Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain.
OverviewEditThe people of Scotland rose out of conquest and assimilation. The name Scotland comes from early invaders, the Scotti, a tribe of Irish Celts who landed in the 5th century CE. The Picts are the first group of people to inhabit Scotland that scholars know much about. The word Pict come from pictus, a Roman word for painted, a reference to the Picts' habit of painting geometric designs upon themselves before battle. By CE 83 the Romans had conquered all of Britannia (England), but the fierceness ofthe Picts prevented the Romans from conquering what they called Caledonia. Instead they built Hadrian's Wall to keep the Caledonians out.
When Roman Breton's power declined, the Caledonians streamed over the border, but by the late fifth century, Caledonia was besieged. Celtic Bretons and Germanic Angles invaded from the south; from the east came the Scotti. By the seventh century another group of invaders, the Vikings, took over the Isles and portions of the East and West Coasts. It was not until 1034 that the various wars between these peoples produced a single king, Duncan, and a single country, Scotland.
The strong influences of all of these groups remain in the languages of Scotland. Until recently, many of the Shetland islanders spoke Norwegian. (The closet major city is Bergen, in Norway.) Town names beginning with aber (two rivers) or pit (farms) show the remnants of the Pictish language. Gaelic, the language brought by the Scotti, is still spoken in the Highlands and the Hebrides. (Hebrides comes from haf bred eyr, a Norse term for "islands on the edge of the ocean.") Scots, or Lallans, is a dialect of English with words borrowed from all of these sources. It is the language of the Lowlands.
The Lallans-speaking Scots of the Lowlands, the islanders and Gaelic-speaking Highlanders regard themselves as different from one another. The Lowlanders have controlled much of the power and are the most English of the Scots, for they faced wave after wave of English conquest. The islanders are more aloof and proud of their Celtic and Norse heritage. The Highlanders, due to their Gaelic culture and their small numbers compared to the Lowland Scots, have suffered abuse at the hands of their country- men. Now, in a strange irony, it is the Highlanders who represent Scotland to the world.
Dreich & Moor Edit
Purple heather, green hillock, stony isle, and silver burn the lands of Scotland are the most feral in the British Isles. Perhaps the Scots' dour disposition stems from the realization that the wilderness of Scotland never completely bowed to man's will. Yet, the wilds are also a source of Scottish pride and strength. Many Glaswegians, faced with the blight of civilization, know that they can be in the midst of a wilderness in two hours. Although nature has dealt the Scots a lean hand from which to draw sustenance, they have rarely turned their eyes from their home's "frowning glories." It is in this deep, romantic well of ardor for loch and crag that lies the Scots' greatest hope against the tide of technology and Banality.
Not counting its halo of isles, Scotland is divided into three major geographical regions. Traveling from the southern regions closest to England and heading northward a visitor encounters: the Southern Uplands, the Central Bell, and the Highlands. The forests of the Southern Uplands disappeared under plow and ax centuries ago, but small copses of oak and birch still dot these lands of rolling hills. Elevated sections of moorland are its identifying feature, and they, along with the grassyslopes ofthe hills, are home to the sheep and cattle on which the farmers depend.
The Central Belt, or Central Lowlands, only accounts for about 10% of Scotland's landmass, but contains about 75% of the country's population. Most Scots reside in cities, and three of the land's most populous cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee, all nestle in the Central Belt's river valleys, between the mountains of the Highlands and the hills of the Uplands. Although crops still grow in what was Scotland's breadbasket, damage to the environment and the growth of cities has taken its toll.
The Highlands encompass about three-fourths ofthe remaining landmass. They compose two mountain ranges divided by a huge valley called the Great Glen, home to Loch Ness. The southernmost and highest range is the Grampian Mountains. They rise from the Central Belt and Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Britain, crowns them. These mountains also contain Loch Lomond, the nation's largest lake, and they cradle the Trossachs, one of the most beautiful forests on the British Isle.
The Northwest Highlands form the northernmost part of the landmass. Rockier than their southern cousins, they rise from the Firth of Lorn and reach northeastward toward the Shetlands. Along the western coastline, the sheltered glens of the Northwest Highlands have seen a lot of development by the timber industry, which has replaced the old, mixed-tree forests with rows of Scots pine.
Just as the mainland of Scotland contains three distinct regions, so can the Isles be grouped into three unique archipelagos. These are: the Hebrides, off the West coast; the Orkneys, off the northeast tip; and the Shetlands, which lie in the same line as the Orkneys, but much further into the North Sea.
Each of the islands has its own traits, but the islands also have a few similar characteristics. Inhabitants of these islands depend to varying degrees on fishing, herding, and farming. Along with the often treacherous sea, the islands also have to deal with constant and sometimes brutal winds. Some islands of the Outer Hebrides have 40 or more gales a year!
Scotland lies at the same latitude as Labrador and Moscow and as such it suffers or enjoys the same variances of night and day. Summer nights in Edinburgh last but four or five hours. Unlike Labrador. Scotland is blessed with waters that flow from the Caribbean. Warm, seaborne air flows over Scotland, engendering relatively mild, but wet weather.
This infamous weather is summed up with the word dreich (the drizzly, misty, grayness which pervades the land, especially in the winter). On the Shetlands and Orkneys in the summer, the tourists and islanders still cannot escape the wet. The warming islands and cool seas bring on the haar, a wall of mist that pours off the North Sea and onto the rocky isles.
The Pipes Edit
Next to the kilt, nothing is more associated with Scotland than the pipes. That is why after Culloden, the defeat of the Highland clans, both were outlawed. Pipers were hung for playing their native music.
Pipe music is broken into the ceol mor, "bigmusic" and ceol beag, "small music." Most people now refer to the ceol mor as piobaireachd, or pibroch, but there are quite a few pipers and scholars who might take exception to that. Many Gaelic purists consider the pibroch, and even written notation, to be a corruption of the unmeasured Gaelic music. They want pipe playing and pipe-learning to return to is original, oral traditions.
Lastly, pipes don't scream, groan, or moan, they skirl!
England influenced, but never quite subsumed, the government, economy and religious life of Scotland, The politics and economy of Scotland are as distinct from those of the other British nations as are its lochs, moors, and highlands.
