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[Ars Magica] Rhine Tribunal Saga

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Dramatis Personae:
  • Demetri ex Bonisagus. Descendant of a line of Diedne magi who had hidden within House Bonisagus. He has traveled to the Rhine to uncover the lost secrets of his house. Member of the Elder gild.
  • Vesta ex Bonisagus. Originally raised a Jerbiton, Vesta grew up in the Rhine covenant of Fengheld, and belongs to an alchemy-focussed Mystery Cult. Member of the Apple gild.
  • Perses ex Tytalus. Perses gauntled very early, after killing his master during his apprenticeship at Triamore. Member of the Ash gild.
  • Ascocarpes ex Bjornaer. A member of Clan Ilfetu, the mystagogues of house Bjornaer. Member of the Hawthorn gild.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 1, Winter 1220. Scouting the Rhine Gorge
The session began at Durenmar, where the magi had been summoned by Murion (Prima of House Bonisagus, Praeco of the Rhine Tribunal and leader of the Oak Gild) to become the founding members of a new covenant in the Rhine Gorge. Murion generously allowed them to stay at Durenmar while they worked on setting up their new covenant, and also allowed them use of the Great Library for matters directly relevant to their mission. She was accompanied by Xavier of Mercere, the archivist of Durenmar who presented the magi with directions to the former covenants in the Rhine Gorge, and a summary of the key tribunal proceedings related to those covenants.

Before departing, Perses spoke with Phillipus Niger (Protector of Durenmar) to ask if they could be leant some grogs. Philippus agreed, realising it would be a poor omen for Murion's plan if they were eaten by faeries.

Vesta and Demetri met with Tandaline, a Trianoma and close advisor of Murion. She gave them advice about how to approach the other covenants to secure sponsorship. Some would be easy (e.g. Crintera, and Fengheld), some should be fine (e.g. Irencillia and Oculus Septentrionalis), and some would be much harder (e.g. Dankmar).

The magi departed, accompanied by four of Durenmar's grogs. They headed northwards to Mainz, and booked passage on a merchant barge downriver. At Bingen, they briefly investigated the former covenant of Rudiaria, now a castle known as Rudesheim, and ruled by a vassal of the Archbishop of Mainz. Xavier's notes explained that the Archbishop of Mainz had led the final attack on Rudiaria, following reports of infernalism. The magi put a cross through this potential location, and moved on. Vesta paid her respects to the shrine to Hildegard of Bingen in the town's church.

Downriver, Captain Franz stopped the boat repeatedly to pay the many tolls levied upon river travel. He and the crew muttered angrily about one particularly high set of tolls, set by the bastard son of a local baron (Baron Jurgen Schonburg; his son is called Robert). Robert rules over Castle Pfalz, built on an island in the middle of the river, and fairly clearly once the site of Rheinstein covenant. When the boat moored up to pay the toll, the magi detected a magic aura over the island. They were less impressed by it's size, and the reputation of Lord Robert and his gang (two corpses hung at a gibbet on the island, a warning to toll dodgers).

Carrying on, the boat came to cliffs inhabited by Loreley, a dangerous faerie maiden who lured sailors to their death. Captain Franz passed out wax to block ears, though the magi were largely unaffected anyway. While one sailor fell under the maiden's spell, his fellows were able to hold him back until the boat had passed by.

Finally they arrived in Koblenz and continued on foot towards the former Diedne covenant in the Westerwald. The journey was uneventful, though Vesta and Demetri took note of the strange standing stone that marked the turning off to Waldheim (the village that housed Oakdell). Waldheim was a tiny hamlet, home to three families. They were greeted cautiously by the hamlet's de facto leader, a man called Thorven. Surprisingly, he was accompanied by a large wolf, though none of the villagers seemed bothered (or the village's pigs, happily rooting in their unfenced sty near the unwalled vegetable patch).

Perses explained that they were scholars, seeking to investigate a site in this area that had previously been inhabited by other scholars. He asked permission to stay for a night, and to share their food with the villagers. Seeing that they meant no harm, Torven allowed them permission to set up camp in the clearing (or even use the barn if they wanted).

The magi then began their investigations. Demetri went into the forest to talk to a tree, while Ascocarpus went to consult with the local wildlife (he tried to read the wolf's mind, but failed, revealing that the animal was magical in some way). Perses spoke with the villagers, and Vesta investigated the clearing itself. The clearing was home to a magic aura, and tethered around the great oak in the centre of the clearing. While poking around, Vesta realised that the low stone fences that marked the pigpen and vegetable patch were the remains of two 'Conjure the Mystic Tower' towers, but that the rest of the towers were missing. Perses wondered if this might be due to a regio, and Demetri cast Piercing the Magical Veil, and say that the oak tree led into a small regio.

Demetri and Ascocarpus headed into the regio, while Perses and Vesta stayed behind to explain their disappearance to Torven. The regio was the same size as the clearing, only the towers were intact. It also contained another regio level, which was accessible over a small patch of scorched grass. The final regio level was only accessible on a specific day during the summer, and it appeared to be full of flames and fires.

Demetri and Ascocarpus popped their heads into the first tower, and then went back to retrieve their soldales and the grogs before continuing. The first tower had a smashed up council chamber on the ground floor. The first floor housed a lab, some bloodstains near the door, and also a hibernating bear and several mice. The bear's fur was laced with metal and the magi decided to leave it for now. The mice revealed (in return for some cheese) that they had been fed previously by a 'nice cheeseman', presumably one of the former Diedne magi. The bear had been asleep for a long time, and was responsible for the bloodstains - it'd attacked some 'other men' who came into the lab, around the end of the Golden Age of Cheeseman. The top floor of the tower was home to another lab, thankfully without a bear though also without most of it's roof. It appeared to have been emptied before someone had ramsacked it.

The second tower had a library (ruined and with the remains of a fire in the corner) on the ground floor. The first floor had a smashed up lab, dominated by a gallery. The top floor's lab was inaccessible, as all of the air inside had been turned into oak. Vesta was able to dispell the effect creating this, and they removed the item that was presumably responsible for the effect. The lab was mostly intact, though the pot plants were long dead. As well as a large altar, there was also a large wooden chest emblazoned with the symbol of House Diedne. The chest was under some kind of active magical effect, and the magi decided to leave it alone for now. There were no papers or books in the lab.

