2.4 - The Merchant Arrives

Viscaria blinks. "There's a Vintner in the kitchen? In Cijara? Wait, the Vintners speak Latin? Why didn't anybody tell me this?"

Speaking to Cygna's back, she sounds really confused. After a minute, she shrugs philosophically, and then turns briefly back to her conversation, instructing Ursula to just describe to Noland what she wants, and telling Noland to make the thing for her.

Viscaria then turns to face Raoudha and Abdul. "Why, hello! I don't believe we've met. I'm Viscaria Lynchis. I just moved in a few days ago. Do you live here?"

Her simple white toga, belted at the waist with dozens of rune-etched silver rods, her pretty array of fascinating, fae-inspired silver jewelry, her friendly, innocent amethyst eyes....they all reek of The Gift.

Raoudha has heard the tales before, so she takes care not to look the fae in the eyes, lest her soulless pits ravish her soul and mind. So she instead focuses on one of viscaria's ears, as her mother told her to do so many years ago.
Yet, she has taken care to know who the new masters are, so...

Salutation, mylady. I am lady Raoudha Al'Jimni, last of the Al'Jimni line that owned this land in old times. I have been recalled by Tirion Lanister to honor the promise that binds my family, Cijara and you magi, to administer this land and supply you with everything you may need in exchange for your protection, help and money.

Her easygoing nature would have had her offer her help and advice, but the gift's effect make her wary and eager to leave viscaria's company.

"Oh, excellent! I've been meaning to meet with you. I have plans to convert some of the central buildings into a school, a government office, and a sort of Feast Hall. With the population in such disarray, I'm hoping that we can assign just a handful of people to do the cooking for everyone. Hopefully, this will free up the children, so that they can get back to the education which I'm told was once part of the local tradition. When can we discuss this?"

(The Cijara manorhouse has traditionally been the seat of government, and The Gift may cause Raoudha to be particularly opposed to the creation of a government office. Even if it doesn't, it's definitely an unnecessary and ill-advised duplication of effort from any Steward/Autocrat's point of view)

Raoudha tenses somewhat at the prospect of that outsider ruining up her ancestries land.

A feast hall is a great idea, we do need to congregate some more and cheer up our spirits. The last time I was here, people all get along, but now it seems more and more that they're trying to emulate Iberia's infighting.
But, while I would love to see people getting educated again, there are several problems with your proposal. If we don't have enough efficient cooks, we may have problems in morale and feeding. As far as I know, the kitchen are barely functionnal yet, and, sadly, we do need the children's work due to the war :frowning: So we need to take care and ponder the repercussions of what we do. In my opinion, we should first make sure everything runs smoothly, and then try to see how we can bring back the school
Also, I don't need any office. I know my job, my father trained me for it, as do every inhabitant here. Would you really put fati into an office? He may have aged, but he always loved to be out in the field. Same for me, I've always found I am more efficient prowling Cijara's grounds and taking the pulse of the manor than holed up in a room.

Abdul looks after Cygna for a moment, hating to see anyone angry, especially over what may be a simple misunderstanding, and feeling like he should do something to help Cygna and the vintner work things out (having been to Phoenix often enough to know what vintners are, but he may still be surprised that they're on what they call the Right Side of the manor).

[color=green]"If I may be excused for a moment, Raoudha?" Abdul says, then hurries after the maga.

Once he catches up with her, he will introduce himself. [color=green]"I could not help but notice that there seems to be some disagreement between you and one of the vintners...and I was wondering if there was anything I could do to help? Perhaps speak with it to clear up whatever misunderstanding you may have?" As he speaks with her, he'll try to figure out how...reliable her version of events may have been: Per(?) 0 + Folk Ken (Magi) 4 + die roll of 2 = 6...so, probably "reply hazy, try again."

Cygna glares at Abdul. [color=red]"What 'misunderstanding'? I simply asked her to relay a request to the kitchen staff. What the staff heard from the vintner was the exact opposite of what I asked. And since the vintners do not 'accidentally' mis-translate, this was quite obviously intentional, and I will deal with her later. If you want to talk to her, be my guest...maybe you can get her to apologize." She then continues on in a huff.

Abdul looks at Cygna as she leaves, then in the direction of the kitchen...then decides he's done enough for now. He doesn't feel like dealing with the vintners...they just seem too unnatural for his taste.

