1223, Summer

At the end of spring at Druids’ Dale, Sid had turned up at the covenant carrying half a cow. It was the remains of the breakfast which the water monster had fed on. Sid claimed that the monster had been over 60 yards in length, had glowing green eyes and scales of adamantine and with a great mane of seaweed.

Not quite believing him, the maga Pisciculus tried Image of the Beast upon the wounds, but whatever had caused those wounds was too powerful, and her magic failed. Maedbh also failed.

However, Pisciculus had heard of such beasts before. It was probably a stoor worm. Really large ones are said to have encircled the entire British Isles, but even the smaller ones are dangerous. They are venomous beasts with ravenous appetites created by malevolent spirits.

Summer

Pisciculus ex Criamon

Having completed my version of the spell The Inexorable Search, it was time to give it a try. For this, we needed a map and an arcane connection to the target. We had the latter, but had no suitable map of Scotland. I decided it would be a good investment for us to have such a map, so sent Jack out to get one. It wasn’t cheap, but it was a decent quality military map.

Aodhan was able to make a quick copy of the map so we wouldn’t harm the original, and I set about trying to trace the whereabouts of the bard who had been spreading tales of feline rituals. My finger came to rest somewhere in the region of Selkirk, down near the English border to the south east.

We headed off to try and find him, with the Gruagach Euan coming with me. Our companions Aodhan and Greysen also accompanied us, along with a couple of grogs – Hamish and Malcolm.

We headed east, getting to Dumbarton in about a day. Aodhan stopped off at an abbey to obtain a copy of the bible to help with his teaching. Once we were out in the countryside again, I cast the spell again and we noted that our target had moved – he was now at Innerleithen.

It seemed that he was heading up northwards, so we’d probably encounter him half way across the country. We stopped off at Glasgow, where Greysen made it really easy for us to get room at an inn. It’s a reasonably good inn, though the sound of church bells I for some reason find unsettling.

Not wishing to push my luck with too many castings of the spell in cast the bard has a way of detecting it, we headed east the next day until we reached Whiteburn. It was a reasonably sized settlement where the inhabitants were more than happy to welcome Greysen and his music. They were less sure about the rest of us, and gave us magi a wide birth. Greysen spins some tale about us being on a pilgrimage under the care of the priest Aodhan, which seemed to settle their concerns.

On leaving Whiteburn I cast the spell again, and was most annoyed to discover that the bard had headed much further West than we had expected and was at Carluke, probably on the way to Glasgow. The only thing we could do was to turn around and head back the way we had come. Euan meanwhile decides to take on the form of a raven and to fly in the direction of Carluke and try and spot him.

It turns out spotting him wasn’t hard – or at least the party he was with. There was a group of about half a dozen knights, a score of men at arms and a dozen or so followers.

st the spell again, and was most annoyed to discover that the bard had headed much further West than we had expected and was at Carluke, probably on the way to Glasgow. The only thing we could do was to turn around and head back the way we had come. Euan meanwhile decides to take on the form of a raven and to fly in the direction of Carluke and try and spot him.

It turns out spotting him wasn’t hard – or at least the party he was with. There was a group of about half a dozen knights, a score of men at arms and a dozen or so followers.


It was around this point that I (the player) realised just how small the region we were looking it was. The two white markers on the following map show the distance I used to walk everyday to University. It was a walk that took me about 30 minutes or so. It’s a noticeable proportion of the width across the whole country.


Euan changed back to human form and asked around to find out more about the group, finding a peasant to talk to. However, he was rebuffed. So Euan decided to try bullying the poor peasant into giving him information. Instead, he was laughed at. Just as the peasant was about to turn away, Euan cursed him (non-magically), turned into a Raven and flew off.

He recounted all this to us when he returned. By now we had reached Kork of Shotts and another use of the map showed them to be at Newhouse, probably heading up to Airdrie.

Either we had the wrong arcane connection, or our Bard was travelling with some highly influential people. All Euan could tell us was that they had blue and white colours. Eventually we worked out that it was probably the Seneschal of Scotland, who had blue and white heraldry. He was David Lor Goulis, and had a bad reputation according to Greysen (what would we do without Greysen?). He, or his father, had taken the lands of a monastery and built a castle on it. Though not well liked, he is quite powerful and treated with caution by the rest of the nobility. We would need to be careful.

By now we were on the same road as them, and began to catch up towards them. We made sure to arrive at Airdrie just behind them. Having got there first, they took all the finest inns, but we didn’t want to be staying close too them.

With a mix of Greysen playing music and asking around, and Euan eavesdropping as a raven, we found out that they are heading up towards Stirling, then plan to come back to Dombarton to handle some of the King’s business. The Seneschal has his own bard who plays only for him.

Greysen meanwhile is more than happy to make a name for himself playing to anyone who will listen.

Samuel Penn

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