As Uther & Raphael discuss the events of the previous two days they make camp for the night but are awoken in the late evening by some beautiful melancholic singing, coming from the other side of the riverbank. Finding a bridge not too far away from their campsite, the two cautiously cross and then seek out the source of the lyrical voice. Approaching, they are surrounded by three elven scouts, emerging soundlessly from the depths of the forest. As in their first meeting with the elves in 1179, Uther and Raphael are once again given no choice but to be blindfolded. They are led into a dense grove, which Raphael detects through the snapping of branches and twigs in his face as he passes and eventually bid to kneel.

With their blindfolds removed, they find themselves in the company of the three as well as two additional, mysterious individuals sat at the heart of the group. One is striking individual but dressed in once resplendent, almost theatrical Golden armour. Berenguier introduces himself to be a traveling troubadour and speaks with a thick Spanish accent. Sat beside him in the group is a sinewy figure, cowled and statuesque. As Inquisitor Raphael introduces himself and Uther, the familiar face of Calais is revealed, her dizzying, chromatic single eye fixed upon him. She challenges the Inquisitor by pointing out that she remembers him as Manzio of Pompeii. She proceeds by explaining how important names are. As inquisitor, does this make him loyal to the church? If so, how does this make him feel with re: to his friends in the elder races? Storm, Hakan, Myrddin? Races driven to the edge of survival by the expansionist plans of the Church.

This is too much for Uther who demands an apology, reaching for his sword. Calais speaks soothing words in an ancient language and Uther drops his sword curling up on the grass before falling into a deep sleep.

Inquisitor Raphael, a little stunned by the turn of events explains his reasons for being in Cumberland and the importance of their threefold quest.

Calais is suspicious of the Archbishop’s motives but accepts that any allies challenging the might of the Dead 3 are welcome in such times. She warns Raphael & Uther that forces of undead are massing in the North and that Morgan and her fell apprentices have not been idle.

‘It will be a long, hard winter, which will change the North irrevocably.’

In return, Calais introduces the leader of the 3 elves present, a tall, unusually strong individual by the name of Ross Quilhaven. Raphael notices that whilst Ross has an unmistakably Elven face, his body is almost human in size and girth. Ross is quietly spoken and says little. It is Calais who mentions that Ross is actually the leader of a company of elves and humans, known simply as the Raven’s Claw. As though rehearsed, at this point Ross makes a signal with his hand and almost instantaneously a large raven descends from the branches above to sit on his gauntlet. It is Calais who picks up the story:

‘Ross and his companions have come north to combat the threat of the Sithe, whilst Berenguier & I are concerned specifically with a Sithe hand that goes by the name of ‘Scarack Filidh.’ They are an abomination on more than one level and so we attempt to challenge their passage through Cumberland and hope to put a stop to their evil actions.

Calais suggests that Raphael & Uther are ‘marked,’ meaning they have powerful destinies, which will leave a legacy. She adds that their three companions Tector, Lady Sophia and Storm are touched with the same mark. This is accomplished when a name is put into song.

From time to time I am gifted a sense of the future and I have this to say to you:

‘When the dead rise up and death hovers over all

The fated hand, through fellowship

Will stand.

When the winter snows and freezing wind of the North

Come knocking at the Roman wall

It is fated that one will fall.’

She ends by warning Inquisitor Raphael and Templar Uther to beware ‘for the North west is full of traitors. The forces of both Morgan and Morrigan have been employed and we will be hard pushed to withstand their evil will. It is a time for heroic deeds and courage the like has not been seen since the days of King Arthur at Camelot.’

Calais gives Manzio a choice:

1. Go with Ross and his group to combat the giant demonic spider, Karabach (Based in a cave, less than a day from the camp site)

2. Go with Calais & to combat the threat of the Scarack Filidh (Based in Carlisle)

Raphael is concerned that either quest will deter him in completing the task given to him by the Archbishop, namely to investigate the threat to the Solway Firth. Nevertheless, Calais stresses the mutual benefits of an alliance whilst a trip to Carlisle is eventually inevitable as the Archbishop’s third and final task was to investigate the readiness of Carlisle Castle in supporting troops at Hadrian’s Wall.


Albion Andrew_Brereton iwilliamson