Most of the previous session had occurred at the beginning of Autumn 1222, so we still had most of the season left to go. However, it only took a few minutes to run through the rest of the season (and the year).
On returning from the village, Pisciculus sat down with the Intellego book to get her skill to the point where she could invent The Inexorable Search in a couple of seasons.
Greysen and myself headed north trying to track down the bard Gascon. The rumours leads us towards Clachan, but there the trail came to an end. Some of the villages told of him – he was there during the spring of this year, but nobody knew for certain where he went.
All the stories of him were during the early part of the year, in Spring and Summer. So maybe we should try and track him down next year, assuming Pisciculus has managed to come up with some spell to save on random walking around until we find something.
I spend the rest of the time split between Dumbarton where I socialised with the various uncouth gangs and in Coylet where I spent some quality time with Rohna.
Pisciculus starts to invent The Inexorable Search, a level 20 Intellego Corpus spell for finding a person given an arcane connection to them. Since she had a lab total of 30, it would take two seasons.
Jack splits his time between the covenant and Rohna in Coylet.
At the end of the season, we get our yearly set of rumours:
Aodhan finds out from various church members that there is a tradition in the Scottish borders of burying silver crucifixes under a door to prevent evil from entering the house.
A meeting of the Loch Leglean Tribunal will occur in summer 1224. The meeting will be held at Loch Leglean Covenant. Each covenant in good standing is requested to raise any issues it wants discussed, in writing, to Magus Lachlann ex Tytalus in order to facilitate planning of the event. Druid’s Dale Covenant is required to provide at least one delegate qualified to vote in tribunal so that its status as a covenant in good standing of the order be recognised.
King Alexander II has pronounced victory in his expedition to the West. Ruaidhri mac Raghnaill has been driven from the area and Argyll, Cowal, Knapdale and Kintyre have been subjugated. The Donnchadh of Argyll has submitted and sworn fealty to the King. New royal castles are to be built at Dunoon and Tarbet. Dumbarton is to be raised to a royal Burgh and a new castle constructed.
Disaster was narrowly averted when a group of children built a makeshift raft and floated out into loch Eck. The children claim to have seen a large shadow in the water beneath them at which point a large storm blew up threatening to sweep them to their doom. Instead, somehow they were propelled back to shore against the wind. The locals are convinced that their recent religious faith has been rewarded with this miraculous event and wish to raise a shrine in remembrance.
A very large eagle was found dead in the valley just outside the gates of the covenant. The body of the eagle featured a number of puncture and scratch wounds. The grogs are joking that the bird must have been left as a gift by some sort of giant cat.
Another young man appears to have contracted the wasting illness of Dunoon though this time near Inverurie. He and a friend appear to have been taken and bound by the fae though to what purpose is unknown. His friend was found dead, and he rapidly ages and his mind is broken.
We also received a letter from Caitlin Suil Uiane ex Merinita of the covenant of Crun Clach.
Ahead of next year’s gathering and the formal induction of your Covenant into the Stonehenge Tribunal, I felt moved to write a personal note of welcome that you may know the regard in which I hold you all.
The formal induction of a new Covenant to the Tribunal is usually a happy and uncontroversial technicality. After all it would take an exercise of spectacular misjudgement for a newly founded Covenant to invoke the anger of any major powers within the tribunal, say through ill-judged support to those who wish to embroil the order in the conflicts of the mundanes expressly against the pact of Crun Clach and wider Hermetic Law.
If I may offer a few words of council, as one who has seen more than most, know that while the judgements of the Quaesitors of House Guernicus carry the weight of Hermetic Law, there are other ways in which the will of the broader order can make itself known. It is wise to inform oneself about dangerous currents before going swimming is it not?
But putting politics aside for a moment, it has come to my attention that a minor holding of Crun Clach has not been visited in several years. Given the reach of my Magi across Scotland, and the depths of our resources, there has been no need to extract vis from this place. However, for a new Covenant such a resource will be useful. Hence I gift the holding of the Cave of Illumination to the Covenant of Druid’s Dale (formal recognition contingent upon the acceptance of Druid’s Dale to the Loch Leglean Tribunal, which is of course, purely a technicality).
Opening a new Covenant is always a perilous undertaking, especially when the Covenant in question is not truly ‘new’ but founded upon a legacy of ancient magic, betrayal and blood. Know that Crun Clach stands ready to offer aid, but that we shall be watching.
Caitlin Suil Uaine
The various rumours meant a lot of fiddling with our map. We have a Google Map of Scotland with a lot of custom pins on it to show us where all the various events have happened.
From what I can gather, Crun Clach sees itself as the preeminent covenant in Loch Leglean, or at least of the more southern ones. Caitlin is said to be 400 years old, and one of the most powerful magi in the Order of Hermes. However, Horsingas likes to throw their weight around as well, and have a lot of clout because of this. So there was some high level meetings in the covenant about the new letter which I wasn’t privy to.
My time up in Coylet hadn’t been entirely wasted. Well, time spent with Rhona wasn’t wasted, but she was starting to make noises about settling down and I’m not certain that I couldn’t do better. But in practical terms I’d come to know the people on Loch Eck and knew a little bit more about what had happened. Several cows had also gone missing, blamed on the Loch monster. The general recommendation is not to go swimming in the Loch, and the fishermen only go out on it after paying their respects to the water.
Sid, Aodhan and Allistor joined me on the shores of the Loch early in Spring. By this point the villagers are arguing about exactly where to place a shrine to give thanks to the saving of their kids, and can’t agree on who to dedicate it to. Aodhan distracts them with lots of technical church matters, leaving the rest of us to go and take a look at the water.
Allistor seems to really take a look – he claims to be able to see through the water as if it was aired. He didn’t spot anything particularly unusual, except for a cart wheel and the skeletal remains of a person. Most of the sides of the Loch are quite steep, but there are places where the slope is more gradual. There were some signs of a large creature having been settled in these places.
Over the day little else was discovered, so Allistor headed back to the covenant the following day. Sid stayed to keep watch on the Loch, and I hung around as well, helping out occassionally.
On the night that something happened, I had been with Rohna. Sid had spotted some movement on the Loch, but nothing he could identify. Shortly after dawn, some of the cows wandered down to take a drink. They seemed hesitant, but one went down to the water’s edge. Suddenly, a great blue-green shape rose up out of the water and engulfed the first half of the cow. The rear half collapsed onto the bank, blood and guts spilling out onto the ground.
The thing was 6-7ft across, and possibly five times as long. As it munched on the first half of the cow, Sid shapechanged into a bear and charged towards it. His jaws closed in on the side of its head, but slid off its touch scales and came away with just a foul tasting slime in his mouth.
His intent had been to try and grab a part of the beast to take to the magi, and now the thing had turned to look at him. Sid decided to flee, and surprised by this turn of events so did the thing, slipping back into the water.
Changing back, he came to Rhona’s cottage to wake me, dragging me down to the Loch where he tried to explain what had happened. His speech was slurred, as if he had been drinking, and it took a while before I was able to understand what had happened. It seems the slime from the water beast has a considerable numbing effect.
There was still part of the cow left, and Sid picked it up and took it back to the covenant for the magi to take a look at. I went to find the (ex) owner of the cow to pay him for it. If nothing else if the locals are paid for the weird shit that the magi are likely to get involved with, they are less likely to complain about it.
Next session: 1223, Summer