Corylus the Poetess, Bard of Amurgsval, filia of Visitor Somni, follower of
Description and Reputations
Corylus ["Hazel"] is a smallish, slim
woman, with long wavy blonde hair and dark, wild eyes. She is unusually pale
for a Byzantine, and her face and arms are covered in Criamon tattoo's of
mystical symbols in many colors. (Anyone with a score in Enigmatic Wisdom will
be able to tell from these that she has gone Twilight several times: some of
the other symbols are obscure.) She appears to be in her late twenties or early
thirties. Typically she wears a green dress with yellow, green, and red floral
embroidery. When adventuring she sometimes wears a men's brown tunic, grey
trews, sleveless embroidered sheepskin jacket, and brown cloak. On certain
ceremonial occasions she wears a blue hooded, full-sleved bard's robe. She
normally carries a slim hazel staff, topped by a masterfully-worked statue of a
thrush and foliage in seelie and unseelie iron set with many gems. Her eating
knife and the metal fittings of her clothes are all bronze or copper.
Corylus is original, creative, fey, curious, strong willed, driven,
ambitious, and loves teaching. She has an aversion to logic (much prefering
metaphor, intuition, mysticism and poetry), shows no interest in men, and tends
to blush on those occasions when she notices rude jokes or flirtation. She is,
surprisingly for a Criamon, a politician and diplomat, as well as being a poet, a
theoretician, and a mystic.
Corylus has a reputation (particularly amoung those interested in Hermetic
Politics) as one of the few people to have managed to outmaneuver House Tremere
at a Grand Tribunal, gained when she masterminded Amurgsval leaving the
Transylvanian Tribunal and joining the Novgorod Tribunal, while also winning
control of a disputed vis source, defending several covenmates from charges of
breaking the primary code during an incident in which a Tremere died, arranging
the exposure of a Tremere vampire, and forcing the Transyvanian Tribunal to
make recompense to the faeries of the area for the many instances in which the
faeries had been molested. If asked about this, she will explain it away as a
combination of beginner's luck and surprise, which she does not expect to be
able to replicate. "The fact that we had almost a quarter again as many sigils
as any of the Tremere factions believed we could possibly have upset their
political calculations: we will not have that advantage again!"
Corylus also has a repution (particularly amoung Criamon) as someone who can
ask riddles which, if solved, may send the solver into Twilight. One story that
might be heard from a Redcap or other traveller is the time that she, with the
permission of his covenmates, summoned the ghost of Pyreseus, a senior Flambeau
from the Constantinople Covenant who had recently died (while attacking the
Hagia Sophia during the confusion produced by the Crusade that attacked
Constantinople) and propelled his ghost into Final Twilight with her riddling.
In the course of his Final Twilight he left behind something resembling a fire
elemental, which damaged the private chapel of a Christian member of the
Constantinople Covenant before it could be destroyed.
Corylus is atypical for a Criamon in that she is not secretive (she is a member the
Juliasta faction). Indeed, she believes that entire order should study some Enigmatic
Wisdom. She will explain to anyone who seems willing to listen that a journeyman's
knowlege of Enigmatic Wisdom, such as that gained by two or three seasons study of a good
text, considerably decreases the amount by which an episode of Twilight pushes a mage
towards Final Twilight, and noticably increases the chance that the effects of that
Twilight are beneficial rather than harmful. She recommends that all apprentices should
be taught this much as part of their standard hermetic training, and is writing a text
entitled "Upon Returning From Twilight and Gaining Power From The Experience" [an Enigmatic
Wisdom 4 text, with a speciality of Twilight, written for a non-Criamon audience].
