We had reached the end of Summer 1226 in our Ars Magica saga, with just a bit of book keeping left over for what everyone was up to. I had my maga Pisciculus study from our Creo book, to get her Creo score from 5 to 7. This will be important in a few years when she starts to need longevity potions.
Pisciculus also needed to start planning what she wanted to do about her mystery cult. As a maga of House Criamon, she gets to choose between a number of secret rituals which will focus her and towards her better understanding of the Enigma. This is one aspect of the game that was greatly expanded upon in 5th Edition. There are a lot more rules, which both complicates things and also provides some interesting options and choices. Though all of this could have been done in earlier editions through discussions with the GM and players, I find that having an actual framework makes it clearer that there are options to think about.
I think that she will follow the Path of Seeming, which will eventually allow her to disassociate herself from the physical world, moving around as a ghost without a physical form. I’m not actually expecting the campaign to last long enough to get to the end of this Path, but it provides the character with a focus to aim for. It does mean that she needs to start learning some lore skills for her House, and find some twisting caves to wander around in.
Pisciculus isn’t quite old enough to need to start worrying about making longevity potions quite yet, but it’s something that I need to keep in mind. As well as that, I need to get up her Parma Magica, which is currently only two. Everyone else is at three or four.
Summer, 1226 – Jack
Maedbh has asked me for help in learning how to swing a sword. I’m concerned that the sword she has picked up from somewhere is bigger than she is. Any attempt to swing it will probably cause more harm to her than anyone else – even if she doesn’t hit herself with it.
I agree to help her though, since it’s bound to be amusing. We’ll start with a small wooden sword though, rather than her big metal arming sword.
She learns quite quickly, and there’s something to be said for watching a woman as attractive as her training under the summer sun. However my wife Rohna took to doing her weaving outside, where she could keep her eye on me.
Autumn, 1226 – Jack
Given the rumours of a large wild cat being seen in the area, I decide that it is probably worthwhile taking out some grogs to go looking for it. However, somehow the magi got to hear of my plans and decided that they wanted to get involved. They can be useful, but they also complicate things. Especially since it means that they’ll be in charge rather than me.
As well as myself and Knox then, the two magi Maedbh and Allistor come out with us.
On the first day of hunting we don’t find anything special. The second day passes as well. It seems like the magi don’t know much about their own back gardens, so there is a lot of time spent having to explain things to them.
Maedbh leaves out some saucers of milk and some fish, which is gone by morning. Coincidentally, the covenant looks a lot cleaner in the morning. It is probably the covenant’s fey, rather than the cat, though nobody wants to say it aloud in case they go away. Faeries are weird.
We decide to spend a night out in the countryside. The night seems furtive, but nobody sees anything until I am taking the watch just before dawn. There is a rustling sound behind me, and I turn to see a large dead rat that has been deposited next to me.
I wake up Maedbh, who is unable to determine what killed the creature by mumbling some words over the corpse. Whatever it was was magical apparently. No shit.
The next night, I am woken by Knox who is shouting about having spotted the cat. The rest of the camp is woken. Maedbh, who can see in the dark, heads off in the direction of the cat. She finds a half eaten fish head – one of those Maedbh left out.
Knox suddenly jumps, as he notices a large golden cat dashing into the bushes. I turn to spot it vanishing, and also spot a still half alive fish flopping around in the middle of the camp. I call out to it, trying to encourage it to come and show us all how beautiful it is. It didn’t seem particularly impressed and refuses to show itself.
Maedbh cooks the fish, but the cat is not tempted back. We decide that whatever it is, it doesn’t want to meet us yet. But at least it seems to be friendly.
Winter 1226 – Pisciculus ex Criamon
After spending some time studying the techniques of Creo and Muto, I have decided that it is time to try and improve my Parma Magica, which is quite weak compared to the other magi here. I learned that the hard way when we encountered the oversized hedgehog. Rather than push my luck, I’ve decided I need better protection before I do anything too dangerous again.
I’ve also decided to follow the Path of Seeming. I’ve written to several magi of my House for advice and knowledge. First, I will need to sit and study some more of the teachings of our House. Once that is completed, I should be ready to find a suitable cave system, and explore its meditative intricacies as part of my first steps down that part. Radislav ex Criamon has agreed to act as my guide.
The first part of my path will be the Avenue of Gruel, Water and Starlight and the station of differentiation of seeming.
Rumours for the end of 1226
- A new abbey is to be founded by King Alexander and his mother. Balmerino abbey will be built on the shore of the Firth of Tay. Monks from Melrose are expected to occupy the abbey by next year. A small number of monks from Paisley abbey will also take up residence as a gesture of solidarity after the terrible events at Inverkip.
- The people of the region near Fort William are celebrating the intervention of a holy man who has calmed the rock-throwing Giants that were plaguing the area. While some bemoan the effort required to create and maintain special target areas for the Giants, the majority are relieved that their homes are no longer vulnerable to the specially rounded boulders the Giants were propelling with their huge clubs. A few daring locals have taken to spectating when the Giants turn up, wagering on how many shots it will take them to hit their targets. Some are even experimenting with a human-sized version of the game itself.
- Troubling news has emerged from the vicinity of Skene. A number of villages have been burned and pillaged by raiders of clearly supernatural origin. Witnesses speak of a group of twisted figures in blood-soaked red caps, incongruously led by a shining knight atop a unicorn. The royal hunting party that visited the region last year has not been heard of since it entered the mysterious moving woods previously reported. Within the Loch Leglean tribunal pointed questions are being asked of house Merenita; Caitlin Suil Uaine has promised prompt action to avoid any further supernatural disruption of the King’s peace.
- A strange sickness has been reported in far northern regions of Alba. The victims reportedly suffer from insomnia, and bad dreams when they do manage to sleep. Some go mad, some have killed themselves, and a few have flown into murderous frenzies. Most recover, but they are often shunned by their neighbours who claim that they are somehow ‘different’ after their illness.
- Scholars have claimed that the earth-rumblings felt across much of Alba early last year were associated with an unusual astrological event involving Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. Worryingly Mars was also associated with this event, possibly presaging some sort of conflict.
The covenant decides that it is important to investigate the Redcaps at Skene. Given the highly magical nature of these creatures, I have decided to sit this one out until my Parma studies are further advanced. From what I have heard, Redcaps are also resistant to Corpus magic, which is about the only useful magic I could use against them.