The Exarch (late summer 1242)

Markus of Tremere, Exarch of Summer, is coming to visit Vocis tomorro night. His personal herald, Mickey Blackcap, arrives via portal to deliver his message and prepare for his arrival.
Things Vocis knows about Markus...

  • He is in charge of Tremere activity in Iberia, Provencal, and Normandy.
  • He supports Andorra's unique status and makes use of it. He funds the hospital project.
  • Octavian did not get along well with him. Or anyone :laughing:
  • His message mentions he is finishing up work at the Provencal Regional and is on his way to the Iberian Tribunal meeting being held in the fall. He plans t visit Andorra for three days before going on to Barcelona. The letter also mentions his agenda, three points to discuss...[list]
    [*]Your budget is being cut, and Transylvania is asking for help raising revenues to resupply the stockpile.
  • The explosive events of the Provencal Tribunal meeting are sure t be circulating soon. This letter was written less than hour ago which in turn was less than an hour after the event. So Vocis is one of the first outside to know. House Flambeau has gone into schism. After a vote of No Confidence in Garus, Archmagus Pietro of Flambeau, with the backing of Doisettep and the Knights of Seneca, was declared Primus. Castra Solis refuses to recognize this authority and plans to hold a Grand Flambeau Convocation in one year. Pietro most likely intends to visit the Iberian regional to gather supporters.
  • Fnord. There is a thing that Vocis cannot remember. He knows what it is but cannot think of it. He knows why but cannot remember that either. It is all for the good. Markus will visit, you will discuss Fnord, you will both know what to do, and you will both forget what you talked about. It is for the greater good. You both volunteered for this.

Latter that night, Archmagus Pietro of Flambeau arrives riding a stormcloud. He politely came over the other side of the mountain as to not scare the locals. Hovering down to your front gate, he requests admittance and an immetdiate emergency meeting with Carmen.
But Carmen isn't here. She is on vacation with her mother.

When Archmagus Pietro arrives and asks for Carmen, it's Lucas who gets sent for. He quickly transforms his robes* into something suitable for meeting an archmagus, and enhances his likeability^ with another spell. Then, he transforms into a hawk# and flies over from his tower to the main castle where Pietro has been showed to a receiving chamber.

"Honored archmagus," Lucas says with a bow of his head as he enters the room. "I'm sorry you were kept waiting. I'm Lucas de Mercere, Herald of Andorra. It's a pleasure to have you visit. I must report with regret, however, that Carmen is away from the castle at the moment. I'm not certain when she'll be back. Is there something that I could help you with?"


^ - Aura of Beguiling Appearance: 1D10+21 = [5]+21 = 26; success

- Ring of the Soaring Falcon

Vocis will promptly have a chamber prepared for the Exarch's Herald and a more opulent chamber for the Exarch. Staff are told to be adaptable and ready, to prep food, etc. Micaela is advised that she shall continue her studies but not be joining Vocis at meals. He will not advise the staff of the identity of the guests, he is to be sent for when they arrive.

I assume similar instructions are given to Clotide...

I've slept on it, and Vocis will advise the senior most magi that the Exarch is visiting via sealed letter; and insist the letters are delivered immediately.

Who do you consider the senior most magi? It used to be that the masters were considered senior. Now it seems like the pontifici are emerging as a new elite among the covenant. I wasn't sure what definition you were using: pontifici, officers, masters, or just a feeling for who is senior.

(My gut feeling is pontifici, but I thought I'd check, just in case.)

Fair comment, I meant it to be an FYI to the Pontifici and Masters, as all potentially might be needed for discussion or feedback.

Actually, only to Clotide. Micaela was Gauntleted in 1240 and is currently in Transylvania. Tradition holds that those apprenticed outside spend their first ten years within, and those apprenticed within spend their first ten years outside.

The notification of the Exarch's visit comes before Pietro's surprise arrival. News of what happened just a few hours ago is slowly making a buzz amongs Portal Redcaps here and there, but this gossip does not yet reach any ears before Pietro arrives. So only Vocis knows. And Richeaux. And then...

