[Story] To Sleep, perchance to Dream...

[Feasthall, Lough Caillte]

Night eventually comes to the covenant of Lough Caillte, and with it, most of it's members from the field. Angus reports that the woodsmen are still out and will likely be back with the dawn, to report what they have, or have not, found during their search of the covenant's demense.

Fabrica and the troop of grogs with him wearily trudge back in before the supper bell, having been forgotten in the chaos after Azaelle and Mathius depart post haste for the covenant. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, and nothing out of the ordinary, besides the site of the struggle between the gaunt thing and the mysterious "red haired nephilim". All remains quiet in the vale of the covenant this evening.

Surprisingly, the ringing of the bell at the church in the village is a comforting sound, as one of the churchmen holds vespers for the townsfolk. It's sound is meant to comfort this evening. Soon the sounds of the pious float on the evening wind.

Around a light supper consisting of the ubiquitous stew, bread, cheese, and cider, details are shared; One fact soon becomes obvious - spiders. "Remember," says Rhiannon, " that these isles were once the home of ancient, wild wizards. Chief amongst those was one Daimh-Allaidh, who was known as The Spider. He and his followers could not stand against the parma, but could do much to those without it's protection. His ultimate fate is not known."

"If any of his descendants survived Pralix' campaigns against them, " she continues, " they would surely bear the order great ill will, handed down from master to apprentice. This has always been a possibility, but nearly all of the wild wizards of the isles welcomed the Order, because they, too, were under the boot of Daimh-Allaidh."


Azaelle considers this carefully.

Who are these "wild wizards"? Are they allies?

"The 'wild wizards', as they were called, were the native traditions of the isles; some shapeshifters, bards, summoners, and the like. Some, like Daimh-Allaidh, had Infernal ties." Says Rhiannon. "You should know this, at least, since it is the common history between Ex. Misc. and Tytalus that I speak of."

Rhiannon continues, sounding like an apprentice reciting her lessons. "Many of them would be the equal of a mature hermetic magus, save for one thing - the Parma Magica. Some had secrets of longevity that went beyond what the hermetic formulae permit, but a price was always paid. Most of the wild wizards became Pralix' Ordo Miscellany, which in time became House Ex Misc."

"But not all of them did; These were the followers of Daimh-Allaidh, who circumvented the parma by attacking Pralix and here followers indirectly, and through their servants. If it wasn't for some brilliant negotiating and political moves, Pralix might not have carried the day, there would be no House Ex Misc., and we wouldn't be having this discussion."


Fabrica coughs on his stew at the initial mention of 'The Spider' and then listens carefully as Rhiannon answers his unspoken questions. When he hears of their tactics against Pralix and her rabble wizards.

"The Parma, and the Aegis, our best defense. But what about the mundane allies? These spiders for example? Not very formidable, but could prove to be an effective distraction, especially during critical rituals or labwork perhaps. We ust also consider that any defenses we come up with might Warp the Mundane inhabitants of this Covenant."

"But do we really think it's Daiv-Daim-" he struggles over the pronunciation "The Spider and his allies?"


Mathius has been quiet all evening, ever since he spoke to the surviving spiders in fact. To those who are used to dealing with people, he is shaken by something he learned - afraid even. As the talk comes to powerfull wizards he looks up.

"When I tried to talk with the surviving spiders, I found out that they were sent by some kind of very poisonous giant spider. There was some kind of glowing rose coloured crystal, I'm not sure if they were after it, or it was used against them. Although this could be suspect as it was a vision sent to me by a powerful mage. It was a mentem spell cast on me, it passed all of my defences." He bangs his fst on his leg " All of them ".

"Before I go to bed tonight I will be scribing a Ward against mentem magics around my bed. In case the next spell cast on me is not as benign. I have just met you all, I would hate to be compelled to attack you before I had good reason to" He smiles at the group to show that the last part is a jest, an attempt to dispel the fear that must be gripping him.

"I do not know if the vision was sent by friend or foe, I do not know if the spider and crystal are to mislead us or warn us. I do not doubt that there are powerful magi around - hermetic or otherwise."

Azaelle gives Mathius a quizzical look and asks him apprehensively,

Um... will you elaborate on those defenses just enough so we will know what already hasn't worked? Putting a ward around your bed is a good idea for everyone.

She chews her nails and thinks for a moment.

I may be in my lab tonight... Uza can contact me if anyone needs me.

"It passed straight through my Parma, and as mentem is one of my strengths I have some natural resistance against it."

What happened, exactly? Are you sure it was with mentem magic that you were attacked?



"Mentem, hmm? I can see your concern. After all, if it penetrated the Aegis AND your Parma -- and I'm assuming you had your token at the time -- that was indeed powerful. As a suggestion, a personal range sun duration ward should be just as effective and will allow you to get up and use the chamber pot in the middle of the night." Stephan says the last with a shy smile.

