The Principality of (Mythic) Andorra, centered on the castle at Andorra La Vella, was established by Charlemagne as one of the Spanish Marches created as a barrier against invasion. According to tradition, the Andorrans were granted sovereignty over their lands as a reward for valiant and stalwart service against the Moors. Centuries latter, Andorra and her sovereignty were forgotten about by the outside world. On occasion, the Counts of Urgel (in Spain) and Toulouse (in France) allege lordship over Andorra, sometimes squabbling over their disputed claims. Neither has ever visited though, and they are not likely to press their claim anytime soon (IRL, the historic Andorra was designated as a jointly ruled status sometime in the 1260's, but other than paying lip service to it, they remain independent and govern their own affairs to this very day in the 21st century).
Maxamillian of Jerbiton was one of the Andorran people at that time, and with his Gentle Gift, he covertly assisted the Knights of Charlemagne in their battle. Maxamillian was thought of as more aggressive than other magi of his House, mainly because of his background as a knight. The lore of Andorra, as recorded, occasionally makes the mistake of referring to him as Maxamillian of Flambeau. Though he did have many associations with that House, he had never joined them (nor did he desire too). However, some descendants of his magical lineage did migrate over to House Flambeau, and at times they distorted the record of history.
In the spirit of the self sovereign culture that was the gift of Charlemagne, Maximillian claimed allodial title over the site of an old Roman ruin, a fallen temple with a magic aura. He also invested in the town of Arans, buying up property and hiring on villagers as employees & retainers. He built a tiny keep on the site of the aura, along a mountain plateau that overlooks the town. Since then, the keep has grown into a small castle, and is well fortified with mundane and magical reinforcement. However, though it is a castle, is situated so remotely that it isn’t considered a threat by any means. And we are not the only alodial property owners to build fortified homes in these mountains. And, as an allod, he was able to lawfully designate the covenant as a whole as his rightful heirs.
The Legal State of Andorra
Mirroring events of the mundane world, the tribunal jurisdiction of Andorra is in dispute. When first established in 807, they were originally part of the Val-Negra Tribunal; and in fact they have the only existing unmodified charter granted by Val-Negra. The Duresca Charter was also issued by Val Negra, but was modified and amended by the Grand Tribunal ruling to be placed in the jurisdiction of Iberia. Andorra was never reassigned jurisdiction when the Grand Tribunal ordered the partition of 1096. The reason for this is because covenant ha slipped into the obscurity of winter. They had lost contact with the outside world during the Schism War, and no one had heard from them in almost a century.
Their isolation did not last long thereafter though. Though it languished in winter and was all but forgotten, the Light was never extinguished. They were rediscovered in 1111 AD by a magus named Francisco Florenzo of Flambeau. He and a few members of his societates, the Knights of Seneca, came to Andorra while on the trail to uncover the truth behind some of their own legends. Apparently the parens of Valdarius of Flambeau was Gregorio of Verditius, who had been a member of Andorra. Valdarius, founder of that lineage within the Knights of Seneca, had renounced his original House during the Schism War, accusing them of timid inaction and double dealing. He was the amicus of Delendos of Flambeau, and together they founded the Knights of Seneca during the Schism War. Allegedly they both used Andorra as a strategic retreat during the War, and the artifacts and manuscripts discovered here indicate that this was indeed true.
When first rediscovered, all the magi of Andorra had all passed into mortality or twilight. All save one that is, a magus named Schroeder of Bonisagus. Ancient and twilight scarred, he greeted the newcomers as if he had been expecting them, and threw wide open the doors of the withered legacy of a once great covenant. Infused with new blood, the Council of the Covenant of Andorra reconstituted itself under his authority. They all affirmed their allegiance and swore the Oath of the ancient covenant’s Charter. Schroeder passed into Final Twilight shortly thereafter, but the Covenant of Andorra was rejuvenated with a New Spring.
