Sunrise over Valencia (Autumn 1229)

Vibria is in Valencia!
Having recently completed her Gauntlet, she was surprised when the Recap handed her a letter from Carmen. It had been years since they had met, and the maga treated her much more decently than other women tended to (her confidence is such that she doesn't envy Vibria's beauty). And Vibria was elated at her invitation to come meet her in Valencia, even paying her way to use Iberia's growing network of Mercere Portals.
Vibria arrives in a fabulous townhouse: courtyard, three floors, hanging gardens, balconies' and a huge seaside patio where Carmen is eating a breakfast of oranges and drinking honey sweetened lemon water.

Vibria arrives at the townhouse wearing a loose, flowing dress of shimmering green which obscures but doesn't completely hide her curves. Her long chestnut-brown hair is tied back in a simple pony-tail.

She follows the servant to the patio where she finds Carmen at table.

[color=red]"Carmen! What a pleasure to see you again!"

Carme gives you an orange smile, and giggles as she spits it out.
Come in and have a seat :smiley:
I don't know how he affords this place. Franc Several, a Jerbiton originally from Barcelona. He rents this house out to magi for only a pawn of vis for a season.
Anyway, I'm glad you could make it. I would have come to you, but I had unfinished business here. Promised a, um, gentleman friend, a magus, I promised him one last night in Valencia. And it took forever to ditch my brother!
Carmen steps over to gaze at the sunrise.
When last I visited your home covenant, I heard your gauntlet was coming up. I kept it in mind, as you are the sort I am looking for.
I would like to invite you to join the covenant of Andorra and petition to become a Lady of Seneca. (Carmen shows you a tiny brand on her abdomen).
It is from the Eternal Flame of Andorra. I am the first Maga accepted by their old-boy club, and I want to see the trend continue.

Vibria graciously accepts Carmen's invitation to sit, and listens intently to every word she says.

((Aside from the fact that Carmen is a Lady of Seneca, does Vibria know anything of the order? Int 1 + Order of Hermes Lore(?) 1 + die roll of 2 = 4 (5 if it falls under her Specialty of "History")

((Also, would a brand even work on her, with her Immunity?))

[color=red]"I am honored that you would even think of me," Vibria says. [color=red]"I would dearly love to be a part of Andorra, and to be closer to my ancestral home. I must confess that I feel unworthy to be considered for the Ladies of Seneca at such a young age. And I also fear that I'm painfully ignorant of them."

You know the basic history of the Order as outlined in the main rulebook (Provencal is one of the few Tribunals that operates in the "standard" way.
As for the history of the Flambeau, you once read a book by Joseph filius Elaine that goes through the diverse and contradictory tales of this House: the Flambeau Apocrypha. There is the party line exposited by Garus, a covenant in Thebes insists the founder is descended from Hereklese.
Most every magus in Iberia is convinced he was Spanish and his name was Reculed Seneca. But most Iberian magi don't care. Only the Flambeau.
You visited Andorra as an apprentice, Fulminara told you their tale. The Senecans were funded by a Schism War veteran who they claim was actually the last living filius of the founder. But really they were a bunch of crusader magi trying to paint a pretty picture. But in Valencia, under the Patronage of El Cid, the formed an alliance with the sahirs and eztablished a covenant. That covenant fell after the Cid's death and a new moorish invasion. The sahirs went on to establish Estancia Escarida, the Senecans scattered accross western europe. Some came to Andorra and revived the covenant whence Delendos once resided. And a Verditius magus whose name escapes you, but it has something to do with a vault and a fire that burns forever. And a prophocey of some sort that is often disregarded.
that's a lot of knowledge for such a low roll! But you have been to the place, and it is a curious footnote to Hermetic History specific to your House and thie area you are from.
Carmen smiles and offers you an ornge
The brand was my idea. It gives me an Arcane Connection to my covenant. Most are simply baptized in the Tagus river in a quasi-Christian mock-mystery-ination ceremony. I was having none of that. I was baptized Catholic, but I am also Jewish. Mixed family.
A brand shows those macho jerks that I am just as tough as they are! But you, you are a warrior. I am not. If you don't like the idea of a brand, some other ceremony can be devised.
You are young, but this is good. You have room to grow. As you mature, your ferocity will become irrefutable.
A further asset, for my covenant if not the Senecans, is that I know you have the blood of a dragon.
And I have a hunch as to which dragon this may be...

Vibria accepts the orange, peels it carefully, and eats politely.

[color=red]"No, it's not that I don't like the idea of a brand. It's just that a brand wouldn't work on me. Heat, fire have no effect on me."