"Before we break, I think we need to get as much on the table as possible, here," he says with some more formality. "We've been attacked, without declaration. I suppose that we need our colleage from House Guernicus to chime in on this, but it seems to me that using Intelligo magics to discern who our attackers would be allowable."

It is clear that Stephan is not in on all the details of the investigation so far since he has been focussed on bing the physician for the Tytalus guest.

"So, what do we know and, seperately, what do we suspect?"

Stephan's very clear-eyed gaze falls on each magus in turn.

As Stephan finishes speaking, 2 rose colored crystals, each about the size of a man's fist, appear on the table. Each glows with a soft, inner light. "I'll start with these," says Mab. "I know them as Calyx' stones, supposedly made by the insane magus of the same name, whose prison, reputedly, lies beneath this covenant. He did not make these," she says, gesturing to the stones, "but found them."

"What they are depends on how you look at things; Dierdre thinks that they are like Windgraven's abominable 'Fruit Pit'; Literally, vis from life. I think they're the magic of countless spirits, turned into crystal." She shrugs. "All I know is that these stones, and the smaller one in my Grandmother's ring, contain a lot of magical power. Glendower found a reference to similar stones in The Great Library; an alchemist on an island called Thera attempted an expirement with one. Plato later wrote that the Isle disappeared beneath the waves with a clap of thunder and a flash of light; punished by the Gods."

"There is also a legend about a stone that allows one to break the limits of magic; to bring the dead back to life, to create and heal without vis, and to change a thing's essential nature. Whether or not this is the same as these, or not, I don't know."

"I do know this, however; Calyx was going to use them to inflict his revenge on those who killed his amici, and razed his covenant. ... The entireties of House Tremere and Guernicus. It's kind of scary, what kind of plan he had that would need the kind of power that these stones appear to contain."

It is Rhiannon who speaks next - "This may be mere conjecture, but the ultimate fate Daimh-Allaidh is unknown; Whether he was killed, imprisoned, or escaped is not made clear. If he escaped, which seems likely, since there were peristent rumors of him up until the Schism war. The Spider, himself, is most likely dead, being merely mortal. However, his magical lineage still remains, in Ex Miscellanea, and some still only train in their tradition. It is extremely likely The Spider trained an apprentice, possibly several. That lineage would bear the Order great antipathy, and it would be focused, at first, on Ex Miscellanea."

"There is mischief afoot," says a new voice to the discussion. Quintus sits down, a mug of mulled wine between his hands. He looks like he's been through a melee drill with a couple squads of custos, as the tilting dummy. Bruised and cut, he is as far from the calm, collected individual who arrived a scant 2 days ago. He reaches into a pouch, and pulls out a sealed letter. "This is my authorization to use whatever means at your disposal to find out who did this. Use it's power sparingly, if you would."

"This Dusk, that has been mentioned previously, is known to us; Nominally a member of Ex Miscellanea, she is of the Damhan-Druisan, the old tradition of curse wizards of the Isles. Most members of this tradition are watched, because of the taint of Diabolism in their line. She 'disappeared' 15 years ago, and has only recently resurfaced. She is wanted for questioning, with regards to attacks on several expeditions being attacked by a maga that meets her description." He gestures, and mutters some latin; The image that appears is that of a tall, gaunt woman, with long black hair, wearing simple black robes. Her complexion isn't pale, but neither is it well tanned. One eye is a pool of inky blackness; the other is a ruin of scars and an empty socket; However, a dull red glow comes from it. Her expression is disconcertingly neutral. Her hands end in long nails, stained brown and black. "Her primary arts are Animal and Corpus. We know she has accomplices and co-conspirators, but have yet to identify them."

"Flavius and Deirdre will not be joining us tonight. They have some business they are taking care of... Quasitore business."


Fabrica is definitely intrigued by the crystals. His eyes glitter with greed as he studies them, wanting nothing more than to retreat to a lab for a few seasons of study, He controls himself though and takes another bite of stew.

"Well...further study is required of such things, but if I may spread a bit of wisdom about ancient artifacts...My brother Verdi will probably agree that legends of such powerful artifacts far outstrips the actual power of it. Verditius's rings for example, regarded by many as the most powerful magical items in the Order, may simply allow the user to do some minor affect that overcome the considerable limits of Hermetic magic. In other words one should take such legends with care, as legends often start with an improper understanding in the first place."

"As for Damhan, let me blunt; is this an investigation or has she been officially Marched? Can we expect her to attack us instead of allowing us to question her?"