The parliament and prime minister of Great Britain (not England) constitute the highest level of government in Scotland. From there, authority descends to the secretary of state for Scotland, who sits on the ruling British cabinet, and has as his government ministries relating to welfare and the economy. Below this office, the nation is divided into 29 councils, responsible for education, planning, transportation, and health and human safety. These districts fall along geographical and traditional boundaries for the most pan, but each of the major cities and island archipelagoes has its own council. The councils are, in turn, broken into wards with equal numbers of electors.
The homerule issue is still a factor in Scottish politics. Although not the majority, the Scottish Nationalist party manages to elect several members to the UK's parliament each session. Occasionally, it pulls off something spectacular. On Christmas Day, 1950, a group of Nationalists stole the Stone of Scone (originally stolen from Scotland by Edward Longshanks) from Westminster, and returned it to Scotland for a few months. As late as 1979, the Nationalists forced a referendum to establish a separate Scottish assembly, but it did not pass. Homerule has once again come to the forefront. In a move to placate the masses, the prime minister of Great Britain has decided to give back the Stone of Scone. It will be interesting to see if this act will quash or inflame the homerule issue.
There are also related political movements to spread the use of Gaelic. Victories have included Gaelic TV broadcasts, schools and even Gaelic WWW pages. Still, many of the councils of the Isles have been frustrated when they have gone to the trouble of posting Gaelic street and road signs, only to have Lowland government officials print maps in English. The flood of money from North Sea oil had the unexpected result of fueling the home-rule movement. Walls in Scotland now hear slogans such as, "It's Scotland's oil!"
Scotland maintains its own banking and legal system. The Bank of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1695), the Royal Bank of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1727) and the Clydesdale Bank (Glasgow) all issue their own banknotes. Most Scottish businesses require their use, although the banknotes are not negotiable outside Scotland. The highest criminal court is the High Court of Justiciary, and its civil counterpart is the Court of Session. Scottish law is not based on English common law but on the Roman legal system.
Probably one of Scotland's government's greatest achievements is its educational system. Dating from 1696, this system has produced a near 99% literacy rate. Many centuries-old colleges exist in Scotland: Saint Andrews University, established in 1411; University of Glasgow, established 1451; University of Aberdeen, established 1495; and Edinburgh University, established 1583.
The Scottish economy traditionally relied on fishing, herding, and farming. Over the centuries it changed to a textile, heavy-industry base, and more recently shifted to high technologies and crude oil.
Less than 20% of Scotland's land has ever been arable. Although some small farming and gardening continues to add to the food supply, the people of Scotland still depend on herding and fishing for much of their livelihood.
Train, Trek, & Tube Edit
Scotland is about the size of Maine, so getting around might seem easy. While major roadways connect the larger cities and towns, to get to some of the more scenic sights by car a traveler must travel narrow, winding roads. Many are one-lane roads equipped with lay-bys. When two cars meet, the driver closest to the lay-by must pull over and let the other pass. A motorist traveling on a remote road may also scream around a corner and encounter a herd of sheep. There are no lay-bys for sheep, and they will most likely be thoroughly unimpressed by a revving car engine or its horn.
Public transportation is the best way to get around Scotland. Extend passes can be had for busses, trains, and even ferries (for trips to the Isles). Busses can take a tourist anywhere in the cities and trains lend transport between most cities and villages. Bicycle rental shops can be found as well. Trekking or hiking trips are also popular, and guides or guidebooks are plentiful.
Scots Festivals & Holidays Edit
While innumerable festivals are held in Scotland, the ones below are some of the most uniquely Scottish; several are of pagan origin. These attract many of the Tradition mages, especially Verbena and Dreamspeakers. Any celebration entices the fae, due to the abundance of Glamour.
- Hogmany and Ne'er Day (December 31st & January 1st)
The "first tooting" marks the beginning of the festivities, when the first reveler steps into the house at the stroke of midnight. According to tradition, this person should have black hair and be a stranger bearing coal, salt, and a bottle of spirits. The coal is to insure the warmth of the household and the salt is a charm against famine for the upcoming year, the bottle of spirits is for the party. To many Scots, this holiday is more anticipated than Christmas.
- Up-helly-aa, Lerwick, Shetland (Winter)
Up-helly-aa marks the end of the Yule festivals and is held on the last Tuesday of January. Due to the boisterousness of the festival, the next day is also a holiday known as "sleeping-off day."
On the night of the festival, a life-size galley is paraded though the town, complete with a Viking crew and jarl (baron). Torch-bearing citizens sing old Viking songs, accompanied by brass and pipe bands that line the streets. At the end of the course, they take the ship to a playing field. The Vikings abandon ship and, to the refrains of The Old Norseman's Home, hundreds of torches hit her decks, and she erupts in flame. But the night has just begun. The citizens form secret societies of costumed dancers that visit drinking and dancing halls all night long.
- Burns Night (End of January)
These festivals honor the Scottish national poet, Robert Burns. Feasts revolving around haggis, whisky, and poetry recitals are held all over Scotland to praise this extraordinary poet.
- Gyro Night, Papa Westray, Orkney (Spring)
This festival falls on the Tuesday following the first new moon of Spring. Gyro comes from gygr, the Old Norse word for ogress, (The gyro would attack islanders at night with huge tangles of rope and netting.) On this night old women visit the homes of young boys after dark and are treated to meals by the boys' families. The crones then ask the boys to escort them home. During their walk home, some of the crones reveal themselves to be older boys playing gyros. They whip out ropes and beat the younger boys who try to escape them.
- Beltane Rite, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh (Summer)
Arthur's Seat is an 800-foot hill behind Holyrood House. On the first day of May, young girls wishing for health, happiness, and beauty bathe their faces in the dew accumulated on the hill. This rite stems from the ancient druidic belief in the holiness of dew, especially May dew. Ironically, the young girls who participate in this festival are often on their way to morning Church services at the top of the hill; nevertheless, the Kirk cannot stamp out this old Beltane rite.
- Beltane Rite, Cloutie Well, Culloden Moor, Inverness (Summer)
This festival takes place on the first Sunday night in May.The purpose is to cast off ills and cares. The pilgrims wind their way down a path to a glade of trees. In their midst is a well, circled by stones. A pilgrim walks three times around the well sunwise, then tosses in a silver coin. While thinking of her cares, she dips in her hands and drinks. Without speaking, the pilgrim ties a piece of cloth (hence the name cloutie, cloth) from her clothing to a tree nearby and leaves before sunrise.
