In the Ruins of Bibracte
Stultus Maximus ex Tytalus
Stultus Maximus ex Tytalus, aka il Supremo Nasone, filius Cumhachd
Characteristics: Int +3, Per +1, Pre -2, Com +2, Str -1, Sta 0, Dex +1, Qik +1
Age: 62 (45),* Height*: 3’2’’, Weight: 75 lbs, Gender: Male
Warping Score: 2 (12)
Confidence: 2 (5)
Virtues: True Friend (Familiar), Self Confident, Gentle Gift, Troupe Upbringing (+2 on Athletics; Jongleur; Legerdemain), Puissant Intrigue, Quiet Magic, Improved Characteristics, Clear Thinker, Educated, Gift of Tongues.
Flaws: Dwarf, Disfigured (Long flexible nose), Difficult Longevity Ritual, Weird Magic, Carefree, Beloved Rival (Cumhachd ex Tytalus), Legacy
Personality Traits: Loyal (Familiar) +3, Subtle +2, Respectful -3, Carefree +3.
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: 1 (1-3), 3 (4-6), 5 (7-9), Incapacitated (10-12), Dead (13+)
- Athletics 3+2 (acrobatics)
- Artes Liberales 4 (literature)
- Philosophiae 2 (moral philosophy)
- Theology 1 (moral law)
- Code of Hermes 1 (mundane relations)
- Finesse 4 (casting speed)
- Magic Theory 5 (8) (Mentem)
- Parma Magica 3 (Ignem)
- Penetration 2 (Mentem)
- Area Lore: Northern Europe 4 (politics)
- Awareness 3 (alertness)
- Bargain 2
- Charm 3 (being witty)
- Concentration 2 (spell concentration)
- Climb 1 (furniture)
- Etiquette 3 (acceptable humor)
- Order of Hermes Lore 2 (10) (politics)
- Stealth 2 (sneak)
- Teaching 1
- Brawl 3 (Dodge)
- Folk Ken 4 (nobles)
- Guile 3 (elaborate lies)
- Intrigue 4+2 (plotting)
- Latin 5 (hermetic usage)
- Classical Greek 4 (prose)
- Jongleur 4+2 (jokes)
- Legerdemain 3+2 (“magic” tricks)
- Scribe 2 (copying)
- Profession: Playwright 0 (4) (comedy)
Talisman: a jester’s poppet, a short beechwood wand with a carved likeness of Stultus himself on one end, wearing a jester’s hat with tiny bells on the points. One of the bells is a piece of rock crystal instead, and there’s a small mirror affixed to the front of the hat. The bells are painted to appear normal, but in reality are made of electrum.
- Mental Activation (InMe 25, R: Per, D: Sun, T: Ind, 2/day, Trigger: Sunrise/Sunset, Effect use: Myself and Rahere. Effect Level 32)
- Talking Head: the poppet’s eyes move, the mouth opens and closes, and it can “talk” in a squeaky voice (MuIm 25, R: Per, D: Diam, T: Ind, Unlimited use, Trigger: Mental command; Effect level 29)
- Roll with the Blow: on command, launches Stultus in a direction he designates, as an “acrobatic dodge”. (ReCo 15, R: Per, D: Mom, T: Ind, Unlimited use, Trigger: Mental command, Effect modifier: fast trigger; Effect Level: 31)
- Screech of the Impending Rotten Apples (InHe 15, R: Per, D: Sun, T: Hearing, 2/day, Trigger: Sunrise/Sunset, effect level 19)
Attunements: Beech, +3 knowledge; Bell, +5 warning; Mirror, +7 illusions; Rock Crystal, +5 clairvoyance.
Jester’s Motley (Lesser invested device, enchanted with a permanent Doublet of Impenetrable Silk, providing a Soak of +4).
- Aura of Childlike Innocence (MuIm 10) +22
- Aura of Beguiling Appearance (MuIm 10) +22
- Veil of Invisibility (PeIm 20) +21
- Wizard’s Sidestep (ReIm 10) +22
- Perception of the Conflicting Motives (InMe 15) +22
- Sight of the Transparent Motive (InMe 10) +22
- Summoning the Distant Image (InIm 25) +22
- Trust of Childlike Faith (PeMe 10) +21
- Wizard’s Communion (MuVi 20) +15
- Gift of the Frog’s Legs (ReCo 15) +17
- Wizard’s Leap (ReCo 15) +17
- Disguise of the New Visage (MuCo 15) +17
- Creation of an Undeserved Reputation (CrMe 20) +19
- Burning Issue of the Day (ReMe 30) +22
- Shriek of the Impending Rotten Apples (InHe 15) +16
- Silence of the Smothered Sound (PeIm 20) +21
- Image in a Twisted Mirror: MuMe(Im) 25 (Per/Sun/Part) +22
Stultus doesn’t know where he was born, or what his birth name was. His first memory is a creaking wagon, and his name has always been “Shorty” or “Nose” or “Hey you”. For as long as he can remember, he’s been with Monsieur Carrabeno’s Incredible Traveling Show, a troupe of jongleurs, minstrels, and entertainers, wandering around Northern France with occasional forays into England or the Low Countries. He didn’t consider it a terribly bad childhood: he had to earn his keep from a very young age, but that was par for the course, and there’s a great deal to be said for the wandering life.
