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  • in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7529
    ÉricÉric
    Keymaster

      Cedric Spellbind scene with Frella at Herma’s cottage. (ref)

      On the rugged coast of Ireland bathed by a sunny light. Near a secluded cottage, the scene unfolds with the figure of a tall, middle-aged man with disheveled dark hair, a deerstalker hat, and a trench coat, who stands nervously. His piercing eyes reveal a lifetime of supernatural pursuits.

      Next to him, a modern witch with striking blond hair reminiscent of Tilda Swinton, sits on a camphor chest. The cottage owner, a middle aged lady frets nearby. He declares his official business, accusing her of Witch Violations. He is entranced by her presence, admits he knows she’s a witch but won’t turn her in.

      The scene captures a rare moment of levity and complex attraction in the tense atmosphere and their complicated relationship, set against the backdrop of a mysterious and mystical investigation.

      in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7528
      ÉricÉric
      Keymaster

        Frella at Herma’s cottage – looking for magical clues in the mysterious camphor chest.

        In a quaint cottage on the coast of Ireland, with salt and simple spells, a modern witch blond and looking like Tilda Swinton opens a big camphor chest carved with runes. Behind her is the owner of the cottage, wondering what is Inside, and if protected by magical spells. Inside they find ancient documents, letters, and a peculiar item—a black feather of a blackbird, delicate and shimmering with a faint magical glow. The feather is a quill to reveal hidden messages on the postcard with a stamp featuring an ear of maize.

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7527

        It was good to get a break from the merger craziness. Eris was thankful for the small mercy of a quiet week-end back at the cottage, free of the second guessing of the suspicious if not philandering undertakers, and even more of the tedious homework to cement the improbable union of the covens.

        The nun-witches had been an interesting lot to interact with, but Eris’d had it up to her eyeballs of the tense and meticulous ceremonies. They had been brewing potions for hours on, trying to get a suitable mixture between the herbs the nuns where fond of, and the general ingredients of their own Quadrivium coven’s incenses. Luckily they had been saved by the godlike apparition of another of Frella’s multi-tasking possessions, this time of a willing Sandra, and she’s had harmonized in no time the most perfect blend, in a stroke of brilliance and sheer inspiration, not unlike the magical talent she’d displayed when she invented the luminous world-famous wonder that is ‘Liz n°5’.

        As she breathed in the sweet air, Eris could finally enjoy the full swing of summer in the cottage, while Thorsten was happily busy experimenting with an assortment of cybernetic appendages to cut, mulch, segment and compost the overgrown brambles and nettles in the woodland at the back of the property.

        Interestingly, she’d received a letter in the mail — quaintly posted from Spain in a nondescript envelop —so anachronistic it was too tempting to resist looking.

        Without distrust, but still with a swish of a magical counterspell in case the envelop had traces of unwanted magic, she opened it, only to find it burst with an annoying puff of blue glitter that decided to stick in every corner of the coffee table and other places.

        Eris almost cursed at the amount of micro-plastics, but her attention was immediately caught by the Latin sentence mysteriously written in a psychopath ransom note manner: “QUAERO THESAURUM INCONTINUUM”

        “Whisp! Elias? A little help here, my Latin must be wrong. What accumulation of incontinence? What sort of spell is that?!”

        Echo appeared first, looking every bit like the reflection of Malové. “Quaero Thesaurum Incontinuum,” you say. How quaint, how cryptic, how annoyingly enigmatic. Eris, it seems the universe has a sense of humor—sending you this little riddle while you’re neck-deep in organizational chaos.

        “Oh, Echo, stop that! I won’t spend my well-earned week-end on some riddle-riddled chase…”

        “You’re no fun Eris” the sprite said, reverting into a more simple form. “It translates roughly to “I seek the endless treasure.” Do you want me to help you dissect this more?”

        “Why not…” Eris answered pursing up her lips.

        “Seek the endless treasure.” We’re talking obviously something deeper, more profound than simple gold; maybe knowledge —something  truly inexhaustible. Given your current state of affairs, with the merger and the restructuring, this message could be a nudge—an invitation to look beyond the immediate chaos and find the opportunity within.”

        “Sure,” Eris said, already tired with the explanations. She was not going to spend more time to determine the who, the why, and the what. Who’d sent this? Didn’t really matter if it was an ally, a rival, or even a neutral party with vested interests? She wasn’t interested in seeking an answer to “why now?”. Endless rabbit holes, more like it.

