The party led by Janus heads North. You hike through rough terrain most of the way to Carlisle, but from Carlisle to Dumfries there is a decent carriage way. It is not Roman standard, but it is easy enough to find. Dumfries is a small town with no wall or palisade. Only a small wooden watchtower guards the road leading into town.
You have good directions for Dunwald, Wicker Hill, and the manor where the grog is supposed to be. Not good enough not to ask your way when you get closer, but good enough to avoid the town if you prefer.
Please confirm who is in the party and what kind of provisions you have brought, and whether you have pack animals and/or carts. If you want to procure anything on the way, that may be possible, but we handle it quickly without RP. The story starts when you meet people in Galloway.
Janus suggests we travel with pack animals only to aid speed. He also thinks we should consider what to do with our books and other valuables. He proposes either leaving them at Ungulus or giving them to the group looking for Covenant sites, however he makes clear he is open to suggestions.
Ealhstan didn’t arrive at Ungulus with much in the way of personal items, a sword, the clothes on his back and another set, a bedroll, saddle bags, a riding horse, Clover, and the braid. He is happy to carry what he and Clover can but suggests that an outrider might be of more use, in which case his horse should travel light.
Odard was packed and ready to go days ago, seems fired up to leave and somewhst impatient, “bin a spell since was on the road, me.” He arrived back at Ungulus a whole year ago having just lost his hand in their last battle, surprised himself by not dying of “The ‘fection.” He brings his short sword, “Stickah” he calls it and it’s quite worn, says “It was me da’s an’ ‘is da b’fore ‘at.” A shirt of boiled leather, also quite worn, a metal cap helmet that covers the tops of his ears but not much else and seems ill fitted to his head, sliding around a little but never falling off. And strangest of all is a stick shaped like a ‘Y’ which looks quite brittle and he’s very protective of.
I assume Adrien has joined the rescue party as proposed. If I understand correctly, you bring a couple of pack animals, standard grog packs, and provisions for a week. Or do you need more? Caelha is happy to provide what you need, as far as mundane goes. She is also happy to keep your valuables safe, so that you can travel with only what the mission requires.
Do you all head into Dumfries, or do the gently and unGifted leave the group?
You arrive around midday, having taken 2½ days from Carlisle.
Dumfries is a rather sleepy town on the shore of a river cutting through the farmland. There are a little more than fifty houses and a church. The town square lies empty, but craftsmen are working in some of the workshops lining it; a leather worker and a comb maker can be seen through the open doors. The blacksmith and the baker are removed from the main cluster, on the river bank downriver. Upriver, you can see a mill. The road turns into a street which cuts through the middle and ends up at the river bank, where you can see a couple of boats.
You already know that Dunwald is a day or two upriver from Dumfries, and Wicker Hill a day or two to the West; maybe three if it is hilly. You don't really know.
Ealhstan recognises the expected Divine Aura of Dumfries. There is nothing out of the ordinary.
So the cavalry rides ahead. Thadeus with his gentle Gift also offered to go ahead, but I presume he is on foot. Nauvi is also gently Gifted, so there is no reason for him not to join. Janus tries to keep his Gift out of the way; I suppose Adrien stays with him. Cath'rinne, I suppose resumes the aerial support role once she has reported.
"I think it's worth it to have some knowledge of the previous presence of the magi expedition in the area from what they did in Dumfries before we continue north. The village is small, so it shouldn't take that long."
It is not much of a detour to go via Dunwald to the manor; you would go up the river to Dunwald and then turn West(ish). You could also go West to Wicker hill and the Northish, but you suspect the terrain might be more obstructive around Wicker Hill. You would not save much by cutting a straight line to the manor. Cath'rinne would, and maybe the wolf shaped grogs, but not the bipeds.
Dunwald is the village where the magi were known to have stayed for some time. Dumfries, where you are now, is larger; it would be very large as a village, but as a town it is small.
Hamish remains largely quiet if not downright taciturn as he finds himself heading north, back into Diedne territory. He does take some time to speak to each of the shield grogs and companions in the company, inquiring about their experience with weapons and combat.
Hamish also approaches Janus at some point. "Magus Janus, sir. Do you have any formation or strategy you want us to use when need to put sword to the enemy? Don't want us to fumble about like a pack a pups on a hind quarter, especially if you'll be throwing fire and brimstone. Don't much like getting burned by our own, if you know what I mean."
“Hamish I am a warrior, not a commander. If you know how best to organise the march and fighting formations then please do so. Feel free to instruct the magi in what to do. We must all reply on and defer to those who know best if we are to succeed.” Replies Janus
Dunwald will be our first destination after Dumfries, that being said, I still would like our ears and eyes on the ground to tak to the locals and see whether they know anything about a combat groups moving in the area, about the missing redcap and so on. If it doesn't yield any clue, press up to Dunwald and repeat.
Hamish nods to Janus. "Fair enough. Our job is going to be defending you and the other Magi. You can do far more with your magicks than we can do with our blades. But if they come at us close, we'll be there."
Hamish talks to the shield grogs and builds out a simple defensive plan focused on protecting magi and positioning Janus to "rain down wrath and hellfire on them."
When they get to the towns, Hamish offers to join anyone going into town.
"But I'm just as happy to stay here to head up the defense. Might be recognized by someone. Not sure how that would play out. Could be a good thing… or a bad one."
Thadeus joins Ealhstan if he goes to scout out the village, inspecting it with Comprehend Magic as they approach, just in case something magical is affecting it. He doesn't expect to detect anything, but who knows?