GMs Note - The mages spent the winter of 1212 and all of the year of 1213 each in their own sanctum, reading and carrying out laboratory work. While King John was being pressurised by his nobles to sign the Magna Carta, so the mages of Kettle Crag were poring over tomes as they attempted to improve some of their skills. Saphone concentrated on ignem, initially, taking In Imperio Ignus the summae of Roderic of Flambeau from the library. Dimitri also decided to work on his ignem skills using Ars Pyronomica although he was later seen with one of Empedocles grammaries, probably terram. Mihael wanted to increase his power in imaginem for which he found himself having to seek enlightenment through the eyes of a Merinita mage, the famed Desirata as he worked through the Omnis Phantasma. Clavon was more concerned with his handling of parma magica and chose to practice his enchantments of protection using Apugnare et Defendere by Titanus of Flambeau as a guide. Having mastered this, he moved on to other studies as did each of the four key mages. Lothar was known to have extracted the Grammarie of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus so he obviously spent time on Corpus magic that year. As for Ulfric, he had materials brought to him including some from his home tribune of Transylvania. What work he wais indulging in, he would not say. The last time he spent this long in solitude, studying, he produced the Valui Commutatus, a summae copied by several covenants to whom he granted access. The original graces the shelves of the Profundus library. During that same period, he also enchanted the devices needed for the Inquisatores (with his help) to overthrow the Tremere Vampires. During the Winter of 1212, Tempestus taking Ravienne as his shield grog left for France to join a different covenant. Word of his doings occasionally reached the others and how Tempestus had been of great help to the inquisatores, a role he was to expand upon as a stolid supporter.
Perhaps the warmer air or the sunlight in the windows, such as they are, brought us from our sancti more often during this period. For although we paused only to eat and drink, there were occasional discussions, particularly with the arrival of Gaius Julius Regulus, High Inquisator of the Stonehenge Tribune and formerly a Papal Inquisator, being attached to the dominion on behalf of the House of Hermes. To see this man, here was a great shock. The last time I had spoken to him was as an apprentice when he came to visit my master during the inquisition into the vampires. I found myself cowed and once more a lowly boy beneath his hawk like gaze. He wanted to inspect the covenant as it had not received a visit, yet. It is one of the duties of the inquisators to understand who is at each covenant and what work is being undertaken. They often ask about local relations with landowners and the dominion. Gaius Julius wished to open the sancti and , perhaps foolishly, I agreed to do so for my own, forgetting that I was a mage in my own right, now. His presence so disturbed me that I found myself almost tongue tied in his presence. Soon after, he insisted that Ulfric was disturbed and then an arguement broke out. My master shouted loudly, reminding Gaius Julius of his good offices in the matter of the Tremere and also reminding him that bad feeling in the Transylvanian tribune had forced Ulfric to leave and seek a covenant beyond the lands where his name would ever be associated with the Inquisition. Gaius Julius backed down, to my surprise and then requested to speak to the other mages. My Master assembled them and immediately advised them to deny the inquisator any access. He departed with angry words and seemed most upset that he had been so troubled by a former ally. For the Inquisator, I will say that he remained remarkably calm and nonplussed by this outburst. He asked questions, made some pointed remarks and treated badly with Dimitri whom he obviously regarded as yet another Tytalus troublemaker. His scorn was not only reserved for Dimitri. He made it clear that the Bjornaer were beneath his reckoning, too which did nothing for his relationship with Claven or the rest of us. The Criamon, he gave more time to but Mihael and Saphone remained frosty and showed their disapproval of his behaviour. All through this, Marcus the Redcap remained in embarrassed silence. When Gaius Julius went to inspect the outer buildings, he muttered a quick apology and hurried after the man.