Pietro squints one eye and looks you over as he strokes his ling silver beard.
[color=gray]Intriging. A mix of humility and vanity.
Very well. I do need to talk to Carmen. I have a good idea where she might be. What of the other Pontifici? I understand the triad has been formed? Other members of House Flambeau in your covenant? I heard there is a Knight of Seneca amongst you? The filius of the infamous war criminal Joel Muniz.
I would request an audience with all the magi of your covenant. Especially your Pontifici and Flambeau members. And I would like a private meeting with this Senecan. Robert! That's his name, I remember now. Robert the Reformed they called him. The perfect modle for my new vision.

My fellow magus, sodale. As I shall anounce to your council, I give you my formal announcement now. No longer am I the Antares of the Archmagi, for I have resigned that post so that I may focus on my new duties.
Now I am Primus of Flambeau, Archmagus Pietro, Pontifex of Val-Negra.

blarg guessed the dates incorrectly, couldn't recall who was his apprentice.

Then to Clotide, "We have important guests walking the halls of the covenant and some maybe sharing this tower. Be your best and avoid distractions, and do but find yourself underfoot. Be also wary and keen eyed, many things are changing in the Order. This is an excellent opportunity for some background education on the Order itself too. This evening you and I will do additional study before rest on the structures of the Houses. " he watches with a raised eyebrow for any protest.

To the Herald of the Exarch ( he a Magus?) "Welcome Herald. The Covenant's Magi and I am very pleased that the Exarch and yourself visit us. Accommodation has been prepared. The Redcap network is particularly accessible here and please let us know if you should require anything else. "

Lucas bows his head in deference to Pietro, glad that his seasons of service as a Redcap have prepared him to deal with magi of all walks of life. Apprentice or primus, they all got their messages delivered.

"We're honored by your presence, Primus," Lucas replies. "I will have a message sent to the other pontifici immediately requesting a meeting. And I'll bring word personally to Roberto about your arrival. However, he's currently in our chapterhouse in the Balearic Islands, so it may take some time for him to return to Andorra."

"I've arranged for some refreshments to be brought in for you while you wait. The servants will attend to whatever needs you have. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll send word to Pontifex Arachne and Pontifex Solomon, and pass your message on to Roberto."

Leaving the room, Lucas ducks into a side chamber with a small desk and some parchment available. He quickly pens two identical notes, which are immediately handed to a servant to go to Arachne and Solomon without delay. Unlike most notes he would send, these two are sealed with wax and his own official signet:

Archmagus Pietro of Flambeau has arrived at the coventant and has announced that he has been named Primus of House Flambeau. He was looking for Carmen, but in her absence, has requested to meet with the other pontifici as well as the full council. I have him currently ensconced in the Blue Sitting Room, where he waits for a chance to speak with you.
Then he moves to a window and steps out, becoming a falcon halfway through his step. He flies over to the Mercere tower. Along the way he mentally contacts his familiar.

Horus, I need you to get a message to Cecelia immediately. Archmagus Pietro of Flambeau has arrived announcing that he's been named Primus of House Flambeau. I feel almost certain that Harco has word of this already. But on the off chance they aren't aware of the situation yet, she might give some thought to popping though the portal to Harco to let them know. Also, if they are aware of the situation, please ask her to see what she can find out about the situation. I hadn't heard that House Flamnbeau was even considering such a change.

Once at the Mercere tower, Lucas resumes human form and walks inside, heading for the portal chamber. There he starts his journey to the Balearics and Roberto's quarters. He could easily have sent a messenger instead of going himself. But he was keen to hear what Roberto thought of all of this. And after all, wasn't one of House Mercere's main jobs the passing of important messages?

A surprisingly short time later, Lucas finds himself passing through the regio to Roberto's quarters. He hails the first person he sees and calls out, "I need to see Roberto immediately. Important House business. Can you tell me where he is?"

Something this big could hardly help but be carried to the ears of those whose who listen to rumor, and Rilcheaux will ask that he be allowed to sit- he swears he will be silent, in at the meeting. His interest is in gauging the news so as to best extend his network of contacts in the affected regions.

Vibria opens the letter as soon as the page who delivered it leaves, then squees loud enough to send Felix scampering to the top of one of the supply pantries in her laboratory.

[color=red]"The exarch! The exarch is coming here! And all the masters and pontifici have been invited to dinner with him!"

"When is that?"

[color=red]"Tomorrow night."

