Winter 1220, Chapter 0: Introduction

If is the first day of winter, and the weather is crisp, but not cold. The trees are not completely bare yet, and a layer of yellow and and orange leaves protest as servants bustle about, beginning the day's work.

Elysante and Tabanus have been staying in guest quarters; Attravere has been staying in the Mercer House. Just as every other morning, at promptly five minutes past sunrise, a servant knocks upon the door, bringing a breakfast of baked apple buns and warm milk. Unlike other mornings, however, each servant also brings a message: There is to be a council meeting immediately following breakfast, and your presence is requested in the tower.

The tall tower of immaculate white stone looks both vigilant and foreboding as it looms over the Dee Estuary; the interior is as grand and austere as the exterior promises. The council chamber itself, however, is surprisingly comfortable and inviting. From within an enormous stone fireplace, a minor bonfire crackles and dances merrily, cheerfully lighting the walls' rich tapestry depictions of hunting scenes and heroic deeds.

A long-limbed and strange-looking woman is seated at the long, black table which dominates the room. As each magus enters, the lady looks up and smiles warmly, and gestures to the empty chairs.

((Introduce yourselves as your character enters the council chamber, please. Mark is without interwebz until Tuesday; Valten will be making a big Flambeau entrance, I expect! :slight_smile: As a reminder, this is an in-character thread, so any OOC notes should go in italics and double-parentheses/brackets.))

With the touch of a smile to the host, Attravere proclaims himself with a slight bow:

"Salutations Sodales, I am Attravere, filius Maribus of Mercere. I presume we await the company of others."

Selecting a seat beside the host he looks appraisingly at her for a little nodding at what he recognizes. ((Folk Ken, specialty in Opposite Sex may apply.))

After a short while and with an inquiring glance Attravere asks, "How many do we await?"

((OOC - I haz interwebs today (I changed my work schedual so I don't have to go in until later tonight)
However, I will wait until last in order to fit with the preconcieved vision. It won't be a flashy entrance, that is for the lineage of Delendos and fire magi. I am an Apromor :smiling_imp: . It can still be dramatic, just not as flamboyant. I shall write a bit about his approach to the covenant.))

Valten stands on the hill, cool breeze rippling his cloak, looking down at the covenant below. He had arrived in Stonehenge the day before at York, and spent the last day surveying the countryside. There was one minor incident last night, one that he hasn't given a second though to. Some miscreant mundane had accosted Valten, claiming to have some official authority to inhibit travellers. He had made the mistakeof arousing the cold ire of an Apromor magus, and aid the price. Valten eviscerated him several times, and after he was dead he dissolved the corps into the dirt. He disintergrated the weapons and gear of the man as well, leaving behind no evidence that anything strange or unusual occured. The only afterthought Valten had about the incident is that he regretted not taking the mundane's skull as a trophy. The mundane's ghost might have come in handy one day. No matter, there is always next time...

Tabanus quietly entered the council chamber and bowed to the assembled magi.

"Greetings Sodales, Tabanus ex-Jerbitonis" the wizard introduced himself tersely, not feeling it the time or place to demonstrate him mastery of Latin with a more formal introduction.

His introduction made, Tabanus quietly seated himself eager to find out why he had been summoned...

Elysante had arrived at Neston in the early summer this year after been literally thrown out of her previous covenant. She knew the surroundings but had spent most of the time in the library, except for a few trips to nearby Chester to meet with fellow nobles.

As usual every morning, her maid helped her combing her long brown hair. This morning she made a braid of it and then rolled it up like a bun at the back of her head, pinning it with two silver hairpins. She put on her underdress and covered it with her finest blue silk gown, bought from an Italian merchant in Rouen last year. At her neck she wore a silver necklace with a small sapphire gemstone. Finally she put on her purple cloak and tucked her feet into the leather footwear with wooden bottoms crafted for outdoor use.

As she entered the council chamber she graciously courtsied to each of the assembled magi.
"Good morning Sodales. What a pleasure to see us all gathered. For those of you who haven't met me before I am Elysante l'Anglois filia Hugot de Sabrie Jerbitonis", she said smiling warmly and beautifully to the others around the table.
She then took off her cloak, hanged it over her chair and sat down next to Tabanus.

((OOC - Here is a link to a picture I think works quite well for Elysante. The dress and the hair set-up is not the same as when she turns up for the council but since that changes from day to day anyway it doesn't really matter.

