabrica looks a bit chastened and embarassed.
"I...see." he murmurs, agreeing that Mab had nothing to do with two of the Magi's deaths. When Mab actually appears in the council however, Fabrica's head turns suddenly to her as if on a swivel, he clutches his staff to him.
'Did she hear? Does she know what I said?!' is the plain look on his face as he contemplates the next action. Hearing her impassioned plea and surprising lucidity however he relaxes and then looks further humbled by his actions. Finally he stands and bows with some genuine humility.
"Mab...and the rest, forgive my impudent suggestions and questions. As I said, I have a suspicious mind, and sometimes I think the worst before the best. I accept the offer to stay here, and I will put my efforts towards the purpose...and honor this Covenant has been given. And I thank you."
"I shall stay. I am tired of the wide world and new sites, of the strange tongues and stranger people." She shrugs. "Eaghn needs to know a proper place to call home as well; his future is ne'er far from my thoughts."
"I will provide what aid and service I can, so the covenant as a whole may prosper."
Mab turns to look at Fabrica, and smiles. "There is nothing to forgive; Believe me," she says, rolling her eyes, "there is very little I haven't heard said about me... Though the one time a priest tried to exorcise me was amusing... Anyway, the questions you asked needed to be asked; If not by you, then someone else would have."
After Daggin mentioning other business, it is Sean Dulidh who speaks up. "Only mundane matters, of trade and accounts, and correspondence for the covenant. 'Verdi sends it's greetings, and proudly upholds it's end of a mutually profitable trading agreement. I have 3 hundredweights of Iron, and various other supplies..." He goes on for a while, about mundane matters, and the largely uneventful news of the last year in the order. "As I've to get with Angus, share a pint or three wi' him, and settle our accounts, I'll be taking my leave. I'll send Gaeth up in the morning with the normal correspondence..." he says as he opens the door and leaves, closing it behind him.
"As of the moment, this covenant is being run on an emergency charter, the necessity of which I agreed to in the fall, until such time that new members can be found. Since all here have agreed to stay, I have with me a copy of the charter, prepared last fall by the scribe here." He passes around several copies to everyone.
"Read this carefully," he says. "Flavius and I will be staying for 3 days. You have that amount of time to consider this," he says, indicating the charter,"before we will ask for your signature."
Daggin finds Corvus' approach no small source of amusement, and can't help but laugh good-naturedly, and raises his goblet to the Bjornaer.
"Respect to you for flying straight as a crow to that little battlesite, Sodalis Corvus." He sips, and his tone grows a bit more serious, tho' he still seems to enjoy the memory of the other's words as he addresses the assembly.
"There are four of us who stated earlier that they were interested, when the issue was brought up for discussion - Stephan, Mathius, Fabricus and myself, all of whom stepped up for the Covenant before knowing the specifics - and I'll assume none have changed their minds. Which at face value seems simple- four magi, four labs to be had.
"The math of this is a bit more complex, tho', as I believe we should make guarantee that one of the two Verditius inherit their brethren's sanctum. Additionally, I myself have no interest in the rooms of the Healer, and further, after examining those, I am not sure we should not reserve them in the hopes that some mage, or even a mundane with such an interest choose to join in the future. If we reassign that building to another purpose, we must at the least address the issue of where to reestablish the covenant's hospital.
"Now, if another of the four wishes to occupy Sylvie's labs, only a council vote could stop them, I would think. But even with three, one of the two Verditius will get the space of Torsten. None of us, that I know, have as yet seen the labs of Glendower, but at a guess they would do for me, tho' I would prefer to inspect them before making that decision. Kallias' rooms, as well, interest me- and I'm sure we each have our favorites.
"How, then, are we to choose? Randomly? Good natured Certamen? Council Vote? A formal debate with Quintus as judge? Drinking contest? Horse race?... Some of these would be more acceptable to me than others."
"Fabrica has already agreed for me to use our departed brother's lab. However, we would both like to explore the locked part of it before reaching a firm decision. Some of the works beyond the locked door seem quite exquisite. Even though I may claim the lab, those works belong to the covenant."
