Luil 14th 578 AOD
Our tale begins on the fourteenth day of the month of Luil. The Clan MacLismore has gathered at Gaer’Lismore for the Comdhail and the Games. The games are a time for members of the clan to test their strength and martial prowess.
The fields surrounding the keep of Gaer’Lismore were usually empty, save for the herds of highland cattle and sheep. But today, a small city of tents and stalls had sprung up as the clans under the Great Clan MacLismore gathered for the Comdhail and the following games. Caelach, a man of short stature and auburn hair wandered through the passages between the assembled pavilions.
By his side, a new addition to the clan; Bjorn Thal Velson, a replanted Skaldar from the north lands. Bjorn was much taller than Caelach, standing at least three heads greater. His fair hair and beard danced in the breeze coming off of Loch Lismore. His chest was broad and his arms thick.
The pair found their way to the central market, where clansmen peddled their wears and traded goods. Young children dashed in and out of the bustle of their elders, laughing, screaming and shouting. Caelach’s face darkened and he searched for the closest ale cask and filled his horn. He could feel Bjorn’s steel eyes watching him as he drained the horn and replenished it. The Skaldi moved in, brushing Caelach aside as he filled his own horn.
“You drink very much,” grunted the northman. Caelach wiped a dribble of ale from his chin with his sleeve. He gave the northman a sideways grin. Bjorn had yet to fully grasp the Caerbic language, and it still made Caelach smile.
“That is a deep praise coming from you.”
“As I say in the north, you is éngi tvagallmák,” laughed Bjorn.
“What does that mean?” chuckled Caelach. Bjorn’s face screwed up trying to come up with the Caerbic words.
“Not weak gut,” he hammered out. Caelach raised his horn.
“Kalg!” exclaimed the northman. They both pointed their horns to the sky and drained them of ale. Bjorn clapped Caelach on the shoulder.
“Methinks you have found eyes,” whispered the northman.
“Huh?” blinked Caelach. Bjorn jerked his blonde head towards a nearby stall. Caelach peered through the throng towards the direction indicated. His eyes fell upon a woman with hair like the feathers of a raven, and eyes of a summer oak. Their eyes met for a moment before her face turned red and she looked back down at the bolts of cloth she was inspecting. He recognized her instantly. She was Flora MacAmbraise-Evinyn. Bjorn looked down at Caelach.
“She know you?” he questioned.
“Hmm?” murmered Caelach turning his head, but his eyes were transfixed on Flora.
“She know you?” repeated the northman.
“Oh, yes. I’ll be right back,” said Caelach taking a swig before making his way towards the raven maiden.
Caelach casually slid up next to Flora. Her emerald eyes shot towards him and blush filled her cheeks and she kept inspecting the folds of plaid.
“Hello Flora,” he smiled. Her face burned.
“Hello Caelach…” she muttered. Caelach could feel the grin of the weaver. He looked at the greying woman. She beamed, winked, and stepped out from behind the stall, leaving the pair to themselves. Flora wore a simple blouse and bodice with a blue and purple tartan skirt.
“You look very beautiful this day,” said Caelach. Flora twirled a loose jet strand around her finger and bit her lip.
“Thank you,” she grinned meekly.
“Are you going to compete in the games?” she asked.
“Of course!” boasted Caelach. He leaned close. “I plan to fight for your hand in the melee.” She gave him a weak smile and rubbed her neck.
“Just be careful…” she murmured.
“I always am!” he proclaimed. She allowed him a small chuckle and turned back to the fabrics.
“They are so beautiful! Elfyn is so talented,” praised Flora.
“Thank you lassie.” The greying weaver had returned.
“What would you like for this one?” asked Flora, holding up a red and purple tartan.
“Hmmm, that one would be four boars.” Flora’s face fell.
“Oh, I don’t think I could afford that…” she lamented.
“Here.” Caelach reached into the folds of his kilt and withdrew five golden coins with a relief of a boar etched into once side and handed them to the weaver. Elfyn counted the coins and made to give one back, but Caelach refused.
“Keep it,” he grinned. The weaver’s face lit up.
“Much appreciated!” she cried before lifting the bolt of cloth and handing it to Flora.
“Here you go lass, you better make something beautiful with that!” she winked.
“Caelach! How could I ever thank you!” she cooed. Caelach grinned, leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers.
“Like so,” he said, giving her a wry smile.
The Druid Aonghas was reunited for his sister Ysued, during the Druid’s Moot. The druids discussed the standing stones growing power and how the sacred groves are becoming more active. The Druid Brynmor, while smoking his massive pipe of pipeleaf claimed to see Selkies and Merrow among the waves of Loch Bremchaid. Yet due to his over saturation of pipeleaf, most of the druids dismissed his claim.
Ysued expressed her concern of Flora’s repeated night terrors, and migranes which appeared to have been occurring more and more frequent. She asked her brother Aonghas to help her discern the cause of the ailment.
Before the Games could commence, the sound of trumpets hailed the arrival of a group of Skaldar lead by Beogar Shield-Breaker. The northmen explained that they have settled the town of Enneham. They brought gifts as a sign of good will.
Aonghas entered the archery competition and came in second behind Linia MacAmbraise.
During the Melee Caelach, Aonghas, Bjorn and, Ingrid defeated Linia MacAmbraise, Robern MacAmbraise, Hamish O’Allistair and Argyle Dunaith.
After the events the clan retired to the Great Hall and were serenaded by Caelach and his harp. He sang a song that made Flora blush. Chief Lachlan made an agreement with Beogar to have Beogar’s sister Lisbeth stay with the MacLismore’s as a sign of good faith. Meanwhile Caelach and Flora snuck away because Flora started to develop a headache due to the noise of the hall.
Shortly after the doors burst open with a gust of wind and a hooded figure entered the hall, and demanded to speak with the clan members only. She was Mor’Druid Gwydia and she brought solemn words for the MacLismores.
When fire turns to coal
Beware the Sanguine wolf
Who bears a black soul.
When rain turns to mud
Horror will be found under the tree
With the fruit of dark blood
When whom the gods love dies
Thrown across the land
A cloak of lies
When giants return from the sea
Heard across the moors
The cry of the banshee
Discovery of two
Green of hair and strange of tongue
Signal the fall of one’s rule
Heed thy warning
Those who dwell on the lakeshore
Or prepare for mourning.
This troubled the clansmen, and brought about much discussion which was interrupted by the arrival of a wounded Finian MacTalamard who was wounded, from a group of Sell-axes who attempted to assault him as he crossed the Giants Teeth. After treating Finian’s wound, the clan discovered that a boy was hidden in Finian’s wagon. He claimed his name was Cuthbert, but eventually the truth was revealed that the boy was in fact Queen Wynda in disguise.
A few days later, A column of men appeared on the horizon yet their banners could not be made out.