        The only conundrum she was left with was to decide whether to keep the pesky glittering offering, or just vacuum the hell of it, and decide if it could stand the test of ‘will it blend?’. She wrapped it in a sheet of clear plastic, deciding it may reveal more clues in the right time.

        With that done, Eris’ mind started to wander, letting the enigmatic message linger a while longer… as reminder that while we navigate the mundane, our eyes must always be on the transcendent. To seek the endless treasure…

        The thought came to her as an evidence “Death? The end of suffering…” To whom could this be an endless treasure? Eris sometimes wondered how her brain picked up such things, but she rarely doubted it. She might have caught some vibes during the various meetings. Truella mentioning Silas talking about ‘retiring nuns’, or Nemo hinting at Penelope that ‘death was all about…”

        The postcard was probably a warning, and they had to stay on their guards.

        But now was not the time for more drama, the icecream was waiting for her on the patio, nicely prepared by Thorsten who after a hard day of bramble mulching was all smiling despite looking like he had went through a herd of cats’ fight.

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7522

        As soon as Eris had left the room, Truella thought for a moment she was hallucinating, as Eris popped back right in through the entrance.

        “So, what did I miss?” Eris asked, looking exactly the same if a little worn out.

        “What do you mean what did you miss? You hardly missed anything, since you’ve just never left!” Truella protested, as the absence of sleep wasn’t cause enough to make her doubt her senses.

        “Ah… I see… Those time-travel shenanigans. Hard to wrap one’s head around sometimes.” Eris said matter-of-factly. “No matter, glad to be back, well… so soon… by your standards. Let’s get back to business then? When’s the next ritual? Don’t we have to brew a potion or something?”

        “No, no, no… Not so fast! What happened to your trip? you have to tell us all, and TIME TRAVEL! Where, when, how, with whom? We want to know all, n’est-ce-pas ma petite Jeezel?”

        “Tsk, tsk. For another time. Suffice to say, I was gone for longer than I wanted, and clearly that nun-witch portal had been tempered with, sent me right in the middle of the darn Middle-Ages. But I can’t tell you more here…” Eris said with an air of mystery. “Stone walls are thick, but not as deaf as Mother Lorena, that’s for sure.”

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7521

        It was matins, the early break of dawn at cockcrow, and the sisters had been diligent to call everyone for prayers.

        Mother Lorena was expounding on the powers of prayer while Eris was struggling to keep her friends awake after the short night.

        “Our Sister Hildegard,” Mother Lorena was droning, as to make everything painfully clear to the newcomers “was one of the founding members of our secret order of nun-witches as you would like to say. But make no mistake, she tapped into a power much much older. The power of prayer of the early Christians was capable of great miracles…”

        “If we’re here for a history lesson, hope she tells us more about the dragons…” muttered Truella, still groggy from her sleepless night.

        As if the absurdly hearing-impaired Mother superior had heard the plea, she went on “It is that same power of prayer from the early covens of nun-witches that helped vanquish the hordes of dragon-boat riding invaders.”

        “Did she say dragon??” 

        “Ssshttt!” Jeezel and Eris shushed Truella as they were struggling to keep up with the rosary count.

        “Of course, I mean the viking hordes with their drakkar boats. Such be the tale forever embedded in our embroidered tapestries.”

        “She didn’t say about the frogs nuns though, has she?” Truella ventured, hoping the hearing/inspiration spell would still work.

        “I suppose the frog-nuns were symbols of transformation, alchemy — or mastery about the water element from which the invaders came, or maybe just waiting for a prince’s kiss… what should I know?” Eris shrugged, mildly annoyed. Her phone was busy spewing messages. Luckily the silent prayer was over, and everyone was invited to the breakfast in the great hall.

        “What’s happened?” Jeezel ventured.

        Eris sighed. “I’ll have to leave you for today. Another bank errand for Austreberthe. Hope it doesn’t become a habit… Luckily she’s asked Mother Lorena to allow me to use the covent’s portal to make haste.”

        She turned to Truella. “I trust you with this Tru, please don’t make a mess of it while I’m gone. There are forces at play here, and we can’t be distracted; I’ll be back as soon as I can. We still have the crypts and the reanimated nuns to investigate, but I’m sure they can wait for a few hours more.”

        Before Truella could protest, Eris was on her way.

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7519

        Audrey came to herself rather unexpectedly in the middle of the Choir ritual with all the witches and nuns finishing the Canticle from the Psalms of Saint Frogustus.