"So, that's it done then unless any would care ta tek it outside. Stephan, Mathius, Fabricus and Daggin'll have labs to begin with."
He turns to address Daggin and the Verditii, "I'm looking forward to seein' ye lab texts when ye finish."
"Now", changing the subject and raising a goblet, slopping wine over the side, "Tell us, Diedre, tell us o' the wilder places hereabouts. I have a fidget in ma wings and a hunger in ma eyes and I'd care tae tend ta both."
Daggin remembers the suits of armour dimly visible in the locked inner room.
"Altho', some of those may be incomplete works, or have been promised to another, and perhaps paid for or waiting complete payment. Any could be a reasonable assumption, else why would they still reside in the workshop proper? It may be up to you to finish their enchantments, or deal with a customer expecting delivery."
Daggin shrugs, clearly not interested in the truth of the matter as much as simply raising the multitude of possibilities.
"But regardless of that, the situation of the labs seems almost home. I feel we are going to be spending much of the next few days discussing the issues of the charter, and it has already been a long day of travel, discovery and surprises, so, since Stephan has expressed an appreciation for Kallias' abode (altho the which I confess I share), I will accept what may be my second choice, Glendower's... bunker, for lack of a better word, and hope for the best whenever it is finally opened."
He tilts his goblet in the direction of the others involved, and sips.
"It then remains up to the others in our agreement to determine how we may best help them in the realization of their own labs."
Then, referring to Corvus, as he settles back a bit into his chair at an angle, half looking over one shoulder to address that end of the table, one arm draped languorously over the table, a refilled goblet in the other.
"Yes, I too would like to hear a bit of the local lore, who our neighbors are, and what the nearby lands hold."
Mab smiles and nods enthusiastically. "Lough Caillte is a nice place, and the people are nice, and they'll even wave 'Hello!' as you pass. Even the priest is friendly. Father Brendan is so nice, and Brother Patrick is, too. I haven't met the new sister, though. And a bard comes through the town, bringing stories and songs, why yes, the town is a very good place, indeed!"
Miach(In perfectly good Latin)
"While you ask Maga Diedre about the wild places, Magus Corvus,," the wolf says, sitting up, "It is I who shall answer you. Near the lake, the woods are rather tame; It is as you get into the hills to the west and north that things become truly wild."
"Fae and Magic roam the woods, both the good and ill. Regiones small and large lie hidden in glens, often containing creatures lost to time and the world, or secrets best left unfound. The river that runs from Lough Caillte to Lough Derg runs fast and swift; While it would be the fastest route to the place you call Limerick, it is impassable."
"On the eastern side of the Lough, lie the barrow-downs, the graves of chieftans long dead, and strange creatures roam the woods near them. The mountains further west are old, old places; many creatures forgotten by man still walk there. And then there is the isle on Lough Caillte itself. No man may venture there without leave of the Tuatha de Dannan, save one."
Diedre speaks up. "Torsten always had 2 suits of armor on display, to showcase his workmanship, though the type of armor and it's style was changing. He did have some business dealings through his venditores, in Limerick, but none recently that I'm aware of. Still, his records would be in his living quarters, and I'll have to fetch my keys to open it."
"The town of Lough Caillte is our nearest neighbor. In the summer, we've a modest market faire, and the inn is a favorite stop of itinerate bards, bringing in news and songs."
"Circulus Ruber is our closest Hermetic neighbor. Innishmore is nearly the same distance, but takes a day longer to reach, if you can't fly, because of the journey by sea."
"Angus' Cousin, Kathal, sits in Galway for the moment, overseeing the construction of the walls around the city. From the east, from Dublin, the news is never good, and some of the norman lords in Waterford and Cork are beginning to get restless. The invaders, of course, have learned to recognize covenants, and tend to leave them be."
"If you want to go explore the barrows to the south, you do so at your own peril. There are some old curses still active around the place, and they have most potent gaurdians. As Miach said, don't venture onto the isle in the lake without Mab; While the fae court won't kill you, you will be removed from the isle in a most indecorus fashion."
