Chapter 9bis where Finn goes to Carlisle in Spring 1014

Finn puts his faerie hat on and addresses the crowd “Far too many of you have come here for what we require. So be it, we will choose from among you. Can anyone here read? If so step forward. Edwin if you could test the truth of that with a reading of something you write. Now the rest of you line up.” Finn will inspect the beggars and pick out the old and infirm “I need strong, hard workers. How can you claim that while on crutches. You are very old, how can we spend the time training one as old as you?” He will reject the obviously unsuitable, giving each reject a penny to get a meal, and see how many remain.


A teenager steps forward and says, «how would I know? I have never tried.»

Rejecting the old and infirm, seated or on crutches, attracts a complaint, «but you promised her yesterday!» An aging but still fit guy complains on behalf of the old woman that you recognised seated on the flank. The woman herself is not too displeased, given the prospect of earning a penny.

This only gets rid of about a quarter of the crowd. A few children, not yet rejected, look sickly, but probably nothing proper food could not cure.

The three at the front are adamant that you keep your promise from the day before. All of them and their twelve recruits look fit. Most of them appear to be unskilled, but there are some exceptions. «My cousin here used to be a carpenter's apprentice, and she worked for the bishop's cook,» says the one who was invited to bring recruits.

Edwin recognises the same people as Finn did. The crowd is too big to manage. Maybe, if Finn manages to single out one group of recruits without disgruntling any of them on behalv of anybody else, Edwin could manage them to keep the others off, but as yet, people are shouting on top of each other for attention. Some rejects are disgruntled and some others are disgruntled on somebody else's behalf.

Peasants heading for the gate stop and watch.

Finn is getting worried “You three from yesterday and your twelve companions step forward. We will take you all. The rest of you line up if you want your penny. Any more of your shouting and fuss and my giant friend here will see you off at the end of his sword with not a farthing between you. Now you fifteen stand over there, the rest of you LINE UP!”. Pre+Charm 13/16/19 (+3 to hold a crowd from faerie hat) as needed. He will hand out the penny to the non-recruits if they comply and then to the recruits as a sign on fee.

Charm is not the right skill to control a crowd, but with two confidence points to make up for his lack in leadership, Finn manages to steer his fifteen chosen ones away and in under Edwin's wing.

Two of the rejects protest. «But yesterday you promised, the two of us and her.» They point at the elderly woman with the resigned look on her face. The crowd behind them, in contrast, are pleased with the consolation penny, and they thank Finn and withdraw as they are paid, but at the same time some of the peasants who were on their way out of town add to the line, which is growing faster than Finn hands out pennies. And it is all accompanied by sulking shouts of, «but you promised yesterday!»

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Leofric continues to observe from a distance, but once the group of those who were selected starts to assemble to the side, he leads Roxie and his cart to serve as a rallying point. He speaks to them softly, making sure they have brought all the possessions that they can carry to their new home.

Finn speaks to the two and the elderly woman. "You three wait until the crowd goes and we will talk. I want to know what skills you three bring to the job. With your advanced years you must have learnt and seen a lot. Think on it while we deal with the crowd. Hamish make sure people leave once they have their penny or we will end up with a riot on our hands" asks Finn of his giant friend

"Leofric, any idea where we could recruit some scribes? The town street we were directed to had closed up shops as one scribe had died and another had moved on". Asks Finn

Does Finn keep dishing out pennies as long as the line goes on, or does he have any limits? The 15-20 first ones look mostly like the beggars he expected, but then they start looking more like farmers. Some of them even carry shovels and rakes and other tools.

Finn will only pay out to beggars. He will ask Hamish to move the chancer farmers on with a stern word "These alms are for the poor not the greedy" he says angrily.

"In another town, then. I doubt any monk will be willing to leave the monastery for some strangers looking for scribes," he answers with a small shrug.

“OK, may be Workington on the way back south then. Will you be joining us? You would be most welcome” replies Finn.

