The Stonhenge Tribunal, 1222

It is the Fall of 1222 in the Stonehenge Tribunal. All of the Magi of England it seems have gathered outside the dreary caves of Southern Wales. Some of the older apprentices from the Stonehenge Tribunal remember coming here once before at a previous Tribunal, but this was as far as they were allowed. The various covenfolk and Custos from their master’s home Covenants would set up tents and pavilions outside the caves. Hospitality and rooms were offered inside, but few would accept the offers given by the strange folk of Blackstone, whose eyes were often large and luminescent.

Those that were here before as a younger apprentice recall that they were not allowed inside, one of the few times since being taken from their parents that they were not near their master. Only later would they find out that they could accompany their master if their master wished it, but few Magi would risk being held accountable for a fidgety and unruly apprentice while in front of the assembled Tribunal. The young apprentices were gathered under a pavilion by an old redcap named Timothy, who was too old to travel any more but was a wealth of knowledge. He would regale the apprentices as well as anyone else with tales of his travels, stories about the Founders and other famous Magi, and the history of Stonehenge.

Timothy was also known to allow, and even encourage the apprentices to actually ply some of their Arts, which they were usually forbidden to do. Impromptu contests of lighting cooking fires, levitating books, fanciful displays of glamour and magical pranks on the Grogs were the norm. At the last Tribunal the fun ended when an apprentice forced a Grog to dash a bucket of water into the face of his sergeant. But great fun was always had. You are saddened to hear that Timothy has passed. In his place stand two giants; Great William, and Little William. Both redcaps, and enormously tall, but one can see why Great William is set apart from the other, standing over 7 feet easily. The two of them take charge of the young apprentices, telling tales, displaying their strength and keeping them entertained.

All around, the Tribunal has a festive air, most of the Magi are more reserved, but their Custos are treating it like it’s a holiday. Here and there small groups of wizards gather and speak, and small displays of magic and wares are offered. Nothing so vulgar as actual market stands are set up, but many Custos wander the grounds barking out the wonders of their master’s latest Lab Text or magic item, or that they have Vis that they would trade for those that are interested. It’s not all friendly though. A few bouts of Certamen are engaged outside the cave (cave what cave? You see a bare wall in the mountain, but occasionally people seem to walk right through it) and some darkly muttered threats about an ‘invitation arriving at the Full Moon’ but for the most it seems to be a great time.

This day a great many apprentices will be presented to the Order; their excitement is barely restrained so that a dignified presence might be maintained. Some are here with their Masters, others have proof that they have passed their Gauntlet (letters, a bag which contains the voting sigil, and other things to verify the claim). For those that are new to Stonehenge, you find this to be slightly strange. To your knowledge this Tribunal meeting is a year late, as the other Tribunals in the Order held theirs in 1221. When asked about this you find that this is not a specially convened meeting, but the normal one held at Stonehenge. When asked why it’s simply muttered ‘Tradition’.

A young Redcap in his early twenties wanders through the assembled throngs searching for apprentices that will be elevated this day. He has light brown hair, blue eyes and seems to be quite the charmer. One by one he finds you and after giving respect to your Masters (where possible) he asks that you accompany him to the cave as you will be receiving your initial introduction into the Order. Your Masters nod and allow this, perhaps offering some encouragement or other words as you follow the young man and his small crowd of apprentices. Some of the Masters look on proudly, others perhaps with relief, some possibly with sadness. The Redcap says that his name is Edgar and that he’s the youngest in the Tribunal, and that he too will be recognized today, but he’s been performing this duty for a bit longer. You arrive at the wall that is guarded as properly as a castle gate and you wait for your next instructions.

Soon there is a whisper of a breeze and you see the rock wall part, seemingly like curtains and a woman perhaps in her 40s steps through the opening. She is dressed in rich purple velvet robes with elaborate stitching in gold thread at the hem and sleeves. She has an elegant girdle at her waist from which hang various pouches and implements including a large key ring, which seems ceremonial, surely such large keys as that couldn’t open anything? Her long black hair is swept aside as she steps out and greets you.

“Greetings apprentices. I am Goliard of Tremere and the Seneschal of the Covenant of Blackthorn. I welcome you to the Covenant and the Tribunal convened today, and would ask that you follow me without question. Come.” She says simply. Her voice is quiet but is with firm authority. She turns and walks back inside expecting you to follow her. Inside the cave you find that it is an enormous complex stretching high into the natural ceiling above and lit by globes that glow softly. There is no dampness in the air as you’d expect from a cave, and at the entrance are all the outfittings of a military guard, with armed men in armor and the livery of Blackthorn assembled.

