Chapter 9 where Cath'rinne goes to Edinburgh in Spring 1014

Having worked in the lab throughout Winter to invent the Aegis of the Hearth, Cath'rinne casts it at the Spring equinox. A few days thereafter, she heads North in the hope to harvest the Herbam vis in the cave near Edinburgh. Edinburgh is not a name yet, but there is sizeable village at the mouth of the River Esk.

The description in the covenant documents say to follow the River Esk. The cave is about 8-10 miles from its mouth. The location is easy enough to find, but there are plenty of caves. There are two villages hardly half a mile away, one on each side of the river, but the area between is inhabited by sheep and goats.

Cath'rinne scouts the area for a while, wondering which cave to start with, and then she spots, and smells, a man sitting at the entrance of one of the caves. He is dressed in a monkly habit and seems to be engulfed in his own thoughts. There is a light drizzle in the air, and he has seated himself just inside the cave, missing the raindrops by an inch at most.

What time of the day does Cath'rinne arrive at the cave?

Your choice. It depends on where/when she wants to rest.

Cath'rinne is trying to limit how much time she's distracted. She leaves on the day after the aegis. She gets her breakfast, casts the Voice of the Bjornaer Magi, and then she departs. She takes a relatively straight route. It takes about three hours to fly to Edinburg from Ungulus in a straight line, but Cath'rinne isn't necessarily used to the area, so let's say four because it takes her time to locate the river. I'm going to guesstimate it takes her about 2 more hours when she's close to her destination to hover arround, trying to look for the right cave. She arrives mid afternoon, the day after the equinox.

As she arrives, she sees the monk and is internally disappointed not to be alone. She finds a distant place, perhaps a tree, to perch in, or behind a rock, providing some cover. She wants to still see him, but be far enough to be difficult to spot and not a concern even if she's seen. From there, she does an effect similar to The Call to Slumber, R: Sight. I rolled 35 - this should have been 30 due to quiet voice, I forgot to apply the modifier before my roll, and it assumes aura of 0. Cath'rinne's penetration is 6 and this costs her one fatigue level. Assuming he falls asleep, she will fly into the cave.

Per+Awa check of 12, specialties spotting corpse, +3 for smell.

As Cath'rinne casts the spell, the monk suddenly lifts his head, raises his hands, and calls something in Latin, appealing to God and asking for protection. He seems to be looking above the treetops, but it is hard to make out at the distance.

There is no sign that he'd be sleepy.

Cath'rinne is surprised that the men is able to resist... This isn't an average monk, she thinks. At this point, she observes, not wanting to get spotted, to see what he does next.

He does not do much. He keeps his hands raised, seemingly praying, but not with the loud voice that Cath'rinne could hear. After five or ten minutes he lowers the hands and looks down, apparently returning to silent meditation, or whatever he was doing before Cath'rinne came around.

Cath'rinne waits a few minutes then flies, trying to determine from a distance whether she thinks he lives in that caves. Is there any sign from a distance of a makeshift bed, or anything else that might make her think he does?

It looks much like a long-used camp, with a fireplace and a rubbish heap nearby. There might be a bedding inside, but it is dark so you are not sure, you just see where you think you would have made it yourself.

Cath'rinne will take her time. She suspects he lives there, but she prefers not to get into trouble with someone religious next to a vis source. She studies the area, trying to determine how far away he is from water and food sources, how accessible the cave is for those walking and whether there are many access paths or a main one, and if there are few paths, how to block those if she needs to buy time, or whether some parts of the path might seem dangerous on foot (cliffs and ledges, for example). She's hoping to sneak in when he leaves later.

The cave entrance is in a steep hillside, with one main access path ascending on a ledge. There seems to be a less comfortable path to the other side, using trees and bushes for support. The river is only fifty or hundred paces away from the foot of the path. The terrain is rough, but not so much that it is impossible to find new paths if one is blocked.

Anyway, the sun starts to set, and the monk walks the hundred paces down to the river to fill a flask. Anything you want to do before he returns?