A small Jewish boy named Daniel knocks at the council chamber door. Liliana calls "Enter." Daniel does so and announces, "Excuse me magi, but this is Rhodri of Verditius. He just arrived yesterday, I thought you might want him to join the proceedings." Daniel excuses himself, leaving a sweaty, grimy, disheveled man in his wake. The soaked tunic clinging to his body reveals his well-toned muscles underneath. In stark contrast to his tunic a bandolier with a collection of small knives hangs across his chest. As he walks in his boots leave a trail. "Salve, sodales." He gives a brief look of acknowledgement to each of the magi in attendance. "Liliana, I apologize for my state," he says in Latin with a Welsh accent as he brushes a mass of wet hair from his face. "I had already started my work for the day before Daniel found me - even the best smith has need of a forge and a lab." He looks for some refreshment and finds himself a seat.

((OOC - There's a picture I'm using on the character sheet.))

The odd-looking woman smiles as the last of their number arrives. "Salvete, sodales. I regret that I have been away this past month, and it gladdens me for us to meet together, here. I am Liliana filia Nomikios doctrinae Merinitae. Unfortunately Lamentus could not join us today, he is... having a spell. In any case, I thought that we should have a council meeting, now that we are all together. There are many things we must discuss: the state of the covenant, our resources, and of course, membership policies. While Elysante here has already signed the charter, Tabanus, Rhodri and Attravere have not. Though, perhaps we should discuss your intentions here, Attravere... are you here as a representative of the Mercer House only, or do you wish to pursue membership in our covenant, as well?" She turns to the magus Merceris questioningly.

((Attravere's Folk Ken: 2 Per + Folk Ken 3 + roll 8 = 13; She is very difficult to read, and the only impression you get from her is that she is genuinely happy to have everyone together. You do know her already, however; she is the half-sister, on the undine side, of your parens, Maribus.))

Attravere smiles obligingly and replies, "It seems in the interest of both house Mercere and the covenant to strengthen ties. I do seek membership in the covenant. Have the charter or covenant rules changed in the time since my Gauntlet?"

The fae shakes her head. "The bylaws are the same. Provisional membership is a period of two years, during which three seasons of covenant service are due. Attravere, I will have to consult the charter itself to learn whether the waiver of provisional status for those who served their apprenticeship here, still applies for a magus who has taken membership at another covenant since his Gauntlet. I believe it was only for apprentices who choose to stay at Gauntlet, but it does depend on the wording." She turns back to the rest of the table. "The main bylaws of membership are thus: A unanimous vote of the council is necessary to ratify new membership after the provisional status review is requested. Membership bylaws are as follows: no magus nor maga may wear trousers on covenant grounds, including the nearby town; that provisional members must wear the provisional member's robes; and that all are required to wear cobbled shoes when in covenant grounds."

((Most everyone has sufficient Folk Ken to pick up that Liliana's cadence skips quickly over the section about "Provisional members' robes" as though she's uncomfortable about that clause.))

Valten approaches the covenant. One of the grogs confronts him, asking what his business is. Valten glares with his intimidating and piercing gaze, but he realizes the soldier is simply doing his duty. Covenant security is important after all. He presents all of his official credentials; sigil, House heraldry, the badges of his former covenants, and the letter written by Philippus Niger. He will calmly allow himself to be escorted to the council chamber, and then overhears Lilianna's talk about the by-laws.
[color=red]Unacceptable he hisses. [color=red]I shall dress and comport myself the way that I choose.
Then he ambles over to take a seat at the table.

Nonplussed, the water-spirit shrugs. "I know you not, sir, nor do I know why you have interrupted private proceedings. Should you take umbrage with how we conduct our business, perhaps you should find someone else's private party to crash. You are hereby excused.". She gestures to the door and waits expectantly.

Glare with the piercing gaze :imp:

[color=red]I am Valten of Flambeau! Filius Philippus Niger and alumnus of Durenmar. I have been sent here by my mentor as a member of this covenant, and I shall brook no insolence! I have no need of you, it is you that is in need of me. I would be happy to simply return to Durenmar or Fengheld, but Philippus insists I am needed here. The good of the Order comes before my personal preference.

Elysante smiles greetingly towards the two newly arrived.

