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A Bestiary of the Dean

by Magus Astrius, filius Garius, discipilus Flambeau

Magical beasts pose both a threat and an opportunity to magi. They can be extremely dangerous and have been controlled to devastating effect by magi of the UnNamed House, yet they also represent a renewable source of vis in a world where vis is getting ever harder to come by. As such, knowledge of these creatures is invaluable so that magi can deal effectively with those that threaten our covenants and sodales, and cultivate those that can provide us with vis. Although the cities of Gloucester, Hereford, Monmouth and Chepstow are growing and new villages still springing up throughout the Dean, there are large tracts of land that the wilderness still lays claim to. In particular the swathes of forest that cover much of the countryside hereabouts. The close proximity of the wilds of Wales also means that non-native creatures may sometimes appear here. As such, the Dean remains still a place where the wild and fantastic beasts that walk this earth can still be found. This tome attempts to combine knowledge from other, more detailed bestiaries with the experience of members of the covenant of Severn Temple and accounts of the creatures found in the surrounding area.

Adder Queen


Towards the end of autumn 1111, the council learned that several strange eggs had been laid close to the mine in Blackney. Magus Petrus determined that they contained strange creatures with the head and bodies of men, but the lower parts of snakes. Though the eggs each contained a pawn of corporem vis, it was decided to keep them safe until more was discovered about their origins. Legend has it that when a pregnant woman is bitten by an adder and survives, her offspring develops into a half-human and half-snake hybrid. The creatures are not necessarily thought to be hostile towards men, though they are apparently most vengeful if spurned because of their appearance. The scales of an Adder Queen, as they are called, are known to cure snakebites. The council decided to return the eggs to the forest in order to avoid incurring the wrath of their mother. The eggs were placed in the hollow of a tree far from any of the local villages. There have been no reports of any sightings of this creature or any more of its eggs since.

Badger

Badgers are small, ill-tempered animals that dwell in holes in woodland. They have a distinctive black and white striped muzzle and some exceptional beasts can blind people who annoy them with a temporary effect similar to that of Incantation of the Milky Eye.

In the summer of 1144, while investigating the forest around the cave in the woods Magus Madoc met with a talking badger whose speech was apparently coarse beyond belief. Despite this the creature was able to direct him to a small waterfall underneath which was a small pool containing silvery moss. Magus Madoc took half of this plant and on returning discovered that it contained 3 pawns of vim vis. This valuable vis site persists to this day.

Black Hound of Berkeley

In the town of Berkeley Castle, in 1146, Magus Theo heard tale of a great, black hound with baleful red eyes that has been seen around the Vale of Berkeley. Word has it that farms there are being abandoned or worse, with the beast slaying their inhabitants. Magus Theo heard a first-hand account from Richard, a merchant from Gloucester. While heading south to Berkeley from Gloucester during a storm, he saw two red eyes in the darkness. Richard sent two men to investigate, but they did not return and a howl was heard from the darkness. However, talk of the hound may have been a ruse by the Baron of Berkeley to help drive out the freemen who dwell in the Vale, so that he can claim it for himself. That winter, three more people claimed to have seen it, though the veracity of these claims has not yet been investigated.

Cave drake

In the summer of 1088, the Renounced Magi Idris, Ruaridh and Jean journeyed to the cave from where we harvest ignem vis to investigate reports that a creature had taken residence there. Covenant scouts had previously found claw marks around the entrance. The Renounced Magi found that some sort of flying reptilian creature which walked upon two legs had made it's home there. The Renounced Magus Idris speculated later in the journal that it may have been some lesser relation of the drakes, though given the size of the fissure it cannot have been significantly larger than a big man. The party was able to drive off the creature with arrows, though all the ignem vis from the fissure was gone, consumed by the drake. There has been no sign of it since.