When he returns to Raoudha, he will also introduce himself to Viscaria. Taking note of the silver rods, the fine jewelry, and her apparent youth, he finds himself wondering how she got them. [color=green]"I have helped the covenant acquire many of the things that they need for several years. If I can be of any assistance, if there is anything you need that I might be able to find for you, please let me know. I come this way about every three months."

[color=green]"Ah, excellent...it seems that I may be of assistance. Now, I understand from my past couple of visits that neither phoenix nor Cijara has the...craftsmen that it once had. I do believe I can find some fine quality furnishings for the buildings you are planning. Perhaps we should all get together before I leave and decide what you will be needing?"

[color=green]"Raoudha, I do believe I can help here as well. Many Jews are fleeing the 'Reconquista,' heading south and west into Muslim lands, but they're having no luck finding sanctuary. I think I might be able to find some. It's possible that I might be able, by your leave, to see if they would be willing to relocate here, if it is still true that the magi in charge are more tolerant of different faiths than others might be. Oh...and that reminds me. While on my way here, I think I saw some refugees south of here, on the east side of the river. If I hadn't been in such a hurry to get here before the rain, I would have stopped to offer them aid."

He then pauses, with a troubled look on his face, then switches to Arabic. [color=green]"There is more troubling news that I must share with you, but not now...later, when prying ears aren't about," he says with what he hopes is a surreptitious gesture toward Viscaria.

OOC: Reread the OOC thread, amul suggested coming in here, I'll take a whack at the non-linear story telling.

While Raoudha is talking with the unknown man and all the activity is bustling in the courtyard Étienne comes into the courtyard leading his horse on foot.
"Greetings again to you, Raoudha, I bring with me today Ra'am ex Bonisagus and the rest of his retinue. Is Jamie Lannister prepared to receive him? When last we spoke three days ago, I left the letter in your hands, to deliver to him," he says in Latin.


Well, I spoke with the one called Hiems while traveling, and he was very clear on that, and does seem to be willing to have anyone live here in peace. Probably so that he can use their work to sustain his high standard of living, but I'd say toiling for him is still preferable to war and famine. As per Jamie... He's still the jamie I remember, although mellowed by age. He told me thay had a council, and that all the magi agreed on maintaining that policy, especially Hiems and Cygna.
And now that you tell me about it, they were supposed to go check these people. If they don't, I'll have to ask some of their soldiers to go there. We can't leave them starving.
While taking him away from Viscaria, she explains to Abdul how many people they need, what kind of specialists (masons?)... Since these people already have a home, there's no problem for her to be picky about it. And manpower is always useful, especially in the field.

I am troubled by your words, but now is not the place, there are too much people here. She is worried. There are enough problems as it is, what dire news can Abdul bring?

Hein? Aaargh??? What letter??? Reading that thread... Ok, so you've been there since 3 days, and are supposed to have met raoudha yet? Okaaaay...

While as smiling as ever, raoudha seem tired to the perceptive eye of etienne. Since her arrival, she's barely slept, reacquainting herself with both the grounds and the people (Refreshing her lvl 5 Cijara Lore) and working tirelessly, and it's taking its toll.

Etienne, isn't it? I am sorry, we barely spoke last time. I delivered your letter to Jamie, but hasn't heard from him or any other magus yet: Just as they are busy settling in, I've been struggling to bring the manor to a semblance of working order, so we haven't seen each other.
Okay, here's what we'll do. We have some guest quarters. He can settle there for the duration of his stay, or until he's approved here and finds a better place to settle in. Just warn me when he arrives, so I can welcome him. On the meantime, I'll try to reach Jamie again, get him to summon a council of the magi so they can welcome this Ra'am and discuss with him.

(OOC: IMO, a "council magi" with Ra'am should take place in your thread, so as to keep things as clear as possible)

Étienne looks on Raoudha with a bemused, knowing grin and says, "when last we spoke, I was returning to meet Ra'am, the Magus I represent. I had expected to be on the road about six days, and truthfully, for me, it has been, but Ra'am was impatient to arrive and we set out as soon as I met him at a village three days north from here.

"Great Lady, Raoudha, I don't think you understand the nature of the situation. My master will arrive presently, an hour at most, and will expect some degree of Hermetic courtesy, his first pater was a Jerbiton, and the sense of courtesy has been well established in him. My lady, I put myself at your disposal, so that we may ensure his opinion of Phoenix is as high as possible. I have some experience with your position, and know full well the difficulties of administration.

