Winter 1220, Chapter 2: The Baron's Fist

The next morning, breakfast is served by a plump German woman with blond braids coiled above her ears. "Eat, eat! Magi always too thin." She places hot bowls of honey-sweetened porridge on the table, along with clay mugs of milk. "This morning I have special treat for you! Straight from Chester! It vas difficult import der schweinfleisch after butchered, you must enjoy!" With that she plates an enormous platter of crispy thick-cut bacon in the center of the table before bustling back out of the room to the kitchens.

The assembled young magi are all present for breakfast, though Shmuel the apprentice is absent. Stefan reports that Valten departed for Durenmar at dawn's first light; Elysante is also not present at breakfast, which does not seem out of the ordinary, as she had gone to visit the Baron the day before. Breakfast is interrupted, however, when Sir Guillaume d'Arras bursts into the chamber. "Pardon the interruption, sodales," he says with a cursory bow and the slightest hint of a wink to Maruska, "But the Lady Elysante is being held against her will by her cousin the Baron. He will not grant me leave to speak with her, nor would he divulge the reason for her captivity, not even to ask a ransom. I would not risk causing or exacerbating political trouble without leave from my House--" he nods to Attravere, "So I thought to bring this to you directly."

"Held... against her will?" Attravere coughs between bites of porridge then wonders aloud, "How could he... that is startling news. Something very odd must be amiss."

Composing himself, Attravere glances at the covenant magi for their reactions to the news while scratching his chin thoughtfully (and wiping away a bit of honied porridge).

"Thank you kindly for your discretion in this matter, Sir Guillarme. You did well to notify us of this - it is appreciated. Can you tell me if the Baron is known for holding guests against their will? And specifically if it has ever happened with a member of the Order before?"

--Edited for text coloring/formatting.

Little William shrugs. "He does not have a reputation for abducting fair maidens-- and certainly not for abducting lovely magae." He flashes a heart-stopping smile at Maruska. "Luckily for you."

Erro frowns. "It does seem strange. She strikes me as being someone who is competent in their craft. The timing seems odd too. She was going to see her cousin about an extension on our "rent", wasn't she?"

"Indeed she was," William states gravely. "With Magus Maribus' boat gone, you'll have to travel overland. I have a fine pair of boots with which I can attend my duties, so I could lend you the use of my destrier, Champion. He is magical and thus unaffected by the Gift, and he could carry two of you..." He glances at Rhodri's well-muscled bulk, "Or perhaps only one, depending on whom." He grins amiably and claps the Verditius on the shoulder.

Tabanus looks up from his breakfast "Apart from our outstanding rent, can anyone think of a reason for the Baron to be aggrieved with the Covenant or Elysante in particular?" he asked the assembly...

Little William purses his lips thoughtfully. "They are family, albeit distantly... Among nobility that is frequently as much or more of a bane, than a boon."

A largish raven flies into the room and lands on the table, followed a moment later by a white-haired mage in well-worn robes.

"Stop!" the wizard cries. "I've had a vision of great import. Hey, is that honey?" He sits down and starts dishing out some food. "No one told me there was going to be honey today." Lamentus digs into the food, humming softly to himself.

"This will not do," says Rhodri between mouthfuls. He looks much better than yesterday, but he's still slumped a bit. "I may not be any good at polite negotiation, but I can manage negotiation well in other ways." Rhodri touches his sword in its scabbard. "Would anyone else like to pay this baron a visit?"

When the old mage enters Rhodri looks up. He gives the mage a moment to have some honey and asks "So, just what was this vision of yours? Important enough for us not to go after Elysante immediately?"

"It certainly can't stand, Rhodri. Something must be done.", replies Attravere.
"Before we charge off to rescue Elysante we should have some idea of what is going on. I don't suppose anyone present is a capable scryer?" He asks with a wink.

When Lamentus arrives Attravere straightens his back and smiles politely, but appears a little uncomfortable.

