1197 A.D. (Fall) Let It Snow, Let It Rain

On a sunny Sunday morning in mid-September, Otto the shield grog seeks out Borealis just after breakfast.

"Master," the big man says, "I have heard a strange tale last night in town. I was chatting up Hannelore, the baker's cousin. She be a nice woman, not too picky about a roll around, if ye know what I mean..." He grins.

"Anyway, there she was, having an ale with me, and here she tells me about these people from a town out east of here. Kunostadt, I believe it is be called. 'bout a day's travel from here, if she tell it true. Well, there's been some strange weather there, if travellers are to be believed. Causing wuite a stir with the local villagers there. And I remembe'red that ye be wanting to know about any strange weather. So here I am."

"What kind of weather, ye be asking, master? Well, it seems it been snowing for near a week now. Bad for the crops, it be. That what Hannelore says. Work for her cousin in the day, Hannelore does, so she'd know. Seems it be bad if the grain be too wet at harvest time. Wouldn't know, myself, as I never wanted to be a peasant. But she seemed quite sure of herself, she be. And since aye wanted her in a good mood, I listened to her."

"Anyway, I thought ye'd want to know, as ye said weather was of interest to ye. So here am I, telling ye like I heard." He nods, clearly pleased with himself.

Borealis stands up. "Right, pack us up a couple of meals, and get some warm clothing. I'm going to find my warmest cloak and take a few pfennigs from our treasury. I think just one person coming with me would be enough, unless you think we need more. I'd better make sure the crops aren't ruined and the area doesn't go hungry."

Borealis starts making preparations, including taking a small amount of money so he can afford food in Kunostadt.

As he packs up, he will take a look out of the caves and look up at the sky - are there any strange clouds to the east visible from here?

Otto looks a bit less pleased now, probably at the idea of walking all the way to Kunostadt, but he simply says, "Yessir, I'll go ask 'ma to pack us some food fer the road." He pauses, before adding, "But are ye sure that I be the best man to come with ye on this one? Perhaps one of the brothers or Sonia might be better suited. She be the better warrior fer sure, so if ye want to bring only one she be a better choice, me think."

When Borealis stands on top of Staffelberg, with an unobstructed view of the eastern sky, he does indeed notice a heavier concentration of clouds to the east, with the caracteristic haziness at their base that denotes rain. Or snow, even if it is out of season. Nothing that would have drawn his attention without Otto's tale, but now that he's heard it he gets the impression that clouds have been there the last few days.

"Otto, I think it will look more suspicious if it's me and a woman on the road. No, your skill at finding taverns and talking to people make you the best person to accompany me. Just think of all the new women...er people...you might meet in Kunostadt."

Borealis cuts a lock of his hair and entrusts it to one of his sodales, in case he goes missing. He trusts that it will be destroyed when he safely returns.

Otto winces a bit at Borealis' answers, "Of course, master. But perhaps bringing the cart along might be a good idea. If there is snow, we will need to carry more equipment and clothing. Aye canno' defend ye well if me pack is too heavy and aye canno' move fast. It might slow us down a bit, but it will give us more choices. Having a tarp an' some rope will allow us to put up shelter, if need be. I hear winter can be bad in these parts."

Nodding to himself, as if things were agreed upon, Otto turns aside to arrange for the cart and supplies.

"It's only September, we can endure some harsh autumn weather."
Borealis sighs and decides to gather extra blankets for his bedroll, seeing as they are taking a cart. He looks at the covenant's woodpile and decides taking a little firewood will be wise, and he's sure his sodales will understand.

A few hours later, the supplies are ready and packed into the cart, with the cart horse hitched and ready to go. One of the brewers, Karl, is coming along to lead the small horse and take care of the cart.

The small group take the small path that's been cleared, moving down the mountain until you get to the main road along the river, north-east of the mountain. Barge traffic on the river is starting to be more frequent, as the merchants bring down the harvests towards the more populous cities. You can easily see three... make that fours barges... moving down the river.

The road is dry and in good condition, so you make your way quickly along the river, the sun shining down on you and the call of water birds making this a pleasant walk. After a quick lunch of cold bread and cheese, you resume your journey.

