ArM World

Summer 1223
To the East

After brief debate in the council, Razvan, Dominus and Felix decided to pursue information provided by The Order about the location of the Assassin’s Cult headquarters.

Murad Rauf’s ship carried them far across the Mediterranean to the distant city of Antioch in the province of Tripoli. There, thanks to the covenant of Antioch, they added camels and guides to their party of shield grogs.

They journeyed through the difficult terrain for many days before Felix was able to use his Animal magic to locate their destination.

After thoroughly scouting the area, the party proceeded invisibly, carried through the air by their magic. They engaged and overcame a small force they surmised had been sent against them. The heathen warlocks who survived the skirmish agreed to carry The Order’s message to the Old Man: “Join us, or die.”

The party then returned to their caravan to await further word.

And that word was not long in coming. Accompanied by 20 well-appointed warriors, the Old Man arrived the next morning and spoke the following words:

“I accept your offer. We will join you.”

“However, I will not dishonour the memory of the men you murdered yesterday by treating with their murderers. If you truly wish to join my Order to yours, you must send representatives with whom I may speak peaceably. My people have been given orders not to interfere with anyone who identifies themselves as part of the Hermetic Order. When you have spoken to your superiors, please have them send appropriate ambassadors here to discuss the details of our pending union.”

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Primavera 1223

Amici

A startling and informative spring leads us into summer, with much to do, and with what feels like little time. We are facing threats on multiple fronts, compounded by responsibilities to the Order, as noted by the sudden absence of our Primus Dominus; we look forward to your return, and hope that your duties to House Guernicus have little to do with Covenant Ibiza.
It was with this absence in mind that I spoke with Cassian and informed him we were delaying the beginning of our campaign against the Moorish Magi. Fortunately, he was understanding, even helpful, providing our library with further advancement in Vim. Despite the ultimatum the Order has laid upon us, it is clear that that our success is a more desirable outcome than the alternative; and therefore heedless action is less productive than considered investigation, to all involved.
Our planned reconnaissance to Algiers, however, was interrupted on two fronts, one foretold, the other not. I shall attempt to be brief, but there is much you should know of what we faced.
Of immediate attention before embarking to Algiers was the necessary completion of the Ritual of Infernal Explusion. The cuore di diabolica, Sainela’s heart, was entering its final stages of de-manifestation; it was now or never, the ritual had to be cast, lest all our work to protect the Macha Morgana be lost. Aware of this, I had prepared my studies accordingly, heightening my familiarity in the Art of Intellego and the Form of Imaginem. A final confirmation from Macha Morgana that she—it—the leyline [more on that further on] would not be adversely affected by the ritual, as had happened with our previous misadventures, and we were ready to proceed. I oversaw the incantations, with aid from Felix, while Gilera used his excellent calligraphy skills to scribe the demon-blooded runes around the entire covenant. No small task, as you can imagine.
It is likely they had been scouting us for some time, and were prepared, for we had only just begun the scribing process when the assassins struck. Make no mistake, mi amici—our enemies are intent on our deaths, and they are going to the most extreme lengths to guarantee this. If not for Felix’ extensive knowledge and sensitivity to our surrounding environs, our Moorish assailants would have remained completely hidden from our senses, and without a doubt would have felled more than just a single shield grog with their attacks.
As it was, we were fortunate to escape with a single fatality; Felix, in particular, comported himself valiantly to turn the tide of ambush in our favour after Gilera had managed to destroy the eyes of our assailants. Despite being hideously blinded, the assassins continued the assault without hesitation, sending four poisoned daggers flying into Gilera; I was distantly pleased that my Purificare Di Veleno Scuro spell worked as intended, negating the deadly ichor, but the four daggers themselves nearly brought our ally down, leaving him severely wounded. Felix returned his own version of a poisonous volley, launching himself at one of the assassins and transforming himself mid air into an adder. It was an impressive and effective tactic, surprising the skilled combatant and laying him low.
His partner proved more difficult. I attempted to imprison the moor, but even as the Parete Pietra formed around him, he was leaping from rock to rock and out over the top before he could be contained. Clearly the lack of sight was an inconvenience more than a debility to the assassin, as he immediately resumed his attacks on Gilera. It was fortunate that Carlos, our remaining bodyguard, stood his ground and absorbed the attacks, albeit sustaining significant wounds himself. The Danza della Spada and Felix’ seven foot, magically enlarged owl combined to finish off our deadly opponent.
While this attack was a serious enough matter, it pales in comparison to the second threat we uncovered.
