1222.2e: Three Hour Tour

So, I'm assuming Talia (and whomever wants to accompany her) is still planning on doing this? If so, how far afield does she plan on going, and what resources will she be bringing to bear?

Basically, what's her plan, and how far does she plan on going? Insula Canaria is only about 2km from the south end of the loch (where Cill Chuimein is), but the loch is about 36 km long.

Well, I'll presume she doesn't have solid navigational charts of the loch. We'll undertake, along with her navigator (whom I have to finish and post), creating charts of the loch. Soundings and whatnot. I'm unsure as to how long this will take. We'll throw out a boat to do adequate mapping of the bottom as we approach the shores (~300 yards), determining where it is safe to keep the Whoa Buoy close to shore.

Oh, and then generally getting an idea of anything of note on the shoreline, including settlements...

Caoimhe will scout ahead of the ship and dinghy, with a "two barks for too shallows" system of communication.

Bark Twain?

You can get the Whoa Boy within 20, 25 feet of shore before she starts to scrape bottom. The loch bottom goes out about 75 feet at a shallow angle before it more or less drops off.

In addition to Cill Chuimein and Inbhir Mhoireastain (on either side of Insula Canaria), there is the village of Foyers on the eastern side of the loch, about ten miles up. Other than that, there's not really anything bigger than a couple of cottages near each other, with the exception of what looks like a stone castle a couple of miles further up from Foyers.

As the ship is exploring, Talia thinks she sees something in the water, about a quarter mile out from shore a little north of Inbhir Mhoireastain, but by the time she gets the ship there, she doesn't see it anymore.

((Ok. I didn't respond to this quickly/earlier because this was edited.))
Does the castle appea occupied? Docks?
That grog will be on the lookout for a suitable location for a shipyard. Nominally Talia would look, but not go out of her way. A Hermetic Shipyard has some appeal, but that's a lot of effort. And a lot of manpower would be necessary.

She's going to also plot the spot where she thinks she saw something.

It does appear occupied, because Talia can see a couple of people on the parapet. They watch the ship as it passes by, but don't seem to take any action. The castle does have a small dock, more suitable for the small boats than a cog like the Whoa Buoy.

I'm assuming that a shipyard would want an inlet or a cove of some kind? Immediately west of the covenant is a good little bay. The villages of Cill Chuimein and Inbhir Mhoireastain both have rivers that empty into the loch. Inbhir Mhoireastain has more of a "bay" area than Cill Chuimein does, but Cill Chuimein has more people.

Does she tell anyone about it when she returns to Insula Canaria?

Have we explored the extent of the loch?

Yes, whenever she does get back to the covenant she will mention it to someone, one of the magi or one of the covenfolk, whomever is relatively easy to find. Also, she will remember the map of the loch on the wall of the council chamber, it's probably what she used to trace out the shape of the loch for her navigational charts, after all?

I was assuming you had, yes. I was just eyeballing Loch Ness on Google Earth, and those looked to be the best locations for a shipyard on this end of the loch.

Drystan shows you the map on the wall, which has a moving marker/trail on it. If you compare it to where you had plotted what you saw earlier, that spot is on the trail.

"It appears I spied her when I was out on the loch, surveying and making navigational charts. How do we harvest the vis source, I'm having trouble recalling if it was mentioned in the meeting."

"In a way, it's rather simple, but would be all but impossible without magic. The Niseag, about once a year in late fall or early winter, lays her eggs in the loch bottom usually relatively close to shore," Drystan says. "When she does, she usually stops moving for a day or two. We can see where she is in, or near, the loch with this map. It's made from some of her sloughed skin that we happened across while it was still a good Arcane Connection to her. Once she's started moving and is a safe distance away from where she laid her eggs, we go to where she was and send some grogs down into the water to retrieve the eggs. We enchant the grogs against the cold water, to give them clear vision, and to enable them to breathe underwater. We usually find about six or eight eggs about yay big," Drystan says as he holds his hands in a circle about six inches across. "Each egg is a pawn of Animal.

"She usually lays her eggs in the southen half of the loch."

"One of my crew fancies himself a Shipwright. He's extremely good at making repairs, but isn't quite as learned as most Shipwrigthts. If we were to put up a small shipyard here," Talia will point out the spot on the map, "do you think that would be problematic? None of this is something I feel we're ready to do now, and if necessary, I can create a ship from vis, identical to mine own for sale if we should happen into some commission by dumb luck."

Drystan looks at the spot Talia indicated on the map. "Do you think this project would actually be worthwhile? That whatever income we get from this shipyard will outweigh the effect that building and operating it would have on the land and the water?"

