Scribed by Terentius

Spring 1301AD

Our spring council began with a discussion of news received in winter. Hypatia related the results of her agents’ investigation of the records destroyed by the fire at Westminster. Although it is difficult to be certain, one possible motive for the infiltration of the palace was to gain access to accounts related to ship building, as this would provide useful information to Theo’s enemies about the state of his fleet. The fire could then have been set to disguise the fact that these records had been taken. This seemed like a plausible explanation to me, but we agreed that it would be best to verify whether the records were indeed the intruder’s objective. On this basis, Volutus and Jari said they would travel once again to Westminster this season to use the ritual Eyes of the Past to determine whether the intruder had ever descended the stairs that once led to the library. They then planned to travel on to Witheredun to complete their investigation of the regio at the heart of the lost covenant.

I provided an update on developments in the forests about Mynydd Myddyn. I had learned from the miners at Lydney that five of their pack had travelled up the river earlier in winter, having been drawn by strange dreams that they interpreted as a call from the Old Ones. They had yet to return, but spies set by Lucky and Vassily had informed us that the knight of Skenfrith had since called a hunt to rid the forest of wolves that had ventured too close to the town. There is clear danger here – for the wolves and men both – and I thus agreed to spend the coming season in the area to determine what had happened and to ascertain whether there have been any changes in the nature of the regio. Given the dangers of repeatedly travelling through Mynydd Myddyn, Hypatia made the sensible suggestion of obtaining arcane connections to various vantage points, so that we could observe any changes from a safe distance, and I agreed to make this the primary objective of my expedition.

We also held a more wide-ranging discussion of how we could make it easier – via spell or enchanted item – for others to traverse those wild lands. My view remains that spells to assume the form of beasts – whether those that may slip unnoticed through the forest or those that can take to the wing – are the best options. The council was persuaded that some investment in suitable items would be worthwhile, though it will not be quick or easy given the range of magics needed to transform the wielder’s belongings. Still, there are at least several options available to us that we can pursue given sufficient determination.

[Terentius’ private journal: My reason for bringing this matter up is that I believe the current situation is unsustainable. Without such means of travel, my companions simply slow me down or bring unwanted attention to our presence. If it is not resolved, I shall simply travel alone from now on.]

Pyrrhus then announced that he had discovered some sort of alchemical reagent that should prove useful when brewing longevity potions. His work had been motivated by an accident suffered by his consors, Marcellus, which had left him with damaged lungs and a nagging cough. The reagent also has potentially wider applications, and Pyrrhus will therefore travel to London at the start of spring to obtain more alchemical supplies before spending the rest of the season conducting further such research.

The final matter discussed at council was Volutus’ announcement that his term of office as Princeps would come to an end next year. He had decided not to stand for re-election, motivated mainly by a desire to ensure that the leadership of the covenant should remain fresh, rather than ossifying set ways of operating. Hypatia and I argued that he had led the council with skill and judgment during his period in office, and that he should reconsider his decision, thus allowing the council itself to decide whether he was worthy of a second term. Such support was, however, not as forthcoming from Jari and Pyrrhus, and Volutus reconfirmed his decision not to stand again. Thus, we shall have an election on the first day of spring next year.

I travelled up to the forest surrounding Mynydd Myddyn at the start of the season. Establishing a camp for the grogs near the white stones, I spent several days searching the forest, eventually finding signs that both the Elkair and Old Ones had ranged up to half a mile from the regio boundary, putting them within a mile of the cultivated land on the outskirts of the Skenfrith. A few days later, I also spied a group of six men riding through the forest, evidently on a hunt. Following them at a distance, I determined that they were led by Sir Roger, the knight of Skenfrith, and they were equipped to hunt dangerous beasts such as wolves or boar, rather than deer. They had not come cross their quarry, but they were provisioned to spend some time in the forest.

