Chapter 3a: Heart of Stone

In the last days of April, Lothar and his family arrive at Meden port. Following the indications he was given, he shows up at the former inn just outside of the town.

(I'll let you all roleplay his arrival and reaction to the magi, as well as the discussions surrounding the work he has to do for the covenant.)

Lothar the stonemason takes a jumpstep over to the quay, relieved to finally get off the ship. Even if the trip from Bremen had been relatively calm he felt uneasy with the water all around them, and poor Wilhelm and his own son Sigfried had been seasick for most of the trip. He helps his son jump onto land and then takes the sleeping two-year old Vala from his wife so she can disembark safely. Lastly he asks one of the ship's crew to help him and Wilhelm with their baggage, especially the big wooden chest.

They move through the town of Meden, it's around noon so it's quite busy. Lothar studies the buildings as they pass by, most of them are simple but sturdy, built to withstand the recurring storms out here he guesses. Lothar and Wilhelm carries the heavy chest with the tools between them and the rest of the family follows behind them. The people they pass stop and look at them, especially at Lothar with his ugly blotched neck and chin.

They stop at one of the last buildings of the town before the natural landscape of the island unfolds itself.
"This must be it." Lothar says as he stops and looks at the old inn "Doesn't look much like an inn, does it?" he turns to his apprentice who just nods. "Definately needs some refreshing on the stonework" he murmurs as he knocks on the door twice then tries the handle of the door. As it opens he steps inside. "Hello!"

(Japik is not going to be very active in the interaction with Lothar since I prefer to play my characters against others. Feel free to use Yulia and Hjalmar as well, but they are probably busy with her pregnancy or taking care of their new-born.)

Prochorus sits in the main room strumming his kantele and making a quiet gurgling sound. He looks up.

The inn is not open to visitors.

Lothar stops just a step inside the room and looks almost in shock at the short man with the musical instrument on his lap. "Eh, we may be at the wrong place." He starts turning back to walk out but changes his mind midway. "Is there a woman called Yulia here, quite large and... eh hefty?"

He turns towards the door and whispers to Wilhelm who stands right behind him "Tell Mathilda to keep the kids outside. They don't want to go in here."


Perhaps. Who is asking?

"Ehhh..." Lothar starts very insecure and uncomfortable, looking around the room to see if there is someone else to speak to. "My name is Lothar, stonemason of Bremen. Ehh...I was given...ehhh... directions here by this woman...Yulia. That was before winter."

The mason! Excellent. We have been waiting for you. I am Prochorus - but wait. Before I scare you away,

he raises his voice,

Yulia! Get over here!

Yulia comes from the back room, moving only a little slowly, and looking her usual slight grumpy self.

"Ah, Lothar, you made it. Has Prochorus here been being useless?" After a pause, she continues.
"I presume you brought your family as we discussed. There is room here for them. The building site is up at the top of the cliff. I presume you want to go up now, see the site, and talk to someone about the building plan. Tristan is supposed to show you around." Yulia looks around a moment and shouts "Tristan".

After a moment, a smiling young man pops up from another back room. "No need to shout Yulia. You know I always hear when you call. Who is this friendly fellow" (Yes, Tristan refers to him as friendly even though it sounds like he probably looks a bit unhappy and uncertain.)

Yulia snaps "Lothar the stonemason."

Lothar looks relieved when Yulia shows up, but he still casts a worried eye on Prochorus as he takes a few steps towards Yulia and Tristan to greet them.

"Yes I have my family here, they are waiting outside." He turns and waves for Wilhelm to come inside "This is Wilhelm, my apprentice I don't think you met him in Bremen but he is a great lad." He pauses and looks around the room again, he seems to pondering over something. "So are we staying down here, but the construction is somewhere else? Up on the cliff you said? I would love to see it but maybe it's better my family join us." he gives the magus a quick look again.

Yulia almost smiles at Lothar, and turns to Prochurs "Get yourself back to town, you like playing there. We have work to do here."
Turning back, she adds "You will need to get used to him, as he is one of the ones paying for this. Lets bring in your family and get them settled. Then Tristan can help you can your apprentice get your gear up the hill. There are buildings there where you can store your tools."

Bah. So be it.

Prochorus huffs away.

Lothar looks silently at Prochorus as he moves out of the building. Wilhelm takes a few steps away from him to keep the distance. When the magus is gone the mason asks Yulia and Tristan "Who is he? Are there more like him?"