Gilera suffered what will most likely prove to be permanent disabilities, yet he gamely pressed on after a short convalescence to finish scribing the runes; this time we were surrounded by Pistol and his guards, and Liviticus prowling the walls with il fuoco at hand, quite literally. A fortnight from the ambush, and the ritual was set.
The moment the last words of power had passed my lips, the cuore di Sainela began crumbling into motes of arcane dust, which flew into air and settled into the protective ring of runes. Suddenly, a scream rang out from the courtyard; Oskar had gone berserk, flailing about in a mad rage, his halberd a cyclone of death. The implications were immediate; he was possessed by, or was indeed himself, a demon. We contained him as quickly as we could, although not before he had slain some of our covenant citizens. The walls which I summoned around Oskar then became the target of his ceaseless rage, laying into the stone with bare hands once his halberd had shattered. The madness was disturbing.
I had hoped that the Diaspora Diabolica would suppress any sort of demonic possession, but I was not expecting the result. The image may haunt us forever. As the ring of vim wove around Oskar, he reared back his head, mouth gaping an impossibly wide. A black beak began to thrust forth, followed by the rest of a raven’s head. With a malevolent glare at us, the raven burst from Oskar’s mouth in a shower of flesh and blood, rending our soldier’s face apart in it’s escape. Oskar tumbled to the ground as the raven shot straight into the heavens.
As Felix leaped upon his now permanently enlarged Owl to give chase, I summoned the winds of Aer a Zburo around Pistol and I. This devil that had infiltrated our ranks was not going to get away without a word in return from the Covenant of Ibiza.
The raven was already several hundred feet ahead of us, moving with unnatural speed. A quick spell aligned the winds against the diabolica; whether this caused it to stop dead in its flight or not, it is difficile to say. I suspect when it discovered our pursuit, it chose to speak to us.
Our second encounter with a demon was no less unpleasant than our first.
“You pitiful fools,” he greeted us, with an arrogant laugh. “Do you know how easy it would be for me to destroy you? But nevermind. There are many among you who will do my work for me.”
“Sparisci, diavolo. Your wrath is not welcome here.” An educated guess as to which of the seven sins this demon embodied.
“Well THAT is obvious.”
“What is your name? If you dare to tell us, trespasser.”
The devil laughed again, a revolting caw gurgling from its raven throat. Pistol, pale white but presenting a bold front nevertheless, brandished his broadsword at the demon bird.
“OI! You say the word, Honorifica—well, you know your own name—and I’ll run this mangy pile of feathers right frew da froat!”
Barely casting a contemptible glance in Pistol’s direction, the demon considered me for a moment. Then, he spoke.
“My name, much good it will do you, is Barbas. Remember it well, magi, for it shall be written in your pathetic annals of history that it was Barbas that brought this covenant to ruin!”
“Grazie, Barbas. IN NOMI BONISAGUS, PARLO I PAROLI DI DIASPORA DIABOLICIA SUL DIAVOLO BARBAS!”
Even as I intoned the words of power, and my ring of vim uncurled and snaked towards it once more, the devil twisted away from the buffeted winds and shot off into the distance. I pushed the vim into a streak of light, chasing the infernal crow, but it was too fast. It left us with only its echoing laugh.
“Let it be known in our annals of history,” I called after it, amplifying my voice with a simple Muto Auram, “that the coward Barbas fled on the wings of his empty threats…”
We buried Oskar the next day, far from the covenant. The rest of our people, even the soldiers, had been thoroughly spooked. I cannot say that I blame them.
Who was this devil Barbas, and what would he want with us? I posited that question to Gilera, hoping his extensive knowledge would bring some light onto this and several other mysteries. Even as his began to recall what he knew, memories of the horrific stories surrounding this diavolo came flooding back from my days as an apprentice.
This demon Barbas is indeed a harbinger of Wrath, as Sainela was of Greed. Sainela was known as the Negotiator of the Middle Echelons, and Barbas was a colleague of hers, if such a term is relevant amongst I Diavoli. So he was not the most powerful of demons, but certainly strong enough. And as for Sainela, he was as much her enemy as he was her ally; his loyalty, as can be expected from the infernal denizens, falling to whichever side would most benefit his advancement. Tales of the havok he wreaked are most notable for the viciousness with which he managed to enact his foul plans. The last historical reference Gilara noted was the banishment of Barbas by one Raoul Sauleda, a holy Portuguese warrior of true faith. Raoul confronted the demon with a pope blessed blade, over fifty years past.
The real question was, when had Barbas managed to find his way back to our world, and how long he been possessing Oskar? Gilera, weak although he still was, devoted some extensive study to this question before we buried our unfortunate companion. I will let him tell you of his findings.
Regardless, it is sobering to note the list of our enemies has grown by one, and no small threat does this demon represent to our covenant and the leyline we are sworn to protect.

