[Story] Knights and Daze (Summer, 1220)

Wherein brief encounter and stories will be played out for the summer season of 1220 AD.

For the three days of the full moon, the gaunt knights are camped out in the ring of Lough Caillte, Each night, the one in robes, and 2 of the more richly dressed warriors approach Dierdre, and ask her a simple question - "Do we have your forgiveness?" All near can hear the question when asked, in whatever tongue they speak.

For the first 2 nights, Dierdre's response is to simply turn her back to them, and she goes inside her lab for the evening. The three hang their heads, and shoulders slumped, they return to their camp. On the third night, Dierdre actually gives them an answer.


One of the warriors explodes "Has not your line kept us here long enough? How long to you intend to keep us from our rest? When can we join our families in death's repose?!?!?"

Dierdre's face looks like stone as she replies : "For three of my line's generations. Aedammair, sister of Dierdre, was the first, and the one who laid this Geas upon you. Nealla was the second, and I am the third. When I finally pass on, it will fall to my student Amelia, or her apprentice to give you the judgement you desire. You have until dawn to get out of my sight." The last is spoken in a manner that would send any manner of creature running for the horizon. The one in robes bows, and with the help of the other warrior, haul their companion away.

When asked about the matter, Deirdre quietly explains. "There once was a maiden called Deirdre, the daughter of Feidlimid, who was King Concobar's storyteller. It was prophesied at her birth 'the child who cried out for this is no ordinary child she will be blessed with great beauty and her name will be Deirdre , however her beauty will cause the Red Branch to divide causing war and strife and Ulster will suffer greatly.' The one who made this prophesy was one Cathbad, magus ex Diedne."

"The babe grew into a woman, beautiful beyond words. In her 16th year, she was to be brought to King Conchobar's court, where she woul be married to him. Instead, the lass fell in love with her escort, and fled to Scotland, where they lived happily, for a time. They were eventually tricked into returning, and this lead to the death of her husband and his brothers, whom Cathbad drowned by turning the plain into a swamp, and eventually Deirdre herself, who fell from the chariot as she was being taken to King Conchobar, and broke her head open on a rock."

"Most tellers would end the tale there, but in truth, the story continues, for Deirdre had a sister, Aedammair. She laid a mighty geas on Conchobar, Cathbad and his knights, that they should not rest until one of her line grants them forgiveness for their deeds. Thus they linger, unable to truly die, until one of Deirdre's blood kin grants them forgiveness. Aedammair had written that she wanted them to see the fullness of Cathbad's prophesy, which was the destruction of all they had built. Of the three, Cathbad quietly endures, accepting this as his fate. It is Conchobar who rails against the Geas. Fortunately, they are bound to their barrows in the north, and return there."

"They come every seven years, when the full moon shines on the summer solstice, and for three days, ask the same thing of me. And every time, I give them the same answer, for they have not suffered enough."

"You've found your way into a tragic story, sodales, and now, you are a part of it, for good or ill." With that, and a polite bow, she departs.

Something sniffling causes you to turn to the side, where Mab is crying a river, vainly trying to soak up the flood with a square of linen cloth.

Asa sits down next to Mab.

"Lady, don't cry." He hands her a small bunch of bright pink flowers and struggles to find the words in Latin. "Everything is going to be okay, I'm certain." He smiles, looking completely sure that he is right. Everything will be okay.

Corvus lets Dierdre go without a further word and stays watching Asa comfort Mab. He stands, clearly deep in thought, affected by the tale... and perhaps something more.

And then he turns to find Dierdre, muttering curse under his breath.

This is wrong, nay matter how ye look at it, this here is wrong.

Fabrica had been rather quiet the entire time, looking decidedly uncomfortable and out of place. When the drama seems to have ended for the most part he waits an appropriate amount of time, trying not to pay too much attention to Mab's sobbing, before entering the Covenant.

"I...believe I left a kiln burning." he offers lamely, obviously uncomfortable around such displays of emotion. He bows quickly to those that remain and returns to the dining hall first, perhaps the kiln will be ok for a bit longer.

Dierdre does not explode at Corvus as many think she will. "It is just as wrong as what they did to my grandmother's sister," she says, quietly. "But, I can't undo the geasa Grandmother placed on them, either. That responsibilty lies on my daughter, who currently resides in Grainian Deirdre, our line's ancestral home, also a covenant of the Order. That is the way she cast it, and Grandmother had great fame as powerful curse witch. Cathbad, the one in the robes, knows this all too well, for they joined the order together. It is Connor who has gone mad under the curse, and he thinks I can release them."

