Here is a draft of the Covenant Oath.
I’d be grateful of suggestions to amend it. Be aware that your characters would be new and therefore Provisional Members who would need to undertake tasks to move up to full voting member. I have such tasks in mind, believe me.
And a suggestion for the Seal or heraldic device of the covenant would be nice. Voluntas means ‘will’. Apart from bad and obscene Shakespearean puns how would will be depicted visually?
The Oath of Covenant of
Being the charter of the Covenant of Rosalba founded in the One Thousand and Eighty Third Year of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I JULIA, filia Chrysostomos of House Jerbiton, declare that I am a Maga of good standing and a member of the Order of Hermes. I pledge my lifelong support and loyalty to the Covenant of Rosalba , and declare that the trials and fortunes of this covenant are now my own. I shall keep its secrets and tend to its fortunes as if they were my own that it may grow in learning, power and virtue to be an ornament to the Art of Magic and the Order of Hermes. I will succor it against its enemies and never betray it. I will aid the covenant and hold my fellow members as members of my own family and blood, giving them aid, respect and fairness in all my dealings with them. I will abide by the decisions of the Council of the covenant and give my best counsel and wisdom to the forming of those decisions. Further I swear I shall never allow the tribunal of Stonehenge to suffer under tyrannical rule This I swear on my honour as a Maga and a member of the Order of Hermes.
Given under our hands,
FLAVIA filia Chrysostomos House Jerbition.
CORVUS filius Aquila, House Bjornaer
PHESSALLIA filia CCCC of House Merinita
DESIDERIUS filius DDDD of House Verditius Spring 1083
KIRIST filius QQQQ of House Flambeau Summer 1214 Resigned Autumn 1219
The purpose of this covenant is to provide a home and place of study and research for members of the Order of Hermes, operating under the laws of that Order.
Governance of this Covenant
The members of this covenant are governed by the Council of Members, which shall consist of all Full Members of the covenant and in addition to them the Tribune who shall be elected by the covenfolk. It shall have the authority to issue orders to the magi only within the laws of the Order of Hermes and the strictures laid down by this charter. It may order the use of communal resources and the actions of non-magi owing allegiance to the covenant within the strictures of this charter.
Any magi resident in the covenant, whether Full or Provisional Member, and also the Tribune shall have the right and duty to convene the Council of Members for consideration of matters justly grave, and all members shall be charged with attendance and diligence in the proceedings. Should it not be possible to convene the full Council of Members, any quorum consisting of more than half of its current members is considered valid; else the discharge of the council’s duty must be delayed until such time as the full council may be convened. The Council of Members shall convene four times each year, one day prior to each equinox and solstice, regardless of call from any member, and all resident magi of the covenant should endeavor to make themselves present.
Motions to be decided upon by the Council of Members must be introduced by a member; debated fully and justly, allowing those who wish to speak to do so; and then proposed for the vote. Proposals must be seconded by another member of the council, else no vote can take place. All issues shall be passed by a majority vote of the members there present; excepting that the unanimous opinion of the Council of Members is required for issues involving changes to the charter; expulsion of a member; and acceptance of a new probationary member.
No Full Member of the Council shall have authority other than as a member of the Council but each Full Member shall have the duty of acting as chairman of the Council of Members for one season in rotation. The initial rotation shall be chosen by lot and new Full members shall be added to the rotation at the furthest point from the current chairman. The chairman shall have no power other than to set the Agenda at Council Meetings (and the Council may override such a schedule by vote) and to cast a settling vote if the Council be evenly divided on a matter.
The Tribune shall be a non-Magus elected by a free vote of the covenfolk. All persons who are not mages and are resident in the covenant shall have the right to one vote in this election, regardless of their gender or other status. The Tribune shall hold office for one year and be elected each year in the week prior to the renewal of the covenant’s Aegis of the Hearth. He shall have one vote on the Council as if he were a Full Member except that he may not vote on purely magical issues. The Tribune is not required to serve as chairman.
The covenant allows for two types of membership of its council.
The status of Probationary Member of the Council may be extended to any magus in good standing of the Order of Hermes, who owes no allegiance nor fealty to any other covenant, and is admitted upon the unanimous approval of the current Council of Members. Provisional members assume the basic and provisional rights detailed by this charter and the duties therein attached. The status of provisional member shall last a period of seven seasons, unless abridged through censure or canceled through expulsion. A provisional member has the right to attend Council and to speak in debate but no vote.
The status of Full Member of the Council is extended upon the completion of the duties and obligations of a probationary member, following a majority vote of the Council to admit the probationer as a Full Member. If a Provisional Member shall not be confirmed as a Full Member they must wait for another seven seasons before a resolution to elevate them to Full Member be put again. If the vote shall fail for a second time the Provisional Member must wait for another seven seasons before the vote be put for a third and final time after which they shall be released from all oaths and obligations to the covenant and considered expelled. Should elevation to the role of full member take place, then all rights and duties of probationary membership are shed, to be replaced with the assumption of the basic and full rights detailed by this charter, and the duties therein attached. Full membership persists, unless abridged through censure or canceled through expulsion. The Founding Members of the Covenant shall begin as Full Members.
Should a magus ever come to desire release from this covenant, he must renounce his Oath of Covenant in the presence of at least two members of the council, and shall thereby be relieved of all duties and rights, and may not call upon such rights furthermore.
Resources Owned by this Covenant
Resources of this covenant are held in common by the Council of Members, and it is the responsibility of this council to maintain and defend them.
