He was accepted into a band of almogavars when he was 14, proving himself in battle when he killed a man with a sword during a midnight raid on the camp. The mercenary company was secretly operated by a Flambeau magus with the Gentle Gift, Joel Muniz of the Knights of Seneca. He had recruited the boy to become his apprentice, treating him as a shield grog and training him in the field.
When Joel was slain at Las Navas de Tolosa, Roberto earned his battlefield gauntlet by avenging his master. Joel's infamy became known posthumously, and his stigma lingers upon Roberto. Afterwards, Roberto completed his actual training while he followed his mentor Santiago during the Shadow Wars. Santiago killed Rassus in 1219 (to all appearances), and in 1220, Santiago sent him to Normandy to participate in the revitalization of Novus Mane (also to get him away from his parens' infamy to build his own legacy).
He had several adventures during this time and got a taste for life at sea.
In 1227, again at the request of Santiago, Roberto transferred to Mons Electi to investigate a mystery. He failed at that, but his presence was a catalyst that enabled other magi of that covenant to resolve matters. He was then called upon for help concerning the theft of a book concerning a magical artifact known as the Alabaster Lioness, and the intrigues of an old infernalist enemy of his.
After killing the enemy and foiling his plot, the expedition was diverted to the underwater city of Heracleion ruled by Princess Soteira.
After a short adventure and an amorous encounter, the princess became Roberto's True Love.
He also (somehow) developed the Gentle Gift (fluff: True Love heals the Gift).
After returning to Mons Electi, Roberto was continuously restless and often returned to the sea to visit his beloved (their favorite romantic secluded spot is a beach in Ibiza). Eventually Roberto could stand it no more, and he has relocated himself and his entourage to the Baelric Islands so as to be closer to his beloved.
These are the major events of Roberto's life…
- 1190 AD: Born January 31st; normal childhood, baptized at the regular age, taught to fight by father and educated by mother.
- 1200 AD: Orphaned at age ten; father killed in battle, mother dies from collapsing burning building after she saves her son, wanders the next few years associating with gangs of ruffians and thus, gift emerging make social life hard, joins a band of almogavars and first kills a man in battle at age 14
- 1205 AD: Apprenticed by Joel Munis of Flambeau; served as a soldier in his mercenary company and as his shield grog, participated in the Reconquista
- 1212 AD: Battlefield Gauntlet; Joel is killed during the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa and avenged by Roberto, Joel's crimes of mundane interference are exposed but Roberto is not held responsible (instead gaining the Infamous Parens Flaw), Santiago becomes his mentor and he is his side kick during the Shadow Wars.
- 1219 AD: Santiago kills Rassus (to all appearances and investigations that follow) and the twins Relegare & Releganta are captured, Santiago decides that Roberto has completed his training (his true Gauntlet) and that it is time for him to make his own way in the world.
- 1220 AD: Sent to Normandy to help revitalize the covenant of Novus Mane (meets Aleianusm Havlard, Iolar, and Wirth); many adventures (Ugly Pete the Pirate, the Sea Hag, Temple of Nehalenia, Sangria in Toledo, Revenant of Ugly Pete, Witches of Thesally, Bone Merchant, Golden Scythe, and others); becomes Amicus with Wirth of Flambeau, meets the VanHalen crime family and helps Wirth to (semi) reform them, meets Reginald of Tytalus, twice encounters Leolinus, flys a ship, wins commune rights for Novus Mane after triumphing in single combat followed up by successful negotiations, kills Releganta (or so it seems), first meets Cidito (though doesn't realize he is magical at first), encounters Lord Soulis, Marcello goes missing, Roberto hangs out at Betty VanHalen's tavern a lot hanging out with Wirth and his "reformed" pirates.
