Mortui Vivos Docent

Isle of the Dead, Part One

During the Normandy Tribunal the previous year, Apollyon of House Tremere tried to recruit participants for an expedition to Mount Dol, the domus magna of House Diedne. Both Gaston and Fortis had expressed interest and after having seen the expedition charter had gathered some grogs, borrowed some vis from the covenant stores and set off to explore Mount Dol. The plan had been to use the talisman of Verbantium, a Diedne magus to take advantage of the arcane connection between the talisman of the presumably dead magus and wherever his body was.

Fortis and Gaston decided to bring 13 additional mundane support personal and 10 pawns of Creo vis. Under the principle that those who pay the piper call the tune, the expedition charter stated that the resources that were brought to the expedition counted as additional votes determining what the expedition would do and additional shares for dividing whatever treasure was found. The plan had been to meet at the Summer Solstice. Fortis and Gaston wanted to leave time for unseen emergencies, and as the trip was uneventful, (other than David finding that Mary had snuck along) they arrived three days early. They and the companions set up camp. Apollyon, Tisatis and Corrin arrived the next day, and Dolden the following day. Apollyon, Tisatis and Corrin had brought 18 soldiers with them, while Gaston and Fortis had brought seven soldiers and 7 servants.

Fortis made an attempt to get to know the other magi. Tisatis was a large man wearing armor with a cheerful disposition and an optimistic outlook. He was happy to tell stories about himself, including how he had recovered the talisman. Both Fortis and Gaston asked to see it. It was a plan wooden staff, which seemed odd to both of them, as normally the more features there are on a talisman, the more useful they are to the magus. In fact, Gaston believed that Tisatis was in fact playing a prank on them and that he was only showing them a plain piece of wood. However, Tisatis assured them that it was in fact the talisman and that he had recovered it from a temple where it had been consciously left, as if for someone to find.

Corrin was another Tremere magus, and his black robe indicated that he was fairly junior. His personality was friendly, if with a much less optimistic outlook than Tisatis. He confided to Fortis and Gaston that Tisatis was a specialist in Vim, and was a fierce fighter of demons, Infernalists and other enemies of the order. Corrin mentioned that he personally was a healing specialist; assigned to this expedition by his house for this purpose. Dolden was quiet, perhaps because when she spoke, one could see her pointed teeth as part of her faerie heritage. When asked, she mentioned she was a Imaginem specialist.

Once everyone had arrived, how many votes each magus had was calculated and an election for leader occurred. As Apollyon and Tisatis had two-thirds of the votes between them and Tisatis immediately nominated Apollyon for leader, the decision was something of a done deal.

The following morning, the six magi assembled and started to cast Opening the Intangible Tunnel with the aid of Wizards Communion. Once it was cast and while Apollyon was trying to cast a spell to perceive what was on the other side, four of the magi vanished from where they were and reappeared on a black marble circle, around 100 paces in diameter. Though the magi did not know it at the time, they had all vanished almost simultaneously but each appeared perhaps ten seconds apart. The first to appear was Dolden, who promptly turned invisible to protect herself. Then Gaston appeared, then Fortis and then Corrin. After a minute or so, Dolden made herself visible and the four magi took stock of the situation.

First, they took stock of their situation. The black marble circle was perfectly smooth, but did have some twigs and bird poop on it. It was set on the north side of either an island or peninsula. When looking down from the edge, it was a good 15 paces down from the edge of the island to the beach, which was currently 5 paces from the water. It was impossible to tell immediately whether the tide was in or out. To the south were oak trees which were just starting to sprout leaves, here it seemed to be the middle of spring rather than summer back in Brittany.

Corrin took his raven cloak out of this pack and took to the air to discover more. He circled about a mile out. He did not see any habitation, but did see an island to the north, that had a snow covered mountain and a volcano shape to it. He did see a stream on the east coast of the island where the party could get water.

The party decided to enter the forest and travel to the stream. Gaston tried to determine if the forest had human habitation. He smelled rabbit, deer, boar and wolf, but noticed that the wolves had not been marking their territory and remarked that this was odd. The forest also did not seem to be harvested for firewood.

