Quaerentes in Extremis

Spring 1223
The Bastard of Galloway

While the Patriots were letting the air out of the Seahawks hopes for a National Championship, the magi at the covenant were called to assist their benefactor Lord Alan FitzRoland, Lord of Galloway and Constable to the King of Scotland. A tragic attack had occurred at his capital Cruggleton Castle, where 4 of his nights apparently killed his wife Margaret of Huntingdon and kidnapped his 1 year old bastard Thomas. It was not clear why someone would take the child, much less kill the women who was not his mother.

The Magus Marcus accepted the challenge and taking Visnja and Vichengo he invited the Maga Sophia Bonisagus to assist with the investigation. She took Anne to help interpret. Magus Feargus sent Sweet Gille, knowing that his knowledge of the area and wilderness skills may come in handy. Marcus wanted to make a good impression on the powerful noble as well as protect the vis site found at the old arch on the castle’s grounds.

The party interviewed the Lord, servants and collected gossip. Marcus summoned the shade of Margaret before she was buried and learned that there was a mystery surrounding the bastard Thomas’ origins. She said Alan brought him home about 4 months ago by ship. He never revealed Thomas’ mother’s name. He also took note of her concern for her daughters still at their estate at Buittle Castle. Marcus quickly wrote a note to Feargus and sent it my messenger back to Covenant. Feargus made plans to travel to Buittle Castle.

Posing the Silent Question cast on Alan revealed Thomas’ birthplace as the shores of an island most likely Arran and the name Neria.

During this time the bodies of the 4 missing knights were found in a wooded area at the bottom of a vale on the road to the Machers. This vale had an enduring fog that Gille knew was unnatural. Marcus’ second sight confirmed this as well. The knights had been dead for 2 months. So who had road out on the North Road with the child?

Using the child’s clothes collected by Sophia, Marcus was able to pinpoint the child to a forest. After a day and a half they arrived. Crossing a river through the middle of the forest, Marcus knew instantly they were in a faerie wood. Sophia confirmed it, noting an Aura of 4. Venturing into the faerie woods Sophia and Sweet Gille noticed they were being followed by horsemen. As they were about to enter a clearing in the forest bows were drawn behind them and the party was ordered to stop. Looking back they saw half a dozen Centaur archers.

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Winter 1222
Council Meeting and Welcome Sophia Trianomae
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Summer 1222 cont.
Monte Castillio and Fratta Todia

Monte Castillo de Vibio

In Monte Castillo de Vibio, Feargus, Francois Orlon, Bjorn, Hammish and Seamish found themselves in Tavern run by a stout broad shouldered woman by the name of Elada. With a no-nonsense demeanor, she explains through Orlon that it is bets not to go out at night, especially for strangers. Early that evening, Orlon and Bjorn returned the warehouse and see the Merchant Mistress Constance locking up. Later at the Inn, Constance shows up and speaks with Mistress Elada. Orlon overhears them discussing another woman “Temalia” who has found “the cur”. Tonight they plan on finishing their business with him. Temalia has some muscle. Elada, tells Constance that if Temalia fails then she will have to pay the price. Elada also tells M Constance that Temalia should keep her wrath in check and avoid playing her usual games. Constance smirks and says that it like telling a cat not to play with a mouse. Orlon relays this back to the rest of the PCs.

The PCs plan to go back to the warehouse later that night and when everyone in the common room starts to nod off, they slip out into the street. Watching the warehouse from an alley across the plaza they feel a chilling presence behind them.

Two angry distraught apparitions are floating down the alley toward the 5 men. The apparitions look like normal villagers contorted out of anquish and despair. Reaching out for Bjorn and Hammish, they icy touch chills Hammish to the bone, paralyzing his arm temporarily. Bjorn tries to swing an axe at one and it passes through it. Feargus casts frogs legs and grows to his normal size. He then grabs the mighty Hammish and leaps backwards to safety. The others follow quickly across the empty plaza under the full moon to the warehouse door where Bjorn breaks the lock with his axe and they flee inside the dark building. The apparitions loose interest and go their separate ways into the town’s dark narrow streets. A quick search reveals nothing of significance in the warehouse and their are no living quarters attached.

