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Colour and B&W Renegade ~ Corruption


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Slight Delay

Going rather slowly – did my back in chasing down the rest of the Pictish and Stone of Destiny content last week. Interesting for me, as I studied a mountain of ancient stuff years back and reached my conclusion without feeling the need to nail everything down. Instead I felt the need to go study psychology, but it has been intriguing to find Scotland of all places to be able to dot some ts and cross the odd i. (Those metaphors may be more mixed up than my spinal column).

At the start of last summer I hadn’t really considered that Scottish history or awareness of it was in a quite possibly worse state than when I took anything but Scottish history at Aberdeen. Russian, African, European – anything except Scottish to escape Mary Queen of Scots and her questionable choice in men. But since the summer it’s been one rock unturned after another.

Niena Studios

Which takes me where – I’ve nothing to prove over Pictish stones or the Stone of Destiny to the extent that I have little enthusiasm for presenting an endless fixed dialogue. It has been necessary in recent pages to go into that mode just to iron some of it out for myself, but the kind of content I enjoy making is more game orientated or along the lines of the first Pictish Sculptures post. Though that’s a rush job too, as such material has to be really opened up to begin to get at the mindset of a distance culture.

The Stone of Destiny diversion and the rest of the Pictish stuff sums it up. The effort in upgrading so far and the rest properly to decent ‘decide for yourself’, fun, legit images while shoestringing in every direction – kind of an uphill struggle. So, I’m looking at how all the development over the last year might be spun together to add up to something both gamer and history friendly.

Niena Studios

May then try something like an IndieGoGo to see if it’s practical to go more with the glossy – or destiny to stay self-contained and to stick with the original solo games plans. Am I teasing over the stone and such like – covered that at the start of the third sentence above. ‘The mysteries’ are mainly about learning to rein in our unconscious thoughts and actions. However, in the hands of a bunch of shamen, in a proto-civilisation, it’s not exactly hard for that to turn into shackling your thoughts.

Images from the always excellent Niena Studio.

Olaf the Black

I do like a good yarn, so here we go:

Óláfr Guðrøðarson, commonly known in English as Olaf the Black, was a mid 13th century sea-king who ruled the Isle of Man (Mann) and parts of the Hebrides. Óláfr was probably the son of Guðrøðr Óláfsson, King of the Isles and King of Dublin.

Óláfr was a younger son of his father; his elder brother Rögnvaldr more than likely had a different mother. According to the Chronicle of Mann, Guðrøðr appointed Óláfr as heir since he had been born “in lawful wedlock”. Whether or not this is the case, on Guðrøðr’s death in 1187 the Manxmen instead appointed Rögnvaldr as king, as he was a capable adult and Óláfr was a mere child. Rögnvaldr ruled the Crovan dynasty’s island-kingdom for almost 40 years, during which time the half-brothers vied for the kingship.

At one point Óláfr, who had been given possession of Lewis, complained to Rögnvaldr that his lands were not enough. Rögnvaldr’s response was seize Óláfr and send him to the King of Scots, where he was imprisoned for almost seven years. Upon his release, Óláfr undertook a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, after which the half-brothers were reconciled and Rögnvaldr had Óláfr married to Lauon, the sister of his own wife. Sometime after 1217 this marriage was nullified by Reginald, Bishop of the Isles, who may have been an ally of Óláfr against Rögnvaldr. Óláfr then married Christina, a daughter of the King of Scots‘ protégé Ferchar, Earl of Ross. The chronicle claims that Rögnvaldr’s bitter wife tricked their own son, Guðrøðr, into attempting to kill Óláfr; however, Óláfr narrowly escaped with his life and fled to the protection of his father-in-law on the mainland. Together with a loyal follower, one Páll Bálkason, Óláfr later defeated Guðrøðr on Skye.

Thistle Games

In the 1220s Rögnvaldr formed an alliance with Alan, Lord of Galloway, in an attempt to fend off Óláfr. Rögnvaldr married his daughter to one of Alan’s sons, and it has been theorised that this son was intended to inherit the island-kingdom. Rögnvaldr’s actions enraged the Manxmen and in 1226 they deposed him in favour of Óláfr. Rögnvaldr was later killed battling Óláfr in 1229.

In 1230 Óláfr fled to Norway to seek military assistance against Alan and members of Clann Somairle. The Norwegian king‘s response was to send a fleet into the Isles under the command of Óspakr Ögmundsson, a member of Clann Somairle. Óspakr was slain early in the campaign, after which Óláfr took control of the fleet and secured himself on Mann.”