"As some of you have found out, we have a handful of brownies, sprites, and grimms who help out around the covenant, performing small chores. They are welcome here, and they do not misbehave. They also know to stay out of a marked sanctum. We leave them milk and stew here at the feasthall. Do not antagonize them, or mistreat them."
"Some of Mab's kinsmen act as guards at the covenant. Yes, Mab is related, distantly, to the Fae court here. I'll introduce you in the morning, at breakfast."
Fabrica is mostly reading the charter as talk is made of the locality, the striking thing is that he reads silently, not even his lips move, a strange thing indeed among the literate of the Middle Ages. He occasionally raises an eyebrow, or taps upon his front tooth thoughtfully as he considers the implications on the Charter.
"I would like to see a few changes, not just for me of course but all of us here. This Charter seems hastily made, leaving it open to manipulation and abuse possibly. However I will sign it in the knowledge that there is the possibilty to make changes through a lawful and agreed upon process.
"Now on behalf of my brother in Verdi, I would ask what you would commission from us. As We have been graciously allowed first pick of the unoccupied labs in the understanding we would make improvements, what would you have us make to improve the Covenant? Myself I like to make items that improve life on the road, the Grogs appreciate that as well. But perhaps we need something at the home?"
"Until I know what each of you are capable of, I would be somewhat silly of me to ask you to make something you couldn't. It would be like asking a carpenter to make a clay pot." She chuckles a bit.
"As I've been unpacking my personal effects and making sure my horses have been taken care of," she continues," I've yet to see the inside the available labs. I am, however, in agreement that the former Verditius' lab should go to one of his brethren."
'Myself, I can only go another season before my need for one becomes pressing; 3 decades and 5 is the law." She skims the presented charter, her lips moving, but reading silently, with a few muttered words in Erse (which cause Mab to blush) as she reads. "I'll agree with my sodales; This charter is amazingly vague on a number of topics. Still, we have 3 days to come to some sort of agreement, correct?"
Quintus nods. "Admittedly, this is the original charter for the covenant, written back when things were much simpler. Things that were clear to the original authors may not be clear now, or simply incorrect. However, given the emergency measures in place now, with the senior magus at the covenant the sole authority in most matters, with no recourse, even the old charter of Arae Flaviae is better than that...No offense, of course, to my elder." He finishes with a bow in Diedre's direction. For once, Quintus seems a bit nervous about something.
"None taken," she says, smiling. "You were the one who said desperate times require desperate measures, after all."
With a mental effort, Daggin shakes off his too-casual pose of comfort, and squares himself back to present equally to those at the table.
<to Rhiannon, and all>
"If I may suggest, you among many will need new laboratories, and the basics of lab set-up can be generically predictable, as well as the more mundane furnishings, once the formality of a building has been met. Those, at least, some of us may be able to provide, tho' my own repertoire of spells and talents is to be found elsewhere.
"I suppose one of the first decisions is whether we expend the vis to create those buildings Hermetically, or the time, manpower and material to do so mundanely. If the latter, that is some significant construction, and then perhaps some magical tools that would allow mundanes to more rapidly achieve such a goal could be created. I've heard of good work done with a Muto Terram effect that liquifies stone, the which is poured into wooden molds that are filled repeatedly for standard building blocks. Or tools that allow the harvesting and shaping of raw stone, or wood, in a less labour-intensive fashion. With all of us newly arrived, it may be well to expand a bit more as we wish, or to be able to do so in the future, for I know that I may wish a bit more room than some of these labs provide."
He looks to Fabrica and Mathius, to see if their potentials seem to mesh with what he suggests.
"As for the Charter, I suggest that Dierdre remain the principle, at the very least a leader among equals, if you will. She knows best thru experience the demands of our soon-to-be sworn purpose, and how best to address those challenges. Likewise, in deference to status here, Mab should be not be called upon the same as if she had yet to prove herself or pay her way, as the newly arrived may not unreasonably be expected to do.