She takes her knife and casts a spontaneous CrIg on the blade to make it glow red-hot. Base 5, R: Touch +1, D: Momentary, T: Individual, for a final Spell Level of 10. CT is Sta 2 + Cr 10 + Ig 11 + die roll of 0 (botch check comes up a 4, Weird Magic check comes up a 2) = 23, halved is 12.

She presses the side of the blade firmly against her arm and holds it there for several moments, with a bored look on her face. She finally shrugs. [color=red]"Nothing," she says as she looks at Carmen. She holds the knife by the blade for the rest of the conversation, to keep it from igniting anything. That would be rude.

[color=red]"You do?" Vibria says excitedly as she leans forward. [color=red]"I would love to find out who my great-great-great-whatever-grandfather is!"

She pretends to think it over for a minute or two before she finally nods. [color=red]"I would be delighted to join the Covenant of Andorra, and to be considered for the Knights of Seneca."

Glad you didn't botch!
Carmen looks on with fascination at your trick, and is impressed that it is natural and not a ward.
As for dragons, you say you were born up in our region. There is one dragon I know of there' and he likes to take human form. I would like to take you to meet him some day and see if my hunch is accurate.

((Yeah, that would've sucked. Especially if it was on the Weird die.))

[color=red]"Yes, in Calbinyà, near Seu d'Urgeil. I did miss the Pyrenees when I was at Plateau...more than most magi miss their homes, I gather. And I'm grateful for the chance to return."

Vibria looks at the glowing blade that she's still holding in her hand. [color=red]"The closest thing to a dragon I've actually met was the drake that I slew when I retrieved her egg for my Gauntlet. I would love to be able to meet a real one. Especially if we are related."

Keep in mind Carmen has no idea of the news concerning Andorra. All the running around at Doisettep takes place the night previous. At that time Vibria was travelling the portal network and probably stayed the night at Barcelona. In any case, whenever the characters in that thread make it to Valencia, that happens after this conversation (or in the middle, whatever, just after the next few posts here). So what Carmen is about to say is invalid though she does not know it.
[color=blue]Your'e gonna have to watch out for my dad though. He is incorrigible. And a pervert. Your'e just his type too. But if you proove to him you are a warrior as well as a woman and he'll back off. He likes 'em dainty.
Still, I love my pops. He has good qualities too, and is a bold leader with foresight. Our covenant is rich in resources, he has been building up so as to sponsor a new covenant. I was thinking here in Valencia would be a great choice. This palatial townhouse, when Franc Several retired from Barcelona he had it built on the edge of town away from any mosque or church. There is no agic aura here, but no Dominion either. And the place is large enough to hold four or five magi and their labs. He already has his own library here, but we have so many books at Andorra we can double its size and not even notice the donated material is missing.
But that is in the future. I just want to position myself to be the leader of any new covenant. We should be ready in a year or two, barring some unforseen disaster...

Vibria chuckles. [color=red]"If there's one thing I'm not, it's dainty." ((Vibria stands 5'10" and weighs 157, and is a tad muscular.

((if that doesn't call for an ominous thundercrack, I don't know what does :smiley: ))

Vibria nods. [color=red]"This seems like it would be a nice place to holiday, but to be honest, I think I would prefer Andorra."

Carmen is the dainty one between you, but Vibria is no bigger thatn me personally. This one chick I work with, six feet of female, statuesque, and blond. I want her DNA! :smiley:
(or rather, I want to give her mine)

[color=blue]future plans. my dad's originalbintention was another covenant in the mountains of andorra. He wants to create his own tribunal. I think we hould unite with Barcelona and form a Calalan Tribunal.
As for this location, I really do love it here. But I will admit that the political climate is a bit sketchy. This tafia, Valencia, is in Moslem control. They are allied with the crown of Castile-Leon, but rumor has it that the young king of Aragon-Catalonia has set his sights here. Already he is now conquoring the Baelric Islands.
But regardless, I am recruiting you for Andorra. After lunch, we can take Several's private Hermes Portal to Barcelona, and from there we can take the Mercere Portal to Andorra. We are hosting a hub being built there. We are linked with Barcelona and Estancia Escarida so far. Next year the plan is to add Doisettep and Bellaquin.
So, what do you want to do with the rest of our morning?


[color=red]"I hadn't really thought about it...I wasn't sure how long I would be here, so I didn't plan anything. I've heard that there are untold treasures here, so maybe I can wander around and see what inspires me."

(Basically, look around at all the pretty and shiny, drool over stuff she wants.)

