The tribunal begins, as they do in Hibernia, with the Sacred Council, where Magi and "hedge wizards" alike gather for a week long discussion and update on magical affairs.
Summer 1199, Tribunal of Hibernia
Varinia was very nearly late to the Tribunal, after many weeks' grueling journey from her native Highlands. She'd managed to catch a ship into Belfast, then made her way south to Tara, hitching a lift on any cart that would take her. But she'd made it, and just in time.
And gosh was she glad she had! The sights here were amazing! Hedge wizards, and even faeries, mingling among magi as merry as you please! Eairdsidh had been right to send her here; this would be a treasure trove for their research. A large part of her wanted to walk up to the first faerie she saw and introduce herself, but the rational part restrained her. She didn't yet know the customs here, and faeries were, of course, notoriously easy to offend.
Better to speak to the local magi first; hopefully find a fellow member of her House. Besides, her first priority ought to be to find a covenant; she wasn't going to get a vote here if she didn't manage that. So she looked for a group of magi to introduce herself to, preferably natives of the Tribunal, and preferably of House Merinita, if she could identify them as such.
Her mind mulled over her introduction as she searched. She really wasn't sure how she'd come off around here. On the one hand, her command of Gaelic was better than her Latin. On the other hand her Highland dialect would probably mark her as an outsider anyway. And she clearly had no idea of the customs around here. Still, so surrounded by magi and supernatural creatures, she hadn't bothered to disguise her legs. Anybody who looked closely would see the hooves poking out from beneath her green robes. Perhaps she could even be mistaken for a faerie! She smiled at the thought.
Varinia is approached by a man in his early 50's, apparently. He nods to her and says in Irish Gaelic "I think I would remember if I had seen you arround here before. Are ye an apprentice, on Macgnimartha , newly gauntleted or English?"
Varinia smiles at the man. "Aye, I'm new here. Just Gauntleted, from the Highlands." She jerks a thumb to the north, but "a’ Ghàidhealtachd" leaves no ambiguity as to which highlands she means. "Varinia. Pleased to meet ye." She extends a hand to shake.
"So English, though you might not care for being called such. what brings you to Hibernia?" You can see that your conversation is attracting the attention of other magi.
Varinia wrinkles her nose. "Och, can't say I do." She's glad for the warning, though, and is soon back to smiling. "I'm here for research, actually. To study the faeries, and the hedge magi. I'm working with Eairdsidh; I don't know if you've heard of him? A magus Bonisagi, in the Highlands?"
"BUt you're merinita yourself, yes? What is the point of sharing the secrets of the fair folk with a researcher?"
"Ohh, yes. And I hold the secrets of Quendalon in trust, of course. But I'm certain that the fae hold the key to magics that even we've been unable to unlock. To revolutions in the theory of Bonisagus himself, even! Ones that could benefit all of us." A broad smile split her face, as it always did when she spoke of her goal. And perhaps her ideals didn't quite toe the House line; perhaps there were those who would rather see her abandon her goal in case she gave hints to House secrets. But if they did break one of the limits of Hermetic theory, well, perhaps they'd change their tune then. She certainly wasn't ashamed to be co-operating with another House, or to be working to the benefit of the Order as a whole.
"Aye, they might, but do ye think the fair folk will be happy to have you spilling their secrets to everyone?"
Varinia's smile turns a little sly. "I'll never know if I don't ask them, aye?"
"Well they are here if ye wish to ask, but I'm pretty sure what their answer will be." He turns to a nearby nymph "Hey Las, what do you think of this young maga looking into your secrets to share with the entire order?." The nymph looks horrified.
Varinia sighs. "There's a difference between asking a person's own secrets and asking their help in uncovering the secrets of magic." She turns to the nymph, and gives a bow. "I assure you milady, I shall share nothing of yours that you do not wish me to."
"Just remember that anything you share with a bonisagus you share with the order." He raises his eyebrows at you and walks away, the nymph does not seem reassured. another magus approaches "I realize that Merinita claim an affinity with the fae, but you will soon find that Hibernia goes well beyond what other Tribunals would consider sane in bestowing rights upon these creatures. I would suggest you stay with us, before you find yourself acquiring more enemies than you can survive."
Did he think she didn't know that? Eairdsidh had showed her the folios. She sighs again. Not the introduction to the Tribunal she'd hoped for. And the fellow had never even introduced himself! So rude...
She turned to the next magus. He seemed more friendly, but "these creatures" gave her pause. An "English" magus, as the other fellow had said? She trod carefully, seeing if she could get an introduction from this fellow. She gave him a smile, and extended her hand to shake again. "Varinia, from the Loch Leglean Tribunal. Pleased to meet you...?" She fished for a name.
"Dorjan of Tremere. They call it something else around here but it seems a bit pretentious to me, renaming all the houses to the local language which, honestly isn't likely to be around much longer with the way these English Lords are moving in."
Tremere. That figured. And not, by his first impression, the sort of contact she was hoping to make. She was rather in favour of the local attitude to faeries, really, and didn't want to be seen to join those opposing it. "Och, I'm not so sure it'll go easily. We're still going strong with it in the Highlands."
"But aye, not that we've renamed the Founders." She didn't exactly want to make an enemy of Dorjan, either.
"Your choice, but they are not to friendly to outsiders here, and you have to watch out for these macgnimartha types, full wizards except they have no parma, and haven't sworn an oath. Few years back they killed a mage who had just arrived on the shores English by their reckoning but really Roman. Couldn't be touched because they aren't bound by the code. Not a good case to try and shift those rules either, it happened the mage they killed had been marched though they didn't know that at the time. Assuming you haven't been marched or have ties to Diedne at least I can try and avenge you by getting the rules shifted when these rogue wizards murder you.
Varinia raised an eyebrow. "Goodness. Well, thanks for the warning. And... for the avenging... I'll try not to get myself killed." She was genuinely grateful for the warning, and perhaps she'd have to practice her Parma more. The offer of vengeance, on the other hand... Well, hopefully that'd never be necessary.
He nods as he moves away, you do not see anyone else rushing forth to meet you.
Well, if the natives were going to be so unfriendly to foreigners, and the foreigners were unfriendly to the faeries, perhaps she ought to try her luck with the faeries themselves. They were the very reason she was here, after all. She cast her eyes about the hill, looking for some variety of faerie she was familiar with. She might be here to study new faeries, but perhaps it was better to begin with the familiar. She hadn't come so far as to expect to find nothing she would recognise here.