1231, Spring – The Rats

In our previous session of Ars Magica, we were rescuing books from the Arcanum of the Endless City. But we still need to rescue ourselves from the Endless City itself.

Pisciculus ex Criamon – Spring, 1231

We have left the library carrying the four books that we picked off the shelves. Outside, it is now a lot darker than before we went inside. The sky is black, though there is a reddish glow from the nearest volcano. As we step aside, we realise we need to renew our Parma Magicas, as well as our other Sun duration spells which protected from the heat and dust.

After putting up our spells, we head in the direction of the research institute where the other library is meant to be located. The region is looking in a bad state, even compared to the rest of the city. Strange glows come from some of the ruins.

Trying to find the library in the ruins turns out to be difficult, since there’s no buildings still standing that look look obviously like a library. There isn’t an easy spell to detect books, and since there aren’t well defined Rooms or even Structures, it’s difficult to target a specific area.

Allistors suggest that we get the hell out of here with our ill-gotten gains, and the rest of us agree.

We head away from the volcano towards the passage that brought us here. There is the noise of multiple constructs up ahead and to our right. After a bit, they seem to cross our potential path, so we slow to a stop and wait for them to pass before heading on again.

As we get to the passage, there is a boundary between regions leading out of the ‘city’. It seems dark, and we can’t see beyond it. Stepping through, we are back in the passage. Behind us, we see the sun rise quickly into the sky.

We head back up the passage, having to renew our Parma Magica once more. When we get to the covenant itself, we meet up with some of our grogs who tell us we have been gone just under a week – longer than we had expected, but shorter than we had feared.

At this point, we are in desperate need of a bath and a decent meal. Fortunately the books we rescued are still with us – they hadn’t vanished or turned into blank paper like some faerie glamour may have.

The obvious thing to do at this point is to sit down and read through the books. Though they are in some dialect of Latin that we don’t recognise, it should be possible to understand them. However, whilst Maedbh is busy reading her knew book, it means that out existing book on Mentem is unused, so my plan is to spend the season reading that before Maedbh claims it back.

The books we got were of particularly high quality and level:

  • The book on Creo and Perdo is a tractatus on both arts, level 14 (requires two seasons of study)
  • The elemental book is four summa in one: Aquam 12/12, Auraum 12/12, Ignem 20/12 and Terram 20/12
  • The Imagonem book is a summa of 22/13

The Imaginem book is level 22, quality 13.

Jack, Spring 1231

With the return of the magi from beneath the covenant, we apparently have some more information about the rats that swarmed through here at the end of last year. The magi seem to think that the rats might be intelligent. Not just crafty enough to eat through a sack of grain sort of intelligent, but working alongside people sort of intelligent. This will take some seeing to be believing, but we have seen some pretty weird stuff over the years.

So while the magi are resting their poor feet in front of some books, we have been tasked with going out and finding what happened to the rats. Myself, Aodhan and Greysen head out, along with Knox for his exceptional tracking skills.

Knox proves his worth (again) almost immediately, and is able to find some tracks of rats at the empty villages. There are human sized footprints as well, which seem to be travelling with the rats. They may have been going ahead of, or behind, the rats. One of the humans was only half booted. As we follow the tracks, the rats seem to split off at every opportunity, but we try to follow the human tracks.

It’s been about a week though, and it’s taking all of Knox’s hunting skills to follow the tracks. The few locals we pass did hear something about a week back – things on the roof, or things going past the door. Their storehouse is missing several sacks of grain, but they thought one of their neighbours had taken them. There is a little bit of rat sign, plus their cats have gone missing.

The further we get from the the covenant, the less weirdness we come across. There seem to have been somewhere in the order of 20 to 30 people who have vanished from the area during this time frame. The rats seem to have taken routes which take them through the larger settlements.

Having explored the routes the rats took to the West, we head back to the covenant to collect the boat and sail down to Dumbarton. I  head to The Library (the inn that we own) to see if there are any rumours about rats or other strangeness. One person claims to have seen a rat the size of a dog. The rat stared at him, making him feel odd – more so than the fact that he was drunk. A couple of people mention that their cats have gone missing as well.

Greysen goes looking for Rat Catchers, and finds them very hard to find. He finds one, who is drunk. He mentions that the rats have turned on him. They’re normally cunning, but not actually dangerous. Some of his colleagues went into a tunnel hunting them and never came back. All that he found of them were gnawed off arms.

The next day, we have breakfast and wait to see if the rat catcher turns up. Some time after we’ve finished, the rat catcher eventually shows, and offers to show us where the tunnels are. He takes us to what is a simple sewer where he claims the rats were last seen.

Samuel Penn

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