- Procession of the Burryman, South Queensferry (Summer)
The Burryman Procession probably dates back to rites representing the Green Man, a figure embodying a scapegoat for the town's sins, and therefore a figure of renewal. During the festival, a man dressed in flannel is covered with burr thistles. This Burry Man is escorted around town by two attendants who take collections from whomever he calls upon. The Burry Man then leaves town, ceremonially taking with him the evil influences of the community. Participating youths split the money collected in the Burryman Procession.
- Riding of the Marches (June-August)
Usually begun with parades of pipes and brass bands, these festivals commemorate the wars with England. Towns along the English border stage their own particular rites, but during all festivals, one or more horses are ridden to the English border and back to demonstrate the people's loyalty to Scotland.
- Ceilidh, Anywhere, Anytime
Ceilidh (KAY-lay) comes from the Gaelic word meaning "a visit," but now refers to a party involving traditional dance and music. Unlike many other traditional events, ceilidh are informal. People go not only to look and listen, but to dance and sing. These parties are extremely popular, and pubs and public halls all over Scotland have ceilidh nights (called ceilidh dances in the Highlands) on a regular basis. Formal competitions of Highland dances and singing are called mods.
Scottish Fare Edit
The traditional Scots breakfast consists of mounds of toast and marmalade, bacon and eggs, kippers. and tea. Dinner or "tea" is usually centered around the potato, often made into chips like the English chip. The tea table groans with mutton pies, sausages, bridies (meat and potato pastries), and red, white and black (blood) puddings.
The wonder which is haggis is made of the heart, lungs and liver of a sheep, ground with beef fat and then soaked overnight. The next morning this concoction is mixed with oatmeal, onions, seasonings and gravy, and then boiled in a sheep's stomach. Traditionally, haggis is served with clapshott, a mixture of mashed potatoes and rutabaga.
Scots balance this love of grease and fat with an uncontrollable lust for sweets. Griddles are used to make delicious oatcakes, bannocks, and butter scones. The bakers' ovens produce prodigious quantities of shortbread, fruit cakes, and black buns (a sweet bread eaten at New Year),
No wonder the Scots have an incredibly high incident of people pitching over in the streets from massive coronaries. They have but one hope for their cares, or their arteries, the uisge beatha, the water of life: whisky.
Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie... these and other single-malt miracles pour out of the Highlands like mana from Heaven. Only the secret combination of malted barley, peat, Highland spring water, and the minimum eight years of aging produces Scotch.
The Clans Edit
The clan system of government ended with the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746 at the battle of Culloden, although it survives vestigially and with some romance in popular culture. "Clan" differs from "clann" in that the former term refers to humans rather than fae.
Originally, as with all Celts, the Scotti and their ancestors organized themselves in extended families called clans. (The "Mac" and "Mc" of many Scottish names means "son of'.") Family branches were called septs, but sept members were not in the direct line ofsuccession from the clan's founding ancestor. This common ancestor usually is said to have come from Ireland, but Icelandic families and even mythical beings also spawned clans.
The chief was believed to be semi-divine and as such, loyalty to him was absolute. The chieftain was the only person who actually owned anything of value; all items and lands were dispensed to his followers due to their rank and service. Positions such as war leaders, banner carriers and bards were often hereditary.
Tartans are an 18th- and 19th-century addition to clan lore. Clans also had badges and particular slogans. The badges began as flowers or sprigs of plants, which were pinned to the bonnet or clothing during battle to identify friend and foe. Slogans rallied one's clansmen before or during a fight. The importance of slogans points to the significance of oratory in clan life. A chieftain or his druid or bard always spoke before great events, especially battles, glorifying the ancestry of the clan's warriors and belittling that of the opponents.
Of Myths & Men: Changelings & Mages Edit
To start with, if you'd understand Scotland, or Caledonia, as the Kithain call it, you must know right off that it is the homeland of the Scots, an independent people, currently conquered and occupied by a criminal foreign power: England. You can take your "United Kingdom" and stick it up your arse, for mortals and fae mean to tun our country for ourselves, have done in the past, and will again in the near future, God and King Niall and the sot-headed Scottish leadership willing.
The Roman Occupation Edit
Everybody knows that Hadrian built that wall to keep the Picts out, Picts being the mortal folk who lived here before the Scots dropped in. But only the fae know this: that the wall also keeps some others not out, but down.
It happened that the Romans trotting up from Europe attracted the attention of a few Mediterranean fair folk who called themselves Pyrics. We dinna know a jot about the Pyrics; they were North African, I heard, or Sardinian as may be. Like wilder eshu, but violent, much given to shifting lights, St. Elmo's Fire, and lightning bolts. They were a curious lot, too, following the Romans (infested some of their boats, ! hear) to get a taste of Caledonian Glamour. Nor were they keen on loyalty, as they soon took to blowing up Picts and Romans with cheery abandon.
So Hadrian, I suppose, says to his magicians, "Take care of this little thing." Magicians set to work... think, think... and finally they say, "We shall join the land with the sea, and trap these fae between them." It happens that joining land to sea, in case you've a mind to try, is done by building this long wall from ocean to ocean. Hadrian says, "Right, go to it, and keep the Picts out while you're about it," and everyone pitches in with a will. The magicians call on the local sidhe and gollachs (satyrs) to help lure the Pyrics to the wall. Pyrics trot up, magicians bind them and bury them and seal the pits with cold iron. Hadrian piles the wall on top. End of problem.
The wall is there yet. and tourists must keep the Banality level quite lethal. But if anyone ever lets loose the Pyrics, I wouldna want to think what might happen.
The Time of the Picts Edit
The Scots must have driven out or slaughtered all the Picts. But among the fair folk, matters went somewhat differently.
The original fae of Pictish times in these lands were the Blue People, don't know their name in their own tongue, not that it matters a whit now. We called them Blue for the way their hair and skin changed color each night. The "we," in this case, means the sidhe leaders of the 13 fae Houses, who came to Caledonia with the Scots mortal tribes. These 13 leaders, called the Wise Council, probably called themselves that, being smug sidhe bastards, the Wise Council wanted to take up life here without bloodshed. But the Blue People were rude folk, very hard bitten, and wanted nothing of the invaders. It looked like bloody war.
But then some clever thinker whose name is lost to history, and who thetefore must have been a nocker, said, "What say we don't slaughter at random, but instead have a nice drinking contest! Each army gathers at the battlefield and sends forth one champion, the biggest drinker among all its people. They set down, start drinking whiskey (or mead, or whatever they had for tippling hack then) and the last side on its feet takes the field."