        Saint Frogustus

        Luckily for the coven, her sudden gasp for air could have easily passed as a croak or one of the ribbit amens that went with the background aaah and oohs.

        “I think something wrong happened to your friend.” she whispered to Jeezel who had been enjoying the unlikely singing. It was already the third ritual done in six, and it had been mostly enjoyable.

        Eris whispered in turn as the grand croaking finale started with loud gong banging by Mother Lorena chanting “leaps of faithe, ye, leaps of faithe”.

        “What do you mean? Is Frella alright?”

        “Something came in the background, but when our minds disconnected, she felt more annoyed than anything… and to be honest maybe a bit… flustered, how to say…” she became red as Saint Frogustus’ hand tips. “Randy is the word you say?”

        “Damn it Jeezel, have you done anything?”

        “Why you ask me?” Jeezel felt offended. “You haven’t taken into account the strawberry full moon, that’s all.”

        Saint Frigdona“There’s only one potent counter-spell to this situation…” Audrey said. “We should pray to Saint Frigdona saint patroness of unwavering commitment to upholding the sanctity of boundaries and the virtues of righteousness, even in the face of the most enticing temptations!”

        “Jeeze, don’t go all religious like this.” a glowing Truella finally said. “I was for one, quite enjoying all that croaking. Dear Rufus told me there is a reason to this ritual! Get that: giant dragon-eating frogs! Dra-gon-frig-ging-eat-ing-frogs! That’s why the famous nuns were revered!”

        Eris and Jeezel looked at each other with that puzzled look unequivocally meaning “she’s lost her marbles”.

        In the silent moment of the last gong sound droning out, they sighed in unison, turning to Audrey. “How is this Frigdona prayer going already?”

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7515

        “Or someone willing would do.”

        Moments ago, the witches had turned at the uninvited guest who had appeared out of nowhere in the middle of their brainstorm.

        Sister Audrey was in the corner, and looked at the assembled lot with a cold stare. “Any witch worth her salt knows that. It’s better for a possession spell to be on willing host, the simpletons are really last resort. I’ll do it. I understand you need your coven to uncover some mysteries, and what’s best than to start trusting each others.”

        Truella, Jeezel, Eris looked at the floating orb with a question mark on their face.

        “What say you Frella?”

        Frella, at a loss for words, and mildly peer-pressured, replied “oh FFS, I suppose so.”

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7513

        “A possession spell? Are you out of your mind?” Jeezel looked at Eris’ suggestion with a painful wincing look.

        “Desperate times…” she sighed. “And if we need Frella’s on Malové’s case, how is she to pop in and out?

        “But whom to possess now? Surely not a reanimated nun corpse from the crypts?”

        “Well, you know it’s better to find someone with a… simple mind.”

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7507

        When Sister Penelope Pomfrett realised she’d lost her assigned witch guest, Eris-what’s-her-name, she started to feel anxious.

        Not one to revel in shortcomings, she promptly went about ferreting though the corridors, while the various nuns and guests were still enjoying their libations and ceremonious rituals exchanges.

        A cry of anguish resonated through the halls. “Smoke! Smoke!” followed by a mild agitation, which felt one-sided amongst the nuns. Maybe the incense witches were more accustomed to those smoke mishaps, and were not as quick to call fire in alarm. But here in the thick of Spanish summer, unattended smoke could wreck certain havoc.

        Penelope was about to jump into the circle called by the elder sisters to contain the smoke, when she abruptly bumped into someone. It was that mortician, the quiet one, Nemo.

        She couldn’t help but to mutter some form of apology, yet anxious to get going.

        “Sister,” he said with a voice that was commanding calm in the midst of chaos. “You need to calm down, this won’t last, and I’m sure your sisters have this under control.”

        “What would you know about that?” she felt her mind go numb, and found herself following him with too much abandon.

        “Call it a hunch. Not all is as it seems here, and us morticians, are well-taught in the arts of not only preservation, but as well of hidden truths.”

        Indeed, the ruckus seemed to fade already in the distance. Penelope looked more closely at the gentleman. He seemed rather innocuous, and not sufficiently handsome to make her break her chastity vows, even if some would find his brooding rugged charm attractive. Yet, he was making her curious.

        “So that’s what you do when there’s no dead body to attend to?”

        “In a manner of speaking, yes. But don’t worry, the night is young, and death is never far.” He said with a quiet smile.