On the positive side, I have both completed my study of the non hermetic Staff of the Sand Elemental, and completed the creation of my own Staff, of the name Terram Terribilis. I have been extremely sastified with the results; I encourage all of you to think of what possibilities exist for your own signature piece.
I made mention of Macha Morgana above, and expand my brief observation now. Our leyline has been affected somewhat by our actions to separate her arcane self from the faerie essence grafted onto her by the King of the Dwarves, her supposed betrothed. She no longer manifests physically, although I do still perceive her quite strongly metaphysically. Her understanding of our way of life is alsobecoming distant Whether or not this is a good thing, I have taken it upon myself to speak to her daily; the stronger we maintain her link to our world, the more she may react a way that benefits our survival, not just her own.
Much was done to further our covenent this spring; but even more was revealed about the forces aligning against us. We must stay vigilant: Korg’s foretelling of the ‘knives in the dark’ allowed us to be prepared, and we would be well to heed the advantages of readiness.

Domani,
Honorificabilitudinitatibus

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Winter to spring 1222-3

My fellow magi, as we head into primavera, our campaign against the moorish heathens is about to commence. I remind us all of krog’s warning of daggers in the dark; at your convenience I would suggest learning my spell Purificare di Veleno Scuro, but until then, knowing our time and resources are tight, every dawn I will cast it upon us to further bolster our defence against an unseen attack.
My study into the moorish magic has found some success with piercing the mysteries of this staff. A question for all of us to answer is the timing of our launch to Algiers: do we wait for tempo bene and gather more resources, or strike now while our opponents might be at their weakest?

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Fall 1222

Council

Valentina and Cassian of Guernicus, aided by Gallus of Flambeau, have been dispatched to investigate whether punitive measures against the Ibiza Covenant are in order. They have decided to hold off and see how the covenant handles the current problem. Since the potential fallout could impact the entire Order, Cassian will remain at the covenant to monitor the situation.
As the result of a certamen ritual, new covenant roles had to be selected. New roles:

  • Dominus is Primus;
  • Razvan is Librarian;
  • Soteris is Bursar;
  • Liviticus is Militant;
  • Gilera is Liaison;
  • Felix is Vicarius

Outstanding Business

  • Progress on apprentices.
  • Gesse is in Paris as a court jester. Soteris, Pistol and Slagwell are assigned to go rescue him.
  • Macha Morgana. Power is fluctuating. She is not appeased yet. Sir Jarl is questing in the catacombs with a few grogs.
  • Improve aquam knowledge in the covenant. Razvan will dedicate some study.
  • Moorish magi – their existence and the fact that they work for the Sultan. Need to find them, offer Order membership, then destroy. All covenant members will spend a season preparing for this mission.
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Summer 1222

The covenant grew significantly during the Spring with two families fleeing the chaos at Villa Ibiza and a small group of soldiers formerly in the employ of Don Franco. A hunting party failed to return, however, and it is assumed that they were waylaid by the invaders.
Dominus discovered several interesting facts about Macha Morgana.
A long and occasionally heated Council session resulted in the following actions:
- All magi must be actively pursuing apprentices. Failure to produce some kind of result by the next council meeting will result in their destruction.
- A significant portion of the treasury was spent to finance an addition to Gilera’s lab and heavy crossbows for the warband.
- An assault was to be launched on the Moorish vessels blockading the island.

While Razvan set off in search of an apprentice, Sir Jarl, Liviticus, Dominus and Gilera took advantage of Razvan’s new flight spell in their assault on the Moors. They were quickly able to pinpoint the vessel most likely to contain the Moorish maga and her elemental staff.

Liviticus lead the assault with pillars of flame and the group suffered only minor wounds while destroying the ship’s crew. The sorceress proved slightly more resilient, though she too fell to the combined efforts of the group – including a desperate petition to Macha Morgana by Sir Jarl that allowed his dagger to strike true despite magical obstacles. Her spirit was weakened by the effort required to extend her influence so far from her cavern and Sir Jarl has further pledged to undertake a quest to cleanse a previously unknown series of catacombs beneath the covenant.