I took the opportunity to enter the regio of Mynydd Myddyn, and being careful to avoid encountering any of the denizens, obtained arcane connections to the best vantage spots I could find close the entrance cliffs, ruined tower, lake and the gently rolling hills where once barrows to ancient peoples lay, though there was now no sign of such constructions. The regio was otherwise as it had ever been, with an ominous storm and the distant bellow of the dragon far to the north and east. I kept well away from both and returned safely to the mundane realm, later discovering that two weeks had passed during my time within.

The grog Raymond informed that he had travelled to Skenfrith for supplies while I had been away and learned that the knight and his party had not returned from their hunt. Searching the forest, I soon came upon their empty camp, which bore signs of a swift and brutal attack, most likely by the Old Ones. There were bloodstains on some of the equipment, though no signs of any bodies. The horses were also missing, though the evidence suggested that they had bolted, rather than being slain. At Meliorax’s suggestion, I disguised the site as best I could, hoping to leave the nature of the attack a mystery should any scouts come across it.

Back at Lydney, I visited the miners once more. William had returned, and he told me that his party had met the Old Ones earlier in the season, who accepted them as distant kin. However, on their way back, they had stumbled upon the hunting party, and one of their number was captured. The evidence from the campsite suggested that he had been killed and skinned while in wolf form, and this may have prompted the Old Ones to slay the hunters in revenge. William agreed that further such encounters risked a dangerous escalation that could threaten both man and wolf, and he undertook to counsel the Old Ones as such should he meet them again. I travelled once more to Skenfrith later in the season, where I learned that the locals had found the site of the attack but knew not what had happened there. They had sent a message to the knight’s liege lord, the baron of Monmouth, though no swift response was expected given that he was away in Scotland fighting with the king. This at least provides some time to consider how best to avoid further conflict.


All save Jari were present at the council meeting that opened the season.

[Terentius’ private journal: Though Volutus was able to lead the meeting, he was in a terrible state, and it took considerable effort not to react with alarm when he first entered the council chamber. He had evidently suffered dreadful burns across much of his face and body, and he moved stiffly and with great effort, indicating that he had lost much of his manual dexterity. His face remained swathed in bandages, leaving only one eye uncovered in a manner that suggested the other had not survived. The extent of his injuries was such that, were he not a magus, I would have been tempted to put him out of his misery, rather than force him to live such a pitiful life].

Volutus explained that he had suffered a severe magical accident while investigating the fire at Westminster. The Intellego Vim ritual he had used to glimpse into the past had gone awry, and rather than merely observing the night of the fire from afar, he had felt himself engulfed in flames as though he had been there in person. Jari and captain Merrick had sought to douse the flames using blankets and the contents of a water skin, but their efforts had little or no effect. Fortunately, Jari reasoned that the ritual must have formed some sympathetic link between Volutus and the location of the fire, and he ordered Merrick to carry Volutus out of the palace. Having done so, the burning appeared to stop, though it was evident to all that Volutus was near the edge of death. Jari attempted to use the Filwyr Rhwyma to heal his wounds, but the wand snapped in his fingers, most likely as consequence of the hostile aura of the place. He thus called for the royal agents, who removed Volutus to the infirmary. There he received experienced care that saved his life, though some of injuries would cause permanent disability and it would take several weeks before he could be moved. After he had been roused to consciousness, he agreed that Jari should continue to Witheredun without him while Hypatia arranged for his recuperation at the royal infirmary.

They agreed to meet again at the end of the season to take ship back to Severn Temple, but Jari and the grogs had not returned by the appointed day. Volutus had initially been in two minds about whether to make his way to the lost covenant to investigate what had happened, but he decided that his injuries would prevent such a course of action. He therefore travelled back via Chepstow to bring us news of these events. Volutus also revealed that his belongings had been damaged by the flames, though the only item of note that had been destroyed was the Wand of Crackling Flames. Hypatia proposed that we use vis from the covenant stores to heal Volutus’ injuries, and I readily agreed. Volutus, however, insisted that he would pay the cost of such healing, for he was keen that the covenant should maintain a reserve in case of future accidents. Hypatia proposed that the council should insist on making such a payment, but Volutus continued to argue against this, and the resulting motion was not carried, as Hypatia and Pyrrhus’ votes in favour were matched by Volutus’ and mine against.