"He will expect a suite for his family, not mere quarters." He continues reminding Raoudha about the nature of Ra'am's retinue, "He has two daughters and a wife, and a personal attendant that would need quarters near him. There is myself, of course," he says with a twinkle in his eye. "There is a baker, I believe his cousin, but he can sleep with the kitchen staff. A personal shield grog, who, can be stationed with the other men-at-arms, of course. A wainwirght, who, I might add, should be kept with the horses, if you take my meaning. Oh, and the rabbi, who should be accorded some level of distinction, I think. From what I've been able to gather, he's a friend of his wife's family. So, whatever I can do to assist you, I am at your disposal."

With a smile, raoudha replies:

With all due respect, I can't order magi around. Such were the terms of the pacts between them and my ancestors. All I can do is ensure they know your Master is coming, but I can't tell, say, to Jamie "Go up and meet that magus!". Well, okay, I can say that to Jamie if I manage to find him, but you get my point.
It is evident your master expects some courtesy, and it is normal for us to welcome him well, which is why I was asking to be present. But an hour? This is awfully short, especially as the manor is in disarray since Las Navas de Tolosa. Come, we have no time to lose.
(OOC: In short, I can't decide for other players what they magus will do :wink:)

She'll begin to quickly walk through the covenant while talking to Etienne, ordering people around so that the "guards" and grogs are warned, expect an arrival and put up some welcome. Knowing the travelers will probably be hungry and thirsty, she makes a useless detour through the kitchen, as Cecilia (already!!! Gossip + Intrigue) knows what's coming and has the staff prepare some food.

At the appropriate moment, turning towards Etienne before resuming her walk

I thank you for your advice, really, but you don't seem to understand the state of things here. We have enough place to house your master and his family, but most of it either is in disarray, or belonged to previous magi, with all the risk that entails.
So when I spoke of guest quarters, not only do I spoke about lodgings designed to house comfortably a visiting magus, with all the luxury one may ask, but I also speak of a safe and clean place, with lodgings for a shield grog. It may be smaller than what his family and he are used to, but it's more than what most minor nobles could expect.
If and when he settles here, he'll be free to take up and abandoned building or lab, and I am sure he'll find something perfect for his needs, but for now, I won't take the risk to have his children trigger some magical traps, nor his wife sleep in some unfurnished, cold and dirty hall. Truly, had I knew of his arrival and these details in advance, I would have managed something suitable, but I didn't, as I myself arrived only a few days before you. To tell you the truth, the other magi are still living in relatively poor conditions, while trying to find a place. Your master will have a way better welcome and housing than they.

Whenever she can, she'll grab Celestria or Rebecca Yatrick, and inform her to have the household prepare the guest quarters at once!!!

The rabbi... is a problem, kinda. We already have one, but, well... he is quite special. Nonetheless, the synagogue has unused living space for a rabbi, and there are quite a lot of jew here who will be happy to welcome him.
So she'll also pass along the word to some jews to prepare a welcome for the rabbi and make sure he won't feel ill at ease. She still wonders how to break him that the rabbi we've already got is dead...

"I quite understand, but when a Magus commands, we must obey, no? And as I had left the letter in what I thought capable hands, at the time, I am trying to ameliorate any possible ill will that might develop."
OOC: we'll have to retcon who Étienne actually gives the letter to. It couldn't have been Raoudha, as she hadn't been placed in charge at the time they could've possibly met.

Noticing the kitchen and assuming that she is ordering the staff to prepare some refreshments Étienne adds, "Please ensure any refreshment is kosher, of course. Wine is problematic, and so I recommend water, or my master can provide brandy, which is kosher. Ra'am and his family are Jewish.

"Then given the circumstances, I'm sure my master will understand, and I will do my best to make him understand. He has travelled for a long time, more than a month, and his family is weary.

"Nonsense, I'm sure the rabbis will get along famously. I've seen a few ment of the cloth together, and they get into long theological debates. Sometimes they become addled with wine or brandy and get into arguments so deep they forget where they started. At least it is so for Jewish and Christian clerics, I have no knowledge of Moorish practices."