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Spring 1222
Under Siege

Pistol and Sir Jarl, Razvan, Liviticus and 5 grogs answer Donatello’s call for aid. Apparently Villa Franco is under siege by Moors.
They enchant their horses to enable them to get to Villa Franco as quickly as possible. Liviticus rides his horse to death.
They leave their horses and fly over the attacking army, which has destroyed the outer town and is using the materials to build siege engines.
The middle town is in chaos as the people lucky enough to escape the first attacks are now trying to get into the inner castle.
While Liviticus starts hurling fireballs (not completely at random), Razvan and Donatello go see the Don. Sir Jarl and Pistol quickly take charge of the wall defenders and start enforcing some order.
Don Franco reveals that he had received a threatening message from the Sultan of Algiers. The besieging army arrived before he could even formulate a response. The attackers arrived in a fleet of 40 ships. Their numbers are estimated at around 600. Upon arrival they sank every ship in the harbour and they have taken at least a few hundred people captive already.
After breaking through the main gate, the Moors launch an assault on Villa Franco but are quickly dispersed by Liviticus’s fireballs. They retreat back and actually begin barricading the main gate from outside.
The party gathers a few of the Don’s soldiers and proceeds into the middle town to evaluate the situation. They are ambushed by assassins that are accompanied by non-hermetic magic users who seem able to absorb and diffuse spells cast at them. Two of the grogs and many of the Don’s soldiers fall to the deadly attackers. Between Razvan’s wall of stone spell, Liviticus’s fireballs and the companion’s martial skills, the assassins are defeated, though not before they inflict some damage, especially to Pistol.
While Razvan patches Pistol up with some magic, Sir Jarl and Liviticus amuse themselves by hurling Moorish body parts over the walls and lighting them on fire. The effect is less disheartening than they hoped, but it passed the time.
Razvan and Liviticus did some scrying to try and figure out more about their attackers, but Liviticus fell into a Twilight-induced coma before he could reveal much of what he had learned.
After rallying a larger group of the Don’s soldiers, Sir Jarl and Pistol lead a counterattack against a large group of Moorish infantry that had circled around and broke through the south gate. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the heroes manage to defeat and disperse their Moorish foes.
From the top of the outer wall, Razvan spots a growing whirlwind of sand and determines that it is magical in nature (though not hermetic)…

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Fall & Winter 1221
Sainela Falls

Fall 1221

Council
Outstanding business: Sainela; ritual to protect the grogs; Dominus’ trip to Toledo; decision about 1 vis per year per magi with no restrictions; finding apprentices (and the ritual to find them)
New Business:
Soteris
The ritual to protect the grogs should begin this season.
Suggests that a season be spent preparing to go after Sainela. Perhaps formulaic spells that could protect them while they assault her.
Dominus
Plans to research a spell that can break the limit of divinity.
Razvan
Still thinking about how to create the scrying device in Dominus’s tower.
Everyone should learn his Rego Terram spell.
Valentina
Charges the covenant with slaying Sainela within 2 seasons. Provides an orichalcum sword that can slay her.

Valentina of Guernicus comes to the covenant with Moribundus and asks to attend the council. Dominus presents her with a case of very nice wine (thanks to Murad).
Murad was not able to trade in Palma or Barcelona.
Dominus damaged the magic sword while examining it. The enchantment is unraveling, but Soteris uses his Mercurian magic to lead a ritual that repairs it.
Dominus goes to the Barcelona covenant to find an arcane connection to Sainela. Success.

Winter 1221

No one will trade with Murad. Need to figure out why.
Gesse gets shipwrecked around the southern tip of Iberia along with the 4 grogs they sent on a recruiting mission to England. (No one in the covenant is aware of this yet)
Journey to nearby small island of Cabrera for the summoning ritual.
Bring 4 soldier grogs with them.
Ritual is successful.
Razvan’s Diaspora Diabolica spell weakens Sainela. They defeat her and manage to preserve her head. The sword they got from the Order was destroyed in the process. Razvan got beat up in the exchange but took no permanent damage.
Soteris completes the protection from warping ritual. A soft moan arises from the caverns beneath the covenant…

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Summer 1221

Council
Outstanding Business: Sainela. Trackers have been acquired. Dominus and Soteris will accompany the trackers in the hunt.
New Business:
Dominus
- wants to go to Barcelona to find Sainela. Passed unanimously.
- Plans to go to the main covenant near Toledo to submit himself for punishment due to his actions taken while in Algiers.
- Proposes limitations on the amount of vis the magi can take per year. Allocating a rook per year with no restrictions on its use (to avoid time spent at council on minutiae). Decided to leave this for the bursar to rule on.
Soteris
- No new business.
Razvan
- proposes that all magi must bring at least 2 rooks of vis with them when traveling (for safety).
- investigate a ritual to protect the grogs from the warping effects of Macha Morgana. Soteris should investigate what would be required.
- Everyone needs to work on finding apprentices. Perhaps a spell that will help traced gifted children.

