Scribed by Jari

Spring 1294AD

It must have been a particularly cold day when we met for the first council of the year because, while my blood renders me largely indifferent to low temperatures, I could see Volutus’s teeth chattering as he ordered one of the covenfolk to stoke up the fire. Formal robes are obviously not always the warmest ones!

The first matter of business was unsurprisingly the forthcoming Emergency Tribunal, primarily called to elect our ‘representatives’ for the Grand Tribunal. So much for the Oath that everyone claims to hold in such high esteem! It clearly states that “I will abide by the decisions made by fair vote at the Tribunal. I will have one vote at the Tribunal.” I’ve raised the fact that not allowing all magi to have a vote at the Grand Tribunal is a clear breach of this before. However, I’ve never really had a good answer other than vague hand waving about the peripheral code and snide allusions to ‘apprentice level’ discussions of hermetic law. Yet the fact remains that we are expected, under the Oath and potential penalty of death, to abide by the decisions of the Grand Tribunal, but we do not get a vote at it. How is this right? I’ve also been told that there are too many magi in the order for everyone to attend which is patently absurd! How can it be beyond the power of magi across the Order to construct a large amphitheatre or similar and then use a few imagonem spells to ensure that people’s voices carry to all parts of it? It’s an insult to our intelligence but because this is ‘the way things have always been done’ then no one else appears to perceive it as a problem.

Jari’s private journal
If the so-called Stonehenge Experiment fails to prevail then perhaps I’ll have to join the Templars or some other group set on destroying the Order because it will have shown itself to be irredeemably ossified and corrupt. I jest of course about the Templars, but the need for the destruction of the Order as it stands seems ever more necessary the more I think on it.

Anyway, seeing as there’s clearly no chance of this abuse of power being changed anytime soon, and I can just imagine the eye-rolling of my sodales as they read my latest rant on the subject, on with the record of events.

There was a surprisingly long debate about who we thought should be selected, our beloved Princeps of course, but the second candidate was a little more unclear. In the end we agreed that Terentius will approach Emerius to see if he’ll stand, as he’s apparently long been a good friend of this covenant. Other candidates included Theophilus, who Volutus assured us is angry about House Bonisagus’s new stance to put an end to the ‘Stonehenge Experiment’. Let’s hope this anger overcomes his sense of duty to his House if he is selected or indeed if the Primus uses the threat of expulsion from the House. Unlikely probably, but when people perceive the stakes to be as high as the potential future of the Order it’s unwise to rule such unlikely possibilities out.

There was a question about whether there would be an Ex Miscellanian candidate or two, but there’s apparently been no word of such. Maybe Geddyn, the old elementalist at Holy isle? Liberata was another name mentioned as someone likely to stand, though Terentius rather curiously refused to express any opinion of her whatsoever. Given he served his apprenticeship in Trevalga where she lives he clearly must have an opinion, likely negative given his pater’s known dislike of her, so why not just express it? A less serious and responsible magus might at this point indulge in baseless and scurrilous supposition to explain this silence, possibly even making juvenile allusions as to more lurid reasons, but fortunately such prattle is beneath me.

With that debate ended, we moved on to the likely raid on the Templar monastery at Roxburgh later in the year. Council formally and unanimously expressed its support for such a mission, which is scheduled to happen this Autumn. One interesting point came up in discussion about the Templars.I’ve wondered previously at council how the Templars can wield a power to negate magic when they are infernally corrupt and thus, presumably, can’t wield the power of the Dominion directly? Could their power come from an artefact of some sort? We know that they and associated groups have been seeking such items of power. Could they have found one that offers them the power over magic that was demonstrated at that unfortunate covenant in Iberia? The assumption has been that they have some sort of innate power, as expressed in the journal here on a couple of occasions where magi have spoken of feeling their Gift ‘flicker like a candle in the wind’ in the presence of Templars. Is it possible this was before they Fell and now they are reliant on an item for such power? If so, might this not radically alter the assumed balance of power between us and them? Rather than a force that can just march up to a covenant at will and shrug off all magic, they may be limited to the use of an item for such. While still a frightening power, if it is true, then items may have to be recharged, and they can be broken or stolen. Certainly there’s more of a chance of dealing successfully with a military force carrying an artefact than one inherently imbued with such power. Just speculation of course, but interesting to consider nevertheless.