"We must be careful with scrying. Elysante is involved, and scrying upon her would violate the code. Scrying upon her captors would not. So what if we are being deceived somehow and Elysante is fine but we scry on her anyway? I favor a more direct approach. The baron's place really isn't that far away, though I'm yet to recover my full strength." Rhodri turns back to his food.

Shmuel looks up from his bowl and glares daggers at Rhodri. He reaches across the table and touches the smith's burly arm; as he does so, Rhodri feels something ping off his Parma. The boy scowls and scoots on the bench a bit closer to his master.

((Post your Per+MT totals if interested in figuring out what the apprentice tried to cast.))

Maruska arrives at the dinning room wearing her yellow robes for the first time. She silently greets the other magi, though it is very hard not to notice the big smile on her face. She holds her head a little higher than usual, feeling proud to finally be a part of the Covenant. She sits down to eat, and seems to really enjoy the meal.

After Sir Guillaume d'Arras' arrival and breaking news, she seems very preoccupied. She seems not to notice his flirtatious glance at first, but she visibly blushes after his less subtle remark. Feeling both embarrassed and flattered, she takes some time to recompose herself. After a while, she starts speaking, though her shyness inhibits her ability to make eye contact with the charming redcap.

"I have absolutely no experience in dealing with the nobles from this exotic land. However, in Kiev, nobility always comes with a sense of pride and possession, especially when it comes to the female members of a family. If we were in Novgorod, this kind of situation would definitely not be a surprise... I do believe we should do something, though, so I would like to accompany you. But don't worry, I can fly there on my own, so I won't be a hindrance."

After Lamentus' entrance, Maruska stops eating and says: "Gracchus! What a pleasant surprise!" She then turns to Lamentus and greets him with a smile. "It is great to have you join us for breakfast, sodalis! So, what is this vision you speak of? I think we should hear it before we take our leave..."

((MT 3 + Per 2 = 5))

"Much to learn still, little one..." Rhodri returns to his meal.

((MT+Perc =6))

Erro watches the Apprentice touch Rhodri and then scoot away. "Pups always have to learn the hard way about the big dogs i guess," he mutters. He looks at the elder Magi eatting his honey and then turns back to others. "He has to expect that we would take some kind of action. And if it were about the rent or wanting us gone, well, he has the law of the land on his side. He wouldn't have to go so far as to provoke us. I will stay here. I'll see what I can do about our finances, in case we have to pay."

((MT+Per = 6))

"You're right, Rhodri it would be against the code... if Elysante were to bring us to tribunal over it. Do you really think she'd do so if she is being held against her will?" Attravere sighs. "It seems the decision to go post-haste has been made. If that is the case, let us not dally."

((Erro and Rhodri both recognise the effect as Corpus; with Rhodri's amazing stress roll of 25, he recognises it as Gift of Vigor. Attravere rolls an almost-botch and has no idea anything magical happened at all, as Shmuel cast silently with only subtle gestures.))

Tabanus rose from his breakfast and turned towards the others. "If there must be a rescue party, perhaps I should be included among its number in the event that parley is required" suggested the gently Gifted young magus diplomatically....

Maruska looks at Talbanus "I agree. It really is important to bring someone who has experience in dealing with nobility. And soladis Attravere does have a point. Scrying shoudn't be a problem if she is held against her will, since she will not accuse any of us. However, as Rhodri pointed out earlier, there is no way to make sure she hadn't planned the situation herself."

She then turns to Sir Guillaume and, still too embarrassed to make eye contact, she says: "Sodalis, it really does look like she is being held agains her will. But, considering the rules of our Order and such, have you seen or heard anything that can confirm this is the case? Is there any chance she may have planned this herself?"

"But before we go any further into this discussion, do we really have the option of scrying? I don't think I can locate her or sense any useful information from here. Is any of you, Sodales, capable of doing so?"

"It will be good to have you with me Tabanus. Though I may not practice your more subtle skills, I do appreciate their value. It would be much better to free her without bloodshed. You, Maruska, and I should make quite a formidable team," finishes Rhodri.

((Still waiting to hear what's up with the vision. That could change things.))