[color=blue]my life is hectic sometimes. i said goodbye to my ex-boyfriend the other night. he wanted to do that here. Then have to meet with Pietro for lunch. He is my, um, my mentor. Sorta my boss sometimes. Then there was some stupid $#!+ I had to..., never mind.
There's a lot of cool stuff in Valencia. I'll show you the bazzar and we can do some shopping. Then there's the ruins of the old covenant of Valencia. Then there is Safwan, a Hermetic Sahir who maintains a vast orange grove here in the city. Then there is touristy stuff. Save that for another time. After lunch with Pietro' back here to take the Hermes Portal to Barcelona, then Mercere Portal to Andorra.
But I'm gonna need you to dress more conservatively. Wrap your hair up in a scarf and wear a cloak with a hood. You draw stares, whether you realize it or not. The city has a mixed ethnicity. No one expects you to dress like a moslem woman from Syria. Hell, the moslem women here don't dress like that. Depends a lot on wealth and social status. But we can't go about these mundanes dressed like we normally do. Needs to maintain a low profile. And I have a Blatant Gift to deal with. My best bet is to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
I am going to presume you roll with the flow. Interject conversation, and then take control in reaction to the assasination attempt (see below :smiling_imp:)
As for Vibria's Envied Beauty, I would like to play it that it does not affect player characters (unless they want to make good roleplaying of it), but they are aware of it.
As for the Hermes vs Mercere Portal shtick. My thinking is that a Mercere Portal is a Mercere secret (not a mystery, just a breakthrough they are not sharing). Hermes Portal is a spell that any magus can learn and cast. The first is for business use, the second for personal Expensive though, at 15 pawns per year, but Franc Several (who is like Charlie and never seen) is vastly wealthy in vis and silver.
So anyways, the ruins of the Covenant of Valencia are not actually ruins. Just an abandoned run down townhouse that used to be palatial. Now dilapidated and looted, it still echos of grandeur. It lasted less than twenty years, but burned brighty as well as quickly, They were one of the grandest covenants in Iberia during the era of El Cid. When they disolved, the Flambeau magi scattered accross Europe (some came to Andorra, there's a historic link here), and the Sahirs went to Granada and formed Estancia-es-Karida.
Carmen tells you there was once a magic aura here, now enveloped by the Dominion.

Safwan, who tends the magical orange grove, is of a solitary lineage that remained in Valencia.
Valencia oranges are world famous, and Safwan is the reason. He is a Sahir, but moreso he is a Hermetic Magus. An Herbam specialist. Strains of produce he bred are grown all over the region. The magical grove is his personal garden and holds his sanctum. And is tended to by a dozen Djinn.
There is a Magic Aura of 4 here in this tiny walled off part of the city. It has been here since the time of the Umayads, and it is said to be built on a foundation far older still.
Safwan also makes some incredible wine. A "bad habbit" many Spanish moslems acquire is a taste for wine, and they are really-really good at making it.
He gives you each a bottle as a parting gift. He tells you it has mystical properties that promote health.

Then lunch with Pietro of Flambeau, formerly of Tytalus, Antares of the Archmagi (leader of their war council).

And that's when some major $#!l+ goes down.
Stay tuned, I'll be right back...

As I said, I am walking you up to the moment of action. Presume you have cast any prepatory spells for travelling about. For example, Carmen casts a Ward against Heat & Flames. She wears a light linnen cloak, but a silk blouse underneeth upon which she casts Doublet of Impenetrable Silk. She also has a Ward against Weapons (+15 soak).
If asked if she is parinoid, she will tell you she is a Flambeau maga, and a woman walking in the city without male escort.

So, old abandoned covenant, magical grove, then lunch. Shopping will have to wait for the trip back to the townhouse.
The two of you meet with Pietro of Flambeau at an outdoor cafe, just the three of you at a table. It feels like meeting with a mafia don. You guys are given wide room, you can tell he has a dozen bodyguards and likely a dozen more you can't see, and the staff is nervous yet servile.
The two of you are seated at his table. Carmen introduces you. The archmagus gives you a smile which you cannot tell if it indicates he is pleased to meet you or merely lewd admiration (you fill out your cloak quite well).

Vibria, charmed to meet you. Just call me Pietro :wink:
Carmen. Glad you could meet me here. I cannot trust my mail anymore. But I need to warn you of...
Then the waiter next to your table explodes in a ball of fire. He dies with a look of shock and horror. Nobody at nearby tables, but those in the next section are totched and screaming. Some of Pietros guards go down.
The blast is magical, and sears right through Vibria's Parma Magica. She is immune to flames, so no worries there. But her cloths may get ruined (incoming damage is +25).
It bounces right off of Pietro, and not a thread is singed.
Carmen is another story. It does penetrate her Parma, and is beyond the protective power of her ward. She goed down. Her cloak is on fire.