"Plenty of time, then," Felix says as he stretches, yawns, and spreads his wings wide before fluttering back down to the stool he was occupying a moment earlier. "Unless you think you'll be too distracted to continue working on making me your familiar?"

[color=red]"No, of course not," Vibria says. But she is somewhat distracted, wondering why the exarch is coming, trying to dredge up everything she can remember or knows about him, and quizzing herself on Tremere etiquette for when she does meet him. And she (barely) remembers to have Julia, her new maidservant and nanny, make sure her good dress is clean for the next night.

She has, I think, three or four possible Lores that might help in her knowing who Markus is and what he might be doing here.

Int 1 + Area Lore: Mythic Europe (Tremere) 2 + die roll of 6 = 9.

Int 1 + Area Lore: Rhine Tribunal 1 + die roll of 4 = 6.

Int 1 + Area Lore: Transylvania Tribunal 2 + die roll of 8 = 11, or 12 if her Specialty of "Politics" is appropriate.

Int 1 + Order of Hermes Lore 1 + die roll of 7 = 9.

The herald is a Black Cap, the House Tremere version of a Redcap without magus status. Rare outside of Transylvania, in that tribunal they are treated virtually as if they were Redcaps and work closely with the Mercere there. It is in the Transylvania book.
Vibria knows the standard information about Markus. An Exarch is a Tremere officer that supervises a region, and Markus has held his post for about 25 years now. Since the end of the Shadow Wars. He supports Andorra's status and funds Vocis's hospital project. As for the purpose of his visit, Vibria has an idea as she looks at her hand with the missing finger. Transylvania spared no expense putting a decisive end to the Dragon Wars and smoothing everything over. The grand reserve is tapped. Coeris is broke. Vibria probably understands how dire the situation may be, perhaps better than Vocis. She was there. She saw firsthand how quickly House Tremere can mobilize as a unfied force, and how much power they can allot to a given situation. And she saw them spend a lot of vis quite freely.

What Lucas knows and can find out...
He is the second of the member magi to learn that Pietro has been named Pontifex, but he knows nothing of the "schism" or dispute that Markus wrote of to Vocis. But putting in an inquiry and trading news, he can quickly find out what is up. A transcript of the events in Provencal (which happened just this morning!) is circulating between portal hubs and being delivired to Mercere lodges/quarters by swift travelling Redcaps (those that fly/teleport/project/etc).
Magic can drive news fast. It usually doesn't drive it this fast, but this is some major news for Hermetic society.
Rich knows everything in the transcript (summarized below). He has already talked to a few eyewitnesses and are bumping around the hubs gossiping.

Vocis has sent out his notices about the Exarch coming tomorrow and people have received it. It is a few hours latter, after sunset, that Pietro arrives. A grog comes knocking on his door with a message from Lucus, as noted above, concerning this and that he calls himself Primus. Vocis has keen instincts that tell him that the Archmagus is here to gain support for his claim. He may or may not know of the Exarch's impending visit. However, his sudden arrival so soon after these events indicates he thinks someone might show up soon and he wants to pre-empt any who may try to argue against him. These two visits, so swiftly atop each other, also seems to indicate how politically important outsiders view Andorra. All these years, this quiet covenant has tried to stay out of politics for fear that others will try to take their special status away. Yet it may seem that they are the ones wary of us.
Vocis has a familiar, I do believe, though I forget the name. But anyway, they will suggest to you that you should dig up information concerning these "Knights of Seneca" and Andorra's relationship to them. They say this covenant was founded by Delendos.

There are no "official" statements as of yet, other than Pietro personally telling you he is Primus (he also mentioned he is of Val-Negra, you should look into that). There isn't a single "transcript" either. The official actual record of the tribunal will begin cirulating at the begining of next year. But there are several hasitlyy scribed letters and verbal messengers popping about magically.
The basic gist of the events goes something like this.
Pietro of Flambeau, as the Antares of the Archmagi, was granted Ex-Officio status to visit and speak at the Provencal Tribunal. Having recently participated in the Dragon Wars (Vibria remembers it was a big deal when he showed up there), he spoke passionately about the need to form a rapid defense force to protect both the Order and society at large from future threats of such magnitude.
Sources say, and Richeuax's contacts confirm, that the Archmagus would routinely taunt and chide Primus Garus, growing ever more hostile as the meeting proceeded over the course of several weeks. He accused the Primus of trying to turn Flambeau into chivalrous Jerbiton when they should be stalwart soldiers like the Tremere. He faulted Garus for a weak and feeble respose to the Dragon Wars, and blamed him for the failure of (some covenant of Flambeau magi killed by frost giants but could have survived if they had support, or some other political contraversy that has no direct bering on our saga).
Garus kept trying to have Pietro silenced and said he was derailing the tribunal and should be ejected. But many magi of that Flambeau dominated Tribunal wanted to hear more and the praeco was an old conservative and respected the archmagus (and was one herself, so conspiracy theories abound already).