Goliard leads you further into the cave and off to your left side. There are doors installed in the walls all around the cave that you can see. She opens the door by placing her hand in the center of it and a warm glow emanates from within. She waits outside the door and beckons you in. “I shall leave you in their capable hands and see you at the meeting.” Goliard says as she closes the door behind you.

Inside the room, which appears to be a kind of classroom for writing carved out of the rock, with a lectern at one end and desks in front of it. Seated in the far end near you is an older man dressed in gray robes, balding, he seems to have a tattoo of a red serpent on his face. He has sheaves of vellum in front of him and some ink. He studies you quietly. The other is a tall and attractive woman dressed in vibrant red robes, trimmed in gold. The only thing brighter than her robes is her own brilliant red hair. She steps forward with no expression on her face to address you sternly.

“That, apprentices, is Iudicium, the Senior Queasitor of the Stonehenge Tribunal. He is to witness this.” She says pointing to the man in the corner. He merely nods as you turn his way. “I…am Barbara Immolatrix. Hoplite and the oldest Filia of the Praeco of Stonehenge, Talion of House Flambeau. I will be instructing you in the final portion of the ritual of the Parma that you may join the Order.” Her tone is firm and her presence has menace behind it, like a fire ready to burst free from its confines.

The last portion of the ritual of the Parma! That’s why your master didn’t share it with you this morning! It’s finally coming to pass! You strive to maintain your composure at this final lesson.

Barbara continues, her words have the feel of an often repeated speech, and she is used to being listened to.

“You will be learning this from myself, and take your proper oaths at the Tribunal. Before you do that you will demonstrate your ability to raise the Parma.” She pauses, allowing you to savor these moments, the last you spend as an apprentice. Then her expression goes stern. “Know this apprentices. The greatest of the Order’s gifts are not strewn about to the witless and the honorless. This treasure from Bonisagus is given only to those who swear to uphold the Order’s laws and fraternity. You will take this Oath later. Until then, to ensure that this is not some trick to steal the Parma you will present me a lock of your hair along with your credentials. Should you try to steal the Parma, you will not live to profit from it nor share it. I will be the one that hunts you down, it will be my eyes that you shall take with you as your last sight on this world. The only reason that won’t happen is if your Parentes has the honor to fulfill his Oath and slay you himself before I reach you. This is of utmost seriousness apprentices. You shall grow into full Magi this day, such a life is not meant for the weak, the timid, and those without honor. If you are ready to begin step forward and present to the honored Iudicium your credentials if he has not already obtained them from your Master. Then step up to me and sheer a lock from your head.” She says as she holds up a pair of gold colored scissors.

[color=blue]"This is very and highly irregular. The oath is usually administered first and then parma is taught. To demand a long duration arcane connection is indefensible. I ask you to show me the ruling of the tribunal that allows you to make such demand of those that have passed their gauntlet. My oath is to the order and you have no right to deny a gauntleted wizard from swearing their oath and upholding the traditions of the order. To defending the rights of members of the order against such intrusions is my duty." The maga is more than a little incensed at this. She is new to this tribunal but she was required to be gauntleted and oathed before her paren would release her to duty in this tribunal and it looks like she has her first investigation task already.

She reaches into her large pouch where she pulls out a voting sigil and several other papers, [color=blue]"My Voting sigil as wizard of the order, my attestation and certification of passing my gauntlet by my mater, Isabal ex Guernicus, and finally here is my letter from the Primus verifying that I am a quaesitor in good standing for at least the next seven years. Do you still deny me knowledge of the Parma Magica without complying with your unlawful request for an arcane connection?" Her words are strongly spoken in Latin.

Standing near the back of the group, wearing the leathers and woolens of a woodsman, is a young man of average build with a thatch of thick white hair on his head and furry white sideburns that come down along his jawline, tapering to two points on each side of his chin. On a second glance, flecks of grey can been seen mixed in with the white fur-like hair, which can also be seen where he pulled up his sleeves, growing down his arms and thinning out onto the backs of his hands, leaving his fingers bare. Across his chest and over one shoulder is a band of leather with many small loops attached to it, each loop with a long, carved wooden peg-like object inserted into it. The man's eyes are a cold ice blue, but they seem to carry a twinkle of amusement in them, and his mouth has the hint of a smile on it, even at this solemn ceremony.