        Penelope brushed aside the shivering feeling that coursed through her spine. “Could you make yourself useful dear, I’m looking for my assigned Quadrivium witch. The one with the blue hair, any chance you’ve seen her? These grounds are not safe for the non-initiates.”

        “No, I don’t think I have seen her, but I’m sure you can whip up a location spell before vespers are done…”

        “Yes, it’s not that. There’s too much chaos magic at work now, it could backfire. Have you no idea why we have those tapestries with dragons on it?”

        “I have a small idea. Templar Knights of the Crimson Order?”

        “Something like that. The cloister has been build as an atonement by a noble lady, centuries ago — it was said, to appease old spirits who were vanquished in mythical battles.” Penelope held her breath. “Some say they’re still close by. Even more so at the solstice.”

        “So better not to trifle with the energies right now,” Nemo said, extending his elbow in an old-fashioned chivalrous gesture. “Let’s find your witch friend together, shall we?”

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7506

        As Frigella, deep in her investigation of Herma’s cottage, meticulously examined the chest’s contents looking for potential clues missed at first glance that could explain more about the postcard, with its distinctive stamp featuring an ear of maize, she couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched.

        “By the gods, not that interloper again,” she muttered under her breath, sensing the familiar prickling at the back of her neck. She knew Cedric’s gaze all too well—part curiosity, part menace. The young witch hunter was like a moth to a flame, drawn to the coven’s mysteries and, more specifically, to Frella herself, for reasons that likely perplexed even him.

        Herma, oblivious to the undercurrents, continued to sift through the chest with Frella. As the silence thickened, Frella’s mind wandered to the last encounter with Cedric. His naïve bravado was almost laughable, yet there he was, lurking in the shadows, ever the novice hunter out of his depth.

        “Careful, Herma,” Frella warned with a sharp glance at the window. “We may have an unwelcome observer. This certain Cedric Spellbind has a knack for being where he shouldn’t.”

        Herma chuckled, dismissing the tension with a wave. “Him? A mere boy chasing phantoms. He won’t bother us.”

        Frella wasn’t so sure. Spellbind’s persistence was a nettlesome thorn, yet she knew how to handle such a busybody. For now, she would focus on the task at hand, but a mental note was made: keep an eye on Cedric. He was, after all, as unpredictable as the spring winds that brought them here far too early.

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7505

        It was a good thing that Mother Lorena, who was notoriously hard of hearing was not within earshot.

        She would have been horrified at the mention of conduction of “six rituals” in those hallowed grounds.

        Luckily, she was busy reviewing and stoking fireplaces around the convent, due to the unexpected cold snap due to the Sahara sands painting the skies in a somber reddish darkly dark.

        :fleuron:

        Meanwhile, Eris who has followed Echo’s instructions after the sprite had LiDAR’d the underground spaces, had quickly found herself in the underground ways thanks to its instructions, close to the telluric surges origins. She could see there were pockets of magma softly bubbling underground. The upstairs agitation seemed to have stirred the currents.

        A little spell, used wisely, would do just fine – as an omen, or as a threat, all sorts of motivations tactics which had the best of intentions in order to dispel tensions, with just the right alignment of energies… as touching the earth’s core, needed summoning of both respect and precision.

        Ignis Draconis, come to form, Through the earth, through the storm, Guided by my whispered call, Rise, smoke dragons, one and all.

        in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7501

        While the other sisters were mingling, and trying to figure out with some circumspection, the good which could come out of this union, Eris had retreated in a quieter corner of the cloister. After all, and despite the renovations made to cater to external seminars, workshops and celebrations, it remained a place of mystery and introspection. The stone walls had this deep cold quietness which felt refreshing in the scolding heat of things.

        For the past weeks, Eris was mulling over the impossible assignment given by Austreberthe to conduct a reorganisation, which seemed preposterious. Now, with the merger in motion, it had become plain for the Quadrivium board of directors that there was a need to change their way.

        Put in another way, they were basically saying that the autonomous functioning of their small squads of witches wasn’t helping for a larger expansion, and had to move to more industrial separation of tasks, something of a matricial organisation. The irony wasn’t lost on her — talking about mothers, matrix, but actually being more bent to patriarchal structure with all the new additions asked for by the merger of figureheads: head of product, head of delivery, head of convergence all these new roles to invent —yet feeling thoroughly alien, akin to grafting machine onto a living organism. The Quadrivium had always thrived on its autonomous squads, and the idea of industrialising their structure seemed almost heretical.

