The Thaumaturgical Fair in Venice
If there doesn't happen to be a Tribunal that year, Midsummer in Venice
hosts a most interesting fair, where magi gather to do trading. (Venice
appears to be "neutral ground" amongst magi of the Roman Tribunal.)
Magi are, of course, far too dignified to set up booths like common
merchants; few have so many wares as to make such a display worthwhile.
Instead, the fair takes the form of a large banquet in a hall with
many small alcoves off to the side; Magvillus, Domus Magnus of House
Guernicus, owns the space, and considers it useful that it seem
occupied more often than every seventh year, when it hosts the Roman
Tribunal. Magi spend their time in professional discourse; those with
more straightforward goals will even write what they are buying or
selling in chalk upon a large slab of slate, to facilitate multi-way
Vis is, of course, one of the greatest means of exchange. The
Roman Tribunal is the best place to sell vis in all of civilization,
and trading goes furiously. (This factor, combined with Italy's
central location within the Order, weighs heavily in the choice of Venice
for this fair.)
About half of Verdi turns up to these gatherings, seeking to sell their
creations or commissions for more. There are usually a number of Tytali
present, though they seldom have straightforward motives.
Some notes on vis trading:
Magi trade other things as well. Spells and lab texts are popular,
and it is possible to pick up complete laboratories (assembled by
apprentices) for cash. One can often find complete grimoires for sale by someone who
has decided to compile a group of useful spells together. Verditii,
newly arrived from Verdi for the occasion, often know just what you're
looking for in the archives of Verdi, though the general consensus on
their apparent ignorance of the most advanced enchantments is that it
is merely a reflection of their desire for repeat business.
- Vim is in an interesting position, as it is the easiest to come by
(though distillation) but the most useful of all the Forms. Distilled
Vim vis is the most reliable medium of exchange in the Order, and
there is a de facto standard of these being worth 300 silver per
pawn in the Roman Tribunal.
- Technique vis tends to be worth twice as much as Form vis,
though quality varies with price. Flambeaux commonly will bid for Perdo
and Creo vis. Intéllego is perhaps the rarest of all.
- Animál vis is very cheap, and Herbam vis
literally grows on trees. These will run from 200 to 250 silver per pawn,
depending on demand.
- Corpus vis is almost as popular as Vim, due to the need for
longevity potions within the Order; highly reliable Corpus vis (such as
Amurgsval beer) has no difficulty fetching 300 silver per pawn.
- Elemental vis can be tricky to find, and Ignem goes for
good prices due to the competition from Flambeaux spending Moorish
treasure on the stuff. The other three elements can be a bit cheaper,
but not are not always present for trading.
- Mentem and Imaginem tend to be similar in price and availability:
more common than the elements, less so than Animál and Herbam.
They are not as valuable as Vim and Corpus.
Some Flambeaux, in need of cash or vis, will turn up selling their
services as slayers of great beasts, hoping to profit by ending
the troubles of young covenants. Many mundane texts trade hands here,
and upon occasion, a magus will bring a tome on a particular Art and
auction it to the highest bidder.