- 1227 AD: At the request and recommendation of Santiago, Roberto transfers to the covenant of Mons Electi in the Ruins of Bibracte (meets Alexi, Fiona, Korvisn, Jaques, Marcus, Tranquillina, and others); sent to investigate conspiracies and mysteries, not so successful (he is a soldier not a detective), but his presence is a lightning rod that allows others to solve the problem (Valarain & Rotigers are brought to justice by Alexi at the Tribunal); Roberto ranks in the Quarter-Finals of the Dimicatio tournament and gains the notice of Carmine of Flambeau (wife of Priumus Andru of Jerbiton)
- 1228 AD: Makes Cidito, who had followed him from Novus Mane, his Familiar; Stulatus (Payaso Magnifico) joins Mons Electi, Crumhachd stirs trouble with Tranquillina and Stulatus and steals a book; other intrigues
- 1229 AD: on behalf of Carmine of Flambeau, Roberto forms the Alabaster Lioness Expedition to recover a stolen book and face his old enemy Leolinus; travels to Cairo, everything goes awry, manages to pull it off anyway (though with sacrifices, such as the death of Pedro).
- 1230 AD: Travels to the undersea city of Heracleion, battles a sea serpent, falls in love with Princess Soteira (ruler of the Tritons of Heracleion)
- 1231 AD: Returns to Mons Electi, is often restless, and the nest year he buys some beachfront property in Ibiza
- 1233: Buys a small ship and gathers his entourage and relocates to Ibiza; twice encounters pirates and avoids them, encounters pirates with a hedge wizard attacking a merchant ship and is compelled to intervene; kills the hedge wizard, torches the pirate ship, and rescues the merchant; earns praise from mundanes and suspicion from magi
Roberto Miguel Rodruigez-Oestridez was born on the borderlands of New Castile in 1190. His father, Clemente Rodruigez-Vasquez, was once a mercenary caballero villano, now a retired farmer and prosperous freeman of a newly chartered fuero. His mother, Maria Oestidez, was a Christian Mozarab from Málaga in Andalusia , and like Roberto was destined to become, a war orphan and a refugee from her home. Roberto's father raised him to be fierce and assertive after his own example. His mother is the one who instilled his deeply rooted faith in Christianity and his in introspective sense of honor.
He was orphaned in 1200 when his home was razed by Almorhade raiders from a nearby tafia. His father died in combat defending against the invaders, taking several down before he fell, His mother died when their burning house collapsed upon her; Maria's last desperate act was to shove her young son out the window. When it was all over, young Roberto emerged from his hiding place, recovered his father's sword and his mother's ring, and wandered off too grief stricken for tears.
No one wanted to take the young child in, for they were disturbed by the effects of his emerging Gift. A monastery took him in for a short time, but sent him on his way after the fire that was blamed on him.
So he kept wandering and fell in with gangs of thugs and ruffians who would begrudgingly accept him because of his courage and sheer tenacity. But these fleeting friendships never lasted long.
When he was 14 he joined a band of Almogavars, the Sergovia Company. Initially he served as a lackey and errand boy, and the men of the company often distrusted him and hazed him. But Roberto endured, and again earned begrudging respect because of his boldness and endurance of character. And more so because he proved himself in battle early on during a midnight raid upon the camp. He surprised a stealthy infiltrator, the first man he ever killed, then lit a bonfire and sounded the alarm.
Afterwards he was taken to the side by the leader of the company and recruited for special duties. Joel Muniz, the company captain (or Almogaten), was secretly a Flambeau magus with the Gentle Gift. He had recruited the angst ridden young lad into the Sergovia Company, and now that he had demonstrated capability, decided to initiate him as his apprentice. The captain's special interest in the boy cause some jealousy and resentment, despite having proven himself in battle (again, because of the Gift). But Roberto's knowledge of warrior culture and bold willingness to prove himself time and again helped him to overcome this.
Roberto received no special treatment or extra privilege, nor did he live the safe life of a student and lab assistant. Instead of using him as a lab assistant or tasking him to wizardly chores, Roberto's master employed him as a shield grog on his many adventures and expeditions. Joel pursued a relentless grudge against the Almohades, which Roberto enthusiastically participated in at the time. He was trained rigorously in the field, taught how to use his magic to his best tactical advantage, and more importantly, to master each and every spell he knew.