The wandering life came to an end with great abruptness in 1183 (He was 12 or so, as best as he can figure). When he went to sleep, he was curled up with a couple of the show’s dogs under Carrabeno’s wagon, in a field outside of Leeds. When he awoke, he was in a goddamned monastery, somewhere that was very obviously NOT Leeds or even close (he didn’t even speak the language!), and the monks seemed to be expecting him to live the life of an oblate. Study? Pray? Stay in one place? Come ON!
He tried to escape, several times. But the monastery was remote, he stood out like a sore thumb in the surrounding area, and dwarf-sized legs couldn’t carry him very far before he was caught — brought back — put on bread and water for a week, and plopped down again behind a desk to keep learning the things they were trying to pound through his thick skull.
This continued for a year or so, slowly becoming more bearable. Stultus had always been good with languages, and he found himself understanding what the monks were saying to him in the vernacular with almost supernatural speed. The languages he was being taught, Latin and Greek, were harder: he found himself able to speak them in very short order, but understanding of the written language came much slower and more laboriously.
He’d been at the monastery for a year when he’d made the discovery. No, the DISCOVERY.
He’d snuck into the abbot’s office, looking for the man’s stash of wine, and was mid-way through searching the place when he heard the abbot returning. Panicking, he scrunched himself into a blind corner formed by some bookshelves, and waited for the abbot to get whatever it was he was after and go away. Apparently, though, the abbot had a guest. Stultus heard them settling in for a long conversation, and accordingly settled in for a long wait.
Half an hour later, he found himself getting rather bored, when his eye was caught by a bookmark dangling from a book on the abbot’s shelf. The bookmark had a woman embroidered on it! A woman with bare breasts!! Very quietly, Stultus pulled the book from the shelf, studied the bookmark in minute detail, and then cracked the book open to see if there were any pictures in it. There were no pictures. There was, however, text…
“Chorus of Men: Let us punish the minxes, every one of us that has balls to boast of. Come, off with our tunics, for a man must savour of manhood; come, my friends, let us strip naked from head to foot. Courage, I say, we who in our day garrisoned Lipsydrion; let us be young again, and shake off eld. If we give them the least hold over us, that’s the end! If they want to mount and ride as cavalry, we had best cashier the knights, for indeed women excel in riding, and have a fine, firm seat for the gallop.
Chorus of Women: By the blessed goddesses, if you anger me, I will let loose the beast of my evil passions, and a very hailstorm of blows will set you yelling for help. Come, dames, off with your tunics, and quick’s the word; women must smell the smell of women in the throes of passion!”
((Yes, that is a real quote. Aristophanes’ ‘Lysistrata’. :D))
This was an eye-opener. The things the monks were trying to teach didn’t have to be dusty and dry and dead and boring. There were whole worlds in those books, worlds full of fun people doing extraordinarily fun things. Stultus buried himself in the book, barely repressing his snickers because it wasan extraordinarily funny and lewd story. He only looked up when he heard the abbot bid his guest goodbye. From his hiding place he watched the abbot exit, and watched the abbot’s guest, a monk, follow. Suddenly, the guest turned his head, and from within the monk’s hood a woman met his eyes — held his gaze for a long moment — and swept out the door without saying a word.
From then on, Stultus paid much more attention to his studies, and supplemented them by sneaking into the abbot’s house on a regular basis, looking for the fun books the abbot kept under lock and key. Aristophanes was followed by Menander, Sophocles, Plautus, Martialis… he’d worked his way through the abbot’s library in a mere few years. He would read anything, up to and including the infirmarian’s recipe for castor oil if nothing else was available. So when he saw the woman again, several years later, and she said she was taking him away to continue his studies elsewhere, his only question was “Have you got any books to read?”
So, that is how Stultus became the apprentice of Cumhachd ex Tytalus.
((OOC note: Gerg, I looked at Tranquillina’s background fairly closely, and tried to work around it. Cumhachd took Stultus as an apprentice less than a year after Tria grabbed Eskil. So that bit of timing works. The interesting part is that Stultus was at a monastery for about 4 years prior to that. Was he intended to be another Tytalus magus’ apprentice? Or did Cumhachd know even that far back that Eskil wasn’t going to work out? Things to consider… :)))
He didn’t have very much trouble during his apprenticeship. His background prepared him very well to recognize the absurdity of the Book of Instruction, and — more to the point — begin to wonder about what that absurdity meant, what the underlying message was. His exposure to the concepts of physis and nomos led him to a re-examination of what he’d learned to that point in the traveling show, and in the writings of the ancients. He found himself musing on the role of mirth in society, on the Saturnalia and the Feast of Fools, on the role of the jester, and on the power of humor to either reinforce or destroy social conventions. He’s neither a Calliclean nor a Hippian. His philosophy is closer to the Hippians, in that he believes that some rules are beneficial to the functioning of society. However, unlike the Hippians, he does not believe those rules are divinely inspired, or that they’re the same rules for every society. He believes every society should develop their own rules, fit for their unique position and place in history.