As Barbara delivers her speech, the man crosses his furry arms and shifts his weight to one side, lifting one white eyebrow in curious skepticism. When the hoplite finishes, and the young Guernicus speaks out against Barbara's demands, he just continues to stand there and observe. She made a very good argument against this unusual maneuver, and he would like to hear the magus' response.

Another young man stands under one of the glowing globes. His attention is divided between Barbara and the globe. His one good eye shifts between them like a candle being moved back and forth across a distant, dark room.

"Hm," he says as he listens, though whether he's interested in the argument or in the light globe's design is hard to say. He bites his lip and says "Hmmm" again, turning back to the globe as he waits to see what happens next.

Upon seeing the gold scissors, Elysia, the snowy-haired Criamon, gazes calmly and unflinchingly into Barbara’s eyes, her calm, tanned face reflected in the shiny metal.

"Look closely, sister. Are those scissors, or chains, intended to bind the strong to the weak?” She turns to her fellow apprentices – fellow magi – one eye still on Barbara.

"I see a prison, sister, one of hair and flesh and the politics of man, one in which a lock of my hair, dead and lifeless in your hand, weighs down on me as surely as a prison with four walls." She looks around, smiles just slightly, and cocks her head to the side.

"Would you deny us magushood, the secret of the Parma, if we refuse to let the strong prey on the weak? Would you fill us with fear, use magic on us? Would you allow us to leave, to go to another place to learn the Parma from another? Would you slay us, sister, knowing our parentes are in the next room?"

"More important yet… would you ask this of them?"

Amidst the clamor of responses a harumph can be heard from the senior Queasitor, while Barbara cocks an amused eyebrow and smiles a smile of genuine delight.

"One would think a little trust and deference would not be too much to ask of those that are intending to join the foremost Magical Society of our Age." he remarks as he leans forward to sort through the sheaves of weathered papers.

"Now, now Iudicium, I remember you telling me that trust is enforced not given. If we could trust each other we wouldn't need oaths...or Quaesitors." She says with a wink. "I'm glad to see such spirit in our newest members. I much prefer an Order of Shepherds, even Wolves rather than sheep." Barbara exclaims with a slight laugh before becoming more serious, the smile still at the corners of her lips.

"Now then, waving patens in our faces and posing riddles will not dissuade us from doing our duties. The fact is this is a long standing law well documented in the Peripheral Code of Stonehenge." She continues as Iudicium produces some yellowed pages.

"Actually" harumphs Iudicium "These laws were ratified in Hibernia and Loch Leglean as well, and hearken back to formation of the Order in these lands. Though we understand that the other Tribunals have become...lax." he comments as he presents the pages for all to inspect.

"The law states that newly gauntletted magi shall learn the Parma from a designated teacher after presenting an Arcane Connection. Later when the Oath is officially taken the Connection shall be burned and destroyed and you will be accepted into our fold. This connection will be held in trust for mere hours."

"But I am to understand that you" Iuducium points to Siobhan "Have already passed your Gauntlet, learned the Parma and taken your Oath?" he asks as he examines the offered letters. "I thought this was a group of apprentices? Who assembled this? Edgar?" he tuts in disapointment.

"Who else has passed their Gauntlet and already learned the Parma, taken their Oath? I assume from outside of Stonehenge then? Who is here from Stonehenge and has their master here?"

"I am from Nigrasaxxa, but my Pater Maximinianus could not make it, he is ill. I brought the credentials though. He explained to me what would happen. Please accept them Master." says a young man dressed as a succesful craftsman might and hands the papers to Iudicium.

"Anyone else?"

Please check this link for the actual excerpts of the Peripheral Code: [url]]

Siobhan reads the pages slowly and carefully as if to commit them to memory. [color=blue]"As my paren holds arcane connections to myself and she is senior queasitor of tribunal, it was not requested of me. It was an element of the law that had not been presented to me and I am glad to expand my education."

She considers the words written. [color=blue]"I am past my gauntlet, I have been taught the Parma and can demonstrate it at need and my patens are presented as required. I offer my services as queasitor in good standing to assist in verification of the destruction of any arcane connections taken here with the hope that none will feel the need to accept this offer."

