The Inverted Tower

A Bothersome Banquet
Late Autumn 1224- Cumbria

Reluctantly, the Sophia decides to make good on her promise to visit Baron leCornu at Irthington before the snows come. She takes Brother Kel, Argyle, Hawk and 4 of the Gallowglass with her- Tomas comes as well, but disguised as one of the grogs (do to his familiarity with the Baron, see Tomas character description). The journey is uneventful and the troupe arrives after only a day of travel. They are escorted to the Baron's manor and given comfortable quarters.

Their visit is not unpleasant although sometimes tense, the Baron's is intensely curious about Sophia and her men staying at the old monastery and the troupe keep up their pretense that Sophia is in religious seclusion under the tutelage of Brother Kel. They add to the story that she is from Toulouse and a widower following her husbands death in the war. The Baron's wife, Lady Eloise does her best to mitigate matters and seems genuine in her desire for friendship. Much more uncomfortable, is the presence of Sir Gilbert and Father Luc- the two charged by the Bishop of Anglia to hunt down Aleesia. 

The troupe make their stay as brief as possible and do all they can to assuage the Baron's suspicions. The Baron's son, Artur, is smitten with Sophia and proves a nuisance during their visit. Unbeknownst to the others, Tomas steals into the Baron's quarters disguised as a servant and steals to of his fathers swords leaving behind his fathers crucifix on the Baron's bedside table. The troupe departs after two days without incident. 

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Into the Dark- Chapter Three
Mid-Autumn 1224- Cumbria

Once more the troupe sets out to explore the ruins of the Inverted Tower, but even as they gather outside the old monastery- riders approach from the north west. It is the Baron of Gilsland and his hunting party. He introduces himself as Giraud de Cornu and inquires as to the ladies name (Sophia) and why she's staying at a ruined monastery with armed men. Brother Kel steps forward and explains the lady is a nobleperson of Toulouse, and here on a religious retreat under the instruction of himself. The Baron lets the story go unchallenged, and instead invites her to dine with him at has keep in Irthington before the snows come. Lady Sophia reluctantly accepts and the Baron departs.

The troupe arrives once more through the Woading Wood and sets out to explore the towers third floor. It becomes obvious to them that a battle was fought on this level amongst the grogs and their are more than a score of skeletons scattered about. In the old barracks they encounter three large spiders and one very huge one. They overcome the creatures and discover their bodies contain perdo vis (6 pawns). As they arrive in the gymnasium they once again encounter the ghost of Amelia who animates all the dead soldiers around tham and a battle erupts. The grogs and companions do an excellent job overcoming the skeletons while Sophia and Amelia dual it out in the center of them. Amelia attempts to choke Sophia into submission, but before passing out she is able to drive the spirit away once again wth her searing light.

The last area to explore on the third level is the quarters of Sophia's long lost lover, the Tytalus mage August Reign. She is surprised when his ghost meets her at the door and invites her in as though no time at all has passed. He converses with her briefly before vanishing after leaving her with a kiss. The magi discover a hidden compartment in his bedroom- but it is empty. Sophia suspects something important to what happened to the covenant was once hid there. The grogs gather up scrolls and books left behind in his lab and they make their way back home as the two magi are on the verge of exhuastion.

 

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Trespassers
Mid-Summer 1224- Cumbria

After spending several weeks continuing to study from the tomes recovered from the both Arymira and Amelia's labs, the troupe finally sets out to explore the third level of the Inverted Tower. The magi set out with their companions and most of their shield-grogs into the Woading Wood. They are quite shocked that upon arriving they find two guards stationed at the entrance. Captain Iwlgar recognizes then as grogs from the covenant of Ungulus (he being from there himself). The guards inform them that they are there with two young magi seeking admittance into Ungulus, who are at that very moment making their own exploration of the Inverted Tower.

The trespassers had not gone far and the troupe finds them still exploring the first level. Things are immediately tense as Sophia makes it clear that the covenant is hers and off limits to other wizards. The two mages are Imari of House Merinta (an expert in unseelie faerie)  and Emory of House Tyltalus (a wizarding thief). Imari and Sophia take an almost immediate dislike for each other and their exchange quickly grows quite heated. They exchange insults until Imari grows so enraged that she uses a perdo-terrem spell to destroy the stone walkway upon which Sophia is standing. Sophia, Argyle, and Iwlgar are all injured by the exploding stone and Iwlgar and Argyle fall to the level below while Sophia saves herself by levitating.

A battle breaks out among both groups with the troupes grogs giving hard press to those of the two trespassers. Several spells are exchanged between the wizards but a well placed arrow from Aleesia's bow turns the tide against Imari. Emory attempts to turn invisible but Aleesia shoots him for a heavy wound still able to see him with her second sight. Sophia seizes the opportunity and imprison both wizards within a wall of thorns, further entraps Imari with a tangle of vines. With both wizards wounded, trapped, and their grogs outnumbered- they surrender and are allowed to take their men and leave.