Cockatrice

The cockatrice, sometimes also called the basilisk, is a small two-legged creature with the body of a wyrm and the head of a rooster head. The creature is said to be from a rooster's egg, which has been hatched by a serpent or a toad. Its look or breath is said to be poison. The gaze of the cockatrice is equivalent to a tenth magnitude effect so clearly extreme caution should be used when the presence of a cockatrice is suspected. The cockatrice can be killed by a weasel and possibly also the sound of a rooster crowing. The cockatrice is so poisonous that its passing leaves a narrow trail of bare earth where all plant life has withered away. If a female domesticated weasel, also known as a ferret, is placed on this path, it will follow the track until it meets the cockatrice and kill it. The cockatrice's blood is a virulent poison that contains eight pawns of perdo vis.

In early April 1116, a grog patrol stationed in Blackney reported that a shepherd and a number of sheep had been found dead under very mysterious circumstances. Neither the animals nor the shepherd bore any obvious injury, though there was a trail of bare earth leading away from the bodies to the edge of the forest. It was eventually determined that a cockatrice may have passed close to the village and could be still in the vicinity. Maga Edith proposed that placing a cockerel within the village to ward off the creature. However, some six months later, two grogs and a villager from Blackney were slain by the cockatrice while they patrolled the road between Blackney and Lydney. Following this, Magus Turold flew to Cad Gadu to seek further wisdom on this creature. He returned having made a deal with Primus Llanoddwyn for knowledge of how to slay the creature in return for its eyes, which contain a valuable liquid. The method suggested by the Primus of placing a weasel on the cockatrice's trail of destruction worked and the cockatrice was found dead.

Dragon

The dragon, a great winged fire-breathing serpent, is the most terrible of all magical creatures and a match for even the most powerful magi of the Order. Of all the beasts in this world, only the kraken is larger. The dragon seems to be embodied in the very magical fabric of the land and it is unclear whether these creatures actually live in this world at all, or simply appear once in a while in response to a summoning or for some other unknown end. Certainly before most instances of their appearance, those prone to visions sense something of their arrival, most famously Magus Krekaranius of House Criamon.

Dragons are also very important symbolically and the appearance of different ones may presage success or failure of that which they represent. This is most powerfully illustrated with the Red Dragon of Wales. In the winter of 1090, the Renounced Magus Idris reported that some of the grogs had a vision of a red dragon, and claimed that he had seen it drinking from the Severn, staining the river with blood. The covenant of Blywyddan also reported seeing a great red dragon flying past. The next year the most successful Welsh uprising in many years took place, culminating in the establishment of an independent, though short-lived, Welsh kingdom.

However, dragons are not entirely beyond the bidding of magi. Magus Nauticus of House Verditius has won his House meeting twice, first with a horn to summon a dragon, then with a ring of warding against it. How he managed this remains unclear. Stonehenge also appears to be a site of such power that rituals can be conducted there to summon a dragon which can then be sent forth to attack. This appears to be the source of the periodic draconic attacks that have beset Stonehenge during the last half-century.

The first of these was presaged in winter 1113, by a vision of a dragon's eye by Severn Temple's chirurgeon, Jacques. The following summer, the shade of the Renounced Magus Idris told Magus Lothar that the UnNamed House were going to raise up a black dragon at Stonehenge and send it to attack Blackthorn covenant. A few days later Maga Audacia's familiar saw a dragon in the magical realm flying north to Blackthorn. The attack came in the autumn of 1115 and it was devastating, with Magus Lamark and many coven folk slain. Magus Petrus described the aftermath in the journal "The walls of Blackthorn are in ruin, it's towers smashed. Only by virtue of the deep caves which house the vast magical libraries have the knowledge and lore of that place perhaps survived."

In the winter of 1119, Jordael sent round word that the dragon that attacked Blackthorn was still active and maybe under the control of the UnNamed House. In the spring of 1120, the shade of the Renounced Magus Idris told the Renounced Magus Ruaridh that the dragon had attacked again. This turned out to be true, as a dragon had indeed attacked Holy Isle, but had been repulsed. The dragon was able to penetrate a twelfth magnitude Aegis of the Hearth and destroyed the gatehouse and surrounding walls. However, Maga Fenriata, using a large quantity of vis, was able to wound the creature with powerful conjured lightning. The dragon then withdrew, leaving ten grogs and one consortis dead.