Roberto earned his Gauntlet on the field of battle in 1212 at Las Navas de Tolosa, as attested to by his Mentor Santiago of Flambeau. Joel was slain in the battle, caught by surprise by an axe wielding ghul conjured by an enemy sorcerer. Roberto killed the sorcerer with a trio of fire-bolts, and the ghul he killed in hand-to-hand combat.
Though Reconquista forces won the day, there was a heavy price. Many lives were lost that day, and many grudges were born. More than half of the Sergovia company was wiped out, and many others were crippled for life and/or mentally scarred.
Joel Muniz's infamy is posthumous, for it was only after his death that his activities became known. As he was only an apprentice, Roberto could not be held guilty of breaking the Code. The Knights of Seneca, the societas of both Joel and Santiago, advocated on his behalf and inducted him as one of their own. Santiago's involvement as a follower of Joel (who was his mentor) and his participation at Las Navas is his own Dark Secret.
The Shadow Wars
Roberto followed Santiago for the next few years during the Shadow Wars, and was a witness when Santiago had killed Rassus (or so it seemed) during a pitched battle in Asturias. This "second apprenticeship" was an influential period in Roberto's life. Santiago taught him to be more subtle and restrained in his methods, instilled in him a sense of duty and integrity, and tried to steer him to a more enlightened mindset. To this day, Roberto will repeat the didactic tidbits learned from Santiago in the form of quotes and parables.
Indeed, Roberto no longer hungers for war or even violence. He had satiated his vengeance during his apprenticeship, and in fact will reflect back upon those years with some regrets.
But he will never talk about it. Rather, Roberto seeks adventure and to champion the cause of justice.
However, because of the infamy of his pater, other magi look at him with scorn, expecting him to be nothing more than a blood-thirsty hot head. The fact that he is overconfident and reckless does not help to assuage this reputation, but his confidence and skill help him accomplish some pretty daring deeds.
Santiago uses this to steer Roberto towards activities that will reverse the negative reputation that is the legacy of Roberto's parens.
The Novus Mane Cycle
After the death of Rassus, Santiago decided it was time for Roberto to strike off on his own and blaze his own path (his "second gauntlet", which mathematically equals the character *at* Gauntlet).
After a baptismal ceremony at the Tagus River, Roberto is told to go to Novus Mane in Normandy. He collects his gear, gathers his followers (Carlos, Pedro, and Marcello), and heads off North. He is sent at the request and recommendation of Santiago, who was friends with the Pontifix of Novus Mane. However, the old magus had died and his filius Aelianus of Verditius was the new Pontifex.
Roberto was readily accepted though, and met the other new magi of Novus Mane; namely Iolar of Bjornaer, Havlard Ex-Miscellanea, and Wirth of Flambeau (who would become his amicus).
The Novus Mane era included many interesting events and adventures.
One of the first things to happen was a magical storm conjured by a Sea Hag that killed the pirate leader known as Ugly Pete. This same storm also wiped out the docks at Novus Mane and a few small ships (as well as Pete's ship). This is also when Johan encountered the Sea Hag as a child and suffered Warping as a result.
The magi rebuilt the docks and reorganized the pirates as the custos and grogs of their covenant. During the expedition to the sunken temple of Nehalina, on ship with Joan's father at the helm (Johan Sr), the magi were attacked by Hermetic pirates exploiting Normandy's corrupt banditry laws. Johan Sr. outsailed them, Wirth jumped into the ocean and turned gigantic and seized their ship, and Roberto forced their captain to surrender at the point of his sword (Join us or Die!).
After the Temple of Nehalina it was discovered that Ugly Pete had been transformed into a zombie pirate by the sea hag. Pete was later destroyed by Alianus of Verditius and Havlard Ex-Miscellanea.
In another adventure, Sangria in Toledo, Roberto exposed Leolinus of Jerbiton as a corrupt infernalist and a murderer. Leolinus, and his master Jabl Tariq, would prove to be trouble again in the future. He travelled to Greece with Iolar of Bjornaer, aiding Wirth in seeking a Mystery that would allow him to form magical bonds with his wife. There, he fought against some of the Witches of Thesally and killed their coven leader with fire.