The inspection found nothing untoward but Gaius Julius was scathing about our circumstances and more or less implied this was no proper covenant. When he left, Marcus stayed behind and he told us about the appointment of the man and how he had fallen out of favour, partly through House Tremere wanting revenge for what he wrought against them, earlier, right or wrong. He is a man seeking to regain ground, this inquisator. It makes him even more dangerous for he will seek anything that he can develop into a big enough scandal that he may win favour, once more, in central Europe. Marcus then left, also and we went back to our studies each with our own thoughts about the experience. (Lothar)
Sodales, you may recall how we heard a tale of a ghostly Roman army that marched from the fort in Hardknott Pass to battle with localised Celtic folk each year. Under the guise of another trip to Ravenglas to pick up supplies, we travelled to the fort and there waited encamped upon the edge of the high pasture to view the event. We were sure that such a haunting would leave some residual mentem vis which we might harvest before it dissipated. Thus we waited in the darkness while the turb guards and our other servants slept. Indeed, we beheld many ghostly figures approaching in columns, armed and carrying their standards before them. Then, coming up the hillside in a great swathe, came a mass of barbarians, seemingly howling and brandishing weapons although all was silent to our ears. We stood, protected by a circle except Claven who had ventured forward on Dimitri's advice to cast an enchantment to help him see further. In so doing, he was suddenly imperiled when a powerful, dark spirit emerged from the gate, taking the form of the Celtic shaman. Through the power put out by Mihael and Saphone in particular, the spirit was driven back but not before Claven had fallen and passed into a brief twilight experience from which, thankfully, he emerged unscathed but wiser. Later, we found trace vis where the spirit shaman had dropped its own standard. As we helped Claven back to the camp, we noticed another huddled and observing the event from a nearby ridge. When we approached, we saw him stand and realised he was a well dressed mage with an eastern look about him. He seemed keen not to meet with us and spoke words, touching some item whereupon he vanished away leaving just a hint of power behind. We discerned that he had used some linked device to leap back to his sanctum and wondered at his presence. No eastern mage is known in any covenant of Stonehenge so he must have been visiting from very far off. In Ravenglas, there was some trouble with drunken rogues who accosted us, urged it seemed by a churchman who was also there to trade. It seemed there is a Vicar who has a mission to see the covenant chased from its home. The troublemakers were quickly dealt with by a black monk who set about them with his quarterstaff joining with Cragwyn who was struggling to keep them, off us. The newcomer was introduced by Cragwyn as Seth, a sometime visitor to the covenant, known to the turbr and to Ulfric. Seth proved a knowledgeable man and ready to be of service although we noted some friction betwixt he and Owain the scribe. [Lothar]
In the Autumn, we learned that there had been trouibles in the villages. Stocks are running down and we cannot get supplies locally, now. Someone has been spreading more than rumour and the local villagers are afraid to serve our grogs, even. The standard of the food declined and our turb had to send men further afield to fetch and carry. Late in the Autumn, a turb mission was slow rising in the dark morning and were attacked by the Barrows and Stillwells, the same bandits who we chased from the mines. A turb guard, Sefrith was killed and Rodrigo was injured. Shortly after, Rodrigo departed for France, saying he would join Tempestus as he could no longer stand our weather or the condition of his cottage. We resolved to consider matters in Spring. (Lothar)
Winter was long and miserable. I returned to the covenant after being pursued in several places and asked to leave others. It seems that my association with the covenant has troubled some in the church. I think that the Vicar whom we met in Caldbeck has stirred up issues. Although my master in Carlisle still speaks well of me and encouraged me, my stipend was cut and I have struggled to exist as I did. The food and shelter here is no better. The cook, Farley, departed, cursing the covenant for its lack of funds and bad housing. I was given his cottage which is shared with Seth when he is here and Ronan Fisher. During a spell of better weather, for a few days, Hod mended the roof which was a great joy as it meant we no longer had water leaking onto our bedclothes and trunks. I certainly slept better as I had an upstairs room while Ronan sleeps in a ground floor loft above the kitchen and Seth usually has the front upstairs room which is between floors. I cannot say that I like Seth who is no proper monk and who boasts of his dealings with women and his drinking. He is liked by many in the turb but I find the man boorish and his manners are rough. There was little to report. Rumours of war in the south and Scots raids in the north troubled some but I seemed always to be too tired to care.(Owain)
With the coming of Spring, we had hoped for new stock on the farm but there were very few animals born. Our stock had dwindled and their health wasn't good. The poor supply had reduced our herds to a bad state. We still have hopes that we might yet salvage something. In addition, another servant had left the covenant. Will Surefoot had decided to find work elsewhere with a promise to return and look in at a future time. Two Romanians or some such had appeared and taken one of the huts. To be fair, they had improved its state but the other folk were complaining about them and saying there was favouritism shown by the mages to these outsiders. It seems these men had served Ulfric, before and had journeyed from his homelands to find work, here. They complain less than the local men and women but their presence is causing some friction.
