1226, Summer

After missing a week, we are back to our Ars Magica saga of Druids’ Dale. In our previous session, we had headed north to investigate stories about giants. They had been spread initially by Angus ex Miscellanea (a very annoying and outspoken magus) who had been complaining that Sean ex Miscellanea (a slightly less annoying magus) had caused giants to throw rocks at his house. There had been other stories about giants causing problems though, so there was probably something to the story.

Pisciculus ex Criamon, Summer 1226

We are at Fort William, with a plan to investigate the stories about the giants in the area. The magus Sean is in the hills to the north of the Fort. We have met him before, and he was a small, aggressive and annoying magus of ex Miscellanea. 

First though, we head towards Spean Bridge. It’s a relatively easy walk of just under 10 miles, and we get there around midday. Aodhan is able to direct us towards the village that was attacked by the giants. He also offers to give mass to the locals, which they seem to be keen on.

At that point Aodhan starts going on about the problems we had with a sea monster, and how praying and building a church got rid of it. He seems to draw in quite a big crowd. I take the opportunity to sneak off and see if there are any crushed houses. There are no crushed ones, but there is a new looking cottage at the northeastern side of the village.

Together with Knox, we find some potential footprints about 3 yards in length, that look like they come down from the hills. There is also swearing coming the cottage. Knox knocks on the door (ha ha!), and a middle aged woman comes out, swearing and going on about a lazy so and so.

Knox asks whether he can help at all, and she wants to know where her husband is. Knox indicates the big crowd, and explains that Knox is here with a priest. He was guarding him because of a worry about giants. According to the woman, there haven’t been any giants in the area for two years.

She storms off towards the crowd to find her husband, and I take a peek inside. It is a newly fashioned cottage, but seems pretty standard. It didn’t look like the cottage of a wise woman or herbalist.

A few minutes later, the woman comes back with her husband in tow.

From what the villagers say, they were woken one morning by the sound of a boulder crashing onto a cottage. A couple more cottages were damaged by similar boulders, and a large figure was seen striding off through the mist. This was two years ago, and it hasn’t happened here since. There were similar events to the west, but they didn’t bother the people here.

What I know about giants, is that they are very big, and live in the very north of Scotland. They are also known to be pretty stupid, and tend to throw boulders around.

We leave Aodhan behind whilst the rest of us head up into the hills to follow the old footprints. There is a faerie aura of 2 around here. The tracks go on for about half a mile, leading us towards the peak of the hill about four or five hundred yards high. We come upon chunks of ground that look like they have been significantly disturbed. It looks like something has taken a gough out of the ground. Allistor wondered whether giants were trying to play golf with boulders.

Much beyond this the trail is lost, as the ground becomes rockier. 

The other annoying magus, Anghus, is about 5 leagues to the northeast of here. It was his cottage that got hit by a rock, and one of the reasons we came up here. We head back to the village, where there is a mass and an evening meal. Myself and Allistor are given a table at the edge of the festivities, but everyone else seems to enjoy themselves.

The next day, we decide to avoid having to talk to Anghus so we had up to Loch Arkaig to see what the stories were like there. Asking the villagers, apparently it has been happening a lot over the past few years. When the giants attack, there is a cracking sound and then a boulder lands. A couple of people tried to fight the giants by using pitchforks against their ankles, but they were squashed. There seems to be a lot of traffic of giants moving north and south.

The next day we follow the trail south, which is taking us in the direction of the magus Sean. Sometimes the tracks go over steep terrain that we have to go around. By mid-afternoon, we approach the valley where we believe Sean is located.

We get to the top of a ridge line, and look down into a valley. There is an old quarry here, with exposed rock in a big open area. Several trees look like they’ve been knocked down recently. There is a large broch with smoke coming out of the top.

We head around and down, so that we come up the easy route into the village. Some of the trees look like they’ve been torn down – lifted directly out of the earth. We approach within about fifty yards, and yell a hello. There is no response.

I wander up to the Broch, and knock on the door. Sean answers it, and he and I have a conversation. I explain that we are seeking giants, and wondering whether they had bothered Sean at all. Sean is obviously lying when he says he hasn’t noticed anything.

After a few more questions from me, and Sean denying all knowledge, I decide to call his bluff. So I let him know that we will be dealing with the problem then, and will stop them coming down. Sean seems somewhat concerned about this, but doesn’t know how to answer.

It is then that a second voice says from inside the broch “Perhaps I should explain”. He is another hairy old person, wearing fine clothes. He comes outside to greet us, and says that he would prefer it if we didn’t try to throw his brothers around. He would have to intervene.

He is called Hamish.

He takes us down towards the quarry. Some of the rock has gaps and holes in it. There is a forge, and a number of iron ingots, as well as a tent-like covering setup next to one wall, with animals skins on the ground. It looks like a sleeping area for giants.

He gives us his assurances that his brothers Gulvorn and Manwen won’t be bothering us anymore. They are his brothers, but they aren’t very bright. They are Famhair Laidir, he is a Famhair a’falach. I have heard the phrases before. The Famhair Laidir are the big giants, and then there are the smaller ones which are more magical and more dangerous.

He wanders off to get some wood, growing to about 40ft in height to pull up a tree.

He and his brothers have come south, to avoid unpleasantness in the north. He has given his brothers things to do to keep them out of trouble. He seems to be making a long wooden club with a metal knob on one end. It was mostly Sean though coming up with ideas for games for them. As Hamish takes a long tree trunk, and adds a metal club-like attachment to one end, he explains that his brothers have been playing games of golf. At some point they obviously got the idea into their heads to start aiming at cottages.

Hamish is certain that he can find someone to stop them causing trouble – and he gives a stern look at Sean when he says this.

I ask him what the trouble to the north is about, and whether it would be a problem for us. He admits that it will be problematic for us, but refuses to give up information for free. So I offer to owe him a favour in exchange for knowledge. He came south to avoid the dreams – cold, dark dreams. It was not a good thing to stay. If they had, they would have fallen further into the dreams and become their prisoners. The Dreamer spins the dreams, the spider.

Hamish is happy for us to visit occasionally, and likes to talk about magic, philosophy and similar things. His kind were those who taught the Gruagach their magic. He seems to have knowledge of many things, and is also learning Hermetic magic from Sean. As long as he isn’t taught Parma Magica it should be okay.

With problems seemingly resolved, at least for now, we all head back to the covenant.

Samuel Penn

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