Alerock
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lerock is a covenant in the Loch Leglean Tribunal. Formerly the residence of Galo ex Tytalus during his days as an aonaranan, it was founded as an independent covenant in 1235 by Galo and Annaeus Aurelian ex Verditius. Alerock is currently at the forefront of Hermetic investigations into the Order of Odin.

Physical Description

The covenant occupies several locations on a rocky outcrop in the Firth of Clyde.

Site

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Alerock sits on the sea mount known as Ailsa Craig. The name Alerock stems from the partial English translation of the craig's Gaelic name by the covenant's grogs. The site had previously been uninhabited but for a colony of gannets, but possessed a significant magical aura and was close to several vis sources, making it an attractive site for Hermetic inhabitation. Upon Ailsa Craig, there are two main areas of habitation.

The Watchtower

When Galo first claimed Ailsa Craig as the site of his sanctum, he had a small watchtower (containing a single, spartan laboratory) built on the craig's east-facing ledge. Since Galo's departure for his current sanctum, it has served as a lookout post and lodgings for the covenant's lower-ranked grogs. It is the only permanent structure known to the neighbours of the covenant.

The Well

The peak of the craig opens into a well approximately 20 paces across and as many deep. From this central void radiate the sancta of the magi of Alerock, along with the library, council hall, quarters for servants and grogs and so on. Most of these rooms, like the well itself, were excavated using the magical pickaxe Hallmaker, and show the signs of Annaeus' magic in their architecture and decorative wall-carvings.

The Covenant

Governance

Alerock's magi operate under a modified version of the Charter of Arae Flaviae. The chief variation is in the creation of a ruling Triumvirate which has the ability to regulate the activities of other covenant members (not that there have ever been such). The Triumvirate consists of:

  • a Curator, responsible for maintaining, and thus regulating access to, the covenant's library and magical items. This position is currently filled by Annaeus.
  • a Disceptator, responsible for maintaining good relations with the nearby mundane authorities, and by extension having control over the covenant's mundane treasury. This position is currently filled by Galo.
  • a Vigile, with responsibility for safeguarding the covenant's vis store, and for approving trades of vis with other covenants. This position is currently filled by Gehygda ex Bjornaer.

Finances

Alerock was originally financed with the magical creation of a large amount of gold. However, the inevitable inflation caused by this made the magi swiftly see the virtue of more mundane investments. Currently, Alerock has two means of mundane support. Even taken together, though, these do not quite provide enough income to cover the covenant's various expenses, meaning that Alerock has continued to rely on its initial 'cash' reserve for the length of its 15-year existence.

Sea Trade

In 1236, Alis of Ayr was an experienced sailor with a problem common to such folk: a sound knowledge of how and where to profit from sea trade, but not enough wealth to finance her own voyages. When Galo approached her with easily enough gold to buy a ship outright, fill it with cargo and hire a crew who would overlook the fact that their captain was a woman, she jumped at the chance. Since then, she has become an independently wealthy merchant-adventurer, sailing her cog, the Leaping Salmon across the Irish sea and beyond. She pays a significant dividend to Alerock each year in the form of glassware, tools and other hard-to-obtain laboratory equipment, as well as providing occasional transport services when her itinerary and the magi's transport needs match up.

Whaling

Whaling has been a part of the economy of Argyll and the Hebrides since ancient times. The creation of the whaler's kegs by Annaeus has allowed certain whaling crews of Galloway to gather every last drop of precious whale oil from their kills, immensely increasing the value of their catch. While it would be easy to build a fortune on the back of this industry, Alerock has so far kept its operations low-key, in order to avoid the inevitable royal attention that a thriving industry would attract.

History

Beginnings

The first Hermetic settlement of Ailsa Craig was by Galo ex Tytalus, fleeing his former sodales in Circulus Ruber. He quickly staked a claim to the nearby vis sources and lived the life of an aonaranan for several years.

Annaeus Aurelian had previously been a member of a Galwegian covenant called the Academica Septima Superior, but found his magical interests increasingly diverging from the activities of his sodales. At the 1235 meeting of the Loch Leglean Tribunal, the magi of the Academica chose to venture over the western ocean rather than face wizard's march en masse for their support of the Galwegian revolt against the King of Scots. Annaeus, driven to complete his research into the rune magic of the Order of Odin, made an abrupt break with his former covenant and joined with Galo on the tenuous basis of shared experiences in the Hebrides.

Despite their differences in temperament, the two found each other agreeable company and decided to pool their magical power and knowledge of the surrounding resources. The covenant's existence was quietly registered with Remus ex Guernicus, the Intramural quaesitor, towards the end of the Tribunal meeting.

Expansion

Despite the best efforts of the two magi to share the cramped living quarters of the tower, it took only a month for the decision to be made that more living space was desperately needed. However, the steep sides and unforgiving rock of Ailsa Craig severely limited the opportunities for new construction. Galo's response was to invent a terram effect that would allow him to rapidly excavate living quarters inside the craig itself, and both magi moved their sancta into rooms off what would become the central well soon after. However, even with Galo's magic, progress was slow, and the resulting caverns were utilitarian at best.

The creation of Hallcarver in 1239 allowed for much faster expansion of the covenant's living space, and produced excavations of finer quality. From 1240 to 1245, Alerock expanded rapidly, carving out space for an expanded library, strongrooms for the storage of vis and other valuables, and a new sanctum for Gehygda ex Bjornaer, who joined Alerock in 1240 after relocating from Voluntas in the Stonehenge Tribunal.

Northern Stirrings

Over the last five years, an increasing number of incidents involving rune magic and creatures of Norse mythology have come to the attention of Alerock's magi. These have included:

  • raids by undead viking warriors on covenants, vis sources, and other sites of interest to the Order of Hermes;
  • attacks by linnorms on shipping in the Orkneys; and
  • feuds erupting between hermetic magi and previously unknown rune-wizards in widely-spread areas of northern Christendom.

It seemed a logical step for Alerock to involve itself, given the interest its magi already had in probing the mysteries of the north lands generally, and the Order of Odin in particular. Annaeus has already been investigating the properties of rune magic for several decades, Galo knows more than most magi of the giants who make their homes in the wild north, and Gehygda, through her prophetic gifts, is steadily working to understand the plans of the Order. Through the Redcaps, Alerock has begun reaching out to other magi with similar interests, and is considering inviting recently-gauntleted magi to join.

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