- Senex, most senior magician of Marehuizen;
- Damiaan, a magician from Marehuizen who suffers from leprosy;
- Johannes van Goedenbergh, a studious magician from Marehuizen;
- Dorcas, a free-spirited magician from Marehuizen;
- Matilda, a 12-year old mage apprentice of Senex;
- Dieter, the horseman;
- Salle, a widow and Dieter's girlfriend in Grunloh;
- Hardger, Salle's five-year old son;
- Captain Gunther, leader military affairs at Marehuizen.
It is long past midnight when Dieter, Salle, Hardger and Damiaan come back to Marehuizen -- much to Dieter's relief, there is no-one to scold them. Damiaan decides that Salle will share Dieter's bed (in a communal sleeping room), while Hardger will get a sleeping place where he can be monitored. After stabling the horses, Dieter takes Salle to his sleeping quarters. Soon the two of them fall asleep -- though Salle holds Dieter so tight that he is slightly uncomfortable during the night.
Damiaan asks one of Senex' cats for access to his laboratory. There is enough room there anyway: most of the equipment is still packed in the boxes in which it was transported to Marehuizen. Damiaan also briefly explains to the familiar that Hardger is being poisoned by someone -- perhaps Salle, perhaps his grandparents, perhaps someone else? He needs to be isolated from the people who could have poisoned him. Damiaan puts Hardger in a make-shift cot there, leaving him in the care of the two cats who keep and eye on things.
The next morning, Captain Gunther is not thrilled to see Salle emerge for breakfast. When he asks Damiaan what is going on with her, Damiaan tells him that the mages are considering hiring Salle. Gunther is not pleased, but does not talk back to Damiaan. After breakfast, Dieter is busy with the horses, and Salle is given some sewing by one of the French servants that Senex and Damiaan brought from Dunkerque.
Around 10:00, Hardger wakes up. Senex, Matilda and the cats take a good look at him, but he seems like a normal little boy, who does normal little boy things. He seems completely recovered and is definately un-poisoned. Senex and Matilda take him with them, to play outside the convenant and to keep and eye on him. During his play, they do not notice anything suspicious.
At the end of the afternoon, a young man on horseback, wearing slightly exotic clothing, presents himself at the gate. He has a letter for the lord of Marehuizen. Gunther is fetched, and the boy introduces himself as Rafael Ben-Baruch, the son of Baruch the Jew. He repeats that he has a letter for the lord of Marehuizen, and Gunther answers that there is not one lord, but several lords and ladies. Rafael replies that in that case, the letter is for all of them. Gunther takes the letter and brings it to Johannes, who is more into that kind of stuff than the others. Johannes orders Gunther to let the messenger in and to see to it that he is well-cared for. He tasks Dieter with calling the other magicians to the Great Hall.
Johannes arrives first in the Great Hall, and looks at the letter. It has the seal of Grunloh (a single tree) on it. It is written in Latin by the priest:
To the Lord of Marehuizen,
You receive this letter by hand of Rafael, son of Baruch. We write you this letter as three concerned and prominent citizens of Grunloh.
A good neighbor is better than a distant friend. Grunloh is a pleasant, prosperous place and the citizens have worked hard to get here, and they will work hard to keep it that way. It is our desire to have a good understanding with our neighbors. Last night, events transpired in our village that may undermine what we have built up in recent years after the death of Lord Henry of Borklo.
Therefore, we request a meeting with our closest neighbours from Marehuizen, to get to know each other better. We will expect you at 19:00 Thursday night at the home of the sherrif.
If you have a return message, you can give it to the messenger, who will ensure that it reaches its destination.
With the highest regards,
Sherrif Hoede van Grunloh
Pastor Rudbert van Soest
Baruch Ben David van Daeventer
Johannes is concerned, and when Dorcas arrives next, he lets her read the letter. She frowns while reading it. Damiaan and Senex arrive next, and they are presented with the letter to read as well. Johannes takes the lead, and asks who knows about the events alluded to in the letter. Damiaan tells the assembled magicians that he visited Grunloh the previous night. He thinks that things went quite well: he saved a life, and did not kill or curse anyone!
