Chapter 1g: The Council of Ober

(In which the new covenant establishes themselves with the council of elders from the village of Ober.)

Prochorus heaves himself over the edge of the Oberland and collapses huffing next to the others.

Damnation! I'll have to think of a less arduous way of getting up here. One that doesn't tempt accusations of witchcraft, preferably.

Everyone here? And ready to lick some mundane boots?

"Here, master, have a drink," says Alruna while passing him a skin of watered ale. She waits just long enough that Prochorus has started drinking before poking him on the side with her finger, making him choke. "That's for complaining about the climb -- after making Dietlinde do it multiple times over the last few days. How do you think she liked it?"

((OOC: I'm assuming that you only brought along the shield grogs. But if Dietlinde is coming along, let's just say she hasn't completed the climb yet.))

Serves that flabby sack of libel right. Remind her of this the next time she gorges on delicacies stripped off my wallet.

Alruna smacks Prochorus behind the head. (Lightly, as reproof, not in any way that can hurt him.) It stings, and makes him choke on his second swallow, but he is otherwise unharmed.

((OOC: So, did Dietlinde come along with Prochorus for the meeting? Or was she left behind?))

((OOC: Waiting for the other players to manifest at this point...))

Japik climbs up after Prochorus. He is brething heavily but is not as exhausted as the Ex Miscellanea.

"So this council of elders, how many are they? Who will do the talking for us? Are we going to pay taxes to them as well as the Danish lord?" Eager to move on he starts to walk towards the village.
"Come on! We can rest later."

((Dietlinde is not with.))

(Sorry for the delay folks. Have been playing firefighter at work).

From the other side of the plateau, you can see 3 figures approaching. Two of them you identify as Quercus and Fresse after a while, but it seems that a chatty dude is tagging along, talking with Fresse,. but occasionally throwing a remark towards Quercus. When they get near you can see that it is the lone shepherd that lives near the tree.

Good day my fellows. Seems everybody is arriving already.

(I am assuming we are not in the middle of the village yet but somewhat to a side.)

You can see that Fresse is not entirely comfortable with the incoming magi - elders meeting, but he cannot help it

((Just to be clear, here's the player-controlled characters that seem to be present at this time: all the magi, Fresse and Alruna. I would tend to think that Hjalmar is also there, but would like confirmation. I assume none of the other covenfolk are there, but let me know if you feel that one would be present for the meeting.))

((Yes Hjalmar is there with Japik, forgot to mention that. I guess the rest of the sailors are down in the town and the harbour looking after our ships among other things.))

As soon as he spots Quercus and the others and before they get close, Prochorus casts Personal Charm on himself and Notes of a Delightful Sound on his voice. He drums a few beats on his drum and utters what sounds like a guttural song. [+12 total against level 5, formulaic; +11 total against level 4, spontaneous, after reducing range to self and target to individual.]

Has Pytheas mentioned whether he is coming? I certainly hope not. He would scare the peasants even more thoroughly than we will.

((Let's say that Pytheas decided not to join the others, so that his Blatant Gift doesn't cause problems with the negociations.))

No? Good.

I can do the talking if you wish. I'll try to get them not to want taxes from us, but who knows what they might come up with.

Are we ready?

Yes. We should act as planned, and try to recruit them to work for us building the covenant and as potential covenfolk. Having them as enemies would be quite annoying. Quercus takes a position alongside Japik and takes a secondary position not to disturb Prochorus' work with the villagers.

When Quercus moves to join the other magi, the shepherd looks around and seem to notice that he has stayed far from his herd of sheep and small goats. With a choked sound, he turns his back upon the group and hurries away, without so much as a greeting or goodbye.

As the group led by the magi approach the village, they are met by a pair of nervous youths who ask them to follow them. The walk between the stone houses allows the magi to get a glimpse of the living conditions there. The bleating of sheep and goats is frequent, and you see a man shearing off the heavy winter coat from a few of the remaining sheep, with the help of a few boys. Women are washing the raw wool in a small basin, while others are stirring a dark-colored mixes in large smelly pots using wooden paddles.

The houses themselves are unusual, being made mostly of uneven stones with some crude mortar holding them together. Even the roof of most is made mostly of stone, though some have irregular strips of grass growing along the edges.

Water barrels are omnipresent throughout the village -- some house have as many as four of them -- and more villagers are tending small gardens set in hollows between the houses, a few of the youngest children are running this way and there, but the older ones are busy with various tasks, helping the adults. Many of the villagers, of all ages, stop and stare at the strangers being led through their village. The few smiles are nervous and soon disappear, and at least one small child runs to his mother in fright.

Soon enough, you are led to one of the houses, that look no different than the others, and shown inside. The youths do not accompany you, clearly relieved to get away. The interior is dimly lit from narrow windows, so it takes you all a little while before your sight adapts.

[Should I assume that the grogs –- armed, armoured, and generally seen as a threat -– are staying outside?]

When you can see better, the dim shape of people sitting inside the house become clearer. Six older villages, two women and four men, are sitting on benches are stools. A table, obviously moved aside along one wall to make space for the meeting, has a few plates with cheese on it, as well as a pitcher and earthen goblets. An unoccupied bench has obviously been kept for the visitors. One of the men gesture you to sit, as the other one simply look at you. Except for one woman, who seem more interested in the hand spinning she is doing than in you.

(I would assume the grogs are not armed. Not much in any case. Daggers and staffs at most. This is certainly the only equipment that Fresse is carrying. Fresse stays outside, yes, while Quercus goes in. he mutters to himself (and any nearby standing grogs )

There we go. Now it is when the bosses screw up... We should have wrought Alice with us. At least the maid knows how to talk...

((Even if lightly armed and unarmored, the three grogs will stand out a bit. They certainly not look like villagers. Fresse is probably the less intimidating of the lot, but Alruna is an unusual sight due to her baldness, while Hjalmar is a Danish warrior and looks the part.))

Prochorus takes a seat as instructed, and begins in low german.

[A dialect of low german is what they speak here, wasn't it?]

Greetings, esteemed neighbors-to-be. I am Pawel, a scholar of modest repute and a something of a shepherd for those who accompany me.

He waves at the others magnanimously.

We greet you with sincere spirits.

One of the men replies in this strangely accented version of Low German that you have come to associate with the locals. Those for whom Low German is their native language may notice that the accent spoken by the villager is slightly different from the one commonly heard in the town below.

"Greetings to you, strangers. Have a seat, if you will." He also offers you some food and drink. Although the man seems to be of fairly advanced years, perhaps even over sixty, his voice is still solid. "You woman Dietlinde told us that you wanted to adress us about a topic of common interest. What would that be?" There seems to be a decent amount of caution and suspicion in his tone. At least one of the other men is scowling, as is the woman not concentrated on spinning wool.

Yes, yes. This is, in short, the matter we wish to discuss with you:

We are planning on establishing a small scholarly community on your beautiful plateau, a short while from the village here by the peculiar tree.

He gestures in the direction of the covenant site.

Me and my companions would like to erect a few houses there for our books and ourselves, and then sit tight with our noses to parchment. I will personally make sure that your community is not disturbed in any way by our presence - beyond perhaps richly rewarding some of your people should they help with the construction.

In the long term, we have also been discussing opening a hospital for the care of the sick, infirm, and elderly. Some of us are versed in the arts of healing, you see, and are eager to aid those in need. But first we will need to establish ourselves.