The following sections and ideas were cut during the Faith & Flame playtesting as it was not fully developed enough to be included at the time and was based on an old concept that predated the publication of The Sundered Eagle. It’s very similar to the Theban covenant Hedyosmos and gained a more Theban feel over time, which seemed to feel out of place in the overall Provencal concept that was emerging, so I dropped it early.
Originally I’d included more than one Mercere Portal but David pointed out that these are in canon very rare, so I downplayed this aspect. Upon reflection, I think a Mercurian or Hermetic connection with Harco and/or Aedes Mercuriae is warranted given the cult activities, but I liked the thematic flavour of a watery underground connection to the Styx and Thebes, perhaps via a Regio Network or similar but this is very similar to the idea I had for the Drac near Beaucaire admittedly.
Portus Termini, the Final Gate
This isolated Winter covenant in the Verdun gorge was founded by a survivor of Portus Cottiae (see below) within a regio linked to the Underworld of antiquity. A dedicated covenant, the complex acts as the final resting place for those pagan magi who wish to be buried according to ancient Greek and Roman funerary custom and is partly supported by the Cult of Mercury and sympathetic senior magi who value tradition.
Mundane access is only by travelling downriver from Castellan by boat, risking the treacherous cataracts before passing into a gorge leading to a subterranean branch of the Verdun and the jetty that marks the covenant’s entrance. At least one Hermes Portal links the site with similar dark waterways in the Theban tribunal, typically in locations associated with myths concerning the rivers Acheron, Lethe and Styx.
The covenant’s leader, Fraxinus, is a Guernicus pontifex (archmagus) of the Terrae cult, a small lineage practicing the Earth magics of Guernicus the Founder. He is now one of the oldest magi in the Tribunal, although remains politically aloof. Trained in the Theban tribunal at Hedyosmos, he officiates over the funerary rituals of the crematorium and guards the sepulchres of long dead magi, assisted by his albino covenfolk.
The covenant is also home to a small lineage of Ex-Miscellanea Mercurians who specialise in speaking with the departed spirits of antiquity, much like the ancient Dacian necromantic tradition that joined House Tremere in the 9th century. The Tytalus Titanoi Acheronus, a misanthropic Theban magus also dwells here and acts as the covenant’s champion when external affairs threaten the mausoleum’s serenity. This spirit master also originally trained at the Earth cult covenant of Hedyosmos is interested in controlling the powerful strife daimon referred to as Styx, a younger titan who is the personification of Hatred and Oaths.