[Terentius’ private journal: I was initially strongly of the view that the covenant should bear the cost of the healing ritual, for this is exactly the circumstance for which its reserve had been established. Furthermore, Volutus would not be the first to call on it to heal some dreadful injury. Yet he argued powerfully for his position, and in the end, I thought it would be churlish for us to overrule what is clearly a noble and considered gesture on his part, essentially stripping him of his right to decide for himself. As such, I voted against.]

Hypatia brought the news that the war between England and Scotland had reignited now that the weather had cleared. Her brother was likely to push into Scottish lands, seeking to bring Balliol to heel. She reminded us that that the Scot had won his crown as a compromise candidate and, as such, his support across the clans was mixed. He does, however, potentially have Hermetic allies in the covenant of Balmannach, which has long ties to the Balliol clan.

I recounted the tale of the encounters between the Old Ones and the knight of Skenfrith. We determined that we would use the spy network to sow false rumours that the attack had been carried out by brigands based in the Welsh Marches, who had since retreated north into hill country. Who knows whether this will work, but it at least offers the possibility of success.

After the council meeting had ended, Pyrrhus used the ritual Incantation of the Body Made Whole to heal most of Volutus’ injuries, though it could not replace his lost eye. As such, he will need to either invent a spell to do this or locate another magus who can cast it.

Although we are all due to attend the Tribunal meeting at midsummer, Volutus determined to return to Witherendun with Pyrrhus at the start of the season to see whether they could find Jari. This proved to be a wise course of action, for they were able to locate him travelling through the levels of the regio at the lost covenant using Glimpse Through the Mystic Veil, though he was moving at a snail’s pace. Given how unusually time can move in such places, they reasoned that he must have taken a circuitous path, but they were able to guide him more directly back to the mundane realm using Rend the Mystic Veil.

Back together, they were then able to return to Severn Temple, where Jari was able to fill us in on the outcome of his investigations. He explained that he had rechecked the main part of the covenant, but despite something of a diversion investigating a secret passage that in fact did not exist, they uncovered nothing new. The regio, however, was more interesting, for it contained a pool of icy water leading to an expansive underwater cavern containing strange glowing crystals. Detecting that the water contained Intellego vis, Jari reasoned that it might be a scrying pool that permitted conversations with the dead. This proved to be the case, and Jari was able to converse with the shade of the former Praeco Arcanus – or at least an entity claiming to be him – for several hours. They mainly discussed Arcanus’ knowledge of shining spirits, though he also provided various gloomy predictions about the conflict with the infernalists of Rome.

Jari also returned with a new companion, a hare he calls Races-the-Wind. He was rather tight-lipped about how they met, but he seems eager to investigate whether the creature might prove to be a good familiar. Interestingly, he implied that his knowledge of the powers of the scrying pool came, in some way, from the hare. Quite how this can be, I cannot say, though there are some legends in the ancient texts that fill up much of our library about hares carrying messages from the pagan gods. I wish them both luck.

On the way to Blackthorn a few days before midsummer, I spied two of the Old Ones in the forest close to the entrance to Mynydd Myddyn. I was able to briefly discuss the events of recent seasons, describing the false trail we had laid and impressing upon them the advantages of giving the mundane folk a wide berth. They indicated that they would not seek further conflict, but they would defend their kinfolk. This is about as fair a position as can be agreed at this point, though who knows whether events will conspire against such an arrangement.

At the tribunal meeting, Praeca Liberata announced four magi from other tribunals had applied for residency, all of whom were approved by vote. They are: Modius of Verditius, a stonemason once of Oculus Septentrionalis covenant in the Rhine; Cassius of Bjornaer, also once of the Rhine but who had lived outside covenant; Sertoria of Merinita, once of Lapis Crudus covenant in Normandy; and Vulpius of Bjornaer, once of Narva covenant in Novgorod. Our council discussed whether we might offer one of them a place at Severn Temple, but we eventually agreed that we would postpone any such decision until we had time for a fuller discussion on the type of candidate who would offer the most to the covenant.