Viscaria listens excitedly. "Ah, I was not clear. By all means, let us not put the cart before the horse. These matters you speak of certainly must be addressed before these plans can be fully realized, but I find that I am much energized by the mere existence of a plan. So, I come to you, and through you seek the input of all the humiliores. We new scholars want the children out of the fields and into schools, we want someplace the humiliores can gather and rebuild their sense of community, and we want a clear sense of governance to be felt throughout our small community. If I came to you with these grand ideas alone, we would still be masons staring at a rock quarry. Instead, I tell you 'This is my plan, will it work? Why not?'

"It sounds as if the feast hall will be the easiest to establish. Can you help me select the best site for the feast hall? I shall begin making the feast hall while you find me the best cooks in Cijara for the task?"

Viscaria's short bow of greeting seems like a subtle mockery to the rug merchant. "Ah, a pleasure to meet you, venditore. I am Viscaria Lynchis, crafter of silver and stone. I have brought several forge-companions with me, and we all will have need of your well-reputed eye: another silversmith, a mirror-maker, and a lapidary. We will all need your help in acquiring raw materials for our artistry. If things go well, we may even seek your help in selling our wares. Also, we need someone to...ah, but that is for Amos to tell you. Yes, indeed. We have much and many plans for you and your wagons."

(Is there some sinister intent behind her words?)

"Crafts are good, but craftsmen would be better. I speak out of turn, though. You must conclude your mundane business, settle your previous accounts, and then we shall speak of who and what we need, perhaps at Council. Have you seen the Bath House?"

OOC: Basically, everything in the chart in Covenants, pg 66, is what the magi seem to have asked for. Stonemasons, carpenters, etc. Plus the list we generated for the school: linguists, teachers, peasants.

OOC: See my latest entry in that thread, you probably gave it to The Widow Mustafa, the Jewish Vineyard manager.

Okay... I had a reply to this, and then, noticed the rest of you post, so we'll say the first part never happened or was smoothed over :laughing:
Raoudha is conscious of the problem, she has a child and has traveled, too, so she'll do everything she can, but there are material limits.

I thought Etienne gave the letter to an old man. Maybe it went to Jaime, who didn't read it at the time and put it somewhere. Maybe the old man just forgot. Ah. The widow mustafa it is.

Ah, thank you for the information. The old magi were christian, so this could have paused problems.
Raoudha will pass the info along to Cecilia. Cecilia, who'll notice the tension between Etienne and Raoudha, and keep that in the back of her head.

:lol: Muslims are the grand masters of theological debates. We've got shiites, sunnites, and a miriad sects right and left. I'm not sure our rabbi will get along, but you can be sure they're gonna talk about theological matters :smiley:

There must be a hidden plan for this. Maybe she wants to sell educated children as slaves to other magi?
Yet, she remember of she thought the old magi were creepy when he was younger, yet they never did anything wrong to Cijara, on the contrary, and were true to her word to the Al'Jimni family. And Cygna sure looks like a decent and well-meaning lady. Even Hiems, despite all that is wrong and frightening with him, seemed almost pitiful in his desire to protect others from harm when they talked. Could this Viscaria actually mean well? Probably not, but some of her ideas sound good on their own. Cijara can probably benefit from her if taking care to avoid pitfalls and treachery. And if she is sincere, all the better.

Yes, I talked about this with Abdul. He think that he may be able to bring us more workforce, which is really needed at the moment. There's also the matter of the refugees you magi were supposed to check on. If we can integrate them usefully to Cijara, we should be able to free some time to educate everyone, by alterning work and study. This'll probably be slow, but given the current state of Cijara, this'd be a great step forward nonetheless.

And a Feast hall is, in my opinion, an awesome idea. We need a place to congregate, we need a place to host great events, and we need a place in which people can come if there's trouble. So, if constructing one, I'd put it about... there, at a crossroads between the 3 communities, at the center of Cijara, to stand as a symbol of unity.
That, and any treachery will be harder to spring up in the midst of cijara than at the periphery: Parents and guards will be able to take a close look to what happens there, and flee it easily if needed.
Hum... She needs to befriend Cygna. This shouldn't be difficult, she seemed a quite righteous lady. Should Hiems, Viscaria or the creepy one spring up something dangerous, the maga could be their best ally.

(In short, she perceives Hiems as meaning well, but too inhuman to understand people, probably able to hurt them without even realising it, or, worse, thinking it'll help them, and Viscaria as manipulative and having grand plans and ulterior motives. Amos, she just saw him a little, but he is creepy.)