Fratta Todina

Meanwhile, Guido Masena the Benadanti or Nightwalker describes his spiritual traveling to Marcus. Marcus is very keen on the idea once he learns that Masena can take another with him. Marcus announces that this is the perfect way to spy on his uncle. Masena and Marcus retires to the mage’s room with Visnja who watches the barred door. Brother Padrig and Annie remain in the common room to see that no stranger goes up upstairs.

Dropping his parma, Marcus falls into a deep sleep. He is not sure whether this was something aided by Masean, but he soon sees himself laying on the bed, with eyes outside his body. Masena and Marcus are both in the shape of two wolves. Masena leaps from through the window and Marcus follows. Visnja’s second site provides only a quick glimpse of two shadows in the room that vanish through the window.

Once outside, Marcus’s wolf follows Masena’s, as the shaggy wolf takes great leaps westward toward Monte Castillo. Soon the two are running up the valley below the Malaspina castle. In the full moonlight, Marcus can see the tower and keep that were once his home. Soon they find themselves in in the woods that line the river running past the cliff home of the Malaspina’s. The woods grow darker as they get nearer their destination. As they drew deeper into the woods, Marcus felt nauseas, the same as when he confronted the revenant and Ft. Tomas two years ago in Scotland.

Marcus knew these woods from his childhood. He would sometimes come down here with his father or one of the servants. He was always watched as there were things that he was told were dangerous. He remembers a shaft that led from the keep down to the cliff base and a path t the river. He also remember a path that veered to east that led to some ruins, but he was told to never go there without his parents and neither took him.

(NOTE TO MARUCS: if you draw up a keep on your own or even imagine it, then this will be the Malaspina estate based on the child’s memory.)

Before they reach the cliff base, Marcus sees from the corner of his eye glimmer of blue to his right. This would be coming from the pool that he was told never to approach as a young man. His mother was afraid of it and his father always counseled that he could go once he was older and better prepared. But before he could turn, Masena stopped, ears alert to the forest sounds. Masena smelled it first. The wrongness. It has a slight sulfur smell once Marcu’s new keen wolf nose smelled it. Masena recognized the small as the two headed familiar of Baron Alfiolo. Coming out of the woods to the left, was a two headed dog, large and black. The two wolves tried to run before they turned and faced the beast as it charged them. Bites were exchanged. The two heads prevented wolves from attacking from different directions. After Masena was seriously bitten, he finally latched on to one the throat of one of the heads. Eventually, Marcus wolf was able to do the same. Soon they pulled the hell beast down and ripped at it until it lay bleeding on the forest floor. Marcus also realized that they had run out of the area that made his sick. It was time to get back to their bodies.

Back in Fratta Todina, Brother Padrig was awoken by the sound of three armed men entering the tavern. It was late and most of the light came form the fireplace and a lantern carried by one of the men. After they passed him and went up the stairs, he peaked out of the door. Annie also peaked out and saw another armed man standing next to a small framed woman. The man has his hand on the shoulder of a local man, still dressed in his night shirt. It appears that hey had woken the man and he was pointing toward the Inn. An informant?

Upstairs behind a barred door, Visnja heard the heavy steps of someone coming up the stairs. She readied her weapons and waited in the darkness, her fey eyes easily adjusting to the lack of light. Someone tried the door. Then there was a crash as they tried to burst in but failed. With this load noise, Anne came out of the Inn acting drunk. She stumbled and picked up a few rocks to throw up to the second floor. None hit the building, but she caught the attention of the woman standing across the street.

