Session Four – Dark Tidings
After hearing of an odd traveling scholar in the lowlands, a group of soldiers led by Carrick left the covenant to discover who he was and perhaps invite the stranger to the covenant. His overheard destination was apparently in amongst the covenant’s area, and while the grogs had no idea who the stranger was or why they were inviting him; orders were orders.
The party left the covenant, crossed to the larger islands, and made their way south east toward the large town of Dumfries in the lowlands, some one hundred and eighty mile away. They had not traveled more than a day when they arrived at the small village of Oban. Typically the village is home to five to six families, with an open and friendly communal area which matches the manner of the folk, with locals and travelers from the surrounding area visiting or resting at with the village’s welcome.
The village was deserted. The houses appeared to have been quickly searched or ransacked, with baskets, cases, and unwanted clothes spread throughout most rooms. The characters split up and quickly began a door by door search for survivors.
They quickly found that the entire village was empty, but did find two disturbing items of note.
The first was that the common galley area located in the center of the village was broken down, and the floor was stained in blood in many places. One major sidewall was ridden with holes, and the two other side walls were almost completely smashed; with weapon scars from both the inside and out. Outside around the galley were foot marks where more combat had occurred, and more blood spatter was mixed with the mud.
Tracks led away from the galley out of the village in many directions, with the largest group appearing to head south-east which was the same direction that the party intended.
The second major finding was a body; tightly wrapped in multiple chains, fully submerged in bathwater. The poor man appeared drowned in water and blood within the desperate bathhouse. All the windows and doors to the room were closed up, and the body had been in the water for some time. The man’s death was clearly no accident, and infernal mutterings and the odd movements in the shadows of the night took the sleep from the grogs.
Many of the party were shaken by the discoveries, especially so close to the covenant. Carrick gave orders for the houses to be burnt, and the body burnt and buried afterward in a small stone cairn. The group stayed overnight in the remnants of the dire village, and walked on at first light.
Late in the next day on the road their grim discoveries continued. Three figures walked slowly ahead of them, dragging their feet, almost shambling rather than walking. The disheveled group was a women and two men, all of whom with dirt ridden clothing, and recent wounds. Upon hearing the calls from the party, one of the three turned slowly toward and listed toward the party. When the first man was approached he was dead on his feet, sweat ridden, and clearly ill. His eyes were dull and unable to focus, breathing was hard, and his skin was drained of all blood. He had multiple wounds on his hands and chest all covered by makeshift bandages made of old clothes.
When the stranger did not responding to conversation or calls, he was quickly killed, by a grog’s arrow. His misery ended. The next two strangers were the same, and were also dealt with quickly, with the three bodies burnt and buried.
Once again the group moved onward.
As dusk approached on the second day the party were close to the next village, but even as they decided to push on an armed rider approached. The man wore a steel half helm, hauberk hardened leather, and carried a long spear and hatchet. As a mounted and armoured threat, he was not to be trifled with. He warned the part to move around the village and not seek shelter. After a short summation he did gift a small amount of provisions. The party learned that the village had received some other gray refugees who were becoming sick, and was locking itself down until the trouble ended. This was not a time for them to befriend armed strangers.
The party continued into the early night, and eventually camped on the other side of the village. Even with a fire the evening was disturbing, and the thought of the drowned man’s chains stayed with many of the grogs.
The next day was as gloomy as the last, but discipline was not lacking and the party walked onward. As the middle of the day approached as did a set of travelers on the road. This time the strangers were heading away from Dumfries, and were in far better health and provision than the gray survivors of the first village.
The group consisted of a handsome middle aged man riding a small horse, and his two assistants, who walked with a pony each all laden with crates and books. The grogs quickly pointed out that the man was the stranger that they had seen earlier and were to invite, and during the conversation he introduced himself as Valentino, the brother of the Magus Luciano. The invitation was promptly offered and accepted, and the party escorted their new traveling partners toward the covenant, ensuring to take the by ways and paths rather than approach the villages. Thankfully there were no more grim discoveries during the return to the covenant, although one of the grogs did find the addition of another Mediterranean guest highly disappointing.
The party returned late in the evening, and Valentino was introduced to the autocrat and found suitable lodgings within one of the small wooden houses built around the inside of the broken courtyard’s wall. Carrick escorted the party to Callan so they could report their success, and also tell a Magus of the terrible discoveries they made in the village. Callan listened, then took great length to learn how the poor drowned man was wrapped within his chains. As the grogs remembered odd facts and further expanded the description Callan was visibly disturbed.
The party was dismissed and ushered out of Callan’s solar, but not before Carrick was ordered to replace any of those men’s duties that would take them beyond the covenant, and for the grogs to stay silent about what they saw.
Late meals and ale were brought for the party, as a thanks for good sense.
Session 4 Notes
After a short discussion the Magi agreed that Callan will stay on at the covenant, and instead it will be Maximilian and Tregus who travel to Six Pillar Hill and Horsingas.
Characters should plan for the next seasonal activities. Magi have four seasons every year, where Companions must spend at least two seasons of every year performing work or labour. The exceptions to this are those non-magi characters with either Wealthy or Poor attributes, who spend one season less working, or an extra season due to their lifestyle.
Covenfolk would also note
Bran (the autocrat) has been assisting Maximilian’s follower Petrov, in setting up and “testing’ the still. Work is still needed to complete.
Despite being quiet and withdrawn the mundane covenfolks find that Sym is actually approachable, and is easier to be around that the other Magi (this is the expression of the Gentle Gift). Sometimes he will eat with the servants, often asking many times to confirm that it is ok with them before disappearing quickly after the meals.
Callan has a pet crow, which one of the covenfolks first thought to shoo out of the tower when it was discovered. The crow seems to now distrust anyone walking with brooms or long handled equipment; and thankfully neither the servant or the crow were harmed in the altercation.
A few grogs have been traveling into Clan Bell and playing shinty, drinking, and generally socialising with them.
The covenant has acquired some basic maps of Scotland, and the coastal areas of northern England and Ireland. Most show only the coastlines, major cities and trade roads, with mountains and lochs sketched roughly in between.
Max is seen spending a lot of time in the covenant library area, usually muttering to himself about the state of the place.
Petrov (Max’s follower) has a very pronounced stutter. He also rarely bathes even my medieval standards, but he never seems to smell of anything except potatoes.
During his practice with the grogs its noted that Max is quite an adept marksman with a crossbow. And he seems to always have facts at his finger tips – perhaps far more educated than his appearance and position would believe.