This appealed to both sides better than the idea of cutting up fair folk. Perhaps each side also took it that if they lost, well, they still had an army and could always go ahead with the slaughter as they'd planned. So they went ahead with the drinking contest, and trust me, they got no shortage of volunteers. I like to think of the preliminary qualifying bouts, as you may say, as those soldiers tried to outdrink one another.
So, after everyone recovered from these early matches, the armies chose their champions and gathered around the field. But before the contest, King Eirim of the Unseelie Court brought forth a Bottomless Urn of, of, I'll call it mead. And Eirim said, "Let all on both sides drink a toast of honor and friendship." Well, I daresay nobody, even in those days, gladly took a drink offered by an Unseelie lord, but the Blue People's suspicions were lulled as each soldier on the Scots side marched up in order and drank deep. So the Blue People drank, too, and the mead from the Bottomless Urn was sweet indeed.
Then the Blue People trotted forth their champion for the drinking contest, a huge, bandy-legged, wart-skinned, knobbly troll name of Pythos, big as a horse and half as smart. He took up the entire Bottomless Urn in one hand and knocked back a quart or two just to show off, and all the Blue People cheered.
Then out comes the drinking champion of the Scots, and it's a little boggan, name of, well, Angus? So all the rough, tough Blue People saw Angus waddle out, and they all laughed. But the two champions went to it, the troll Pythos and the boggan Angus, and wonder of wonders! As they swilled from the Bottomless Urn like pigs at a trough, the boggan kept up with the troll, drop for drop. After a few dozen bottles' worth, Pythos was staggering, but Angus — he was swelling up like a gooseberry, but he kept pouring it down with a big smile.
Not only that. As the contest went on, all the Blue People came to feel a bit flushed, and then a bit jovial, and then out of sorts, somewhat, and at last they realized they were right royally pissed, one and all. Then they saw that King Eilim had done them, for, aye, you guessed it, he had enchanted both Angus and the mead, so that all the drunkenness that Angus accumulated, so to speak, got funneled instead to the others who drank the mead. But the Wise Council had made their own troops immune, do you see, and so the enemy army took it all.
So when Pythos finally fell over, the proud army of the Blue People were all snockered out of their minds. The Wise Council pronounced the contest over, the Scots victorious, and they set their troops to shoveling the Blues onto a flotilla of boats and sent them floating east over the North Sea. Last I heard they ended up in Norway, where to this day they are all still hungover, and believe me, there are few worse fates.
On the Mages Edit
King Niall has his bards talk to everyone in court, on and on, about that lot of mages what are called the Technocracy. They're very big in Caledonia. It was only this past 15 or 20 years that we folk in the Kingdom of Alba, or anyhow, that I personally, learned that there were other kinds of mages than the Technocracy, people interested not in dismantling every good and decent thing of Scotland, but in protecting its heritage. Well, I mean, we knew of the occasional witch or hobbling old man with a cat familiar, not that there are many such up Aberdeen way. But we never knew them to be organized. See what I'm saying?
They tell me that the meeting of the two came about by a nocker, down Dalriada way, but I dinna know who. So 20 years hack, this nocker heard rumor of strange and fascinating machinery at a nightclub in Edinburgh. She went there, but the Banality level went so high during a folk-rock revival that she went all out of sorts and ran. She stumbled down into a basement and broke through a door. There she found some of what are called Men in Black doing bad things to a magician of what are called the Sons of Ether, visiting over from America. They were using a torture device, it popped out the eyeballs or somewhat of that kind, and the poor sod's screams touched the nocker's heart. Or, more like, she just wished to look over the machine. Either way, she pops over, sort of stares hard at the contraption and dismantles it, and the Men in Black get after her. Meanwhile the magician gets free, blows up the bastards with a laser pistol, and the nocker and mortal get out together.
They fell in as pals, and the two sort of initiated one another, as you might say. But though the mages and the fae got all cozy together in Dalriada and the Lowlands, up in the Highlands we fae were a bit longer in getting to know them. Typical.
Merinita, yeh, we've all heard of her up here. She was this nature wizard, very close with the sidhe all over Britain, and especially Caledonia. Merinita was top quality, magick-wise, but a bit of a space-head, so they say.
Back around the eighth century, Merinita wandered all over the Highlands, not to mention Britain and most of Europe, seeking "the essential spirit of the land." She visited most of the fae kingdoms, and wherever she found that "essential spirit," she left behind what she called a boon. This boon was something that could help mortals understand the fae, sometimes even see them.
Maybe the boon would be some beautiful patch of ground where, if a mortal stepped onto it, he might become able to see the fae. Maybe it would be a tree or rock that, if a couple conceived a child there, and if you get out walking with your love over the heather, you can understand why this impulse might arise, then the child might have the second sight. You hear a hundred addled legends about how Michael Scot was one of these, or King Niall, or High King David even. But the boons are fickle; they move around and vanish for years at a time, or so folks tell me.
Anyhow, Merinita lounged around Europe for a few centuries and then said, "I've found the essential spirit of the land, am off, back in a flash, keep me supper warm." And she hasna been seen since. Except that you hear stories of beautiful animals seen under the full moon of a summer night, and they act strange, though not hostile, and when you see them, you hear beautiful lute music drift in on the wind, music that they said Merinita played in her life. Take that as you like. Me, I'd think that if she's been listening to lute music for a thousand years, she's not half-barmy by now, eh?
The Stone of Scone Edit
For more information, see the article Stone of Scone.
The Interregnum Edit
With the Shattering, and the Black Death to boot, the old ways took a hard blow. Perhaps just as well. The sidhe, bless their lacey arses, picked up their skirts and fled for the Arcadian hills — nevermind that lord and vassal, I'll-protect-ye-and-ye-support-me crap. The gates snapped shut behind'em, leaving the rest of us high and dry. And us nockers, boggans, gollachs, and whatnot were left in the lurch.
Way I see it, there's always someone headstrong and clever enough to become a laird, and barmy enough to want to. And, believe me, there were plenty of those wandering about in the Interregnum. Little lairds, mostly nockers and gollachs, some trolls, filled the abandoned raths and duns with friends and a few family, and these became the clanns. When they found that fae children were no longer being bom to their women, the clanns of necessity started a new naming scheme based on localities. Thus, you have Clann Cairngorm and Clann Tay, but the fae Clann Douglass died out long ago.