In the Bone Merchant, Roberto and the others went to the Stonehenge Tribunal to confront the infamous Lord Soulis, allied with Leolinus. On their ship, Roberto used his magic to pick it up and fly in over turbulent seas caused by evil spirits (though they were capsized by several giant waterspouts and rescued by Divine intervention).
There were other adventures and dramatic episodes, such as when Roberto averted an attack on the covenant by challenging the enemy leader to single combat and defeating him, establishing Novus Mane as a legal Commune, the Golden Scythe, and more.
The Ruins of Bibracte
In 1227, again at the request and recommendation of Santiago, Roberto transfers to the Covenant of Mons Electi in the Ruins of Bibracte.
The intent was for Roberto to investigate the attempted assassination of Garus (alternate reality) and other intrigues.
He wasn't very successful at this (he is a soldier, not a detective), but his presence was a lightning rod that allowed others to resolve these issues. Alexi VonKroitsau of Flambeau exposed the crimes of Valarian of Gurnicus and Rotigers of Flambeau, and having brought them to justice, was unanimously elected Chief Hoplite of the Normandy Tribunal.
There were numerous other important events of his life during this period.
He was followed from Novus Mane by a huge orange one-eyed tabby cat, one that he used to feed milk to. Surprised to see him, not knowing that he was a magical cat with the power to teleport if unobserved (as well as sleep invisibly in a fireplace), Roberto rhetorically asked if he was the same cat from Novus Mane. The cat replied "Yep, er, I mean, *Meow*?".
With the cat's enthusiastic consent, Roberto made him his Familiar and named him Don Diaz. He quickly acquired the nickname "Cidito", and Roberto's taste for wine.
Then his grog Carlos had a brief love affair with the maga Fiona, but his interest waned because of his jealousy over Korvin of Mercere. Johan took up the habit of boxing chickens and cockfights, and was embarrassed when he lost a bar fight so he took up arm wrestling. Then there was the issue with Payaso and Tranquilina and Crumcrachd and the stolen book. Knowing he was right all along gave Roberto no sense of satisfaction, just frustration. Marcus of Tytalus was ever a thorn in his side, but a wise thorn.
Odyssey of the Alabaster Lioness
Then there is the matter of the Alabaster Lioness.
Roberto was approached for a request of assistance by Carmine of Flambeau, wife of the Primus Andru of Jerbiton.
He gained her attention when he defeated her sister at Dimicatio during the 1227 tribunal, earning a place in the semi-finals (which he lost). Seeing how determined and resourceful he performed under pressure, she knew he was the right man for the job. And the opposition was an old enemy of his, Leolinus, whom he thought was dead (killed by Lord Soulis).
Andru had recently acquired a text concerning an ancient Egyptian artifact known as the Alabaster Lioness, supposedly some sort of "soul jar". The text was being copied, but work had scarcely just begun when a thief absconded with it one night. All that was left was a few pages and a diagram that were copied. The thief, it was learned, once had ties to Leolinus. And he dropped the knife he used to kill the watchman.
They traced him to Cairo, and through there agents they learned that Leolinus was indeed still alive, and again in cahoots with the renegade sahir Jabl Tariq. Roberto agreed to help, and the only favor he asked in return was a bottle of wine of Jerez. Carmine promised him a cask.
Roberto assembled his entourage; his personal grogs and long time friends Carlos & Pedro, his almogavar hirelings Allen and Albert, a few of the grogs of Mons Electi such as Wen, Daykin, Ache, Villaume, and Miroslav, and a mysterious rabbi named Pinchas. The journey started off by using the covenant's Mercere Portal to go to Harco, then from there using another portal to Valnastium.
Cidito was disappointed he did not get to meet with the King of Cat's, Andru's familiar, as they were away on other business. But they did meet up with Carmine's son Felo, who was to accompany and guide Roberto on his mission. From there they all went to Venice, where a magus named Aeolus of Flambeau was to take them all to Cairo his magical flying ship.
That's where things took a turn for the unexpected.