"The Sheepshank Redemption" (Storyguide's Working Title)
Shortly after the lifting of the snow, bad news came from close at hand. The quarry guards had been slain or taken and the workers and their families were being held hostage by the Barrows and Stillwells. They had even made hostages of the children. It seemed that these bandits who live as they will amongst the hills, here with no sense of order or decorum thought they would negotiate a settlement wherein they would be allowed, not only to return to their old practices but would now take a share of our profits. The proof that we must deal with them was to be demonstrated by the way they were able to seize the quarry folk under our very noses. A short debate having ensued, it was agreed that the mages and turb would act in unison. One group, led by our scouts skirted the high ground and came down upon their sentries who were set to overlook the quarry. From the single entry trail, our main force moved up as if to open negotiations but quickly made a show of force when the placed men of the turb moved in from all sides. The bandits, frighted by the strength of magic and the armed men who now charged them, broke at first. Only two managed to secure hostages and move into cover from whence they began to parly for their freedom and for the mages to back down or else they would slay the hostages, one of whom was a girl child of tender years. Fortunate, then, that one of the companions of the Barrows and Stillwells, disgusted by this behaviour cut down his own former associates and freed the hostages into our care. Later, this young man, Jack Winter was examined and at length, admitted to the turb for his background made him an ideal recruit and he was forgiven his sin against us through the way he redeemed himself when it mattered most. Suffice to say that most of the bandits were slain there and then and those two who were not but had been at the heart of it were hung shortly after. "Craggs", Sergeant Cragwyn of Usk was ordered to plan a sturdier defence for the quarry with patrols that would report back to the turb so that in future, it should not be possible for a rag-tag band of ill folk to cause our people trouble, again. Azir, Erryn and the black monk, Seth were commended for their particular bravery and quick thinking during this action which undoubtably saved the majority of the quarry folk from the Barrows. Dimitri unveiled his power in combat which was much talked of in the days that followed. Of course, the quarry folk had to be sworn to secrecy although Mihael and Saphone did practice somewhat upon their memories as they also had used their powers to confuse the bandits when the attack began. Ronan Fisher proved himself able in the removal of the high sentries and was marked out to be called upon, again.