Now, it took us some time to climb out of the pit, but we did it because — all together now — "Scots are a resourceful, independent people." While the English bastards were mocking us about eating oats and killing babies, they were busy murdering themselves. Meantime, we were up here forming clanns, then tuaths, whipping their skinny, oat-lacking arses out of Caledonia under Robert the Bruce and other fine Scottish leaders. Would the English have the bollocks to dismantle an entire castle so it wouldn't fall into enemy hands? No! Only the Scots!
The Unseelie always took to change better than the Seelie, then as now. A very few months after the Shattering, the Unseelie of the Hebrides and western Highlands formed the Tuath of Shadows. 'Twas an unruly place, still is, for all that, and dark and scary to mortals.
Worst of 'em was the Unseelie troll Lord Coruisk, who ran the Shadow Court on Skye, a mean bugger, if ever I heard tell a one. Spoke only in a whisper and had nae more instinct for making friends than a badger. One day, he and Chief MacLeod, of the mortal Clan MacLeod, happened to be hunting the same white faerie boar in the forest near Dunvegan Castle. They see each other, and Coruisk halts his stallion near a fork of the Bum Lochalsh. Coruisk is upset that MacLeod's hounds have taken down the boar, so he offers the mortal a flag known as the Braolauch shi, the Faerie Flag, in return for the boar and one year's service to the Shadow Court on Skye. The silken Fairie Flag, as you may have heard, can do lots of things, and that includes protecting the host that carries it.
Now, say you're a mortal, and a shadowy faerie lord offers you a flask of Talisker or some such. What do you do? You take it, because you dinna know what he'll do if you refuse. So Chief MacLeod takes the Braolauch shi, agrees to the year of service, and arranges to meet Coruisk beside the fork of that burn at dusk. Being an honorable man, though somewhat dimwitted, if yeh ask me, he hangs the Braolauch shi at Dunvegan Castle, tells his loved ones he'll be off for a year, and disappears into the forest. Mark me now: That year was 1350.
1350 went by, and 1351, and, well, not to yammer on about it, none of his friends nor family heard of him ever again, so they chose a new chief and enjoyed the protection of the Flag. Here I leave off talking of Chief MacLeod, but not for long.
The Middle Ages Edit
Now, in the Middle Ages (as now), the Highland Seelie dinna abide fae who kidnapped infants. They wanted to cover their arses, for the last time an Unseelie stole a bairn, the mortals of Dunkeld torched the nearby faerie forest in retaliation. Kidnapping was a sore issue between the Seelie and the Shadow Folk, and often the excuse we used to pick fights.
Well, you get Seelie and Unseelie clanns disagreeing over something, and soon you have feuds. And stubborn folk as we are, the feuds went on far centuries, long after the English fae had come to terms. Understand, the Shattering hit not so hard up here; we picked up the pieces and soldiered on, whereas plague, madness, and beasties, or chimera as you English call them, devastated the fae down below the Wall. There, the Courts of Shadow and Light needed each other's support, so they called for The Alliance. Not so in Scotland. We didna reach accord until 1514, with the Troth of Argyll! And even then, peace came only when the English problem spread north into Caledonia.
The problem was, the Scottish mortal James IV had married Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. The fae up here went quite frothing mad against the idea, because they understood politics; they knew the marriage meant the eventual union of both kingdoms. But it happened. Then after the fat wretch Henry VIII took the throne, James rebelled, too late, of course. He always seemed one step behind; perhaps it was the inbreeding.
The Scots were weak when the battle for independence came at Flodden Field in 1513. And don't forget they lacked the Stone of Scone. So the good Scots army lost and James was killed. Banality began creeping into Scotland, not so fast as later, in the Industrial Revolution, but stealthy, the way lard firms up in a cooler.
And though Mary, so-called Queen of Scots because she was granddaughter of the fool James IV, ruled mortal Scotland until 1567, she was no relief. Her Catholics wanted to sweep out the house, as it were, while her cousin Elizabeth I, along with a fire-and-brimstone preacher name of John Knox, were drumming up support for Protestantism. Neither side could afford room for the old ways. Those were bad times for the fairfolk. So we got the Troth of Argyll, a concord of mutual aid between the Caledonian Seelie and Unseelie, foisted upon us by persecution and Banality. No one has broken the Troth, but nae many like it to this day.
Enter Elizabeth I. Both she and her cousin were absolutely the worst sort. Say all you want about glorious Elizabeth Regina, and Shakespeare, and "this sceptred isle" and all that, but Elizabeth was what you may call the alpha-male. After she defeated Mary Queen of Scots, at Langside, Elizabeth imprisoned her, her own cousin, mind, for 20 years, then executed her for treason. That's cold.
Two years later, the real history begins.
The Renaissance Edit
At this time, the Caledonian fae were busy forming clanns and troths, each with the other, all throughout Caledonia, nae just in the Highlands. Now, when a clann reaches a point where its chief is well-respected, and it's so big that its members nae longer recognize each other, then it's ready to become a... a city-state, as you might say.
In the late 1500s, the clanns begin cutting up Caledonia for themselves. So, here, Clann Tweed formed the Tuath of Thistle, stretching from Dumfries to Edinburgh. Clann Tweed's always been a rough but honest mob, being the gatekeepers, so to speak, of Caledonia and repelling many English invasions. Though the other clanns might grouse about them, they're the clann you'd most want on your side in dire times.
To protect his interests, Chief Speedwell, the randy gollach leader of Clann Lomond, forms the Tuath of Rowan between Edinburgh and Aberdeen in 1589. He and Chief Branoden of Clann Tweed dinna get along, even though, or perhaps because, they represented the two strongest Kithain clanns. To date, there's still some tension, Clann Lomond viewing Tweed as dull and staid, Tweed calling Lomond too uppity and unreliable. Unreliable, indeed. In the past, others have seen both clanns take lands that dinna belong to them, and so regard them carefully.
In 1560, the northern clanns are getting nervous, seeing that glint of land-randiness in the other clann chiefs' eyes. Clanns Duich, Tay, Campion, Tummell, Leyhorn, Morar, and Kinlochlinnhe all unite into the Tuath of Caledonia, what the Lowlanders call Barbarian Kingdoms. Even combined, the population of this tuath is far less than that of Tweed or Rowan.
Far northwest, news of the tuaths finally reaches Chief Kincraig, who declares the Cairngorms, after which his clann is named, part of the Tuath of Alba. That tuath, lovely place, stretches north west from the Tuaths of Thistle and Rowan. Home to the great clanns, noble, entertaining, appreciate a good whiskey and, what's more, dinna flinch at haggis.