There was one other matter I wish to record from the meeting council. I was sternly reprimanded by Pyrrhus for swearing during council. Not at anyone, but for simple use of ‘rude’ language, if I recall correctly I may have suggested that Primus Guernicus was a female genital passage, and a large one at that. Please note how restrained I’m being at this point. I do so because I wish to ensure that it’s clear that this is a point of principle and not simply an excuse to swear in the journal and annoy people. Any restriction of language is an attack on free debate and the sharing and exchange of knowledge. I accept that calling a sodalis at council something unpleasant does not help advance good discussion or fellowship but that is not what I was rebuked for and not what he requested I refrain from doing in future.

‘Manners’ and etiquette are nothing less than a means of control. Such restrictions on speech are, unsurprisingly, religious in origin. The word profanity derives from the words for "outside the temple". It is a ‘sin’ in the Christian religion to use ‘bad’ language. For example the Bible states “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths” and “Thou must not take the Lord’s name in vain”. Should we thus censor our language to appease the very church that seeks to destroy magic?

The Church, as well as nobles and even the fey, have their own elaborate rules and etiquette designed to maintain control of the rigid hierarchies they preside over, but aren’t we supposed to be better and more to the point equal in the Order of Hermes? The freedom to use whatever language you choose is an expression of both liberty and equality.

Also, where in the Code does it say that magi have a right not to be offended? A maga specialising in healing magic may find talk of how to kill a covenant enemy offensive. A magus may find torture of enemies to reveal their secrets offensive, as has happened before at this covenant. A Christian magus may find talk of venerating pagan powers offensive. What if I call someone a fool? A cumberwold? What if I use a language that no one else understands? Is it acceptable for me to call Primus Bonisagus an utlandr? What if I say he is a bacraut? Where is the line to be drawn? Who decides which words are acceptable and which are not?

As Roger Bacon so cogently stated, longstanding custom is one of the four significant stumbling blocks in the way of grasping the truth. Determinations of which words are rude and which are merely descriptive are just such a longstanding custom. However, while he did also note that it is easier for a man to burn down his own house than to get rid of his prejudices, that does suggest that members of House Flambeau should find it easier than most!

Once council was concluded, we set off en masse to Blackthorn with assorted consors. With such a large group on foot, the going was slow enough to require us to camp at the well-used site just outside Mynydd Myrddin and at around midnight as I sat on watch I saw an eerie blue-green light flickering in the skies over the regio there. Wakelin, Volutus’s latest protégé whom he hopes to find a master at the tribunal, noted that it seems almost as though the forest in Mynydd Mryddin has travelled across to cover the hills. What, if any, significance there is to this I know not but thought it worth recording as the journal speaks of awakened and moving trees in that place.

We reached Blackthorn the next day and almost everyone immediately set about their political endeavours. I confess I got somewhat waylaid from such intrigues by a bottle or three of wine and an entertaining conversation with the sardonic new Merinitan at Narwold, Maga Druscilla.

Jari’s private journal
Sadly such convivial matters were rudely interrupted by an informal council meeting later that night as Hypathia relayed the news that she had met with the new Senior Quaesitor Vitraxius, who has replaced Octavia after her recall to Magvillus. She said that Vitraxius, the Bonisagan Quaesitor, has proposed to Praeco Arcanus that she be tried for the raising of the storm that killed the Mercere magus and lots of other unfortunates at the Stonehenge tribunal. This will certainly put the cat among the pigeons at the Grand Tribunal and will almost certainly make things a lot harder for her enemies. Good news indeed!

The next day the tribunal began, comprised mostly made up of magi from covenants. Praeco Arcanus stated that the meeting would cover four issues.

Firstly, he welcomed the tribunal’s new Senior Quaesitor, Vitraxius of Bonisagus.

Secondly, on behalf of the tribunal, he formally recognised the Refounded covenant of Narwold, noting the great help that Good Eagles covenant had provided, also noting the efforts of Volutus and Terentius. Narwold’s council is currently made up of Gaines of Mercere, Severo of Bjornaer, Druscilla of Merinita and Oswald of Ex Miscellania.

Thirdly, there will be elections for two tribunal representatives to attend the Grand Tribunal. Thus Arcanus perpetuates our individual disenfranchisement from the most important tribunal in the Order. Shame on him.

Finally, he proposed that the case against Hypathia for causing the great storm in the Channel that resulted in the death of a magus of Mercere should be tried now in Stonehenge.

Vitraxius then stood and outlined the background to the case as Accusator. Briefly (for it has been recorded at least once in these tomes already) Hypathia was Regent of England while her brother King Theo was fighting in France. A great French and Flemish fleet launched a surprise attack against Calais which could well have cut off Theo’s supply chain. If this had occurred, such success could have emboldened his enemies in England to revolt. However, this was all rendered academic by a great storm that suddenly arose and smashed the fleet to pieces. The charge was that Hypathia caused or led to be caused this storm, and thus the death of the Redcap.

