Three weeks have passed since Cuain Lludd sent groups of heroes and warriors in the directions of the compass, seeking out safe passage and lush lands for the Lludd clan and its allies to build anew in the retreat of the Frost-Heim.
Davidd Iron Arm and his group of warriors had yet to return, leaving Culain with a quandry. East, the direction Davidd had taken, was the preferred journey of Culain (for reasons unknown) and he was eager to find detail of passage or horror awaiting.
He called together the clans that wished to leave the Kaer and called for a hero who would be willing to follow the route Davidd took, record the lay of the land and discover Davidd’s fate.
A low murmer spread across the large cavern in which the assembled peoples stood, the lights of the many enchanted quartz reflecting in the half fearful and half questioning eyes of the namegivers that packed the floor. Even Culain’s promise of cattle and land, at first, seemed not to sway the packed masses. It was a moment of silence before Vaargo, a Sidhe whos family had long ago been adopted into the Lludd clan voiced his desire to take up the mantle of hero.
Culain was both proud and saddened that one of his own had not taken up the mantle to search their new world, but provided Vaargo – a known adept – with three of his trusted soldiers who were profiecient in tracking, cartography and surviving the wilderness to aid him.
The next morning Vaargo and his troupe of Celtoii stood before the great double stone doors to the outside world. They had only been opened twice previously in hundreds of years – to let the first adepts out…and then back in.
Two druids and their serving vates performed the rituals of parting, sacrificing two chickens and splashing their still warm blood against the massive boulders that made up the Kaer’s first line of protection. Vaargo watched and with a wrench and a squeal more akin to an animal, the two bulders rolled and parted.
Outside all was white, Vaargo and his cohort had to shield the Kaer weakened eyes against the crisp brightness that flooded in. As they stepped wearily forward, Vaargo noted the sound of crunching underfoot whilst around him seemed silent.
Thick frost and powedered snow layered the lands around him, deadening all sound and sparkling in the sun. The entrance to Kaer Dan-Yr-Ogof was hidden in the bottom of a steep valley, surmounted and blanketed with pine trees.
The small band of men made their way directly east, cresting the first fold of the valley to arrive at an flattened hilltop. Here the sun was warmer and the trees had lost their frozen sheen. for the first time the men of Lludd could see the bright blue of the sky. They travelled in wonderment (and with some trepidation) through the fresh pine forests, occasionally seeing sign of scores through the earth – by horror or beast they did not know.
That first night was spent quietly but warily, and the men of Lludd sent off with the morning. During this day Vaargo could not help but notice the heavy numbers of crows along their path, watching over them – he knew that these beast were allegedly linked to the Tuatha de Danon known as the Morrigan, a spirit of life, death and rebirth. Though their beady eyes tracked the journey of Lludd’s men, nothing untoward came because of them.
The second day of travel was somewhat more eventful. When travelling down the other side of the mount and thruogh a gentle valley, a huge roar shattered the air. High above them and perched upon a massive stone slab was a grand ursine beast: a bear with long sharp golden horns. Vaargo once again knew of this creature from tales of old, or at least one much like it; A Brithan, a natural beast that was inclined to honourable combat and challenged those that trespassed upon its land.
The group passed in somewhat awed deferrence – though one of Vaargo’s companions voiced his desire to try his strength against it on the return journey.
For two more days they visited the fogs and rains of the rolling lands that would embrace the Lludd clan on their chosen route, with the men marking their route with charcoal and vellum, a map for their inevitable return.