In 1134, Magus Turold and his apprentice Meredith both had visions about a dragon attacking the covenant. Later that year, at the concillium's autumnal meeting, Magus Turold brought word from Magus Jordael that the watchers that had been set about Stonehenge, though protected and hidden by enchantments, were all slain. There was also some sign that some sort of ritual had been performed there, though it's nature or purpose could not be determined. The assumption was that members of the UnNamed House sought to wake the dragon from its slumbers to send it against the covenant. The attack came that winter. Magus Antonius, who had remained in the covenant purely out of curiosity, subsequently wrote, "Although I had read of such beasts and spoken with those magi who had faced it before, I was unprepared for the sheer sense of power about the creature. It was quite simply awe-inspiring. With a single breath it devastated the granary and barracks then turned and unleashed fiery ruin upon the keep and tower."

Incredibly, Magus Turold's apprentice, Meredith, his eyes glowing gold, then began to transform into a great red dragon which leapt up into the air to do battle with the black dragon. As the roof began to collapse, the remaining defenders apported away and the two dragons climbed high into the skies as they fought and were lost from sight. Their fate is not known. Maga Audacia noted in the journal shortly afterwards, "This record kept now since the refounding of Severn Temple has detailed many trials, but this last; the attack of the Dragon, must surely be the closest to complete destruction that this covenant has come." Her pater, Magus Caisus, who had faced the dragon when it attacked Blackthorn, was tragically slain while trying to defend the covenant. His bravery in facing such a creature a second time is duly noted here.

Giants

Although not all may agree with giants being included in a bestiary, especially my giant-blooded sodales Magus Cormoran, nevertheless true giants are of magical origin and so I shall include them here for the sake of completeness. Giants are as men of great size and strength. While some giants may be peaceful fellows, many are fearsome killers and some feast on the flesh of men.

The covenant's first encounter with giants was in the summer of 1084, when, brought by tales of the "Welsh war wizard", some peasants from Blaenavon, a village a few days west of here, came asking for aid against a giant who had attacked their homes. The Renounced Magus Idris travelled with a few grogs to the place, and, after a brief skirmish, succeeded in driving the creature off by shooting an arrow into one of its eyes.

That injury was sufficient to send the giant back into the mountains for a score or more years, however, in spring 1110 Welsh peasants came again from Blaenavon seeking help from the "Welsh war wizard". Magus Turold took on the task and lured the giant into drinking a barrel of poisoned ale. Then his consortis, Pendaran, who was possessed of giant blood himself, slew the weakened giant, who was nevertheless still a formidable foe.

In autumn 1159, Magus Cormoran received request from Trevalga covenant to solve a problem with a local giant, which had prevented them from harvesting one of their vis sites. Magus Cormoran was unable to convince the giant to allow the Magi to slaughter any of the magical goats that formed the giant's flock. It seems the giant wanted a wife in exchange for the goats, but this was clearly unacceptable. With discussion exhausted, Magus Cormoran decided that he had no choice but to slay the giant, and through force of arms he prevailed.

The covenant gained a local giant in 1160 when Magus Cormoran found his mundane father, a true giant by all accounts. He had been living in a cave within Blackthorn's lands, but on Magus Cormoran's request, was given leave to stay within the cave in the forest.

Griffin

A fierce creature, with the body of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle. Griffins are strong enough to lift a large horse by themselves and have a fondness for horseflesh. They will however also feed on men. These beasts are highly magical and have been known to penetrate a ninth magnitude Aegis of the Hearth. They are also very hard to kill and can survive repeated castings of the Incantation of Lightning. Commonly used by the UnNamed House, both of Severn Temple's encounters with griffins seem to be with beasts under the control of members of the UnNamed House.

Around the Spring Equinox in 1104, a great storm descended on the covenant and a bolt of lightning hit the tower killing a grog. Then from the skies came a screech of anger and a griffin descended. One of the grog sergeants organised his squad into a spear block, but it proved of little use as the griffin snatched one grog after another up into the air with its claws, before dropping them from a great height. The griffin then started to attack the doors to the great hall, but an invisible Renounced Magus Ruaridh then began to cast lightning bolts against it. After a few blasts the griffin turned in fear and flew away, leaving three dead grogs behind.