Eventually an axe was used upstairs to break through the door. When the first soldier came through and the two bodies did not waken, Visnja attacked, She furiously slashed with sword and knife, but the man’s shield was in the way. When he cut under the shield, his armor prevented further harm. Soon Padrig was at the top of the stairs. He threw a knife at the lantern, but the handle his the back of the guard closest to the stairs. He turned and the monk tried to defend himself with his staff. It has been a long time since the monk faced another man in combat. A long time. He wished he had his trusty sword with him, then he could have done some real damage. However, he was an old man now, a man of god, a staff would have to do. Padrig could hear fighting in the doorway beyond the two men in the hall. He could also hear common room wake up. While Visnja and the first tough traded blows, PAdrig tried to defend himself against the man’s axe. Once the attacked in the doorway lost his axe as it slipped from his hand, Visnja could press the attack into the hall. Padrig could do little then avoid falling backwards down the stairs.

Outside, Anne took off for the nearby gatehouse. She could see the porter’s office door ajar. The woman turned and said something about a Preview of the Fire’s of Perdition, and the flesh on Annies’ legs burst into flame as she ran. The pain was terrible. Anne suffered a medium wound before she could extinguish the flames by rolling on the ground. Inside the gatehouse, the porter was asleep and no amount of slapping would wake him. He has been bespelled.

About this time, Padrig fell backwards down the stairs, spraining his ankle, which was one of the few areas not bloodied by the madman at the top of the stairs. Visnja’s attacker was pushed back as a wolf flew from the bedroom into the hall wall. It appears that the nightwalkers had returned. It took Marcus a few seconds to fully wake and when he did he cast Ennobled Presence (ReMe) on Visnja’s attacker and told him to defend Marcus as his true master. The henchman turned to his comrade and tackled him as he was fighting Visnja. The wolf then lunged at the man at the top of the stairs knocking him down the steep stairs into the fourth henchman who had entered in the and gone up to aid his comrades as soon as the commotion was heard outside. The common room was now in an uproar. Some guest fled outside, others gabbed the men at the bottom of the stirs and lent a hand to help the bloodied monk.

Outside, Temalia walked toward the gatehouse and Anne. Marcus having subdued the two guards upstairs who were now fighting one another, ran to the front window to see what was happening outside. He cast Lift the Dangling Puppet (ReCo) and Temalia lifted off the ground into the air. As she reached the second floor, she muttered several dark phases about the leathery wings of the nightflyer and two batlike wings burst from her back. Concentrating, Marcus reversed the direction of his spell and pulled her down, even as her wings began to beat the air. By this time, the city guard had arrived and the people in street began throwing things at the witch. The PCs had killed at least two henchmen and captured two others and this witch.

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Summer 1222
Monte Catillo de Vibio

The party from Scotland finally arrived in the central mountains of Italy. They sought the priest in the village of Tonio Fratta who sent Marcus the letter and learned that Marcus’ parents had not only been burned as witches, but that his maternal uncle had exposed their diabolism. Following their capture and executions, Marcus’ uncle the Baron Alfilio not only took the Malaspina family estate and rights in the town of Monte Castillo de Vibio, but he expanded the infernalist cult in the area.

Monte Castillo de Vibio has become a dark town when the sun goes down, filled with shadows that can harm the living and the ghost of the forsake and their victims among the town’s residents. Residents have fled the city when they have been able. But few leave now, most resigned to their lot. Still the town and the estate remains prosperous, even as their neighbor’s crops fail.

Marcus has learned that the local parish turns a blind eye to the Baron and his allies because the coffers continue to grow. This has kept interest from the Bishop of Perugia away, especially since he led the charges against the Malaspina’s when he was a parish priest and young canon at the cathedral in Perugia.

The priest also directed Marcus to a man who he said knew more about the evils there. He said the man was a drunk and possibly a heretic, but that he believed him. So off the party went to find Guido Massena, who was passed out in the mud beside the middens of the very tavern they were staying at.

Guido Massena as a dirty smelly scoundrel. He snarled more than he spoke. Once wine was offered, he told his tale. He said that he and other’s of his tradition battled the witches of Monte Castello de Vibio. These night battles had a certain set of rules, and that before BAron Alfillio took over, he had been told that they were little repercusions outside the battles themselves. Then in the last few years, the witches stopped fighting their seasonal night battles and started attacking his comrades in their homes and along the paths of Umbrian Mountains. Now he was one of the few nearby. Others who were more distant tried to refuse the call. He had not been found because he lived so low.