At this point, feuds began to determine borders, fealties, spoils of entire groups of clanns. For a while, the chiefs understood this and left each other alone. But not for long....
Sometimes justice's served up on a strange platter. Before she died, Mary Queen of Scots, had a son name of James VI. When Elizabeth I died, Mary's son took the throne, uniting Scotland and England under one crown. Good enough, what with a Scottish king on top, but that wasn't for long, and among the mortals, the reigns of James and his successors led to terrible religious tensions, even worse than those between his mother and the alpha-male Queen Elizabeth.
So, in this climate, the fae clann chiefs lost perspective and went, as you might say, a bit fanatic. Take Clann Venue, one of the powerful fae families in the Trossachs, near Loch Lomond. Venue took as its badge, or symbol, the profile of the old sidhe King Eirim, the same bloke who defeated the Blue People centuries before. Now, understand, Eirim had gone away in the Shattering and hadn't been seen on Earth for hundreds of years. But a rival clann, Uird, got all out of joint over Venue's "theft" of Eirim's face.
"He's ours," they said, "he stayed at our freehold all the time when he visited."
Venue said, "You weren't using him, and we're closer to his pure traditional ideals." Arguments, shouts on both sides, insults, and pretty soon they were at it hammer and tongs. Over the next decade, both clanns destroyed one another completely.
So were the clanns really using this badge nonsense as an excuse to attack their enemies? Or were they actually genuinely daft? I dinna know, and I think it nae matter.
It's like bloody James VI set off an avalanche, although, in reality the poor bastard probably dinna know what was happening until some lackey popped the bloody crown on his head and renamed him James I of England. Things haven't been the same in Caledonia since, or so I'll tell you if you ask.
James I, or James VI, or whatever you please, dies in 1625, putting Charles I in power. Charles appoints Catholic bishops to the Church of Scotland and causes riots. Thirteen years later, the Scots sign the National Covenant, opposing Charles' Catholicism. In 1688, William of Orange takes the English throne, and the crown passes from the hands of mere barbaric Scots.
Now, to this day, the Highland burgess, the commoners among the fae, have a well-known reputation as scoundrels and thieves, though if you ask me, those two-faced, superstitious Welsh songbirds fit the description better. Why the Highlanders? Two words: Rob Roy. He was the "Robin Hood of Scotland," robbing from the rich, giving to the poor. A proto-socialist. So crofter changelings and wilders looking for a good time joined his band of merry men, raiding rich Lowlanders for food for his clan and making enemies of the Duke of Montrose, who declared them outlaws and torched Roy's house.
The Return of Chief MacLeod Edit
After this foul deed, Roy joined the Jacobites and began plundering Montrose's lands. The Jacobites, by the way, were a mortal faction that wanted Scotland for the Scots, and would just as soon have William of Orange squeezed into a breakfast drink. More times than you can say Braolauch shi, the Highlander changelings helped Rob Roy escape from prison, until the Duke was sheer livid. Among those changelings was the famous outlaw Spat Thomconk and his rough band of roguish boggans. Am sure you've heard tales.
Now, we're back to Chief MacLeod, who we last saw wandering into a fae forest of Skye in 1350 for one year's service to the Shadow Court. (For more of his story, see the article Coruisk). After he finally escaped, it was nae 1351 as MacLeod expected, but 1711, and mortal Scotland was a much tamer and much duller place.
See, Scotland had signed the Act of Union with England. When MacLeod returned, he grew right royally bored. He visited Dunvegan Castle, where the current chief, a Scot in nothing but name, was pandering to the English for more land. Disgusted. MacLeod and Shadowin crept into Dunvegan by night, stole the Braolauch shi, and began to raise an army of good Scots kinsmen. Many believed MacLeod to have fae gifts, and so they supported him. He took the castle with their assistance and ruled there until his death.
Some legends claim that MacLeod took the appearance of the former chief; others say that, out of cowardice, Shadowin offered to make him appear so, and he slew her. My theory is that Shadowin slew MacLeod back in Dunvegal Freehold on the Isle of Skye before he even escaped, and she returned in his form to rule the Clan MacLeod.
Bonnie Prince Charlie Edit
Little by little, Caledonian changelings were getting fed up with English-this and English-that. Some Scottish changelings even wanted to model the fae courts after the fops and dandies of the English court, which, thank God, never happened. Imagine boggan courtiers dressed like peacocks with trouncy feathers in their caps, and young eshu maidens squeezed into corseted petticoats that push their petite charlies into big fat bosoms and you get the picture. Quite the spectacle, eh? Their ways were unnatural for a hardy, earthy folk like ourselves.
Then the ruler of the Tuath of Dew, Lady Petalbreast, got from her advisor, the famous sluagh Morag Slipcheek, a prophecy that someone would show up to claim the mortal throne of Scotland. Morag suggested that Petalbreast prepare the people. Lady Petalbreast sent out her subjects to travel among the working classes and the country fae. Nockers, boggans, gollachs, and trolls of all shapes and sizes went forth to stoke the flames of Scottish independence. Now they call it "the Petalbreast Rebellion."
Now lots of mages were pouring into Scotland from England at this time. Many of these were what you call Technocrats, Since the 14th century, they'd been busy running down England, and now they were starting in earnest in Scotland. They dispatched mages to kill the changelings who were involved in the Petalbreast Rebellion, and, indeed, caught many of 'em. To this day, we think of those poor Kithain as heroes and martyrs to the cause of Scottish independence.
As Morag predicted, the last of the Stuarts, Bonnie Prince Charlie, otherwise known as Charles Edward Stuart, arrived from France in 1745 to win the throne. The Scottish people embraced him, and many followed along as he marched to Derby. But there the English drove him back to Culloden, where he and his army were defeated.
Now, where most would-be kings would have been killed, Prince Charlie escaped into the Highlands with the English at his heels. Fae legend has it that in Skye, which by now had a balanced population of Seelie and Unseelie, the sweet pooka Flora Mac Donald, who, on Morag Slipcheek's advice, had set herself up as maidservant to a mortal woman from Uist, was awaiting the prince. In the spirit of pooka humor, as you might say, Flora dressed the prince in her clothes and spirited him away through Wallace's Walk, the secret network of Highland trods. Forever after, the prince was known throughout mortal and fae lands as Bonnie Prince Charlie.