In winter the following year, in the midst of an attack by infernal forces, a griffin once more flew into the covenant. Coming from the direction of the spring it fell into the courtyard and attacked the shadows there. Then at the command of the Renounced Magus Idris, it turned back to the spring and the attacked the infernal black stag that had slain the castellan. The Renounced Magus Idris died, torn apart by infernal wolves, but the griffin was able to slay the black stag. Upon its death the wolves began to vanish, and even the storm clouds broke apart. The griffin took up the staff the renounced magus had carried and flew away with it.

Hart of the Forest

It is not clear whether the hart that has been seen within the woods is merely a magical deer or a pagan spirit of some sort. According to some tales it may be as important to the forest as its heart and may well have some power over the woods. This hart may guide those it deems worthy to the heart of the forest. In 1117, Magus Lothar reported to council that he had come upon a great stag that he claimed was the 'Spirit of the Wood'. This dying creature had aided him on the condition that he protect the forest in its place. Magus Lothar believed that he had been cursed by this creature as the expansion of the mundane settlements on the western edge of the forest had not stopped. To demonstrate his concerns he travelled into the wood, accompanied by the Maga Edith, Magus Antonius and the Renounced Magus Ruaridh. Magus Lothar tripped over a root almost immediately after entering, claiming that this was proof that the forest had withdrawn it's aid to him.

Iron boar

The boar is a stubborn and irritable beast, with sharp tusks that are capable of disemboweling a man. They are best hunted with long spears that use the force of the boar's charge against it.

In winter 1155, Magus Cormoran was tasked with retrieving the heart of an iron boar that dwelt in a magical wood near Chester. This wood contained a regio, where Magus Cormoran was attacked by a pack of wolves. However, the iron boar appeared and scattered the pack. This boar then led Magus Cormoran to the edge of the wood so that he could leave the regio, at which point Magus Cormoran attacked it from behind. Unfortunately the boar, with almost impenetrable hide, proved to be too strong a foe, and Magus Cormoran was forced to flee. The boar pursued the magus, but died when Magus Cormoran was able to dodge its headlong charge. The boar struck a tree with such force, that it collapsed on top of the beast, killing it instantly. The boar's corpse contained 6 pawns of animal vis.

Llanigan-y-dur

In early winter 1113, some of the men were attacked by a river creature, which ate one of the sergeants. Afterwards, Magus Antonius spoke with Heather, a serving girl who had a widespread knowledge of local legends. She said it was Llanigan-y-dur, which means in Welsh "water leaper" and said that it was famous for dragging men down to the depths of the Severn. Some thirteen years later, in autumn 1126, a water leaper attacked grogs guarding barges, but they averted its anger by throwing the sheep the water leaper was after into the water. It seems that the water leaper is probably still present now, for in summer 1152, when speaking to a "talkative old perch" in the Severn, Magus Tiarnan was warned about venturing too far downstream, as the great water leaper was rumoured to hunt there.

Werewolves

Ordinary wolves are cowardly, devious creatures, that only grow bold when the attack from ambush or in superior numbers. The howl of a powerful wolf may cause a man to be frozen with fear or to lose his voice. Although lone wolves do occur, wolves most often live in large packs and prefer to attack as a group. A pack will have a pack leader, usually the biggest wolf. If he is slain then the others may break and run. Their usual tactic when fighting men is to charge and leap upon their victim, seeking to bear him to the ground where he can be more easily savaged. A man must bear a two-handed weapon or a goodly-sized shield to block such an attack, broadswords and the like will not suffice. Wolves fear fire, and flaming brands or a large campfire may keep them at bay.

Werewolves, also known as lycanthropes, children of the wolf or shapeshifters, are men who take the form of wolves when the moon is full. When changed they appear much as normal wolves, though they may be somewhat bigger and stronger. Their behaviour remains much as that of normal wolves, though given the nature of their curse they are bolder and more eager to attack people. Like wolves they are devious creatures that will attack at any sign of weakness, but flee if attacked in force. They will also seek to twist any deal they make so should not be trusted.