The magi decided that the regio would make a good place for a covenant, bear notwithstanding. Their returned to the mundane world to discuss this with the villagers. They reluctantly agreed, as there would only be a small population and they wouldn't be in the village itself. Perses spoke with Torven and his father Ludold to find out their relationship to the local nobility. At first, both men claimed loyalty to the Count of Nassau, but later revealed that they really paid taxes and respect to the Court of Bright Winter, who discouraged the Count's tax collectors from coming by. Torven agreed to ask Redhame (his wolf) to lead them to the court the next day.

The next morning Redhame led them north into some hills. The weather was clear and crisp, though the snow grew deeper and deeper. The way into the Court was guarded by a faerie knight, who was defeated by Demetri in the shape of a lion (the knight claimed this wasn't entirely sporting after being defeated). The Court itself was a wonder of ice and pagentry, with finely dressed nobles out in the icy cold air. They were introduced to the Queen of the Court, who agreed to accept their presence in her lands ... in return for a small favour. The Count of Nassau was sending foresters and hunters into the woods to kill the wolves, and clear the way for his settlers. The Queen wanted this encroachment on her lands stopped. The magi agreed, and then left the court (the Queen invited them to attend her parties and celebrations once they were settled permanently).
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 2, Spring & Summer 1220. Securing Sponsorship

Having secured a prospective site for their new covenant (provisionally called "Heart of the Oak"), the magi decided to secure sponsorship in advance of the Tribunal Gathering in 1221.

Demetri and Perses traveled rapidly using Seven League Stride, and visited Waddenzee, Oculus Septentrionalis and Heorot over the course of a week or so. Ascocarpes and Vesta traveled overland with the grogs, visiting Fengheld, Roznov, Irencillia and Triamore, though their journey took just over an entire season to complete.

Waddenzee
Perses and Demetri met with:
  • Hywald Veritas, a Tremere formerly of Blackthorn covenant in the Stonehenge tribunal. The Briton was somewhat cold in his welcome. Erica later revealed that even though Hygwald is a member of the Oak gild, he's been advising her about how to slowly alter the peripheral code in the Rhine, and was also the genesis of the idea to take over Terschelling covenant to sidestep the Rhine's normal procedures (how much of this is true is another matter).
  • Hachim Al'Khaleji of Criamon, who explained to them his research into astrological magic and the nature of arcane connections
  • Erica Ribecus of Tytalus, who lived up to almost every stereotype about her house in terms of provocativeness
  • Aelfhere, the covenant's shipwright

When they arrived, Hygwald and Hachim met them. After recieving amessage from one of the covenfolk, Hygwald 'suggested' that Hachim showed them his research. This was to cover for the return of Erica and Lucas (the remaining magus, who they didn't meet) and their ship's crew. They had captured another ship, and the covenant celebrated their looting with a great feast. Though they were kept away from the ship, Demetri was able to see that it was missing it's figurehead.

Erica agreed to sponsor them in return for Demetri supplying Aelfhere with the complicated tools his ship building requires.

Oculus Septentrionalis
Perses and Demetri met with:
  • Henri de Tours of Jerbiton, leader of Oculus Septentrionalis and one of the richest merchants in Lubeck
  • Henri's family - his wife Brunhilda (a non-Gifted practitioner of magic), their daughter Gunhilda (a maga in House Jerbiton) and their son-in-law Estrid (a magus of Ex Miscellanea, and cousin of Erica Ribecus).
Henri rapidly agreed to sponsor their new covenant, presumably to curry favour with Murion. He also pointed them in the direction of Heorot covenant, who are also planning to join the Rhine in 1221.

Heorot
Perses and Demetri met with:
  • Theoderich of Jerbiton, originally from Oculus Septentrionalis but who left to found Heorot and work on Oculus Septentionalis's ostensible mission to investigate the Order of Odin... He was very surprised when they arrived, and babbled nervously, clearly worried that the Heart of the Oak would veto Heorot's founding. He gave them advice about securing a vote from Dankmar.
  • Pancrestis of Bonisagus, filia of Occultes at Durenmar. A somewhat socially awkward young maga, who's interests lie in the non-Hermetic magic of the north. This puts her at odds with Murion's leadership. She and Demetri discussed some joint missions in the future.
Demetri agreed to sponsor Heorot (assuming they are asked to) in return for Pancretis sharing information that she finds about non-Hermetic magic.

Fengheld
Ascocarpus and Vesta met with:
  • Stentorius of Tremere, leader of Fengheld, who inquired politely about their progress in finding a covenant site.
  • Horst of Mercere who runs the Mercere House at Fengheld. Vesta's attempts to get information about Heorot's dealings failed miserably.
  • Hypatia of Bonisagus, one of Vesta's parens

Their visit was brief, and mostly so the Redcaps could send advanced notice of their coming to Roznov, Irencillia and Triamore. Hypatia confirmed that she would sponsor her filia's covenant.

Roznov
Ascocarpus and Vesta met with:
  • Severicus of Tremere, leader of one half of Roznov. He quizzed them deeply about the political goals of their covenant, to confirm that they wouldn't be trying to upset the boat. He agreed that he would be willing to sponsor, but only after interviewing Perses and Demetri too.
  • Igor Rastvan of Ex Miscellanea, leader of the other half of Roznov. He agreed to sponsor them if Vesta would help him by copying one or two spells from the Great Library at Durenmar. Vesta happily agreed, and Ascocarpus remained silent, figuring it was her business about helping Igor circumvent the normal access rules.

Irencillia

Vesta saw Irencillia like Lothlorien, with great trees and glowing lights and fair elven folk. Ascocarpus's view was similar, but with a darker edge of thorns and faeries with bloody caps scurring in the corners.
Ascocarpus and Vesta met with:
  • Ionnes Acer of Merinita, filius of the former prima Vinaria. A knightly type, he met them to lead them through Irencillia for their first visit.
  • Vinaria of Merinita, former prima of the House and the only long-term resident of Irencillia without a caricature. Definitely not a faerie. She asked about their progress, and was pleased to here that they had met with the Court of Bright Winter already. She agreed to sponsor, in part due to her relationship with Murion.
  • Gravis of Bonisagus, an expert in faerie magic despite his inability to actually cast it. He and Vesta discussed their magical specialties and investigations.

Triamore
Ascocarpus and Vesta met with:
  • Daria la Gris of Tremere, leader of Triamore. She quizzed them deeply about the political goals of their covenant, to confirm that they would be trying to upset the boat. She agreed that he would be willing to sponsor, but only after interviewing Demetri too. She warned them about Perses, comparing him to a wild dog.
After their travels, they met up again in Durenmar and did some studies in the Great Library. Having swotted up on Faerie Lore, Perses and Ascocarpus departed to Dankmar. Initially accompanied by their grogs, they left them behind after the dark fae of the forest kept on causing them to run screaming into the forest.