The senior redcap, Gaines, then provided an update on events beyond the tribunal. There continued to be raids on covenants in Normandy, the Rhine and northern Provencal by military orders connected to the crusade. The Iberian tribunal was consumed with an civil war between the followers of the pretender Prima Flambeau and those loyal to the Order. In the Rome tribunal, the magi of Harco had relocated safely to Verdi, though there were rumours that Magvillus had been attacked. Covenants located high in the mountains of the Greater Alps tribunal had remained largely unscathed to date, though redcaps seeking to re-establish connections there had been attacked by mundane forces in the lowlands. To help aid the redcaps and those seeking to evacuate lands subject to the crusade, the tribunal agreed to sponsor the construction of new Mercere ships, with Severn Temple contributing a thousand silver pennies, and rooks of both Aquam and Herbam vis.

Elsewhere, the rule of law appears to have broken down in Hibernia and Loch Leglean, with reports of fighting between groups of magi. Quaesitor Romanus reported that his investigation of events at Giant’s Stone confirmed that three magi from Carron Valley – Sedrich, Ninnian and Martha – were suspected of murdering two members of Giant’s Stone, though there was no immediate prospect of bringing them to justice given the disarray of that tribunal. We agreed that they would be apprehended if they venture south into Stonehenge, but this seems like a distant prospect. Romanus also reported on the results of investigations into various lost covenants, but there was no clear evidence that they had been visited by outside forces for many years. As such, the tribunal agreed that the Concilium Quaesitori should refocus its efforts towards finding out more about the Templars’ activities in mundane circles, though some noted that infernal aurae might also be a source of information given events at Durenmar and Axbridge.

The final item of business at the tribunal was the least welcome from our perspective. Given recent developments in Mynydd Myddyn, Tiberius proposed that the regio should be declared property of the tribunal so that more magi could be involved in investigating what was happening and taking decisions about what to do about it. This suggestion was greeted as either an unsubtle attempt to overturn our recent decision not to allow the dragon to be hunted, a naked resource grab or at the very least an ill-advised change that would result in magi with little knowledge of the history and nature of the place interfering in a dangerous manner. Jari and, particularly, Pyrrhus were most vocal in their denunciations of the proposals, though fortunately we were able to convince them that a more balanced defence would be most likely to rally neutral votes to our cause.

Following a night of politics, Tiberius formally put the motion to the tribunal. Volutus spoke eloquently in our defence (despite some snoring from Pyrrhus), highlighting our careful stewardship of the place, our openness with the tribunal, and our willingness to consider suggestions from others. Ultimately, these arguments proved persuasive, and we won the vote by a handsome margin.

The last item of business was a meeting of the Concillium Quaesitori, which was chiefly concerned with allocating areas to investigate within the mundane sphere. Quite naturally, we agreed to take the south and west, coordinating with Trevalga and Carrion Moor where required. As part of this, we specifically agreed to investigate the Baron of Bridgewater, Bishop of Sherbourne and the universities in Gloucester and Oxford.

The rest of the season passed peacefully.


At the council meeting, we determined that Hypatia would set her agents to gather intelligence on the aforementioned figures to help guide our investigation in the new year. In addition, Pyrrhus agreed to visit the King’s College in winter once Hypatia had procured papers that would support a new identity for him. Volutus announced that he had received a message via the redcaps suggesting that he visit the Cave of Twisting Shadows for some undeclared reason. The route there was deemed too dangerous at present, though the efforts of House Mercere promised to establish a safer means of travel in a year or two. Pyrrhus, who evidently owes Volutus several seasons service following some deal or another, suggested that he would accompany him to provide protection against the likely dangers, an offer which Volutus was minded to accept.

