A Roman Excavation at the Chandler’s
Upon returning to Bromwich we are confronted with several pleasant sights. 1) A pair of swans gliding along the river. A good omen we recognize from Tristan’s prophecy. 2) Rooves are being thatched and houses are being repaired. The towns numbers are swelling. 3) Father Nolan has acquired three young novices and also begun unearthing an exciting discovery beneath the chandler’s house. The three novices are Rudolfus (in his 40s with shaggy hair), Galdric (in his mid 20s with shadowed eyes), and sister Aimlyn (in her mid-30s and quietly suspicious). Baron Marnham’s Man-at-Arms Alan Fornay is also present to secure the site. The new tenants of the chandler’s house (empty since before the plague), found that the corner of their root cellar collapsed into an even lower structure. Father Nolan has begun to excavate what he hopes is an old Roman structure. He has already retrieved pieces of mosaic and stone masonry. Being somewhat of a historian, he is happy to tell us what he knew of Romans settlements in this area; particularly of a place called Viroconium – near Shrewsbury. After examining the site and questioning Father Nolan we find the following pieces of information:
- The collapse is not recent.
- The space is approximately 10’ by 20’, with no obvious exit. The walls slope into arches and there are a total of eight alcoves, filled with a mixture of dirt and masonry. Some may or may not be passages. Where the roof collapsed, was probably the entrance. The floor is dirt and tile, and opposite the putative entrance, the floor is slightly raised; a half-circle pedestal that something probably once stood on. The room runs north-south, with the pedestal at the south end.
- The place is extremely grimy, with many soot-marks from torches or candles. A lot of burning took place here. The soot appears to have been recent (the Chandler’s time, not ancient). The soot is probably from tallow candles.
- Father Nolan found, and (somewhat aggressively) removed, a giant inverted pentagram, painted in blood, that was on the south wall over the pedestal. The pentagram was very precisely painted in terms of geometry, though not finely done. It was contained inside a double circle that also had a wiggly design. To those with occult understanding – it was probably writing. We intend to try and recover some impression of what was written.
- Father Nolan also found candles made from a strange tallow he was worried might be human. He burned them all. Simon intends to investigate the soot streaks for tallow residue.
- There was no palpable taint of corruption in this place.
- The text on a piece of broken masonry was celto-roman.
- Nolan’s knowledge of history of the area is excellent. He told us not only of Viroconium (Uriconium) but also man-wolves, who were men that could wear the skin of wolves. And also the Cornovii: the people of the horn; worshipers of ‘the horned God’. Simon was able to fill in that these were probably worshipers of nature Gods, not demons. The horn is associated with masculinity and the great animals of the woods that bear horns (eg stags). The horned God has been worshipped by many peoples in the area: Welsh, Britons, Celts. To the Catholics, these are false Gods who never really existed.
- Tristan and Theo find the structure is oriented along a layline that runs through Bromwich (north-south toward the Manor and the Priory).
Also on the day we return:
Theo tries to learn the shape of flame, and Iskcaron puts pressure on him to ‘convert’ Tristan. Theo makes compelling arguments. “It’s like you’re always moving with the wind.” “It’s like jogging down a slight grade.”
Arthur and Simon discuss Theo’s plight and vow to research how to free him from his bargain. It seems that we would need to put Iskcaron in a position where he would release Theo as a condition of a different deal. We can’t just kill Iskcaron or keep him bound so he cannot collect. In order to put Iskcaron in this position, we need to know his true name. (Arthur also tried to find out what was up with Aimlyn, but Nolan, whom she had not confessed to yet, could only presume that times were hard for her during the plague.)
Subsequent days (5) [Please correct any of this if it’s wrong!]
- Theo: Theo’s goals were to master the flame, take care of his promise to Iskcaron, and make Father Nolan his confidant. Eventually he learned the mental ‘force’ required to shape the flame. He also became closer with Father Nolan. [Clocks worked on: Site; Sorcery; Nolan; Sorcery.]
- Simon: Simons goals are to help with the site and research how to free Theo (revised to ‘find out more about Iskcaron’). He made progress on the fourth and eighth alcoves of the site with Theo and Father Nolan’s aid. (See below.) He tried to gain a position of authority over Theo to get information about Iskcaron, but did not succeed. In fact his relationship to Theo changed. He was able to learn more about Iskaron from Tristan, though Tristan lorded it over him a little. [Clocks worked on: Site, Theo, Theo, Site]
- Tristan: Tristan’s goals were to work on the site, discover more about the artifacts he acquired from Molder’s hill (a saxon brooch and Peter’s roman armor), bolster Father Nolan’s spirit, and learn something of sorcery [confirm?]. He succeeded, by studying Theo’s practices, in understanding more about sorcery. He also, though research and physical study, uncovered more about the artifacts (see here). And he was able to impress upon Father Nolan how well things are going in Bromwich. [Clocks worked on: Artifacts, Sorcery, Nolan, Artifacts]
- Arthur: Arthur’s goals were to work on the site, atone for his bloody deeds, and ‘save Theo’ (revised to ‘persuade Theo to want to exit contract’ and ‘research demon contracts’). Arthur spent a lot of time humbled in church and then helping the community to offset the unholiness he felt tainted by. He also tried to reach out to Theo to embrace God’s love for him, but if anything Theo seems less receptive. He made some progress on the site by translating text rubbings. [Clocks worked on: Atonement, Theo, Site, Atonement]
- Alcove 4: A mosaic portraying two figures: one at rest, the other leaning over them. Very Romanesque – which initially thrilled Nolan. The leaning figure is grieving over what is apparently a fallen loved one, but the fallen’s one skin is black and the are reaching out as if to grasp the weeping figure. Suggests that 1000 years ago there was also a plague with Soulridden. Father Nolan becomes more and more shaken. We are aware, in general, that other plagues have happened in Roman times. And St George’s Dragon was also supposedly spreading plague throughout the lands.
- Alcove 1: A legion of roman soldiers standing over a defeated people. Their standard bears the signia ‘Legio XIV Gemina’ – The Twins 14th Legion. They appear to wear wolf pelts over their armor, with the heads draped over their helms. The twins are Romulus and Remus (the legenary founders of Rome) who were twins suckled by a wolf. This would have been a famous roman legion. Thus these are probably the ‘man-wolves’ who established a settlement.
- Alcove 8: A town engulfed in flame.