1223, Summer at Stirling

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Our Druids’ Dale Ars Magica saga continues for the summer of 1223. We have been following the bard Gascon, who has turned out to be part of the retinue of David Lord Goulis, the Seneschal of Scotland.

Pisciculus ex Criamon

In the morning we discussed what we were going to do about the bard Gascon. It seems that the retinue was heading up towards Stirling, and since they’d be taking the major roads they wouldn’t be difficult to follow. The only difficulty would be in not being spotted ourselves.

Whenever we stopped at a place for the night, so Greysen would play at the local inn and draw in a large crowd. There was a risk that this would be ngoticed, but apparently if it had been the Senechal’s retinue paid it no attention. Whilst on the road, we hung back and let Euan follow the Seneschal in bird form.

After a couple of days we reached the city of Stirling, which was impressive in its size. The castle was in the centre, and we watched as the Seneschal’s retinue headed up there unimpeded by guards or gates. Once we had settled in an inn, I checked the map and the bard was still within the area of the city, though at the scale of the map he could have been anywhere under my finger. . I tried scrawling a vague map of the city, and confirmed he was at least up around the area of the castle.

Euan Dubh

That night, Euan used his shapeshifting powers to get up to the castle and inside, first as a raven and then as a mouse. Once inside, he ran into a cat which chased him as far as the bard’s quarters and then turned tail and fled back. Indeed, his mouse senses suggested that there were no signs of cats in this part of the castle.Dubh

Locating what he assumed was the room of Gascon, he sneaked inside. Since there was nobody there to tell him not to, he cursed the man to take on the nature of a cat if he ever did anything to bring them harm. Finding the bard’s lute, he wriggled inside that and left behind a small, aromatic, present. However, as he left, he got a splinter which drew blood. Deciding not to leave a trace of his blood behind, he gnawed it clean, making enough noise to waken the man.

Fleeing to the underside of the bed whilst the bard walked around the room trying to figure out what had disturbed him. Eventually he went back to bed, providing Euan with a chance to leave and head back to us to report on what had happened.

Aodhan Giolla Dhé Mac Murcheartach

Aodhan went to talk to the local church to pick up rumours about Lord Goulis. They are quick to confirm that the Seneschal has a bad reputation and that he is known to deal with unholy powers. His castle, named Monk’s End, was built on lands taken from the Church.

There are stories of dark things happening on his lands, and that a number of people have fled for other places. However, he also has a reputation of being quite competent in his day job.

Pisciculus ex Criamon

The following morning I decide that there probably isn’t that more that I can do here. I don’t particularly want to spend the season waiting around Stirling when I have so many things to get back to at the covenant, plus I fear that an actual encounter with the bard might result in a certain degree of violence, which leaves me feeling rather unsettled.

I head back towards the covenant with the two grogs, leaving the others in Stirling with instructions to send me word if they ever need me to locate the bard on the map. They should be able to follow him without the aid of magic now though.

About an hour after I leave Stirling, Euan came to find me, proving news that the bard has left Stirling and is heading north on his own. Deciding that I’m still probably not needed, I tell him to come contact me if me help is required.

The news of what happened next reached me sometime later, though details may have been lost (or gained) in the telling. Apparently Euan had taken wolf form and followed after the bard, who had been singing to himself in the woods. He sang tales of causing harm to cats, which filled Euan with a desire to do the same. As per his curse though, the bard then started to behave like a cat, which confused Euan and led to a certain amount of blood letting.

When the others found him, he was back in human form, sitting amidst the remains of the bard. Though I abhor violence, even I have to admit that it was probably a fitting end for such a person.

Next session: 1223, Autumn

Samuel Penn

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