Johan VanHalen Junior, at that time just a young grog and tough guy, had acquired Waring and a Malediction as a result of his Encounter with the Sea Hag a few years earlier. He was afflicted with a prohibition against riding on ships with a woman aboard.
Though he was magically sedated to shut him up, the flying ship mysteriously would not lift off. Roberto thought to put the lad aboard a life-raft, make it float, and tow him. It just so happened that Aeolus had a small mundane skiff, and laughed as Roberto tried and failed to make it levitate (after hearing him brag about how he flew a ship over the English channel).
Aeolus knew the spell and had it well mastered, and did the trick for him. Johan woke up aboard the floating skiff in tow with Cidito sitting on his chest offering him a bottle of wine. Drinking, fuming in resentment, Johan concocted a plan to rig a sail, cut the floating skiff free, and steer the winds himself. Ever the mischievous feline, Cidito swiped a sunk of cloth from Aeolus' stores, and they went to work. Unbeknown to them, it was magical sailcloth. They cut the tow line, hoisted the sail, and the ship took of like a bat out of hell and plunged into the sea. Magically surrounded by a bubble of air, Aeolus explained that they were headed to meet Poseidon himself and would have to bargain for their lives and more air.
Aeolus was understandably upset with Roberto, for he claims that Poseidon is his father and that the sail was created to visit him (which was a bad experience I suppose because there is a grudge and this is another story).
Anyways, once arriving at Cairo, Aelous announced his intentions to ditch Roberto and company and leave them to their own fate. Roberto tried to persuade him to be more forgiving, but Aeolus would listen to none of it. So Roberto went about setting up headquarters in a dockside warehouse, and Aelous went about filling his hold with Cargo.
Then all hell broke loose. And honestly, Roberto did not start the fight.
Agents of Leolinus, who had posed as inspectors when the ship first pulled into port (and had set off Allen's danger sense), had returned with instructions from their master. Confiscate the ship and arrest all passengers.
These two minions of villains, being by their nature incompetent, came on aggressively and started a fight without parley. Not that Roberto would have surrendered anyway.
But still, the fight got nasty, for the minions each conjured an 'Afrit straight away (perhaps panicking in response to facing magi). Villaume and Miroslav were the first to die in battle, split to red ruin by swords of brass. Aeolus' ship was set ablaze and he barely escaped. Roberto managed to stun an 'Afrit with the Wizard's Touch of Cold, killed it with his sword (which then melted), and barely avoided a blow from the other 'Afrit which he then took out using a spontaneous spell and a lot of vis (and luck). The minions conjured a pair of devil dogs, one which Carlos was able to kill, but the other tore out Pedro's throat before Johan was able to grab it off of him and break it's back. Roberto rushed to Pedro's side, and his last dying act was to give Roberto the sword he made himself. ¡Pedro! Voy a vengar…
Roberto made up the story about Pedro telling him to kill them with Kindness, coincidentally the name of the sword. Pedro had his throat torn out and was pretty much already dead, and Roberto actually had the name inscribed at a latter date. But with it, he did manage to kill both the minions.
By then the legitimate authorities began to arrive, in droves. Roberto was desperate for a plan, not wanting to combat honest men of law but unwilling to surrender.
Suddenly, bursting forth from the sea, Johan VanHalen Junior and Cidito arrived aboard the skiff, now in flight under Johan's power. Thinking quickly, Roberto shot off the Pilium of Fire multiple times to strike the ground around his entourage and create a ring of fire. He then cast Wizard's Leap a few times as quickly as he could, Flexing the range to Touch, to transport Carlos, Felo, Pedro's corpse, and himself aboard Johan's ship. Aeolus teleported himself, Deykin and Ache were already captured, Allen and Wen had already gone into town and Albert managed to avoid authorities but got separated from the group. No one knows what happened to Pinchas. Roberto told Johan to fly high and away to the west, towards the Covenant of Pyramids I.
Johan explained what happened, with some help and insight from Cidito.