Then this morning, the day which was to be the final formalities and last gavel then closing ceremonies, this morning a fierce argument broke out between the two.
Long story short, Pietro invoked archaic custom and callenged Garus to the Test of Flames for the seat of the Primacy. Garus called it an obsolete and barbaric custom, and refused. This lost him favor amongst the old school types. Garus pointed out the current bylaws and they formal election process at convocation to fill vacancy. Pietro challenged him to proper Certamen for the primacy. Garus squirmed, but the chief quaesitor said he had to duel, it was legit and if he lost he should abdicate and call for an election. Pietro won the duel and called for an immediate election. Casta Solis protested as this was a Tribunal and not a Flambeau Convocation. Garus pledged to abdicate in one year at Convocation, allowing Flambeaux throughout the Order to voice an opinion. The Flambeau magi present (there were a lot of them, and they say say outside visitors from other tribunals swelled the ranks, and the name "Knights of Seneca" was prominent in these rumors), the Flambeaux overwhelmingly cried out and voted No Confidence in Garus, declairing Pietro their Primus until Convocation. Garus can wait until then to run for re-election.
Further, Pietro made the surprise statement that he is no longer a resident of the Greater Alps at Icy North. He pledged his alligence to the revived Covenant of Val-Negra, and declared that as Primus it is now once again the Domus Magnus of House Flambeau. He then submitted the official covenant documents, records stating how it was never closed and had been a secret clandestine operation all along, a letter from Durenmar, a reafirmation of charter, the signatures of four members (Pietro of Flambeau, Abbadon of Tytalus, Fuego Conflagaratius of Flambeau, and Erat Caecus of Tytalus [size=25]fnordfnordfnord!!!![/size], an official statement written by the Hausperex, Mercere financial transaction records for the past fifty years to demonstrate the covenant still legally exists, and more smoke & mirrors.
A convocation has been agreed, but a place yet to be decided. Many covenant names tossed about. Andorra being one of them. Garus and Pietro agreed to meet in one moon at Aedas Mercuri (aka Doisettep) where they will meet with (some famous Quaesitor) to determine the place.
Pietro departed just after noon sometime (now ten hours ago). With him he took seven magi he recruited as new members of his Domus (all Flambeau magi).

Lucas arrives at Roberto's lighthouse and inquires of his location. The groundskeeper points over to a small dock by the shore. Roberto is fishing, staring of at the sea. Carlos is playng his latin guitar while Cidito meowdles.

Lucas thanks the groundskeeper and heads down to the dock. "Hola y buenos dias," he call out to the group. "Roberto. Carlos. Cidito." He gives a nod to each. "I'm sorry to interrupt such an idyllic scene, but I'm afraid I'm acting as Redcap today." He takes a few steps onto the dock. "I bring word from Archmagus Pietro. He's arrived at Andorra and announced that he's been named primus of House Flambeau. What's more, he wants to speak to you." He points at Roberto. "It's something about the Knights of Seneca if I don't miss my guess. He originally asked to speak to Carmen, but she's away visiting her mother. Right now he's probably closeted away with Arachne and Solomon. But you're next on the list." He shakes his head. "Interesting times, Roberto. We live in interesting times."

"Oh, and there's also this." He pulls a folded and sealed piece of parchment from his belt pouch and hands it to Roberto. "The Redcaps at Andorra gave this to me when I told them I was coming here. It's a note from Vocis. If it's anything like the one he sent to me, it tells you that the Exarch of Summer is coming to visit Andorra. Can't be a coincidence, can it? Nothing the Tremere ever do is coincidence."