The bite of these cursed creatures causes the victim to suffer from the same malady. Cauterizing wounds quickly will prevent this from happening. Once infected there are two possible cures. One is to take the teeth from the wolf that inflicted the wound and use these to lift the curse. The second is to use the heart and blood of the "Grandfather wolf", which may remove the curse from everyone infected by he or his line. Like the animals whose shape they take, werewolves live in packs, though as well as a pack leader, they also take their lead from their Grandfather wolf. This creature has some spiritual powers and can guide the wolf spirits that cause the lycanthropic curse to sap the will of men, though fire will keep them away. The Grandfather wolf has to be close at hand to control such spirits, so if attacked by them, he should be nearby and may be hunted down.

Werewolves are much tougher than normal wolves and even a well-struck sword blow may not draw blood, though they can be slain with normal weapons if wielded with great skill and strength. They are vulnerable to silver weapons, though be sure to strength silver blades magically for silver is a soft metal, and retain the wolf's antipathy to fire. Ignem magics such as Ball of Absymal Flame or Blade of Virulent Flame are highly effective, though other elemental forms such as auram also work. A sixth magnitude Ward Against Fantastic Beasts is effective at keeping these creatures out.

Some werewolves may even be able to control their anger and possibly even their form, somewhat like the magi of House Bjornear can. To normal beasts, werewolves carry the scent of man about them. On death they revert to human form and their bodies contain corporem vis.

The Blood Craze

The blood craze is a curse that werewolves can lay on one-another, though the victim has to be willing. These maddened beasts run on two legs and stand some nine to twelve feet in height. They are correspondingly stronger than normal werewolves and their charges particularly fearsome. Like normal wolves they seek to bear human foes to the ground, from where it is harder to bring weapon or spell readily against them. Blood wolves appear to have a particular antipathy to other wolves and werewolves and in their madness will actively hunt down such kin. The transformation of those bitten by the blood wolves does not take long. An hour is sufficient, thus men can be bitten and turn in the same night. The bite of this blood wolf inflicts not just the ordinary curse of the werewolf, but also the blood madness. Caution should also be taken to ensure that once slain, the bodies of blood wolves are thoroughly destroyed. The maddened wolf spirit that inhabits the body of such creatures may attempt to heal the dead, even those burnt by fire and lightning. Whether a sixth magnitude Ward Against Fantastic Beasts remains sufficient to keep out werewolves with the blood craze is not known.

The first encounter that Severn Temple had with werewolves was shortly after the covenant's refounding. In the spring of 1082, the Renounced Magus Jean returned from his travels to other covenants with a man named Gyrth, who had led the Renounced Magus Jean and his grogs to a healer. However, investigations revealed that Gyrth was a werewolf and he was banished.

The more recent troubles with werewolves date back to 1145. Early that year the Knight of Skenfrith's eldest son went missing while hunting near Mynydd Myrddyn. It seems likely that during this hunt, a werewolf was killed, thus sparking what was to become a bloody feud. Shortly afterwards, while transporting supplies to Mynydd Myrddyn, the guard were attacked by werewolves and murdered or infected, in apparent revenge for the dead werewolf. Magus Madoc and his companions were subsequently attacked just outside the regio. A fierce battle ensued in which one grog was slain and Magus Madoc's consortis Raegwulf infected with lycanthropy. Using swords transmuted to silver, Magus Madoc and his companions slew a number of the wolves, driving the rest into flight.

A year later, an expedition comprising myself, Magus Madoc and Magus Theo traveled to try and deal with these wolves. On the day after the first full moon we were attacked. Two were dispatched with fire and sword, before we were forced to take shelter in a ward. From its safety I was able to slay another with Ball of Absymal Flame, though they are more agile targets than their bulk might suggest. The next night a number of wolf spirits attacked us, though Theo was able to drive them off with a flaming brand and I was able to scare off the nearby Grandfather Wolf with ignem magics.

