THE FIRST AFTERNOON: Hubertus & Uilorarard

The two magi found the smell of soup coming from the ground floor of the Round Tower a distraction from their discussion of laboratory layounts and favoured sorts of working table so they took themselves, several slates with scribbled notes on them and a list of already assembled equipment down to the dining hall where they found grogs and servants already settling down to a midday feast that was as substantial as that they had enjoyed the previous night.

They managed to find a cornerr of the ‘high table’ where the seneschal was seated and he sent his young son along with them to show them where food could be obtained and provide them with bowls and platter. They sat down to eat and had soon forgotten their surroundings, plunging into the depths of magic theory and practice.

Hubertus noticed when a messanger came and fetched the seneschal and his son was left to clear up after him. About fifteen minutes later a worried looking Julia popped her head into the hall and gestured towards the two magi.

“We have a slight problem. I think you might need to see this, Hubertus.”

And she led her way to where the seneschal was standing in the courtyard by a tall, well favoured man dressed in chain with a tabard that bore the arms Sable, three roundels or. Hubertus recognised it easily as the arms of the Guimsey family, a notable brood of petty noblemen from Norfolk way. And this must be the new Constable of the nearest town.

Who was saying: “…That’s all very well, sir. But this is all a little… elaborate for a mere country squire isn’t it? Who are all these people? And I don’t recognise that” and he gestured at the Round Tower, all shiny in new black stone “from the description left by my predecessor.”

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Hubertus smiles his most genuine smile and moves to introduce himself.

“Good day sir, my name is Hubertus. I note you are a Guimsey by your noble bearing, and I surmise you are appointed to be our new local protector. It’s an honour to meet you.

May I be of service?”

Hubertus also racks his brains as to what he knows of the Guimsey, and the attitude of the Sherrifdom, as well as any gossip he has picked up so far.

Uillorard joins Hubertus, but hangs back a bit, not wanting the extra Gift to make the situation worse, but also ready to protect his sodales in the unlikely event that things come to violence.

@MichaelCule asked for a die roll:
Hubertus smiles confidently. (Perhaps Overconfidently!) He makes a Folk Ken plus Int (plus one for his Mentem skill).

(By the way, do you want to designate a specialisation for your Folk Ken?)

stress 1+4: 1 × 9 = 9, +4 = total 13

The Guimsey’s are a family of Norman extraction who settled in the wilds of Norfolk near a village called Denver after eventually gaining some land in the service of the Conqueror. They aren’t hugely important but contain a number of notable knights. You met one of them at a diplomatic event in which the late English king John was trying to reconcile his disagreement with the Papacy.

What was his name? Roger? Or maybe Gerald? You’re not quite sure because he was a rough, hearty soldierly type with simple tastes in pleasure going mostly to women and drink and you tried to keep up with his consumption of both: the memories of that night are vague.

You do remember him telling you the story of his family coat of arms: the three roundels were supposed to be the empty plates the Sieur de Guimsey of Normandy put in front of his three adult sons to indicate they had eaten him out of house and home already and should go and find their fortunes in the service of their Duke, William. He added that English roast beef was supposed to be filling.

This fellow looks much more canny and self controlled. He looks you up and down and says: “Aye. Thomas De Guimsey, Knight in the service of the King. The Regency Council has appointed me to look after Pickering, castle and town and the forest and lands all about. Who are you, sir? What is your business in this fine gentleman’s home? And who is that skulking fellow back there?”

Do you lay on the Charm? Try to be evasive? Even use magic to augment your persuasive qualities?

Hubertus will attempt, perhaps overconfidently, to lay on the charm.

“It’s a delight to meet you. I am Hubertus and this, I hope, shall be my new home as well - a few of us are newly arrived and wish to settle here. That is why there have been some minor alterations to the property.

And my comrade is known as Uillorard. He like me, is a new settler here, but unlike me he is, ahem, shy.

I am glad that you are here to protect us and I look forward to a safe and gentle Vale under your ministrations.”

@MichaelCule asked for a die roll:
Presence plus Charm.

stress 1+2: 1 × 6 = 6, +2 = total 8

He thanks you for your kind words. He seems slightly flattered and very amused but nonetheless turns back to the Seneschal.

“Your fondness for guests is not something that excuses you from any duties to the laws, sir. I wonder if your new tower violates the rules concerning crenelations without a licence. And your armed retainers are certainly a matter I wish to keep an eye on. I have an appointment to meet someone shortly but I shall be back in a day or so to inspect your tax records and have a look at the charter you spoke of. Good day, gentles all!”

And he strides off, looking well pleased with himself.

Ethelwald the Seneschal splutters and fumes about the sheer injustice of accusing him of breaking the law on crenelations! “Do you see any fortified structures anywhere? We have been most careful…”

Julia comes up and gives him a pat and soothes his jangled nerves. “I’m worried. He knows something about us. He went right to the vulnerable points. How to find out more…”

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Hubertus asks Julia “ is there anything in what he asked that I need to know? If he knows our weaknesses it would be sensible to find some more about him.”

“I wonder, do we have any worthies who might follow him - at a sensible distance - and report on his activities before he returns? Uillorard, do you have any thoughts? There may be some magical means of insight to divine his purpose and desires.”

Uillorard nods slowly. “There are means, but nothing I can do off the cuff. Julia, does the covenant have any items for bringing unruly mundanes to heel, or scrying on them?”