Corylus is also fascinated by the boundaries of Hermetic Magic, and by those forms of
non-hermetic magic that show promise of allowing those boundaries to be broken. She knows
some Faerie Magic (taught to her by Felis Umbrosus), but regards that field as not
requiring her further study: there is, after all, and entire House devoted to combining
Hermetic and Faerie magic, and the subject is well understood. She is currently training
to become a shaman (she and a senior shaman have apprenticed each other - she is slowly
teaching him Hermetic Magic and he is slowly teaching her Shamanism). She is also
actively doing research into Morphogenic Structure, which she explains is an extension to
Hermetic Magic, utilizing some of the ideas of Pythogoras upon the relationship of shape,
number, and music to reality, that promises to make it possible to detect and change the
fundamental nature of creatures and places. If pressed for proof, she will mention that
she has researched a rank 9 MuHe(ViAqAuIgTe) ritual to create a strain of true-breeding
blue roses the like of which never existed before. She will also mention that she has
successfuly detected the true form that a seed should grow into in a way that would not
be decieved by Muto magics.
Corylus loves teaching, and despite having been a magus for less than four decades,
already has three graduated apprentices (two are twins, and she will hasten to explain
that while they have two bodies, they are only one magus/maga, having one Gift between
Corylus has an interest in Vim, particularly in metamagic. The Hermetic spells she is
proudest of inventing are Wizard's Throw 40 and Wizard's Hold 40, two variants of
Wizard's Boost that affect Range and Duration respectively, rather than raw Power, and
Pierce the Arcane Shield 45, a Rego Vim metamagic that will, if it penetrates magic
resistance, carry another spell of equal or lesser rank through.
- House Bjornaer: "Like several of the Houses of the Order, they know certain
non-Hermetic secrets, and these have strengthened them. Their shapeshifting tallents are
useful and subtle, but they are not the full masters of them. There are those who know
more of this art, and members of this House would be wise to seek the spring from which
Bjornaer drew his knowlege if they wish to truely understand their heritage. Any why go
into the woods if you will not dance with the dryads?"
- House Bonisagus: "Their founder was a genius. Since then, too many of them have
been unwilling to do anything more than putter around his laboratory shining the
glassware. They need to add a new wing or three."
- House Criamon: "You cannot hoard what descends unbidden upon all. Travel
with those who can walk the paths of spirits and dreams to the far-off Heart of the
- House Díedne: "Another house with non-Hermetic secrets, now sadly lost.
If their sins were not just Tremere propaganda, gangrene is still best treated by amputation
and cauterisation, not beheading."
- House Flambeau: "They have more to gain from studying the Wisdom of the Enigma
than any other house. Ask Vector Tempestatum."
- House Guernicus: "Who will watch the watchers? When the judges no longer
laugh, the Order will shatter and burn."
- House Jerbiton: "The greatest craftmen are the Gods, but on occasion it is
useful to have someone who can speak with townsfolk and princes and the like."
- House Mercere: "Their dedication is exemplary. If you can aid them, do so."
- House Merinita: "When you live with Faerie Woods for leagues in every
direction, having a skilled Merinita on hand to speak to your Good Neighbours is
essential. Of all the Houses that know non-Hermetic secrets, they have perhaps been the
most successful at combining what they know with Hermetic magic to create something
greater. If you ever get the chance - and the blessing of the Queen of the Woods - to learn
their magics from one of them, do so. If naught else, it will stand you in good stead when you
find yourself deep in Faerie where Hermetic Magic becomes uncertain."
- House ex Miscellanea: "Too often we treat them as if they were the student and
we the master. A road leads in both directions."
- House Tremere: "Probably the most dangerous House of the Order, as they
understand that the Many can achieve more than the One, but not that the Many are wiser
than the One. If you see a Tremere smile, check his teeth."
- House Tytalus: "I propose a contest: let us see which of us can achieve more
this year through cooperation with others. Or perhaps you would prefer a riddle-game?"
- House Verditius: "All those I have met have been jolly, kindly, skilled,
and wise. And while their Formulaic spellcasting may leave something to be desired, if
one points a wand or staff at an enemy, the results are often worthy of a Flambeau."