        The undertakers consultants, with their methodical approach were supposed to help, but she hadn’t been able yet to make them work for her, as she could see them struggle with the finer nuances of their craft.

        Looking for inspiration in the quiet space she’d found, Eris closed her eyes, drawing a deep breath. Her mind wandered to her Aunt Amara’s garden, where order and chaos coexisted in a delicate balance.

        A plan started to present itself, almost like one of those annoying lists that Malové would often love to provide.

        It had to start with mapping the terrain —the existing strengths of the autonomous groups in the coven. It would require documenting their capabilities, ongoing projects, and key members, creating a clear picture of what the coven had to offer.

        Then to look at potential synergies between the squads and the new roles Austreberthe envisioned. The Head of Product could harness the creative energies of the crafting squad, while the Head of Delivery might streamline the efforts of those specializing in executing the vision into tangible deliverables. The Head of Convergence would need to be a master diplomat, someone who could bridge the gap between the nuns and the witches.

        More subtle, but with potential, the next step came in boldly, with an impudence that could mean as much genius as it could spell out disaster: Hybrid Squads. Instead of dismantling the existing groups of the coven, she could propose hybrid squads. Each hybrid squad would retain its core identity but include members from the Cloister Crafts and have a liaison to the new heads. This way, the squads could maintain their autonomy while integrating new skills and perspectives.

        She took a moment to ponder the implications.

        Eris knew she would need to test this approach before full-scale implementation. She would start with pilot projects, assigning a few key squads to work under the new structure. Regular feedback sessions would allow adjustments and refinements, ensuring the system evolved organically.

        That would be where the Morticians’ Guild would be able to support more directly. Garrett and Silas could facilitate the integration rituals and workshops to ease any lingering tensions. Rufus would ensure security, while Nemo, the analyst, would provide insights into improving efficiencies without compromising their magical integrity.

        All this needed a catalyst, or this plan would drag on forever.

        Drag on…

        Nothing like a dragon crisis to put things in motion! There surely were abundant dragon energy left in those tunnels, powerful telluric energies to muster into a spell to invigorate and cement the newfound alliance between witches and nuns.

        She snapped her fingers. Echo who was never far away, reappeared with a smirk. “I can see you have some devious idea. How can I help?”

        in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7498
        ÉricÉric
        Keymaster

          Austreberthe Baltherbridge, interim CEO of Quadrivium Emporium.

          A unassuming small stature yet mentally imposing witch accountant, head of finance witch, known for her meticulous financial acumen, strategic mind, and quiet mildly bossy yet unwavering leadership. Balances deference with authority, ensuring economic stability amidst magical enterprises. She is tidy and strict, middle aged, round figure, and valkyriesque.

          in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7496
          ÉricÉric
          Keymaster

            Lorena Blæn (Mother Lorena)

             

            Lorena Blaen is stern and imposing, with a prune-faced expression and piercing eyes. Wears a crisp, starched habit and wimple.

            • Leader of Quintessivium Cloister Crafts.
            • Known for unyielding discipline and sharp wit.
            • Balances traditional values with modern, magical integration.
            • Commands respect and maintains high expectations.
            • Orchestrates the cloister’s merger with the Quadrivium Coven, striving to blend tradition with innovation.
            in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7495
            ÉricÉric
            Keymaster

               

              Cedric Spellbind:

              Cedric Spellbind stood tall, though not imposing, with a wiry frame that belied his years of rigorous witch-hunting. His eyes, a piercing green, darted nervously beneath the brim of his deerstalker hat, giving him the appearance of a man constantly on edge. A seasoned agent of MAMA, he carried an air of determined resolve, despite his recent demotion to desk duty in Limerick.

              With a face that seemed perpetually caught between youthful eagerness and a weariness beyond his years, Cedric was a man marked by his contradictions. His dark hair, often disheveled from restless nights, framed a face etched with the lines of a life spent in pursuit of the arcane and the elusive.

              Clad in a trench coat that had seen better days, Cedric’s attire was a patchwork of practicality and the remnants of a more distinguished past. Despite his amateurish attempts at stealth and the financial strains of his profession, Cedric’s spirit remained unbroken. He was a man driven by a fascination with the unknown and a cautious curiosity, particularly when it came to the enigmatic Frigella O’Green.