Roberto yanks his fishing line, drawing up a corked bottle with a message.
[color=red]Yeah, I'll be at your meeting tomorrow night. Vincent Price can wait until then. I am busy. And he rushes off with his love letter. Carlos shrugs. Cidito offers to take his place.

Lucas smiles and shakes his head as he watches Roberto depart. Generally one did not ignore a request from the primus of one's house. But there was something hinky about this whole situation. The abruptness of the appointment, Pietro's quick visit to Andorra immediately after being appointed, his interest in the Knights of Seneca, the Exarch's visit. And now Roberto's insouciance about the situation. It all added up to one thing - Pietro wasn't secure in his position. If Roberto was willing to let the primus of his house hang for a full day waiting, then that meant that he either didn't care about consequences, or didn't think there would be any. The latter seemed more likely than the former. If Pietro needed the support of the Knights of Seneca, he'd be willing to ignore a few minor inconveniences to get it, as much as he'd certainly hate it.

One thing was certain, there was probably a visit to Harco in his future to let Aldero know what was going on. It wouldn't do for House Mercere to be behind on gossip in the Order - especially about something like this. And Rilcheaux as well. He'd want to know what was going on. He might even have some information about the appointment as well.

"I'm afraid Pietro would probably take it as an even bigger insult if Roberto sent his familiar in place of himself," he replies to Cidito. "Not that I don't think you could do a great job dealing with the archmagus. But we'll just stick with me telling Pietro that Roberto is too busy to meet with him right now. Thankfully a lifetime of respect for the sanctity of Redcaps should keep even him from harming a Mercere magus." That and the fact that he won't want to piss off House Mercere right now if he's trying to stabilize his position as primus.

He moves over and takes a seat on the dock. "I will take some wine, however." He looks around and smiles. "What kind of a relaxing day of fishing would it be if there weren't wine?"

Horus, I'm gonna be gone for a while. Tell Elena I want her to practice the arcane hand gestures we went over yesterday for the rest of the afternoon. I'll be looking to see some progress in the morning. Oh, and Horus, things just got a whole lot more interesting around the covenant. I'll fill you in tonight.

Lucas then spends the next half hour chatting with Carlos and Cidito, drinking wine, and enjoying the strum of the guitar. Eventually, though, he stands up and brushes some dirt off his tunic. "Well, I am still the Herald and I'm acting as a Redcap right now. I suppose I ought to deliver my message." He smiles. "You may hear the explosion of Pietro's rage all the way from here. Enjoy the rest of the day. I'll try and do the same."

Then, without a word or a gesture, he disappears, reappearing in his sanctum.* He looks around for Cecelia, expecting her to be gone, but ready to brief her on what's happening if she's not. Then he moves to the window and steps out, becoming a falcon once more and flying back to the central keep. There he slips on the red cap that he always keeps with him and asks a servant if Pietro is in conference with either Solomon or Arachne or if he's still alone.


    • Leap of Homecoming. Automatic success without stress.

FWIW, PoB hasn't even been on the forums for about four weeks now. So we might not want to wait for a post from Solomon.

Pietro is not known for an explosive temper. Rather, he is famed for a ruthless cunning. And the ability to multicats over ten bolts of lightning at once. The character has woven in and out of the background of this saga. He originates in Santuary of Ice, the Alpine Tribunal book from ArM4 written by Timothy Ferguson. The Vincent Price comment alludes to a description he once wrote of that character in Forum. Looking like Vincent Price with ling silvery hair.
He is also mentioned as Antares in the Icelandic Wars adventure (a 4th ed free PDF that capped off the very end of that edition). Then way back at the start of 4th ed, the Houses of Hermes book published by Wizards of the Coast, there is a character unnamed that the latter depiction of Pietro alludes to. The Flambeau section of that book describes the way an applicant can join that House. Which is to defeat seven champions in magical combat. It goes on to say the last magus to do so defeated his opponents with multicast lightning bolts. SoI latter describes Pietro, and mentions he has many enemies seeking revenge for those he killed winning his contest, and so he rigiorously trains his apprentices to defend themselves.

Then on to our saga. I play it as Pietro has quelled his enemies and moved on to bigger things. He is (was) the Antares. He is also Carmen's mentor and an old friend (& rival) of her father Antonio.