That defeat at Culloden marked the end of the mortal clan system, although Highland fae never rid themselves of it until The '69. Adding insult, the English banned the wearing of tartans, the symbol of Scottish independence, for almost 100 years after Culloden. Which leads us to our next topic: Banality.
Ironworks, coal mining, steel production, shipbuilding, not industries filled with Glamour. Well, perhaps shipbuilding. Anyway, all these came to Scotland in the 1760s. Caledonian fae refer to the rise of industry as the Plague of Chimneys, and Scots like James Watt and Adam Smith as the carriers.
With industry on the rise and the old mortal clan ways expunged, the time was ripe for the Highland Clearances. Way it used to be, commoners paid landholding chieftains rent by joining their military. After Culloden, landowners charged tenants ghastly rents; when these crofters couldna afford it, Lowlanders and English farmers bought up the property and bunged the Scots out on their noses. Many mortals and not a few fae emigrated as a result.
Now that's the mortal story. There's also rumors of mages, gossip of the sort that makes you wonder about them, two groups in particular, what you call the Celestial Chorus and Verbena. Well, rumor has it that local Choristers were in a position to help prevent the Clearances, but instead allowed them to happen. They wanted to undermine their rivals, the Verbena, by converting the Highlanders to Christianity. But when all the people got thrown out, both sides ended up losing their power base, for God knows, English lords have never bent their knees to any god but profit.
You must wonder at mages who aim so high, yet end up dispersing their own people across the world and filling their lands with sheep.
Aye! Aye, that was a grand theft! It was a grand and dramatic and momentous and stupendous gesture of nose-thumbing at the Londoners. The Scottish National Party, which have never done a bit of good to that point, stole into Westminster Abbey on Christmas night, 1950, pulled up the Stone of Scone, and spirited it away.
There was talk at the time, at least amongst us in the Aberdeen freeholds, that such a marvelous pinching must have needed magic. But nae, am sorry to say it was all mortal doing, the Sleepers, as the mages call them. And they had to give it back a few months later, more's the pity. Still, a grand gesture.
The Resurgence Edit
Well, many of you already know about the Resurgence. Mortals started getting interested in possibilities again, they walk on the Moon, they rebel against the authoritarian ideals of earlier decades, they experiment with love, sex, drugs, music, sheep — hah! Nae, just joking.
In an act of cosmic irony, with these improvements comes the embodiment of authority, the sheep — eh, sidhe — who want nothing more than their kingdoms back. Oh, and perhaps fame. Well, and also a little power and maybe some bonnie gollach lasses. And throw in a pound of Dundee cake and some poached salmon. That's all they want. And some fine single malts and haggis might not be bad, either.
So the royals: Ross, Baird, Niall, and Glynis, return. They gather their sidhe and some support from burgess toadies and carve small kingdoms for themselves. Clanns Duich, Tay, Campion, Tummell, Leyhorn, Morar and Kinlochlinnhe, as well as Clann Cairngorm of the Tuath of Alba, resist the royals, keeping the Highlands and islands free of sidhe influence.
Ross kept fighting the other royals and the clanns, but got bugger-all to show for it. Then, after her husband died in 1991, Queen Rachel, you know, of the Tuath of Dew, now part of Dalriada, rallied her commoners against Ross, and lost. Ross bunged her out of Caledonia quick as a flash. She ended up in Castle Windmoor in York under the protection of Lord Olave and Lady Spurn of the Kingdom of Heather, two of the few troll burgess to remain in power after The '69.
Old Ross added the Tuath of Dew to Dalriada in 1992. You can be certain that he has designs on all the other tuaths, maybe even the entire Isle of the Mighty. It falls to the other sidhe, and good folk like King Niall of Alba, to keep him in line, by God.
I visited Queen Rachel last year, you know, just before she disappeared. Said she was going on holiday with a mob of Girl Guides. Nae. am only joking. But it is true she hasna been seen for a year.
And here we are again with our good pal, the Questing Beast! The talk I've been hearing has it that dozens of changelings across Caledonia, every sort of kith in every kingdom, have been struck with visions, and not just after downing a few quarts of fine, fine Scottish whiskey, although God knows we up north can do that with the best of them. Each vision, as I hear it, has the Beast popping up in the usual fashion, one thing I notice is that the creature always looks different, and yet every poor sod always seems quite sure 'tis the Beast, but instead of the I-can-answer-your-questions-if-you-catch-me act, the Beast is talking somewhat different now.
In this vision the poor sod gets a sense that if he catches the Beast, he can restore Caledonia to its former glory. The Tuath Glas Cu, the magical pool under Sterling Castle that's now drier than a sidhe lord's tear ducts, will fill again, and all will be basically right with the world, or the Scottish portion thereof.
But the vision always goes on, and the next part is bad. The poor sod sees a huge dark shape loom up behind the Beast, a big hulking silhouette, and somehow the poor sod knows this dark shape is called the Hunter. This Hunter has got after the Questing Beast, but the sod never knows why nor how, only that if the Hunter catches the Beast, 'tis awful for Caledonia and all the Isle of the Mighty.
You recall how I said that the sods who get the vision always go off questing for the Beast, and they always find it pretty quick. Well, this last 10 years they haven't. If anyone has happened on the Beast, I've heard none of it. Nor anything of this Hunter, either, though if you want some dark mysterious somebody who means ill for Scotland, I can offer you a long list of candidates, starting with the British Royal Bloody Family and both houses of bloody Parliament.
After quite a lot of tedious negotiations with a thousand English bureaucratic bastards in the million-headed English criminal government, and I think some lawsuits too, and there's the signal of Banality if ever there was one, the Scots have at last shamed the bastards into sending back our Stone they pinched six centuries back. I hear it was some Scottish mages in what's called the Order of Hermes that led the fight, all behind the scenes.
The Tradition mages have been slow to react to the favorable changes in Scottish society. The Traditions are just beginning to reach out to each other after many years of hatred and distrust. The mages associated with the Bardic College and the small Chantry of Choristers at Dryburgh Abbey are the most active at this time. The Verbena are still suspicious of the motives of the other Traditions. Should Scotland's mages unite and discover the growing schism in the Technocracy, then the balance of power would change very quickly.
