Now that makes a lot of sense!
Welcome to Andorra Marcellus, hope you survive the experience! (Autumn 1244)
Marcellus exhales in relief as Carmen explains the tradition. "I will be happy to contribute to the covenant. So if you have something in mind, just let me know. The sooner the better, as it might require some study before I can enchant it."
Thinking back on her words, Marcellus smiles, "I just realized that you gave me the name of the chapter house, as well as the reason it was established, but not its location. I would certainly understand its location being a secret because of the vis source, but I'd like to know whether it is away from the mountains. Location is one of the reasons I have to apply for membership to Andorra, so if being sent to the chapter house means moving away from the mountains, that would not suit me at all."
OOC: Not sure I get the joke about the question. Something to do with the way people were questionned about the Communist Party in the U.S. during the Cold War, perhaps? I'm not from the U.S., so I may be missing something here.
Something like that
The Balearic Islands. Way far away. You would hate it there.
The projects I have in mind are simple. I want to bring our equipment levels back up. We supply our custos with charms and charged items. Think of them as our private Redcap core.
Oh, and regular Redcaps too. You can turn a profit working for them. Lucas can set you up..
As Carmen walks off with Marcellus, Lucas finishes his glass of wine and then exits the north solar. He climbs a nearby stairway to another hallway and then walks out a door onto a part of the roof of the keep. Then, speaking a command word, he transforms into a falcon and takes wing toward his tower on the far side of the castle. He had a letter to make copies of and send off to Castra Solis, Aedas Mercurii, and Duresca. And if he hurried he could probably get them off with the dispatches heading to Harco tomorrow morning. From there they'd get to their destinations quickly. Andrei was going to grumble at the extra work since Lucas knew his assistant had planned to tackle some of the accounts from the estate in Majorca this afternoon. But it couldn't be helped. Covenant business came first and the sooner everyone knew that Andorra couldn't host the Flambeau convocation the better.
"An island? You are probably right, I would not enjoy that. I feel much more at home on land. I certainly did not enjoy my trip to Verdi for my Gauntlet. It was a relief to be able to take the portal network to come here, instead of taking a boat again."
Solomon had taken a break from his lab work to get a breath of fresh air; no amount of magical lights or conjured air could ever truly replace the natural beauty of a clear Autumn day. As he leaned heavily on the walnut staff he gripped tightly, he limped slowly across the grounds of the covenant. Spotting Carmen, along with a new face he didn't recognize, he slowly makes his way over to them.
"Carmen," he says with a calm, soft voice, "who is your companion?"
(I'm intentionally keeping Vibria out of this thread, since she's involved in All Roads Lead to Africa, and I know neither when this takes place nor when she leaves or returns to Andorra.)
As the appointed hour for the council meeting draws near, Guiverna crosses over from the portal to Barcelona. She pauses just outside the door, looking around at the relatively dim light (compared to Barcelona or Sa Dragonera). At her side is a very large, long snake. The tall auburn-haired woman arches her back as she stretches and reaches skyward, her more than ample bosom straining against the fabric of her emerald-green robes. (A few men, and one or two women, look in her direction as she stretches.) She strides toward the council chamber, the snake gliding by her side. She appears to be talking, but from a distance you can't make out the words.
As she draws closer, you can hear that she is speaking in a sibilant tongue that Marcellus has almost certainly never heard before; in fact, it almost doesn't sound like a real language at all. And the remarkable thing is that the snake is replying in the same tongue.
Guiverna laughs softly as she approaches Carmen and Marcellus. Now that she's closer, you can see that Guiverna's robes have an intricate embroidering on them that's reminiscent of scales. She's also wearing what appears to be a silver crux ansata, or handled cross, around her neck.
"Good afternoon, Pontifex," she says to Carmen, her voice a throaty purr. Marcellus probably recognizes her accent: she speaks Latin with a strong Occitan influence. "I trust you are feeling well this...beautiful day (thanks be to Heka)."
She turns as if noticing Marcellus for the first time. "And who have we here?" she says with a smile, her eyes drinking the Verditius in.
(Guiverna, at 5'10" or 178 cm, is rather tall...possibly taller than Marcellus, and practically towering over Carmen, who I had forgotten has Small Frame. She is very attractive [Venus' Blessing], with boobs out to there...and the robes she's wearing are tailored to accentuate her figure. She also has Blatant Gift.)
Excellent. This is Marcellus, an eager young Verditius magus who seeks the wisdom of our Forge and Flame.
Marcellus, this is Solomon of Gurnicus, another Pontifex, and our chief legal officer.
And yes, Guiverna...
"I believe the official title is Inquisitor, Carmen," he says with a glance in her direction. he then turns to Marcellus, "I see. Well Marcellus, it is good to meet you. So what brings you to Andorra? We are a bit off of the beaten path, and you will have less exposure for your wares than if you were at a larger covenant."
"Greetings, Inquisitor Solomon. I just recently completed my Gauntlet and am looking for a covenant to join. As I have a preference for one located close to the Pyrenees, Andorra was suggested to me. Thus I came to visit and learn whether you would accept a youngster like myself, as well as the conditions of such an acceptance."
Marcellus goes a bit cross-eyed at Guiverna's attire and endowments. His average stature puts his eyes about level to her mouth, and they keep being pulled down at every movement the tall maga makes. He finally manages to look up, blushing furiously. His nervous smile reveal crooked teeth that have a slight yellowish tint.