Dankmar
Perses and Ascocarpus met with:
  • Larinda of Ex Miscellanea, a very newly gauntled maga. She was very reluctant to sponsor their covenant given the presence of two magi Bonisagi but did agree to visit Waldheim before the Tribunal to chat with Demetri and Vesta.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 3, Summer 1221. The Rhine Tribunal of 1221.
Before the Tribunal, two events happened. Firstly, Perses and Demetri investigated the inner regio of the covenant, and secondly, Larinda came to visit and meet with Demetri and Vesta.

The inner regio is only accessible for an hour on the 27th August, shortly before midday. When it opened, the scorched patch of grass caught fire, though the fire didn't spread beyond the regio entrance. The heat from the fire was overwhelming. Perses dampened down the flames at the entrance momentarily, and Demetri turned into a very large bear and briefly ventured inside. The aura inside was slightly stronger (level 4) and attuned to Ignem (i.e. it counts double for all Ignem spells and lab activities). The regio was about 20 metres across, and filled with flames. It's inhabited by a fire elemental, who ignored Demetri's brief visit.

Later on that year, Larinda visited. She was clearly nervous to meet with Bonisagus magi for the first time, but both Vesta and Demetri were able to re-assure her that they weren't snake-headed devils. After some initial unease, she warmed up to the two magi when their mutual fascination for Herbam magics was revealed, and Larinda agreed that she would act as sponsor.

Prior to the tribunal proper, all four magi were already guesting at Durenmar. The first covenant to arrive was Fengheld, who arrived with a large group of magi (including Stentorius, Hypatia, Dorana, and several other magi) and grogs. They had been attacked on the road by a faerie huntsmen and a large pack of hounds. While Vesta remained to help care for the wounded, the rest accompanied Phillipus and some of the other Durenmar and Fengheld magi along the road, to see if any other parties were under attack. Their quick response was justified, as the party from Triamore were also being attacked. Their grogs had scattered (the howls of the hounds were terrifying to hear), and the magi were under direct attack. The fae attackers were slain or driven off, though not before two grogs were killed and Sicero of Tremere took a nasty wound. Phillipus arranged for regular patrols along the road as the covenant's arrived, which proved to the wise as they were all attacked (except for Dankmar).

The fae attacks were a common topic of conversation before the official tribunal meeting began. The gathered magi took advantage of the number of attendees (over 50 magi, including those resident at Durenmar) for the various gilds and houses to meet in discussion.

The Apple gild met in the building Fengheld had constructed upon the Tribunal field, and after a pleasant feast and good wine, finally got around to discussing business. Daria le Gris of Triamore was bringing a legal case against Tabania of Guernicus, a Quaesitor, over whether or not mundanes could hold magical items. Carlous of Jerbiton from Oculus Septentionalis also spoke about his legal conflict with Caprea of Bjornaer, who had blinded his familiar. Wilhelm Weiss (who lives in the Fengheld chapter house in Cologne) suggested that he and Vesta keep up a correspondence, and told her to come straight to him if she ran into any troubles.

The Ash gild meeting took a rather different tone. Hosted by Phillipus Niger, the conflicts between the various members became apparent. Phillipus wanted the gild to vote against Daria's case, but the rest of the gild disagreed, as they wanted the ability to give magical items to mundanes. The meeting broke down into an open argument, much to the delight of the Tytalean members.

The Elder gild met under the shade of Irencillia's oak tree, and was thoroughly dominated by Vinaria and Iacob of Merinita. The two appeared to work well together, despite the tensions between Handri (Iacob's pater) and Vinaria. They debated Durenmar's troubles with the fae, and reluctantly concluced there was little to be done - the fae had no reason to back down from the conflict, and Durenmar were not in a position to destroy the Black King (which may not even be enough to end the conflict).

A large proportion of the Hawthorn gild were present at Tribunal, and the three magi met up briefly. Separately, Caprea ex Bjornaer approached Ascocarpus, asking him how she could join the gild. Slightly surprised, Ascocarpus quizzed her and realised that she was mostly motivated to join the gild due to her fears about the legal quarrel with Carolus (he didn't understand why she thought it would help, but her grasp of Hermetic Law was clearly lacking). While visiting Crintera, Caprea saw a magical raven apparently spying on Falke and Ardea (the prima and another senior Bjornaer). The bird saw Caprea, and flew towards the guest quarters. Shortly afterwards, Carolus walked outside with the raven, and it made to fly off. Not wanting the spy to get away, Caprea attacked and blinded the bird. Carolus contended that his familiar had been inside with him, and hadn't done any spying, and regardless, blinding his familiar constituted a high crime. Ascocarpus convinced the blustering young woman that he should act as an intermediate, as it would be better to resolve the case out of court. Carolus agreed, as his main goal was to restore his familiar's eyesight. When he spoke to Falke, the prima was surprised as Caprea had told her that the matter was dealt with. Falke said that Carolus could come to Crintera to be healed, so long as Caprea supplied the vis. Finally, Ascocarpus convinced her to take a loan from the Redcaps to pay for the ritual.

House Bonisagus held an informal research symposium, where all the magi Bonisagi chatted about their research while the magi Trianoma took detailed notes.

Finally, the official Tribunal meeting began. Murion ex Bonisagus was Praeco, and Caecillius ex Bonisagus was Presiding Quaesitor.

Firstly, the newly gaunteled magi were announced - Larinda, and a young Flambeau called Richenda, who is a member of Irencillia and the Elder gild. Richenda had been apprenticed at Fengheld, and there was clearly a lot of tension between her and her pater, Induillis, A new master was also welcomed, Simon of Tytalus, a leper magus who specialises in healing magics and longevity rituals. No new archmages were announced.

The next order of business was new covenants. Both Heart of the Oak and Heorot were endorsed, though Tabania of Guernicus complained about Heorot as they lie outside of the traditional borders of the Rhine.

