Chapter 5bis (Autumn 1013): South along the Pennines

The party following Betula makes their way East to the hill pointed out by Cath'rinne. The shortest route is cross-country eastbound from Ungulus, across the main ridge of the Northern Pennines. Early in the Autumn, this should be unchallenging. It is not very far, but it takes some days in the hilly terrain.

The hill is easy enough to find with the rough maps drawn by Cath'rinne. It is a plain hill overlooking the river Tees, looking down the valley towards the Southeast. Several villages flank the river, the closest probably an hour away on foot.

It is high enough to make a serious obstacle for assaulting armies, but not high enough to make everyday travel arduous. You recognise the bright colours and sharp features commonly associated with magic auras. It is about a hundre paces diameter and not impressively strong, you think, but many covenants have auras like this.

Otherwise the hill is unremarkable. It seems like a safe and unexiting place to settle.

(EDIT) If anybody starts thinking about tethers, and have a wee bit of magic lore/theory, they notice that the hill is quite perfectly round, and the surrounding ridges are such that this hill has sunlight longer in the evening and earlier in the morning than any other point in the surrounding land. These two features should be natural tethers for an aura of 3±1.

Please confirm who has joined this party and what you bring in terms of provisions and pack animals. Carts would be ... unwise ... in the Pennines, so I assume you don't take any.

Turold is coming along, and traveling light. He plans to hunt and forage along the way.

Thom approaches Turold as the group preparing to travel along the Pennines sets out.

"I don't think we've met. I'm Thom Myddleton."

The young Merinita looks Turold over and then asks.

"You look like you know how to handle a bow. Why don't you take this one for our trip? You'll put it to better use than I will, I'm sure."

Thom extends a beautifully crafted and carved bow to Turold.

"It's enchanted. If you use its activating command, the arrows will not miss anything you can see. Can I entrust it to your care and use?"

If approached in Latin, Turold will introduce himself in Latin but quickly attempt to switch to English as it's clear he doesn't master the language currently. "I'm Turold, a druid."

"That's almost cheating, a bow that always hits. But it does sound useful. Yes, I would be honored to be entrusted with it. I suppose you don't shoot?"

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"I do a little. Some hunting here and there," answers Thom switching to English easily. "But I would rather free myself to use my other gifts. Here is the command word."

Thom leans in closely to speak to command word (in Latin) to Turold.

"Don't be too worried about cheating," Thom chuckles. "Some think most of what we do in the Order might be thought of as cheating. We get used to it."

On the way to the hill Betula casts Intuition of the Forest each morning and goes foraging with Turold. She asks him to tell her their stories of Cassandra and about whether he has heard of this “spirit votary” who knows all the plants in and around the Pennines and even tales of these copses or ones he knows closer to home. When with the others she asks Thomas of woodland faeries he knows and, in particular, the hungers of the dryads, their weaknesses, what they wish for. [OOC: these final two only apply if they are actually joining this expedition] When paired with Edwin ( @darkwing )she tells him of his faerie twin and what they found at Castellum Veridian and asks what the war years were like there. Finn ( @John_Graham_52 ) she asks of his life in Hibernia and his wanderings in Stonehenge and for tales after they supp.

Finn is more than happy to tell stories of his travels as he joins the southern group.

Edwin is happy to reminisce about Castellum Veridian.
"We were happy, and felt relatively secure. When the enemy ravaged our vis sources, we thought they were preparing for a siege or trying to wear us down through attrition. The fatal assault was faster than expected, and I only survived because I had spent the night in a nearby village checking we would have enough livestock for winter."

Except for the instructive campfire yarns. the journey to the hilltop aura is uneventful. You meet a few peasants and shepherds, but they don't seem to take much notice.

The hilltop aura provides a beautiful campsite with a view. It is a good place to live, but it is not bountiful; as described above.

Other than the hilltop, you don't have any promising directions in the Northern Pennines. The best suggestions are in Yorkshire Dales. Thadeus suggested a copse near to Cauldron Falls, just a mile South of the river Ure, along one of the tributaries. This one should be easy to find, asking directions when you get to Ure. The other prime location is the Druids' temple and the campsite that Turold knows. It should be easy going downriver along Tees to the Southeast from the hilltop, and then South.