A tall old man, with a wrinkled face and a close-cropped gray beard steps up, his bones creaking, and speaks in a croaking, stereotypical old-man voice. "I seem to be in the wrong place, eh?" He chuckles, a wheezing sort of laugh, and pulls a voting sigil, a black stone token with a spiral etched into it out of (apparently) thin air. "I've had this thing quite some time, ever since I passed my Gauntlet way back in... what was it, year of our Lord eleven... seventy-eight? Something like." He grins, showing a mouth containing no more than a half-dozen yellowed teeth protruding like butter-colored icebergs from his raw gums. "Now..." he coughs, wheezes a few times, and straightens back up. "Sorry. Now, if you could be so kind as to show an old man where the real magi are sittin'? My eyes aren't what they used to be."

Iudicium examines the papers from Siobhan, the red serpent tatoo seems to be crawling down his cheek to under his chin as he does so. "Sic est." (It is so). And hands the papers back. "Please demonstrate your ability to raise the Parma. I would then ask you to attend on me during the Tribunal and assist me as a Queasitor in good standing with my duties as Senior Queasitor." he says mildly as he accepts the papers from the other magus.

He ignores the questions of the older man as he reads.

"Excuse me?" Asks Barbara. "This is a council of wizards for the introduction of apprentices and newly gauntleted Magi. Are you...a newly gauntleted wizard?" she peers at the old man with some skepticism.

[color=blue]"It will be my pleasure to fully review these decisions later and learn the history about them. It would be as great a pleasure to assist you in the tribunal. In respect for these tribunal rulings that I have just reviewed, I ask that my demonstration of Parma be delayed until the required arcane connections are gathered that my demonstration does not reveal to those gathered secrets in violation of the tribunal rulings. Siobhan says respectfully to the senior queasitor.

She carefully looks at the one claiming to a magus for forty years knowing that he has to provide his documentation of identity and demonstration of Parma as much as she since his is from another tribunal.

Iudicium nods at Siobhan's request and gestures to a place by his side. He hands back the papers to the craftsman. "Sic est. Step up to Barbara and present the Arcane Connection."

Barbara is still peering at the old man as the young man steps up.

"I am Rhodri ap Buthfanen ex Bonisagus, my Parens is Maximinianus." he takes the offered scissors and snips a lock of his brown hair. Barbara takes the lock and binds it with a gold colored cord and tucks it into her belt.

"Rhodri, it is my honor and privilege to teach you the greatest secret of your Founder, the balm of our Order. Please step this way." She takes the man aside and turns her back to the rest, simply blocking the view as she whispers into his ear. The lights seem to dim in response, darkening over them both to hide the sight of them.

"Of course!" comes the gasped exclamation from the young man after a minute or so of whsipering. "May I try?" he asks eagerly. There is the sound of movement and hushed words. "It is magnificent!" he exclaims as the lights return.

"Please remain here after the others, we shall discuss your role in the Tribunal meeting." remarks Barbara with a slight but proud smile on her face while Rhodri beams with pride as he returns to the group.

The old man chuckles at Siobhan. "Get a lot of old peasants wandering in, speaking latin, pretending to be magi? Aye, I know the Parma, and I'll demonstrate it now, in front of all the young'uns. I hope you trust them." He grins the same gap-toothed grin. "My name... well, they call me Thursson. Thursson ex Merenita. I'm new to the tribunal, and thought I'd see who's in charge." He wheezes. "Always good to see who's in charge before you go breaking a lot of rules, hmm?"

((Die roll for Kylios Rolled on: 2009-01-07 22:09:50.661310
1d10 → [2] = (2) for guile +4 +1 for specialization +1 com = 8
Note to self: telling Invisible Castle to roll a "10" does not mean a "d10". :stuck_out_tongue:))

Siobhan studies the old man, ][color=blue]"There is something not right about your words and demeanor. I sense there is a falseness to what you are saying." She carefully studies the man suspiciously.[color=blue]"Perhaps you should try the truth."

Rolled on: 2009-01-07 22:40:57.495245
1d10-1+5 → [7,-1,5] = (11) (-1 to make d10 to stress, +4 folk ken specialty magi, +1 perception)

"Ah now, miss, but where's the fun in that!" He laughs again. "Here's my papers" - he pulls a water-stained scroll identifying himself as Ksmudgeos ex Tyblur out of a case - "and here's my voting sigil." He holds up the same black stone disc for inspection. "That settles that, and I do think you're being frightful rude."

Both Barbara and Iudicium now look at the interaction between the 'old man' and the new Quaesitor.

"What is this?" Barbara asks as she peers over Siobhan's shoulders.