Hypathia stated that she was not guilty of such a charge. Vitraxius then proposed the use of the Mercurian ritual the “Chains of Fire”. Such purportedly results in the death of the target in the event that they lie. He said that he would ask her three questions.

Did you cause the storm?
Did you conspire with others or encourage them to cause the storm?
Did you do a deal of any kind with magical, pagan, faerie or infernal powers to cause the storm?

Hypathia consented to the ritual and lowered her parma. Vitraxius, with a keen eye for the dramatic, then set about the ritual. There were lots of candles, an immaculately drawn circle and then after half an hour he bound her wrists loosely with a silver chain.

After all this preparation, the matter itself was over rather quickly as he asked the three questions and Hypathia answered “I did not” to each and singularly failed to be consumed by flames. Vitraxius removed the chains and asked if anyone had any questions. Liberata asked whether Hypathia knew who did it. Vitraxius said that it was a good question but did not relate to the charge against her. Hypathia said that she did not know, to which Liberata retorted that she obviously suspected someone. Vitraxius quickly moved on to the next question, but it came from Liberata again. “Does Hypathia suspect an individual?” Hypathia gave the somewhat circumspect reply that she had no evidence towards anyone she knew. Vitraxius interjected again, stating that the case was all about evidence not idle speculation. There were no further questions so he stated that we should have a recess to consider judgment.

After a short break, we reconvened. Vitraxius began by ruling that, under the ordeal of the Chains of Fire, Hypathia was not guilty. Thus he asked the tribunal to vote to support and ratify his ruling, and so she should be allowed to go free. Unsurprisingly after all that, the vote was unanimous in her favour.

The next day were the elections for the representatives for the Grand Tribunal. Given my earlier remarks on the subject I’ll just say that four magi stood, Theophilus of Bonisagus, Eremin of Bjornaer, Liberata of Tytalus and Volutus. Of these, although the vote was close, the two Bonisagi were elected despite saying little more in their speeches than we’re from House Bonisagus so we’re clearly wise, clever and widely respected.

For what it’s worth, while I voted for Volutus, I also voted for Liberata. Having talked with her before the vote, I was subsequently accused by at least one of my sodalibus of being manipulated by her. Clearly given her age and experience compared with mine this cannot be discounted, but to my mind her arguments made a lot of sense. Why not send an old and wily operator who has extensive contacts, especially amongst Tytalan magi who have less investment in the politics being played out and whose votes may well not yet be decided?

Jari’s private journal
I am sick and tired of all the obsequiousness and deference granted to members of House Bonisagus, not for anything they have achieved, but simply as a result of membership of a House.

I note that both Bonisagi showed their wisdom by not dwelling on the fact that their Primus has instructed the House to work towards ending the ‘Stonehenge Experiment’.

We look down on the mundanes and their inflated etiquette, hidebound hereditary structures and petty politics, but the sad fact is that we’re really not all that much better. Most magi, especially Bonisagi, seem to believe themselves of to be ever so enlightened and above such petty traditions and formalities, while getting peeved if ever they fail to get their own way. I can still picture the look of indignant pique on Volutus’s face when he was passed over for Ministrator.

Lastly, it’s hilarious to be lectured by the likes of Terentius of being manipulated when, despite priding himself on his independence, he follows the whims of his Primus and House like a well-trained hound.

With all matters concluded, Arcanus stood to offer a few platitudes which were frankly too dull for me to recall and the tribunal came to an end.

The rest of the season passed uneventfully.


I had a visit the night before the Summer council from Pyrrhus and Marcellus. They were planning a trip into the faerie regio to see Gofynwy in an effort to acquire a magical gem with captured light or some such alchemical virtue in it. Anyway, I told him that to get a gem that would remain ‘real’ upon leaving the regio he would need to ensure that Gofynwy put a little of his essence into it. This would of course make it expensive, though he seemed confident that a sample of gunpowder would be attractive offer, though I was less sure. In truth, it’s hard to judge what a being like Gofynwy might want for such a prize and I don't really understand Pyrrhus’s alchemical art. He also asked about a guide into the regio and while I said I didn’t have time I told him that if Eanfled was willing to accompany him, he would make an excellent, if somewhat idiosyncratic guide. Before entrusting Pyrrhus and his party to the vagaries of the regio I did however give the two of them a quick overview of the likely journey – the number of regio boundaries they would have to cross, the extent of winter and snow within and hazards such as the slippery path up to Gofynwy’s cave.

