I walked up to the summit of Mt. Sneafell today. It is a steady, moderate ascent, which can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes. The terrain is covered with drying brown grass, but here and there you encounter mud pools left from winter and some marshy areas. Mosquitoes and other insects can be a problem in late spring and beginning of summer. In winter it might be harder to climb up here, particularly after rainfall.
The summit is barren of any trees and covered by shallow grass and rock. The locals say that on a clear day you can see Scotland, Ireland and England from here. About half way down the slopes the forest begins. The common trees around the mountain are some types of pine and aspen. I also noticed a few Spruce trees and one Rowan tree with red berries. Shrubs are rare here, but all sorts of ferns and moss cover the trees and rocks. In some areas wild berries and forest berries scrubs grow. They taste good.
I noticed butterflies are abundant around the mountain this time of year. I also found the footprints of a fox, some badgers, wild boars, and squirrels. There is a small flock of deer living on the slopes as well, and song birds live on the outskirts of the forest.
From the summit I can clearly see the village of Laxey on the coast, Lonnan to the north under Mt. Silean Lean, Lazayre under Mt. Scatafell and Fort Sumark on King Orry’s Road to the west. On better weather one can probably see the entire Island from here.
I took a walk down Gray River today. With Daff. The small river flaws rapidly in a creek, with small hills towering on both sides. On the southern one, which Daff says the locals call Mullagh Ouyr, I’ve noticed a cairn of stones. Maybe one day I will visit there.
As I walked down the river I’ve noticed it is teaming with Salmons. Maybe that is why the village at the river’s mouth is called Laxey. Local mountain goats jump on the hills around me and I spotted a few hares and even the footprints of a polecat.
After less than two hours walk I noticed a large standing stone. As I approached it I noticed there are symbols of spirals covering it. The local farmer we talked with a bit later told me it is referred to as the Spiral Stone and most villagers do not approach it. He also told me that King Orry was buried not far from here. This is rather strange, as I remember we were told that he is buried with the rest of the royal ancestors under the ruined lighthouse at Samhach Creag.
Late at noon I reached the small village. I decided not to go in there although I would like to visit the little chapel there someday and meet Father Edgar again. I noticed other small tumulies of stone on the hills south and north of the village.
Letter to Lady Aurnia – Winter 1221
Dear Lady Aurnia!
It has been a year! Time moves quickly when one is busy it seems. There is a lot I have to tell you about the events since I left the Green Island.
Following a letter written in the times of High King Turlough O’Brien, myself, Roch and the other Magi of whom I will tell you more soon, managed to locate the old covenant of Dearg Fanan. The covenant was residing in a faery regio in the clouds above a large stone circle. The regio is a home for the giant Finiduri who seemed to me like a genuinely nice creature. For some reason the magi of Dearg Fanan mistreated him. He was tied by a magical iron chain to the stone circle. The Magi however disappeared and it was King Orry who freed the giant. In his anger, Finiduri destroyed the abandoned buildings of Dearg Fenan. We managed to salvage a few manuscripts and lab texts as well as an interesting text which I believe to be an old initiation rite. I intend to visit Finiduri as often as I can and maybe find out more about what happened to Dearg Fanan.
We then sailed to the area of Nyarbil Bay to search for another old covenant. This other covenant, Bolan Point, was led by a magus named Roger of Flambou. The covenant itself is in a small natural cave, but there are Norse runes carved on its walls. Anyone who enters it becomes 100 times smaller than his real self. In the small cave we managed to find some texts as well as the coffins of the Bolan Point magi. Most importantly, we managed to find Roger’s journal. It seems Roger was obsessed with a local fellow he called the “Lochlanach” who was a magician but not of the Hermetic kind. Roger was so obsessed making an enemy out of this powerful Lochlanach that he eventually brought the end on himself and his fellows. I spent a few days in that cave alone a few weeks later. This cave is evil, or at least it feels so.
Our next journey was to the ruined and burnt lighthouse of Samhach Creag covenant, where stands the strangest tree I’ve ever seen – the Barnacle Tree. It grows ducks out of oyster fruits, and the vis contained within it must have been one of the reasons that the old covenant was built there. Anyway, it appears our coming to the island didn’t go unnoticed, as soldiers were already waiting for us there and blocking our access into Samach Creag by order of the king himself. In a nearby church we were told that the ancestors of the royal family are buried in the catacombs under the lighthouse.
Eventually, we ended up in a cave on Mt. Sneafell where we decided to set up our new covenant. This huge set of caves was once home to a dragon that was killed by one of the magi of Samhach Creag. Recently I found an entrance to Arcadia right above our library table, and there is vis running in silver and gold veins throughout the cave walls.
My fellow Magi gathered from all over the British Islands. Phillip is an English Flambou who was obsessed with finding Bolan Point and the remains of Roger (I think they are related). Now that he has the journal he is obsessed with finding enemies for the covenant, and I’m afraid if he can’t find any, he will make some. First it was the dragon in the swamps (the one who destroyed Samhach Creag), but now that we found evidence that the Order of Odin was here at the time of Bolan Point, it is the King of the Isle himself who was made to be our enemy. I’m afraid our biggest enemy is going to be Phillips obsession with finding enemies. It is like the story of Roger and the Lochlanach all over again 400 years later.
Another magus is Gilno ex Bonisagus who seems reasonable enough. We chose him to lead the covenant for now, but it was really just because there was not really anyone else one could choose. I was hoping Gilno will not follow Phillips obsessions, but it seems he will follow any idea that will unite us Magi to strengthen the covenant, and any real or imagined enemy is good enough.
The last Magi is Donnan of Vereditus. He came from Scotland. He seems like a nice guy but he is mostly busy thinking about his “next creation”. I don’t think he ever actually created anything. Did I ever really spoke with him? I know I heard his voice, but I’m not sure I was listening.
Then there is Daniel of Mercer who is a really smart and wise guy. Too bad he can’t stay here all year round and make sure things don’t slide into the 7 hells.
Well, my dear Aurnia, I truly hope that if indeed the order of Odin is still here on Mann, we will be wise enough to learn from them and show them the benefits of the Hermetic Order rather than make them an enemy, but for now, I’m not even sure they are still around.
I hope to have the chance of visiting you soon in Grayforest, as I truly miss the company of you and the madmen that accompany you there.
Mount Sneafell Covenant
The Isle of Man