Another season, another year in our Ars Magica campaign. It seems to have fallen to me to keep track of the ages of our grogs, so there was some rolling for that at the end of Winter. The magi aged as well, but until we reach 35 we don’t need to worry about making rolls. It just occurred to me that this is about the same time as ageing kicks in for Traveller as well. I think Ars Magica is a bit more sensible though in how quickly people take to die. Traveller is meant to be high tech science fiction, but you’d be lucky to survive until your 70s.
One grog dropped a characteristic point, but the others were fine.
Since it was the beginning of the year, it was also time for the GM to provide us with some rumours.
- Disaster has befallen the village of Inverkip. Churchgoers from Greenock heading to the Kirk at Inverkip report that on the first Sunday of the year, all of the inhabitants but for a few gibbering tormented souls were found dead in the streets, in their homes or in the surrounding countryside. Many appeared to have died at their own hands, or those of their loved ones. One merchant was found with his throat impossibly swollen from having tried to ingest a bag of coin. In addition, several villagers were found scattered about the local countryside and appeared to have simply died of exhaustion or terror. Even the monks of Paisley Abbey who were resident at the Kirk were not spared. The village is now being shunned as a place of great Evil.
- The Magi of Mhor Rath and the Arbroath Covenant have reportedly come to blows over the discovery of several new vis sources in the lands immediately west of Aberdeen. Locals in the area report sightings of strange animals and it is rumoured that a hunting party has been sent to the area from the royal court. There are also tales of moving woods and mysterious lights at night in the vicinity of Skene.
- Another report of conflict has come to your ears but this time to the south near Carlisle. According to Edwin ex Tytalus, Praeco of Horsingas, a raiding party of southern mages and their grogs were detected trying to make their way deeper into Loch Leglean “no doubt for nefarious purposes”. When challenged, these magi responded violently leading to a clash of magic and arms. Several grogs were slain and it is believed a few of the southern magi may have been injured. Locals appear to have been largely uninvolved, but there are stories circulating of armed men moving through the area and bright flashes of light and loud noises akin to a thunderstorm coming from some distance north of Carlisle.
- A number of your grogs have reported getting glimpses of a large wildcat moving about the valley leading to your covenant. Many of the covenfolk report feeling as if they are being watched.
Pisciculus ex Criamon
Having heard about the strangeness back at Inverkip, we decided that we better head down and find out what had happened. We had our own boat now, which our grog Blane had some experience in sailing. Malcolm and Knox also came along as protection, and myself, Maedbh ex Merinita and Allistor ex Miscellanea sailed down the coast to investigate.
We landed just north of the village, allowing us to come at it from over a hill so that we got a good view of the village before we got too close. The sky was overcast, and it was raining, which made it nice and cool. The village looked somewhat desolate, but there were no signs of smoke or of carrion birds picking at the remains of villagers. There was also nobody living visible.
Once we got to the village centre, we spotted an area of freshly dug earth which turned out to be a mass grave. Allistor was able to remove the earth so that I had access to a body. I cast Whispers through the Black Gate, hoping that they hadn’t had a Christian burial. I also hoped that their spirit might be able to speak a civilised tongue, such as Greek or Latin, but I was expecting to be disappointed.
What I didn’t expect was for their spirit, as it was summoned, to suddenly start screaming and gibbering. The spirit was obviously in pain, so I quickly terminated the spell.
What we know of the sluagh is that they kill through fear, implanting suggestions in people to kill or destroy whatever they hold most dear. So the reaction of the spirit was uncomfortably compatible with the sluagh from the burial mound by the Loch being responsible for this. Which probably meant Dierdre ex Tytalus was also responsible.
We sent our grogs back up to the boat, telling them to sail it down to the village so that we could make a quick getaway if we needed to. Maedbh believed that the fey spirits would be unable to cross salt water, so a sea route would be the best way to leave.
Us magi headed up to the loch, and the old campsite next to the ancient barrow mound. Once we arried there, we noticed that a new hole had been made in the mound, and there were tools laying around. This hole was significantly bigger than last time, and possibly somebody had entered the mound. There were no signs of people or bodies here however.
Maedbh spent some time trying to talk to the spirits, asking them to be nice and leave us alone. I cast Inexorable Search on the pick axe which looked decent quality and had a maker’s mark on it. The spell tracked down its owner, who was somewhere near Kilmarnock. This put them in the same direction as Non Metuens covenant where Dierdre ex Tytalus is based.
So we possibly have another magi interfering with the fey and bringing trouble to other members of the Order. This was in violate of the Code of Hermes, though proving it and bringing charges at a Tribunal might be difficult. At the very least we need to let other magi know, so that we have the events recorded and ready to use against her if the need arises.
Actually going down to Kilmarnock might be dangerous though – or at least it could escalate things. It might be better to send Jack and some of the grogs who would at least be deniable.
The next plan though is to head across the water to Crun Clach covenant and let Caitlin ex Merinita know. She is possibly one of the most powerful magi in the Order, and seems well deposed towards us, so warning her and getting her on our side for whatever comes next will be important.