He’d figured out early on that he wouldn’t be a magus until he was strong enough to take it. Accordingly, he challenged Cumhachd to Certamen at an Eristic moot. He lost, because he’d made sure to pick Cumhachd’s strongest Arts. That was part of his plan — after being defeated, he stood up and launched into an overly-fulsome panegyric to his Mater, extolling her virtues, explaining how and why he wasn’t fit to be a Magus, slowly working in more and more irony, until by the end of it most of the Tytali present were rolling in the aisles and Cumhachd herself was bent over, helpless with laughter, tears streaming from her eyes.
He passed his Gauntlet.
For most of his career as a Magus, he’d traveled widely, and a lot of his time was spent outside the Order’s covenants. He was eager to put his theory into practice. So, he’d show up at a mundane lord’s court and get hired on as a jester, or become a street entertainer in a town. He’d watch the people for a while, pick out a social convention he’d want to change, and set to work… trying to change it through ridicule, humor, sarcasm, any means at his disposal. He would rarely resort to magic — yes, it’s easy to change a mundane’s mind with a spell, but that’s not truly changing it. For that change to be permanent, it has to come from within, as a result of thought and consideration. He thought of his work as preparing the ground for social change, and spreading the seeds. If they flowered, his work was done. And sometimes they wouldn’t flower… and that would mean his work is done too. Most of his activities during that time were in the Normandy and Rhine tribunals — the social upheaval and balkanization made it easy for him to treat a particular small bit of land as his personal social laboratory.
At one point, he found himself invited to join the Cabal of the Crushed Viper. He’d accepted, calling himself Sir Dagonet (go ahead, look it up) but very quickly grew disillusioned with both the cabal’s goals and their methods. He stopped attending meetings, and on several occasions found himself working at cross-purposes to them, or even directly opposing them.
He crossed swords with Cumhachd a dozen times or more: HER particular specialty when dealing with his plots was to pass herself off as a member of the Church hierarchy. He lost about three quarters of the time: the tendency of most mundanes to jump when the Church says “frog” is deeply ingrained, and there wasn’t much he could do about that. His worst defeat, however, didn’t come at Cumhachd’s hands at all.
Stultus had spent a bit of time at the court of Philip II, and grew quite fond of the young Arthur of Brittany. Arthur’s disappearance and rumored death at the hands of John Lackland in 1203 incensed him greatly, and he embarked on a plot to oust John from the throne of England. (Hubris? I’m sorry, what’s that?) His chosen vehicle was Eleanor of Brittany, Arthur’s sister, imprisoned by John at Corfe castle. Stultus spent almost five years setting up her rescue: found a small covenant in Wales that he convinced, through the use of one of his agents, to take in “a young noblewoman whose uncle was after her inheritance”, found a body double for Eleanor, came up with a magical item to make the double think she WAS Eleanor, found a route by which he could infiltrate Corfe… everything was almost ready.
Two magi he’d never seen before, with faces and voices masked, waylaid him and told him in no uncertain terms to desist. He was prepared to argue his case, and even challenged them to Certamen. To his shock, they attacked him instead. His Parma held for a while, but he’s not a combat magus. He was badly injured, and left for dead. There is no doubt in his mind that they meant to kill him, especially since — once he recovered from his wounds — he’d found the double dead, the magical item destroyed, the agent he’d used to deceive the Welsh covenant also dead, his entire agent network in the British Isles rolled up and demolished, and the Welsh covenant itself Wizard’s Marched on a flimsy pretext. Someone had gone to great effort to make sure of things…
Stultus confronted Cumhachd about the incident some time later, demanding to know whether she’d had anything to do with it. She seemed genuinely horrified, and that sort of direct action would have been very out of character for her, or indeed for any Tytalus, so he took her word for it. She was just as much at a loss as Stultus in figuring out who COULD have been behind it. Or perhaps she had some guesses but wasn’t willing to state them out loud….
Stultus had stuck to smaller, subtler plots since then, and stayed out of the British Isles, not even bothering to rebuild his network there. After a while, his modus operandi began to lose its savor a bit. The only times he’d enjoyed himself anymore were when there was a Magus on the other side: Cumhachd, or one of the Crushed Viper folks. (Like the time he kept a young idealist of a Flambeau from getting used as a patsy by a Rhine covenant — that was a lot of fun.) So he’d slowly come to realize that perhaps mundane politics weren’t a worthy target for him anymore, that perhaps the challenge he craved could be found in Hermetic politics instead.
Then his Longevity Ritual failed, and failed badly. So he began asking around for Corpus magi to help him craft a new one, and Mons Electi (( that IS the name of the covenant, right?)) came to his attention. A covenant full of Corpus specialists, which boasted the aforementioned young Flambeau as one of its members… and best of all, another member was Cumhachd’s former pupil, the one she’s been so disappointed in, the one who went Bonisagus! The more he looked at it, the more Mons Electi seemed to offer a great deal of very fun possibilities…