The Traditions Edit
While mages from many Traditions live in Scotland, the Celestial Chorus and the Verbena are the most powerful factions. The Verbena's distrust of the Celestial Chorus still tinges on hatred, since Celestial Choristers within the Kirk once sided with the Order of Reason and exposed many of the Awakened during the Reformation. This still prevents the two Traditions from effectively working together.
The Celestial Chorus has plenty of influence in the Church of Scotland, and thereby has many governmental and educational ties as well. The Chorus, through its governmental and educational arms, now sponsors many Gaelic educational programs, perhaps in an attempt to make up tor the sins of the past.
Verbena influences remain strong in Scotland with the growth of folk musicians and neo-pagan and New-Age movements. They find custos and even Awakened brothers and sisters within these groups. Verbena strive to maintain the mythic threads so common in Scottish culture; at the same time, they must weed out the "fake" mysticism that the Syndicate proffers, such as computerized Tarot decks and psychic telephone networks.
- See also The Auld Covenant
The Technocrats Edit
James Watt (steam engines), Thomas Telford (Caledonian Canal), Adam Smith (economist) and Hume (Empirical philosopher) may not have been Technomancers. However, they contributed much to the rise of the Technocratic paradigm in Scotland. The Highland Clearances, with the help of the Kirk, marked the greatest manipulation by the Technocracy. The growing industrial centers of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee swelled with Scottish farmers evicted from their lands, creating huge estates for Sleeper and Technocratic industrialists and helping bring about the decline of Scots Gaelic and the Celtic culture at large.
Iteration X traditionally dominated the Technocracy's activities in Scotland until the 1970s; Its founders, the Artificers, moved in with the Victorian industrialists. While the Iterators were able to keep the heavy industries of Scotland profitable, they lost most of their funding. Even though it contributed to the opening of the Murchison and related oil fields in the North Sea, Iteration X occupies a much smaller part of the Technocracy's efforts. The Syndicate successfully took the heart out of Gaelic culture in the past, but it has not been able to stamp it out completely. In fact, during the past few decades, the resurgence of interest in Celtic culture has weakened its hold on reality in Scotland.
The NWO used its colleagues' failures to gain more control of Iteration X and the Syndicate's plans in recent years. Under Percival Rand, the NWO funded a Construct of Progenitor FACADE Engineers and placed them in control of one of the secret drilling operations in the North Sea. its goal: to create humanoids capable of enduring the icy conditions of the waters. Its seal-human fusions have met with limited success. Iteration X must now compete with the Progenitors for funding. Its fate rests with its ability to get its automated drilling rigs operational without engendering a reality backlash.
Recent innovations of the NWO include the "TV police" of Glasgow, persons who sit in close-circuit monitoring stations to report suspicious activities to the police. The NWO was also responsible for many of the Celtic "preservation" projects, which succeeded in fencing in and monitoring many magickal sites. Many standing stones are nothing more than clever copies; the originals are in the hands of the Technocracy.
The Syndicate has begun funding the research of a promising new Sleeper, Dr. Calum Erskine. His anti-mythological studies may be the Syndicate's best hope for dispelling the Masses' belief in the supernatural.
Unknown to the Scottish Technocrats, their chief officer, Percival Rand, is a member of the Harbingers of Avalon. The other Technocrats are being duped to chase each other's tails while their coffers are raided. He and his fellows plan to re-establish the world-wide preeminence of Britain.
Mage Politics Edit
Scotland was once a place of myth and wonder. The early Verbena, the Wyck, raised stone and tree to honor life. They healed the sick and taught those who would be wise. The Hermetic houses formed small covenants to study the true forces of reality. Others came to commune with the fae, or merely sought refuge to study the esoteric arts. Choristers protected their flocks from the demons of the fen and the darker devils of men's hearts. And out of the gorbals of choked cities, they raised shining cathedrals to point men's eyes skyward, to the home of the One.
The Inquisition and Highland Clearances decimated the Traditions in Scotland. (Only mages closely allied with the fae, such as the Verbena, use the term Caledonia.) The Chorus divided; some joined the Technocracy and hunted down members of the Verbena and the scattered Hermetic mages. The Verbena, hiding in the Isles and Highlands, broke off ties with most other Traditions. Other Choristers, unallied with the Technocracy, escaped into the ruined monasteries of the south.
The depreciations and betrayals of the past have brought forth a slow rekindling of magick in Scotland. Hollow Ones feign indolence in the Gothic pubs of Glasgow. Verbena eco-terrorists launch raids on Technomancer holdings in the North Sea. The Celestial Chorus funds a chantry of mages in the Lowlands, determined to mend fences with the other Traditions. The Hermetics have never left.
The Technocracy's early victories turned sour. Iteration X's Victorian industrial Utopia in Glasgow sputtered out under pressure from labor revolts and mounds of pollution and mining waste. Two world wars were able to keep it limping along for awhile, but now the Xers' interests have driven them to the automated drilling rigs of the North Sea. The NWO's Technocratic purges of the past decade stripped most of Iteration X's funding away and placed the faction in head-to-head competition with the Progenitors for the very oil fields it helped discover.
The Technocrats in Scotland are feuding amongst themselves, confident in their power. They have strong cells in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and in the Murchison oil fields. They have rarely acted in Edinburgh, other than to send patrols to pick up mages who might prove indiscreet at the Edinburgh International Art Festival. Even though the Technocracy's losses might seem a little high in the capital, it has never made much of an effort to investigate.
Vampire: The Masquerade Edit
Until the fall of the Picts, Scotland was inhospitable to Cainites, since werewolves posed much risk. During the Dark Ages the Lupines began to decline and the growth of Church and Norman civilization has driven the Fae into the Highlands. A number of Cainites have began to make their havens there, starting by the lowlands of Lothian – whose Baron Robert of Edinburgh was subject to Mithras.
Scotland consists of southern lowlands and northern highlands, with many islands, especially on the rugged west coast. The highest point is Ben Nevis, at 1343 meters (approx. 4365 feet). The northern isles of Scotland experience midnight sun in the summer; owing to the isles' high latitude, the sun grazes the horizon but does not actually set for a few days at the height of summer.
Throughout most of the year, there is an appreciable period of twilight between light and dark; combined with overcast weather, this weak light can enable stronger Kindred to extend their period of activity by as much as two hours per night. In winter and early spring, it is even possible to go out at noon on a particularly overcast day, provided that one takes reasonable precautions to avoid direct light on the skin. Since most people are thoroughly wrapped up against the weather at these times of year, a Cainite can often walk among mortals without being noticed.