"Know this, Corvus - I prefer a quick, clean death to a long, slow suffering. This hurts me as much as it hurts them, perhaps more so, because I know I can do nothing about it. Given the news I have from Ulster, perhaps the next time they appear will be the last, for the Normans have pretty much completed their conquest of the north, and all that the sons of Uisnach built has been undone..." She shrugs, and suddenly looks very, very old. "I shall have Amelia here in seven years time, when they appear again, and this shall be the end of it, God willing."


Aye, but if suffer they must then surely suffer they have. And where's the good in making another generation suffer? Powerful she may ha' been but is there no way to break the curse?

Maybe if they performed some service? Made amends? I mean, if they have ta remain here wit the livin' instead a joinin' the dead... Dierdre, tis one ting ta punish them that deserves it but tis altagether another to punish the living too. Amelia need play no part in dis.

Let me help, if help I can.

Daggin, as well, finds the situation somewhat awkward, if not outright distasteful, tho' his curiousity piqued to know the details of the transgression.

"To my knowledge, there should always be an escape clause in any curse, tho' I cannot say I'm any expert. And even if that clause portrays the cure worse than the disease, there may be ways to reinterpret the conditions more favorably - but whether that earns the grudging resignation of the wronged party, or further ire, is another matter..

"I, however, will refrain from passing judgement on these men, or this curse. Some crimes are so low that no punishment can ever fully balance the scales. Now, I hope you can excuse me, but I have an experiment that requires overseeing..."

With that pronouncement, he withdraws to his labs, his ongoing work calling him.

After Deidre makes her dramatic exit and the crowd scatters in various directions, Azaelle continues to fret about the strange man that was following her. Oddly enough, she can't exactly figure out what was strange about him. He looks perfectly normal but his presence gave her an uneasy feeling. She approaches him without the slightest hint on her face that she feels like she is walking over her own grave.

"Who are you and why were you following me?"

He bows graciously with perfect politeness.
"I am Murchadh. I am her at Lady Deirdre's invitation, for my clan owes her a great debt, and she has requested some small service of us. If I was following you, it was by coincidence only, I assure you. One would think that one so beautiful would have men following her everywhere," He says, with a slight smile.

Azaelle keeps her irritation to herself. She smiles with with no humor in her eyes and searches for a polite way to say "Stay the hell away from me." but she cant think of one.
"Ahh. A coincidence then."

"It is also a pleasure to make your accquaintance, daughter of the heavens," he says turning to Uza, and bowing slightly.

Uza bows curtly.
"May the Lord God watch between us."

"I am glad we have finally met, sir."

Azaelle curtsies graciously. She backs away and then she and Uza leave.

Albertus Pictor enters the room. Dierdre do you have a moment? I have some things I need to talk to you about. I hope I am not interrupting something. Albertus looks around to see if there is anything going on that escaped his notice. His hands bears paint marks and he seems quite uncomfortable by the awkward situation that he has walked into.

"You're not interupting anything, " she says, while she busies herself with something. The room you're in is the kitchen, and Deirdre appears to be cooking something, while Cook is away visiting relatives. "What is the problem?"

Well I have gotten the impression that a laboratory is being constructed for me and I have some questions concerning laboratory and resource expenditure. How do I acquire the recourses I need, I’ve heard that there isn’t a written charter that regulates the use of the covenants resources. I intend to start magical research as soon as possible and I wanted to know what assets are available for me to use. For example if servants are constructing my laboratory for now, can they be ordered to focus the laboratory around some item that would aid experimentation? And can I order some servants to do other work for me or who shall I ask or is it something I shall do my self? And there is also the thing about expenditure, is it possible for me to expand my laboratory in a matter so that it consumes more monetary resources? Albertus tries to speak in a humble voice but he can little cover the fact that he is eager to lay his hands on grand laboratory equipment.

There is a moment of silence as Deirdre attends to whatever she is cooking. "Orders for the basic equipment to outfit 6 additional labs were placed this spring; The Brother's Vezzini should be delivering the first half of the order within days, as soon as the faire is finished. These are the basic items every magus needs, and all of it the best the covenant can afford."

"You will have to set up and organize the lab yourself, like everyone else has to. Those who had decided to choose an existing lab will be spending no small amount of time investigating those labs, even while they work in them. I sincerely hope they take the time to read the lab texts for those labs..."