Massena told Marcus that he was a member of the Benandanti, the Good Walkers, who are summoned to serve as teens. They battle during the Ember Days, Church feasts, and fight against Infernal witches at agreed-on battlefields. They can fly, and can take the shape of animals or ride animals or tools. While the northern Italian Benandanti battle in human form and fight with bunches of fennel, while their foes use sorghum, here they take other forms. Massena did not tell the form but did refer to his comrades as his pack. Marcus was determined to learn more.

In the meantime, Brother Padrig suggested to the magi that they write the Bishop of Perugia or a Cardinal in Rome and seek aid. So he began researching who to write and said he would work with the Village Priest in this endeavor. Feargus and the men at arms went up the road to seek work as caravan guards as a cover to travel to the city.

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SPRING 1222
The Grand Tour of France and Italy - Part 2
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Spring 1222
The Grand Tour of France and Italy - Part 1

In the Springe of 1221, Marcus of Tremere received a letter via Redcap from a Priest in Italy. It has originally been sent to his home Tremere covenant and was slow to find him in Scotland. The letter read:

_To Stephanus of House Malaspina or to the man once known by that name,
In this Season of Lent in the Year of the Lord 1217, I, Ft. Martinus of the Parish of Fratta Todina, write to you upon the last wish of a most loyal servant, who despite his crimes against man and God, begged our Lord’s forgiveness, confessed and I pray was redeemed.

This man Piero, was a servant of the Malaspina family in Monte Castillo di Vibio. He confessed that he gave you to an evil man, but by doing so saved your life. He said he was told that you would be taken to east, beyond the Dalmatians and into the lands of the Magyar. It is to there that I send his last words.

He pled for me to send you word that your birthright the estate outside Monte Castillo di Vibio, as the last in the line of the Malaspina, was yours to be claimed. If you come to claim your rights, please come to me first, for there is more to tell than I dare place on paper.

Your Humble Servant Ft. Martinus
_

Feeling need to confront his dark past, Marcus decided to journey to Italy and lay the family tragedy to rest. He confided in his soldales Fergus and they two planned to take the journey together. Pelleas would be left at the covenant to protect their vis sources and respond to any needs that arose, including requests by Alan, Lord of Galloway.

Fearing the worse. Fergus and Marcus began to prepare for the trip. Wanting to take extra time, they set their departure for the following spring so that there would be plenty of time to learn new arts and so that they would avoid traveling by sea in the stormy winter months.

Once the time came to depart they commissioned Bjorn, Captain of the See-Bjorn to take them from Galloway to the French Coast. The two mages took as their companions Annie of Wigtown to act as their steward for the trip, Hammish and Seamish for muscle, and Pollys the welsh scribe with the hopes that they could leave her at one of the covenants that they passed to continue her training and maybe copy some books. The took along plenty of vis to pay for such books and in the even that they needed it for their mission.

The two magi also decided to visit many covenants along the way to meet with their brethren in the Order of Hermes and learn more about their Order. For Fergus this was the first time he had left Scotland. Marcus’ only demand was that they avoid any covenants dominated by Tremere wizards.

Once he learned of their trip to Italy on one of his visits to the Covenant, Brother Padrig from the Abbey in Glen Luce asked to accompany them. He wanted to visit his Order’s mother house of the Cistercian Order in Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. Taking this as a pilgrimage, he also hoped that he could accompany them at least to Rome where he wanted to seek some sort of absolution.

Soon they were off to Cherbourg, on the Normandy coast.

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Spring 1221
The Cross on the Shore or The Caerryan Mystery

The Covenant was contacted by a magus in another Tribunal about a former companion who feared a supernatural threat on his life. The former companion was Sir Gilbert Montrey, the lord of Castle Kennedy and the fishing hamlet of Caerryan on eastern shore of Loch Ryan.

