Ars Magica Wiki

Scapa Flow is a Covenant of the Order of Hermes founded in 821 on the island of Hoy, overlooking the body of water of the same name. It is notable for its interactions with the Northmen after the conflict with Damhan-Allaidh, for its members' participation in that conflict, and for passing through a winter phase and enduring into a new spring.

The Founding of the Covenant[]

The founders of the Covenant numbered five, all seasoned Magi:

All save Biluous had participated in the war between the Order and Damhan-Allaidh. The Covenant was founded in the wake on that conflict and of the acceptance of House Ex Miscellanea into the Order. Biluous was a latecomer, a rare Bonisagus whose talents and training would have enabled him to take an active role in the war, but he arrived just as the forces of Pralix overcame the Spider for the final time. Instead, Biluous set out exploring a land that was unfamiliar to him, gathering companions over the course of several years and eventually settling as a group in the Orkneys, rich in magical resources almost untapped in the young Loch Leglean Tribunal.

Conflicts with the Northmen[]

Far from peacefully settling down in a post-war tribunal, the Magi of Scapa Flow came into almost immediate conflict not only with the Norse who ruled the Orkneys but with the pagan rune-wizards who accompanied them. Isolated from aid, the Magi were forced to rely upon their own wits and resources for decades in a number of struggles with the Northmen. It was not until the arrival of a new Magus that the situtaion would finally resolve itself.

Half-Norse himself and fluent in their language and customs, Niall had been trained by a follower of Jerbiton who was outraged when his apprentice joined Ex Miscellanea upon passing the Gauntlet. Forced to depart from Ireland, Niall was shipwreched upon Hoy in 844 during a storm of Biluous' conjuring, and came into the care of the Magi of Scapa Flow, of which he later became a member.

Over the course of the next several years the conflict with the Norsemen intensified, and Erich of Brandenburg met his end in a confrontation with them in 848. Shortly afterward Niall, the only member of the covenant with the Gentle Gift, neccessary because the Norse sorcerers did not possess the Parma Magica, was able to negotiate a cessation of hostilities.

From Conflict to Alliance[]

Peace reigned for two decades while the Magi of Scapa Flow gradually built trust between themselves and the Norse Magi in violation of the Code of Hermes. In 876, however, the Quaesitor Vermithraxus Metus visited Scapa Flow, and at the Tribunal of 879 the Covenant was condemned, forced to pay a fine of four rooks of vis, and ordered to exterminate the runic sorcerers of the Orkneys or recruit them into the Order. Niall, as the primary peacemaker, was additionally punished with the loss of his familiar.

Even so, determined, Niall matched wits with the canny Norse and eventually brought several rune magi into House Ex Miscellanea in 884, while secretly protecting others.

A fourth rune mage would join in 896:


As the summer Covenant began to shift into Autumn, the Norse Magus Yngvar, unable to master anything but the barest rudiments of Hermetic Magic, began to train apprentices, all of whom were assisted by Niall and Biluous, becoming a unique mystery lineage, the Sons of Yngvar, within Ex Miscellanea which endures today, incorporating the old runic secrets into their otherwise Hermetic Magic. None of these ever formally joined Scapa Flow, howewver, and most departed after passing their Gauntlets. Hjalmar, however, had discovered a secret akin to the Bjornaer Heartbeast during his own training many years before and was initiated by Bledri into that House in 904. This caused a rift within the Covenant for reasons that remain unclear, and by 905 both Bledri and Hjalmar departed Scapa Flow for Parts unknown. Seigleif Thorgeldson, while nominally in residence at the Covenant, was consumed with his own affairs and away much of the time. His fate is not recorded, and his name is still on the now-ancient membership rolls of Scapa Flow.

In 917 Eirik departed on a voyage to Iceland in the company of Fearghus MacGregor, a Scottish Magus, and did not return, although a tale reached the ears of Biluous many years later that they voyage had been blown off course onto the shores of an unknown land, and did not arrive in Iceland until many years had passed. In 953, a fire swept through the Covenant's library, killing several trusted companions along with the rune-Magus Seiglief.


In 989, for his own reasons, the Diedne Cairn Ironteeth disappeared mysteriously from the Covenant, and many rumors circulated throughout the Tribunal as to the reason - rumors which fueled suspicious against House Diedne as the crisis which led to the Schism War began to build. During that conflict Nicholaus Carbus journeyed to Hibernia to stand against the Diedne, and met his end. Now isolated with the apprentices of dead Norse rune-wizards and the increasingly erratic Niall, the now-ancient Biluous grew embittered and fatalistic, even while at the peak of his power.

By 1011 Niall had apparently lost his mind and departed on a mission to Cad Gadu, unaccompanies by any save his lone manservant. He was ambushed by a Diedne party during the Journey and killed. Even so, the Covenant itself was unmolested during the conflict, which has not gone unnoticed by certain commentators.

In 1041, long after the Schism War had ended, a delegation of three Magi arrived at Scapa Flow from the Rhine Tribunal, to confer upon Biluous the title of Archmagus. The evening after they departed, the aged wizard slipped into Twilight for what appeared to be the last time, and the last of the Sons of Yngvar departed what appeared to be a Covenant that had passed into dust, leaving only a few retainers to tend the place.

A New Spring[]

For two decades the Covenant of Scapa Flow lay dormant until in 1062 Biluous woke unexpectedly from his long Twilight to find himself the only Magus left residing in the now-deserted Covenant. Seemingly reinvigorated, he retained a few servants and sought out apprentices, finding two:

Both Fulminatus and Proculus would travel southward into England and west into Ireland to recruit more Magi for the Covenant. The former departed in 1095, but not before four other Magi had been recruited, all of them recently out of Gauntlet:

In 1101 Biluous took his final apprentice:

In 1119, shortly after completing the training of young Prospero, and well over two centuries old, Biluous passed into Final Twilight. But the crucial work had been done by Fulminatus and Proculus, the latter of whom remained at Scapa Flow until his own death in 1241, and the Covenant would endure to see another winter.