1221, Winter

It is Winter 1221, and several of the magi and companions of Druids’ Dale have arrived at Horsingas covenant down near the border between Scotland and England. Members of our covenant who were here included:

  • Jack, a companion of the covenant and an English soldier
  • The faerie maga Maedbh ex Merinita
  • Our ungifted Redcap, Greysen ex Mercere
  • Sid, a local shapechanger and seeming apprentice to the Gruagach Euan.
  • Two of our grogs, Knox and Hamish

The meeting hall was one of the better rooms in the covenant, since it was neither leaking nor reeking of animals. Three of the Horsingas magi were there – Sir Edwin of Hexam ex Tytalus, Quaesitor Whitburh Frithowebba ex Guernicus and Aelfred ex Tytalus.

The Quaesitor was an old woman who was accompanied by her raven familiar. Her personality and physical idioms matched those of her raven. Aelfred seemed to spend most of the time looking bored, or spitting on the floor.

Most of the conversation was between Sir Edwin and Maedbh, since she was our ranking magus. Horsingas was willing to discuss an exchange of books, but were also looking for some help in other matters, which was were Jack was able to contribute.

The covenant was planning a raid down to Hexam Priory next season, with an intent to cause disruption and embarrassment to the Norman nobles there. They had no intention to raid the chapel itself, since that was the house of God, but most other places were fair game. Their plan was to send a dozen or so raiders, plus a couple of magi. They were not planning on causing massive bloodshed or destruction – just the minimum needed for the venture to be profitable.

Even Jack knew that magi attacking mundanes like this would be viewed in a bad light by the Quaesitors – but the only Quaesitor in the Tribunal was in the room with us. When FFrithowebba finally deigned to speak, it was to give her blessing to the excursion. There was also another matter she brought up. Apparently the body of the hedge wizard Cardwen ex Miscellanea had recently died, and was due to be interned there. Along with his body, were his personal possessions which included magical items. Letting such items fall into the hands of nobles would not be a good thing, so the Quaesitor claimed that we were legally obligated to try and retrieve them.

Cardwen ex Miscellanea had a rod with a knob on the end. The rod was highly magical and it is rumoured that it may have contributed to his success with the ladies. Cardwen passed at the early-ish age of 72 when he unfortunately botched a levitate spell when leaping out of a window to avoid his latest conquest’s husband.

— What our Redcap knew of Cardwen ex Miscellanea

Jack was more than happy to help in bashing some heads together, though the others seemed less keen in the idea.

From a player perspective, this meeting was a bit tricky. Only Maedbh and Greysen were magi, so they were the only real representatives of the covenant. Even Greysen was only an ungifted Redcap though, which really left things down to Maedbh. Jack was happy for violence, but he was a companion. Sid wasn’t initially too keen on the idea, mostly because he didn’t see what we gained from it. The possibility of a political alliance seemed to win him over though.

Back at the covenant, the other magi wouldn’t have been too keen. My own Pisciculus is a pacifist, so would not be interested. Allistor can do violence, though it’s not subtle. Raining fire down on a priory might be too much even for the magi of Horsingas.

So it was as much a player discussion as it was a character discussion.

After some discussion, it was decided that the benefits of a possible friendly relationship with Horsingas were probably worth the risks. Since Horsingas was supplying most of the men, any fall out would also be against Horsingas. If there were just a few of us accompanying them, then it was highly unlikely anyone would think of blaming Druids’ Dale. Unless Horsingas was planning a double cross.

After Maedbh agreed in principle (details to be worked out via letter later), we were invited to join them for a meal. The food was good, and they seemed better behaved than they had at the meeting. Aelfred especially who seemed to find his manners during the meal. After talking to Maedbh, he decided that he actually wanted to talk to Jack, who had far more experience of military matters, especially concerning the Normans. Jack was more than happy to make up bad stuff about the Norman nobility he had fought under down south, though was somewhat jealous that now Maedbh and Sir Edwin seemed to be talking and getting on really well.

So we headed back to Druids’ Dale, and relayed what had been agreed to the magi there. The general consensus was that though individuals might not see the agreement as beneficial, having a political alliance with the only covenant in the Tribunal that has a Quaesitor was probably going to be a big benefit later on down the road.

Things got a bit confusing at this point, concerning which season we were in. It was finally concluded (I have the notes) that we were in Winter, so the raid would happen in Spring.

December passed, with Jack picking up some more Latin, and Pisciculus finally learning Thoughts Within Babble. This would allow her to understand what the locals were babbling about. Along with Probe of the Open Mind, this would make it much easier for her to go out and deal with our neighbours.

Spring, 1222

King Alexander II has vowed to defeat the forces of the kingdom of Mann after last year’s “special military operation” failed due to unusual weather disrupting the passage of shipping on the west coast. Grumblings have been heard from nobles irritated at being summoned for two years running so any that can ensure last year’s issues do nor reoccur will surely find favour with the King and his court.

A Giant carrying a huge club has been observed wandering the area around Loch Arkaig. Locals say that the Giant has been hurling boulders about the countryside and a number of villages have been damaged by multiple strikes. Some stories say that more than one Giant was involved.

A horde of black hounds the size of men have been plaguing the borders. The howl of the dogs unmans the mightiest of souls who then fall victim to the dogs’ masters an armoured knight atop a dark horse and a twisted creature wearing a blood-stained cap.

The village of Barpa Fada near Inverary is being menaced by a large predatory cat. The village, which had been celebrating a record harvest, is now left cowering in fear as the cat appears to prefer people to their livestock as prey.

— Rumours for 1222

It is spring, and we have a plan to head down south to Horsingas, and from there to raid Hexam. Those of us interested are Jack and Maedbh, our Gruagach magus Euan and Allistor.

Samuel Penn

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