"I know not how much Vis the Covenant has to share each year, but some equitable portion of that should be parceled out, and as for silver, each mage given basic support, tho' perhaps not, sadly, to their preferred level of comfort. We each will have our own pursuits, and if some of those are more expensive than others', that is not the burden of the covenant to bear.
"And lastly, some clause to address how we, individually or together, are to work toward goals that benefit all, or how we are to work towards the mutual defense and interests of Logh Caillte- and who decides exactly what those are."
He pours himself a bit more wine, carefully and slowly, the faintest hint of spring-green grapes still carried by the flowing liquid.
Fabrica smiles. "It needn't be like that. Neither Matthius nor myself are Apprentices, the nature of our craft allows us to make things that one would not expect us to be able to make. And if you do ask for something too great, we can simply let you know and create it at a later time.
"Something that I think would be useful would be a hospital that can travel. An item that radiates healing auras. It could be stationed at any building here, or moved as needed. The locals would likely feel this would be a wonderful thing to have access to. It would also save on vis and time, we wouldn't need to cast Ritual healing spells, they could heal as fast as nature could allow with magical assistance. It also wouldn't require chirurgeons or nurses."
"That is indeed an excellent suggestions, especially considering our current lack of a skilled healer. But the secrets and enchantments of the Hospital that we can still claim have yet to be thoroughly plumbed, don't forget- it may well be that one of our predecessors was ahead of us on this matter.
"But a long list of possibilities is a good thing- then it's just a matter of prioritizing what is most urgently needed - Dierdre, how dangerous is this environment to our mundanes? How often do folk get injured around here- any resident dangers we can expect?"
"The subject of new lab buildings is a simple one to solve," says Diedre, listening in to the conversation, but not interfering. "I have the necessary formulae to raise any size building, from a temporary traveler's hut, to an entire castle, if need be. All I ask is that you have some idea what you want inside. I would prefer not to raise a new tower or three; While we are on excellent terms with the O'Connors, the Normans east of us are another matter. To say mundane relations with them are tense would be an understatement. A new castle or several towers would probably escalate things to open warfare, something seen far too much in this green and pleasant land."
"If you could come up with some toll boxes, enchanted with The Twice Gifted Coin that would only affect the Normans for our bridges..." Diedre's grin is one of devious mischief.
"I suspect there are many items whose functions and powers have been forgotten, or things that have lain hidden for years, maybe decades. Mab might know of more, since she has been here far longer than I have."
Mab nods. "I'll try to help if I can. There are some places in the covenant I've never been inside, ones they added while I was at Irencillia. You know, the underground ones...?"
Diedre rolls her eyes. "The same ones each group of apprentices tries to find? And look like they've spent the night in the alewive's stock when they show up? I think they're more rumor than anything else. Still, around here, things are never what they seem to be."
"My friends, we have fallen into some serious wealth from the sound of things," he says with a note of satisfaction. "And I entirely concur with the idea of controlling the number of towers. The less trouble, the better."
"However, I am wondering if we might be a little more efficient is spending our vis. Our Verditii may be able to speak to this with somewhat more authority, but I seem to recall that if we are making stone buildings, we could use some Rego Terram and Muto Terram devices, along with thier Herbam counterparts to accomplish the same feats. It would take a season or two to make those up, I imagine, let alone the two to four seasons for actual mundane construction. But we would end up saving maybe half the vis AND have the devices available for later."
"Mathias? Fabrica? What are your thoughts on the matter?"
Mathius smiles "Indeed, we could craft such devices, assuming that there is a nearby source of materials for us to use to build. However, I am not a stonemason, and I doubt that my brother is either. We would have to hire skilled craftsmen to build the labs, and they would know that we were using magic in the construction. Unless we can keep them here, or ensure their secrecy, I believe it might draw attention to us."
He sighs sadly "I am not normally one to condone the wastage of vis to power spells, but in this case I can see little alternative. The cost of such items as you described would be between 6 and 10 pawns of muto or terram vis. Perhaps our respected Deidre has a spell which will allow her to create the buildings in one ritual, which will cost less than the items?"