The ship, protected by the airy bubble, was drawn down into the waters beneath the sea, deep into the Faerie Realm to Aegae, the golden palace of Poseidon (Neptune). At first the god was angered, and had Johan and Cidito brought to him in chains in a prison bubble of air. However, he was impressed with the lads audacity and courage. Johan blamed it all on riding on a ship with a woman on board, which is *always* bad. He further recounts how it all started with his issues with the Sea Hag, and this is when Neptune became sympathetic. The Sea Hag was also a thorn in his side and was an endless source of trouble. In fact, the hag was hiding in plain sight disguised as a courtesan in Neptune's very court! It was purely by accident and Cidito's luck that she was exposed and banished from the Middle Sea for ninety-nine years.
But Johan got all the credit, and the blame. The Sea Hag gave him the Curse of Venus, but Neptune rewarded him with magical powers to sail a ship above and below the sea or on and over the land. Then he sent Johan and Cidito off coincidentally in the nick of time to rescue Roberto.
This doesn't sit well with Roberto and Cidito likes to rub his nose in it, but he respects bravery and results, so he gave Johan a battlefield promotion.
Aeolus was infuriated that Johan received blessings such as this from his father and that Poseidon kept the sail. Johan promised to take Aeolus to Aegae to get the sail and that he would give the skiff back when all was said and done. Roberto started to get angry with Aeolus, still angst ridden over Pedro's death, and certainly matters would have come to blows had not Felo intervened and cooled tempers.
At the Covenant of Pyramids I, Roberto learns the true nature of the Alabaster Lioness and the plan of Leolinus.
They told the Tale of the Alabaster Lioness, which is far to long to recount here. Suffice to say, Leolinus had made a bargain with a powerful spirit and was to receive great power if he would find the artifact and bring it to the Malik of the City of Brass. The fight in Cairo sent Leolinus into a panic and pushed up his timetable. He had located the jar, and lacking the time to bargain with the sorcerer who had it, he summoned demons to murder the man and stole it. Try as he might to repent, Leolinus is repeatedly forced into situations where he has to rely on the help of demons and brutal sins. Also while at Pyramids I, Pedro was given a proper burial and entombed in ancient catacombs. Oestrides of Bonisagus further gave Roberto the gift of his flying carpet, saying his visions told him he was going to need it.
The Fat Bastard was ahead of them, they had to race to try and intercept him, and off they went on Johan's magic ship. And intercept him they did. In the middle of the Sahara, they encountered Leolinus and his expedition. With him was Jabl Tariq the Infernalist sahir, another pair of hedge wizard summoners, and a band of about a dozen thugs. Roberto had Johan land his ship a few hundred yards up ahead of them while he swept down on the flying carpet to provide cover fire on his flying carpet.
The battle was fierce but brief. Roberto scattered the enemy and killed one of the summoners straight away. Leolinus magically resisted the attack and tried to his Roberto with his mind tricks, which were deflected by Roberto's counterspell (Leolinus has demonstrated he can pierce Roberto's Parma before). Aeolus of Flambeau could not resist joining in on a good fight. The surviving summoner had conjured devil dogs, but Aeolus took both him and the dogs out with a conjured hail of fiery stones and a bolt of lightning.
Leolinus tried using his magic to restore courage to his grog thus with some success.
Jabl Tariq summoned a jinn, but something went horribly wrong (he botched). A furious gigantic sanstorm suddenly whipped up right on the spot. Roberto was hurtled asunder, though he managed to squeeze off a few more shots at Leolinus. A huge arm formed from the whirling sand and pulled Jabl Tariq into it, never to be seen again (so far). Leolinus was also never seen again, he may have been torched or buried in the storm. Or escaped. But he did drop the crate containing the Alabaster Lioness, which survived intact in the box and was recovered. The remaining thugs were most likely killed and swallowed by the storm.
Roberto was knocked to the ground and dazed and he was rescued by Aeolus.