              Yet, beneath the veneer of a bumbling spy, there lay a heart of determination and a mind constantly strategizing, always ready to seize the next opportunity to prove his worth in the clandestine world of witch hunting.

              in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7494
              ÉricÉric
              Keymaster

                From left to right:

                Silas, Garrett, Rufus, Nemo

                Silas, often the leader, possesses an analytical mind and a strategic approach to problem-solving. His leadership style is methodical yet adaptable, ensuring that the team stays on course while remaining open to new ideas.

                Garrett complements Silas with his creative thinking and innovative solutions. He is the team’s visionary, always looking for the next big idea that will propel their projects forward.

                Rufus provides the grounding force, bringing practicality and a hands-on approach. His technical expertise and ability to implement plans effectively ensure that concepts become reality.

                Lastly, Nemo is the wildcard, blending a mix of unpredictability and resourcefulness. His unconventional methods often lead to breakthroughs that the others might not have considered.

                Together, these four individuals create a dynamic synergy. Their different strengths and perspectives allow them to tackle challenges from multiple angles, making them a formidable team.

                Silas’s strategic insights guide the group, Garrett’s creative inputs spark innovation, Rufus’s practical skills bring plans to life, and Nemo’s unique approach rounds out their capabilities. This balance of skills ensures that they are well-equipped to handle a variety of tasks and projects, navigating both predictable and unexpected obstacles with ease. Their collaboration highlights the importance of diverse talents and viewpoints in achieving common goals.

                in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7493

                “Do you know who that Everone is?” Jeezel whispered to Eris.

                “Shtt,” she silenced Jeezel worried that some creative inspiration sparked into existence yet another character into their swirling adventure.

                The ancient stone walls of the Cloisters resonated with the hum of anticipation. The air was thick with the scent of incense barely covering musky dogs’ fart undertones, mingling with the faint aroma of fresh parchment eaten away by centuries of neglect. Illuminated by the soft glow of enchanted lanterns sparkling chaotically like a toddler’s magic candle at its birthday, the grand hall was prepared for an unprecedented gathering of minds and traditions.

                :fleuron:

                While all the attendants were fumbling around, grasping at the finger foods and chitchatting while things were getting ready, Eris was reminded of the scene of the deal’s signature between the two sisterhoods unlikely brought together.

                Few weeks before, under a great deal of secrecy, Malové, Austreberthe, and Lorena had convened in the cloister’s grand hall, the gothic arches echoing their words. Before she signed, Lorena had stated rather grandiloquently, with a voice firm and unwavering. “We are a nunnery dedicated to craftsmanship and spiritual devotion. This merger must respect our traditions.”
                Austreberthe, ever the pragmatist, replied, “And we bring innovation and magical prowess. Together, we can create something greater than the sum of our parts.”
                The undertaker’s spokesman, Garrett, had interjected with a charming smile, “Consider us the matchmakers of this unlikely union. We promise not to leave you at the altar.”
                That’s were he’d started to spell out the numbingly long Strategic Integration Plan to build mutual understanding of the mission and a framework for collaboration. 

                Eris sighed at the memory. That would require yet a great deal of joint workshops and collaborative sessions — something that would be the key to facilitate new product developments and innovation. Interestingly, Malové at the time had suggested for Jeezel to lead with Silas the integration rituals designed to symbolically and spiritually unite the groups. She’d had always had a soft spot for our Jeezel, but that seemed unprecedented to want to put her to task on something as delicate. Maybe there was another plan in motion, she would have to trust Malové’s foresight and let it play out.

                :fleuron:

                As the heavy oak doors creaked open, a hush fell over the assembled witches, nuns and the undertakers. Mother Lorena Blaen stepped forward. Her presence was commanding, her eyes sharp and scrutinising. She wore the traditional garb of her order, but her demeanour was anything but traditional.

                “Welcome, everyone,” Lorena began, her voice echoing through the hallowed halls. “Or should I say, welcome to the heart of tradition and innovation, where ancient craftsmanship meets arcane mastery.”

                She paused, letting her words sink in, before continuing. “You stand at the threshold of the Quintessivium Cloister Crafts, a sanctuary where every stitch is a prayer, every garment a humble display of our deepest devotion. But today, we are not just nuns and witches, morticians and mystics. Today, we are the architects of a new era.”

                Truella yawned at the speech, not without waving like a schoolgirl at the tall Rufus guy, while Lorena was presenting a few of the nuns, ready to model in various fashionable nun’s garbs for their latest midsummer fashion show.