As mentioned above, Quaesitors have ruled that only the Grand Tribunal has the authority to force a decision on them. Other pressures could be brought to bear, but so far no one seems to be too concerned with the matter and it seems beneath the notice of the Grand Tribunal. Political savvy has allowed them to manage well thus far. If any magus of theirs causes a transgression, they will resolve it in the Tribunal in which it occurred. If another magus transgresses against one of them, they take the matter to the Tribunal of the offender. They must maintain vigilance, lest an enemy use this quirk again them, or worse yet, lest an internal conflict disrupt this delicate balance.
Wealth and Magic
Andorra *was* rich in many resources; ancient, old, and new. Some items that were in their collection of texts and artifacts dated back to the early days of the Order, and the Knights of Seneca brought many items with them from the dissolved Covenant of Valencia. But much of this is now gone. An attack from an unknown assailant had occurred recently, while many members were away on personal business. They returned to discover the covenfolk were all dead or missing, and the Archmagus Antonio had gone missing. In addition, many of the aformentioned treasures and relics were plundered. Their vis stocks were also plundered, material wealth taken, and the library caught fire.
But Andorra is still wealthy in secure resources. Though the vis they stored was taken, their vis sources were unaffected. However, without the Mercere house that was once associated with the covenant, they have lost the benefit of the 1-to-1 trading ratio they had enjoyed. A ratio of 2-to-1 is the norm, but it may be possible to negotiate more favorable terms once stocks have grown again (as the Mercere need a variety to continue their profitable trade). The same is true for their mundane resources. Though robbed of silver as well as gold & priceless jewels, most of the covenant money is outside the castle; invested in property and kept in Mercere banks. None of this was affected by the raiders.
The Covenant has vacillated between various interests and allegiances for some time now, and they may be soon forced to make some serious decisions. House Flambeau has always been a presence, but the irony is that the majority of members are usually from other Houses. The Flambeau societas known as the Knights of Seneca is the main source of that influence, legend claiming that this was once the home of two of their founding members; Delendos of Flambeau and Valdarius formerly of Verditius but turned Flambeau during the Schism War (he accused his house mates of timid inaction and double dealing). The Senecans come and go, and usually one or more become members of the covenant. But they are not based here. Members of the Knights of Seneca in the 13th century are scattered throughout a handful of other covenants such as Doisettepp, Campus Ares, Para Belli, Novus Mane, Mons Electi, and etceteras.
House Mercere has also traditionally been a strong influence, and for a long time a Mercere house was based here along with at least one Mercere magus covenant member. But it appears that those days are over, unless the magi can convince the Mercere to return and reinvest (in the attack, though all of their staff and personelle were also slain or gone missing, none of the resources stored in their private vault were touched.
The recent history of Andorra has also been quite active. Leaving aside the famous exploits of the missing Archmagus, the magi of modern Andorra have been involved in magical discoveries and legendary achievements. They formed an expedition that discovered lost Val-Negra and met with the ghosts of magi that still dwell there. They also flushed the renegade known as Metron out of hiding, and eventually tracked him down. Metron was stripped of his power and brought to Duresca by Octavian of Tremere so that the rogue could face a just trial. Metron now sits rotting in a dungeon cell (a wizard's prison), languishing in remorse for his past crimes and praying for the Lord to have mercy on him. The magi also mounted an expedition to the fabled Arc of Fire, and liberated a city of jinn from a tyranical efreet (or so the story recorded by Rodrigo of Mercere claims).
The current state of affairs is as mentioned above, the covenant was recently attacked and raided, and their eldest magus disappeared. But Andorra carries on. The covenant council, called to order by Carmen, set forth a plan to heal and reinvigorate themselves. This has not been that difficult as of yet, for as mentioned, most of the covenant's wealth and resources were outside of the castle.
This is the current goal of the covenant, restore and rebuild stronger than ever before.
One more glitch. The old original charter issued by the Val-Negra tribunal, that legal document which was never invalidated and delcares their independent status. It is missing. Doubtful that it was stolen, this priceless document was likely lost in the fire. Or hidden by the missing Archmagus so well that we will never find it. On the positive side: all the old archaic rules and ranks are gone, swept away. The by-laws document, based on said charter, is being rewritten. But still, it is in the covenant's best interest to keep secret the fact that the original charter is missing.