Auld Reekie Session 6
When the players arrive on the other side of the gate they smell the salty tang of sea air, relieved to still be on earth they investigate the cave mouth and realise that it is high tide and the way is not negotiable at the moment. They start a small fire as Steven the kidnapped rambler from the observatory is showing early signs of hypothermia. Meanwhile The priest and Victoria scan through The Untitled Teachings of Lachlan Durie”.
At low tide they manage to climb out of the cave and up onto flat moorland and scrub, a raging sea stretches off to one side, it is the middle of the night and the rain and wind are beginning to take their toll. The group must find shelter soon. Stevenson spots a faint light in the distance and the group heads off in that direction. Soon enough they come across the remains of a ruined croft with a light coming from inside and a small trail of smoke emanating from the chimney. It is home to two beat up ornithologists from Aberdeen, Murdo and Wallace. They have been set upon last night by apparent primitive savages and the third member of their party was injured and carried off. Dr. Jacobs tends to their wounds and the whole party enjoys some of their broth. Everyone is feeling better to be out of the rain and the party find out that they are in fact on the Shetland Isles in northern Scotland. The party dose off apart from The Priest and Wallace who stay up chatting about events at the observatory and studying Durie’s book.
In the morning it is decided that Prof. Douglas will stay with the injured Steven and Murdo while Wallace takes the remaining members of the party along the cliff to where the ambush took place the night before.
After about an hours walk they round a headland to be confronted by an amazing scene, a large prehistoric stone tower stands sentinel on a rocky island about 500metres out to sea. At the same time Stevenson notices a number of ramshackle hovels built into the cliff at the back of one of the nearby coves, these hovels look tiny and would be very hard to find if you didn’t know where to look. Stevenson and Wallace lie down on the cliff top to provide cover with their rifles while the rest of the party head down into the cove. As the party approaches they see a woman dressed in seal skin washing something in a rock pool in front of one of the hovels, she notices them coming and darts through one of the small doorways. Soon after two men emerge, both dressed primitively in skin and hide but the party notice several peculiar things, one of the men is wearing modern hiking boots and the other has a woolen fisherman’s jumper on. The men tell the players that they should leave this place as it is private and their kind are not wanted. The men speak in strange accents and use many phrases from the 16th century. After a stand off another man emerges with a huge beard and cold grey eyes that make him seem very old, he seems to be the leader. The players enquire about the missing ornithologist and the bearded man consents to a brief search of the shacks if they promise to leave afterwards. Several of the investigators start a search while the priest has a philosophical debate with the town elder, the elder laughs at the priests beliefs and acts like he knows something that the priest doesn’t referring to the 74 year old priest as “young un”and “laddie” just how old is this man?
Dr Jacobs finds two longboats in one of the hovels that freak her out, they look exactly like the boats from the strange vision she had as they passed through the gate. McNish finds a passage going back into the cliff but before he can explore it, The elder rings a bell and forcefully ask the group to leave.
Meanwhile on the cliff, Wallace sneaks away from Stevenson for an unknown reason. When Stevenson discovers this he becomes uneasy and scrambles for cover revealing himself to the primitives in the cove. The atmosphere turns sour and the three savages demand that the players leave which they do.
The group are back on the cliff top discussing the events and Wallace’s disappearance when they spot Prof. Douglas sprinting along the cliff top towards them. He seems distressed and explains that Wallace returned to the croft saying that there had been another attack and that the group was in trouble. Suddenly the group realise that Steven is now alone with the ornithologists and rush back to the croft to make sure he is o.k.
The croft is abandoned and after following some tracks they find Steven’s body at the foot of the cliff. His body has been carved up with a large knife and it looks like parts of him have been consumed. It looks like the ornithologists are cannibals and the players begin to wonder what was in the broth offered to them the night before. The group decide to try to find Lerwick, Shetland’s capital to get supplies, tents and hopefully some help. The party strike out and make excellent time and arrive in Lerwick around nightfall, there is a commotion at the harbour as they arrive however and it seems that a fishing vessel has gone missing and a number of boats are returning after a fruitless days search. The locals seem preoccupied by the missing boat than to answer the groups questions but they do find out that the area around the Broch is known as Moussa and is considered haunted by “The Auld Grey Man of Moussa” historically a number of missing person cases are associated with the area. They also manage to talk to the local policeman who is worried about three ornithologists from Aberdeen who are out rambling and haven’t returned, he says that if the players encounter them they should bring them back to Lerwick.
The players decide to acquire some horses and head back out to the village site in order to try and get to the bottom of what is going on. They pitch camp and head to the broch site, a huge fire has been lit on the island and the group can see a congregation of people dancing and can hear the beating of drums. They realise this is a great opportunity to explore the caves while their occupants are out.
As they enter the caves they follow some man made tunnels until they open out into a natural cave, here they notice a number of cave paintings depicting people worshipping a great celestial body. Further exploration of the cave reveals a number of sleeping areas with one slightly larger than the others, in this room there is a message engraved on the wall and the priest finds a small lock box under the bed, the lock box is ancient and looks forgotten about, inside the box is a small Christian diary (Durie's Diary from Inchcolm) dating from the early 16th century, they have a quick look at it and realise it belonged to Lachlan Durie and they surmise that the old bearded man could indeed be him. There is also a rosary depicting St. Benedict.
The next room along is a makeshift library and is filled with a number of books from the last 300 years, they have no order and appear to be random, the group thinks that these are the books scavenged from victims over the years. There is a desk in the room and a large book is open and has been written in recently, it looks like a dream journal, (Durie's Dream Journal)they take it.
As they explore deeper into the cave they begin to smell roasting meat which makes a few of the party wretch. The source of the smell becomes apparent, this room is situated in a long thin cave and is filled with smoke. There is a huge table fashioned from many mismatched pieces of driftwood and many stone or wooden chairs and stools along either side. There is evidence of a recent huge feast in the room. There are a number of crude blades made from bone and shells along with more modern cutlery that has hooks on the end obviously for hanging up onboard a moving ship, there are also many wooden plates some bearing various ships names or motifs. All of the utensils are covered in blood and gore, there is also several long elasticated strands on the table (tendon, ligaments) on closer inspection several human toe and fingernails are found on a plate and there are a number of human bones too.
At the end of the room a small alcove goes to one side, there is a deep fire pit carved out and the ember of a great fire are just dying down. The smell is strongest in here and standing over the fire is a huge roasting spit, skewered on the spit is the remains of a human male, his body has been completely carved up and all that remains is his head, his eyes bulge out his head and one of them has popped due to the heat of the fire. The investigators recognise the man as Jack Brodie, George Bullough’s Gamekeeper.
They find Brodie’s jacket and inside there is a business card for a Prof. Thomas Winchester of Glasgow University. They also find Wallace’s missing jacket and work out that Wallace is actually Father Lawrence Devine, a member of the Tuesday Night Club. In the pocket of Devine’s Jacket they find a few notes detailing a number of strange dreams he has been having lately. (Devine's dream diary)
In amongst the piles of scavenged stuff the group find items from the missing vessel, armed with this new evidence they decide to return to Lerwick to recruit the townspeople to help them put an end to this bizarre group of savages once and for all...