Sponsor Gift to Heart of the Oak Gift to Heorot
CrinteraUrgen, a scroll containing directions to two vis sources in the Rhine gorge Falke, a helm to detect shapeshifters
Dankmar Larinda, lab texts for Herbam spells Jiphella, some lab texts
Durenmar Murion, a copy of Notatus's works on Magic Theory (L6, Q20) and the Roots (L6, Q21 on the Techniques, Corpus, Ignem, Mentem and Vim) Occultus, a magical automaton and some books
Fengheld Hypatia, a team of grogs, specialists, crafters and servants Dorana, a team of grogs
Heart of the Oak - A book on Finesse, and lab texts for craft spells (to be delivered later)
Irencillia Vinaria, a magical acorn Vinaria, a magical acorn
Oculus Septentionalis £350 £350
Roznov Igor, later delivery of a great work on Intellego Severicus, a collection of magical items for use in combat
Triamore Collection of books on Artes Liberales, Philosophiae, Divine Lore and Theology Collection of books
Waddenzee £50, 10 pawns of aquam vis, and a wand of pilum of fire £50, 10 pawns of aquam vis, and a wand of pilum of fire

Following this, the legal cases began. Only one case was brought before the tribunal, in which Daria accused Tabania of interfering with the mundanes. While peregrinating at Triamore, Tabania learned that a noble living nearby had been given a magical item by the covenant. She protested to Daria, who politely told her to not interfere with Triamore's business. Not agreeing with the idea that mundanes could hold magical items, Tabania stole the item, but didn't hide her trail well enough, and the noble came to complain at Triamore. The item in question was a cloak enchanted to keep the rain off, as the noble is a keen hunter. The tribunal voted overwhelmingly on Daria's side, especially given the nature of the magic item. Caecillius ordered Tabania to return the item, and pay a small fine in vis to Triamore (a slap on the wrist, effectively). Perses wondered if Daria had engineered the whole thing, as there was now legal precedent that mundanes had the right to possess magical items.

The end of the tribunal was marked by conflict. Jiphella of Dankmar protested that Caecillius had not allowed her to bring a legal case against Durenmar for either molesting the fae, or ignoring previous tribunal rulings. Following her complaints, Erica of Tytalus was barred from the Tribunal after saying that Durenmar weren't fit to host anymore, as they couldn't guarantee the safety of their guests. Finally, Stentorius ex Tremere of Fengheld politely suggested that the oldest magi in the Tribunal be determined at the next meeting. Though opposed by Murion, the motion passed. After that (and to the great relief of the magi of Heorot and Heart of the Oak!), the Tribunal was endorsed by those attending.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 4, Summer & Autumn 1221. Wolves and Vis.
Summer 1221

Returning back from the Tribunal, the magi settled into their new covenant. Ascocarpus and Perses settled into the tower without a bear, and began the slow process of restoring the labs. Meanwhile, Demitri created the tree that would house his lab, and began working on his finesse book (the covenant's sponsorship gift to Heorot). The acorn from Irencillia was planted in a clearing nearby to the hamlet. Vesta cast her herbam version of Conjuring the Mystic Tower, and began setting up her lab in the cedar building she'd conjured.

The magi decided to help protect the wolves that the Queen of Bright Winter had asked them to protect. The wolves were being hunted by a local noble, Count Heinrich of Nassau, who wanted to clear them so part of the forest could be turned into farmland. While they didn't have a long-term solution, they decided to help the wolves in the short-term. Ascocarpus and Demitri headed out; Ascocarpus lured the wolves out, while Demetri granted him the ability to talk to them (Ascocarpus's gift doesn't bother animals). The wolf pack was led by an intelligent animal who agreed to let Ascocarpus help his pack, by rendering them invisible for a month.

Later on that season, Perses in his guise as Gerold heard that the hunters sent after the wolves had gone missing, and a while later their half-eaten remains were found. During his travels, Perses also visited Pfalz Island to investigate the vis source there, and recovered a waxy-looking bit of brown rock, which contained a pawn of Imaginem vis.

Autumn 1221
At the equinox, the magi headed to the town of Baccharach to take part in the wine festival, and see if they could get hold of the vis to be found in dregs of the festival's barrels. While most of the festival took place in the town proper, a small group ventured onto an isalnd in the river to celebrate by the Stone of Bacchus. The magi followed, and while Perses and Ascocarpus stayed quite sober, Demetri drank quite a lot wine. While drunk, the Stone of Bacchus turned into a statue of the god Bacchus, and eventually into the deity himself. Demetri offered libations to the spirit, and priestesses appeared to join in the rites. His memory grew rather fuzzy after that, though all Perses and Ascocarpus could see was their sodales talking to a rock and pouring wine upon the ground. When day broke the morning afterwards, the dregs of wine contained 6 pawns of Muto vis.

Back in Waldheim, a new villager appeared. A young woman, she joined in the other women in preparing goods from the harvest for winter storage, but her appearance wasn't remarked on by the villagers at all. By speaking to Torven, Perses worked out that she was a faerie called a Holzfrau, a beneficent faerie of the woods, who blesses fields in springtime but seeks shelter in autumn and winter.

Finally, Redhame the Wolf spoke once again, to invite the magi to the tournament the Queen of Bright Winter, to held on the winter solstice.

Winter 1222
The magi cast their first Aegis of the Hearth, protecting the regio from their foes. The village was not included, in part to avoid driving out the Holzfrau and Redhame. A few hours later, they followed Redhame to the Court of Bright Winter, where a great tourney was held. A feast was laid out, and knights jousted with one and other, while poets vied to praise the Queen. Perses joined in this competition, and aided by the illusions of his sodales, spoke movingly about her beauty and power, and was awarded her favour in return. All of her vassals were called upon to swear fealty, and the magi presented their gifts (bread, milk, cheese, wine and a glass sculpture of the Queen). In return, she gifted them with a newly woven shirt each. A pawn of Imaginem vis was contained in the fine embroidery that decorated them.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 5, 1222. Settling In.

Winter & Spring 1222

The magi make ready for the grogs and specialists (or 'spies') from Fengheld to arrive. Perses travels back and forth to Fengheld to ensure that everything will be ready, and to ask that they send a hunter instead of a carpenter (as Demetri can take care of this).

Demetri constructs a ring of tree houses within the regio, and another clearing is made in the mundane world near the village. The plan is that about half of the grogs, Ulrich the autocrat and the vellum-maker will live within the regio, while the rest of the grogs, the smith, weaver and hunter will in the second clearing. The second clearing is placed so that it's on the path leading towards Waldheim, so it'll help to pick up any visitors or intruders.

Meanwhile, Perses inquires into vineyards, as Fengheld are also sending them a vinter. He finds a down-on-his-luck knight (Sir Stefan) who owns a vineyard on the western bank of the Rhine. A complicated arrangement is sorted out between Gerold (Perses's persona) and Sir Stefan, which allows the covenant to use the vineyard and profit from it.