"Forgive me, you've done much, and I appreciate your efforts. You may want to send messages to other Magi or Maga that have come since I've last been here another is about to arrive. When I suggested earlier he expected some Hermetic courtesy, I was of course trying to be diplomatic and suggest that you let the Magi know he will be here soon. I do not know what happened to the letter, and that is a matter for you to handle with your staff, I am of course trying to ensure that you do not bring the wrath of the Magi on you. I have experienced Magi wrath and it is most unpleasant. Adieu." Before Raoudha can utter a response Étienne is off to try and smooth over any ruffled feathers with Ra'am.

(Given my schedule for the next several weeks, it's probably best if somebody beside Viscaria is asked to greet the new magus.)

Well, since Raoudha will probably be present, it might be better if he was welcomed by Cygna and/or Amos. Hiems... depending on his mood, he might make the effort of showing up and being social, or stay holed up in his tower.

Hoping that he Raoudha can complete the preparations for a suitable a greeting for Ra'am, Étienne makes his way back to the group and approaches Ra'am who is at his usual spot in the rear of the party.
"Ra'am, I'm not sure they'll be ready for us. The letter seems to have been lost, and no one seemed to know you were coming, or if they did know, didn't tell all the new people that have arrived."

Ra'am pauses and considers Étienne for a moment, "You've done everything I could've expected of you. I once told you that I had lessons for you, that you were in need of them in light of the situation that removed you from your position as Autocrat under Prospero. Consider this the first, a lesson in humility. You told me you left the letter in someone's care, that a grapevine told you that the last surving Magus of the covenant was in grief over the loss of his "grove" as the grapevine put it. I can only interpret that to mean some sort of family, and it is probably his Hermetic family, filius and filia perhaps. I think you used your judgment to determine the best course of action given the circumstances. I did not set out an easy task for you this past many weeks. You had to go to places where you didn't speak the language and prepare the way for me. I have no complaints in your service, and my hope is that I have none in the future."

For sometime Ra'am continues on describing on how he'd like to some day have Étienne show Samuel the ropes of leadership and administration, but for the present time he doesn't believe either is ready for that particular job.

"Étienne, you're not going to be in a position of power for quite some time. There are appear to be people already established doing jobs you know how to do. And you don't know the language. Your lessons in humility will continue for some time, and I'll continue to devise lessons as appropriate while watching you closely." As he says the last to Étienne, Ra'am sees that they have arrived in the courtyard. His face is troubled. "Étienne, after Lucia has completed the task I set for her and organized things a bit, announce me as we discussed."

Lucia brings her cart, unloads a cask from it, and returns to the 4 other carts and inexperienced teamsters. All are seeing to their horses and disconnecting them from the carts.

Étienne walks up to the cask and, as loudly as he can, announces Ra'am's arrival in Latin, "To the Maga, Magi and covenfolk, I introduce Ra'am ex Bonisagus filius of Aurelius ex Jerbiton, Tria and Prospero ex Bonisagus. He has heard rumors that Phoenix seeks new members and wishses to reside amongst his fellow magi and take up their causes as his own, as they do the same for him. If no offer of membership to the covenant is offered, he requests to abide two weeks, while other arrangements are made. As a token of hospitality, he offers this cask of the finest brandy."

A slender, rail thin man in a woolen grey Jewish hat, holding a walking stick makes a sign to another man in a colorful yellow and what appear to be rabbinic dress. He goes to stand beside Étienne and says the same thing Étienne said, but in Castilian.

The party is quite a site, inexperienced teamsters all. Back with the carts is a large woman who unloaded the cask of brandy effortlessly, another woman and two children one man at arms, a young man in a Jewish hat, and an older fat man in a Jewish hat who appears to be licking his fingers. The taller rail thin man, dressed in a long grey tunic and the grey Jewish hat is holding a walking stick taller than he is. He is standing well of to the side, well away from the horses and people.

I think Friday is when the council meeting that Jaime had called was supposed to happen, anyway (which is why Cygna's been in the kitchen all day). Which should, theoretically, work out well. Or not, depending on just what time and how long the meeting goes.

Better to do it that way, then.

So, back to Raoudha and Abdul, and we'll resolve Ra'am elsewhere?

Sounds good to me, but I thought Raoudha and Abdul had finished RP'ing enough for Ra'am to show up in this thread. Certainly, Raoudha will want a chance to greet her first Hermetic guest, and Abdul will smell the potential for money.

Okay, so we'll need to deal later with that dire warning Abdul have for Raoudha...