The season itself was relatively quiet. I spoke again with the miners in Lydney, who expressed a desire to meet the Old Ones again in summer. I did not attempt to dissuade them from this course of action and furthermore offered to accompany them on their initial journey to reduce the chance of encountering mundane folk around Skenfrith. Hypatia received some initial spy reports on Bridgewater and Sherbourne. Although the Baron himself was in the north with the King, his wife and rather dissolute son were currently present in the town. The Bishop continues to make oblique criticisms of the king, though they are caged in careful language to avoid the appearance of overt disloyalty. Hypatia also received news that her brother had won a military victory at Edinburgh, and his enemy John Balliol had been captured and sent to the tower in London.

There were no other events of note.


At the council meeting, Hypatia brought a little news regarding events in Bridgewater. While the Baron is away, his son Cyril holds sway at the family manor. Royal agents have reported movements at night, which lends credence to the idea that the family may be involved in some form of nefarious activity. We reconfirmed our intention to investigate further when the weather breaks in spring.

There followed a brief discussion of whether to categorise the vis sites recently discovered at Witherendun as contested or uncontested. There was little debate that the pool or faerie arrows should be contested, since the former lies within a deep regio, which requires a significant amount of time to traverse, and the latter will clearly involve some element of peril to acquire. However, I argued that the holly bush should be an uncontested source, since unless the weather is so bad that it delays travel, it might require only a modest amount of time to collect. Jari agreed, but Volutus, Pyrrhus and Hypatia did not, for they felt that any journey to gather the vis would likely cut into the amount of time available for laboratory work. Thus, with the vote split three to two, the site was formally designated as contested.

The final matter discussed was the possibility of inviting a new member to join our council. There was little agreement in terms of whether we should seek someone with specific talents or be open to all approaches, though there was a general desire to avoid upsetting the balance of the council by inviting someone of significantly greater age than the current members. At length, we decided that Hypatia would scribe a letter for the redcaps to circulate across the tribunal inviting any magi seeking a new home to approach us. I think there is an opportunity for us to be discerning in our choice, but in true Severn Temple fashion, we will probably just accept the first applicant, no matter who they are.

With the meeting concluded, Pyrrhus departed for the King’s College in Gloucester, accompanied by Vassily. He returned several weeks into the season with important news. Using the Inquisitor’s Glance, he had determined that three of the masters occasionally spent nights away from the college in mysterious circumstances. Investigating further, he determined that two of them were engaged in axts of charity and licentiousness, respectively, that need concern us no further, but the third offered more promise. Pyrrhus trailed this Master Maudit, a mathematician trained at Cambridge, to the Church of St. John, where he met the priest alone at night. Though Pyrrhus could not get too close for fear of being spotted, Vassily was nevertheless able to learn something of their conversation at the door of the church, for he has the uncanny ability to discern meaning by reading the lips of even distant speakers. Maudit told the priest that the letter had arrived and he must take it to Sherbourne with all speed. They then disappeared within the church, remaining there for several hours.

At Pyrrhus’ instruction, Vassily later broke into the church, where he found a strange letter written in an unknown script well hidden near the altar. He showed it to Pyrrhus, who was equally mystified by its meaning. Pyrrhus decided to return to the covenant to seek our aid, first replacing the letter in its hiding place to avoid tipping off the conspirators. I was initially astounded by his decision not to make a copy, risking losing the information forever, but as the tale shall make clear in time, this proved not to be the obstacle I at first feared.

I travelled back to Gloucester early the next morning in an attempt to find the priest, but despite scouting the roads leading south and south-east from the city, I could not locate him. I also spent several days on a fruitless trip north towards Hereford following a false lead. It appeared for a while that we had lost the priest and our hope of learning more of the message he carried, but we were fortunate to discover that he had boarded a barge headed towards Tintern. Volutus travelled there and, rather bravely to my mind given his recent calamity, used the ritual Eyes of the Past to look for any recent visitors to the abbey. At length, he spied two groups of monks making their way out of the place, but the most promising lead was a mounted rider who bore the colours of Bridgewater.