He announced his trip at council the next morning and when discussing items that he might usefully take a request for Gofynwy’s brand sparked a tetchy little exchange between Terentius and Pyrrhus. In any event, Pyrrhus wasn’t granted permission to take it into the regio, it being deemed too likely to unnecessarily rile the Erequith.

The only other matter of note from the council was a talk about how we should spend the final season before journeying to Roxburgh again. For myself I will develop an easier to use levitation spell to enable me to better scale walls and reach high windows,
Three weeks later Pyrrhus and his party returned safely and he came to see me to ask my advice on what had just happened. He started by telling me the tale of his trip.

Our young Flambeau set off with his shield grog Arnulph and Marcellus his amusingly entitled consors. Eanfled led the party easily through the first two regio boundaries into the deeper level where the snows lie deep and the Erequith holds sway. Although a little hard going on account of the deep snows, their journey onward to Gofynnwy’s cave was similarly uneventful and ere long they had reached the Cliffside in which it lies.

Using conjured fire to melt the ice on the steps that had caused my party some hairy moments, Pyrrhus made his way up the steep stairs and was invited into the cave by Gofynwy. Pyrrhus explained what he wanted and Gofynwy seemed agreeable to his request, though he declined Pyrrhus’s opening offer of a flask of black powder, seeing little of interest in it. What the faerie stonesmith was interested in soon became clear as he asked for the “sword of the wizard knight Turold”, reforged so as to be “fit to be borne by a wizard knight”. The exact wording of the whole deal, as will become clear in this tale, is important, but this is as close as Pyrrhus remembers. He was less certain as to whether the deal agreed was for the reforged sword to be brought to Gofynwy or to Gofynwy’s cave. This too will likely turn out to be an important detail. In any event, he accepted the deal without much further ado! Long-time readers of this journal who are familiar with the success rate of such faerie bargains may now be thinking that he may have been a little hasty. You would be right!

Anyway, with the deal done, Gofynwy asked Pyrrhus which gem he wanted imbued with heat and light and our young Flambeau selected a large ruby. The faerie stonesmith said that he would start work on it right away.

With their business concluded, Pyrrhus and his party set off for home. As they made their way back through the heavy snows of the deep level of the regio, Pyrrhus and Marcellus discussed the details of the reforging of the wizard’s knight’s blade. Unfortunately for them, some of the Erequith’s ice goblins were spying on their conversation. Eanfled spotted them but not before they had heard enough to hear all about the deal that had just been struck. Within moments the party saw a blizzard quickly approaching and soon an angry-looking Erequith, along with an 8-foot tall ice giant, a dark faerie knight and a few ice goblins.

The Erequith accused Pyrrhus of plotting to rearm her enemies and thus breaking the Queen’s Peace. She explained that reforging the sword would give Turold the power to escape from her captivity and stand against her once more. Without his sword he is not fit to be a knight and poses no threat to her. She bade Pyrrhus bear a message to Hypathia, that, under the “Old Law”, he has broken the Queen’s Peace and she expects the Queen to swiftly deliver “good justice”.

For some reason, pride I imagine, Pyrrhus got a little riled at this point and demanded to know why Sigurd had not been similarly accused of breaking the Queen’s Peace for the fight at Stonevale! At which point, she demanded justice be dealt to Sigurd too. That seems to be the thanks I get for giving him advice on how to reach Gofynwy’s cave! With that, she swept off back into the blizzard in one of the icy huffs she is so fond of. Pyrrhus was able to return to the covenant without further complications and there came to discuss what had happened with me. Needless to say I was not greatly impressed!

Jari’s private journal
While the tale of the hasty and undoubtedly greed-inspired bargain Pyrrhus had struck was amusing, honestly, I wanted to slap him when he told me how he’d dragged Sigurd (and by implication me) into his stupidity. I stayed my hand not out of any sense of propriety, but because I’m too weedy to hurt him and he’d doubtless have given me a sound beating in return!


Back from her spell at the English court, Hypathia reported that all had gone well enough in her chat with Theo about what was to happen at the Grand Tribunal. She was likely helped in this by the fact that Theo has a major new distraction, namely that Philip ‘the Fair’, King of France, has declared war on England. To protect his continental landholdings Theo has mustered an army and sailed to France. He has also called on John Balliol of Scotland for aid, which may have some bearing on troop numbers and movements in the borders this season. The war certainly will impact on freedom of movement of our ship in the Channel and the Southeast coast of England. Best we take the longer Westerly route around the Northernmost edge of Scotland.

