Monday, 23 March 2020

20 Rumours Overhead in Drummond's Quarter

1/In a glade called Scrabby Wood a parliament of rooks gathers each evening at twilight; if one goes there in the gloaming, one can hear in the rooks’ cries their gossip about what they have seen while going about their business in the course of the day

2/A tiny hamlet called Burradon Mains survives the predations of reivers by its population retreating into a network of tunnels underground, which they say goes all the way down to the centre of the earth

3/In a forested cleugh called Greenlish Wood there are the remains of a large village, now long overgrown, whose people were all eaten by ettins - except for a few children left in hiding who starved; their ghosts haunt the wood still and crave revenge on the giants' descendants

4/A band of robbers called Lanternside’s Boys used to operate from a cave at the top of Turnberry Cleugh; Laternside was always rumoured to have a hidden stash of treasure somewhere, and it has never been found

5/A big raid by the reivers from the hill known as the Swire recently returned from the settled coast, bringing with it several prominent captive ladies

6/A deep pool lies at the top of Dove Crag; in its waters their swims the Lady of Dove Crag, a great witch who was transformed by her sisters into a pike

7/A redcap who calls himself the Master of Fleehope Manor lives in a ramshackle half-ruined castle in a narrow cleft on the side of the hill known as the Curr; he keeps his captives alive and forces them to take part in frenzied bacchanals each full moon, and to practice their entertainments in between

8/An ancient road, called the Quickening Street, runs through the hills between High Bleakhope and the Nag’s Head; it was built in the days of the Emperor and people say that it leads to a great temple hidden beyond the fastness of the hills, where the descendants of an imperial cult still practice the old ways

9/Huge wild hogs roam the woods of Kidland Forest; they were bred by ettins long ago and let loose for hunting, and ever since it has been impossible for local people to access the woods for firewood, timber, mushrooms, and so on

10/Three waterfalls called the Rushy Linns follow in quick succession through Red Cleugh; diving into the pools of each in turn will cure any illness, but the water will turn one's skin red forever thereafter

11/A spring wells up in the woods by the hamlet of Nettlehope to form Drummer’s Pool; bathing in its waters is said to cure infertility, but the people of Nettlehope only allow their own to go near it

12/The reivers of Sneer Hill are said to have been tasked with guarding a place which the elves of the Hardwater hold secret and sacred

13/The ruin of a former imperial fort lies at Kinch Knowe, a remnant of an abandoned attempt to subdue the Hill of Wolves; its Prefect had a powerful magic sword that is hidden somewhere at the site

14/The redcap known as Father Moneylaws lives in a peel tower in the middle of Marl Bog; he is renowned for ‘adopting’ children, who are shortly after drowned in the bog when they inevitably disappoint him

15/The ettins of the Hethpool lair on an island in the middle of a dark, cold lake on Laddie’s Knowe, where they are said to have held captive an elf prince for a hundred years

16/A red dragon called Dreams-Coldly-Sleeping lies dormant under the Shank, a heather-covered hilltop; she is the daughter of Yehud-Shining-in-the-Twilight and inherited his wealth on his death

17/In the woods a waterfall, called Black Linn, plunges into a deep pool filled with dark green loaches; these are the spirits of 33 bastard children who were drowned as a sacrifice by an imperial cult long ago, and legend has it they will bestow great blessings on anybody able to release them

18/Down in the Hepplewoods there is an old gallows; a troll lives in a hut nearby and hangs anybody he finds out in the woods at night

19/A cave known as Darden Parlour lies hidden in the woods between Drummond’s Quarter and Hrotha’s Town - it goes deep under the earth

20/On the moor known as Ottercops Moss there is a large, single standing stone which is said to mark the burial site of a king of the people who lived in these lands before the days of the Emperor


  1. Brilliant stuff - like an elixir distilled from the best of Dragon Warriors, Robin of Sherwood and Mythago Wood - and all their primary sources!