                Lorena’s eyes twinkled with a mixture of pride and determination as she turned back to the visitors. “Together, we shall transcend the boundaries of faith and magic. With the guidance of the Morticians’ Guild—Garrett, Rufus, Silas, and Nemo—we will forge a new path, one that honors our past while embracing the future.”

                Garrett, ever the showman, gave a theatrical bow. “We’re here to ensure this union is as seamless as a well-tailored shroud, my dear Lorena.” Rufus, standing silent and vigilant, offered a nod of agreement. Silas, with his grandfatherly smile, added, “We bring centuries of wisdom to this endeavor. Trust in the old ways, and we shall succeed.” Nemo, with his characteristic smirk, couldn’t resist a final quip. “And if things go awry, well, we have ways of making them… interesting.”

                in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7485

                The Quintessivium Cloister Crafts was busying getting ready to complete this year’s midsummer fashion tour.

                Mother Blaen (Lorena in private), started to clap bossily to line up all the sisters for the rehearsal.

                “Yes, Sister Maria, you start, Black habit and white wimple, Roman Catholic timeless elegance, perfect. And think to wipe that smile off your face. You need to show spirit of devotion.”

                She swiftly moved to her right.

                “Now, Sister Ananda.”

                Sassafrass was starting to argue about the naming convention that felt a bit too Actors studio for her taste, but was promptly shushed. Mother Blaen took a closer look, adjusting her half-rimmed glasses. “Oh… dear, I thought for a moment you’d gotten fat. Must be the lighting. So, in the vibrant orange of bhikkhunis, you glide gracefully… well, as much as you can. Peace and calm, that’s you. Yes, and don’t make a scene please. Be content I’m not asking you to shave this hair to get more in character with the robes.”

                She pursued:

                “Sister Amina!”

                Penelope Pomfrett raised her hand silently, visibly displeased too at the name.

                “Good, now. Mystical and poetic nature of Sufism, that’s your cue. Beautiful, beautiful. That modest and pure white chola and headscarf will be resplendent on the catwalk.”

                After she went through all the attires in detail, down to the long black riassa and epanokamelavkion of the Eastern Orthodox nun garb, all were getting ready for the grand finale.

                “Now, all of us, walking together to symbolize the unity and diversity of spiritual paths. One, two, one two. Sassafrass! Focus please!”

                Mother Blaen clapped, visibly pleased at the full on display of their Coven’s couture arts. That would put a good show for the smoking witches. She thought “Let them bring the money, but one thing is sure, we bring the talent.”

                in reply to: The Incense of the Quadrivium’s Mystiques #7484

                “Damn it Austreberthe, why the need for consultants?” Eris was starting to feel the weight of all those special assignments.

                “Don’t take that tone with me, dear. I’ve gone through my fair share of mergers back in the days, when I was posted abroad — if you should know, that’s probably why Malové hired me in the first place. In this momentum we’ve launched with the acquisition, there will be much to be done, and driving change in those age old institutions is not an easy task. ”

                Eris sighed at the truism. “So you’re suggesting the undertakers?…”

                “Yes, the Morticians’ Guild has a spotless reputation. They’re diligent, not afraid of a little mess, and can bring back life to a desperate cause. They’ll join you on the reconnaissance trip to Spain. Now, hasten my dear.”

                Eris almost said something starting with “all due respect”, but preferred to keep the thought to herself. Austreberthe was sounding like Truella, often thinking bringing more people to the party made for quality… One would have to see.

                in reply to: Smoke Signals: Arcanas of the Quadrivium’s incense #7478
                ÉricÉric
                Keymaster

                  Penelope Pomfrett

                  Sandra Salt

                  Audrey Ambrose

                  Sassafras Bentley

                   

                  From the Quintessivium Cloister Crafts brochure:

                  A sisterhood with a taste for all world nuns styles:

                  • Roman Catholic nun in a black habit and white wimple,
                  • Bhikkhunis nun in an orange robe,
                  • Sufi nun in a modest white chola and headscarf,
                  • Sannyasini nun in a saffron sari with a shaved head,
                  • Zen Buddhist nun in a simple black kesa and robe,
                  • Anglican nun in a black habit with a veil,
                  • and an Eastern Orthodox nun in a long black riassa and epanokamelavkion.

                  Together crafting beautiful items in our peaceful cloister setting, surrounded by colorful stained glass windows and wooden shelves filled with various materials.

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