At the next council meeting it was decided to leave things as they stand and see if the wolves would do likewise. In autumn of 1147, Magus Madoc reported that as he left Mynydd Myrddyn at the full moon the werewolves were watching closely. In autumn 1149, having been co-opted by the Knight of Raglan into a brigand hunting party, Magus Cormoran and some of our grogs were attacked by werewolves. Again this happened on the second, not the first night of the full moon. It was a short, ugly fight with the wolves eventually driven off by sheer force of arms, but several men died and two were wounded and subsequently infected.

In 1153, a werewolf was sighted in our forest and after repeated requests, Magus Hirsutus of House Bjornaer agreed to come to the Dean and investigate. He found a group of werewolves in the North of the forest, who claimed that they were outcasts from the pack at Mynydd Myrddyn. They apparently agreed not to attack any magi of Severn Temple if left unmolested. The following spring, tracks were found which indicated some form of conflict between these werewolves and the infernal wolves from the Dell.

In the summer of 1154, three free miners were slaughtered when they stumbled across the regio where the werewolves dwell. Afterwards, Magus Theo went to speak with the wolves on Symond's Hill, but was tricked into entering the regio. Theo learnt that the deal that Hirsutus had struck on our behalf was that we would both respect the other's territory, which consisted of the regio on Symond's Hill for the wolves and the rest of the forest for us. They said that they had left Mynydd Myrddyn because the pack leader there wished to expand his territory and get revenge on Sir Gavin of Skenfrith. These wolves would have us believe that they only wish to live and hunt away from man, though they also warned that they would attack any who entered the Regio. Despite this apparent desire to be left alone, they also added that they wished to be able to venture into Monmouth to kidnap and infect women to spread their cursed lineage.

In winter 1158, the werewolves of the forest told Theo that a 'blood wolf' had been sent by the werewolves of Mynydd Myrddyn to slay them. Magus Theo and I were attacked by it as we went to investigate. I was able to drive it off with sword and fire, but Theo was gravely injured. A hunt next day with myself, Magus Theo, Magus Cormoran and the guard managed to slay some of the infected werewolves but was caught in the woods as the moon rose by four of the blood wolves. The magi were able to apport away, but the guard were slaughtered or worse. I returned with our wands of fire and lightning, and with the help of my familiar-to-be, was able to hunt down and slay all the beasts.

Wynurthil

Bears are large creatures which are generally placid but when riled are very dangerous. They have long claws and are exceptionally strong and powerful. Their large build and great toughness makes them hard to slay, and a wounded bear may become even more ferocious. The spell Gift of the Bear's Fortitude is rightly named. Bears sleep through the winter months so may be hunted then, though be sure to slay the bear while it still sleeps, for a bear woken out of season as riled as if it were wounded.

First encountered in 1085 by the Renounced Magi Idris and Ruaridh, the Wynurthil was a talking bear of a morose and despondent disposition. In spring 1086, it was captured by one of the local knights, and displayed in a cage for passing visitors. The Renounced Magus Idris arranged for it to be released at night, and it duly escaped, though has not been encountered since.

Wyrm of Bryn Mawr


In spring 1095, while the Renounced Magus Idris was away from the covenant, a delegation from the Welsh came to ask his aid to rid Bryn Mawr of a wyrm. The Maga Varsavia and the Renounced Magus Ruaridh accepted the task in his place. Taking with them a sizeable contingent of the grogs, they travelled to its lair, where after a fierce battle, they slew the creature. The wyrm was a great wingless serpentine creature that could breathe forth choking fumes.One grog was lost, another severely wounded and two horses slain. Five pawns of auram vis were recovered from the creature's body.

Wyrm of Cheddar Gorge


In the spring 1146, Magus Theo heard tale of a wyrm near Cheddar Gorge that has taken some farmers sheep. This story has yet to be confirmed.

Wyvern

The wyvern is a lesser relation of the dragon, which has only two legs but cannot breathe fire and has a barbed or snake-like tail. Nevertheless, as might be expected from a creature that shares even a part of a dragon's make-up they are fearsome opponents.