Yulia sighs. "More like him? Yes. They are Magi. Strange, and frequently annoying. At least I assume that the new one is just as annoying as these two. But they are the ones who want the house built, own the inn, and deal with the strange things that happen. Oh, do warn your family that we get a ghost about once a month. The magi are still debating what they want to do about her." She stops, looks at Lothar's rapidly chaning expressions, and goes on. "Look. It's like noblemen. They run things, and we stay out of their way. Without them and the fancy churchmen and high merchants (none of which we have here) no one would build fancy buildings. So we put up with them. Admittedly, the with churchment and nobles, it is their god granted right. The magi don't claim that. "

"The one who just left is Prochorus. He can actually make music people enjoy, when he tries. There is also Japik. He is more talkative, and thinks he is friendly. There is a new one, Herman. I have only met him a few times. He mostly stays up top puttering around in the buildings. He has the plans for what they want built."

Lothar listens carefully and with some fright to Yulia when she tells about the magi and the ghost. He stands dumbfound for a while after she has finished.
"Magi? A ghost you said? Here?" He looks at Wilhelm who looks even more astounded than him. "There is no other place my family can stay while I work up there? My kids are young and I don't want them to be scared. Really we could purchase a tent and we can all sleep there especially now during the spring and summer, then by fall we should have found another solution." He looks around the main room of the inn with some disgust in his face.

Tristan finally comes wandering in.
"Good to meet you Lothar. They tell me the ghost mostly leaves good bread once a month. Otherwise we don't see her. If the children stay out of the kitchen, they will probably be just fine. If your wife really wants to live in a tent, I am sure we would help her, but I can't imagine she would like that. Once the building is done up the hill, I believe that the Magi will move up there. Apparently, they like it there. Lets let the ladies decide where to settle everyone, while I take you an Wilhelm up to the work site."

Lothar mutters something to himself as he seems to ponder over the situation. "I will go out and talk to my wife. Wait here Wilhelm."

He goes out of the inn and the others can hear his somewhat agitated voice as he retells what he has learnt of the inn and the job. It takes almost twenty minutes before he comes back in and this time together with his wife and the two kids. The boy walking on his own holding his mother's hand and the girl, still looking sleepy, carried by Lothar.
"This is my wife Mathilda..." Lothar introduces an average-looking blonde woman, about 25 years old, wearing a simple linen dress and a woolen coat. "...and here is my son Sigfried and my daughter Vala." The stonemason smiles of pride when he introduces his family, especially his children.
"They will stay here while I and Wilhelm go with Tristan to inspect the construction site. Yulia I trust you will take good care of my family and try to keep them away from.... you know what I mean."

Mathilda smiles friendly at Yulia and looks at her belly "How long?", she asks in a whispering voice.
Lothar looks puzzled at his wife and then at the large woman then he seems to realize what she means. "I'm so sorry. I'm a fool I didn't notice. I must congratulate you! Who is the lucky father-to-be?"

Yulia smiles at Mathilda "half way now!" She turns to Lother "My husband Hjalmar is down with the boats. He runs the boat for Japik."
She then turns back to Mathilda, and eads them back into the inn, talking happily with Mathilda.

(ooc: From most of the portrayal, I had thought she was more generally surly, but I realized that was probably about the effect of the gift, as she is actually boisterous. Sorry if I got the tone a bit off.)

Tristan then turns to Lothar "Shall we go, and he gestures outward and upward." Tristan picks up some thing relatively light to carry, but does not offer to carry any of the heavy items. He leads the way. At the foot of the cliff he stops, looks at the chest and the walk way, and notes "this is going to be tricky. We have to get all the way up, and it is not a great path." (Assuming no one suggests anything:) He then leads the way up the "hill". He does try to make conversation, asking about where they were working, making minor comments about the townfolk, that sort of think. He will eventually notice that Lothar and Wilhelm are focussed on getting the tools up the hill, and stop chattering.

Lothar and Wilhelm picks up the heavy chest. They take a short break at the foot of the stairs up the hills but they don't make any complaints or other remarks. "Let's go" Lothar says and he follows Tristan upwards with Wilhelm carrying the lower part of the chest. The apprentice can't be much older than 15 but he is stronger than most full-grown adults. The climb gets a bit slower towards the top and the two heavy carriers is breathing heavily but finally they reach the top and puts down the chest for a well-deserved rest.

"How long now?" Lothar asks.