Ars Magica - Nigrasaxa
The northern half of France is one of the most populated regions in Europe, with many great cities, and the preeminent trade fairs of Europe in Champagne and Flanders. The Church has a firm hold here, with many great cathedral schools and monasteries dotting the landscape.
King Philip II Augustus of the Capetian dynasty – intelligent, belligerent, able and ruthless; through diplomacy and war he has managed to annex Normandy, Anjou and Poitiers from his rivals, the Plantagenet kings of England. He has brought Flanders, Champagne and Brittany under royal tutelage, and he has unleashed his vassals on the Albigensian crusade in southern France, shattering the power of the counts of Toulouse and extending his authority to the Mediterranean.
Order of Hermes affairs
The Tribunal extends from the Atlantic Ocean east, to the border between lands owing fealty to the French king and those owing fealty to the German emperor. From the English Channel it extends south to the River Dordogne.
This land is densely populated and firmly controlled by bishops and secular rulers, making it quite difficult for covenants to survive. They have had to adapt, either hiding away or reaching an accommodation with their neighbours; most have evolved a means to operate within the mundane world amicably, or at least without major antagonism.
The hierarchy of the Church and feudal structures of the nobility are reflected in the way the covenants have organised themselves, with weaker covenants pledging loyalty to the stronger in order to survive. Magi here have adopted rigorous modes of contest and strife that many other Tribunals consider excessively violent. As a result, covenants here are easy to found, but hard to maintain. There are a great many covenants – almost twenty at the moment – but their membership tends to be relatively small, and their lifespan likely to be short.
A peculiar convention of the Normandy Tribunal concerns vis: a rare commodity here, the Tribunal has declared that all vis that does not originate from within the grounds of a covenant is the property of the Tribunal as a whole, rather than a specific covenant. Every seven years the Normandy covenants compete in a Tourney to secure the lease for harvesting vis sources between Tribunal meetings, as well as other prizes such as books and enchanted items.
The domus magna of House Tytalus, Fudarus, lies on an island off the westernmost tip of Brittany. The former home of three prominent members of the Order – Tytalus the Founder, his filia Pralix who founded House Ex Miscellanea, and Tasgillia who was corrupted by demons in the 10th century (leading to widespread purging of the House by Quaesitores). Few magi not of House Tytalus have set foot within the covenant, which has led to the place acquiring a sinister reputation.