Vesta makes friends with Ludold, the village's cunning-man. He tells her about two sources of extraordinary vis that he uses to help the village (a pawn of Perdo that can be turned into a charm to prevent against arthritis, and two pawns of Herbam that can be made into charms to grant someone Ways of the Forest). He also mentions that the village used to catch a big carp in the nearby Weid river every autumn, but that a 'scary man' drove them off about a dozen years ago.

The covenant celebrates an important milestone in Spring, with the arrival of the first Redcap visit. Markus of Mercere arrives and delivers letters to Vesta and Ascocarpus. The magi treat him well, and he departs, carrying Demetri's gift to Heorot. Vesta's letters are from Larinda of Dankmar and her parens, Hypatia. Larinda's letter is about Herbam magics, and Larinda's investigations into the great forest spirits. Hypatia's letter asks after Vesta's wellbeing and covenant, and invites her filia to come visit and start her induction into Hypatia's cult of Alchemy. Ascocarpes's letter is from Urgens and effectively orders him into investigating Schwall of Bjornaer, one of the magi of Rheinstein covenant (the last to be destroyed, about 20 years ago).

Ulrich and the contingent from Fengheld arrive, and are welcomed into the covenant. The villagers are very wary of outsiders, but the magi win Thorvald and Ludold over and hope the rest will follow in due course. Shortly after they arrive, Vesta and Ascocarpes head off to Fengheld, taking the unlucky grog Olaf back along the route he's just done.

Word reaches them that Count Heinrich of Nassau has put out a new bounty on the wolves. Ascocarpes visits them again, and casts another moon-duration invisibility on them (after getting them to promise to only hunt the hunters, and not other humans). He asks the wolves about what they know about the nearby area. The pack leader tells of his migration to this area, and tells him about:
  • A pack of werewolves, a long way to the west
  • A strange place in the forest where humans came to kill a bull, to the west of the Rhine. It sounds like a religious ritual of some kind, though the wolf doesn't describe it that way.
  • A very large bear, nearby to the west

Summer 1222
Vesta and Ascocarpes reach Fengheld, and Vesta begins her initiation into the Alchemists (after Hypatia has advised her on how to best run things at Waldheim, in the way only a parent can). Ascocarpes goes to talk to Horst, the head of the Mercer House about Schwall and the fate of Rheinstein. The Redcap gives a bit more detail about the fall of the covenant, and remembers that Schwall's heartbeast was a fish. Ascocarpes next talks to Gunter Lupus, who remembers meeting Schwall a Gathering of the Twelve Years some time ago. He recalls that Schwall was following the path of the anima (i.e. a more elemental form of his pike heartbeast).

Back home, Perses measures the heat of the fires in the inner regio, and begins working out how powerful a Rego Ignem ward will be needed to enter safely.

Autumn 1222
The magi go to investigate the carp in the River Weid, and aren't entirely surprised when a very large pike appears. Ascocarpes calls out in Gothic, and a shouted reply instructs him (and only him) to travel to the headwaters of the Weid to talk. After a few hours of travelling, Ascocarpes finally meets with Schwall ex Bjornaer, a fairly surly and uncommunicative man. He refuses the invitation to visit their covenant, and seems more interested in recovering the carp (and the Aquam it contains) than anything else. He agrees that Ascocarpes can inform Urgens about his survival. Before leaving, he tells Ascocarpes to stay away from the river Rhine.

They also revisit Baccaharach to get Muto vis. Demetri indulges once again, and asks the spirit of Bacchus why he hasn't turned up. Bacchus replies that he wants a temple first! Once again, to everyone else, Demetri and the other drinkers are interacting with nothing at all.

Finally, they decided to hunt down the large bear. Ascocarpes tracks it, and is quite surprised to hear it speaking after killing a deer. They returned as a group later (including an unusually silent Vesta, due to Perses's PeIm spell), and the bear invites them to accompany him. He leads them into a small divine regio, and introduces them to a talking fox. The fox preaches to them about Christianity (Demetri leaves early, and the fox calmly advises him that God is always open to him) and reveals that he was taught by a man named Francis, who must be the famous Francis of Assisi, known for preaching to wild beasts.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 6, 1223. The Queen's Curse.
Winter 1223

The magi visit the Court of Bright Winter once again, and take part in the usual festivities. While interacting with the fae, they hear mention of the Queen's exiled sister, a dark mirror of the fair monarch. Perses regales the Queen with stories from the mundane world, and she asks after the local nobility in particular (later inquiries reveal that the Queen met with a young nobleman while out hunting, and was very taken with him). Looking out for animals at court, Ascocarpses sees a terrifying wolf, with blood dripping from its muzzle, which may be related to the wolf pack they've been turning invisible...

Upon their return home, Hilda (the turb captain) tells them that Hermann (another grog) saw some very strange icicles on the old stone cross on the road to Waldheim. Despite the late hour, the magi head off at once. When they reach the stone cross, massive icicles hang from it, far more than can be seen elsewhere. The magi cast various spells to investigate and determine the ice contains vis. Perses returns to the covenant to obtain a suitable physical receptacle to transfer the vis into, but while he is gone, it begins to melt (they later realise the ice melted at midnight exactly). Demetri spontaneously casts a spell to transfer the vis, and 3 pawns of Rego are obtained.

Back in the covenant, Ascocarpes uses Intellego Animal to delve into the mind of the hibernating bear. He finds out that it was a normal bear cub captured by a magus, and deliberately warped so that it formed a magical beast. The bear was mostly content in captivity, until it suddenly stopped being fed. Growing hungry, it shredded through the bars of its cage with ease, but was unable to leave the lab. One day, two strange smelling people arrived, but didn't feed the bear. It attacked them, and they fled. Shortly after, the bear hibernated, hoping that food would return one day. The bear's sleep has been growing lighter, and Ascocarpses reckoned it would wake up in the coming spring. Both Ascocarpes and Demitri cast spells to alarm them when the bear wakes us.

Spring 1223
One fine day early in spring, the bear finally awakes. Warned by his spell, Ascocarpes is ready with food for the hungry beast. He speaks with the bear, and finds it a simple creature, and mostly concerned with food. Demetri excavates a den for a bear, and its persuaded to relocated from the tower. The magi arrange for the bear to be fed regularly, and the large animal takes up residence. Now that the bear is moved out, Ascocarpes starts making the lab ready for peregrinatores. The mice are evicted as well, and take up residence in the top part of Demetri's tree.

Ulrich (the autocrat) informs them that food prices have increased, due the crop failures in the lands of Isenburg. The magi head out to investigate, and determine that the lands are all being affected by a powerful faerie spell. Count Bruno of Isenburg is a young man, and so the magi suspected that the Queen of Bright Winter might be responsible, though whether deliberately or accidentally was unclear.