- Mundanes: "The Enigma is in everything, not just in Magic: it can be found
under hedgerows as well as in books. It is a pity that so many of them fear us, but it is
natural to fear what you do not know. Do what you can to avoid alarming them and to let
them know that magic can be helpful in the everyday."
- Demons and the Infernal: "Yahweh's shadow. I for one would be happy never to
have seen either Light or Shadow. Never trust them, never be sure you have outwitted or
mastered or can cope with them, and remember that only faeries or holy men can see
through their illusions, and that the stronger ones are inmmune to any Demon's Eternal
Oblivion, Circular Ward, or Aegis you can hope to learn."
- The Church and the Dominion: "A sleeping Giant. If he chose to, he could swat
the Order like a nest of bugs. Tiptoe past, unless you find a way to poison him in his
- Enigmatic Wisdom: "Any magus who may ever come face to face with Twilight - and
that is every magus - should study the nature of Twilight. A few seasons' study of a good
text will greatly help an apprentice or young magus when they later encounter Twilight.
An older magus who has already gone Twilight a couple of times would be well advised to
spend a year or two with an excellent text: it will both extend his time on this world and
improve his time in the one he is going to."
- Shamans: "Every Criamon should speak with and travel the Spirit World with a
shaman. They possess the power to send their spirit from their body and travel, through
the lands where dreams and spirits walk, across the great barrier to the Twilight Void,
which they call the "Far Lands", and to return - with luck - unscathed. I have travelled
thus with one, have accompanied my Parens thus as he passed into Final Twilight, and have
met what seemed to be Criamon himself there. He gave me this tattoo (she gestures to what those
with Enigmatic Wisdom can tell is an odd variant on one of the older "I went Twilight
and..." tattoos). If you have the chance, study with one to become a shaman yourself:
this will require a major restructuring of your Gift, but such can be achieved in the Far
Lands if you dare."
- Morphogenic Structure: "Bonisagus was a genius. He built a comprehensive theory
of magic based upon the philosophy of Plato. But anyone who has looked into the matter
can tell that this theory, while powerful and flexible, does not by itself allow one to
do everything that can be done through Magic: look at the spells that only a Merinita can
cast, or the skills of House Bjornaer, let along those of fully non-hermetic magicians
such as Shamans. Morphogenic Structure is a way of extending Bonisagus' theory to include
the philosopy of Pythagorus, in particular his teachings on the significance of shape,
number, form, and music. It was invented by Cantus Verus ["True Song"], a genius of
almost Bonisagus' stature, and developed further by Larvarum Factor ["Spirit Maker"] of
Ex Miscellanea in Constantinople and by myself and my fillii in Amurgsval. It allows us
to affect the nature of things at a more fundamental level than Plato's shadows of Forms;
it makes it possible to change the True Nature of things. Using it, I have created a
strain of true-breeding blue roses that never existed before. The children and
grandchildren are as blue as their parents, as blue as the irises from which I took their
color, but not even spells to detect Lingering Magics can tell them from a natural plant.
This was not easy: I know more of Morphogenic Structure than a beginning magus
knows of Magic Theory; the ritual to change the roses is a Muto Herbam of the ninth rank
with requisites in Vim and all four elements; and researching it required detailed
knowlege of mathematics, philosopy, and the anatomy of plants, plus most of a season of
tedious calculations to determine how to combine the structures of a rose and an iris. At
the end of which, I got an effect that any magus with passing knowlege of Herbam could
create permanently with a formulaic of perhaps the third rank. But mine is a real blue
rose, and theirs is but an outer change: it will return to its original state if
dispelled, and its offspring will not reliably inherit its change. Once I have studied
the subject a little more, I hope to write a text upon it, and to have several copies
scribed and traded to covenants across the Order. Perhaps you would be interested in one,
once I have written it and have copies for trade? But remember that with Power comes
sheet! for Corylus is also available.