"May I see those?" Asks Iudicium reaching for the papers, the serpent on his cheek now seems to have crawled to his other cheek. "You know, misrepresenting yourself at Tribunal is both easy to figure out...and can be considered a low crime. If you are not who you say you are, you should come forward now before Barbara's ire is raised. And disguises...are far more rude."

Björn glances around the room, trying to guess the houses of the people gathered. Siobhan introduced herself so quickly, he didn't have time to wonder about her. He would have pegged the white haired lady for Merinita or Bjornaer until she started speaking in riddles, declaring herself Criamon. Originally he thought Rhodri might be another Verditius by the way he dressed, but was again found in the wrong. Looking over to the one eyed man standing under a globe lamp, he guesses he might be a Criamon as well, judging by his detached attitude.

Believing what the old man said, he never would have questioned it if Siobhan hadn't said anything. Now he is not so sure what to think. Probably an Ex Miscellania. Björn shakes his head at the man's audacity to play games at a Tribunal.

Rolled on: 2009-01-08 06:40:44.727159
1d10+3 → [5,3] = ( 8 ) (+2 Folk Ken, +1 Perception)

[color=blue]"Tribunal rulings were made available showing that mages from other tribunals merely need present papers and prove parma. Despite this, you chose to ask to go elsewhere. You have claimed a name that seems false which could be seen as low crime. While low crimes are usually fine or other small punishments the default punishment for ALL crimes is Wizard's March and the lesser penalties of low crimes is seen as alternative though usually accepted. Lying to the Senior queasitor of a tribunal seeking to verify the rights of us to vote and be present could be seen as a lack of respect for the tribunal and its voting and even a high crime. Master Iudicium is being very merciful in deed in merely asking that you cease your deceptions and give truth. There is also the fact that unless you are certified as resident of this tribunal, you can be denied vote. My papers show I am assigned here establishing such residency." Siobhan speaks in a soft teaching tone explaining the code as one that has been trained in instructing others and indeed has a gift for it.

She then continues, [color=blue]"More over you have used magic to hide your identity and try to deceive the tribunal, this can count as scrying upon your fellow mages and that is a HIGH crime. Now were you a mage as old as you claim, you would know this and not dare such imposture. As an apprentice not taken the oath, your master would be liable. As newly gauntletted, perhaps you should take this one time leniency to heart and remember it for the future."

OOC: Updated for the additional paragraph.

"Big threats for a little girl," he says, in a totally different voice. The form of the old man fades, starting at the grin and working outwards to reveal that he is, in fact, a bald man, seven feet tall, wearing battered peasant's clothing, with grey mottlings over most of his skin. "Especially because I never said nothing about what my name is, my papers are in order, and I've got my voting sigil." He waves the smudged papers again. "And I hardly think that walking around with a different face is a high crime - you wouldn't either if you were ugly as me." He smiles, showing perfect white teeth - despite his oddness, there's something striking about the way he carries himself. "I wish I could say it was a pleasure to meet you, Siobhan, but since you're being a right bitch for someone your age and sounding like a book of laws, I'll show your boss my papers and my parma, and walk about with whatever face I please."

He turns his back on her and shows his papers to Iudicium. They are all in perfect order, if a little water-damaged. "Disguises are rude, my good man, but rudeness ain't a crime. If it was, your little judge-in-training here " - he jerks his head toward Siobhan - "would have been guilty long ago."

[color=blue]"Disguises of a magical nature are a CRIME when used to get information on the order and accompanied by lies in age claiming to have been oathed 42 years ago and identity of Thursson ex Merenita as you gave originally. You will have to get used to being called on your deceptions in tribunal. Better to it get resolved peacefully and quietly here and now before queasitors with a warning than in the council chamber before all the tribunal where it would have to be seen as a trial. As your actions impacted the code as I am sworn to uphold it, I had a DUTY to speak regardless of what is polite or rude." Siobhan looks over the mottled face and doesn't seem bothered by it, [color=blue]"If the others of the order can not bear your appearance, tough for them. They have no say in the matter and it does not affect your art or your rights under the code. Learn to use it to manipulate their reactions, it will serve you well. I have seen worse during my training seasons. Some of the twilight scars make your appearance seem beautiful."

The one eyed man will say aloud, to no one in particular and staring at the globe, "The enchantment is good, but the placement is poor. It would allow more light if placed there or there," he points to several points in the celing.

He listens now to the exchange between the people at the front of the line, folding his papers into quarters. He moves slowly to the back of the line, smiling as he jostles Elysia. "Sorry," he mumbles, barely missing her toes with his feet.