Summer and Autumn 1223
Markus the Redcap arrived, with more letters for Vesta. One was from Larinda, who said that she would be visiting them next year. The second was from Igor, who asked Vesta to copy a couple of 'trivial' summoning spells from Durenmar, and told her that his Imaginem book was coming along very well. The covenant told Markus that they were open to visits from peregrinatores.

Perses (in the guise of Gerold) went to investigate Henry of Nassau, but was forced to flee for his life, as the lord accused him of being a spy for the Archbishop of Mainz (one of Nassau's many rivals). He did manage to find out that Henry was continuing the hunt against the wolves, who were now described as 'demons'. After this, he went to visit Isenburg, where the faerie-caused famine was still going strong. Lady Joanna (Bruno's wife) was distributing grain to the poorest villagers, but the outlook was bleak for the holding. He spoke with Joanna, and found that Bruno was visiting his uncle the Archbishop of Trier. The magi debated whether they should get involved, but decided to wait to speak to the Queen at her court.

Back in the covenant, the magi were finally able to enter the fire regio as Demetri had learned a powerful version of Ward Against Heat and Flame. Demetri, Perses and Vesta all entered, and saw a large fire elemental moving through the regio, eating 'eggs'. The eggs contained tiny fire elementals that were about to hatch. The large elemental completely ignored them, apparently oblivious to their presence. Also in the regio was a charred corpse, which had a golden torc around its upper left arm. They removed the torc, and left the regio. The torc was covered in intricate carvings, and Demetri took it to investigate.

Winter Solstice 1224
The magi attended the Winter Court once more, and Perses spoke eloquently about the suffering of the folk of Isenburg, and the good deeds of Lady Joanna. Sadly, it turned out that the Queen had deliberately cursed Bruno and the lands of Isenburg. She had met the young lord last winter, and invited him to join her. He'd spurned her advances, and refused to abandon his wife and lands. Angered by this, the Queen cursed him and his lands, until he forswore his wife and came to join her in Faerie.

The magi also revisit the stone cross, and manage to get 5 pawns of rego vis this time.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 7, 1224. Breaking the Curse
Winter 1224


Following on from their conversation with the Queen, the magi delve a little deeper into the politics of the Court of Bright Winter. As well as the Queen's exiled sister, her huntsmaster Lord Vulpera commands a powerful faction and is known to desire the Queen's throne for himself.

Back at Heart of the Oak, Perses and Demetri set to work inventing a spell to lift the Queen's curse. They plan to hide their involvement by getting a churchman to call upon the power of the divine on St. Walpurga's Day (the first of May, and also when the Court of Bright Winter cedes power to the Court of Dark Summer), hoping that the Queen will assume the church broke her curse. Vesta summons up a small mountain of saffron to help the covenant finances, and Ascocarpes invents a magic item to ward the saffron against vermin.

Spring 1224

The magi receive their first invitation from a prospective peregrinator - from Asteria of Tytalus, filia of Perses's parens. She's clearly keen to come, as her letter was sent by a specially hired Redcap instead of waiting for Markus's visit in the summer.

Perses travels to Isenburg in the guise of Friar Simon, a member of the Franciscan Order. He meets with Lady Joanna, and her brother-in-law Dietrich von Isenburg (Lord Bruno is on a pilgrimage to Canterbury). Simon convinces them to ask for help from Bruno and Dietrich's archbishopic uncles, and he sets off with a letter to the Prince-Archbishop of Mainz* while Dietrich travels to Trier with a letter to the Prince-Archbishop of that city.

*Note, the current Archbishop is Dietrich's uncle Siegfried (his aunt's brother-in-law); his cousin Siegfried (nephew of the current archbishop) is a high ranking member of the clergy but hasn't become archbishop yet.

Both journeys are uneventful (especially Simon's!). In Mainz, Simon delivers his letter to the archbishop's secretary and waits patiently. He's eventually granted an audience with the Prince-Archbishop, who tells him that he cannot send a relic to Isenburg, but will order masses said instead. In Trier, Dietrich first meets with his elder brother Arnold, who has risen high within the church. He listens to Dietrich's plan, and suggests that he present the scheme to their uncle. After some days, Arnold secures Theoderich's agreement, and a relic will be sent to Isenburg to pray for relief of the famine on St. Walpurga's Day (Arnold will lead the prayer).

Returning back, Friar Simon speaks with Lady Joanna and suggests that she consult with some 'wise scholars' who live nearby. He introduces Vesta to Joanna (Vesta is attired in blue robes with silver stars, a pointy hat and a staff, so everyone knows she's a wizard), and Vesta explains about the Queen and the curse she has laid upon Isenburg. Joanna listens intently, and recalls her husband mentioning seeing a strange woman during a winter hunt. Dietrich arrives at that moment, and Vesta has to explain why the magi and Isenburg can't just march on the fae to extract vengeance.

Vesta bids goodbye, but is rather surprised when Dietrich joins her on the journey home. As they approach home, Olaf (Vesta's shield grog) suggests that he should go ahead to carry word, and warns Demetri and Ulrich about their visitor. Deitrich is shown the treehouse settlement where the grog's live, and is suitably impressed.

Back in Isenburg, all goes to plan on the saint's day. Perses (as Friar Simon) attends the prayers, and kneels to touch the ground - casting his spell at that moment. During the night, Demetri causes plants to grow within the ashes of the bonfires, a sign of hope to the starving folk. While the weather doesn't immediately improve, within a few weeks, the fields are full of green shoots and the animals have given birth.

Summer 1224

When Markus arrives, he carries letters from two more prospective peregraintors - Tabanus of Guernicus (a letter-of-the-law Quaesitor) and Felicia Trianoma, filia of Dorana. After some discussion, they extend an invitation to Tabanus, but also tell Felicia she's welcome to visit whenever she likes. Both Vesta and Demetri know that Felicia's visit is partly to monitor their research, and so they don't want to refuse her entirely.

The magi send various letters off with Markus. Perses writes to Phillipus Niger, telling him about the spell he invented earlier in the year, and wondering if it would be of interest to Durenmar in their conflict against the fae of the Black Forest. Ascocarpes writes to Crintera, asking if they have copies of Animal-versions of Leap of Homecoming that he could learn, and also asking for any news of Caprea, Carolus and his blinded raven familiar (see Session 3). Vesta writes to Hypatia, announcing her discovery of the importance of leaves to Herbam magic, and asking when she can complete the next step in her mystery initiation.

