Chapter 12bis where Nauvi goes to Lincoln with three cheerful companions

Nauvi, Finn, Leofric, and Hamish part ways with the magæ somewhere in the Yorshire Dales, to travel South to the Sherwood area. Have they packed donkeys with provisions, or have they planned to buy food on the way? Either way, they will have known to either bring provisions to get them through the Yorkshire Dales. I do not think this crew is one who could successfully both forage and make distance. Without donkeys, they would have to find a market to stock up somewhere a little North of Leeds, having completed between two thirds and three fourths of the journey.

Finn will note that he should be able to get food and lodging at most inns on the way as payment for his entertaining. However donkeys seem a good option to keep then well provisioned between inns. He notes he is note trained to survive outdoors.

Nauvi suggests using donkeys isn't a bad idea, as he will be picking up his horse and cart when in Lincoln, and stock up there. "The journey back will be at the speed of cart whatever we choose for getting there."

Leofric will ention that he will bring Roxie and his portable forge in his cart. There is still space in the cart for some provisions, but not for the whole group for weeks.

Hamish walks up beside Nauvi.

"So this retinue of yours. What are your plans with 'em? Keep 'em close to you or should I work them into the turb?"

The giant of a man appears at ease on the road, enjoying the summer air and the chance to be out walking. He doesn't seem to be one who likes sitting still.

WIth Leofric's cart, the journey takes longer, and though you can take a cartload of provisions, you also need more provisions for the longer duration. It will get you to Lincoln though.

The retinue is to be found in Lincoln, and you are not yet there. The journey is uneventful, until you approach the Sherwood forest, where the road parts, going South to Nottingham along the Western edge of the forest, and East to Lincoln, along the Northern edge. This is where you find a village, with half the cottages curiously abandoned. The people you see work hard harvesting early crops, but there are a lot of sown fields for a few workers.

"Well Hamish, assuming they are healthy and willing to move to Ungulus I think they'll join the turb. However, we'll have to see what things are like in Lincoln, and if they can move easily enough. I worry that nine moons spent away may lead me back to a city I don't recognise." Nauvi relates his concerns.

"This village seems short on harvesters - has everyone been forced to war, or have they suffered losses?"

"Seems sudden," says Hamish. "Sown fields mean somebody was here long enough to put seed in the ground. But not workin' it now?"

"It does look strange, but then this is the best time of year to raise your levy if you're going to war. I do hope we're not walking towards an army. Best ask the locals for any news as we come through." Nauvi sounds slightly concerned.

Hamish looks over at Finn. "Maybe you can fish some new out of 'em."

"I will do just that" replies Finn, moving over to the nearest peasant, "How there my friends, what news do you hear?" (Charm roll of 10/13/16)

Finn talks to one of the harvesters, and though he ought to be busy with his work, he cannot get his eyes off Finn's faerie hat. Somewhat absent-mindedly, he answers, «some arrested ... some fled into the forest ... amazing hat you have, you come from afar? You have not heard that Wulfric the Witch Hunter is cleansing the land?»

A few more people gather, and complement the explanation. «Old Ramona was burn on the stake for her witchcraft,» says one. «Shocking. I never saw no witchcraft,» says another. «She was the kindest soul.» Another objects, «she had some other-wordly powers, alright, but Wulfric brutally interrogated Oswald and Eamor as well, and what wrong had they ever done? That's what scared others to flee.»

«I hope they be safe in the forest, and that they are not tempted into allegiance with Janus the Incinerator.»

Assuming that Finn inquires a little further, he learns that Janus lives in the forest, hidden from man, and is the only one who can stand up against Wulfric. Everybody fears Wulfric, but most fear more the witches that he hunts.

What does Leofric know about Wulfric? (Area Lore: Mercia roll of 9)

Wulfric is fairly well-known as a notorious enforcer of Eadric's ban on magic. He came into Nottingham last year, badly burnt, from an encounter with a warlock. He is blessed by the archbishop of York.

“I can see you are working hard good people but if you have time I could tell you an epic tale as a thank you for your news?” Enquires Finn (Comm+Storytelling roll 15)

Nauvi acts very interested at mention of Janus the incinerator, and gasps disapprovingly at tales of the wizard who can stand up to Wulfric.

"They have not come back from the forest? How long ago did they leave?" asks Leofric, curious.

It quickly becomes clear that nobody knows very much about Janus, except that he is a mighty warlock who throws fireballs around. The peasants can offer different, contradictory pieces of information, about a protector of the weak, against the arbitrary prosecutions of Wulfric, and of an agent of the Devil, luring desperate villagers to damnation. He is believed to live in the Sherwood forest, but nobody has seen him. Some say his estate is shrouded by magic, and then the elder peasant interrupts them.

«We have to finish these fields today. I would have loved to hear your tale, stranger, but there is no time for pleasure in daylight.» He turns to his village mates, waving his hand, «chop, chop!»

Just briefly he turns to answer Leofric's question, «Wulfric was here a week or two ago; he stayed the Friday and the Saturday.»

"God's blessing upon you all," Leofric lifts his hand in blessing, though he is deeply troubled by Wulfric's actions in the name of the Church.

The peasants get back to work and the party moves on along the Eastern road, which is well-travelled. You make fast pace for four or five miles to the local church, built in some of the least arrable land in this area and accompanied only by a hamlet.

A big cart with a cage is parked in front of the church. Some may recognise the design. If not the same cart as Wulfric had on the battlefield last year, it is exactly the same design. It is guarded by a man-at-arms in the sheriff's colours, and holds teenage lass in rags.

You can also see the ashes from a big bonfire with a charred stake in the middle.

It is late in the afternoon, and you do not want to journey much further today if you can avoid it.