Continuing our Druids’ Dale saga, we have reached the spring of 1229. My character, Pisiculus ex Criamon is beginning to plan the rituals that will induct her into one of the mysteries of her House. This is something we’ve never done before – the rules for mysteries in Ars Magica are quite detailed. The first requirement is that she will need to perform a Quest, in order to put herself into the correct frame of mind before she can start on the initiation scripts.
This means that I need to come up with a suitable quest, something that will drive her to confront actually giving up some of her connections to the real world. Hopefully, it’s something that can be done in the coming year, but it does mean that I as a player will need to have at think and work out something with our Storyguide. Maedbh is also planning something similar, so a chunk of this session was spent talking about what our options are.
Jack, Spring 1229
The winter has been particularly bad, but as the year turns to spring, the weather is improving. The magi have asked me to go with them to deal with some ‘goblins’ that have turned up on some of the local roads. Apparently they have been acting as bandits, attacking the better-off merchants who have been using the roads.
The grog Callen is coming with us, along with the mage Maedbh and our bard Greysen. We head for Dumbarton. Soon after leaving the covenant, I notice several squirrels following us for a few minutes. They seem to be watching us in a curious fashion.
Once we reach the main road, for the first time in ages, people don’t shy away for us as we pass. With all the magi apart from Maedbh staying back to the covenant, we don’t have an air of weirdness about us. Maedbh, despite being a mage, seems normal. Well, normal for someone who looks like a 15 year old girl carrying a sword that is too large for her.
We reach Dumbarton after about a day, and find an inn to stay the night at. Greysen spends the evening singing songs, carousing and gathering rumours. He finds out about a merchant who was robbed by a ‘bunch of green skinned children’. He and his guards were beaten up, and his goods stolen. They claim to have been attacked on the road up towards Loch Lomond.
I talk to some of the local merchants, to see if anyone is looking to hire bodyguards. One says that he is thinking about it, because he’s heard about people being attacked by ‘goblins’, but doesn’t really believe it.
The following morning, we have breakfast. I mention to the inn keeper that we are heading north, and ask about the quality of the road. We are overheard, which was my plan, and a couple of merchants ask if we could accompany them. After some discussion, Maedbh starts getting involved, and eventually one of them is scared off, thinking that she might be the daughter of an important lord and not wanting to be involved if we are attacked. Maybe I should have come up with a better cover story about who she was.
So we set off with the somewhat overweight merchant Gilfoil. Maedbh is able to ride on the cart, and the rest of us walk.
On the way, we come across a broken cart sitting in a depression about five or six metres from the road. It is missing a wheel, and has an arrow sticking in it. Gilfoil mentions that it was probably the cart of the merchant who was attacked. He was carrying ale.
The arrow is quite short, and has a tip of stone. There are tracks that suggest that a panicked pony pulled the cart off the road, but then there are no signs of further pony prints. There are lots of booted foot prints, which are normal adult sized. The boot prints lead west off the road and away from the loch.
We continue up to Duck Bay, where we had agreed to depart company with Gilfoil. Talking to the locals there, they tell us that several merchants carrying booze have been attacked. The attackers were described as being green and small, which the locals aren’t too certain about.
We head back to the cart, and follow the tracks. Maedbh seems to start telling a story as we head up the hill, whilst carving some sticks with a copper blade. I think it’s some magical shit that she is getting up to. Greysen points out there is the sound of singing coming from up ahead. It sounds like a drinking song, though we can’t make out the words.
There is smoke rising from a small wooded area a few hundred metres into the hills. I volunteer to scout ahead, and go directly towards the sound of the party, trying to keep quiet. I do manage to tread on a branch, which snaps loudly, but it happens during a sudden rise in the noise so nothing hears me.
Spying upon the party, I see that there is a fire surrounded by a large collection of boxes, barrels, jugs and other containers. Most have been broken open, and their contents – mostly clothing – scattered on the ground. The glade is also full of creatures who are quite happily quaffing whatever food and drink is available. Several are passed out on the ground.
The creatures are short, green creatures with big feet and sharp pointy teeth. There is something odd about their feet, other than they belong to a bunch of goblins. There are about half a dozen asleep, and a dozen dancing, standing or singing. There is a leader-like member of the party who is seated on a padded chair. At one point he looks bearded, and then he isn’t. He has a club with a skull on the end.
I sneak back to the rest of our group, and explain what I saw. I tell Maedbh that I think there’s a glamour or something on the creatures, and that the goblin shape might simple be something that they are wearing. She’s the expert, so hopefully she can work it out.