Corvus notices the flash of red and gold material as it is unveiled. He looks up, takes in the thee lions against the red field and slowly, almost accusingly, turns his head, bird-like, to stare at Albertus.
Daggin had been musing to himself, following the conversation only partially -
"Albertus, if you are willing to pursue theories," and that word is spoken with great care and some exaggerated distaste, "then so long as you do so without overly endangering the rest of us, don't let our preferences stop you. However, nor expect us to put faith in the supposition of others. Mab has had 300 years of experience with faerie magic, and she seems not to have exclusively profited from the experience - no disrespect intended to her, nor the fae."
When the prisoner is brought before them, the new distraction catches his interest.
He half stands from his chair, and with a quick wave he utters a formulaic spell contrary, a Rego Mentem to cause slumber. He seems more than a bit agitated at the prospect of waking the man, but resumes his seat once that prospect has passed.
"Apologies, Azaelle, but he needs not be awake to be questioned, and there is no reason to allow him to see us, or remember us if he is to depart. He is clearly a spy, and one with both education and status - look at the style of his hair, and the Latin he uses with that other language. Let us probe his depths first, and then we can best decide who he should next meet, be that ourselves, or a less earthly greeter."
He gestures to see the notes, and reads over the Latin parts, not comprehending the others. At the revelation of the 3 lions, Daggin's demeanor changes from one of calm self-assurance to something far more hesitant and cautious, his eyes narrowing with suspicion and his body tensing. He speaks to the mine-keeper, who's name he can't at the moment remember, and knows he could not pronounce when he did -
"Excellent work, good man. Immediately search the woods for a camp, for others who might be with this one, or perhaps at least a horse or sign of same. Take any others you find likewise prisoner if you can, and blindfold them before bringing them here. Turn out the entire crew, and they shall have half the morrow off, and a special meal for their troubles - the whole of the day if any are found. Unless any have other questions, go now, with our thanks and praise..."
Once he is parted, Daggin addresses his sodales in a somber tone, as if girding for trouble.
"I know not my heraldry, but that smacks of something noble - the ruling families of Normandy and France use something very similar. Unless there is objection, it is time we fished in the well of this man's mind..."
And, unless any do object, he intones a spell of Intellego Mentem, and begins to discover who this man is, and what he has been up to, and why and for whom...
Area Lore: Normandy Tribunal 1
Area Lore: Europe 1 (cities)
Etiquette 1 (nobles)
Folk Ken 2
Pose the Silent Questions, dur: Diameter
Base Casting Total = 17 + Aura +d vs 25)
Azaelle recoils with surprise when Daggin counters her spell and, feeling the presence of the Tytalus in her, she fights off a surge of anger. He is right and she knows it.
"Proceder, monsieur Daggin"
She watches curiously as Daggin interrogates the unconscious man, noticing for the first time, Rhiannon's cloudy demeanor. Azaelle speaks quietly so she doesn't distract Daggin.
"Has something happened, Rhiannon?"
Fabrica puts down the spear tip he pulled from his belt, apparently they didn't need to skewer the spy just yet.
"Has this happened before? Spying like this, from possibly the court of England?! What kind of enemies does this Covenant have? A regular delivery of Wizard War invitations, the attention of a Faerie spider queen, a curse that seems to predate the Schism War, and now maybe the King of England?"
"I'm not one to shy away from a fight, but this is getting ridiculous! Are there more enemies still? Should we make an example of the next one that crosses our theshold?"
"This is too unsecure, once my laboratory is finished and I have finished some commissions, I shall set to work making weapons and defenses suitable for us. In the meanwhile I believe a lesson must be taught to the all of the wouldbe interlopers. Starting with this spy and one of the likely candidates that sent a full moon invitation!"
"Outrageous! How are we supposed to get any work done in these conditions..!"
Rhiannon's answer to Azaelle is short, and to the point. "Men."
"Fabrica," she states, "the business with the Normans on this isle is older than any two of us, save Mab and Deirdre. Lough Caillte has a valuable mundane resource - the mine - and the nominal overlords of the isle - the Norman Invaders - can be greedy. We had a contingent of Norman Nobility at the faire, I'd wager he came to the town with them. And here is a small fact our Praeco neglected to mention - The river Shannon, some 5 leagues away, is the border. It is only because that peace has been prosperous for the Normans that there hasn't been any raiding across the river. It could, however, start up again at anytime. Even for Ireland, it is too late in the year to start a siege or even a campaign. However, scouts and spies would be a start to it. followed by raiding. I'd say we're about to be caught up in the mundane politics of this place. Hopefully, it won't come to that."
"My guess is, our corpse to be is a junior engineer for the Norman crown, and is gathering information on the local fortifications."
"Perhaps we should have more safe guards around these areas of interest. Are there other sites besides the mine that are likely to draw the attention of spies?"
Daggin spends a full diameter probing the mind of the captive, freely passing on any information if urgent, as concentration is not an issue. Once done, he sits back as he ponders on what he has discovered, and reenters the conversation as he does so, answering Azaelle.
