Chapter 1a: Unloading

Back at the pier, after the magi have departed with Bernhard, the crew of the ship starts unloading their cargo, with some help from the grogs and covenfolk. It is not long, however, before a bearded man with sloped shoulders arrive, escorted by a pair of lightly armored men, and asks, "Who's in charge of this cargo?"

EDIT: The man speaks Low German.

Yulia is carrying a wooden box when the men approaches which she puts down on the ground and looks at the bearded man. Trond, the captain of Baltrum gives her a serious look and steps out in the way to face the man.
I am in charge at the moment, he says with a firm voice in Norse-broken Friesian. My name is Trond and the goods we unload will not be sold here. He is broad-shouldered and has blonde hair and beard. He stands with his legs apart and arms crossed over his chest.

The man turns to Trond. "Then where will they be sold? And whose property are they at the moment?"

Well they are the property of many but the man responsible would be he pauses for a very short moment Bernhard. He is not here now so I'm to handle the unloading and stuff. Nothing of this will be sold, here or elsewhere. We just unload to keep it safe during our stay here. Where would we be able to store it? He tries to look certain even if he doesn't know exactly what to say.

((I haven't given him any stats besides some skills and personality traits, but I may put some values on his characteristics. If a roll is needed say Com +1 and Guile 2, maybe with a specialty against harbour officials since he should have been in situations like this before.))

"Don't know of no Bernhard. And don't much care. Neither does Lord Knud, for that matter. You bring it to the island, you pay a tax." He pauses to make sure that Trond understand, then points to a crate, "What's inside?"

((I'd rather just roleplay it rather than make rolls. This thread is a chance to establish the character of the grogs and covenfolks who travelled with the magi. But if you say that Trond is the captain of the knarr, it might be worth it to stat him out eventually.))

Trond looks at the crate he is pointing at and thinks for a few moments Tools. Various tools for repairing the boats and sails. Then the master has some of his special tools as well, and books. He and his companions are scholars and explorers so I'm not familiar with everything they got. In others there are foodstuffs and some ale, but only for the men. Not for sale. What is the tax? He gives Yulia a look and she hurries aboard the cog they arrived with to get some of the silver they have in a small leather purse, then she heads back out.

((Well he is the leader of the sailor covenfolks so that would make him the captain sort of.))

"Tools and sails, you say? Very well, open it."

(Note there are many crates and chests. I doubt that Trond would know what they each contain, particularly as pertains to lab equipment, so I assume he was fibbing. The man's reaction is not based on that, of course, but on his experience of merchants trying to smuggle stuff in or simply "forget" to report some valuable imports. So he is checking the content in order to evaluate the worth of what's being brought in. Trond, if he has experience with port officials, would expect behaviour like that. So if you want to change his response, I don't have a problem with that. :smiley: )

(I changed the post above a bit to include the things there are as Trond would know it. I don't know the tax and customs policys of this time very well but Trond would probably know them pretty well even if some of the lab equipment they are carrying is very unusual to him as well. What I'm saying is that he should know reasonably well if a tax is too high or not.)

Fresse watches the scene from the border of the pier. He was returning from the warehouse where the goods are starting to be stored when he saw the official talking with Trond. It seems that the ship master is doing well, and it certainly has much needed experience with port officials that Fresse totally lacks (even if he has done his share of justifying weird cargo to tax collectors). He smirks slightly and glooms after that when Trond puts the redcap in the line as the responsible party, since Bernhard has not impressed the shield grog much during their trip (even if he was more resistant to sea travel than Fresse himself). he hopes the redcap does not need to represent a figure of authority in front of the town officials or they will end up in a dungeon.

Fresse stays around to see what happens while coiling a rope and making sure that a few delicate lab equipment crates are lifted gently to the cart by the teamsters. He also uses the time to look at local girls. Not that he will be able to have much fun with them before Qercus gets him killed, drowned or maimed, but well, he is still a man.

((The scene happens soon after the magi have left. No teamsters have arrived and the grogs don't yet know where the warehouse is. Bernhard told them that transportation would arrive soon, but none has shown up yet. The captain of the cog still began unloading, as he wants to catch the next rising tide. Between the various people who travelled with the magi, and the crew from the cog, unloading is proceeding well. But it is a confusing mass of people on the pier.))

As he finishes inspecting the content of the crate he asked Trond to open, the tax man notices Fresse fretting over the crates of lab equipment and supplies being brought out of the cog. After taking a few notes on the was tablet he has brought out during the inspection, he walks to where the new crates are being staked on the wooden pier.

To Trond, who has assumedly followed him, he asks again to see what the crates contain. Although his tone is business-like, it does not seem antagonistic.

As this happens, the cog's captain jumps from his ship unto the pier and walks towards the tax man.

And from the path that leads into town, two muscled men arrive, pulling a sturdy cart by the strength of their arms.

Fresse looks at the man. He does not seem prone to abuse his power (yet), but he does not like being questioned, and for sure that is what is about to happen. Such is the life of a grog.

Fresse calls for the young porters and signals them the boxes of lab equipment. He would like the lab equipment to be out before the offcials start nosing around, but has already assume dthat this will not be possible. Still, he tries to get the material moving. Careful with these, lads. The masters would not appreciate if the glass in the crates breaks.

Given the number of crates to be moved, Fresse's assumption is fairly safe. These are hand-drawn carts, so they will probably only be able to load one or two crates at a time. It looks like this will take a long time to bring all of the supplies they have been brought aboard the two ships to the warehouse -- wherever that is.

Surveying the relatively narrow pier, and all the crates already stacked along it, Fresse just knows that there is no way they'll be able to slip the lab crates under the nose of the inspector.

Particularly when the man asks to see what's inside of them. As in, standing next to Fresse and waiting for an answer to his question.

