On a cold, blustery day in mid-February, a man approaches from the south. His dark clothes stand out against a landscape recently tinged white by one of the few snowfalls of the winter. As he nears, it becomes clear that he is quite tall, and that his legs are disproportionately long. He carries a well-stuffed bag on his shoulders, which are covered by his unbound red hair. Long strides allow him to cover the remaining distance quickly. He makes no indication of stopping until he is abreast of the sentries. Then he halts, surveys his surroundings, and finally looks down from his considerable height at the nearest sentry. "Good day. Is this Insula Canaria, the covenant? If so, I am here to meet Maga Boudicca."
"Aye, that it is," one of the guards says. He turns and speaks quickly and softly to a couple of the other guards, who trot down the path toward the covenant. The two return before much longer, with a harried-looking blonde maga in deep crimson, heavy woolen robes with yellow fur trim and embroidery.
[color=red]"Yes? How may I help you?" she says.
"Maga Boudicca, I am Laerleggr." The unusually tall stranger makes an attempt at a bow, but loses his balance and has to flail his arms and take several awkward steps to avoid falling forward. Delicately carved trinkets of bone kept under his cloak clack against one another with his gyrations. Smiling sheepishly, in apology, he kicks off what now becomes clear is a cloth-covered stilt, first from one foot and then the other. He lets them lie where they fall and finishes his small bow properly.
"Boudicca - that's a name I hadn't come across before. Are you from the North here?" he asks, picking up the stilts.
Boudicca smiles at Laerleggr's antics.
Boudicca snorts derisively. [color=red]"I've only been up here a couple of years."
As she speaks, Laerleggr can detect a slight English accent.
"Ah, okay. From the south then. No matter. So, you and the others who remain are fostering a resurgence of the covenant? What happened here anyway? And how many new magi are you expecting to show up and how many will you take?" He clacks his stilts together to knock off the snow they picked up from the ground.
Boudicca presses her lips together in a grim smile. [color=red]"Other. Singular. Eilid of Bjornaer is the only one of the former magi that remains, and she might be able to tell you more than I can about what happened. As I understand it, Faileas of Criamon lost his mind one night, destroyed not only his own lab but the covenant's Common Lab, then threw himself into the lake.
"We've invited well over a dozen magi. We expect maybe half that many to show up and apply for membership, and we will take as many as seem to be worthwhile. Insula Canaria is an old, well-off covenant, it can afford a surplus of members."
A pained look crosses Laerleggr's stubbled face when Boudicca mentions Faileas' end. "I'm sorry to hear of the tragedy. Death is hard enough to bear when it's brought about by someone or something else." After a pause, he proceeds. "Thank you for your candor on both topics. In return, I am compelled to mention that my request to join your covenant was partly caused by some unfavorable circumstances of my own. I've come here from Glasgow, where I made a living for a while by selling my art. I ran afoul of a clergyman there - the Archbishop in fact. I'm not a criminal or an impious man, mind you. Just a man who can't abide those who pull the wool over the eyes of others for their own, selfish gain. So I called the Archbishop out and exposed a fraud he was attempting. Now he wants me for his dungeons. If this is something that causes you to deny my request to join, I will understand. All I ask is for a chance to show you my character and my worth as a magus, to weigh against my baggage, and that'll be fair enough for me. How does that sound to you?"
After he speaks, Laerleggr reaches into the cloth covering the stilts and wordlessly destroys the bone stilt within, one at a time.
((Non-fatiguing spont.: PeCo 3 (Level 2: Destroy an extra-corporeal bone - from guidelines on charactersheet (http://lochness.wikidot.com/laerleggr) - please let me know if there are any levels that are off), +1 Touch); CT = (23+A)/5 = at least 4; Deft Corpus + Magical Focus))
Then he folds up the covers and stuffs them in his pack.
Boudicca smiles. [color=red]"Most magi...I would venture to say most people...have things that they would rather others not find out. I feel that one should not hear of things unless the person tells them themselves. We do have a priest up the road in Cill Chuimein, but I don't know how close he is to the Archbishop. If nothing else, we can just not ask you to conduct any covenant business that would take you in that direction."
Laerleggr smiles back. "That sounds good to me. It's been quite a while since I felt a sense of belonging to a place. I hope, with time, I can do so here. You certainly have a beautiful landscape. I also look forward to joining a circle of magi again."
[color=red]"And we look forward to having you as part of our Covenant, Laerleggr."
((Anything else you wanted to do in the prelude, or shall we call "Cut!"?))
((No thanks, let us cut.))