Alexandria is a Mercere covenant, the bureaucratic center of the Theban Tribunal. Founded after the demise of the first Mercere covenant, Miphoria, it houses most of the Redcaps of the Tribunal. This autumn covenant also serves as a retirement house for Redcaps too old or too Warped by Twilight to effectively fulfill their duties. Despite certain difficulties created by the current machinations of the mundanes, Alexandria continues to be the hub of the information network of Thebes.
Alexandria is the second all-Mercere covenant in the Tribunal’s history, formed after the decline and fall of the first, Miphoria, in the early 11th century. Located on the coastal outskirts of Smyrna, Miphoria had relied on fantastical and overt magical means of transport, including riding a species of giant magical sea turtles. The Tribunal decided that its members were drawing undue mundane attention to the Order, and asked them to keep a lower profile. Deprived of the sea turtles, Miphoria floundered, and by 1063 most of her Redcaps had taken up residence in other covenants.
A central location had greatly facilitated the bureaucratic responsibilities of Theban Redcaps, and a second attempt was deemed sensible. At the time, Methodius was the most popular Redcap in the Tribunal. Claiming to be a descendant of Alexander the Great, he had gained notoriety by discovering Alexander’s flying device in the lands of the Seljuk Turks. Returning to Smyrna, Methodius selected an old fortress on the south side of the city for the site of the new covenant, atop Mt. Pagus. Not only did the fortress contain a Magic aura, several regiones sat inside the dilapidated walls. Though it was haunted by the ghostly remnants of Alexander’s army, Methodius bound an eidolon spirit that lingered with the ghosts to act as Alexandria’s patron spirit. The damaged walls were left as they were, so as not to attract military attention. Wooden houses were built in the aura, and stone houses were built in the regio. The building program was finished in 1075, and Methodius named the covenant “Alexandria” as a nod to the many cities built by his famous forefather.
Alexandria prospered due to the efficient centralization of Mercere duties and the many trade agreements the covenant made with nations along the Aegean Sea. As its coffers swelled, Seekers funded by Alexandria discovered the glass submarine, another of Alexander the Great’s artifacts. The two artifacts drew Philagrius — an inventive Verditius magus — to the covenant. He discovered that the submarine and flying device are both mechanica, crafted by the descendants of the legendary Heron (Ancient Magic, Chapter Six).
But all was not rosy within the covenant. The powerful Longevity Rituals the covenant members imbibed led to magical Warping. Though many lived to an advanced age, some accumulated many magical Flaws. As a member’s Warping grew worse, he would avoid mundane society and counterproductively spend more time in the regio. Alexandria’s reputation changed from that of an awe-inspiring covenant of merchant adventures and savvy political contributors, to a retirement home for bizarre Redcaps.
Alexandria continues to satisfy its purpose in the 13th century despite all this, although the covenant has experienced several negative consequences from the fall of Constantinople. At the Tribunal of 1207, Petronas, who had served as logothete for almost a hundred years, abdicated his post. His replacement, Leontius, is unsatisfactory. Seven years later, at the Tribunal of 1214, he narrowly escaped being ostracized. Also, the Emperor of Nicaea recently has stationed a small garrison of imperial soldiers in the castle, expelling the covenfolk and making entry into the regiones difficult. The garrison is there to protect Smyrna from invading Turks, and does not know that a regio resides inside the walls.
Setting and Physical Description
The ruined citadel housing Alexandria sits atop Mt. Pagus, a small mountain to the south of Smyrna overlooking the city and the bay. Its stone walls and towers have deteriorated with time, leaving only a shell of a fortress. Alexandria has not rebuilt the wall, only cleaned up the interior and built several wooden houses to hold its staff. Lascaris’ soldiers currently reside in these houses. The dilapidated citadel has a Magic aura of 1.
Two regiones lie inside the aura. The first, which has a Magic aura of 3, houses the majority of the covenant’s ghosts. Simple cloth tents form a grid, similar to the military bivouacs of Alexander the Great’s troops. The second regio sits in the center of the tent complex and has a Magic aura of 5. The main buildings of the covenant sit here — beautiful stone buildings that are home to the retired Redcaps and serve as the storehouse for the records of the Thebes Tribunal. Alexandria has two fully functional Hermetic laboratories, only one of which is currently in use.
Alexandria maintains several buildings in Smyrna, mostly warehouses used for commercial interests. The covenant owns three ships resting in the harbor, including one chained to the glass submarine.
Alexandria exists to provide a central location for the bureaucratic operations of the Tribunal and a safe and convenient location for the Tribunal’s Redcaps.
Patron Spirit: Fides
Fides is an eidolon, a spirit of emotions. She is the spirit of loyalty, created by the steadfast allegiance that Alexander’s troops expressed to their leader. With Alexander’s death and the collapse of his empire, Fi des resided with the troops, finding those stationed at Alexandria in Smyrna to be particularly devoted to their fallen leader. Many of those most devoted became ghosts, their spirits anchored by their slavish devotion to Alexander’s notion of empire. Fides thrives in this environment, and lives among the ghostly tents of the first level of the regio.
Methodius’ binding of Fides included the promise that the new occupants would continue to pay tribute both to Alexander and his empire. Methodius was able to connect these requirements with the Theban Tribunal, so that rather than conquer the world, Fides is satisfied with the “Hermetic Empire of Thebes.” She demands that the members of Alexandria stay loyal to this empire, the Order, and promises to stay there for as long as they do.