Towards the end of Summer, some of the mages went forth from the covenant in response to word from Brannulf that certain woodcutters had been frightened from the woods nearby and the children were too afraid to play amongst the trees since the arrival of some evil presence. This Moffat's Wood near Grasmere had pits dug and at its centre was a mound, rank in smell. Five huge crows flew up from the mound, cawing in protest. Saphone and Claven discerned that these crows were no ordinary birds but had some power about them. Later, they learned that the crows were morthbrood, servants of an ancient and dark power and the mound was constructed by some evil creatures who were opposed to all things light and beautiful. They learned too of a continuing struggle between the owls of the woods and the morth crows. Saphone led a group to converse with the owls and to offer some aid. During their activities surrounding this mystery, the mages met with fae and told them of the mound. Some time later, they found the mound had been destroyed and the morth crows hung from the trees as a warning to the evil ones. It seems that the fae had taken matters into their hands. Whatever the truth of this, the mages have kept much of what happened to themselves. Suffice to say that the villagers now cut wood in peace, once again and that word is spreading that the covenant has used its power to help the people and seems to be no place of devil worship but rather a place of mystery and strange study. Of the owls, I have little I can tell except that most of their number were slain by the evil crows in the final encounter but the survivors were given a place at the covenant to nest and live in peace and it is said Saphone converses with them regularly. [Owain]
Through Autumn and Winter, the mages took to their studies although they complained incessantly of the cold and damp, the poor supplies and dark days. I can sympathise. Kettle Crag is not what I had expected, having heard tales of grand places where mages lived and I found it hard to understand how masters of magic and mystery cannot use their power to make a comfortable home. During Autumn, a mage from another covenant arrived to use certain writings in the library and in hope of discourse with Ulfric. He was of House Bonisagus and was critical of everything. He particularly scorned Dimitri and showed little respect for Claven. This Catharnus had to make some contribution to the upkeep of the covenant, which he remarked seemed hardly worthwhile, suggesting the books would be better off in Oxford where a library is being built up, hidden within a building which will hold mundane texts for study.
"The Lady in Green and the Knight of the Green Woods"
I have inserted this tale herein where it belongs although I have heard it told only for the first time recently (it being now the Winter of 1218). A most strange tale it is and related partly by Cwllwch, partly through answers I have had from the mages and the rest from Erryn through questions I posed. Part of the story began in the previous Summer but concluded in the following Spring. Following some information reaching their ears, the mages were travelling in Bowland Forest some way from the covenant when they spied a white hart. Knowing such animals possess power and oft are associated with vis, they followed as best they could. As they did so, two great hounds came baying and pursued the animal whereupon the mages cast spells to dissuade the beasts from tearing down the hart. As they did so, a knight rode from the trees on a dark horse, all clad in black mail with his visor closed. No word did he speak but he drew blade and there might have been an altercation but for the strange and sudden arrival of a lady clad all in green fishscale garb and riding upon a white horse, her bridle and trappings all of living bark and leaves. At once, she commanded the knight to desist and call in his hounds. A discourse followed betwixt she and the mages. The Knight of The Green Woods was her companion of whom there has been rumour and legend these ten years and more. She laughed much, they say and was charming and gay. The knight, she claimed, was her son although she behaved more like he was her lover. The knight did not speak but once when he said woodenly that he had a mother and was not her son whereupon she laughed him out of countenance but the temperature fell as she admonished him, reminding him of all she had done for him and how he remained youthful beyond his years and how ungrateful a boy he was to so pretend she was any other than his mother. She seemed to control him, again, then but the mages remarked not upon what they noticed for the fae are not as mortals and they know better than to interfere in such matters. The lady bade them farewell and invited them to come before the fae lord after midsummer giving them direction. After she departed, they could recall little but her charm and beauty and it took some time for them to piece together the tale at a later date. Saphone did add that they discussed the morth crows with her and she seemed annoyed by the presence of the dark ones in the woods. Whether she acted against them, the mages have never been able to tell. All that is certain is that she said she would meet with them again before midsummer.