Murad carries them to Barcelona in his ship. Thanks to Dominus’ spell the crew believe Gesse is the finest bard in the world.
Felip is the leader of the trackers. When they disembark in Barcelona there is a major disaster at the dock. Sonic boom among other things. Felip and his companions abandon the magi and run off into the city amongst the chaos. Dominus uses 2 vis to create a spell that erases memories of the issue.
Gesse books them a room at an inn and does some scouting. Gets some reports about Felip on the second night.
While Gesse hunts, Dominus and Soteris go to the Barcelona covenant. They trade scrolls of creo and ignem for auram and mentem. Dominus and Iordanus do a ritual to find traces of infernal influence and follow it back to the city.
Gesse encounters Felip et al. Gets shot but creates a distraction with a handful of silver and gets away. They give chase. He pushes himself and avoids them.
Sainela confronts them. Certamen duel with Soteris. Dominus intervenes but gets lost to twilight. Soteris holds his own but succumbs to twilight when he tries to hit her as she retreats (disappears for 3 days). She inflicts terror upon the crowd to cover her escape.
They meet Cobalus the hearth spirit. He watches over them while they wait for Soteris to return from twilight.
Felip and his men turn up dead the next day.
They return to the covenant.

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Spring 1221
A Leisurely Trip to the South

Council

  • It was decided that Felix’s proposed ritual is a good idea. Next step is to find either a tome of architecture or an architect.
  • The covenant needs to seek out and destroy the demon Sainela. It is quite possible that she will reveal herself since she’s kinda pissed at Dominus for messing up her gig at the Barcelona covenant.

Don Franco’s lieutenant, Donatello, arrives. Sir Jarl manages the interaction. The Don wishes to speak with Dominus and as many other magi as are available. They agree. Sir Jarl, Dominus and Razvan go see the Don.
After a brief but tense negotiation, the Don agrees to lend them his best trackers to help them track down “someone” in exchange for them accompanying him to Algiers. He also agreed to make contact with an architect to help with the ritual Felix proposed. The architect is currently in Valencia. Maybe a couple months to arrive?

The ocean voyage requires some magical assistance to quell the rowdy sailors and an unseasonable storm, but no harm done.

Upon arrival in Algiers they are treated to an extended street party in their honour (that almost masks the squalor most of the people live in).
When they meet the Sultan, Don Franco introduces the idea that they need to pray, which Dominus uses to cover up casting a spell. The Sultan now believes he is subservient to the Don.
During their visit, Sir Jarl searches for Gifted people. Finds one at the very end. Turns out she is a non-Gifted girl who is now a random Moorish grog in the covenant.
Sir Jarl has a duel with the Sultan’s champion, Strong Belwas. The duel ends when Sir Jarl cuts off Strong Belwas’ legs. Demands the Sultan’s hair as the boon in return.
The Don leaves with a BUNCH of gold as a result of their actions.

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Have You Ever Thought About Piracy?
You'd Make a Wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts...

Liviticus presented his findings about the covenant ley line. Apparently it is the source of the most recent incarnation of the Holy Grail legend. Details are hazy, but it seems that since the last covenant collapsed, some crusading knights established a chapter house on the site and when they explored the caverns they disturbed the ley line and wound up fusing some of their loot to a ledge in the cavern. One piece of the loot happened to be a cup, so the religious nuts decided it was the Grail.

The warping effects of the awakened ley line soon twisted the knights beyond recognition and their chapter house fell into ruin. The grail legend continued, but the location seems to have remained secret, for now.

The council meeting revolved around two main items:

  1. We need money.
  2. We don’t want people finding out about the grail thing… unless it can earn us money… but only if it’s a lot of money…

The Liaison ruled that they would keep the grail a secret until further notice, so their money-making efforts turned to piracy, naturally.

Sir Jarl, Felix and Dominus paid a visit to Don Eduardo de la Franco. Their visit accomplished several important things:

  1. Established formal contact with the local lord.
  2. Got his blessing to commit discreet acts of piracy (in exchange for reasonable tribute)
  3. Gathered information about which ships they should target.

While it was far from smooth, Dominus, Liviticus, Felix and Sir Jarl managed to board a trading vessel and subdue the crew without anyone dying. They exchanged the vessel’s trade goods in town and obtained enough materials to improve everyone’s labs. The ship was left with Don Franco as tribute, and the ensorcelled crew joined the covenant, swelling the ranks to over 50 grogs.

Now if they could only get them to work a bit harder…

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