"I will join you for now," indicates Leofric. "I'm interested in seeing this community you are building."

“Good news my friend, good news, you will be more than welcome and I am sure your blacksmithing skills will be put to good use. My masters can seem an odd lot at first but you get use to them after a time” replies Finn smiling broadly.

Hamish nods to Finn before stepping over toward the line. At seven feet tall, the big soldier is likely the tallest if not the largest man that many of these folks have seen in their lifetimes. He rests a hand on his sword, his shield strapped across his back, looking every inch the experienced warrior if not a little fierce with his wild head of red hair and bushy beard.

"Ok you lot!" barks Hamish as he steps toward what he has discerned as the end of the legitimate line.

"The line ends here!" The big man steps right between what looks like the last of the approved beggars and those looking to make an easy penny. He puts his hands on his hips as he forms a barrier. "You lot with the shovels and rakes, you ain't part of this so get about your business. [Leadership: 11]

Hamish stands stern and serious but wary should he need to apply some brute force to his instructions.

The three old and frail women who had been seated by a wall on the flank rush extremely slowly to their feet and limp towards the line with a pleading look on their faces, seeing if they can join the line just in front of Hamish. Finn knows that they have been here all the time, and one of them was here yesterday as well.

The opportunists who really had business in the fields outside the city do as they are told and go on with their business. Only a few scattered souls keep observing, but the crowd scatters.

As the trio of older ladies comes toward where Hamish has ended the line, the giant of a man takes a step forward, still enforcing his instructions. His step, however, has accommodated he arrival of the three norns... old women, and he makes no bones about them joining the line.

Edwin is happy that the chancers were encouraged to return to their work. He asks the older applicants what they are skilled doing, and if they have the patience to teach the young ones.

He also carefully works out how much food this lot will need, how much accommodation they will need, and tries to remember what he can about Ungulus' current stocks of both.
He says to his companions "you can promise all the shiny silver you want, the masters seems to have a good supply, but you can't get food from nowhere, and while master Janus claims to be able to magic a stone tower out of nowhere it's not as good as a supply of normal wooden houses for actually raising your family in."

A loud murmur rises through the crowd when Edwin raises doubts about the food supply. «What is he saying?» «No food?» Even if only one or two of the closest ones actually heard what Edwin said, the word spreads quickly in the crowd. The rejects get quickly in line and dissipates as quickly as they get their consolation penny, including the three from yesterday's group who were not included in the fifteen.

The fifteen are left bewildered.

To be fair, just the return trip will be a challenge. Finn focused on bringing silver more than food, and your group of three have now grown to 19. With what you brought, you can get back to Workington, while still eating a bit less than you are used to and a bit more than the beggars are used to, but then the beggars are not used to long walks either,

Finn has been dishing out about three shillings for the beggars (incl. the recruits). I suppose you have about six shillings more (~72d), having brought originally £½ (120d) and spent a little on accommodation and good deals.

To summarise, you have fifteen bewildered recruits, barely supplies for a day, and a 2-3 day march ahead of you, and otherwise ready to leave town.

“OK, we will need to buy food for the journey back. We will pay through the nose for it but we have little choice. Who has the skills to bargain for the best price” asks Finn of Hamish, Edwin and Leofric

Under normal circumstances, you could feed a beggar for hey'penny a day, you soon realise that the asking price in Carlisle is almost 4d, and nobody can supply more than a fraction of what you need. That means you have barely enough silver.

So if anybody wants to make the bargain+com roll with three botch dice, the chart goes as follows.

  • 3+ you spend 4s to get half of what you need
  • 6+ you spend all your money, and get just enough food to get home without making the beggars worried.
  • For every 3pts more you save 6d, down to a minimum of 1s spent.
  • Botch - you are going to get robbed or worse.

If more than one character rolls, you have to split the money between you, and split the result accordingly.