Over the Winter, the mages were telling something of the meeting and I began to write it down. For some reason, Erryn, who had not been with them when they met her insisted that he should travel with them when they next entered the woods to renew the friendship they believed they had established and to ask some questions about the cleansing of Moffat's Wood. Once again, they found the lady with her knight companion and greeted her in friendship but she acted as if she had never met them before. This strange rebuff was followed by a sudden interest in Erryn which seemed to spark jealousy in the Knight of the Green Woods who flung down a gauntlet and insisted Erryn fight with him in a joust if he wished to receive the lady's fair words and friendship. Erryn and the mages tried to back out of this unwarranted and unwanted challenge but now the lady insisted that it go ahead, putting forth power such that they feared their safety in these woods lest they agreed in some form. Erryn, however, seemed unconcerned and bade the mages let him accept the challenge for the good of all. He would suffice, he said, mounting his light horse in no armour but his soft padded jack against this armoured man with his lance and martial weapons. But Erryn is a fine rider and even better bowman. Taking his bow, he put an arrow in the head of the knight's charger so it fell, spilling the knight in the dust. As the lady cried out and the knight stood, angrily crying out that this was no chivalrous act, Erryn thundered by and put an arrow in the man's leg so that he fell, cursing. Removing his helm, he hauled himself to his feet, once more and tried to come at Erryn with a greatsword but his leg would not support a running charge and he stumbled to his knees. Erryn then dismounted and came forward with a long knife saying he must finish the fight. At this point, the lady intervened holding up a hand and forbidding further combat. Erryn stepped back and bowed his head but before any could act, he took his bow and placed an arrow tipped with iron upon the string, loosing it so it struck the lady in the side. She cried out and staggered, wounded so by iron which is poison to the fae. Before their eyes, she became a great green serpent, writhing in agony and distress, trying to bite Erryn who gave ground before it. As he did, the mages recall, he spoke to the serpent, saying he knew she would not recognise him even though he remembered her only too well. She had spared him as a child because she said he was a pretty boy and would grow up to be handsome. His mother and sister she slew with her venom saying he would come to her one day soon but he swore he would have revenge one day and although he left to travel and learn the ways of bow and blade, he knew he would find her one day, indeed. As he spoke, she threw coils about him and would have crushed him but the knight, rising suddenly came to his aid and struck off the serpent's head with a great shout. The mages, waking from a dull stupor now moved but it was all over and she lay dead, a slain serpent while the two men, the knight and Erryn spoke to one another. The knight was the son of a nobleman, stolen away by the green woman as Erryn might have been. Some of her venom he councilled us to take as it had magical properties. Dimitri took something more in a small sack. The knight also warned the mages not to go to the place she had told them of after Midsummer as it would have been occupied by unseelie fae led by a shadowy lord who had no love for mortals and would have mistreated them with rude and harsh manner.
It seems the mages spoke hard words to Erryn for giving them no trust and keeping his own council. There was some question as to whether he should remain in the turb and keep his position as custodes, one of the select trusted few. His story from his early youth did not move them and he was bound to answer before a council of his peers at a later date. In the end, they decided, on balance, that he should not be allowed to go free but should stay and serve the covenant to atone for his act. Erryn bowing to this judgement spoke with some passion as to how he had at last found a family and for the first time, did not want to move on now his task was done. Once he had intended to use the mages to find the green lady and have his revenge but he had forgotten her until his hatred was awakened when he heard she was still abroad. He wanted to stay with those who called him friend and treated him as someone who was worthy. Thus Erryn was returned to the turb but stripped of ay rank and special treatment until he prove he was again worthy of trust.
