Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Al-Andalusia and the Iberian Tribunal

The Covenant of Summa Tutela

Summa Tutela stands tall atop a hill overlooking the Tagus River. The Tagus flows from east to west dissecting Iberia and forming the border between the Christian re-conquests and Islam. This border closely reflects the extent of authority of the Order of Hermes in Iberia. The Covenant is situated close to the Roman Road known as the Via De La Plata, passing from the far-north of Iberia, crossing a nearby stone bridge, before heading south into Muslim Andalusia

Designed and built by the Muslim Sorcerer Abdul-Aleem in the late 9th Century – to take advantage of the trade passing down the Tagus and the Via De La Plata – Abdul-Aleem used large well cut stones and founded the buildings of the Covenant on the ruin of a Roman Temple to Mercury. The Covenant is imposing in its height and strength of simple but confident fortifications. Nonetheless it is a bright and cheery place, especially when silhouetted by the sunny blue sky.

It has been made home by the two magi who took it, and the guards and household staff they brought with them. As you look the Covenant is busy with activity, armed men quietly patrol atop the fortifications and maids, servants and other members of the household busy themselves finishing up tasks before the midday meal.

Several buildings make up the covenant which stretches along the ridge of a hill. First, at the ridge’s western edge stands the Keep – housing the rooms and laboratories of the Magi – then, as you move east, comes the library, then the kitchen, workshop, stable and finally quarters for the guard, household and guests.

Inside the buildings the rooms have unusually high ceilings that are both light and airy throughout summer – although the temperature can probably drop in winter. Beautiful wooden furniture and the occasional Persian rug fit out the mostly wooden floored complex – presumably left behind by the last occupants. Adding the final touch is an outdoor heated bath.

As well as the Via De La Plata the Covenant is close to the road from Toledo to Merida – where a Chapter of Knights has recently been founded. The Covenant has the task of standing on the frontier between the growing Iberian Tribunal and the Islamic Sorcerers who contest this, while also managing interaction with the mundane world which frequently passes along the nearby roads and river.

Founded atop the ruin of a Roman Temple to Mercury, the Covenant lies within a powerful Magical Aura that extends across the entire hilltop. Fortified and guarded the inhabitants have all that is necessary for their purpose – though few luxuries.

Run by Celeste Otrera ex Tytalus and Felix Achaemenus Scholae Bonisagus the Covenant is also home to other Magi such as you, fresh from their gauntlets and newly recruited to hold and expand the frontier.

Iberia or Al-Andalusia 1210; the mundane and arcane political backdrop

Iberia has been reclaimed in part by Christian forces from the north. But the forces of Islam continue a staunch resistance. The Muslims have reportedly fragmented into a number of smaller Kingdoms which, while still managing to do battle, appear to be gradually falling.

The Order of Hermes has been taking advantage of this, some suspect provoking the violence, in order to expand the borders of the Order forcefully.

  • Magi of House Flambeau are in the vanguard of bringing new members into the Order, or destroying them.
  • House Tytalus is also taking advantage of the conflict to recruit, and rebuild their damaged name.
  • Members of House Bonisagus appear to be attempting to learn what they can from the Witches, Sorcerers and Cabalists that can be found in the Peninsula, using a variety of means.
  • House Ex Miscellanea is growing fast with new members not fitting into Tytalus of Flambeau finding a home here.
  • House Merinita has taken an unusual interest in the Peninsula, many are unsure why, most don’t care.
  • Jerbiton continues to work with the noble mundane, some think too closely, to retake the Christian lands of the Iberian Peninsula.
  • The Tremere – as soldiers – are closely involved in the conflict on the border, though they are not as in touch with the political activities as they would like; their Covenant in the Pyrenees now far from the expanded border.

Within Andalusia is a rich and diverse heritage of magic, including Islamic, Jewish, Christian and Pagan Traditions. All but the Pagan flourished under the generally benign auspices of the Muslim Caliphs. These other traditions are pursuing a variety of responses to the growing influence of the Order of Hermes and it’s incursion into Andalusia: some are joining, even converting to Christianity, others are hiding or fleeing into North Africa, while others, interests intertwined with the Islamic Kingdoms, mount a staunch and complex defense of the Islamic world. To the north refugees from the Albigensian Crusade are also starting to cross the Pyrenees, currently only in small numbers but should the conflict worsen more could be expected.

The Magi will find themselves in a newly founded Covenant that is set to lead the incorporation of the rest of Andalusia into the Iberian Tribunal. They will be under the direction, and protection, of elders within the Covenant though still having plenty of seasons to pursue their objectives within this growing Tribunal.

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