Terentius then reported a little of the major decisions from his House meeting. Firstly, House Tremere will petition for more latitude for magi to use mundane influence to undermine the Templars. Sparking mundane jealousy of their landholdings and wealth was one example given and it certainly seems like a good idea to me. Rich men always want to get richer still. Secondly, they will seek to extend the Order back into Thebes and the lands around the Black Sea now that the Horde has retreated. Thirdly, they have publicly declared their support for the ‘Stonehenge Experiment’. This was presumably for the benefit of those slackwitted continental magi who didn’t get the point when the Tremere moved their Domus Magnus here. That said, it is a timely reminder to those who seek to do harm to Hypathia that she is not without powerful hermetic allies.

Then, with such weighty matters discussed, Pyrrhus told the story of his faerie venture to council. Hypathia explained that the Queen’s Peace under Old Law relates to bodies such as the Queen’s council and older traditions of the Queen dispensing justice. As always with the likes of the Erequith, it’s not clear how much of her anger is real and how much is feigned to gain advantage. Hypathia believes that Sigurd is likely safe as he’s already been bested and ‘given’ to Erik. However, from what Hypathia said, and as I thought about it properly myself, it seems clear thatat some point the Court of Stone is going to make another move to recover the broken sword. Suddenly Erik’s three requests don’t look quite so clever. So what to do about Pyrrhus’s bargain and indeed Turold’s sword, now that its potential import is clearer? I must be careful not to intercede directly for that will only risk increasing the focus of the great faerie powers on the matter. Likely the Court of Stone’s next move will be to curse Pyrrhus when they deem he has failed to fulfil his side of the bargain. Exactly when that will occur is hard to predict, especially as Pyrrhus can’t remember clearly whether he promised to return the reforged blade to Gofynwy himself or to bring it to him in his cave. Obviously the latter will give Pyrrhus more time, for Gofynwy has been known to venture out of the regio on occasion before.

Then, not content with riling me a little with his wholly unnecessary involvement of Sigurd in the whole sorry affair, Pyrrhus tried to make things worse by claiming that I’d told him the faerie regio was safe! After some indignant squealing from yours truly, he did grudgingly admit that perhaps I hadn’t said such.

Pyrrhus did at least manage to rescue his standing in my eyes somewhat when he then said that this will be the last time he ventures into the faerie regio. The wisest thing he’s said since he’s been here! In all fairness, as the conversation drew to an end he did reach a very sensible conclusion, namely that one should never accept faerie bargains when the terms have been proposed by the faerie. I should try and remember that one myself!

We concluded the council meeting by discussing final plans for Roxburgh. Terentius and I have developed what spells and potions we can in the time available and we were granted a free hand to take whatever covenant resources we deem necessary. Hypathia made the excellent suggestion that we start by speaking to Praeco Roccus to see if he can use his visionary powers to determine whether the scabbard is actually there. It also means that in case of legal complaint we can say that we shared our plans with the Praeco of Loch Lagleann. That sharp advice was pretty much the last act of the council and I write this just before we depart. We’re both liberally festooned with magical items, which helps me feel a little more confident but I still wonder if the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach is akin to that which our predecessors felt when they made ready for Toma? And to think I was so naïve as to previously think I was too clever to get caught up in such risky ventures!

There is one last thing I wish to clarify before I put down my quill, lest I not return from Roxburgh, Primus Bonisagus almost certainly is a bacraut.

After setting off with a combination of fear and excitement racing through my veins, it was a bit of an anti-climax to discover that instead of heading straight off to meet whatever fate awaited us at Roxburgh, Terentius wanted to stop off for a small detour on the way North in order to pick up some shopping! To be fair, (I must be slipping!) this was a cuirass of alchemically enhanced chainmail he’d commissioned from Magus Anselm of Cad Gadu so it seemed like an eminently sensible idea. I was also curious to see what the Domus Magnus Ex Miscellania is actually like, having heard and read much about it, so I readily agreed to his request.

Our ship duly called in to the port of Chester and our small group made its way along the North Welsh coast and thence inland to the border of the great forest that now surrounds Cad Gadu. Meliorax took to the wing and was able to quickly find a patrol of the covenant’s foresters who were happy to escort us through the wood once we had identified ourselves as wizards. Much like other ‘awakened’ places such as Mynnyd Myrrdin, the forest had a slightly menacing air and I was glad that I was no Christian as we walked beneath the heavy and slightly oppressive forest canopy. We hadn't gone too far when Terentius told me that he’d seen the spirit of a great stag watching our group. That night, as I sat up on watch with Sigurd and a chatty covenant forester named Evan, it was clear that there was something large moving through the forest nearby, though we only ever heard it. To keep us entertained, Evan told us the tale of how, once upon a time, something from the forest had taken one of their number, a new recruit who happened to be a Christian, leaving naught but his boots behind! How we laughed at this hilarious misfortune while glancing anxiously out into the dark woods.