"Not a Scot of them"
The arrival of a master from the covenant of Spectare Altus came as a surprise. Once again, it was the redcap, Marcus, who introduced him. They awaited permission to enter the Aegis of our covenant, unlike Gaius Julius. Once admitted, the master did not try to dominate matters but sat and talked to us all. He asked questions and commented on the hardships of starting up a covenant. He then came to the issue that brought him from the Pennines. His covenant had loaned 500lbs of silver to help us get started. Although 100lbs had been paid back, the installments soon dried up and then Baldwyne borrowed a further 500lbs so putting is in a debt of 900lbs of silver. Walter of Jerbiton seemed at pains to avoid this becoming too much a matter of contention and tried to find ways to help us. Eventually, having heard some of our issues, he departed to speak with the Bishop of Carlisle whom it seems he knows. He intended to do something about the Vicar who vexes us so greatly. He also offered some advice and considered ways in which we might recover our position without disadvantaging his own covenant. We explored the possibility of offering Vis in exchange for cancellation of some of the debt. (Lothar)
Walter of Jerbiton returned after several days with a proposal for us. A scots raid had sacked Holmucram Abbey and taken much of their wealth, books and other possessions. The raiders had then struck the fort of the local knight, seat of the family Musgrave. They had stolen an item of great value to the family, an heirloom which they must have back. If we would hear the knight out and act on his behalf, there would be a reward. The church too, would be indebted as the knight gives great support in his demense and there are items of value to the abbey which may be recoverable. If we do this, the Bishop will consider posting the troublesome vicar-general in another group of parishes. The issue is this, said Walter,calmly; the items are held by the command group and the tent where they will be is right in the middle of a camping army of scots raiders. There is no way to fight our way in and out or for any others. That is an issue.The mages who undertake this, if indeed we do accept the offer, will have to use magic to steal through that force and remove what they can without alerting anyone. We agreed to speak with the knight, Sir Headley Musgrave. Walter of Jerbiton also told us that the Bishop had requested the high inquisator of the tribune to attend to this matter so great was his wrath at the treatment of the abbey. We were given to understand that the Scots king had ordered that no house of god should be ransacked nor its people mistreated. Both happened, on this raid. It seems that the Scots throne has no control over its vassals or does not care. (Lothar)
Sir Headley Musgrave met with our mages and representatives in Hawkshead. The Bishop offered me a chance to return to some favour by appearing to broker this deal between dominion, landowners and the mages for which I am most grateful. I wore my last remaining tunic that was not holed by moths. The church was represented by the Vicar General who fumed throughout and his superior, the Archdeacon, Francis of Bolton, who lives in Kendal. The knight explained how the raiders seized his small castle and took a most precious artefact which is known as the Luck of Edenhall. He did recite a doggerel "If this cup should break or fall, farewell the Luck of Edenhall'" said to have been spoken by water fae who stopped a servant trying to steal the cup and hid it when he put it down beside their stream as he rested after running from the house. This warning has been passed around the family. The man was clearly terrified that the scots would melt it down and sell it with other precious metals so derived from church ornaments. At length, the mages concluded their questioning and proposed to return the goblet and any of the vestments and possessions from Holmucram Abbey that were possible to obtain. Sir Headley Musrgave seemed hugely relieved that the covenant agreed to undertake this unusual mission and thanked everybody at least once. The churchmen seemed less impressed, particularly the vicar whose features had swollen like some horrible purple bullfrog until he went out of the room with a great sound of puffing and blowing in indignation at having been closeted with those he considered to be second to the devil. The only disparaging remark made by the lay folk was when one of Sir Headley's retainers muttered something about the Scots failing to seize the famed white cattle of Chillingham on their last raid and that "if the Scots can be outwitted by a bunch of cows then it can't be that hard a task."
Thus the die was cast. The masters who undertook to do this thing left the covenant, taking with them, a small and carefully selected group from the turb. Crags, Azir, Erryn, Leofric, Gorwing and Ronan were to provide options for the mages. Having approached the Scots encampment, the party were nearly discovered when a small patrol ran into them but between the mages and the turb, they rapidly dealt with the handful of Scots and hid their bodies. Ronan and Erryn then scouted the perimeter. The Scots were camped in a wide swathe around a small stone manor house, which they had clearly occupied. This was guarded and the banners were flying about it, suggesting the leading captains were within. Upon receiving their report, the mages decided it was too dangerous to enter the camp in a large group. They purposed instead, to find a place where the turb could set an ambush and wait for the masters to return. If there were Scots at their heels, then the ambush would be sprung. Otherwise, the mages would disguise themselves and using mentum magic, would convince any who crossed their path that they had seen just Scots soldiers wandering the camp. The mages would enter the building where they were sure the missing items would be held. When these were secured, they would leave, hopefully as quietly as they had come.