Anything else you want to do before you head South?

Betula attempts a fatigueless spontaneous casting of Taste the Strength of the Font of Magical Power (InVi 2 R: Pers; D: Mom; T: Taste, Base 2) on the hilltop. [Botch Chance: Not a botch]

She hand the bit of moss and the flattened rose stem to Thomas, all the vis she carries, and says, "Please go down the hill with this, I am going to listen for vis and it my be distracting from the sound of any other vis," then switching to English, "Turold, if you carry any vis, please stay near Thomas and away from me as I walk around." She then attempts to cast Tone of the Embodied Vis (InVi 5 R: Pers; D: Conc; T: Hearing, Base 1, hears a tone of any vis in hearing distance and can tell direction which gets louder as she is closer) as a fatiguing Spont. [Result: (19+Aura)/2 = 9.5+ which is plenty]. She spends the next 45 minutes [effective Concentration 3] pacing the hill and immediate surrounding area.

Betula then looks around closely using her Second Sight hoping to notice Regios or nearby spirits. Like last time she marches all over the hill and in the immediate surrounding area. [Per + Second Sight (Faerie-aligned ability) result: 12/13 for spirits + Aura Mod]

[OOC: Betula has more that she would like to do here but wants a discussion after these bits of info are known.]

Thom does as instructed and moves down the hill. The young Merinita pays particular attention to any spells that Betula casts on the journey, curious and amiable as ever.

He too uses his Second Sight as he moves away from Betula, ever watchful for any sign of the faerie. [Second Sight: 10 + Aura + 1 if Faerie]

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There is no sound of vis, neither is there any sight of a regio.

There always airy spirits around, in flowers, rocks, and whatnot, but neither Thom nor Betula can see anyone of any significance. They typically have a Might of 5 and attention span probably a little longer than that of a goldfish but not much.

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Betula says to her sodalis, "I would like to stay for a short time, tonight and into tomorrow morning. This barren hill does not need to be and I wish to plant some trees and aid them in their survival. would that delay be acceptable to you, Thomas?"

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Thom smiles as he heads toward Betula, seeing her wrap up her work and ask her question.

"Sure! It's a pleasant little spot up here on the hilltop, don't you think? But probably not the best place for us to settle in. Feels a little bit too much like a beacon up here to me. I think I prefer a little more obscurity. Maybe Turold can hunt a bit before we head out in the morning."

Thom watches an airy sprite pirouette atop a late summer flower, a smile lighting his eyes, before he looks back.

"Why don't we head down toward that copse Thadeus talked about? The one near Cauldron Falls off the River Ure. Then from there we can probably head toward that Druid Grove that Turold knows. The Ure is probably three or four days away I'm guessing. Probably a nice walk the down the valley over yonder before we head back into the hills if I remember the map right."

"She was a witch of a strange tradition." he smiles before adding quickly "Well, stranger to our lands anyway. She is known to be a fearless adventurer, who fought with dark witches north of our lands - the chtonic kind, prone to cursing mundanes, we never liked those. She was an effective hunter, hunting down many dark beasts and faeries." He will share tales of her tracking down and killing a blood-sucking faerie or her expedition in a swamp against an evil spirit and several other tales he might remember of horned dogs and three-headed snakes, adding at one point. "It's possible the three-headed snake one was made up, frankly, I heard it from a clanmate whose very good at tale-telling, but not so good at separate fact from fiction."

Rolled 13 on an Int+Magic Lore check for information on the Pennines Spirit Votary.

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Turold will definitely hunt to feed the group.

Does anyone translate the conversation between magi for Turold, or does it all stay in Latin?

Turold has heard of an ageless witch who tends to the trees at the old ritual sites in Yorkshire Dales.

You decided to spend the night in the area, didn't you?

How do you organise your camp? On the hill? Foot of the hill? Good distance? Watch?

Turold will let Betula know what he heard, even if it's not much. He will help set the camp on the hill. And yes, we can alternate who's watching. Turold can be on the first watch and will keep an eye out for game if it wanders close.

BTW. I should have said, nobody knows where the witch lives. She is sometimes seen at the ritual sites, but never elsewhere.

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