"The entire covenant, with its walls, keep and towers. The town, a natural target for military, both for their stores and housing, as a staging area, and also to take the same away from any who would oppose them..."
He glances at the prone form, pale and still on the stone floor, and relates what he has learned.
"He will not awaken soon. He is indeed, noble, but the arms are of the English king, Henry of Winchester, known popularly as Henry the third. But this man does not work for the King, but for a local family, Baron Gerald La Poer... I had an impression of a nearby town, 'Offaly'? About 5 leagues east of here.
"La Poer is Norman, but values the English crown - odd, in that alone, so that may be the connection. But this man knows little more of the Baron, tho' he's in their employ. He was paid a pound of silver to find out whatever he can about the ringworks and mine across the river, with basic military questions foremost - extent of our fortifications, their condition, the garrison, and similar questions about the mine... I need not tell you the most obvious reason why someone would wish to know such.
"The lad has had some education - he knows his letters in Latin and Anglish both, and has a fair hand for sketch work. And for some reason, he hates the O'Connor's and their subjects, tho' I can't really discern why.
"There was one more thing, only a flash actually - a tall woman, gaunt, her hair styled as to cover one side of her face, and dressed in black. And once she entered the picture, the spell seemed to be challenged... the lad refused to answer my last efforts, something I do not find settling in the least.
"Dierdre, Mab - this figure - does she sound at all familiar to you? Someone local, perhaps a minor figure of power, someone who could be a hedgewizard of sorts? I can make another casting, with other questions in mind, but, if this figure has a connection to him, it might not be the most prudent course."
As this sinks in, to Rhiannon, and the others, he offers,
"I do not know if he would serve us best dead. If we can manipulate his memory, he might be more useful reporting things that he did not see... I do not have these spells, but perhaps someone else can provide something? Or, with what we do have, we could put on a show, either of force or of distraction, to give him a more preferable and crafted impression to carry back to his masters. I wonder what he would say if he awoke several leagues in the air? Do we challenge this figure openly, or hope to surprise her?..."
Deirdre's laughter is harsh. "This is somewhat related; Whilst you were in twilight, there was an incident here, allegedly involving a maga ex misc known as Dusk. Black Hair, gaunt frame. One side of her face is ruined, hence the hair hiding one side."
"She enchanted a large number of spiders to converge on the covenant, possibly to eliminate loose ends, as someone who had been possessed by a spirit she had summoned attempted to coerce Mab into giving up something very precious and powerful."
"Timely intervention kept the damage to a minimum."
"She is actively sought in connection to a number of low crimes, mainly theft, and 1 high crime in this tribunal, being the murder of one Ghibelli D'Vezzini ex Verditius. She is one of the Damhan Gruisan, the old curse wizards the Pralix opposed when she marched north."
"The Baron La Poer is down at the faire, and he gets along quite well with the O'Connors and the O'Neill's, which are his neighbors. I wouldn't put it past The English crown to be pressuring his vassals for more land or taxes, regardless of what the vassal wants to do."
Rhiannon answers Daggin's questions. "We could erase those memories pertaining to this place, perhaps throw some wine on him, and let him be found in a corner of the faire. I was not being serious about offing the lad. In a fight, I could. Cold blooded murder, I could not."
Daggin shrugs, casting a casual glance at the prisoner. "For a spy, I could", is all he says on that topic.
"Would it be appropriate to pay the good Baron a visit, in force, perhaps?"
He lets the other topic hang, choosing to wait for others to respond to Dierdre's reminder of events beyond his ken.
Fabrica scowls for several minutes over the different information and theories that are revealed, finally speaking after some deliberation.
"Sorry for my outburst earlier, it just seems we have no end of disturbances, but it really seems that they stem from one source, this renegade from Pralix's era."
"Maybe the simplest thing to do would be to extend the Aegis over more of the Covenant's grounds, or perhaps to put up another one to cover vulnerable areas. And of course find this witch and put her down. I'm not bloodthirsty, but I value the safety of my home above almost all else, threats like this raise my ire to no end. We should see to fixing her as soon as possible, and I'd be willing to help."
"Perhaps a few traps for spies the likes of this one," She gestures in the direction of their unwelcome guest. "In areas such as the mine. I will think more on a way to do that."
She pauses to do the puzzles in her head.
"If this man was Dusk's unwitting pawn than she might expect him to report back to her. Maybe we can use him to find her."
And to Fabrica,
"Your outburst was justifiable."
Daggin begrudged an agreement.
"Justifiable, if not everything to be desired. We are magi of the Hermetic Order, and threats such as this should elicit a palpable response, not just outbursts. If this 'Dusk' character has, indeed, penetrated our Aegis before, with the spiders I do remember, then expanding it will not solve the problem. She has a connection to this man, and so we may have one to her - if not a formal Arcane Connection, then something else... but first, with that in mind, we should remove him from our discussions. It's possible that her connection is more than distant...