This covenant lays claim to all the vis originating from undisputed and unclaimed sources discovered by magi of the covenant, whether Provisional or Full Members; save for the first harvest of a new vis source, which belongs to the finder or finders. This covenant also lays claim to any vis gifted to the Council of Members as a whole.
This covenant lays claim to all books obtained by members of the council while acting at the behest of the council, and all books scribed by members of the council where payment was received for this scribing from the covenant’s resources. This covenant also lays claim to any texts gifted to the Council of Members as a whole.
This council lays claim to all magical items obtained by members of the council while acting at the behest of the council; and all magical items made by members of the council where payment was received for this manufacture from the covenant’s resources. This covenant also lays claim to any magical items gifted to the Council of Members as a whole.
This council lays claim to all monies generated using the resources of the covenant. This council also lays claim to all monies obtained by members of the council while acting at the behest of the council. This covenant also lays claim to any monies gifted to the Council of Members as a whole.
This council lays claim to the buildings, defenses, and chattels of the covenant. This council also lays claim to any such buildings, defenses, and chattels gifted to the Council of Members as a whole.
Surplus resources of the covenant will be determined at the Winter meeting of the Council of Members. Resources necessary for the continued existence of the covenant and the protection of its members’ rights are accounted for first; this includes payment for seasons of work performed on behalf of the covenant, and a stipend of vis for the casting of the Aegis of the Hearth. Contributions to all debts owed to the covenant are decided by the Rector, and set aside. The remaining resources are deemed surplus, and shall be allocated to the settlement of requests from each member of the covenant.
Rights of the Members of this Covenant
Each and every magus and maga of this covenant shall be entitled to the basic rights of the covenant; to whit, full and unrestricted access to the protection and support of the covenant within the boundaries of the covenant by all the rights and benefits accorded by the Code of Hermes, the benefit of a sanctum which shall remain inviolate and the supply of materials thereof, access to the library of the covenant, and victuals appropriate to the status of a magus. These basic rights shall not be abridged
except by expulsion from the covenant.
In furtherance and additional to the basic rights, a full member of the covenant shall be entitled to the full rights of the covenant; to whit, the right to presence and a vote in the Council of Members, which he shall exercise dutifully with due prudence. Further, full and unrestricted access to the services and skills of the servants and covenfolk. Further, an equal right to all surplus provision and store necessary to conduct his studies, or the travel demanded by those studies; such rights to include (but be not limited to) vis, monies, and diverse magical and mundane resources claimed by the covenant.
Where a conflict is evident between members of the council over the allotment of surplus resource, distribution is drawn by ballot; excepting that priority claims that have been advanced and agreed by the Council are taken into consideration prior to the ballot. These rights shall not be abridged except by decision of the council under conditions of grave concern.
In furtherance and additional to the basic rights of a member of this covenant, a probationary member of the covenant is entitled the probationary rights of the covenant; to whit, a half share of those rights offered to a full member of the covenant. The services and skills of the servants and covenfolk may not be halved, but the needs of a full member of the covenant take precedence over the needs of a probationary member.
Responsibilities of the Members of this Covenant
Members of this covenant are obligated to obey the Oath of Hermes and the Peripheral Code; failure to do so will not be tolerated by the Council of Members, and the covenant reserves the right to censure those members who are convicted in just Tribunal of an offense against the Order of Hermes.
The Magi of the Council, whether Full or Provisional Members, have a duty to support the covenant and to give of their skill and labour to maintain it. Tasks that the Council has determined are necessary may be assigned to Members by the Council provided that they take no more than a week per season and involve no great foreseeable risk of personal danger to the member. Such assigned duties attract no recompense or advantage to the member who discharges them, but cannot be refused without reasonable extenuation.
For longer and more dangerous tasks, the Council shall have the right to offer rewards from the covenant’s resources to magi who volunteer for the duty. The members may not be forced to accept any particular task unless such refusal shall endanger the covenant or be in breach of this charter in which case the threat of censure may be used. All payments will be made at the Spring meeting of the Council. If more than one Member wishes to undertake a duty for the reward set by the Council, the duty shall be assigned by ballot.
Each probationary member of the covenant is obligated to perform no fewer than one of the tasks under remuneration currently outlined by the Council of Members during his period of probation. For this mandatory service, no payment need be offered by the Council of Members.
Censure of the Members of this Covenant
If a member should contravene the decisions of the council, by vote or by charter, then the member may be censured or expelled by a vote of the Council of Members. Censure requires the passing of a motion at a meeting of the Council of Members. The censure of a full member revokes the rights of that status, returning him to probationary status; whereupon he assumes all the duties and rights of that status. Censure must not prejudice the application of a probationary member to the position of full member of the covenant.
The censure of a probationary member shall abridge the rights of the member to remain a probationary member of the covenant, and shall expel him from the covenant. A Full Member reduced to the status of a probationary member may not be censured again over the same matter as caused his initial censure: a second motion on another matter is required.
Expulsion without first being censured and reduced to the rank of Probationary Member is enacted only by a unanimous vote of the remaining Council of Members. Expulsion is the only means through which a member of the covenant shall lose his basic rights; and requires that the former member ceases to draw upon those basic rights subsequent to the first full moon after expulsion was enacted. Should a magus be cast out from the Order, it is the duty and obligation of this covenant that he shall also and without delay be expelled from this covenant.
The Seal of Voluntas (
This charter was approved by Iudicium, filius Fencil, Follower of Guernicus, of the covenant of Burnham, Quaesitor in good standing, in the Year of Our Lord, Jesus Christ One Thousand and Eighty Three.