Cath'rinne is a bit torn. She doesn't want to harm the man for being in the wrong place, but all she sees are ways to temporarily delay him, not enough to thwart his return. She could try and put him to sleep again, but she's not convinced it won't take so much fatigue as not to be worth it. Well, the cave is supposedly deep, she thinks. Got to be big enough for me to hide when he returns She takes a last look at the sun to have an idea of when it will set down, and she flies in.

Entering the cave, Cath'rinne can see the simple bed and camp of the monk, but presumably rushes past to explore the cave.
It is indeed very deep, and Cath'rinne soon gets out of the fading light of the setting sun. There is no way the monk is going to see her when he returns, not unless he has some superhuman senses, but then Cath'rinne does not see anything either. The smell and sounds are those of stale air and dripping water.

Cath'rinne flies well past the makeshift camp and lands where it is harder to see in flight. As she walks into the depths where the fading light of the setting sun have a hard time reaching, she spontaneously casts a Creo Ignem base 1, +1 touch, +2 sun spell (rolled a 24 + aura), both ostensibly to keep hopping along for a bit, and to serve as a timer on her Parma Magica. She will renew her Parma Magica as the light spell fades away, and recover the spontaneous fatigue. She then assesses the aura: This is stressless spontaneous casting, unless a negative aura applies (she cast at +16 in a neutral aura). We're talking InVi 3 to assess aura level, in order: Magical and Dominion. If she doesn't find a magical aura, she assesses for faerie. In case a negative aura applies, this becomes fatiguing spont (stress dices of 1,2,1 means no botch).

The cave winds down and into the hill. It is quite wide, should be comfortable for people to walk upright for the most part. She soon needs the light, which is not strong, but at least she can see a few paces ahead. There is a faerie aura of 3.

Far down into the hill she finds the sculpted hand rising from the ground and clutching a rose, as the text at Ungulus promised. She is supposed to harvest the petals, but before she can approach and study them, the light goes out, and she has to renew her parma.

When she renews the light she can count four petals ripe for harvest (1p Herbam each). That's a pawn more than promised, but then Caelha had not been able to harvest it last year.

Please roll awareness and perception when you decide to leave.

Cath'rinne figures the monk will have come back by then and that she needs to sleep somewhere before flying back to the covenant - this is as good a place as any. She plans to leave the day after, once he exits the cave again. She does the following:

  • Creo Terram base 3, +1 touch, +2 sun to raise a wall of stone to block entrance into the room where she harvested the petals (not airtight). She does this ceremonially. It costs her 1 fatigue + 1 for missing by 3.
  • Creo Herbam base 2, +1 treated, +1 touch, +2 sun for a makeshift wooden bed. She does this ceremonially again. It costs her 1 fatigue and a confidence point to avoid spending another fatigue.
  • She sits on the makeshift bed. Sponting Coat of Prometheus to keep warm for the night is next. I rolled a 0. I would get a minimum of 1+3 botch dice for aura - 3 for cautious sorcerer. This would not be a botch unless you deem additional dices are necessary? This costs her 1 fatigue and puts her dazed, but not unconscious. She will sleep there.

Assuming nothing disturbs her rest, the day after, as she exits, she'll take her vulture form and stick the petals deep in her feathers. She wants to smell him from a distance.

Per+Awa check of 10 plus keen sense of smell.

The air is stale down in the cavern, and Cath'rinne's wall does nothing to improve matters. She wakes up with a headache¹. Knowing the way, it is possible, but not comfortable to exit without light. She can smell a mixture of fire, porridge, and monk before she can see the light of day.

¹ fair to call that a fatigue level?

Yeah. A headache and/or a bad night could lead to long-term fatigue.

She stops before she gets in a place where he might possibly see her. She waits, listening and smelling, trying to gauge when he might be leaving the cave.

As far as she can tell, he does not move at all. The porridge probably moves or is stirred, or maybe eaten. The intensity of the smell suggests that it is not left still. The monk is very quiet. The only sound is drops of water falling from cracks in the ceiling. Other than that nothing happens..

Cath'rinne is not impatient. She will wait 2-3h if need be.