The road follows the river closely, winding its way east. There are some clouds in the sky, with a a bigger mass of them in one area. As you slowly come near this area, you move into soft rain. You notice one barge coming down the river with its cargo covered with snow.

Borealis notices the barge and tries to hail the crew. "Ho there! How bad is the weather upriver?"

One of the three men on the barge takes a moment to answer, yelling back, "It is snowing! Never seen that this time of year. Couldn't stop for long in town, can't afford the extra weight!"

The barge is indeed running a bit low in the water. There is maybe a couple inches of wet snow on top of everything. The two bargement not actively directing the craft are trying to clear as much as they can using their poles.

Borealis shouts over "How far until the snow starts?", pointing upriver.

Borealis looks to the sky, wondering how long they have until nightfall and when he, Karl and Otto will need to stop.

"Not far!" the bargeman yells.

Normally, you would have about 3 or 4 hours left to the day. Of course, with the clouds above you and the soft rain falling down, it is already much darker than it was an hour ago. The problem is that you don't know exactly how far the town is... or what the road will look like if it is covered by snow. Already, the cart is moving a bit slower due to the road becoming muddy from the rain.

"Karl, Otto - the snow starts soon. How long do you think it will take us to reach town? Are we better off preparing camp here where it isn't snowing and finishing the journey tomorrow?"

Borealis realises his Auram spells are useless for this particular situation, but maybe he can learn something if he is unambitious with Intellego Auram.

With a mighty cry and broad sweep of his arms, Borealis looks at the nearest snow-cloud and tries to determine if it is moving in his direction.

(InAu base 2 "Sense one property of Air" +3 sight range, to tell which direction one cloud is moving in currently. With In 4, Au 10 and bold gestures and voicing for +2 he should be able to do this spontaneously.)

Karl just shrugs, while Otto grumbles, "How should aye know? Aye told ye, aye never been there myself. Just been told it be about half a day from Staffelstein. Should be there soon, aye think."

You spell reveals that the cloud isn't moving away nor closer. It seems to be rotating on itself.

"Well then, let's push on in a couple of minutes. That snow doesn't look like it's moving anywhere so we may as well try and make town."

(Borealis waits two minutes to recover from his spontaneous casting before setting off again)

"I wonder what is causing this, as every account makes this seem deeply unnatural. Not to worry, I'm sure I can find out."

The group continues it way on the road towards Kunostadt. Within minutes, the soft rain becomes snow, falling in thick wet flakes. The road becomes even muddier, grabbing at your boots and to the cart's wheel. There is a little wind blowing sideways, but it isn't too cold yet. Mostly wet, with melting snow melting from your head and trickling down your neck into your tunic.

Sounds are muffled and you can barely make out another barge going down the river. The far bank is now out of sight, hidden by the snow.

An hour later, you start seeing a few houses appearing to your right (the river is to your right). Fields are covered in snow, with the unharvested crops lying flat on the earth in places. You hear a cow mooing several times.

Borealis says to the grogs "It looks like it's as bad as they say it is. Let me ask the nearby householders how long this has been happening."

Borealis walks towards the riverside cottages, taking care with his steps as the ground is snow-covered.

As Borealis leaves the cart behind to approach one of the houses (there are none on the river's side of the road, as the road it used to tow barges upstream), he can hear Otto say to Karl, "That usually when the peasants start taking up their pitchforks an' stuff. Them masters aren' very good with the talking stuff. So get ready to turn the cart around an' whip that horse and move fast."


Borealis tries to find someone in the cottages. "Hello? I am travelling to market and wondered how long you've had this snow for?"

If everybody refuses to come to the door, Borealis will shrug and head back to the cart.

An old woman, brushing away snow from her porch with a broom, is the first person that Borealis sees. "Eight days! Eight god-forsaken days of this devil snow! I tell you, this is the devil's work!" She eyes Borealis balefully, as if pondering whether he bears any responsibility for this freak weather.

Borealis thanks her, and asks if anything strange happened before it started. He will listen, then thank her and back off to the cart before he upsets anyone.