Chapter 9bis where Finn goes to Carlisle in Spring 1014

«Sure, euh, hick,» he says, and grabs the rail of the pewter to steady himself. «Pleased to meet you brother.»

Leofric turns to Edwin, letting him make his case and ask his questions.

"Good father, I work for a group of learned men who inhabit a tower some way south of here. They desire a scribe, a clerk, an amanuensis if you will, to help them with their correspondence and with the copying of any books they are able to borrow. Do you know where we could find someone willing to earn a living scribing for others?" Edwin is straightforward in his introduction to the drunken man.


«Scribes? Why do you ask me? I am just a country vicar. You would have better chance in Carlisle.» The vicar is irritated and speaks a bit unclearly. If you pursue the matter, you learn that people without employment would tend to draw towards Carlisle. Other than himself, the only literate people in the village are a few of the lord's closest men. «What kind of person is lord Ungulus? I have never heard of it?» he asks.

"Ah, the manor of Ungulus is a fairly remote holding, people bypass the valley looking for easier routes to Carlisle or the lakes. This is why we have to walk for days to find folk willing to work for us. Still, I thank you for sparing the time so speak to us."
Edwin turns to Leofric and says "Let's not trouble this man any more. It seems like we are unable to find a scribe right now, but perhaps future trips to a town might help."

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«Sorry I could not help. Fare well!» says the vicar and sits down on the pewter to draw his breath.

When Edwin and Leofric catch up with Finn, he is exhausted from a long performance. Most of the villagers skulk off quickly without comment, as if they were disappointed. Only a few stay behind to gift Finn with a little something for the journey, like two eggs, 2-3 oz of cheese, half a loaf of bread; not more than he would eat in the next 24h. «... and if you come with us back to the village, I can fill up your flask with ale. My wife finished a batch yesterday,» says one of them pointing at the alewife who blushes politely.

When you get to the designated camp site, the sun has set, but it is still twilight. It is overcast, and anyone with any survival score at all will think that it is going to rain. You have some tents, but not for 15 recruits, unless you stack them on top of each other. Most of the recruits are knackered, in spite of the nap they had during Finn's performance, but a few stay up to look suspiciiously at how Edwin and Finn manage the camp ...

When someone mentions that it may rain, Leofric uses the poles and tarp he has in his cart to set up a sheltered area for a few people. This is the same equipment he normally uses to set up his forge outside. It is unfortunately too small for the amount of people who may need shelter for the night, but it's a start at least. He himself will settle in the small space under his cart.

Finn goes back with the villagers and got his promised ale. He goes back to camp and shares his food and drink with everyone. “It’s not much I know but it is fresh today” he states to the new recruits in particular. “We will be back at your new home tomorrow and there is plenty to eat and drink there”

That leaves Edwin and Hamish in charge of the camp until Finn arrives well after dark.

Hamish organizes the recruits, putting the oldest and youngest in whatever shelter they have and encouraging the stronger of them to gird up their loins and show their strength.

“You’ve got this, folks. You’re stronger than you think.”

[Leadership 14]

Edwin arranges the supplies as best he can, but he's better at administration than actual camping, and he really wasn't expecting this many people.

You get the crowd fed, and when Finn returns, most of them are tucked safely in under the various canvas covers. The handful of recruits left in the open look rather befuddled when they exclaim, «oh, it is raining» and start looking for shelter. Hamish knows his way around and will probably help them find the best shelter possible in the woods.

It is a rough night. It rains enough that nobody is completely dry. All the recruits are move slowly and with effort. The least fit are still tired from the first day's walk, and the fitter ones are strained by the night outdoors. Hamish needs to make a Sta roll 9+ not to be down a long-term fatigue. Being first up and last to bed, making sure that everybody else is ok, is heavy work.

Luckily, you have the food you need for breakfast, and can continue the journey to Whitehaven, where everybody gets a break while Edwin talks to Hagard. The rain gave you a break for breakfast, and has been only a light drizzle for the walk, but the clouds look threatening.

You find Hagard strolling in his front yard, looking towards the see. The peasants are busy with fields and livestocks, and the fishermen are just coming into shore.

Hagard watches the approaching stranger. I assume you do not go all together. Who are with Edwin?

Finn will stay in camp and try to keep the groups spirits up with more stories Com + Storytelling 24

I think the entire camp moves on to Whitehaven, to rest on the edge of the village. It is an hour walk along the way to Ungulus, so little point in returning to camp for anyone.

So should we move the main group on to Ungulus?

Hamish does appear to wear down as the journey continues, but he does his best to keep order and focus among the recruits. [Stamina 5, 1 Long-Term Fatigue loss]

Leofric also stays with the group, offering encouragement and moral support, as well as leading prayers for those enclined to do so. (Edit: Unskilled Com+Leadership roll of 5, if it matters)

Leadership and crowd management seems to be better left to Hamish, but there are some souls who could use some individual counselling and encouragement, and the friar can keep himself both busy and useful.

A short rest is needed in any case, but it is possible to make it just a short one, and move on and hope that Edwin catches up.

Edwin asks Hagard how well he is finding the land at the moment, and if there are any particular issues causing the food shortages in Carlisle. He will politely ask about how the labour situation is, and ask how much of the local area is under Hagard's control. He will explain that he is the steward for a group of wealthy individuals in the valley of Ungulus, and is keen to make sure his masters are not disappointed.

«Oh. We are doing alright. We too saw raiding warlocks several times a couple of years ago. It has been hard, but we recover. Inland, they depend too heavily on barley and turnips. That makes them more vulnerable.»

I assume Edwin introduced himself as a repsentative of the curious scholars in the tower. Hagard giggles, «Ungulus, you mean? Is Tacitus still doing well? I have not seen him for a long time.»

Assuming that Edwin is politely forthcoming with the gossip, Hagard is equally forthcoming, and you learn that his grandfather cleared a lot of the land when he came over from Ireland as a young man. Hagard owns about a third of the village, including cottages, cultivated land, and boats. There is one other major landlord, also grandson of one of the settlers, while almost half of the land is small holdings feeding a single family. Hagard himself looks as if he is in his forties, maybe even fifties.