Quaerentes in Extremis
Founded in 1073 by a group of Saxon magi, Horsingas has become a dedicated hold-out in Loch Leglean against Norman practice which is now the norm in Scotland. They interfere with the king and his barons to an extent that would surely cause many of the magi to be convicted of interfering in mundane affairs if they did not count the Senior Quaesitor of the tribunal among their number.
Horsingas lies in a series of caves in the Cheviot hills along the Tyne river, twenty miles North of Hadrian’s Wall. The caves were created by one of the founding members who specialized in Terram magic and though they have filled the space to the point of choking is probably not going to expand anytime soon – none of the current magi have much skill with Terram. The covenant relies primarily on its remote location for security, but the magi have also set a number magical defenses, from subtle illusions to vicious traps. The covenant has few resources, and almost all of its supplies and appointments have been stolen from monasteries, Norman settlements and caravans.
The grogs, or weardmenn (the Saxon word for “guard”) number 50 strong, and are made up mostly of landless adventurers and displaced peasants. The group functions more like a gang of allied bandits than an organized military force, with groups of weardmenn loyal to one or the other of the magi. The weardmenn have a few buildings outside, but many would rather hold their noses and sleep in the space they have been given in the largest cave despite sharing it with the dirty stables than spend any but the clearest and warmest nights in those rickety, ramshackle structures. Horsingas is one of the last places where men speak Old Saxon first and any other language only if they must, and the magi have developed a distinctive pidgin which allows them to discuss matters with one another under the noses of other magi and mundanes alike.
Sir Edwin of Hexham, Tytalus – Relatively young to be War Leader, but cunning and fierce enough to pull it off, Edwin seems to exist for nothing other than to fight the Normans, caring little for Order politics. Or law.
Senior Quaesitor Whitburh, Guernicus – A calm, patient and calculating woman who has spent considerable time balancing her personal mission with her professional responsibilities.
Vencesla Del Mato, Flambeau – A quiet woman whose soft voice belies her experience and skill.
Sir Ealdred of Surrey, Jerbiton – haughty, disdainful and unable to explain why, Ealdred’s otherwise glib tongue and well-trained arm are nonetheless sworn to the covenant’s cause.
Ealwynn of Keswick, filia Hosvir of Bjornaer (stoat/ermine) – A small woman whose coloring (and magic) shifts with the seasons, Ealwynn’s grief drives her to seek shockingly bloody vengeance against the Normans.
Coenwulf, filius Hosvir of Bjornaer (boar) – Taken in by his pater and Ealwyn, Coenwulf remains dedicated to her above all else.
Aelfred of Little Downing, Tytalus – Once the leader of the covenant, now too old to go raiding, Aelfred sits in impotent frustration at the covenant’s current management.