While Olaf was off feuding with his brother and getting himself on the right side of the King of the Scots, how was Kintyre born Lauon getting along? Olaf, Lauon and their new born, Ghille Mhuire, apparently arrived on Lewis after being shipwrecked and clinging to a piece of driftwood.

The child, Ghille Mhuire, grew up to marry the sole heiress of the Clan Igaa or Gow. Pabbay Castle on Harris belonged to her by right of birth and those who lived on her land became Clan MacGhilleMhuire – later Anglicised to Clan Morrison. Two branches of the clan developed – one on Harris and the other on Lewis – where a fortress named Dun Eistein was built on the northern tip of the island.

The Lords of the Isles later appointed a family of Morrisons to act as Brieves over many generations. They were hereditary guardians and interpreters of the old Brehon Laws at Dun Eistein during this period and the clan bore the title Clann-na Breitheamh. Breitheamh translates as to carry, bear, bring forth or judge. The Morrisons of Harris also gained a hereditary role as the armourers of the McLeods.

The Morrisons of the Central Highlands appear to be the ‘sons of Maurice’ with a Norman derivation, while the O’Muirgheasain’s who settled in Harris much later are thought to be related to Irish bards. However, the Outer Hebridean tradition connected to Lewis is in full Chlann Mhic-Ghille-Mhuire, resulting in ‘Son of the Servant [or more correctly] Devotee of the Virgin Mary’.

As Brieves the clan’s influence was extensive and spread over to the mainland. At some stage they appear to have held influence in Durness, where the church at dates back to the Culdean monks. Nearby Ceannabeinne was believed to be home to “Clach a Breitheanas” or the Judgement Stone. This was said to be where judgement was handed down in ancient times – and the guilty hurled on to the rocks below.

During their time as Grieves the Morrisons kept their Great House (Taigh Mhór) at Habost in Ness, which appears in Heimskringla or The Chronicle of the Kings when Halfdan the Mild was buried in the royal mound on Barra. He had beenmarried to Liv, a daughter of King Dag of Westmare. Holtar [Habost] in Westfold, was his chief house; and he died there of illnes before being buried at Borre [Barra] under a mound.


“By Hel’s summons, a great king
Was called away to Odin’s Thing:
King Halfdan, he who dwelt of late
At Holtar, (Habost) must obey grim Fate.
At Borre, (Barra) in the royal mound,
They laid the hero in the ground.”

While the Grieves are thought to have applied Breton law, Viking law and custom may well have formed part of their role. Sir R. Gordon offers this dated account, “The Breive is a kind of judge amongst the islanders, who hath an absolute judicatorie, vnto whose authoritie and censure they williuglie submitt themselves, when he determineth any debatable question betuein partie and partie.” This may have resembled the role of the Deemster in the Isle of Man who judged cases of life and death, establishing a court simply by his presence.

In later times the clan were caught between the powerful McLeods and the belligerent MacAuleys in a series of feuds and battles. At the end, Iain Mor MacLeod engaged the Morrisons at Clachan on Taransay. The chieftain Uisdean was said to be the only Morrison to survive – swimming over two miles to the mainland despite grievous wounds.

Thanks for the map Brianann MacAmhlaidh – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Picts And The Art of Independence

I’ve put up new pages with more, and larger, Pictish images. I now need to clean up some ancient wax seals.

The text has been researched, but is still to be written up. The Pictish sculptures page has been folded into the Many Coloured Land section with a redirect for anyone using the old link. That in turn has been re-ordered in the sidebar.



Pictish Sculpture


Horizon Astronomy


The Stone of Destiny


Jacob’s Ladder

The Hunt



David and Goliath

Thrice Slain King

Special Effects

Thistle GamesThere are also new pages covering The Art of Scottish Independence:

The Art of Independence

The Art of Independence 2

The Art of Independence 3

The Art of Independence 4

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Current Downloads

Updated the free gaming links too.

Current Downloads


No idea about copyright on David A. Trampier‘s work – so the best tribute I could come up with at short notice.

He was exceptionally talented when it came to placing you into a world, while at the same time leaving plenty to be imagined.

D Morrison

The Stone of Destiny

The Pictish running order now goes:

Pictish Sculptures


Horizon Astronomy


Thistle Games

The Stone of Destiny

Seriously? Of course, obviously next on the checklist after raising a legion of Pictish warriors from the grave. And very appropriate given the on-going events of 2014.

Kind of ironic an agnostic should end up wading through all this stuff. However, the early Scots/ Picts are beginning to emerge as the layers of wallpaper get scraped away.

Various links, images, corrections and tidying up to do across the lot, but I need to go do some work for a few days :)