We reached the covenant of Cad Gadu next day and wandered in easily, with no challenge whatsoever. Terentius went off to find Anselm and his chainmail while I went off to find a drink and some convivial conversation. I didn't have to try hard for the hospitality was excellent and Primus Galioin keeps a fine cellar. That night Terentius and I spoke with Primus Galioin and shared the basics of our plan. He was a little surprised at our boldness and suggested it was an action that would be backed at Tribunal level. While this was good to hear and reassuring to know that such influential magi as he shared our goals and readily profferered support, his obvious concern for our wellbeing stirred yet more unease at the thought of exactly what we were getting ourselves into.

As part of the background to the reasons for our mission, Terentius also brought up the reports we'd heard of Templars, monks and Brothers in Christ sneaking round old magical sites, especially abandoned covenants. Galioin clearly shared his concerns and said that he would speak with the magi at Trevalga to get them to investigate the old covenant site of Moorstow, and that Cad Gadu would keep a watchful eye on the sites of Lear Valley and Bly Wydden. There are more extinct covenants in Stonehenge than I had appreciated, yet another depressing omen for the future!

Then, with our discussions and shopping concluded, and a guide to see us swiftly back to Chester, we resumed our journey North. With the enchantments our ship possesses and fair weather, we made it all the way round the coasts of Scotland and down to Bamburgh on the northeast coast of England with good speed and without issue. We arranged for the ship to return every two weeks to check for us, that being the minimum interval that would likely not arouse any suspicion. As we were disembarking, Terentius’ ever keen senses picked up an alarming topic conversation amongst the local dock hands – John Balliol has switched sides and has joined Philip the Fair of France! Ill news indeed for King Theo and Hypathia, but we assumed that word must already be heading south if it was common knowledge in the port and so headed inland, taking care to avoid any major roads for fear of encountering warbands or other rambunctious locals. Terentius’ uncanny sense of direction led us true once more and within just three days of leaving Bamburgh we saw the great lone menhir atop the low hill that marks Giantstone covenant.

Rocos was happy to host us and when we shared our intent with him, bade us discuss it in private in his antechamber. He believes that at least one of the Templars communes with corrupt spirits and may be able to sense divinations and visionaries looking for powerful items they are also interested in, such as the moonsword of scabbard. This may well be why the Templars beat us by just one day to the scabbard at Lindisfarne after Oratio’s divination had led us there. He cautioned us against rushing in to Roxburgh when we were not even sure that the scabbard was in there and said that he was content to use his visionary powers to scry on that place for us, despite the dangers from the infernal powers within.

Terentius and I discussed which question would be best to ask, he favouring “Where is the scabbard” and I “Where in Roxburgh is the scabbard?” Closely related queries, but different in key ways. Terentius argued that his would confirm whether it was indeed in Roxburgh but if it was not it would also tell us where it was. I argued that mine was better, for the scabbard like as not was in Roxburgh and what was essential was finding out exactly where it was, for it is a large castle compound with many places to search and the longer we had to spend looking, the greater the danger. We argued back and forth but it was soon clear that, while we understood each other’s arguments, neither of us was minded to change his mind. So Terentius calmly offered a challenge of ‘muto’ and I responded with ‘imagonem’. I was caught a little aback by the power of his initial attack but it was soon clear that the combination of arts was more favourable for me and I was able to seize control of the contest. Terentius conceded defeat and thus the matter was resolved with nary a raised voice. We presented our decision to Rocos who seemed content enough with the question and set about his divination that night.

Both Terentius’ and my dreams that night were disturbed by dark visions of Roxburgh, with ominous black shapes moving about inside and flames burning throughout, as red-eyed gargoyles loomed menacingly from the walls and keep. Something it seems of Rocos’ magic ‘leaks’ out following one of the many twilights he has had.
At dawn, we met with Rocos and he confirmed that the scabbard is in Roxburgh, but that he does not know exactly where for it is under the shadow of a powerful corrupt spirit, of at least the tenth magnitude, maybe even the fifteenth! As if that were not intimidating enough, there are also lots of watchers, probably demons of the third magnitude, set on the walls, in key doorways, stairwells and so forth. We will need to deal with those quickly, before they can alert the master demon. Demons also walk there in the guise of men, which I think were the watchers Rocos spoke of but in truth I am not sure for he spoke much of what he had seen in his vision and his telling of it jumped back and forth.

