The Chronicle of Ken Muir
One spring night in Galloway an entire village took shelter in a church…
…It was then that there came a knocking at the door. The two grogs looked at each other. The knocking turned into a pounding!
Behind them, Brother Erlend preached loudly to the congregation from the altar. ‘RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE CHRIST IS THE SON OF THE LORD AND THE HOLY SPIRIT!’ He shouted in an effort to restore the power of Christ to the church. In response, the congregation raised their hands and sang!
Meanwhile, Thomas Magus had cornered the old monk, Brother Tancredus, at the back of the church. Thomas yelled at Tancredus, challenging him to confess his crimes! ‘BLASPHEMER! NECROMANCER! THAT IS WHAT THEY’LL CALL YOU!’
Frantic and sweaty, Tancredus replied desperately, ‘NO! That is not the way it happened! The book explained it all! How Jesus was not the son of God and was not resurrected, but that the demonologists corrupted the church and have led everyone astray for over a thousand years!’
Across the choir the church door was now shaking as it was pounded upon by some unknown force from the other side. The two Grogs stepped back in fear.
Thomas was about to shout at the old monk again, but then stopped and stared in horror. A drop of blood suddenly appeared on Brother Tancredus’ forehead. Thomas watched in horror as it ran down the brother’s cheek! Tancredus seemed not to notice, but continued to cry out in his own defense; ‘…AND SURELY IT WAS JUDAS WHO WAS RIGHT….’. The light from the candles flickered as a breeze passed through the church. Thomas looked up to see that the hands and feet of the porcelain crucifix were bleeding!
‘LOOK! THE CROSS!’ he yelled. Another drop fell on the face of Tancredus! The wooden cross then started to smoke!
‘…THE FALSE PROPHET…’ Tancredus continued.
The two grogs stared at the now violently shaking church door! They drew their weapons in fright!
Brother Erlend raised the voice of the crowd into a crescendo of song in praise of Jesus! ‘LOUDER! SING FOR YOUR VERY SOULS!’
Brother Tancredus now yelled, not caring who heard, while Thomas looked on in horror: ‘…AND THE FOLLOWERS OF SIMON MAGUS SAID THAT ALL SEX IS PERFECT LOVE…’
Just then the cross burst into flames! The head of the porcelain Christ exploded into a thousand shards and dark blood gushed out, pouring down over Tancredus’ face! The door of the church burst open and the foul revenant which had been stalking the churchyard broke into the room with mindless violence, letting out a deafening roar! The voices of the villagers turned from song to screams and there was a mad press toward the back of the room! Midnight had arrived!
Excerpt from the adventure of The Monks of St. Lasar’s Kirk
THE CHRONICLE OF KEN MUIR is an Ars Magica campaign surrounding the rise of the Mage’s Covenant of Ken Muir which was founded in 1168 on the shores of Loch Ken in the Kingdom of Galloway.
The covenant was started by three new mages:
- Medigas of Florence of house Verditius, who is an earth mage and was drawn to the region for both its seclusion and its mineral deposits. Medigas felt the need to get out of Florence for a time and set about looking for others who might be able to assist him.
- Raderic mac Gillolaine a native Gallovidian who was once a hedge wizard but is now a member of House Jerbiton. He was contacted by Medigas, an Italian Mage of house Verditius, to act as a local agent and scout on his behalf. Raderic reasoned that association with this mage might increase his shaky standing in the eyes of other mages in the Order of Hermes. The two met and toyed with the idea of setting up a covenant. Raderic had a good place picket out on the banks of Loch Ken. All that was needed was to secure that land politically.
- Enter Thomas fitz Roy, a young mage of house Tremere recently out of apprenticeship in Normandy and sponsored by his uncle, Hugh de Morville of Borg. Thomas was contacted by Raderic and Medigas and invited to join them in forming the new covenant. Thomas, through his uncle, was able to secure the use of the land around Ken Muir from Uchtred mac Fergusa, Lord of Eastern Galloway, in exchange for an annual rent.
They spent the next three years constructing a Motte and Bailey castle on the site. This was made easier through the magics of Medigas, who specializes in the Terram form, and a norman carpenter hired by Thomas. The covenant is now populated by assorted people of local origin (attracted by Raderic, who is popular with the local nefs), Anglo-Normans (brought by Thomas), and Italians (who came with Medigas).
This campaign is run sand-box style, which is to say that the players will largely determine the course of adventure. Both the GM and the players will sow the seeds of adventure, but it’s up to the players to decide which fields to cultivate and which crops to harvest. We will hold a Mage’s Council each season to discuss and decide which of the many news events that come to the covenant are to be acted upon immediately, which can be dealt with later, and which can be ignored.
The game will be played approximately once every two weeks, but the campaign will likely be interrupted from time to time to play other things as per the mandate of the group, so updates will likely not occur on a strict basis. I’ll do my best to keep track of the people, places, and things encountered by the characters. The Wiki contains a wealth of historical background. A colourful navigation bar is found below. Scenarios will be drawn from a variety of sources: Published Ars Magica adventures, Historical events, Galloway myths and folktales, and ideas that pop into my head. If a scenario has a specific source, it’ll be indicated in the session summary.
The campaign begins on New Year’s Day 1171, which in this part of the world is Maundy Thursday, March 25 on the Julian Calender
NOTE TO READERS
Many of the names encountered in the Wiki are spelled in more than one way, as was typical for this time period when spelling was not formalized. For example, Sommairle, Somhairle, and Sommerled are all the same person. Furthermore, it was not unusual for given names to be passed down in a family, and sometimes even shared amongst siblings, which can lead to a confusion of names. There are three historical Hugh de Morvilles in this campaign, for example. Readers should be wary of this.
Comments (and corrections for historical matters) are very welcome.