It was decided to have Corrin and Gaston transform into birds and scout ahead while Dolden and Fortis waited behind. Gaston would take the west coast and Corrin the east, and see what they could find out. Both went down the respective coasts, and met nearly 10 miles south. They determined that they were in fact on an island, that a village existed at the southernmost point. The center of the village had a tower that looked like it could have been created by Conjuring the Mystic Tower – so closely did it match Hermetic usage – but the stone was worn more than would have been reasonable. Around that building were four smaller ones, each had a wooden statue outside it standing watch. There was a dock, with a couple of boats maybe 5 paces wide and 30 paces long.

There were a number of villagers out working the fields with oxen, and children playing in the streets. Coming close into the village, depending on the animal shape to disguise them and taking advantage of the superior perception that their bird shape provided, that everyone was wearing a small skull on a necklace around their neck. The skull was the size of a rat but it looked like that of a human.

Gaston and Corrin decided to return to report to Fortis and Dolden what they had learned. They flew back and as they were arriving they noticed a pack of wolves that were approaching. Changing back, they warned Fortis and Dolden and everyone prepared to meet the wolves. Fortis cast Circling Winds of Protection, Gaston cast Beast of Outlandish Size, Dolden cast Dome of Diamond (a glamour magic spell that created a dome that kept the wolves from reaching her), and Corrin cast Blade of the Virulent Flame, with a flaming sword in the right hand and a wand that shot fire in the left.

Still, the magi were unprepared for the teamwork that the wolves showed. For some reason, the first bolt of fire from Corrin’s wand was ineffective, the second was more so, but then he was mauled to unconsciousness. Fortis dropped the Circling Winds of Protection to cast Pilum of Fire at a wolf, and then switched over to his axe, trusting his armor to protect him. It did, but the wolves still managed to wound him before he recast Circling Winds of Protection. The wolves that attacked Gaston mauled him before he could react. He then went berserk and smashed one, but upon continuing to be mauled, he calmed down and deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, Gaston climbed a tree. Dolden, safe inside her Dome of Diamond, cast a variant Agony of the Beast which incapacitated wolves right and left.

Once Corrin was down, Gaston was safe in the tree, Dolden was safe in the dome and Fortis was safe in the Circling Winds, the wolves gave up and dragged what friends they could away. Fortis lunged at the wolves that tried to drag away Corrin and blew them away. He also made threatening actions towards the wolves that were writhing in pain, trying to communicate that he would kill them if the other wolves attacked again.

With two magi badly wounded, one who was unconscious, the magi rested there. Dolden waited until her dome dissolved before coming out. Fortis cast Gift of the Berserk Fury on himself, then sponted a version of Bind Wounds on himself to avoid having his wounds worsen. He then sponted a month’s duration version of Conjure the Sturdy Vine, which he used to tie up the three wolves that were incapacitated, either by Fortis’ axe or by Dolden’s spells. Gaston noticed that the wolves who attacked all wore the same necklace as the people in the village. The party then waited, hoping that Corrin would wake up and be able to lower his Magic Resistance so that healing spells could be cast on him.

While you were waiting, an illusion appeared on Corrin’s chest, which took on the appearance of Apollyon. Apollyon and Tisatis had cast Opening the Intangible Tunnel to reach them and were trying to watch what was going on, but complained that the magi were moving too fast/talking too fast for them to understand. It seemed that the magi were in a fast time regio, as it was still morning back near Mount Dol, and only a brief time had gone by. However, the illusion that were sent across from Mount Dol acted in local time, so they were understandable, and Dolden sponted illusions of written messages back. Apollyon and Tisatis sent a Creo Corpus healing spell through the Intangable Tunnel to aid Corrin in recovering from his incapacitating wounds.

Also, in waiting for sunset, a slightly translucent man in armor approached. He only spoke English, which luckily Fortis knew as well. He identified himself as one of the grogs who worked for the Tremere who had been attacking the Diedne in the year of our Lord 1050. He was unsure how long he had been there on “The Isle of the Dead” but he knew that the rest of his party had perished and was very happy to be able to link up with some Tremere once again.

Sunset came, and Corrin recovered consciousness. Fortis cast Gift of Berserk Fury and Corrin managed to spont a personal, non-fatiguing version of Bind Wounds upon himself before casting Incantation of the Body Made Whole upon himself. Fortis also renewed the Gift of Beserk Fury and Bind Wounds upon Gaston and himself.

Cast: Fortis of Flambeau (Patrick); Gaston of Bjornaer (Guillaume); Tisatis of Guernicus (Bob); Corrin of Merinita (Val).

Zeta Storyguide: Dwight.

Source Quality: 10