"The servants, as you so quaintly put it, are masons and carpenters hired to build good, solid buildings, and nothing more. You are responsible for whatever fine tuning and foci you wish to include; To that end, the building is built to the plan you need, up to a 16 pace by 16 pace square, and no more than 2 stories tall . That grant is substantial and generous by most standards."

"Anything dealing with Labs, most covenfolk won't touch. They, wisely so, leave magic to the magi, though we do have some servants who do menial tasks. We also have some brownies and such that help as well."

"Do not treat the covenfolk as playthings; We've had one incident in the last season that has eroded some of the trust that has been built up over generations between Magi and Covenfolk. Also, do not antagonize the Fae - we are on very good terms with the local fae court, the queen of which is related to Mab - her grandmother - and she is currently within these walls as a guest. Should you cause trouble, you will find I am not the forgiving sort."

"For the moment, I hold the purse strings of the covenant, though Angus O'Connor, our Steward, has leave to handle mundane expenses and manages our commerce quite well. At the moment, You have to convince me to spend the money, and I am a hard sell. At the moment, You have an allowance of 2L a season, until Angus and I can determine what is actually needed. However, there is one small problem - dropping huge sums of money gets people talking. There are those who would, foolishly, seek to deprive us of that money, by force, and use it to finance other conquests. Yes, I'm talking about our friends to the East, The Normans. Or, if you would prefer, those ******* English." The expletive she uses is far from ladylike, or even polite.

"Grand Expenditures have to be made quietly, and in markets far away from here... Unless YOU want to have a sizeable mundane army encamped in the fields that not only feed the village, but our covenant as well." She shakes her head. "I, for one, would rather not have to deal with that problem." How Deirdre would deal with it, she doesn't say, but given her house, it probably involves a lot of fire...

"For the moment, grand designs will have to wait until you get settled in and everything set up to your liking, and the charter, which is mostly done, gets hashed out. Of course, if you would like to have some help, I'm sure I could convince Mab to lend you a hand..." Deirdre's grin is pure mischief. "As I've got a sizable project in the lab this season, My time and ability to help is limited."

"Being English, I'll warn you - your status as a magus protects you, somewhat, because being a wizard has some status in these lands. Thus, you won't get some of the trouble an english noble would get. God in heaven above help you if you were an English Soldier..."

And with that, she takes the pie out of the oven. "Care for a piece?"

Yes, thank you. Albertus thankfully receives the piece of pie. I felt that I needed to ask. I somehow got the wrong impression as I’ve heard about older covenants that employ certain member of their staff who are educated in the magic theory and fully capable and willing to serve in a magus laboratory. And even capable to set up a laboratory and make some changes to it.

And about the expenditures, is it a fair deal that I can spend more something’s if I can make cost savings on another. Thus our total silver flow does not increase it just get spent differently.

How about vis? Do I have to earn my vis in someway or does each member receive a grant? I am trying to clear out a few issues so that I know what rules apply.

About the chamber, two stories each sixteen by sixteen paces is that space intended to include my entire sanctum, such as sleeping areas and such. Trust me I am not complaining merely trying to understand how things work around here.

I can assure you Deirdre that I have no intention of treating the covenfolk as anything less then what they are. We all have been given different task here in life. Some wage wars others work the soil and some are given the gift magic. We all shall be focusing on the task given to us by God. That however is not an excuse to handle the covenfolk as cattle.

The apple pie is a somewhat spicy pie, the spicy taste being hard to pin down. "We have an old apple tree, planted by one Myrmidion ex Merinita, who liked unusual foods. The apples it produces are spicy hot, much like hot peppers, only a bit less so. Usually one apple to a pie is enough for most people."

"Vis, at the moment, is being doled out as needed for projects that benefit the covenant as a whole. When a working charter gets hashed out, then there will be a method to doling out vis." She takes a bite of her piece of pie. "I've seen nearly all the methods for distributing vis in my years. I would prefer a lion's share to the covenant's coffers, and the balance distributed as needed. But that's not for me to decide, but for you when you decided to sit down and talk about a charter."

"The allotment of space within the ring," she says, reffering to the circular wall surrounding the covenant," is the same as everyone else, including me. This includes lab space, living quarters and the like. For the previous reasons mentioned, 2 stories above ground is all we can allow, unless we draw the attention of our neighbors to the east. Most magi desiring more space go down. We're built on good solid stone, and there might be some texts on spells for carving out chambers in the library. Granted, it's been a while since I've used it, so I don't know what's in there anymore..."