The troupe decides to wait until fall to explore further needing to come up with a solution for a third wizard so that their covenant might be validated by the next tribunal…

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Lost in the Woods
Early Summer 1224- Cumbria

The troupe spent the rest of their Spring and into early summer studying the papers and books recovered from the Inverted Tower. All is quiet until early one afternoon Argyle returns from hunting in the forest and informs everyone that there are numerous villagers combing the forest looking for a young local girl who has gone missing. 

The troupe heads out with Argyle and two shield-grogs to see if they can help. After speaking to the villagers they begin to suspect the girl has slipped into the Woading Wood (the regio tied to the forest). They also learn from the villagers that the girl is thought "queer" by many of the locals- and folk have a tendency to act very strangely around her. Aleesia uses her dowsing talent to follow the girls trail through the regio. 

When they finally find her she is surrounded by a group of satyr's dancing and drinking, although they mostly ignore the girl. Sophia attempts to parlay with them and is roughly drawn into their dance, when the satyr grows rougher with her still she badly burns him with her searing light. A battle erupts with the satyr's who are easily beaten with no injury to the troupe. They know from the villagers that the girls name is Agnes.

Agnes is hungry and tired but otherwise unharmed, which is surprising given their own rough treatment by the satyrs. It becomes obvious however that there is more to this girl than she seems when she begins making demands which no one seems able to resist (entrancement). She often orders someone to do something but then quickly apologizes for making them do it and it seems she is conflicted about her powers and not able to completely control them. They learn that she is friendless and often ostracized by the locals, although her parents seem to care for her deeply.

Sophia extends the offer for her to visit them any time she wants and Agnes seems very grateful to have made a friend. She allows the troupe to lead her out of the Woading Wood and she is reunited with her parents. As they walk back to the monastery the magi discuss that she quite likely has the gift and will someday soon need a teacher…

 

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Into the Dark- Chapter Two
Mid-Spring 1224 Cumbria

After taking several weeks to recover from their last venture, the troupe once again returns to the Inverted Tower in hopes of clearing the second level. Hawk remains behind due to her injuries and Argyle offers to take her place as Sophia's shield-grog.

They first begin by exploring the dormatories of the former coven-folk where they encounter another of the old covenants ghosts. Sophia recognizes her as Ferdina, the former autocrat of the Inverted Tower. She first asks if the lady (Sophia) requires anything, but soon becomes distraught when she seems to briefly comprehend the state of the covenant. She soon vanished with a heart-piercing shriek.

Next they began to explore the great hall which had seen considerable damage as there were holes in the floor and a great deal of collapsed rubble. More rat creatures emerged, but grey and larger than the others they'd fought— and much better armed. They lay in ambush, but the troupe quickly go the upper hand on them with only one of the Gallowglass suffering from heavy wounds. One of the rat creatures wielded a flaming sword to which they discovered a matching shield which they took to investigate further.

Lastly, they began a thorough examination of Arymira's (Bjornaer) quarters and laboratory. They encountered Arymira's spirit as well as a third breed of the rat creatures, this type solid white and much more intelligent than the others. The creatures, at the bidding of the spirit, gave over several magical tomes as well as Arymira's own personal journals. The troupe then returned to the monastery to read more of what they'd discovered.

 

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Into the Dark- Chapter One
Early Spring 1224 Cumbria

With men and supplies from Voluntus, the group returns to the Inverted Tower once more. After settling into the nearby ruined monastery, a large group sets out to clear the first level of the Tower. Things go well at first as the group vanquishes a large bear that had wandered into the first level and then defeated a revenant guarding the ancient entry hall. They later discover the remains of two children's skeletons in a store room beyond the hall, who had apparently taken refuge when the covenant fell, but were unable to make their escape. The last door of the level leads into the mage quarters of Amelia, the former seneschal of the Tower. 

Things prove far more dangerous when a lightning bolt erupts from the door and inflicts a crippling wound upon one of the Gallowglass mercenaries. Inside they find Amelia's quarters in the same state of decay as the rest of the covenant. In her lab they are attacked by three skeletons whose bones had been wrapped in iron bands making them very difficult to destroy, although the party does eventually succeed in doing so. 

They return to the monastery victorious, and Brother Kel prosides over a ceremony burying the two children in the monasteries graveyard and freeing the spirit of the revenant they fought earlier. Their jubilence is short lived however, when the Gallowglass who was severly wounded earlier finally succumbs to his injuries two days later, becoming the first fatality in the efforts to reclaim the Inverted Tower.

 

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Winter Retreat
Winter 1223 Northumbria

The party decides to take Voluntus up on its offer to allow them to spend their winter in study with the magi there. Sophia spends the season studying with Lady Julia where she improves her corpus score and learns a spell to heal heavy wounds. Tomas studied with Corvus and improved his imagonem and learned Wizard's Sidestep and Disguise of the Transformed Image. Aleesia and Brother Kel also spent time training.

Voluntus offers to send 12 Scottish Gallowglass mercenaries along with two of their captains, Hawk and Crow to help clear the dangers from the Inverted Tower, as well as ample supplies and a full rook of corpus vis. The magi thankfully agree.