Possessing a ward against weather related effects (which includes sandstorms), he was able to grab Roberto and get them to the ship. Though at the edge of the storm, the ship was still in danger. Luckily Aeolus knew another weather ward that covers, naturally, an entire ship. The storm subsided and the rage of the jinni abated, then the Alabaster Lioness was recovered. Though he secretly wished to press on to the fabled City of Brass, there were more pressing responsibilities. There was grogs stranded in Cairo that needed to be extracted, he wanted Johan to take Aeolus to get his sail back, and to deliver the Alabaster Lioness to Carmine and Andru to insure it was in safe hermetic hands (and to get their son home).
In Cairo, those stranded had done the best the could to fend for themselves. Allen and Wen had rented an apartment together and taken low wage jobs in the city. Wen worked as a cook and server in a tavern that catered to European merchants, Allen worked as a bouncer in said tavern. It didn't take long before they fell in love, and became wed by simply declaring themselves so (they might do the church thing someday, but it is already consummated). They were in contact with Albert, who still had all of Roberto's goods (gear, money, and remaining vis) stashed in his hideout. The three of them were working on devising a plan to free Ache and Deykin, when Cidito showed up sitting at one of Wen's tables one day.
Cidito gave her the lowdown on the current status and told her the crew was on their way for them. Wen was furious at being left out of the climax of the adventure, unwilling to listen to the cats excuses about how quickly everything went down and they were right there practically. When the customers at the tavern turned to look, Cidito pulled his "normal looking cat" routine and they all thought Wen was nuts. Allen understood what was going on, and later they held a conference together with Albert to plan the jailbreak. Cidito went back to Roberto with the complicated plan the devised. Cidito returned with Roberto's revised simplified plan.
That night, Allen and Albert took up their positions, close by to Wen who kept an eye on the jail from across the street with Cidito. Cidito had Ache scent marked, but not Deykin. He was able to visit the lunkhead and get an idea of what the jail looked like from within (and relay this information to Roberto). He hoped Ache would be able to get the message to Deykin and understand his instructions. Roberto told his familiar not to worry, he had a simple foolproof plan.
Hidden in the night clouds, Johan hovered the ship above the jail. Invisible, Roberto swooped down on the carpet. His mind raced as he rapidly tried to come up with a simple foolproof plan. He decided to stick with the one he had. Maintaining invisibility, he set fire to the roofs of a few nearby buildings to cause a distraction. Allen and Albert were in place to open doors on two stables that were set ablaze so that the animals could escape. Cidito went in to get Arcane Connections from Ache, from himself and Deykin. That's when things ran into a snafu, for it was in the middle of a jailhouse riot. Cidito adapted to the situation, enlarged his size, and jumped into the brawl, He isolated Ache and Deykin and obtained the connections, bringing them to Roberto. This actually simplified the plan. Roberto dropped invisibility and gave the carpet to Wen. Then he went into the jail and led his men out, melting locks along the way. Cidito went up to the ship to signal Johan, who dropped down and picked everybody up then flew off. Except Wen, who followed along on the carpet.
There was some argument about what to do next. Aeolus wanted to go to Aegae as was promised. Roberto pointed out how overcrowded the ship was and that Wen couldn't follow on the carpet. Felo wanted to get the Alabaster Lioness to Valnastium as soon as possible. Aeolus managed a compromise. Return to Venice where they could drop Felo off and he could use the portal to Valnastium. Wen and others could follow along and wait for Roberto there. The arguments didn't end there, but Aeolus was stubborn and that is what was finally agreed on.
Princess Soteira and the Undersea City of Heracleion
After dropping many off at Venice, Johan took Aeolus and Roberto under the sea, along with Carlos and Cidito. Aeolus looked forward to reaching their destination with eager anticipation. Roberto was curious as was Cidito. Carlos wondered why he agreed to this or was picked in the first place. Johan, though, was very nervous. He didn't really know how to get to Aegae. The sail just sort of took them their, and when the left, Johan could not comprehend the route (the path between the Faerie and Mundane Realms). He just took them down in the sea, recklessly hoping that they would find something accidently.
And he did.