Suffice to say, that as ever, the masters were not forthcoming on the question of how events unfolded. That they secured the goblet and some other items besides was clearly not in any doubt. How they achieved this, they made a few remarks upon, only. From what I may gather, they used spells only where quiet, confident movement failed to get them were they wished. The magic that they used certainly included spells to confuse and to cause the Scots to forget what had happened. Towards the end of their foray, it seems that they alerted a patrol and then matters were nearly upset but the turb moved in, swiftly whereupon Dimitri, at least, turned agressive magic upon the hapless raiders and all were slain almost out of hand. The goblet was duly returned as were possessions of the dominion but despite this, the senior churchmen did not change their opinion, nay, in fact, it seemed to harden and I found myself ostracised and eventually cast out as a result of my association.
There was one more event which followed, shortly after the masters had returned. The High Inquisatore, Gaius Julius Regulus arrived, having travelled at haste to resolve the matter of the missing dominion property, himself. He brought two other mages with him. When he heard that mages of Profundus had completed the task, alone, he made some promise to the churchmen and departed in pursuit of the Scots, who by now, were beginning to retreat towards the border. We later heard that in his fury of such banditry and the loss of an opportunity to ingratiate himself with the Bishop, he created such powerful magic that the river Eden did rise in flood so that many hundreds of Scots were slain. It was long spoken of by the common folk, after that day, that the river did rise because of God's offence at the way his servants had been treated. Had the devout known the truth that the church had called upon a magus to help them, there would have been an outcry.
"A Pressing Matter" by Cwllwch
It so happened that there was need to trade in Carlisle and the masters, disturbed from their studies by the Scots raid decided that some of their number might travel with the group that was going to the city. I was accompanying them as I wished to play in the markets and inns for at this time of year, there are a series of banquets culminating in a grand affair at which the Bishop and his invites meet wit the most eminent landowners in the area. Those who have been successful at the lesser banquets would be chosen to play at the grand feast. I had long yearned for a better cut of cloth and the coin that goes with entertaining in grander halls. It seemed this was an opportunity to progress. Trading for the covenant were Jack Scathlock who they call "Shrewd", Mistress Dana and Tom Yardley. Erryn would provide a suitable guard along with Brannulf, who would handle the wagon team. In the event, Claven, Saphone and Dimitri joined us, hoping to seek trade in more interesting items on the market or at least to hear rumour of such things. From the outset, the journey was cursed with bad luck. Firstly, the wagon ran into a ditch after Brannulf had to swerve to avoid an out of control cart on the main road. The mages muttered dark words about someone causing the accident who was no friend to the covenant. A wheelwright had to be found before we could progress. Fortunately, such a man was located at a travvelers inn and when he was done and paid off, we moved on. That was just the beginning of our misfortunes. Next, Erryn had a falling out with the innkeeper at the establishment where we chose to stay. This seemed to have had something to do with the innkeeper's daughter and then his wife, also. We changed to a new inn and Erryn seemed much embarrassed by the matter, explaining that he had no intentions but that first one woman and then another had visited the rooms he was sharing with Tom and Shrewd. He had sent both packing but it was enough. The innkeeper did not believe Eryn and his wife seemed only to fan the flames of the arguement. On the next day, Erryn, Tom and I fell to gambling at a waterside inn and began to win some coin. This led to a fracas during which weapons were brandished and there was a brawl. When we slipped from the place, at last, having avoided the worst of it, we found Tom Yardley was missing. An enquiry led to the information that the brawl had been started not by the failed gamblers although that had been used as a cover but by press-gangers, men who forcibly recruit hands for ships both trade and military. These men usually pick on the drunk and unwary as they stagger home at night but today, they had worked up a skirmish and then grabbed any who were dazed and fallen. It seemed Tom had fallen foul of this gang. How we missed it, I cannot say. We three had been together as we went to leave. He must have been felled while we had our backs turned. So there we were, having to explain to the masters that we had lost one of our number in such a way. Meantime, they had a tale to tell of a trader woman from whom they bought inks but upon seeing