His young wife had drowned on the nearby beach three years ago, and he always maintained a vigil on the anniversary of her death. Recently, a troupe of players came through his lands and among their acrobats and knife throwers they had a mystic woman who read his and his steward’s future including his imminent death’ at another’s hands.’ She told his steward that he would pass before Sir Gilbert. After the steward’s body was discovered on the beach where Gilbert’s wife died, the local lord clearly feared the same would befall him.

As a favor Marcus and Fearghus answered the call for help. They engaged a Norwegian ship captain, Bjornn, and rowed to Caerryan. There they interviewed the lord and his servants. They were accosted by wild animals turned ferocious by some magic, which they later learned was the work of some sea faeries. Having settled on Stephen Argile, the local village leader as the suspect, they lost their suspect when their arcane connection to him appeared to flee the area for the high moors above Castle Kennedy. Refusing to leave the proximity of Sir Gilbert, the party were forced to defend him from the sea folk as they rushed the shore to drag Gilbert and some of his men into the surf to drown during his overnight vigil. In the rising mist, their Argile also attacked. The party had learned away from GIlbert that Argile had been the lover of Gilbert’s wife, the Lady Alicia and had drowned her out of jealousy. They defeated the sea folk and Feargus killed Argile with his war hammer. Marcus quickly summoned Argile’s shade and questioned it with threats of harm to his soul.

Later the party journeyed into the Moor to learn the fate of the lost arcane connection. Argile had used some sort of faerie trick as they were in cahoots to send it with a dog that belonged to two strangers camping on the moor. Confronted, the strangers revealed that they were William Montrey the long lost brother of Gilbert who had been lost during the crusade and presumed dead along with his scots bowman John of Orkney. With this family reunion, William Montrey swore assistance to the covenant if it was ever needed. Gilbert also offered the covenant the vis (aurum) rights to the Seer’s Cave, a steam producing hole a short Cliffside walk from Caerryan.

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Spring 1221
The Brook Trool - Grencki

This story features Sir Peleas as he searches for a water demon or sprite that chased off the Covenant’s grogs from a pool. The pool was a site for finding muto vis, in the form of small pieces of furniture and furnishings. Peleas was accompanied by the outlaw poacher Sweet Gille and Viszna, Marcus’ maid servant.

The pool was fed by a brook. A path followed the brook up into the hills. The party took the path to discover whaere the small pieces of furniture came from and where the beast that had chased off the grogs (one said he saw an otter leave the water soon after the attack).

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Winter 1220-1221
Church of St. Lazarus

The Church of St. Lazarus

In the late Winter of 1221, the magi set out for Berwick on Tweed, where Marcus and Fearghus retrieved a shipment of lab ware from the Venetian trader Giovanni. In addition, Marcus’ maid and bodyguard Viznja arrived on the same ship from the Mediterranean, and the two were reunited. The two wizards had brought the McDoughal brothers Hammish and Seamish along as guards and company.

Following their meeting with Trader Giovanni, Fearghus was approached by a monk who introduced himself as Brother Paedrick, a monk from Glen Luce Abbey. The older monk believed he had seen Fearghus or at least a much larger version of the man who stood before him in Berwick. Fearghus said that he had been at the abbey but he didn’t comment on the size, which the Scottish wizard now controlled with the MuCo spell Preternatural Growth, which he had invented over the Winter.

The trip back to the covenant was generally uneventful except for the shadowing of the party as they traveled through the Cheviot Hills and the lands under the domain of the Covenant Horsingus. Neither wizard wanted to test the hospitality of these Saxon wizards or the limits of the Code, so they moved on. After crossing the river at Dumfries, the party discovered a body floating in one of the tributaries that had to be crossed by a ford. The body was that of a teenaged girl. The monk, claimed to be trained in the healing arts and the ways of the body and so he examined the chilled corpse. She had suffered from the pox before death, but had also been mutilated along her back. Strange symbols were carved in her flesh, but they appeared to have occurred after her death.
Curious and needing a breach in travel, the magi suggested that Brother Paedrick accompany them farther up stream to see where the body came from. They could return the corpse to her family and maybe explore the sinister markings they had seen on the body. So the party marched onward.

At village of Trauquer, the party first encountered a stone church of some size with a small village behind it. …

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