They came upon an underwater city. Not a sunken or submerged city, but an actual aquatic city inhabited by merefolk (Tritons). And this city was under attack by a giant sea serpent. There were only a score of Triton soldiers remaining trying to fight it off, others had fallen in combat. Roberto wanted to take it on. Aeolus thought he was crazy, but stated he figured the best plan was to get close enough to cover part of it in the ship's air bubble and blast it with lightning bolts. Johan was recklessly optimistic about the plan, and Carlos wondered how he got talked into this. Roberto wanted to hold off on that as a backup plan, as it was risky. He wanted to go out and try to fight it hand to hand and try a spell that could affect it under water, such as the Touch of Cold or Chill of Winter. Aeolus said that was crazy because Roberto couldn't swim or know a spell to allow him to breath underwater. Roberto replied he was going to use Spontaneous magic to do both, and Aeolus laughed and commented how he used to have a magical trident that let you do both those things, but it was now lost underwater in his ship that caught fire and sank in the harbor in Cairo.
Then a voice behind them croaked "You mean this one?". Cidito was wet, holding the trident in his hand. He had scent marked the storeroom of that ship when he stole the sail, and can see in the dark of an underwater ship without a problem. What he *can't* do is swim. He doesn't like getting wet either. So he was lucky to stumble onto it right away.
Roberto took the trident in hand and it carried him through the water and allowed him to breath. He struck at the creature, but the blow was ineffective at harming it. The monster was distracted though, and his heroism and the appearance of this magical ship boosted morale and rallied the Triton soldiers. They wounded the serpent with a bold unified attack, Roberto stunned it with his cold spell, and Aeolus had Johan steer the ship in close enough to finish it off with lightning bolts.
The Tritons escorted the heroes to Heracleion where they were met by Princess Soteira, ruler of the city. She cast upon them all the temporary power to breath and speak and stay dry in her watery realm. They were given medals (sea shells), and a lavish banquet was to be held in their honor. At this banquet, Roberto fell in love with the princess as she danced with him. She returned his affections, and in the night, her love washed away the burden of the magical air in Roberto, resulting in the Gentle Gift. She is now his True Love. Carlos wrote a song about it.
After returning to Mons Electi, Roberto was continuously restless. Some of the others in his entourage felt the same way; Wen and Allen were now wed and her father didn't like it one bit, Carlos had a lingering sadness over Pedro's death and didn't have the energy for his physical relationship with the polyamorous Fiona Ex-Miscellanea, and Johan had a yearning to cut loose. Roberto often would leave for weeks at a time to visit his beloved at their favorite romantic spot, a secluded beach in Ibiza. Eventually he could stand it no longer. He indulged Johan with a slightly larger ship, gathered his entourage, and relocated to the Baelric Islands.
Roberto is the magus-Captain of the Málaga. Johan is the helmsman/pilot, Allen & Albert are marines, Carlos is first mate, Cidito is mascot, and Wen flies ahead on Roberto's carpet as a scout and herald. Roberto had nothing to do with the conquest of Ibiza by Count Peter of Urgell and the Bishop Aurembiaix of Tarragona. But he has had conflict with the pirates of the region. Twice when they were a-sail on the waters they were approach out of hostility. Respecting the code and being of an enlightened mindset, Roberto chose to avoid conflict and had Johan submerge. A third time, while in flight, they spotted a different set of pirates attacking a merchant ship, And in this case, Roberto spotted that pirate invaders were being caried over to the merchant ship by a whirlwind spirit, commanded by some sort of hedge wizard standing on the deck of the pirate ship making all the obvious gestures and shouts of a magician.
Roberto performed a Wizard's Leap to appear right behind the enemy wizard and ran him though with his sword. He then set the pirate's ship ablaze and leapt over to the merchant ship to participate in combat and clear the pirates from that ship. This action has won him good favor with the local mundanes because of his Gentle Gift, but the rumors whispered amonst magi are tainted by Roberto's Infamous Parens, and they say some self righteous Flambeau on a flying carpet is arbitrailly setting fire to ships in the Baelric islands. The fact that there is a hedge wizard vigilante sailing around setting fire to Barbary pirate ships doesn't help.
|Roberto, Magus||Roberto, Fiery Magus, Battle-scared|
|Roberto, Warrior||Roberto, Warrior Unshaven|