"Wouldn't that be a splendid challenge? Creating a shipyard with minimal impact on the wilds of the land? You've now inspired me! My goal would be to lend my Arts to the project, so as to minimize the impact. I could also work on inventing a spell to make the wood, minimizing the impact to the forest. I have my own source of Herbam, indeed, I have quite a stockpile of it, too. I could probably make more wood than I could make in a ship for the same vis cost. It may be a fool's errand, after all. But nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Noticing Drystan's reticence, "Do these plans concern you? Are you afraid we will tame the land to make it too civilized for your and the other founders tastes? Because I see magic being able to do many of the tasks that would ordinarily require many people. I can see us sailing ships out of the loch and transporting them past Inverness magically, reducing traffic on the loch. I honestly don't expect everyone, or even anyone to share my vision, and it may not be profitable from a vis or coin point of view for many years. But if coin buys kings, and kings own the land, if we can buy kings, we will own the land and you can tell them to keep the lands and lochs wild."

"When I first came here, it was in part because the Tribunal was still, in large part, unsullied by the hands of man, unlike Wales," Drystan says as he moves to one of the windows. "There are fewer than two hundred people on the length of the loch. Once you get past Inbhir Mhoireastain on this side, you can walk for hours and not see a soul. As it should be."

He sighs. "For many years, I protested any blight on the land that my sodales felt were necessary. I had to fight to keep the entire covenant within the bounds of the pathway...some felt they had the right to build wherever they wished. In time, I started to see this as a losing battle, and sought compromise instead. Decided to try to confine the damage, to limit it as much as possible. There are times that I wonder if, by compromising with them, I've compromised myself.

"I've had to travel, at times, and had to pass through the cities of England and Europe, and found myself physically ill the whole time I was there. I don't want to see that happen here, and the best way to keep that from happening, I've always felt, was to stop it before it starts."

He stops and simply stands in the window, gazing out across the water.

"I like cities. I like the solitude of this area. I think I prefer this area, because I find myself able to work magic I'd not been able to do before. I'd not see the aura diminished by the encroachment of a large town. Before I would find an aura and work for a season and my men would get irritable and bored. No, this is better. Perhaps I should make another boat for them to man, and just leave the Whoa Buoy here." Talia throws out possibilities, caught in a matrix of indecision.
"What do you know of the north end of the loch? Closer to Inverness? Would that be a better location, far enough away from this area? I would have troubles explaining such a structure on the loch so close to a settlement."
"I feel a compulsion to lend my Arts to the project, allowing a capable man to find meaning in his life in the way he wishes is a worthy goal. Perhaps he will want to leave, become dissatisfied with the progress, or I tire of the project myself. I'm not the stereotypical sadistic or disagreeable archetype of my House. The nature of my conflict is finding a worthy challenge and overcoming it. For me, each individual stands on his merits, and I respect the choices they make, even if I disagree with them. It's a worthy challenge for me to satisfy your demands and his demands. I don't ask for blessing, but I would ask your support."

"Last I knew, there's no village at the north end of the loch. Maybe a handful of people live up there, but nothing like a village for some reason.

"You said you had trouble getting the Whoa Buoy up the Ness from Inverness to the loch. Perhaps if he had a shipyard that built smaller vessels that could go from here to Inverness and back easier." He moves over to the map and studies it.

"How about here?" he says, pointing to a cove toward the north end of the loch, on the west side. "It's about fifteen miles from here, about six or seven miles from the end of the loch. Looks to be a pretty good size, too.

"Maybe if he can get some ships built, it might...well, we might be able to trade what we have for what we need more easily. With as many people as have left the last few years, we're struggling. We're not going broke, by any means, and with Doineann here, we can be relatively sure that we won't suffer drought or deluge. But..."

He's silent for a couple of minutes. "The covenant must go on," he finally says. "And I will try to do what I can to help your friend achieve his dream, if it means our survival."

"The Ness is very shallow, maybe 9 feet deep. I had to go out to sea a ways, get out of the divine aura, work a ceremonial spell that required not inconsiderable luck to cast. The spell allowed me to change the shape of the boat, and required all my concentration to handle. And then, I had to travel in the dead of night, to avoid the oddity of a boat of that size sailing up the shallow channel."

"I have much to learn, he has much to learn. The major obstacle, beyond a shipwright's soak is getting seaworthy vessels out of the loch and out to sea. I need to invent a spell to do it, or we need to transport the vessel from the soak to the ocean."

"My men have made a living in any way they could. I've tended to curb some of their tendencies, so as not to trouble myself with mundane authorities, being a solitary magus, at the time. If I loosened their restrictions and gave them a vessel for them to play to their strengths that could bring in some necessary funds..." Talia offers that last bit with a look at Drystan that says, 'yeah, I said that, don't ask.' "I've been concerned about keeping them busy. And while I have a strong appetite for pleasures of the flesh, I also must satisfy my interest in my Arts. A girl has to get her rest, now and again."