In autumn 1151, as Quaesitor Medius was traveling to Narwold covenant, he was attacked by four men on horseback in a small wood between Witney and Cambridge. Quaesitor Medius was alerted when the men stopped at the bottom of the hill on which he had camped. A bat, probably an infernal familiar of a magus of the UnNamed House, flew up to scout out the area. As the men and Quaesitor Medius observed the dark horsemen, they saw a gout of green fire and at that signal a screech was heard from above and a wyvern dropped from the sky. The wyvern pounced on one of the horses, ripping its spine from its body. Quaesitor Medius led his party into the cover of the woods, though before fleeing, they had managed to slay one of the four men. Returning later to the scene of the fight, Quaesitor Medius interrogated the spirit of the dead man who said that now the wyvern had his scent it could follow him anywhere. Despite this threat, Quaesitor Medius was able to travel unhindered to Narwold and no sign of this creature has been seen since.

Mynydd Myrddyn

The place known as 'Mynydd Myrddyn' lies in the Welsh hills, nigh on one and one half leagues as the crow flies South East of the covenant of Blackthorn. It is a deep and extensive magical regio, with several levels beyond the first. Although the first mention of the place from a hermetic source is that of the account of the Renounced Magus Radolphus' expedition there in 1045, older legend has it that the sorcerer Myrddyn once dwelt there. There is also a tribe of primitive celtic people who live within the lower level of the regio. The regio is a rich potential source of vis and unsurprisingly there are several kinds of magical creatures which dwell there. These may include the werewolves whose mundane range overlaps the boundary of the regio, but no one from Severn Temple has yet seen one of those devious creatures there.

Llifiau

To the north of the Celt's village is the pool within which is said to live a serpent, which they name 'Llifiau'. The Renounced Magus Radolphus' account from 1045 reported that there were signs of its presence in the vicinity, though it does not state what these were. The Celt's were in the custom of sacrificing a goat each year to keep peace with it.

Myrddyn's Brood

In Summer 1142, an expedition led by Magus Antonius and Magus Madoc ventured into Mynydd Myrddyn and made established contact with the Celts who dwell there. At a feast thrown in their honour, the Celts told the story of Myrddyn's Brood, a savage breed of two-legged creatures that prey on the Celts. The tale stated that the Myrddyn needed servants and so he summoned warriors from the earth to serve him. However they turned against him and although Myrddyn destroyed most of them, some escaped to the hills. There they bred, became bestial and were cursed to be able to eat only human bones. The brood live in a complex system of caves, protected by traps and snares. They are possessed of a crude but cunning intelligence, and can set traps and use crude weapons. Although it is not known whether they are capable of true reason, it seems likely as mentem spells are effective against them. Each of the creatures contains two pawns of corporem vis.

The next day as the expedition was exploring the near wood edge, they found a pit, apparently made by the brood to catch the Celts. Further searching revealed a log swing trap and then decided not to venture too far into the woods. Soon afterwards the brood attacked in force. Two grogs were slain before Magus Antonius was able to use a spell of mental domination to dispatch the beasts. Ten pawns of corporem vis was recovered from their corpses.

The Renounced Magus Radolphus' account from 1045 states that the caves where these creatures dwell can be reached by following the track road which runs to the north of the village to a series of barrows. West of these there is a steep and rocky descent, along which there are many caves. Some of these delve deep under the hills. The 1045 expedition found the skulls and bones of animal and even human remains near the entrance to some of the caves. Tracks were found of bipedal creatures with short talons or claws on their feet.

The awakened forest

In the oldest part of the forest in Mynydd Myrddyn, the trees are awake and the animals have heightened cunning. This dense and dark wood contains a herd of magical deer with golden eyes, which can be hunted by skilled bowmen. The deer are a source of animal vis; however, the forest is patrolled by a fearsome bear that seems to attack those who hunt the deer. The Renounced Magus Radolphus' account speaks of an entire group of grogs being killed by a giant black bear after they had brought down one of the deer. In 1117, after killing one of the deer, the Renounced Magus Ruaridh and Magus Lothar were attacked on their return through the forest. The great bear attacked without warning slaying two men before an invisible Renounced Magus Ruaridh was able to drive it off with conjured lightning.
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