she also sold charms and stones, enquired about a couple of particular types which they wanted to lay their hands upon. The woman turned strange at once and gathered up her wares, saying her stall was closed. When they tried to talk to her, two rough men intervened and became aggressive, rude and ready to fight if it came to that. The mages, not wishing to draw attention, withdrew from this public place. Later, when they tried to talk to the woman, they got short shrift, it seemed. Irritated by the events of the day, the mages purposed, at once, to free Tom Yardley and at least gain some satisfaction from that. I did not understand the subtleties of their spells but first they subdued a warehouse full of men and women but found no sign of Tom. When questioned, the leader of the group holding people there put the blame upon a separate gang and told the masters what ships the captured folk had been sold to. Wasting no more time, the mages approached the vessels and set about using magic and bluff to conduct a search. Posing as harbour officials, they caused some consternation as they recovered four souls from the first ship. At this point, the second weighed anchor and started to run up sails. The mages went inside a small warehouse on the quay and from there, somehow cast a spell into the ship using some connection which they called "arcane". This caused all upon the vessel to succumb to a deep sleep. Erryn and Claven went across to the ship in a row boat and when all was done, they returned with Tom and others from that ship which, having begun to move out into the river when its crew fell asleep, crashed into the quayside further downstream, causing some damage. One of the individuals freed turned out to be none other than Jonas Wright, the man who had fixed our wagon wheel. He and a thatcher friend promised to come to the covenant in the following spring to perform some free services in gratitude for their rescue. So, that ended well although we had to all make ourselves scarce when the real authorities arrived. The mages left some of the town militia making arrests and claiming the credit for bringing the gangs to justice. questions about how a ship's crew fell asleep and hit the quayside continued to be discussed in markets and inns so the mages purposed to leave after a night's rest. That eve, it seems Mistress Dana visited our archer, Erryn and convinced him to come to her room. Quite what women see in Erryn, I cannot fathom. He is a well made man and trim but his manners are nothing to herald nor his conversation at all bright. So, the covenant party left with the items they had come to buy and I set about the circuit but the bad luck dogged me and after making a good impression in the public places and two small feasts, I found myself playing to a party of nobles and their men by way of an audition for the great feast. I cannot explain but suddenly, I lost my nerve and could not string a tune together nor would my voice come strong. Perhaps the woman with the charms had placed bad luck upon us, who knows. I was flung into the street by rough hands and told never to return to the great halls. So ended my hope, there and I returned to the covenant a wiser man, I think.
During that Summer, there were visits into Ravenglas and some of the mages went up into the Hardknott Pass to witness an annual haunting during which some incident seems to have taken place along with the sighting of an unknown individual believed to be a mage from some other covenant or place unknown. There was trouble, too, between the Romanians and the Saxon folk of the covenant which caused some divisions amongst the servants and in the turb. Leofric was involved in a brawl which nearly killed a man. Harsh words were spoken and little gain there was of any of it. Ulfric never makes comment nor seeks to control these folk that he brought here. As Summer waned, the mages had a second meeting with the woman who sold charms and inks. It seemed that went much better than the first occcurence and they were able to buy a stone which they liked. They said no more of her or the men who protected her. My guess is that she is what they call "a hedge witch", often hunted down by the covenants as uncontrolled mages. I suspect they did not wish to take part in such a persecution. I hope that word does not reach Gaius Julius Regulus for I am certain he would insist that they burn the woman to ashes or some such thing. I played my harp in the villages and earned some small coin, taking up again with dear Julia who lives nearby, now. I wish that I could join the masters on a foray into fae woods and there learn a fairy lay or two. I have heard that they have the finest singers and harpists. It would be good to gain some instruction that would give me an advantage over the next man. My hopes of seeing marvels through my attachment to these mages fades with each season. It seems they prefer to use no magic if they do not have to and then, most of it is subtle. I do not think I shall ever be writing a heroic lay about their adventures.