Quintus replies: "This is an ongoing investigation; She has not been marched. However, she has to answer for several low crimes in Hibernia, Loch Leglean, and Stonehenge, before each tribunal. There are several high crimes we suspect her of, but have insufficient proof. Namely, she is wanted for questioning in the deaths of 3 magi, 1 in this tribunal. Ghibelli d' Vezzini, magus ex Verditius, was found dead in his lab, at his covenant's Waterford chapterhouse, by poison ... from a spider bite. The spider had been compelled some days before to wait for him to return, and then bite him. The sigil on the spell had been expertly obscured; however a maga of her description was seen in the area before the act was committed. She concluded business and left town the day afterward, disappearing from our sight."

"While Dierdre's puissance in her arts are a boon to the quasitore on the march, they often hinder an investigation, because she leaves little after she's dealt with it. Her attitude is 'Kill it first, question later.' My request to her is to offer you what material support she can, but as little magical "fire support" as possible, so we have something left of the tribunal when you're done." His smile is a wry one.

"Flavius and I will be staying here for a while, because of this, so there will be additional time for you to sort out a charter. We will be staying down at the inn; Eadbhárd, the inkeeper, is an old friend."

Corvus leans forward, clasping his hands in front of his chin, his expression shifting as he speaks from excitement... to something far more serious.

This "Dusk" sounds like a mighty prize. But her appearance can be masked by magic, so how else might she give herself away? Where does she come from? Does she have friends, family, apprentices, a parens?

And perhaps, the most important question, have any faced her in battle and lived?

"Several have faced her in battle and lived; She uses indirect methods when dealing with Magi; controlled or compelled beasts, or effects that target the environment around a magus, like Pit of the Gaping Earth. Simple bloodlust is not her motivation in these attacks; It is a diversion for something else, usually a theft of some kind. Most report that it is some bauble she winds up stealing, something that has been sitting in a magus' lab for generations, usually long forgotten."

"While she can change her appearance, and is a known shapeshifter, certain features still remain; whatever form she takes, it is always gaunt, tall, black, and has one ruined eye. Her sigil, it should be noted, is that vermin, particularly spiders, are attracted to the area."

"We have been talking to her Parens, one Connor MacConnor, magus Ex Miscellanea, of the Loch Leglean tribunal. He takes his oath very serious, and has been out looking for his wayward student in that tribunal, to bring her before the Quasitores. As an apprentice, she was not known for having friends, merely 'tools' to be used and discarded. Likewise, her mundane family emigrated south soon after she was taken as an apprentice by Connor. Last I had heard, they were doing quite well on the lands they had been granted in Aquitane. Yes, they were minor nobility."

"We don't know enough about her at the moment to determine if she has taken an apprentice; While it is possible, they would still be only half way through it. It does take some time to achieve one's mastery in the arts. She gauntleted in 1203, so the earliest she could have started to train one was in 1208."


Fabrica considers all that was said, and is keenly reminded of the recent conversations he had. Service to the Order was well regarded...

"I'll go." he says as he stands rather suddenly, presenting his bejeweled staff as an indication of his willingness and capability. "With the weapons I can give the men, and the enchantments I have, I believe we can either compel peaceful discourse, or handle her Hedge wizardry...and leave some salvageable remains." he adds with a slight smirk towards Diedre.

Corvus eyes light up

A hunt, eh? Well, count me in its number. But I think there's more glory in bringing her back alive than there is in killing her; that's Hoplite work.

A hunt, indeed, but with or without glory. Count me in.


Mathius stands and clears his throat to attract attention. He stands as tall as he can, he has either passed through his agitation, or has put it aside.

"While I am not by nature a magus who delights in conflict, I do have some uses outside of my workshop. However I believe that to rush out into the night to try to track this maga would be folly. Even though she is Ex-Misc, even though she is reputed to be almost a criminal - she is still more senior than we are, and almost undoubtedly more powerful. I doubt that any spell I cast against her would penetrate her parma. Indeed if we were to attempt to attack her she would easily penetrate our defences and either turn us against each other or turn us into her tools."

He shakes his head, takes a sip from his ale and then continues
"It seems as though we are beset by powerful foes, and it is almost certain that they are in league with each other. We need to gather knowlege and prepare ourselves for the battle ahead - not rush out like freshly gauntletted Flambeau."

"We had agreed, I think " He looks around the table "to build the needed labs by mundane means with magical assistance. I would suggest that my those of us who have been granted labs would bend their efforts to prepare for this battle, whilst the others would either study in the library - or attempt to gather information about our enemies".

"I do not know if our enemies will give us the seasons we need to combat them, but I do know that we need all of the time we can get if we are to be victorious"

I, at least, did not intend to go galavanting out into the night immediately. Yes we must find her, but with intelligence, research and planning.