1230, Spring – Isle of Arren

Continuing the spring of 1230 in our Ars Magica campaign, we left off at Crun Clach and now seek to find out what was causing the earthquakes on the Isle of Arren.

Jack, Spring 1230

We spend the night at the Crun Clach covenant, where there is good food, warm baths and comfortable beds. Before we head off to bed, we ask Blane whether he wants to come into the covenant, but he decides to stay out overnight. We provide him some fresh food and a tent to keep warm in, and he is joined by some members of the covenant.

The following day it is raining, but we head across to the Isle of Arran on our boat. We land at Blackwaterfoot, getting there in the early afternoon just in time for lunch.

Over lunch, we have the important discussion of why we are here. Our goal is to try and find the source of the earthquake and other oddities that happened here over the last few months. We start by heading up to the Machrie Moor standing stones.

As we head up towards the stones, I notice that the trees at the edge of the forests look much younger than the trees deeper in the forest. There is no sign of the trees having moved though, just more new growth that is common. There are also some squirrels, but they seem perfectly normal. But that might just be what they want us to think.

Maedbh tells us that we are standing in a “level three faerie aura”, which apparently means something important, but I’m not sure what. Maybe that we’ll be eaten by faerie squirrels rather than magical squirrels. She mentions that the forests may not be safe at night, so we better make sure that we’re back at the coast before night fall. She tries to talk to the trees, but they don’t want to talk back. I suggest threatening the trees with an axe, but that idea is considered not to be a good idea.

There is a rustling in the undergrowth, and a bunny looks out of the woods at us. After staring at us for a while, it heads back into the forest. 

There is a feeling of menace in the air. We cut back towards the standing stones, which are nestled amongst some new trees which aren’t yet tall enough to completely obscure the stones. The new growth of trees seems to have left the inside of the stone circle clear.

Maedbh wanders into the stone circle, and tells us that the faerie aura is now level six. Which is apparently quite a lot.

There are signs of a camp fire having been set here in the past. One of the stones looks like it has holes chipped into it as well. Maedbh remembers that the stones that she investigated several years back had similar holes in. They had been used to tie a sacrificial victim to. There are burnt remains of human bones here as well.

Maedbh casts a spell, detecting traces of powerful magic. She reaches out to touch one of the holes, which is in just the right place for chaining someone to the stone, and feels something pushing against her magical defences.

By now the sun is getting low in the sky, so it is decided that any further research should probably be done in the morning, and that we should head back to the boat before night fall. We head west, and come across a small deserted village. Nearby, are two more standing stones – though one is no longer standing. The village has some damage, including some fire damage.

We get back to the beach as the sun sets. I volunteer to take first watch. Soon, I hear strange howls far off in the night. There is a strange coughing sound, and also a strange bellow somewhere distant. Eventually I wake Maedbh, and turn in for the night.

In the morning we wake to see that Maedbh is looking really tired, and Blane seems to have got a really good rest. Apparently Maedbh noticed faeries moving around at night. She put up a warding circle, and decided to stay on watch rather than wake up Blane. Blane wouldn’t have been able to do anything about fay, so she hadn’t seen any point in waking him. Once it was Allistair’s turn, she woke him and turned in for the night herself.

Blane points out to Maedbh that waking him may have been a better idea. At the very least, he could have prodded her awake in case she fell asleep.

Visibility isn’t great, due to a thick mist that covers the island. We wait half a hour or so for the mist to start to lift before heading off. We go back to the two stones, where the fallen one has fallen over recently. Allistair pulls the stone up using magic, and cleans it off.

Whilst the two magi are doing magical stuff with the stones, I notice signs of a fire that has been built recently just outside of the circle. It looks like whomever built it had tried to hide it. There may have been a small camp here, with signs of a tent. The camp was probably within the last month.

Allistair finds that there are signs of a human body having been burnt here, with a very intense heat. The wood used had been specially prepared, of a particular type. He thinks some ritual has been done to bring back the old forests to the island.

Samuel Penn

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