This is the moment of action, reaction, or attempt at interuption.
Roll Initiative or try to Fast Cast a response.
I should also mention that a fight breaks out right after this moment. Some of the waiters take up knives against Pietro's bodyguard.

Initiative: Qui 1 + die roll of 3 = 4.

Awareness roll to try to see what's happening in time to do something about it: Per 0 + Awareness 3 + die roll of 4 = 7.

(More to come tomorrow after work, when I've had time to process.)

There is a lot to take in!
The first thing you percieve is Pietro Fast-Casts a lightning bolt right over your head. Someone across the street behind you was attempting to cast a spell, and barely got the word "Rego" out of his mouth before Pietro interrupted his casting by killing him outright. He is very highy mastered with this spell, and very fast. But not fast enough for another. His normal Initiative action is to aid Carmen.
Initiative & Squence of Events...
12 Bomb
9 Pietro Fast Casts a Lighting Bolt
6 Guy behind you was gonna cast a spell, but he died first
5 Pietro's normal Initiative
4 Vibria's Initiative
3 Carmen's Initiative
2 Fight breaks out

Your awareness roll was high enough that I will allow you to fast cast react to any of these events. For example, you may attempt a Fast Cast to try and contain the blast or protect Carmen. She was gonna try a Wizard's Leap, but failed to cast it fast enough and the blast disrupted her concentration. You could tell something was not right with the waiter as he was about to explode (the look of pain on his face, he started to bloat up, and his eyes filled with fire).

Okay, I'm going to try something weird: Vibria is going to (metaphorically) throw herself on the grenade by making all the flames converge on her...the ones that went after Pietro and Carmen. It looks like maybe ReIg, base 4, R: Voice +2, D: Diameter +1, T: Room +2. This looks like this might be a sucky idea - I'm looking at a target level of 25, and a CT of 18 + Aura (if any), halved. Yeah. On top of that, it's an outdoor cafe, so Room wouldn't have worked anyway - maybe Group, but still...

So, let's try to interpose Vibria between Carmen and the source of the attack. Which, I may be mistaken but I don't think you can do in Ars. If it is possible, Vibria's Quickness roll to move in time is Qui 1 + die roll of 6 = 7...which, unless I'm missing something, isn't in time. If it is, her Dex roll to target herself correctly is Dex 0 + die roll of 8 = 8.

If Carmen is still on fire, then she will cast Tremulous Vault of the Torch's Flame, drawing the flames to dash themselves futilely against her body. (Going for the badassery, here). CT +18 + die roll of 8 = 26.

You are not "beating your own initiative". You are just stepping on the gas pedel, so to say, and trying to react to the moment.
Your abandoned spell idea was good. Jut no way you could have FC it in time. But you only needed D: Mom & T: Ind. You are targeting an individual fire at the moment of combustion.
I doubt it could have saved the waiter's life though.
But what you did do is fantastic! Carmen's cloths, and your cloths' are ruined. But she is not on fire. You are though, but you may not notics right away :laughing:
Carmen's ward and etc. would have imparted partial protection, but she still would have wound up with a SD + 11 damage, for her small frame it means a Heavy Wound or worse!
For innovative use of a level 5 spell, I will reduce the incoming damage by +5. So it is a SD + 6.
And I can't roll a die from this interface. Should have thought of that.
So I am now at this very moment going to rolll a plastic polyhedral and ask you to trust me...
I rolled a 0.
I almost freaked out! But I just checked the rules, and it is a stress die with one botch die.
That roll is a 6.
So she takes six points of damage (0 + 6), which is a Medium burn wound on her left arm.
But she is alive and ready to fight on!
New round...
5 Pietro
4 Vibria
3 Carmen
2 Mooks-a-brawlin'!

Pietro goes to Multi-Cast Incantation of Lightning and take out the assailants fighting his bodyguards. He can squeeze off a dozen of them!!
But he gets blindsided.
The unknown opponent shouts as he activates his wand. They are invisible, but you heard them and when you look in that direction, you see a floating wand. After discharging it, they will drop it and run.
Pietro trys to Fast Cast a response, but is not fast enough (I rolled a 3, and his amazing finesse of 5 is just a hair short of this guys incredibly lucky roll of 9.)
So this wand effect resolves before his multicast, and may result in something else happening.
Vibria is next, then Carmen.
You can try a fast cast if you want. Carmen fails (-3 wound penalty slows her down). If nothing can interrupt or interceed this wand, Pietro gets zapped into Twilight.
Next time, I will pre roll Invisible Castle dice and write out the links. I cannot copy/paste on this phone or browse multiple tabs. So this was a one time error on my part. Lesson learned (leaving the text interface would have lost all the typing I did before I realized my mistake, it is sorta like typing a SMS. I need an Android.)