@MichaelCule asked for a die roll:
A Charm plus Presence roll for


stress 1+2: 1 × 2 = 2, +2 = total 4

and Uilorarard. (I think the ‘first impressions’ bonus should come into play here. Hubertus really should have some specilization specified.)

stress 1+2: 1 × 3 = 3, +2 = total 5

Julia doesn’t quite roll her eyes but when she speaks she says:

“What strikes me as notable is the way he strolled right in here and blew right past the seneschal’s carefully practiced mask of being a rich country gentleman with a few eccentric friends. When he saw the new round tower he… nodded as if he had been expecting such a sight.”

“And I will remind you of the section of the oath about not interfering with the mundanes. We have a brand new Quaesitor in the covenant and I’m not sure how many of the rough edges have been knocked off his sense of duty yet. He will be very valuable to us in arguing our case and investigating our enemies but his duty also might require him to report our tampering. No, we have no enchantments to bind the minds of anyone! Scrying now… Hmm. I saw him talking to the seneschal’s son earlier. See if the lad might have something that would permit us to form an Arcane Connection with the knight. If you find something or not come and see me in my laboratory.”

Uillorard smiles and shrugs. “I know little of the nuances of the code, I thought that protecting ourselves was one thing that could take priority over non-interference. But I take your point. I’ll go find the boy and meet you in a little while.”

He goes off to look for the seneschal’s son.

Hubertus nods and says he will catch up with Julia and Uillorard.

Before he does he saunters casually down to where he can find some of the household staff or grogs, and just casually mentions “I would give a penny just to know what that new Sheriff knows”. And then heads back to find Uillorard.

“A penny?” mutters the crowd behind the departing Hubertus.

“Perhaps that means something different where he comes from,” says a kindly female voice.

“You’d have to go to Pickering to poke around,” says a dubious male voice. “Easier for them as has the market duty…”

“Might do it for a shilling…” says another voice.

But Hubertus hears little of this: he has spotted that Uilorard has collared the seneschal’s lad who is looking a little alarmed but still saying ‘Magister’ a lot.

“…you’re not… You’re not going to put a spell on him, are ye Magister? Only he’s a very noble knight. Pious too.” The boy seems very struck by this paragon of chivalry. “And anyway I don’t think he left a thing behind… He didn’t so much as fart much less use the jakes. And his horse didn’t leave any droppings… Oh, wait! His horse!” The boy pulls out a curry comb from his satchel. “I brushed his horse for him. That’s her hairs, the chestnut ones on top. Will that do?”

Uillorard nods slowly, taking the curry comb. “Thank you, boy, it’s better than nothing. Nobody is going to harm him, don’t worry. Did he seem to be being especially careful? Did he not take refreshment?”

The lad blinks and says…

“I offered him something to drink. Wine or small beer. My father has trained me well enough in manners for that. He smiled and asked to be taken to my father ‘if he was the one in charge of this place’. So I sent one of the servants and offered to groom his horse for him… He said yes and we talked about horses and fighting from them until the servant came back and said my father would see him.”

The boy seems flustered at the idea that the kindly knight could have been suspicious. You’d think he would know better after growing up as he has but he seems to have a genuinely open and trusting nature.

Uillorard nods. “I see.” He contemplates explaining to the boy, but he doesn’t want to start any more rumors than there already will be. He says no more, and heads to Julia’s lab with the currycomb.

Hubertus stops by the boy for a minute, pats him on the head and gives him a halfpenny. “Well done, you keep talking like that to our guests, and let me know all you can, there’ll be more of that for you.”

And then he hastens to Julia’s lab.

The boy looks at the coin and says… well he mutters something about not being a bloody servant you know.

But he still pockets the coin.

When you get to Julia’s lab you find Uilorard just ahead and knocking on the door below the warning sign of this being a sanctum. The door is opened and the apprentice you saw last night invites you in.

“Mistress is in the working room. This way.”

You wander along a narrow and defensible corridor in the trail of the apprentice and find yourself in a large,well lit, central room. You really don’t get much time to make note of many details but you would be aware of a well laid out study to one side and the comfort and civilised quality of the chambers.

It is a singular sign of her confidence in you (or in herself) that Julia lets you into her sanctum this early in your acquaintance. Naturally the working surfaces have been covered (with beautifully embroided cloths) and curtains (or maybe they are arrases) drawn across the books on the shelves. But in the centre of the room Julia stands by a large round table with a highly polished surface. You can see runes carved into the rim and into the wooden legs of the table.

“What did you bring me? Ah, horsehair? Well, I would have preferred a direct sample from the knight but this will suffice. Let me get this set up.”

The apprentice brings you chairs as the maga works to extract the horsehair and place it in a glass container which she then seals and places in the centre of the table. She gestures for you to rise and stand by the table. She triggers the enchantment on the table with a few muttered words and then the view changes to show a horse, with the knight on his back, galloping rapidly through greenery.

It is clear that the vegetation is growing thicker and soon the horse and rider are making their way, more slowly and carefully through a forest. For a long while the breathing of horse and rider and the sound of hoove, pounding or clip-clopping steadily is all you hear. And then you hear: “Ho! Sir Thomas! Over here!”

The rider pulls up abruptly, urges the horse forward a little and into a clearing by a stream. He dismounts and lets the horse drink from the stream, calming her down after the ride and calling her ‘a good girl’.

Shortly thereafter he is joined by another man in armour, leading a horse.

“Sir! How were the wizards?”

“Tricksy and not as clever as they think they are. How’s our visitor?”

“Impatient and not inclined to talk to underlings. Though he’s no gentleman himself, if I’m any judge.”

“Ah hah? Well, stay here with Annamaria. What you don’t evesdrop on you can’t be blamed for.”

The knight strides out of the frame of the scrying table and goes towards and across the stream. He calls out a name to the ‘visitor’… But frustratingly you cannot make it out.

Julia curses a little under her breath. In classic Greek.