Campaign of the Month: June 2012
First and foremost, the Scáthach serve Cymbryll and her people. They are also utterly loyal to the O’Bannon as the embodiment of the Cymbric spirit. Unfortunately, the Scáthach have become as feared across the land as they are loved and respected. Even though they are known to be just and fair, and have the interests of the kingdom at heart, they are also known to take the long-term view. The Scáthach have carried out terrible atrocities because sometimes the safety of the homeland was more important than one man, woman, child or family. If the only way to repel an invasion is to level the village they are coming for, then the village will burn. The end always justifies the means to them. They take no joy in this; it is just the way things have to be. Cymbryll will survive and endue, no matter what the cost.
When the O’Bannon is gone the people believe the Scáthach disbands, or leave with him. In fact they fade into the hills and villages of Cymbryll, and wait for the O’Bannon’s return. They return to their old lives or more often create new ones for themselves and rejoin the Cymbrian people, perhaps not even as a swordsman. However, they always keep their eyes and ears open. They watch the country’s enemies and his people in secret, which may be why many Cymbrians are suspicious of strangers when the O’Bannon leaves. The Scáthach are not just some secret police, they exist to protect Cymbryll, and so dark men who were in the right time at the right place have saved plenty of Cymbrian lives. Many enemies have been killed in their beds for an abuse of power. Every time the savior or assassin has faded back into the night.
The other purpose of the Scáthach is to guard the Fål Stone or “Old Molly.” This stone lies in a courtyard in the center of the City of Carnavon, the capital of Cymbryll. No Cymbrian would dare touch the stone without good reason, as it is sacred to them all.
The final duty of the Scáthach is to serve the O’Bannon, which is difficult for two reasons: he is rarely present and he is utterly insane. While he is away they serve him by recruiting more to their ranks so that when he returns, the Scáthach will be there waiting for him, stronger than ever. They also keep an eye on the High King, other nobles, and the state of the country. They insinuate themselves into a variety of positions from guards to servants and even bedfellows so they can watch more closely. They never take a hand in actual policy making but they punish those who work against the O’Bannon or his laws. If one of them finds evidence of wrongdoing they convene a Shadow Court. The accused is brought blindfolded before five high ranking Scáthach and the evidence is heard. The accused has a chance to proclaim innocence or promise to make restitution, all the while unable to see his accusers. The defendant is later released, and if he fails to mend his ways, or if he speaks of his experiences, swift and terrible punishment comes without warning.
When the O’Bannon sits on the Stone Throne the Scáthach is more obvious. When in uniform they all wear masks to protect their identity. Many people believe the Order to be smaller than it is, as they see only a few uniformed guards. In fact the uniformed Scáthach are often different each day, while the others serve in secret. Oddly, those who are on duty as bodyguards to the O’Bannon are rarely called upon to defend him. The madman has proven more than once that he quite capable of looking after himself.
In reality, the guards are there to protect the people from their king. It is the Scáthach who bring problems and disputes before the king on another’s behalf. The King has been known to kill the messenger with news he did not like so the Scáthach takes the risk. They also stand ready to restrain their lord if he seems about to harm the innocent, or if his rage comes upon him while in company. Over the years the Scáthach have given their lives many times to protect the people from their king. More often though, a word in the King’s ear is enough to calm his anger. He trusts his guards to hold his humanity and remind him of it should he lose himself to madness.