Orkney Part 2 Skara Brae
As the group lick their wounds, Gunnvor reminds them of the waters gathered from the mountain spring. Dubious but trying not to offend the engineer, Heraclief, Ross and Manzio drink from their water skins and miraculously wounds do indeed begin to mend. Delighted at this new discovery, Heraclief suggests that these skins be used only in emergency and that alternative, regular drinking water be used throughout the day.
With the group refreshed if not entirely healed from their ordeals, Gunnvor urges that they try one more time under cover of darkness as a message may well have already been dispatched to Kirkwall. It is clear that any potential plan relies on Manzio’s speed as a decoy and so it is quickly agreed that Heraclief remain under cover of darkness with Ross playing a flanking support role, using his longbow.
With the early morning light fast approaching, the group once again approach Skara Brae, retracing their route to the very point at which the protective barrier provides a slim channel of undetected access to the site. Finding that the area is once again unguarded, the group don the cloak of darkness and make their way warily towards the central burial mound.
They are about halfway across the snaking pathway when Ross picks out an unusual whistling sound and subsequently calls a halt just as a wicked throwing axe spins into view and into the globe of darkness. It narrowly misses Ross before returning (presumably to the wielder) beyond a rise not 20ft to the side of the group. Ross, quickly takes a position behind a hummock in the undulating Skara Brae terrain and beckons for the others to continue without him.
Urging speed and fully aware that their return has been anticipated, Heraclief moves the group at pace toward the towering mound at the heart of the ancient village. Approaching the knight with great caution, Manzio waits until the very last second before leaping forward, outside the protective shield of the darkness globe. The knight immediately springs to life, a whir of mechanisms as the Mithril hinges unlock and the gigantic creature levels its malevolent gaze on the comparatively diminutive Vesuvian.
Using his solstice boots to the full, Manzio runs a frantic gauntlet of death with the charging, leaping mechanical knight hot in pursuit. Slowly but surely Manzio is able to outdistance his pursuer and is relieved to reach the safety of the invisible protective cordon surrounding Skara Brae. Moving 30-40ft beyond the perimeter he finds a shallow depression in the undulating lands surrounding the village in which to recover. Chancing a glance back to toward the village, he notes that the knight has taken on a defensive position, rooted at the very edge of the cordon. After some time, the second knight charges into view, taking the same position before the first charges back at full speed toward the mound.
Manzio, hoping that he has been able to buy his friends sufficient time to make good both their rescue and escape begins to navigate away from Skara Brae before doubling back onto the old coastal road in an attempt to meet them on the way out of the protective cordon where they first accessed the village. After some time he is back in the general vicinity when he sees a stumbling Heraclief, clearly badly wounded supported by Ross. The two ‘gnomes’ follow, Gunnvor also nursing a wicked looking injury with Kimi leading four rather dazed looking girls, all approximately 11 or 12 years of age.
Closing the gap in seconds, Manzio quickly feeds Heraclief his waters tapped from Avalon and once again miraculous healing takes place, although only after the sorcerer takes 3 full draughts from the precious water skin. Equally, Gunnvor also drinks from his own supply to reduce the bleeding on a horrible wound, which has bitten deeply into his leg. The potentially lethal wound heals at miraculous speed.
Keen to get the group to safety before the Knights detect their presence, Ross suggests that they not tarry. Returning to their original camp it is clear that the four girls have been drugged, as they seem oblivious to their surroundings. However Gunnvor in particular is delighted to see ‘wee Moira’ and shakes each member of the group by the hand thanking them for their support.
Reflecting on the events of the evening, it is clear that Ross was quickly able to overcome his Viking adversary, firing a killing blow from his unerringly accurate longbow. Heraclief and the ‘gnomes’ were harder pushed fighting the captain of the guards, a burly veteran who was waiting in ambush from the roof of the mound on their escape. The emerald flames of the sorcerer had won through but only just and only with the befuddling magic of Kimi and Gunnvor to help.
‘Great job, great job but why take those wee quinies over te such a God forsaken place in the first place?’ questioned Gunnvor, confusion evident in his furrowed brow.
Heraclief, looking at Ross and Manzio, nods to the others as though in silent agreement. Looking back at Gunnvor and Kimi, the tall sorcerer begins to outline his suggestion that they (alongside all of their brethren in the Bishop’s Palace) have in fact, been ensnared by the enchantments of Morgause. Furthermore it is his belief that the ‘White Witch’ uses old Necromantic rituals involving the sacrifice of virgins to maintain her youth.
Shocked, Gunnvor is unable to comprehend that such a feat is possible but on further reflection he begins to see the horrible truth. Once again looking quizzically at Heraclief, Ross and Manzio, he questions their own story. ‘You boys clearly arenee here looking for fish and scraps?’
Once again Heraclief takes up the story, introducing the three as ambassadors from the south seeking to sew the seeds of discourse between Morrigan the Black and Morgause the White. Turning to the group, Heraclief continues:
‘We have made an excellent start. At least one guard will live to tell the tale of what transpired in Skara Brae and they will speak of a Sithe cloak of darkness. Yet I do not believe that our work is yet done. We need to attack at least one other strategic stronghold at the heart of the White Queen’s realm.’
Discussing the situation further, Gunnvor suggests that the Ring of Brodgar is clearly also important as he knows for a fact that it is guarded by the Queen’s rooks. Given that it is less than 6 miles away from Skara Brae this is clearly the ideal next target. In addition, Heraclief dissuades Gunnvor from an overt rebellion within the Bishop’s Palace:
‘You must gradually sew the seeds of doubt my friends. I fear anymore at this time will lead to your deaths. The Queen must not know that her enchantments are fading. Also expect her to strengthen them upon her next return.’