Senex, who is accompanied by some local wildlife, points to a squirrel and tells the others that this is Hardger -- the magic soon fades and Hardger returns to his normal form of a little boy. Johannes looks at him with his Physician's Eye spell, and does not detect anything out of the ordinary -- except that the boy should eat enough to gain a bit of strength.
Dieter is summoned, and he is asked (or interrogated, depends on who you ask) to give his version of events. It matches up with what Damiaan told -- and it is clear that there has been no ill effect on Grunloh. In fact, Hardger's life was saved! Johannes sees this as an opportunity to get into good standing with the citizens of Grunloh, but Dorcas is doubtful that the fate of one little child will matter all that much to the three notables. She suspects that the citizens of Grunloh will want to tell the mages what to do -- she is quite done with listening to non-mages.
It is decided that Johannes and Docas will answer the invitation. Johannes writes a reply:
To the esteemed representatives of the citizens of Grunloh,
We, too, strive for a good understanding with our neighbours. Lord Johannes and Lady Dorcas will visit you at the time mentioned in your letter, on behalf of Marehuizen.
With the highest regards,
The Lords and Ladies of Marehuizen
The letter is brought to Rafael, who is waiting in the courtyard. He watches with a keen interest when Captain Gunther is drilling the new recruits, to make a unified defense force of the men. When he is presented with the letter, he gets on his horse and returns to Grunloh.
Johannes is keen to know what happened with Hardger. He wants to use this as a sign that the mages at Marehuizen are dependable and a boon to the village, but for that to work, the issue needs to be resolved in the next 48 hours, and a consistent narrative has to be constructed. Dorcas is not interested and returns to her lab. Damiaan also returns to his lab, but returns soon with an amulet against poisoning: a bezoar on a bracelet. It won't work forever, but it will work for now. Senex promises Johannes that he will look into it -- tomorrow.
That evening, Salle puts Hardger to bed -- again in Senex' lab. The cats look on, but don't seem to notice anything out of the ordinary. Salle sleeps with Dieter, in the dorm.
The next morning, after breakfast, Senex summons Salle to speak with her. He extends his Parma Magica over her, and tells her that the mages of Marehuizen are considering giving her a job. When she hears this, Salle drops to her knees and weeps for joy. She asks if there will be a place for Hardger at Marehuizen as well. She says, in between her sobs of joy: "Then Dieter can take care of me and Hardger, and then he can grow up..."
Making use of her mental instability, Senex casts an Intellego Mentem on Salle, and delves for the meaning behind that phrase. It turns out that Salle, when she was a little girl, thought she had lost her parents for a whole day. This has resulted in her developing separation anxiety. When she married, she seldomly left her husband's side. But when he died, her world collapsed and the old anxiety came back even stronger than before. Also, Salle looks up to her father, and so she thinks that Hardger should have a father-figure...
Soon after the death of her husband, she met someone (she could not remember his face, except that he had dark hair and beautiful eyes) who said he could help her. He suggested that if Hardger was ill, someone would take care of them. He gave her a small bag, filled with powder, and instructed her to wear it on her at all times. The love she felt for Hardger would infuse the powder and protect Hardger. Then she would have to do a few grains of the powder into his morning porridge.
Senex looks closely at Salle, and sees that she indeed has a little bag hanging from a string around her neck. While Salle is convinced that she and Dieter are bound for a glorious future together, Senex points at the bag and suggests that she won't need it anymore in that case. She agrees (without wondering why Senex knows the story about the bag), and Senex manages to get her to give him the bag. He sends her on her way, and passes the bag with the powder to Damiaan for further research.
Meanwhile, Salle goes looking for Dieter to tell him the good news. She has forgotten that Senex mentioned that the mages were considering hiring her: in her mind, she, Dieter and Hardger will form a little family, get a nice cottage on the manor grounds and live long and happily. Dieter is not sure what to think: he does think Salle would be a good catch, and having a wife and a child here would make it harder for Johannes to send him back. Out here in Marehuizen, he could make something of himself, while he would always be the stableboy back in Gutenberg. But he is anxious about Hardger's condition: he does not fancy having a weak and ill child as a dependent...
Meanwhile, we're slowly fleshing out the convenant and how the four magicians live and work together. I offered to draw a map, but I will need to think a bit more about what goes where.