"Oh, Aye, finding a way to save in one area so that more can be spent elsewhere is always an acceptable trade. 'Tis not a matter of quantity of silver, but how and where it is used. Silver we have, in quantity. Lough Caillte has a tin mine, and we find a few other things within as well - what little gold we find goes to our mundane landlord, as our taxes."

"And we have an enchantment, newly created by Fabricus, that will allow carving of stone by hand, tho' it was designed to aid in construction, not excavation, and may not be the best solution to that particular problem.

"On another note, and before I forget, I am inquiring as to a Greek scholar to translate our text on Medicine. With luck, they should be able to create two copies, one for us, and one to trade. It looks like they'll be here over the Winter season, in case anyone is interested, tho' they most likely will be a mundane, and perhaps tied to the church, just as a warning. I've already spoken to Daffys about it."

Azaelle wanders into the kitchen.

"Is that pie?" and turning her pitch black eyes upon Daggin and Albertus. I'm sorry, we have not met. I am Azaelle ex Tytalus." She curtsies graciously. "I just arrived shortly before all hell broke loose so I don't know if you are new here or if you were here already and I didn't get a chance to meet you." She speaks with a hint of a french accent.

Pleased to meet you Azaelle ex Tytalus. Albertus nods and look her in the eyes. Excellent pie isn’t it. I am Albertus Pictor Ex Bonisagus and as you know a quite recent addition to this covenant. Have you been a member of this covenant for long? Albertus seems rather welcoming and perhaps a bit starved for company.

Albertus turns to Daggin and asks; Could it be a useful to see if someone of our soldaes can invent a spell or a item that can carve out chambers in the stone beneath us. An easy expansion to our laboratory spaces and the possibility to have guest quarters within the wall.

Then Albertus turn to Deirdre; Excellent pie, very unusual taste in the apples. Have you ever tried vine from… I believe it is Fengheld in the Rihne tribunal. That is a experience that should be experienced. I must ask you, I hear a few things about Mab. It seems as everyone speaks of her with a bit of fear mixed with wonder. How is that? And by the way is there an possibility that we can get or trade resources from the fae. I have heard that fey tools can be almost flawless and that fay ingredients can produce most interesting effects if one are willing to experiment. And yes when do you think that our lab equipment will arrive? I am most eager to start constructing my laboratory.

Deirdre smiles. "Everything you have heard about Mab is likely true. She's..."

"Really, really old, really really powerful, and really really weird things happen when I cast spells." Mab finishes Deirdre's sentence. "I'm also kind of crazy. Deirdre calls me a 300 year old teenager, which isn't too far from the truth, I guess. Is that Pie I smell?" She grabs a piece with her fingers from the pie plate, and onto a wood plate near by, and begins eating it.

Deirdre continues : "Mab is the reason this covenant exists; It is the only place in the order that will have her, because of the antics associated with her spells. Remember the flood around Irencillia, oh, about 100 years ago? That was Mab's doing, trying to put out a house fire. Her magic has been classified as persistent, warped, and weird, with side effects. There is a book in the library one of our former residents wrote on the matter. Another bonisagus, like yourself."

"My mater was Babh, one of the founders of Lough Caillte, and she died during the Schism. I gauntleted just before things went crazy. Yes, I know how old that makes me. As I'm well versed in the mysteries of my house, such is quite possible. Just don't ask me to help you learn any, OK?" This is the most any here have heard Mab talk about her past. "One of the rituals went south a while ago, and I'm the end result. Crazy, Fun loving, whimsical meeeee!" She finishes with a twirl, and keeps on spinning.

As Mab keeps spinning around the kitchen, Deirdre continues. "Lough Caillte's main purpose is to take care of her, and keep her antics to a minimum. We're also a weirdness magnet, as many strange things take place around here. Funny you should mention the possibility of fae tools; Queen Cordelia is here to discuss the renewal of old agreements. Mab is her granddaughter, thus we have an 'in' at court. Our local Verditius have been wondering where Torsten's forge companions were... Well, they're fae. The Tuatha De like to learn new things, and exchange knowledge. Thus, we get a couple of their journeymen crafters to help in Torsten's forge."

"And I've had some of Fengheld's finest, Albertus. I get a cask every year from old accquaintances."