Quaerentes in Extremis
This powerful Autumn covenant is the leader of the Galldach (Lowland covenants). Crun Clach is the Merinita stronghold not only of Loch Leglean but of all the British Isles. In 954, a young Merinita maga named Caitlin Suil Uaine took her gauntlet in the Hill of her cousin, a moderately powerful fairy called the Lord of the Grey Jerkin. After a three-day binge of drinking and merriment, they threw one final round of dice. The stakes were her magical power and his kingdom. He might have been the first fairy with a Parma, but in the end, she founded a covenant in her fairy mound. Caitlin is also the praeco of the tribunal, and as founder the covenant nearly 300 years ago, she is still its leader. The covenant is located within a faerie mound, and has faeries for covenfolk. Five magi reside here, three of which are unsurprisingly from House Merinita. The covenant is located in Kintyre. (6 magi)
Like most fairy mounds, its entrance is nearly impossible to find without Gifts, spells or an invitation on most days, but on Beltane, Samhain, and for two minutes at two in the morning on the night of the new moon, the door glows and fairy laughter floats on the wind. A good perception roll is all anyone needs to find the way in at these times. Day to day, the covenant’s greatest threat comes from other fairy courts – while Caitlin works hard to maintain good relations, every now and then a monster will be sent their way, some of which have been truly terrible. And, of course, the Lord of the Grey Jerkin re-challenges the covenant every 10 years. Monster attacks have a tendency to increase just before these times.
TThe magi maintain few grogs – no matter where they live, warping is inevitable, and the human servants usually end up shrunken and knotted and generally indistinguishable from the brownies anyway. As for the brownies, the Lord of the Grey Jerkin disappeared after losing the battle, but most of his subjects, from tiny imps to sidhe guards, remained and now serve Caitlin and her sodales. The second and largest level of the covenant contains storerooms and is the domain of the fairies. Only they can find and open the doors that access it. The walls here are clear, glowing crystal, which makes the vast, high halls seem to be carved of light. The third, deepest level is the domain of the magi, and it is rumored that the jet-black stone there is the living bone of Scotland. It is known that the magi seem to ask the hill to allow them to enter their own sanctae and labs.
The fairies are benign enough, but even the lowliest brownie claims to be an Earl, having won the title in some game or other. Compared to other covenants in Scotland the magi at Crun Clach lead luxurious lives, but each must find a balance between being too friendly with the fey, (in which case they may find themselves gifted beyond hope of recompense, served stunning and fattening meals and their labs and sanctae tidied up before they’d had a chance to finish what they were doing) and being disliked to the point that they are sabotaged and neglected. The grogs are mostly concerned with herding, farming and hunting as even the magi must be careful not to eat too much fairy food for fear of warping.
That Caitlin won the realm from the Grey Jerkin as part of her gauntlet is all well and good, but even the allowances the Merinita have with the Code’s loose interpretation of “molesting the fairies”, living in a fairy hill is certainly pushing it. The legal records of Loch Leglean show Crun Clach as being officially located outside the mound, and while the magi are prepared to make a show of that being true, an “understanding” between Crun Clach and Horsingas ensures that the tribunal’s Quaesitor doesn’t look too closely.
Caitlin Suil Uaine of Merinita – Leader of the covenant and far far older than she appears, Caitlin is Praeco of the Tribunal. Mother of Aine, mater of her daughter and Iain both, Caitlin is as merry and selfish as the fae she studies.
Aine, daughter and apprentice of Caitlin – Caitlin’s eleven year old daughter (born 1228) by Oenghus, a mortal who wandered into the hill one night and who is the only person to ever beat Caitlin at dice, Aine has her mother’s beauty and and her father’s luck. She flirts with Iain and torments Alexander. No one has any idea how Caitlin, who has been taking a Longevity Potion for 250 years, mothered a child.
Alexander the Lame, Merinita – There is nothing lame about Alexander, who in fact takes extensive pains to show how strong and handsome he is. Well into his Autumn, he appears to be fifty years younger than his true age. He has grudgingly resigned himself to tutoring Aine.
Iain Mac Gabhan, filius Caitlin, Merinita – Gently gifted and quite handsome in a scruffy, stormy sort of way, whenever Iain casts magic he transforms in whole or in part into a pig, the extent and time of the effect depending on the strength of the spell. He oversees the flocks and fields that feed the covenant.
Radislav, Criamon – A short, round Polish magus with a silly accent and a mischievous ferret familiar, Radislav may be studying the faeries too closely for his own health.
Seamus an Cat, Ex Misc – An adventurous young magi with a wild streak.