Letters from Voluntas

This thread is for in character letters and other documents published to give people notice of Things That Are Going On. Mostly for StoryGuide use but Player Characters might also want to tell their versions of how their saga Really Went Down.

To begin with a letter about events before the Saga begins:

Julia of Jerbiton, Maga unto her filius Antoninus of Jerbiton, Greeting.

My son, I hope that this reaches you in advance of the waves of gossip the Redcaps spread all across the lands the Order has colonised. No matter how that may be and no matter what you may have heard Voluntas has not fallen, nor is likely to.

However we have suffered three grave blows and must rally our forces and retrench a little, And also recruit, but more of that anon.

The first blow that fell on us came last autumn. Phessallia of Merinita had been persuaded by her allies among the court of the Winter Faerie to stand by the Queen of Winter at the ritual combat between her nobles and the army of the Queen of Summer. As was inevitable the Winter was defeated and the Winter Fae driven from the world… But when autumn came Phessalla did not return with the victory of Winter. Indeed the Fae nobles did not admit that there had ever been such a person as Phessallia who fought beside them. What has happened to her is unclear but we fear the worst.

The second blow came the day of the Winter Equinox, the day set for us to renew the covenant’s Aegis of the Hearth. We gathered in the courtyard at the appointed hour but no sign was seen of Desiderius the Necromancer. We went to the door of his Sanctum and pounded on it to no response. We sent his apprentice into the sanctum to fetch his master. He went down the corridor, (which we all knew Desiderius had trapped against all but himself and his apprentice, leaving the outer door open and turned the corner at the end. A moment later there was a cry and Florian the Apprentice came back into sight. As we watched blue-grey pustules were spouting on the lad’s face and he said that his master was dead in some laboratory accident and that he had not long. At his urging we sealed the door and listened as the lad’s cries grew more feeble.

We have not yet opened the door nor will we till we are sure that the place is safe.

We managed to raise the Aegis but more by good luck than judgement lacking two of our members to cast Wizard’s Communion and spent a fair bit of our stock of vis too to augment the casting.

The last blow was less dramatic. One morning we awoke to discover that Kirist of Flambeau, our young gallant incendiary, had packed up in the night and left us. He had written a note and not had the courage to give it to us saying that he was going to take up another covenant on ‘a generous offer’.
Thus are we brought to less than half our former strength in the course of a few months.

Still, we remain wealthy, well connected and possessed of a fine library. All things which should attract hopeful newly gauntleted magi like flies to honey. We have sent out discrete feelers for new candidates for our fellowship and have found the resources to complete our plan for a third tower to stand where the turb now practices their archery. If new made magi are not the equals of the experienced sodales we have lost (experienced other than young Kirist, that is) then let quantity stand in place of quality and youthful zeal compensate for the lost of aged cunning.

As to whether our sorrows are the result of someone’s direct action… I cannot yet say. Seeing enemies everywhere is more the habit of Tremere or Tytalus. But the prudent intriguer will always ask ‘qui bono’.

And yes, the obvious answer is Blackthorn.

Write to your aged parens soon and tell me more of your time among the pagans and heretics of Novgorod. I hope you are bringing manners and grace to them whether they desire it or not.


Thus does your storyguide provide for continuity without the PCs being overtopped by their seniors and for a couple of early mysteries to be ignored or investigated.



…Concerning my parens, you are wise to ask about her if you are going to be visiting Stonehenge. She is still active in the politics of the tribunal and connected, either by alliance or enmity to most of the magi of England.

Julia is in appearance a blonde, well-preserved woman of late middle age. She might be anywhere from fifty to sixty five. She is in fact about a hundred and sixty but she has been lucky in her use of longevity rituals and is besides a cunning and practiced weaver of illusions. I believe she has identities of both genders in numerous parts of the kingdom.

She is ever pleasant and interested in listening to people but behind her smile is always the thought of what this new acquaintance can do for her and her projects.

She has ever been full of projects, since she first took me from the abbey where I was content and made me her apprentice. At first her projects, especially the founding of Voluntas and the hobbling of Blackthorn, prospered greatly.

But by the time I was her apprentice she had achieved the easiest of her ambitions and was, to my mind, just recycling the triumphs of her early career. Her scheme to found a hall to be a meeting place for the Tribunals of Stonehenge was not impossible but was in no-one’s particular interest. And her insistence that it be founded in a city, in the midst of the Dominion and in the very place most likely to draw the attention of the Ungifted to our affairs made it a plan of great vanity.

And when, in pursuit of winning the approval of Ungulus to this scheme she tried to slay the great dragon that prowls the borders near Preston she proved that in some things her air of confidence is not in the least justified. I warned her and I am not ashamed to say that I fled when our assault went astray. I am ashamed that we lost good troops and myself a good friend that dreadful day. She too fled, I suspect she fled into Twilight.

Her appearance shows none of that but I suspect that she paid a price for that folly.

Now, her grip has slipped and she has lost the better half of her allies at Voluntas and must begin again with newly Gauntleted striplings.

To turn to happier matters, when you visit Stonehenge let me recommend you visit the old Roman baths of Aquae Sullis, a pagan relic in a Christian setting, still redolent of magic and (I am sure) one that will reward further investigation….

To Our Well Beloved Servant Thomas De Guimsey, Knight.

We hereby direct you to travel to our Castle of Pickering in the North Riding of Yorkshire, there to take up the post of Castellan and with it the conjoined posts of Bailiff of the Manor of Pickering, Steward of the Liberty of Pickering and Warden of the Forest of Pickering.

We enjoin you especially to join with the burgesses of the said town of Pickering in making good those damages to the structure of the town and castle which have been left unrepaired in the recent disorders, to ensure that all fees, taxes and dues within the purview of your offices are paid and to enforce the laws of the town, liberty and forest of Pickering.

We give you warning that there is still disorder in Our county of Yorkshire and that certain ungrateful men still defy the authority of the Crown. We expect you to maintain said authority to the full extent of your power and report any defiance to Us.

For the King and Regency Council


Hubert de Burgh, Justiciar
Geoffery De Neville, Lord High Sherriff oF Yorkshire, Chamberlain of the Royal Household.