Quaerentes in Extremis
Loch Leglean Tribunal
The Loch Leglean Tribunal reflects the cultural diversity of Scotland. Three covenants dominate the tribunal, each with its supporters and cultural preferences.
In addition to the Order of Hermes, two magic traditions exist in the tribunal. The northern Highlands and Islands are Norse in culture, and rumors say that the shadowy Order of Odin has at least one “covenant” among them. In the Highlands live the last remnants of ancient Pictish magicians.
The Loch Leglean Tribunal covers all of Scotland, including the offshore islands ruled by the King of Man and the Isles. It does not cover the Isle of Man, under the terms of the Partitio Monaviae agreement. It shares a land border with the Stonehenge Tribunal to the south and communicates with the Hibernian Tribunal by way of the Irish Sea. Iceland and Norway, both considered parts of the Novgorod Tribunal, are also connected by sea to Scotland. See the Map of Mythic Europe
The Order originally spread outwards from Durenmar but not without complications. In the early years of the ninth century, Damhan-Allaidh, a powerful wizard residing in what was then the Kingdom of Alba, led an orgnaised resistance to the Order of Hermes. Rather than face hermetic magi in magical combat, his followers cursed and harassed their followers, set traps and used mundane assassins to halt the progress of the Order. For a number of years these tactics were effective, and pessimistic magi claimed that the Order would be stopped at the English Channel.
Tytalus the Founder entrusted Pralix, his most gifted apprentice, with the task of defeating Damhan-Allaidh. She brought as much cunning to the task as her opponent. Although her hermetic followers were slain or deserted her, she recruited scores of local hedge-wizards and in a series of devious raids and spectacular battles was able to defeat Damhan-Allaidh and bring many of his followers over to her side.
Following her victory, Britain (or the Brittanic Tribunal, as the Order referred to it) was split into three portions. Hibernia in Ireland, Stonehenge in England and Loch Leglean to the north.
A dichotomy between the Highlands and Lowlands filters through all levels of Mythic Scotland. The Lowlands are home to bands of seelie faeries, but the Highlands are the haunt of many solitary faeries, of which few, if any, are benevolent. (Faeries dominate the Scottish landscape, more than any other supernatural phenomenon.) Norman-Scottish nobles, who have only held the land since the 11th century, rule the Lowlands. In the wild hills of the Highlands, the clans control their own destiny, yielding their freedom to no king. The Lowlanders speak a version of English; the Highlanders speak Gaelic and Norse. Throughout this book, Scotland is presented from the viewpoint of the Highlanders. The culture and government of the Lowlands follow the English pattern.
Order of Hermes in Scotland
The Order of Hermes in Scotland in the Loch Leglean Tribunal is a very unorthodox Hermetic tribunal. Fully a fourth of the magi in the tribunal owe no allegiance to covenants; yet they have full voting privilege at the tribunals held every seven years. The Houses of the Order have very divergent membership in Loch Leglean; Houses Mercere and Quaesitor have only one member each in the tribunal, while House Ex Miscellanea comprises one-half the total magi. Magi accepted in Loch Leglean may have trouble with the rest of the Order. Covenants come and go with little notice.
Separated by language and culture in addition to inhospitable wilderness and oft-unfriendly mundanes, the covenants of the Loch Leglean Tribunal tend to be insular, clannish and well-fortified. The covenants that regularly attend the Tribunal are:
• Cnoc Nathair
• Crun Clach
• the Devil and Pike
• Glen Geasadair(aka MacGrugach)
Altogether, approximately 100 magi dwell in the Tribunal, about half of the members of the Order call no covenant home, but instead wander from place to place, or dwell as eremites, far from hermetic or mundane company. Following local tradition, Scottish magi refer to these hermits and itinerants as aonaranan.
For reasons of clan loyalty, magical necessity or simple pride and stubbornness, the aonaranan live their lives independently of any covenant. Those who are not supported by a mundane clan tend to establish their sancta near isolated vis sources, giving them an ongoing means of maintaining their magical power. These combination of vis sources and isolation makes them frequent targets of raids by other magi, which in turn makes the typical aonaran mistrustful of any outside contact.
Despite not belonging to a covnant, aonaranan do maintain contacst with some covenants and attend Tribunal meetings at Loch Leglean, where they are focus of much political maneuvering, whether with bribes, flattery or threats of force.
The most prominent local magical tradition is the Damhadh Duidsan (‘malice writers’). These highland magi are centred around Glen Geasadair, and number about twenty. By carving runes in a strange, dead language they call ‘Ogham’ into wood and stones, or by writing on their faces and arms in ash, chalk or blood, they wreak powerful Corpus magic. They are also known to be expert shapechangers, and to share the blood of the giants of Caithness and Sutherland.
Meetings of the tribunal are held at Loch Leglean itself, in honour of Pralix’s use of the site as a mustering point during the war with Damhan-Allaidh. In keeping with the fast-and-loose attitude of the local magi towards the Code of Hermes, and their close associations with mundane kin and neighbours, a great many mundanes attend Tribunal meetings, though they play no part in the debates or decisions of the magi. However, there are no permenent magi who occupy this site and it serves a purely cerimonial function.
The Loch Leglean Tribunal, like its mundane counterpart, has always been fractious and prone to squabbles. The two issues that currently dominate its debates are the extent to which magi may interfere with mundanes, and the likelihood of renewed hostilities with the Order of Odin.