That summer, Larinda of Dankmar comes to visit. She's investigating the relics of the ancient Hercynian forest spirit, and wants to see what traces she can find in the forests of the Rhine. She, Demetri and Ascocarpes spend the summer tromping around the local area, investigating magical sites. They find a series of caves by the Drachenfals, which have a weak magical aura. They also find a barrow on the other side of the Rhine, which they suspect is the site of the strange human ritual the wolf describe (see Session 5). Finally, they find a massive tree stump close to the Rhine; on the autumn equinox an image of the vast tree that once stood is briefly visible.

At the end of the season, Demetri mentions to Ascocarpes that his research interest is the lost magic of House Diedne. Ascocarpes accepts this without much comment.

Autumn 1224

Asteria arrives, with her cat familiar, and is greeted warmly by the magi. She offers a token gift to Demetri, Ascocarpes and Vesta, and a declaration of beloved rivalry to Perses. He hides his surprise well, but is taken aback by this, as he'd believed them to have parted on good terms.

Shortly after All Hallow's Eve (when the Court of Bright Winter resumes their control of the area), Redhame asks the magi to visit the Queen. Somewhat apprehensively, they make ready to visit, wearing the shirts she gifted them and carrying saffron-infused bread to give her. She meets them within her castle, in a small chamber, and charges them with finding out who broke her curse on Bruno. The magi all control their expressions, and promise to investigate; Perses mentions that a churchman visited earlier in the year, and that might be related perhaps? They say they will report more fully at midwinter, and depart.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 8, Autumn 1224 - Spring 1225. Tricking the Fae
Autumn 1224 (cont.)


Returning from his pilgramage to Canterbury, Bruno von Isenburg is pleased to see that the famine has been lifted from his lands. After talking to his wife and brother, he dispatches Dietrich to the magi to secure a formal agreement with them, including what taxes they'll pay. Dietrich immediately heads off, and discussions begin (Dietrich rather alarms the turb captain Hilda by following her to the clearing of Waldheim, but with some misdirection, they stop him seeing anyone walking out of the tree). The covenant eventually agrees to:
  • pay Bruno one suit of chain armour per year
  • guard the forest area/border around them
  • gather taxes from Waldheim (which they get to keep)
At the last minute, Bruno asks that one of the magi attends him as a court wizard (it's very fashionable to have a court scholar/wizard these days; the Emperor is attended by Michael Scot). Vesta agrees to take on this role, and a clause stating that the magi will advise Bruno and attend his Easter court is added. Ulrich the autocrat signs on behalf of the covenant, under the newly developed seal (an oak tree encircled by leaves).

Perses warns the others about Asteria's declaration of beloved rivalry, and the implications. The rest of the magi are slightly confused by the strange ways of House Tytalus, but heed his words. Asteria immediately strikes up conversation with Vesta, while her familiar (a black cat) starts making itself at home.

Winter 1225

The magi pay a visit to the Court of Bright Winter, this time with Asteria in tow. They report to the Queen on how her curse on the Isenburg lands was broken - their story is that Bruno's powerful relatives in the church called upon the holy power of a relic to break her spell. The Queen is quite peeved to hear this, and asks the magi what it is that Bruno values most...

Demetri and Perses spend some time circulating at the Court, and pick up gossip concerning the current quiet relations with the Court of Dark Summer. Lord Vulpera (the Queen's huntsmaster and rival) is leader of an unofficial faction advocating for more direct conflict with the fae of Dark Summer. Asteria also circulates at court, making her own observations and inquiries among the fae.

Spring 1225

Early in the season, shortly before St. Walpurga's Day (which is when the fae courts switch over), a scream is heard as the Isenburg manor. Bruno and Joanna's eldest son, the five year old Bruno II (normally referred to as 'little Bruno') has gone missing. His nurse was watching him play, when she suddenly fell asleep. When she awoke, the shutters had blown upon and snow had blown into the room. The child was missing, and when she looked out the open window, she saw a strange black-clad figure carrying a large sack, who was running into the woods.

Hearing the alarm, Dietrich led the chase after the stranger. Somehow able to follow the faint tracks in the partially melted snow, he followed him through the forest to the east. After several hours, the chase was reluctantly abandoned - the trail was lost in the dim evening light at the banks of a small brook, near a waterfall. Bruno (the elder) ordered guards to stay watch at this point so that the search could be resumed in the morning light.

Meanwhile, Dietrich headed towards the covenant to seek the aid of the magi. Demetri and Vesta spring to his aid, and they travel back to the river side. Looking around, Demetri sees a faerie regio, whose entrance is hidden in a nearby waterfall. The regio can only be entered when the Court of Bright Winter is dominant, and you have to climb up the frozen waterfall to do so.

Demetri returns to wake Perses, who reluctantly comes along to help. Perses isn't able to freeze the waterfall, but the magi use illusion magic to pretend that it's frozen. Demetri then casts a Rego Corpus spell to allow the three magi, Demetri and two grogs (Hugo and Olaf) to 'climb' the 'frozen' waterfall. This subterfuge works, and they are able to enter the faerie regio.

The entrance to the regio is a tunnel carved in dark ice. Following the tunnel, it curves in a great spiral before reaching a central clearing, which is open to the dark winter sky. Within the clearing is a tower, guarded by a single knight standing ready. A medium faerie aura pervades the area.

Perses investigates initially, using his mastery of Perdo to become silent and invisible. He sneaks past the knight, and peers into the windows of the ground floor of the tower. THe inside is empty, apart from a spiral staircase rising up. Next, he and Demetri use the same spells plus a levitation spell to peer within the upper windows. Inside, they see a young noblewoman using a spinning wheel, while a small child sleeps in an adjacent crib.

Some discussions follow, a safe distance back up the tunnel, and the magi decide to trick the fae. Vesta conjures a simulcra of the child, that will last until after the Court of Dark Summer takes power. Perses returns to the tower, and switches the simulcra with the real child. Little Bruno is then reunited with his uncle.

In order to maintain the ruse, and prevent the fae from simply stealing the boy again, Dietrich and Little Bruno don't return to Isenburg. Instead, they are led to the home of the divine Fox, who allows them to reside in his regio as a place of sanctuary until St Walpurga's Day. Finally, Little Bruno is reunited with his delighted parents. The public story of his rescue is mostly accurate, but entirely omits any mention of the magi. In private, Dietrich tells his brother and sister-in-law what really happened. The magi advise the Isenburgs that their son should be sent to Trier or another holy place during the winter months, lest the fae target him again. Only time will tell if his stay in the land of the fae (or under the tutelage of the divine fox) will affect him long-term...
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Session 9, Spring 1225 - Autumn 1225. Theft!
Spring 1225 (cont.)