"Greetings, maestra Guiverna. I am Marcellus of House Verditius, recently Gauntleted and looking for a covenant to join. I heard that Andorra might welcome a resident enchanter, even of limited experience."
Turning back to Solomon, he adds, "As for exposure for my creation, I am not overly worried about that. The fact that Andorra is connected to the Mercere portal network would be an advantage over the long term. But, short term, I am very much aware that most of my efforts will be spent improving my knowledge. So why not do that at a well-established covenant with a reknowned library?"
Fleur enters from the Sa Dragonna, takes a few monets to watch Guiverna, then looks around at the other people in the room. Fleur is wearing a short red dress of a material that has been formed into a few pleats and many slits, being off the shoulders with a low plunging neckline and short skirts slit past the hip on either side with a prominently displayed bosom despite not being so grand as Guiverna's. The first impression of her dress is that of either enticement or brazenness, depending on the temperment of the observer, but those who pay a bit more attention will realize it is designed to give the impression of an opening rose. She looks over Marcellus like she is contemplating lunch and listens to his conversations with the other magi who are present. Her looks are not as overwhelming as Guiverna's, she is modestly above average (presence 1) but aside from her fashion sense less overwhelming (gentle gift) , and it is readily apparent that the seductive nature of her clothing is a deliberate choice and not some incidental effect of mimicry of serpentine features.
"I recall a similar outlook when I first arrived, but do not mistake Andorra for some extended nursery of your development, there will be expectations of your contribution as well."
Carmen rolls her eyes and mutters unintelligibly. Then she shrugs and smiles.
Lucas is efficient. I was going to take Marcellus on a tour of the weird creepy stuff we keep in the basement. Take a peek on the other Marcellus, frozen and embedded deep in the Ice Cavern. You know, some of that old time nostalgia stuff. Have I ever given you guys the tour?
This should cause Solomon to at least raise an eyebrow. He knows that Carmen is trying to be open and inviting, as best she can. But he also knows she is trying to test his nerve. Solomon knows what's down there. As a Pontifex, he has the key to the Eternal Flame. He knows that a tour is reasonably safe if guided. But is probably best to avoid the Ice Cavern.
"A pleasure to meet you, Marcellus," Guiverna says with a smile. "Verditius? You must be very good with your hands."
Guiverna looks over Fleur's raiment, then nods approvingly. "Lovely outfit, ma Fleur"
Guiverna turns, "incidentally" brushing against Marcellus as she does. "You may have, some time ago, but it can't hurt to revisit it again. There's so much here, I'm sure there's things I missed the first time."
Marcellus is a bit overwhelmed by the simultaneous attention from so many senior magi at once. Of course, looking at them (particularly Guiverna and Fleur), none would dare use the term 'elders', but they definitively act as experienced magi.
In turn, he tries to answer their direct questions, as well as comments that can be contrued as such.
Marcellus seem unfazed by this not-so-subtke barb, "Of course, maestra... I am sorry, I did not catch your name? As both Pontifex Lucas and Pontifex Maxima Carmen will be able to witness, one of the first questions I asked was how I could contribute to the covenant's well-being. I may be young and inexperienced, but as a Verditius I have a unique skillset that can benefit your covenant. I mentioned the improvement of my knowledge, but I would never expect this to be a mountain stream, flowing in just one direction. The greater my knowledge, the better and greater the services I can provide to the covenant."
"For now, I am as eager to discover and demonstrate what I can do as I am to learn more. This, I have been told, is a balance that all magi just out of their Gauntlet must attain, if they are to prosper."
Though Carmen's comment is intriguing, Marcellus refrains from commenting on the secrets that appear to be hiding beneath the castle. For now, at least.
Though he blushes again, Marcellus' reply comes smoothly, "Not as good as you appear to be with your tongue, maestra Guiverna."
Fleur smiles "Oh I just love the subtle byplay. Sure I'd love to go plunging down into a dark wet cave with these two. Lovely to make your acquaintance Marcellus, I am Fleur of Bonisagus, my research specializes in reproduction." She winks at Guiverna "Love your outfit as well, are the scales textured?" she reaches towards the back of Guiverna's waist to feel the material if it seems she is welcome to do so.
Guiverna licks her lips slowly. "Oh, I like you. Can't wait to get to know you better."
Guiverna lifts her arms to let Fleur appreciate the whole garment. The material is not really textured, but every inch of the fabric is heavily embroidered with black thread to give the appearance of snake-scales.
"No scale texture, but this sure feels nice." Fleur looks Marcellus in the eyes while she feels the material at Guiverna's waist.
Marcellus just shrugs. Apparently, there is a limit to how much blushing innuendos can get out of him.
Turning back to Carmen, he asks on a more serious tone, "Pontifex Maxima, I would ask officially what the steps and conditions are for me to join this covenant."
I admire you ability to maintain composure. The process is straightforward. Right now, your official status is that of a Protected Guest. Unofficially, you are a Pledge. It takes a unanimous vote of the Council to make you a full member, tarting at the rank of Journeyman. The council may require up to three tasks or labors. They usually don't. Once your petition is submitted, the council must vote upon it within seven seasons. But it usually only a season or two. Traditionally, the council interviews you at that meeting. This is when you are presented with the Interrogatory. We get to ask you deep and revealing questions. And you have to agree to do so under the effects of "Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie". I think we still do that. Check with Solomon
"I think we broke him," Guiverna whispers to Fleur in her native Occitan.
Guiverna leans forward to hear the answer. Having come through Sa Dragonera, she didn't join the "normal" way, and she's curious how that would work.