We were a couple of days behind the rider, but there was still hope that the message could be intercepted. Reasoning that the rider would make his way to Sherbourne via Bridgewater, I used the Cloak of Raven’s Feathers to fly swiftly towards the area. As I used the river for navigation, I spied a barge with four passengers, two of whom had chainmail hidden beneath their travelling garb. Taking the risk that they were my quarry, I set an ambush for the group at a quiet spot near a bend in the river, from where I was able to pick them off with arrows. The barge made it to the riverbank, and one of the group leapt to shore, but he was too slow, and I was able to cut him down. Retrieving his pack, which contained the letter wrapped in a leather cover, I returned once more to Severn Temple.

The letter itself proved something of a mystery, for the symbols were unlike anything any of us had seen before. Volutus noticed that each of them was unique, such that they did not represent an alphabet in the conventional sense. Jari used Sight of Active Magics on the letter, and he spied a shimmering illusion intended to disguise its true contents. With the source of our confusion thus identified, we used Maximus’ Brooch to pierce the illusion, revealing the hidden script. The results were both profound and alarming: the letter was from Cardinal Emmanuel Cortez, who some recalled as a former Templar who had been appointed to his current role shortly after the Pope ‘recovered’ from his deadly illness. The cardinal declared that, although King Philip and the Holy Roman Emperor were supportive, there was no prospect of bringing the crusade to these shores while Theo’s forces remained strong. He therefore called upon his allies to rise up and assassinate the king. The rising is planned for summer next year, and the goal is to seize London, potentially allowing Templar forces to land unopposed in all the confusion.

There followed a debate about which nobles were most likely to support such a move. In addition to those, such as the Baron of Bridgewater and Bishop of Sherbourne, directly implicated in the plot, Hypatia thought that York, Norfolk, Chester and Somerset were the members of the high nobility who were most likely to side with the Pope. As such, she determined to travel at once to speak with her brother.

The use of a non-Hermetic illusion to disguise the message suggested that Master Maudit might be a member of the Brothers In Christ, and we therefore decided to try to seize him before news of our actions made its way to Gloucester. Pyrrhus gained access to the college, but his attempt to locate Maudit’s quarters by reading the mind of one of the masters ended in disaster after the spell caused the man’s eyes to shed bloody tears. Pyrrhus was seen leaving the location, and he was apprehended by one of the bursars, who confined him to his quarters.

Vassily and I attempted to rescue him, but our efforts only added to the problem. Indeed, we were so well and truly confounded at every turn that, were I a more superstitious sort, I might speculate that we must have offended some powerful entity that guards the place. Vassily slipped from the roof and was beaten black and blue by one of the bursars, while I tried to use Call to Slumber to knock out one of the guards but instead fell to the floor unconscious. Fortunately, the Veil of Invisibility cloaked my sleeping form, but it is only good fortune that saved me from being inadvertently discovered by the members of the college.

With his erstwhile rescuers providing little aid, Pyrrhus was forced to save himself. He managed to escape his room, masquerading as one of his fellow students using Disguise of the New Visage. He attempted to sneak out of the college, but he was once again stopped by one of the bursars. The man hit Pyrrhus with a stick, and the Flambeau responded by burning him alive, despite the fact that they were in the middle of the college. Pyrrhus threatened another bursar who saw the effects of his spell before fleeing the scene.

We have often had to use magic in public places when needs must, but this is one of the most blatant of such occasions. Pyrrhus appeared untroubled by his actions, justifying them by the fact that he had been attacked, though in contrast to poor Vassily, there was little sign that he had been in any real danger. The fact that he – or rather his comrade Martin whose visage he had adopted – was witnessed using such blatant sorcery is most unfortunate, for it reveals more of our powers than we would like. Still, what is done is done, and there is no way to reverse it now.

Maudit had used the confusion of the abduction attempt to flee the college, but we still hoped we might be able to capture Albert, the priest of the Church of St. John. Alas, fate had one final trick to play on us. Pyrrhus attempted to use the Inquisitor’s Pouch to read the man’s mind in the church, but it did not work. Puzzled by this, he tried again, at which point the pouch burst into flames while all within the church could hear each other’s thoughts, including my exasperated sigh. We fled the church, returning to the covenant with all haste.

The rest of the season passed without event. I sense the coming year will be a decisive one. May we have the strength to prevail.