Summer 1221, Tribunal
Characters have conversations with their masters at Tribunal, about their futures.
His pater, at tribunal, says, “Our boat isn’t big enough for the two of us.” Zotikos wouldn’t have a sanctum, there’s no room for one. His pater: “You’ve had an apprenticeship – now it’s time for a career…How many times have we set a course without a destination?” He continues to lecture Zotikos on how he should be excited, not sullen, to move on to the next phase of his life.
Zotikos: “There’ll be fighting, back on land.”
His pater expresses that his fear is overdrawn, and some fights are even…right. Zotikos is agitated and stressed. His pater reassures him. “You’ll find your sea legs for your next journey.” Zotikos asks to be alone to think about this, scouting for the nearest hiding spot.
Castalia is asked to leave her master’s covenant, “it’s too dangerous.” Castalia is distraught, because of what he did for her. He tells her, “Together we look like a conspiracy…Time is the ultimate inquisitor.” “I’m not going to be your undoing.”
She is told there’s a dinner with a covenant asking for new mages. “What about Sebastian, he’s mundane.” She wants to bring him with her to a new covenant, but her pater promises to take care of him if she can’t.
Alexis: “You know what we talked about, you need to leave.” Her master talks about their philosophy, and about living out in the world. He mentions Arethusa, about their invitation, it being close and in the woods. “I don’t think you fully understand what it is I’m asking of you…I haven’t been able to pass on the intricacies of how to deal with people.”
Alexis says, “I can manage.” Her master: “You’ll have to be with new people. They won’t smell right.” He stresses the magnitude of what he’s asking of her, to go out into the world, something he could not do. “We’re not doing enough where we are.” He talks about how two of the senior mages of this new place are from Constantinople. “Be an example, not an adversary.”
Zeuxis: “Serendipity is with you, there’s a covenant that wants new members.” Zeuxis wants details. He gets them. “It will be a difficult start…” Zeuxius says, “I accept the challenge… But don’t you think I’m ready for more direct challenge from our foes? A bigger start? Not in the woods with a bunch of lost souls!”
His master talks about the Constantinople connection. He suspects that they’re not content “in the forest.”
Zeuxis: “This could be good.” Though they haven’t done anything, says the pater. Zeuxis: “A flame must grow or die.”
His pater responds, “Let’s get something straight, you are not a flame…to be in that state is to expect your life expectancy to be short.” “You need to think a little more long term about your own career and long term goals. I like this place for you because they haven’t done anything in 16 years.” “This is your future, you need to start thinking longer term.”
Nyssa talks to Asiza about valuing his opinion – for him to remember he’s a sodales and member of the covenant and for him to make sure he interacts with the new prospectives because he’ll have to live with them.
Zeuxis gets there first, says everyone is late, but Klyses says it was by design. They chest thump a bit. “I wanted to talk to you first, because of the people we’re inviting, you’re probably the most volatile.”
Klyses basically says, don’t come into the covenant thinking you’re more than a young amateur. “You should strive to be a nurturer and not a consequence.”
Zeuxis: “But I will bring all that I can to this covenant.”
Cyril, Nyssa, Asiza come in. Intros are made.
“We invited people to the covenant with diversity in mind. You live in a forest and he burns them down” – Klyses
Everyone else shows up. Zotikos has a weird conversation about women with the Arethusa grog guiding him. He’s freaking the grog out, a little. He turns the grog’s eyes orange, silently and without gestures. Which also makes the grog mildly buzzed.
Castalia: “Did anyone see that grog’s eyes?” Misunderstandings ensue…
Everyone finally gets into the tent. Zotikos scouts a hiding place.
Cyril introduces. Goes around the table to find out about various people. The history of the covenant (with Constantinople) is revealed. Nyssa tries to reassure Zotikos subtly. The new magi ask about other details and get answers. The characters get to know each other. Then everyone decides to join.
Characters get talks from their masters. First is Zotikos, who is fearful, especially of the Flambeau. “Better to have him on your side than against!”
Alexis gets a farewell from her mater: “I will miss you. Honor your ancestors.” Alexis has a problem with the Flambeau. “Don’t give him any reason to burn down the forest.”
Castalia: They’ll let her take her brother and protect him. One problem. There’s a Flambeau. How will her brother cope? Her pater: his master is my sodales, and I trust him with my life. “I think he’s going to be lucky to have a sister to help him through.” “Do something and solve it.”
Nyssa and Asiza talk. She asks his opinion on the magi he has just met. Asiza says that the Flambeau seems trustworthy and hardworking. Willing to listen to what he’s told by the older magi, has respect. The Merinita seems really weird, like he doesn’t want to be here at all. Nyssa suggests he take the time to help him settle in especially.
Zotikos has a nightmare (as usual) that night, Nyssa take the time to reassure him as best she can.
Zeuxius gets a chance to say farewell to his pater. Zeuxius says that it’ll be hard to join the covenant, since they invited forest lovers and such. His pater leaves him with the idea that maybe he should take the social challenge before him and learn how to come out of his books. Zeuxius particularly mentions that he can learn from Klyses. With one warning from his pater: “If you think you’re in on it with a Tytalus, you probably aren’t.”
The group walks home (which takes some time). They arrive, and are introduced to the grounds, the caves where everyone lives. Along the way, everyone learns about the ghosts, priests and priestesses of Artemis who were killed by the Turkish invasion, which put the Temple to ruins.
Cliffhanger: After a few days to get acclimated, there’s a big feast to celebrate its new members. At the end of the feast, Nyssa explains the new members of the covenant will be brought down to the river to get on a boat, to be brought before Arethusa and be accepted or rejected by her.
Zeuxius uses one of his incessant fire-forge clichés to sum it all up. Zeuxius looks eagerly to this test, Zotikos feels comfortable with this because of his fae blood, but everyone else is nervous.