Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Caradoc ap Segovax: Ancient Spirits of the Forest and Air (Age of Arthur, Session 2)

I was awoken during the night by Scotia, the soft sound of laughter and other strange noises filtered through the forest trees that were illuminated but dimly by the flickering embers of our campfire; pulling a burning brand from the fire I blew gently on it, sending a small cloud of ash spiralling into the air and I peered into the patterns that it formed, seeking the will of the ancients in the chaotic swirls of grey.

"They are spirits of the forest" I said, almost as much to myself and to my companions, "we must show these guardians of the old ways respect."

Picking up a handful of the seeds that lay scattering around the small clearing I spoke into the darkness, saying "May new growth spring fourth from these seeds that we spread, and may this great forest exist in the future as it always has done."

After a few moments the noises seemed to have quietened and, deeming that my words had been accepted, I rolled over and soon drifted into a satisfied sleep, Siann remained awake on watch, but then the young have always required less sleep.

In the morning I awoke to find Siann not at her post by the fire and,  instinctively grabbing a nearby branch, I careful woke up Scotia and motioned for her to prepare her weapon for possible attack as I whispered a prayer to the old gods, asking them to make me one with the wild and the woodlands. Looking around as my senses became sharper, I spied some tracks and we set off after them, eventually catching up with Siann who was nearby; it appeared that she had tracked a giant wild boar that was roaming the area, this could only bode well as a good omen for our endeavour, and was surely a sign of Cerrunnos favour. Scotia seemed a little put out by the size of the beast, saying "The forest doesn't want us here, it's trying to repel us"

"Be assured that the forest could have been far more wrathful had it chosen, all it has done is shown us some of it's true majesty; this is a place of the old ways and respects those who honour it" I assured her in a low voice.

A few minutes later we returned the remains of our campsite to the forest and continued our journey, mindful of the forces that lurked in the forest, ready to destroy us should we disrespect them or trespass where we were not wanted I ask Lugh to bless us with his sight that we might see our way clearly to our destination. Unfortunately not even the blessing of Lugh was able to prevent that clumsy girl Scotia from tripping over what we first took to be a rock and then, on further examination it appeared to be a clump of metal, the soil around it would seem to indicate that it was perhaps the remnants of a shooting star, surely an auspicious omen.

Drawing near the metal caused me great pain, it was though I could feel that part of me that I share with the Kindly Ones burning in my blood, although I agreed with Scotia that it could be useful should the fickle and capricious fair ones choose to act against her; perhaps it wasn't simple clumsiness that lead her to discover it, the gods work their will through us all. I scattered seeds around the area as a sign of respect to the forest and Scotia began to see if she could extract some of the metal, but each time her hammer struck it, their was a rumble from somewhere deep within it.

Ignoring the stabbing pains that lanced into my arm as I got closer to the silver sphere, I gestured for her to cease and placed my ear and face against the metal; it was warmer than I expected and, as the throbbing beneath it's surface continued, it seemed that there was something alive within the sphere. My eyes widened, could it be? Surely not? One of the great wyrm eggs of legend, it soon became obvious that I was correct as a small egg breaking horn cracked through the metallic shell but the beast appeared to be struggling; mindful that we had perhaps caused it's struggle I focussed the powers of healing that I commanded into the egg and the majestic wyrmling emerged from the egg, it's cry echoing through the forest.

As the magnificent beast gobbled up some of our rations, it's cries were answered by a loud rumble of thunder that was in the distance but seemed to be growing nearer. The clouds parted and a huge wyrm, like an ancient god rising from the mists, lightning crackling around it's form descended, a loud voice that seemed to sound in all our minds booming "You are not elves or of the fey?"

Taken aback at being addressed by such a living embodiment of the ancient ways we respectfully explained that we were from the north, beyond the ridiculous crumbling wall built by the unbelievers, and that we were seeking a way to unite those tribes who still respected the old ways under a single banner, we believed that the Fair Ones could help us with this. The creature seemed to appreciate our caring for it's young and, after saying that we may address it as Bes, gave us directions to where the local Kindly Ones held court before flying off with a "fare thee well" and it's youngling clinging to it's leg.

Following the great wyrms directions I soon started seeing tell-tale signs of the Kindly Ones, toadstools grew in spiral patterns and trees seemed lined with aged faces; Scotia could have hardly been more noisy stomping through the trees, I believe her heavy footfalls would put even those of the great wyrm to shame. I held out a head for her to stop as my senses, attuned to the magics of the Fair Ones through the history of my blood, detected a hunting pit wove about with disguising glamour; indicating it's boundaries to Siann and Scotia we moved on, a slight mist now covering the forest floor. I could sense the glamour and Fair Ones moving unseen all around us and, reaching to the power of my blood, wove together the stray strands of glamour into a glowing ball of faerie fire and a way of respectfully announcing our presence.

With a swish of wind it was as though a veil had been pulled back and the Fair Ones crowding the clearing suddenly were made visable perched on every tree and scamping through every glade, as mark of respect (both to them and the forest) I sunk my staff into the ground and bid it take root and grow leaves. As a terribly beautiful figure strode forward, our Huntsmaster Siann explained to them that we sought their aid and great wisdom to unite the clans; the figure nodded and said that they would grant us aid and passage but that they were troubled by a village with a darkness festering at it's heart, if we would help them in their quest then they would aid us in ours.

Remembering the village from my earlier vision I nodded to Siann and, as the leader of our troupe, she nodded our agreement.