Greetings to you all on this storm enshrouded day. I hope this post finds you well.
It does not, unfortunately, find me well. No dear friends and followers, I have certainly had better days, although thankfully my family, friends and myself are safe and sound.
While the storm itself has certainly deepened my gloom, I am sad and dismayed today independent of the inclement weather. I am nursing a broken heart this unfun Tuesday. It is making it difficult for me to do anything of consequence, so I figured I would try to cheer myself up with a recap of Saturday and maybe some additional good news on the gaming front.
Last thing first; It would seem the possibility exists that one or two more new players could be joining my Ars Magica game, at least for a short time. A friend of mine from my Ol' New Jersey group, as well as a friend of his I do not already know, may be available to play starting soon and then leaving again in January (because of their work schedules). The possibility of it extending to a longer period exists, we believe, but it has not been cemented.
On to the recap...
After weeks or even months of travel by foot, Dave's Magus (Adalfrid of Bjornaer) and Companion (Nadjute the Healer) have finally migrated to cold and rainy expanses of the Middle Jutland of Denmark in search of other Bjornaer Magi. So far their search has not turned up anyone.
In need of rest, food and shelter, the two wanderers come upon a large ring of standing stones which in turn encircle an old farmhouse build around a central cottage-like edifice. Outside of the house are three flags. One flag represents the nearby port town of Randers. Another flag honors the Royal Kingdom of Denmark. The third flag, centered between the two, bears the scarlet field and white/silver stag head of the Silver Elk Lodge.
Having heard of this covenant in his travels, Adalfrid suggested he and his Companion rest there if possible. On approach, in the diffused light of a dimming grey sky and distant candles in the windows of the old building, a thick mist settled near one of the standing stones. On closer inspection, the mist was in the distinct shape of an Elk or Stag.
Moving forward to confront it, Adalfrid and Nadjute got within a few feet of this spirit entity before it noticed them, froze for a moment staring at them, then departed both quickly and while fading out of existance. The two travelers than ran to the covenant house where they knocked on the door and were 'greeted' in a most cold and suspicious way by the guards. When Adalfrid revealed he was not only a Magus but a Magus of House Bjornaer, he was quickly ushered inside and told he had arrived just in time. Before Adalfrid could inquire further, the leader sentry told him the Master of the Covenant, the ArchMage Oshemming the Stouthearted, lay near death.
Meanwhile in Sweden...
Magnus the Fire Mage, Asnake, his personal bodyguard and manservant (both played by Marcus) and Nikolas Van Der Hagen (Ray's Magus) engage in combat with a small pack of 5 bloodthirsty wolves. The lupines are surely under the influence of some Mage but who or why is unknown.
The combat was short and sweet, with only a few tense moments. Asnake is made for this kind of fight and Magnus' specialty is fire, so are long as he was careful not to set the forest ablaze the wolves were only a medium threat. Nikolas on the other hand found the wolves quick dangerous and it took all the Player's ingenuity to find ways for his character to avoid their vicious jaws.
Eventually the boys went back to the town of Malmo, bringing to burnt wolf carcasses with them, and returned the old wise woman's eye to her. She honored their bargain and gave them the rare herb they needed to make medicine for the head of their covenant.
The old woman told them that the eye they returned to her sees things beyond mortal ken. The past, the future and far away places come to her in half visions from the right side of her sight, like peripheral clairvoyance. She was sad to say that she saw death at the door for their leader and that even if they had all the herbs they needed (they were still missing one), there was no way to make it home in time to have death pass on his appointed rounds.
The PCs discussed what to do and although they initially had very different opinions on the next, best course of action, they quickly made the decision to head home. It was their idea that either the woman would be wrong and they would find a way to make the medicine and deliver it on time or they would be too late rendering any further questing for the missing herb moot anyway.
Back in Denmark proper, at the covenant of the Silk Elk, Adalfrid and Nadjute enter the bed chamber of Oshemming, leader of the lodge, who is being tended by his personal nursemaid and house 'den mother', Gerda. Also in attendance are Sigrid of the Smokey Eyes, chief protector of the Silver Elk Lodge and a member of House Flambeau (like Magnus), Tomas Svenson, treasurer and a quartermaster of sorts from House Jerbiton (like Nikolas) and Hildebritte, historian, librarian and lore keeper of House Merinita (a House closely related to faeries and focusing on faerie knowledge and magic). The three are the highest ranking mages of the covenant after Oshemming.
Upon seeing Adalfrid, Oshemming shoos the others out of the room and talks to Dave's characters without outside interference or ears. Acknowledging his time is short, he asks Adalfrid to lead or help one of the others lead the Silver Elk Lodge in his stead. "Founded by the Bjornaer, a Bjornaer must always lead this lodge. Or help to lead it. You were drawn here by this oath I am sure."
In addition, as his body was racked with coughs and his last moments become all to clearly fleeting, Oshemming said...
"They will pass the ring...
Go for the crown.
Speak to the stones.
Our niece knows the way.
I am sad I only lived to meet you but I am pleased I will die having known you."
With this, Oshemming the Stouthearted was gone.
Adalfrid was informed upon leaving the bed chamber to deliver the news to the others that the covenant's bylaws state that with no clear successor chosen by Oshemming, it is up to Adalfrid, the only Bjornaer present, to lead the lodge until such time as he chooses a proper replacement.
Tomas, who delivered the news seemed resigned to the situation.
Sigrid laughed and mocked the other two for the newcomer being chosen over them.
Hildebritte was beside herself. She assumed there must be some error or loophole.
There was not.
Reluctantly, Adalfrid accepted the position but made it clear it was not his intention to stay and be their leader. He intended to choose someone. Tomas suggested they all get some sleep while he had some Grogs and Gerda take care of the body. By Oshemming's family traditions it would a funeral pyre in the morning.
As the group broke up and retired, Sigrid lingered and advised Adalfrid not to stay long at all. The place, the Silver Elk Lodge, was cursed in his opinion, tumbling toward its end like a snowball down a mountain. Their doom occurred over time, starting small and unnoticible at first but now rapidly rolling to a messy end. "I wish you no ill. I'm simply recommending you not be at the bottom of the mountain when this snowball hits."
Things began to settle down for the night...the boat of Henrik, Nikolas, Magnus and Asnake is just pulling into Randers, a mile or so from the Silver Elk Lodge. That's went a night sentry stumbled into the front door of the covenant house, battered and bloodied. A large hand print was pressed into the shoulder guard of his cheap and piece meal armor. The Captain of the Guard asked what happened? Who attacked you?
Too be continued...
UPDATE FROM A STORM SOAKED NEW YORK:
The wind continues to howl and the rain to come down but yours truly is no worse for wear. My sister lost power out in New Jersey, as did numerous friends in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. There has been some pretty scary reports and footage but thankfully the worst is likely over (we hope).
My thoughts and heart felt thanks to all the people on the East Coast for doing their very best to weather the storm. From the brave firefighters of the FDNY to people on Facebook and Twitter updating loved ones on their status and the status of others, I salute you all.