That Easter, Vesta attends the Isenburg court in the guise of an astronomer. She's asked to cast horoscopes by a few bold guests, but is mostly avoided by the rest. Lord Bruno and Lady Joanna take her aside for a private word, and convey their thanks to the magi for the rescue of their son. Joanna presents Vesta with a tapestry emblazoned with the symbol of the covenant (taken from the signit ring used to sign the charter).
Shortly after Easter, Tabania ex Guernicus arrives to be their second peregrinator. She offers to fulfill her covenant service requirements by lecturing the magi in the Code of Hermes, and clumsily starts to investigate their affairs. Thankfully she arrived *after* Vesta's visit to court.

Summer 1225
Felicia filia Dorana, maga Trianoma arrives at the very start of the season, and asks some very polite questions about Vesta and Demetri's research goals. She's fairly impressed with Vesta's efforts, but doesn't seem quite so taken with Demetri's focus on Finesse (it's not really magic, after all).
A few weeks later, Markus the Redcap arrives with several letters for the magi:
  • Hypatia invites Vesta to come and visit her for further tuition and induction into the mysteries of the Alchemists. Vesta replies, saying that she will visit in the winter of 1227 (i.e. just before the next tribunal). Vesta also dispatches a letter to Nigella or Jerbition, asking for help in finding more tapestries and greek plays.
  • Ardea (head of Clan Ilfetu) replies to Ascocarpes and tells him that Caprea has repaid her debt to the tribunal for the healing of the familiar she maimed, and is now planning on leaving the Rhine. She informs him that Crintera has Animal variants of several common Corpus spells, including Leap of Homecoming and he's welcome to come and use them. Ardea also asks if Ascocarpes wishes to visit and be inducted into any house mysteries in advance of the Gathering of the 12 Years (also in 1227). He replies, arranging to visit shortly before the Gathering to complete his initiation into Sensory Magic.
  • Phillipus Niger replies to Perses, and though he largely ignores Perses's inquiries into news from Durenmar, he informs Perses that an expedition against the Order of Odin is planned for Summer 1226, and invites Perses to join. Perses considers the matter, and arranges to meet with Erica of Tytalus (also of the Ash Gild) that autumn to discuss the raid with her before replying.
Shortly after this, Perses is outside of the regio one day when he hears the sounds of a catfight. He's greatly entertained when Asteria's familiar Sable runs past, chased by another cat. Sable enters the regio, and the other cat is unable to follow. Amused by the idea of letting a magical cat into the regio to harrass Asteria's familar, he gets Ascocarpes to help talk to it. This turns out to be slightly irrelevant, as the cat reveals it can speak German. It's invited into the regio, and Demetri also goes to meet it. The magi explain to the cat about Asteria's relationship to Sable, and he decides to take up residence within the regio. The cat (who won't reveal his true name, but is happy to answer to Cat) says that his ancestors used to work with the druids who formerly inhabited Oakdell, and that he still considers the area his territory - hence the conflict with Sable. Cat and Demetri strike up a friendship, and Demetri later invites him to become his familiar. Cat agrees, and the covenant gains its first familiar.

The final event in summer is also triggered by Cat. He informs Demetri one morning that they should go and visit the stone cross nearby. When they arrive, there's a white falcon with red eyes waiting, which turns into a human figure. The man intrudces himself as Rioc, and says he was sent here by mystical visions, looking for a druid seeking to restore the old ways. After a moment's pause. Demetri confirms that he's the druid Rioc is looking for. As Rioc is also a wise one, Demetri introduces him to Ludold in the village, who's very happy to have an apprentice at long last.

Autumn 1225
At the start of Autumn, all the magi except Perses travel to Baccharach to enjoy the wine festival and gather their vis. The festival proceeds as normal - Demetri converses with Bacchus, Vesta sees the true meaning of every shape she glances at, Rioc sees a celtic god and priestesses, while Ascocarpes quietly judges his drunken sodales. The following morning they go to claim the vis, but are confronted by a man who says he has already purchased the barrels from the town. He takes them aside and explains that he is Bernhard, venditore to Gudrun ex Verditius, Artificer of Durenmar. Gudrun has decided to claim the vis vis source, and Bernhard has been sent to oversee this. The magi decide not to press the matter, and return home for a lengthy discussion over how Gudrun found out about their vis source, and what to do. They decide to talk to Urgen about the matter, as he gifted it to them (and his reputation as a mage-killing archmage won't hurt).

Later in autumn, Rioc recieves a disturbing vision, of a spirit crying out in anger and rage somewhere to the southwest. Rioc, Demetri, Felix and Ascocarpes head out to investigate, following the 'sound' of the ghost into a small magical regio near the village of Waldalgesheim, near Bingen (it takes them a couple of days to reach Waldalgesheim). The regio can only be entered by mourners, or those in carrying a corpse, and so the group rapidly form themselves up into a small processing. Within the regio (magic aura 3) are several tombs that look centuries old, though it's hard to be sure as the magic of the regio has preserved both the tombs and the funerary offerings in front of them. One of the tombs is open, as the large stone slab that forms the door is moved to the side. Within the tomb is the uneasy spirit that has summoned Rioc.

After some time, they manage to work out that the spirit is a dead Diedne magus, and that it's been awoken as someone has stolen the sickle it was buried with (perhaps the magus's talisman). The ghost is so focussed on the loss of the sickle that it's unable to provide them with any useful information about the thief. Notably, the thief drove long iron nails into the feet of the corpse before stealing the sickle. Demetri investigates the nails - they are normal apprenticework, and could come from almost any smithy in the land. Meanwhile, Ascocarpes looks for tracks, and finds traces of a single man (with a bad leg) who walked into the tomb and left again. He tries to follow the trail outside of the regio, but isn't able to.

Assuming the thief probably headed back to Waldalgesheim, Demetri and Ascocarpes ask around the villagers if anyone has seen a stranger pass through. After splashing some money around, they find out that the man (a norse man, according to the locals) passed through on his way to Bingen, a short while after Rioc first heard the ghost's cry. Heading onwards to Bingen, they ask the guards on the gate if anyone has seen a norse man heading through. Again, after smoe time and money, a guard comes forward and tell them the thief got onto a boat heading northwards to Cologne two days ago. The boat was captained by a man named Franz. The group resolve to track the thief northwards, tracking the passage of Franz's boat up the Rhine.
 
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