1225, Spring – The Frog Chorus
In our previous session we had invested a faerie wood that had randomly ‘landed’ not far from our Covenant of Druids’ Dale. This session was a continuation of the season, as we went back to investigate the other rumours we had heard from the region.
Pisciculus ex Criamon
By this point we had tied up the four wolf men and bundled them into a cart. Maedbh tried to determine the nature of the magic that had changed them, and had come to the conclusion that the magic would probably last a year and a day.
Allistor was able to magic up a muzzle for them, so we were left with the problem of how to get them back to the covenant. We would need to find someone with a boat, who wouldn’t be put off by magi and wolf-men. Maedbh spent time trying to change their appearance with illusions, but ended up given herself large pointy ears when things went wrong.
In the end I suggested that it might be easier to change the mind of a boatman, by making them highly suggestible. This meant that I would have to go into the nearby town with Maedbh and help hire someone.
We also managed to get the bard out of the woods, and provided him with food and drink. He was exhausted, malnourished and very confused, but at least wasn’t insistent on staying with the fay woman.
Sid changed into a bear and pulled the cart down to a beach, whilst Maedbh and myself went to find a boatman. With a bit of silver paid it wasn’t too hard, and some magic persuaded him that the wolves were simply dressed up when he came to collect them. Then, once we had got home Maedbh edited his memories afterwards just to be sure.
Back at the covenant, Sid arranges for the wolves to be caged and looked after whilst the rest of us got some well deserved sleep.
The following day there was the question of the other rumours in the area, so we planned to head off again to the village of Clubroot. Since Sid was busy with the wolves, I recommended that Euan came with us. It sounded like a whole village had been turned into frogs, which was if not a curse of some kind then shapechanging at the very least, which was right up the Gruagach’s alley.
Blane, our new grog, happened to mention at this point that he actually knew how to use a boat. Not only that, he also knew of one which might be going spare. It would need some time spent on getting it fixed up, but in future we wouldn’t need to rely on random villagers.
Anyway, we headed back south to Clubroot near Greenock to investigate the apparent plague of frogs which had infected that village. As we neared the village, we ran into people who warned us that Clubroot had been cursed and that we should avoid the place. The entire reason for us going there was because it had been cursed, so we wisely ignored them.
We reached Clubroot just after midday. It was in a pretty poor state, with several cottages in much need of repair. There was no sign of people, but there were frogs hopping about the place. I used Posing the Silent Question on one, asking it whether it was human. Yes Bloody Yes was the answer.
None of them seemed to know what had caused their transformation, so whilst the others did their things I went looking for a pool. There were frogs, so there was bound to be some frog god that had been upset in some frog pool. My suspicions were proven to be correct, and there was a pond full of frogs. There were also giant frog foot prints leading to and from it.
Meanwhile Euan had been getting visions of what had happened. He saw two human sized frogs dressed in armour come out from between two trees and head to the pool. They scooped up some frogs then headed back to the wood.
The obvious thing to do was to head into the wood. So we did.
Walking between the trees we entered into another wooded regio. This had a large pond in the middle of a clearing. The grass was overly lush and green, and large lily pads floated on the water. One pad formed up into a large throne, on which sat a frog in purple robes and with a crown on his head. Near to him was a chessboard, which had a large number of pieces on it. Once we were able to get a closer look at the pieces, we noticed that they greatly resembled villagers.
Two large guards stood nearby, prodding at a chorus of smaller frogs who were singing before their king. They weren’t very good at it, and were getting prodded a lot when they made mistakes. After several minutes we were noticed and the smaller frogs were told to scatter. The guards came over to us, asking for our names to announce to the King of Frogs.
I gave mine, as did the others, so Euan had turned himself invisible by this point. Since they spoke in Gaelic, I let Maedbh do the talking, though it later transpired that they preferred Latin.
Maedbh was as polite as ever, which impressed the King enough for him to offer her a drink. It turned out that he had been planning a party – a grand ball – and then suddenly there was a great wind and thunder, along with a wailing sound and his court was suddenly here. This was sounding suspiciously familiar to the story we had heard yesterday.
The King explained that the chess pieces he had represented the lowliest members of his court, and that better pieces hadn’t been available. Apparently the board had the ability to fill itself as required, the pieces coming from somewhere outside. Which started to explain things.
It was then that we got onto the discussion of Latin and magi. He had dealt with our kind before, and they’d objected to his used of the chess board. I wonder why.
Maedbh brings up the issue of the “frogs” actually being locals, and I confirmed (for my own satisfaction) that the ones here were also human. The King was not convinced. Euan however took this moment to make himself visible and strode out into the pond. He called out for any frogs that wanted to be human to come to him, and he was immediately mobbed by a swarm of the creatures.
He picked up one and kissed it – presumably whilst also using some of his magic. The frog in his hands was replaced by a small naked girl, who dropped into the water and then started dancing around and shouting about how she was now free.
Realising the truth, the King was disgusted at the thought of dirty humans in his pool, and shooed them all out. Euan led them out through the trees, and I quickly followed, waving my hands and cloak above the frogs to prevent them being picked off by birds.
Back in the clearing, the King swiped the pieces off the chess board, and the swarm of frogs suddenly exploded into a mass of people. Exploded was the right word, since frogs take up a much smaller space than adult humans do. Nothing too messy, but people did go everywhere.
Finally, Allistor was knighted by the King for cleaning out his pond by creating a spring of fresh water. Given that the sun never sets in the clearing, we do wonder how long it will be pouring out water for.
We now have a village of ex-frogs to sort out, and a question of why two random faerie places have been dropped into southern Scotland.
Next session: Spring, 1225