 

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A Den of Wolves
Mid-Autumn 1223 S. Scotland

Sophia and Tomas travel north in search of Voluntus' missing merchant. The magi of Voluntus have been forbidden by tribunal to move north of Hadrian's Wall due to their ongoing fued with Horsingas. Accompnying them are to skilled grogs called Hawk and Crow who have magical cloaks allowing them to assume the form of their name sakes. Along with their driver, Edmund, they arrive at the village of Shill which is being terrorized by a group of bandits who have taken up residence there. Edmund has a cousin nearby and the group settle in with him as they begin to investigate.

They quickly discover that the merchant, called Joseph, is being held at the local inn and has been tortured into revealing all he knows of Voluntus. Using a ruse of selling ale to the inn they sneak in and rescue their man and return to Edmund's cousins hovel on the outskirts of town. It doesn't take the bandits very long to figure out what happened to their hostage and descend in-mass upon the characters. While Hawk has been sent to inform Voluntus— Sophia, Tomas, and Crow set an ambush that descimates the ranks of the bandits. Their leader however, proves to be a werewolf, but even his savage fury is no match for Sophia's Searing Light. He flees into the forest with Sophia giving chase while the others mop up what's left of his followers.

Sophia, Tomas, and Crow mange to track the beast to its lair, although it has summoned a trio of normal wolves to protect it. The group quickly dispatches the wolves, but the werewolf escapes once more after dealing heavy wounds to Tomas. The group returns to Fynn's hovel where Edmund and Joseph are waiting. Shortly after their arrival, Julia arrives via a Seven League Stride spell- breaking the prohibition against her and her fellow magi travelling north of Hadrian's wall. She remains and sees the group safely back to Voluntus.

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Autumn Journey
Mid-Autumn 1223 Cumbria to Northumbria

The group decide that rather than head southwest to Ungulus, from wince Tomas and Brother Kel had came, they would instead proceed northeast to Voluntus— much of this decision based upon a combination of the political landscape and Brother Kels vision of a broken black crown, the sigil of Voluntus…

Aleesia elects to stay behind and aid the still wounded Brother Kel while the two magi set forth with their four shield grogs. They make their way to the great city of Carlisle where Sophia proves that charm and good looks can overcome even the 'magical air'. Well provisioned for their journey they head east along Hadrian's Wall toward Voluntus. 

Three days into their journey they realize they are being shadowed from the Scottish side by possible reavers. That evening their worries prove true and they are ambushed by a dozen men while they slept. Ilwar, the grog sergeant hears their approach and rouses the party. Sophia cuts parlay short and badly burns the reaver leader with her light as Tomas steps forward to do him grievous harm with his corpus magic. The bandits unleash a barrage of arrows but no one suffers more than a minor injury, as combat ensues the reavers quickly lose their stomach for the flight and flee. Sophia makes the decision to save the bandit leaders life, and despite some grumbling from the grogs they assemble a litter and the group bears his wounded body with them as they finish their journey.

Arriving at Voluntus, they are at first greeted kindly, but with caution until Sophia recognizes thier aged leader as the little girl she saved when the Inverted Tower fell more than a century ago. Julia of Jerbiton has now become a powerful magus and is the leader of Voluntus. She invites them to stay with affection and hosts a banquet in their (and especially Sophia's) honor. The feast turns out to be a rousing good time for everyone as the magi take turns finding creative ways to blast apples out of the air ending in an uproarious laugh when Desiderius the necromancer reanimates the turkey on the table.

Lady Julia promises aid in Sophia's quest to bring the Inverted Tower out of the ashes and to show their gratitude, she and Tomas offer to look into why their merchant has disappeared in Scotland.

 

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Council & Charter
Late Summer 1223 Cumbria

Tomas began using his mastery of mentem to help Sophia recall some of her lost memories, and in one such session they uncovered the location of a vault in the old covenants council chamber. More importantly, in the vision they saw that Sophia had indeed been a memeber of the lost covenant and it could be proven by recovering the covenant's charter. With such evidence, they would be able to keep other covenants from laying claim to the ruins as one wizard still remained at the Inverted Tower.

Mustering their full resources, save for Brother Kel who was still heavily wounded, they descended with their four shield grogs into the depths of the old covenant. Making their way into the crumbling council chamber, Sophia and Tomas began using spontaneous perdo terram effects to dissolve a small section of the wall hiding the vault. Unfortunately, the light and noise drew more of the black ferrel rat creatures up from the caverns below and a large melee broke out. This time however, the grogs proved valiant and drove them off without any injuries. 

Before they could leave however, an apparition appeared of one of the covenants lost magi, and she summoned back to a semblance of life several of the skeletons lying scattered about the chamber. The grogs once again drove our enemies back while Sophia was able to use her magical light to banish the apparition back to the shadows. With an ancient silver coffer in hand, containing several papers once belonging to the covenant, the group was able to ascend by magic back to the forest and make their way back to the monastery with no serious harm to any of the party.

 

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