"Liliana, as I understand you are currently the only active full member of this covenant. Lamentus doesn't seem to be reliable, I haven't seen him once in the six months I have spent here. Therefore I think we need to discuss the actual need of a provisional membership in this case. Perhaps it should be shortened to only one year or even more? I think it's more important that we discuss our respective areas of responsibilities instead. Of course we don't know each other yet and may need to learn who we are first before taking such decisions, but I think we have an important job in re-establishing the structure of this covenant."

Liliana dismisses Valten's outburst with a wave of her hand. "I've no knowledge of this 'Philippus Meager' you speak of, and he holds no authority over this Council. Should you seek membership, you must sign the charter and abide by its strictures. If you are unwilling to do so, you have no business in this council chamber."

She turns to Elysante and folds her fingers as she listens intently. "You raise a good point. Any waivers would require an amendment to the Charter-- which is next to impossible. Since Justinius' disapearance there remains only one active Quaesitor in this Tribunal. Poor Trutina is now so overworked, should we request her presence for ratification, it might be years before she could see to it"

Attravere, after composing himself from the shock of Valten's arrogance turns to face the fellow and states,

"You, sir, seem to be a contradiction. You say the good of the Order comes before your personal preference. Behave in such a manner then and do not insult the very sodales you claim to be on a mission to assist."

Then without pause he turns to the others gathered, nods to Elysante in recognition of her wise words (and beauty) and addresses the gathered Magi -

"As Liliana has made evident, I spent my apprenticeship here under the tutelage of Maribus. From my understanding several of the covenant Magi I knew at the time of my Gauntlet five years ago have gone missing and have not been found. What jobs have gone unfulfilled in their absence, Liliana? It would do us well to know what duties would lie ahead for those who choose to abide by the charter."

The fae nods in agreement with Attravere. "Unfortunately, your questions fall strictly into the territory of covenant business; I cannot discuss them until you are council members. If we can but commence with the signing of the charter, then we can accept as provisional members, those who would seek such membership" --she looks askance at the haughty Flambeau, then continues, "Once we know who is staying and who is going, we may commence discussion of covenant business." She rises, revealing her unnatural height: Liliana stands at well over six feet. She moves to a table by the door and picks up an enormous, heavy scroll.

Placing the scroll at one end of the table, she then unrolls the bottom three feet of scroll onto the table, exposing seven signatures, and several blank lines. "Sign if you would, my esteemed colleagues. Though, I should perhaps warn you all--" -she smirks at Valten- "The robes for provisional members are by necessity a dreadful shade of yellow." She takes a jar of ink from the desk and places it beside the charter, and holds out a quill for whomever would be first to sign.

Rhodri rises, revealing just how short he is compared to Liliana, even though he is bigger than her. He walks over, ready to sign the charter. Then he hesitates when she stops unrolling it. "Liliana, may we read what we are signing? Wise magi would not sign something without knowing what it is. That should not be a problem if a non-member quaesitor could preside over changes in it."

With a chuckle, Liliana replies, "I am not certain there is a room anywhere in the covenant, large enough to unroll it to its full length. If you'd care to give that a heft, you'll find it weighs nearly as much as Elysante, there. At its full length, it may stretch halfway from here to Chester. Though perhaps I exaggerate, for I have never seen it at its full length, but it is... intimidating." She giggles, and adds in a conspiratorial tone, "It WAS drafted by a Tremere, you know."

"Then this may take a little while to read..." Rhodri looks at the charter from the side, considering if there is a convenient way to get to the beginning while the end is unrolled for signatures. Deciding the other end probably needs to be rolled up he changes tact slightly. "If we take turns reading through the day, perhaps we can finish it soon?" he asks of the other magi in the room while looking at them to see what their responses are to his desire to read what he is signing.

((It is an incredibly large scroll, about five feet wide, and rolled as it is, well over two feet in diameter. (It's about the same size as high quality copies of the Torah, and judging from the tight, miniscule script, it's likely as much text as the entire Tanakh.) It is currently rolled from top to bottom (so the bottom can be accessed easily). The only feasible way to unroll it to the top, without being encumbered by its excessive length, would be to roll up the bottom while unrolling towards the top, then to roll gradually towards the bottom as it is read.))

With a snort, Liliana rolls her eyes. "Master Verditius, please allow any of your sodales who wish to join the covenant to sign the charter first. We can establish you as a covenant guest; you may take up residence here in the council chamber to read the charter, and you may begin your provisional membership whenever you manage to finish it." She holds out the quill for whomever among the magi present is ready to sign.