Standing by his side and asking. That was bound to happen. Crap. Fresse tries to put up his most relaxed and friendly face and addresses the harbour official.

Good morning, sir. In this crates you will find glass recipients and other similar stuff used by our masters in their experiments. They are scholars, you know. Not that I understand what they do, being just a servant, but I am sure they would appreciate if the materials are treated with caution. As master Trond already told you, these are not for sale, but for the particular use of our masters. Fresse selects one of the crates that just contains glass and ceramics and forces it open with his dagger for the harbour master to inspect it. Better one of the well packaged fragile ones than one containing vitriol and newt eyes.

The inspection official looks carefully at the contents of the crate, taking a few notes. Then he asks for another crate to be opened, pointing at a different one that Fresse has not selected.

As luck has it, this is the one of those with "vitriol and newt eyes" -- actually some packed alchemical compounds and pickled animal samples.

The man looks at these and asks the crate to be emptied completely, but otherwise makes no comments. Eventually, he seems satisfied. He waits until all of the supplies have been offloaded, occasionally asking for another crate to be opened. He does not let the carters load any of the supplies until everything has been offloaded and the tax paid, but seems otherwise uninterested in causing any trouble.

At one point, the captain of the cog approaches the official to ask for a pilot to navigate the mouth of the Elbe. One of the guards is sent to fetch one.

Finally, the man is satisfied and states an amount of tax to be paid. The tax itself seems a bit high to Trond (and astronnomical to Fresse), but considering the amount of supplies being brought in, it is not unreasonable.

At that point, the cog<s captain is ready to depart and does so. The grogs, covenfolk and knarr's crew are left with a small mountain of crates, bags and chests. The two men with their small carts seem woefully inadequate to the task of carrying all of it to a warehouse in town.

Trond tries to discuss the tax level with the official stating again that they are not here to sell anything, but he won't force it too far so let's Yulia, Fresse or whoever holding the money pay the tax so they can get on with the cargo.

Before the man leaves Trond asks him who they should speak with about storage space in a warehouse.

... and you say that this is a normal tax? For my claws! A few more normal taxes like this one and we will be reduced to be mere beggars! Fresse looks quite hallucinated at the numbers that Trond finds so normal.

Anyway, we should be moving as much stuff as we can to the warehouse. Maybe we can get some more porters to help us. You, kiddo! Fresse calls one of the kids around, that comes running. He gives the lad a quarter pence and tells him to go find some more strong arms to carry stuff to the warehouse. We need to get this into custody as soon as possible. Quercus is quite patient, but he hates when his stuff is left laying around.

From the corner of his eye he can see that Alice, Yulia and Dietlinde already heading into town. It looks like Dietlinde is in the lead and walking very animatedly about "news! people!" to the other two. They are probably going to the town square, to spend money. What else. Being ordered to meet them here at mid day did not make him happy either. They would want to load him with their stuff and probably make him pay for it! Women...

The two men with carts know the warehouse where they are supposed to bring the supplies. More carters can be hired, they say, if you are willing to pay extra.

The women are leaving for town without even knowing where they are supposed to come back to?

The tax man didn't provide his name. Do you ask for it? (I'm not going to name every single person you meet, too much bother to keep track of it all.)

What do you do about the knarr? Leave it docked there unattended? The sailors seem more interested in going into town and find a tavern than moving it elsewhere. What about the rowboat?

Where was that warehouse again? Over there, hmm? Alright. Tell the m.. good sirs that we girls are right over there if they need us. Lay of the land and the like. Someone should keep an eye on the boats and things, but what help are we there, hmm? Dietlinde waves her hand in the direction where she has gathered the town's center is.

What is the standard procedure when arriving to a new port? We pay for a place to have it docked? Are we allowed to have it where it is or does it need to be moved? Trond would have asked such questions to the officials. He is not sure how long they will stay here but he would at least have paid for the day and a night to begin with.

I'm not sure about the need for guarding either. Are there any other security measures that can be taken?

Stanislaw and Mikolaj will get the first guarding shift after all the crates and supplies have been taken to the warehouse, but for the night it probably needs to be sorted in a different way to avoid mutiny among the men.

There is no standard procedure for arrival into ports. Usually the captains know the rules of each specific one (part of either an appropriate Area Lore or Profession ability). Since this is a new port for Trond -- who wasn't a ship's captain before anyway -- he would probably decide to thread lightly. Keeping two men aboard the knarr at all times is probably a good idea. That way, should someone ask their ship to be moved, they can probably either manage it themselves, or one of them can fetch the rest of the crew to do it. And it prevents theft, although this is seldom a problem in most ports. Stanislaw and Miroslav grumble a bit about having to stay with the ship and missing out on tavern time, but nothing unusual. They know that the next day roles will be reversed.

I'll assume that some questions were asked of the official. There is no docking fee, but when storms happen the piers are not the safest place for a ship to be. Merchant ships usually don't remain for long here, so it isn't a problem for them. Fishing boats are usually beached and brought as high as possible in stormy weather. Even then, there is sometimes damaged or lost boats in really bad storms.

The two men with the carts start loading come of the crates and start pushing their carts towards town. It only makes a small dent on the overall pile. As I wrote, if you want to hire additional carters you can do so, for a few silvers. They know other carters who can help. Otherwise the transportation will take the rest of the day and part of the evening. As Trond and Fresse discuss this, they realize that the women have left with the money purse. The grogs still have their personal money, but the funds are limited...

Question 1: I assume you will leave at least one grog to guard the supplies left on the pier?
Question 2: Do you hire additional carters? Or do something else?

P.S. Remember, the goal of this is a thread is to learn more about the grogs and covenfolk.

P.P.S. In the early afternoon, Bernhard and the magi arrive at the warehouse.