And yet this abundance of demons is not the greatest of our potential difficulties either, for Rocos also told us that they have created multiple fake scabbards! He saw one such in the castle chapel, one in the master’s room and one in the treasury underground and thinks there are likely more. The appearances of things within Roxburgh are clearly not to be trusted and given the infernal nature of the deceptive illusions, this is nothing that hermetic magic will be able to help us with.
With such serious hazards and the knowledge that we would only have one attempt to retrieve the scabbard, we decided to postpone our attempt, for once the Templars and their infernal allies are alerted to the fact that we know it is in Roxburgh they will surely move it again and hide it even better.

We returned home as quickly as we were able, with no difficulties from the Scots and explained the various bits of bad news to those present. Hypathia was alarmed at word of Balliol’s treachery and believes that he has somehow been ‘got at’ by the French or Church, or possibly both. Quite why this should be in any way surprising is not clear to me.

With two months of the season still to go, and both of us on covenant service, Terentius' and I decided to head into Mynydd Myrddin to carry on our investigations into what exactly that place has become. That evening, as I sat up on the first watch at the campsite that lies just outside the region as dusk fell, the hills beyond became covered with trees. Not gradually with a perceptible motion, rather I happened to glance away for but a moment and when I looked back it had happened. I used the gladius to cast “Glimpse Through the Mystic Veil’ to confirm that we had not slipped into a regio ourselves, so I believe it must therefore be that the contents of the regio are extending into the mundane world at night. The slight increase in aura from first magnitude to second is further suggestive of such a change. Just before dawn, the hills suddenly became clear again as we made our preparations to enter. I cast the ‘Skin of the Chameleon’ upon everyone bar Terentius and then he led us widdershins around the white stones and into the regio.

At the base of the steep slope, Meliorax took off ahead to scout while Terentius flew up to position the rope ladder. After the by-now traditional rope-ladder shenanigans where at least one party member does their best to fall off, we eventually all made it up unharmed and set off into the forest. Terentius led with the enchanted wand to make our passage through the thick vegetation easier. Meliorax continued to fly ahead of us, but now stuck to flying under the thick forest canopy after hearing the shriek of something predatory on his initial foray into the skies above.

Not long into our trek, Erik noticed some extremely large wolf paw prints, the size of a bear he estimated. He believed there were three of them moving in front of us, less than an hour ahead. Shortly after, Meliorax reported seeing a great stag, with moss for fur, also some ways ahead of the direction we were traveling. From the description it sounded like an Elkare, which are also found in the woods surrounding Cad Gadu. Our guess that a hunt might be taking place proved to be true and we proceeded cautiously, pausing a little ways off as we neared a clearing where Meliorax reported he had found three huge wolves devouring an Elkare.

Once they had finished, two of the wolves bore the remains away while the third and largest wolf, which had bright blue eyes, sat and waited for us to approach. Terentius went ahead alone initially and established his bona fides with the bone token given to him by the ‘grandfather wolf’ in Lydney. The wolf was a little wary despite accepting the token, but content enough to talk briefly with Terentius, telling him that he had lived in the woods all his life, though the ruined tower was new to him. The wolf said that he would speak more with Terentius later so with that we pressed on towards the tower where we would make camp again. We had another near miss with some Velka, but were able to stay hidden as it passed by.

This time we had to press on without magical help, for the wand had but one use enchanted into it and the going was extremely hard. Even I, a veritable ox of a man, was close to exhaustion so Terentius suggested the comical but pragmatic option of shrinking me to the size of a small child so that I could be easily carried by Sigurd or Brannock. Aware that the alternative options were camping out in the Velka-infested forest or collapsing unconscious in said forest, I agreed, knowing that with the slow passage of time in the regio I would likely be hilariously sized for the duration of our stay here. Thus, piggybacking on Sigurd like a small boy, we set off for the tower again. Fortunately we made it before anyone collapsed, though a couple of people, Terentius included, looked like they were on their last legs.

I was on first watch again, and just after dusk I saw the trees gathered around the edge of the clearing begin to stir and move. None of them moved much, rather they jostled gently for position, putting me in mind of a group of sleepy animals wriggling around trying to find the most comfortable position. They all appeared much as ancient spirits like the Lladra do to my faerie sight, with a definite hint of faerie about them, but no active faerie magic as such.

After everyone had slept and eaten, Terentius announced his intent to fly off as a raven with Meliorax to scout around the regio. This seemed sensible given the difficulties of travelling through the forest. I asked him if I might hold onto the magical bone talisman in case the wolves returned while he was away, but after a little equivocation he flatly refused when pressed.