"I suggest he is bound, gagged, blindfolded, and put under guard in a locked and distant room, preferably underground. And well lit- if 'Dusk' lives up to her name, perhaps light is not her friend. It cannot hurt, at any rate..."
Albertus scratches his chin and starts to speak. Perhaps if we send this man outside of this chamber and fix a arcane connection to him then perhaps one of us who is more skilled in the arts of combat can teleport there and strike down this foe of ours. But that depends on what magical skills that are available to us. We have meet to soon for me to have any knowledge about your magical abilities my fellow soldaes to suggest any working battle plan.
Daggin slowly turns his head toward Albertus, eyes a bit wide and blinking in wonder.
"Allow me to repeat myself - perhaps we should send this man outside before giving voice to any further plans that our foe may be party to? If she already has a connection to him, as I sensed in part, her senses may be present in this very room as we speak."
Without waiting for agreement, he calls for outside attendants, rising to gain some if needed, and, unless there is objection to stop him, he sends the prisoner to be guarded elsewhere, shaking his head as he returns to his seat.
Fer what it's worth, I agree with Daggin. But there may be an option in what the Englishman said too. We won't want ta be keepin' him here for too long. This isn't a gaol. So we'll either have to kill him or release him.
If he was to escape he might well head back to Dusk. And if he does I'm sure she'd kill him quicker than we would. But that might be enough to show us how close she is.
So question him, beat him, and then arrange for a guard to get careless. Either that or use the arts to make him think that's what's happened.
"As long as he is being watched and we have an arcane connection to him, I think it's a good plan-"
Azaelle's statement is cut short by her brother, who enters the room politely but he is out of breath, as though he has been running.
"I am so sorry to interrupt..." He pauses to catch his breath. "There is a beautiful strange woman in my room-"
He flushes scarlet, realizing how that might sound.
"I... uh... she... Azaelle, she wants the little flute. I said I would get it. Do you have it?"
A LITTLE WHILE EARLIER...
As the sun sets over Loch Callite, Asa walks through the garden enjoying the beauty that God created. He sings quietly to himself and walks to his room, enters and kicks off his boots. It is a modest room. A cot with a table and a beautiful woman sitting in his chair.
Asa, startled, jumps a foot high, trips on his boots and falls on the floor. He has seen this girl before. In a clearing on the outskirts of the covenant. He caught her there but she turned into a fox and ran away and then he woke up hours later. She had left a tiny flute behind.
"Good day, sir." She says, bowing politely. "Could I have the return of my instrument please?"
Her golden skin is slightly tanned, her complexion flawless. Black hair falls straight to her shoulders, and brown, almond eyes look at Asa expectantly.
He stammers, "Madamoiselle, it is not proper that you should be here alone in my room."
He pops his head out the door but seeing that there are people there, he quickly slams it shut and stands against it like a cornered rabbit.
Sheepishly, he confesses, "I would give you your instrument if I had it, but I gave it to my sister. I'm sorry. I could retrieve it for you, if you'd like."
The mystery lady smiles slyly. "I care not about what is proper, or what is not." The smile that makes most men cringe fades to a more gentle one. "I would like my flute back. So please, get it from your sister. I shall wait here."
"Yes ma'am." He turns to leave, hesitates and turns back. "Lady, what is your name? What manner of being are you?"
"I am whatever I am," she replies, bowing. "As for my name...?" She wags a finger at Asa. "That, dear boy, is a secret."
He considers it for a moment, struggles against his curiosity and loses the battle. He smiles. "If I bring you the flute. will you tell me your name?"
"Perhaps." she says, again with the smile that would make most men cringe.
He knows he should just go. Azaelle has told him not to have anything to do with the fae and this lady who sits in his chair is most likely one of them. She told him, "They might hurt you, my little brother, and I might not be able to help you. Their magic is different from mine." But all he wants to know is her name. Is that so much to ask? What could possibly go wrong?
"Lady, what would happen if I play the flute? What happens when you play the flute? May I ask you one more question? May I sing for you?" People always have a pleasant reaction to his singing.
"Know this, young man...You will never know my Name," she says, as if scolding a child. placing emphasis on 'Name'. "However, you may call me ... Asa-ko. Or Dawn, in your own language. If you were to play the flute? If you had some skill, you might play a tune, dear child. If not, you will simply make some noise. You might even annoy those nearby."
He senses from her tone that he has asked the limit of his questions and she satisfied his curiosity. She told him her name even though she said she hadn't which he doesn't understand. "Oui, fille de crÃ©ation. I will retrieve it for you immediately." He bows politely and runs as fast as he can to the dinner hall where the mages are having their covenant meeting.
Azaelle stares at her brother, aghast. She has never heard of him entertaining a woman before. He doesn't even take pleasure in any of the countless hoards that fling themselves at him. She was beginning to think there was something wrong with him.
"Madame Mab, do you still have the instrument?"
"Oh. The lady said her name was 'Dawn'. Does that mean anything to you? She waits for me in my room."
Azaelle furrows her brow and looks to her sodales.
"The opposite of Dusk. Could be nothing. Could be terribly important."