Jari’s private journal
I’m not sure whether he didn’t want to hand the bone over because he doesn’t trust me with it or because he wants to ensure he keeps control of any wolf-related knowledge and secrets to himself. Probably a bit of both!

Terentius found the lake where once a great water serpent dwelt. There was no sign of such this time and so, despite the biting cold of the clear lake waters, he was able to cast magical to find some reeds containing two pawns of herbam and some bright red mud containing three pawns of muto vis. He also saw three more Elkare on the far shore of the lake, noting just how big they are and how dangerously sharp their hooves and antlers are.

On the way back, they flew over a circular patch of forest where all vegetation was dead, with the decomposing corpse of a bear in the middle. Yet another horrible and predatory creature no doubt behind it.

Not long after Terentius returned, the big blue-eyed wolf came to the edge of the tower clearing and asked permission to enter ‘our’ territory. Although I don't possess the necessary spell to understand the language of beasts, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to observe the creature so I followed closely behind Terentius. It really is very intimidating up close, its shoulder must be at least as tall as my head, even at my normal height and the keen intelligence behind its eerily coloured eyes was obvious.

The beast said that it hadn’t met men before, noting that we smelt like neither prey nor predator. Most interestingly of all, was what it said next, that although it had not met such as us before, its pack had encountered a being who looks like a man. That being could wield powerful magic that could bend the forest to his will and had a strange light around him – one of the Shining Ones! He has apparently always lived here and is at least as old as the forest itself.

When asked where he is, the wolf replied that “he is here” and that all Mynydd Myrddin is his territory. The wolf told a tale of when the pack was hunting some long time ago, and the Shining One came across the hunt just after they had killed a deer. The pack were defensive, possibly aggressive (the wolf wasn’t clear which), and the Shining One responded with blatant magic, conjuring a storm from his fingers, causing great teeth of stone to erupt from the ground and the trees and roots to grab and ensnare the wolves. Only one wolf was able to flee in time and thus escape with its life.

If true, and there seems little reason to doubt the creature, this is astonishing for the Shining Ones are mythical beings believed to be more powerful than the Old Gods or the great faerie powers. Truly we live in interesting times!

Of the dragon, the wolf said it was known as the “winged death” so clearly it’s not above attacking roughly human-sized targets! It lives high in the hills, with the harpies to the lower hills in the Northeast, which suggests they may dwell in the caves once occupied by the Brood. It added that the Velka are servants of the Shining One and that a great bear dwells in the woods to the East, which has so far fought off attacks from the pack so it must be fearsome indeed. There is also a wyrm in the woods to the North whose passing is death to plant and animal alike. Presumably this is the cockatrice and it is that which was responsible for the dead bear in a circle of decaying vegetation?

The wolf said that the pack’s territory surrounds the source of the stream, North of where we first met them. My geography of this place is hazy at best as I barely knew it before the transformation, but could this be where the Spring that acted as a shrine to the Flower Maiden was? Terentius and the pack leader agreed that neither would enter the other’s territory, which seems like a good deal, as long as we understand exactly which area is claimed by the wolves.

Having given us much interesting information, the wolf departed and soon after we left the regio too, though the journey back was hard going, so much so that Erik collapsed from exhaustion a little ways short of the exit and had to be lowered down the steep slope on a rope.


We discussed our findings from Mynydd Myrddin and there was some interest about the Shining One, though perhaps not as much as I had expected. Hopefully Arcanus, who we agreed to share the knowledge with, given both his interest in such mythical beings and Blackthorn’s proximity to the regio, will be more excited.
Hypathia confirmed Balliol’s treachery, though said that at present the Scots have made no military moves against England so it could just be a political move using the threat of attack alone to keep English troops at home instead of in France.

A few days after the meeting, Terentius returned from Blackthorn and told us that Arcanus had been shocked by our news for he thinks the arrival is such is of the gravest concern. Arcanus confirmed our suspicions that the Shining Ones were more powerful than any of the Old Gods or faerie powers, who are in comparison children to them, even such as the Morrigan or Gofannon. Suddenly my curiosity and desire to see one are greatly lessened! Quite what we can do other than seek out more information about them and take great care when in Mynnyd Myrddin is not yet clear.

One related point of interest was that Arcanus believes that the split of ancient ‘magic’ (as seen with the Lladra and awakened forests) may have been a result of men changing things through the act of worship of such beings. Something that has been observed in a much smaller scale hereabouts.

Jari’s private journal
Surely more proof, as if any were needed, that bowing your knee to anyone or anything and worshipping them is naught but a dangerous folly!

There was nothing else of interest in the year, though in fairness I should point out that I do have a rather low boredom threshold.