Chapter 9bis where Finn goes to Carlisle in Spring 1014

Edwin goes to market, and unsurprisingly the merchants have increased the prices. He haggles them down enough to get enough food from different people, playing off their uncertainty about making enemies with someone who's about to employ a lot of people locally. Edwin will have sharp words for Finn later.

[Edwin got 9 on com + Bargain, 10 if his livestock speciality helps]

The beggars are uneasy while Edwin is gone. On one hand, they can see little food. On the other hand, they have never seen as much silver as Edwin was carrying away to market. Finn does the best he can to keep their attention and optimism for the future, something which the faerie hat does rather well.

It takes some time for Edwin to get back, but then he also has a donkey load of food, and six shiny silver pennies to spare ...

It is mid-morning when you leave the starving city behind you. Will you be looking for more excuses to spend money on the return? Workington is as it was, if you want to stop. Otherwise Edwin announced a stop at Hagard's, if that's still on?

Finn would still like to recruit a scribe or two in Workington. He asks if anyone would know how best to achieve that.

Hamish focuses his attention on the recruits, talking to them, keeping them somewhat organized and in line. [Leadership: 11] As he chats with them, he tries to learn their names and something of their backgrounds [Folk Ken 12] and tries his best to get them to warm up to the big giant of a fellow [Charm: 5].

In support of Hamish’s efforts Finn will entertain everyone with legendary stories over the meal fires. (Coms+Storytelling = 18+3 for faerie hat)

The troupe trods on in good spirit. Most of the beggars are not used to travel, and they tire quickly. Some of the younger ones have to ride a donkey, in turns, which you can just about manage by shifting some of the provisions around. Thanks to Finn's storytelling, their bodily constraints do not overcome their spirits.

The big group raises eyebrows in Workington, and everybody stops their work to see what's going on. «Look at that hat! And so many entertainers in one group!»

An official-looking man-at-arms steps forward. «Entertainers! sir Uther asks who your sponsor is.» Finn has encountered the practice before. Many local entertainers carry a letter of sponsorship from a reputable lord, vouching for their honesty. Bards without such letters are often treated as vagabonds and referred to set up camp well outside villages and towns, although this is a greater problem for troupes, than it is for lone bards. Unless Finn comes up with a good answer, the troupe is quickly ushered out of the village. «There is a field where you can camp a mile or two South of here.»

Finn looks at his group and just nods “Fine, we will camp south then” moving the group onward.

You gather a tail of villagers eager to see your performance. «You can run your show on my pasture. It is just after the last field,» shouts one of the villagers. «As long as you do not stay the night, it should be ok,» says another.

Finn will prepare to entertain the locals to hopefully top up the dwindling coin pot. He will ask Edwin and Leofric to head in to Workington to recruit a scribe or two. He will ask Hamish to remain to help with keep order.

I suppose Leofric and Edwin returns rather quickly when the party has just got out of the village. There is a church and a manor, but it quickly becomes clear that the vicar resides at the manor as part of the sir Uther's household. They get to speak to the man-at-arms first, who asks what on Earth an entertainment troupe wants a scribe for ...

Some of the villagers get chatting with some of the recruited beggars, exchanging stories about the troubles in Carlisle and on the coast. The villagers are rather disappointed when they realise that Finn is the only entertainer ...

Finn entertains any crowd with legendary stories bit his heart is evidently not really on it (Com+Storytelling = 11+3 for the faerie hat)

While Finn is entertaining the crowd, Hamish offers an open challenge to any in the crowd to arm-wrestle him or challenge him in feats of strength.

"Got any strong men around? I'll take you on."

[Strength 7, No Botch, lol]

"These men's masters apparently want to retain the services of a scribe on a continuing basis. I decided to travel with the group for safety, and to share word of God with them. I'd like to see the vicar please."

«Their masters? Didn't the bard with the hat say that they had none? Who are these masters?» The man really wants to know who he is dealing with before he introduces you to the vicar.

The villagers look rather intimidated by Hamish, and nobody steps up to his invitation.

Hamish chuckles and resumes his post not far from Finn, keeping his eyes on the crowd, looking in particular for troublemakers or issues before they arise.

They are not troublemakers; they are just thrilled by Finn's story. The servants to be are more bored, having heard the story already, but after a long walk, they welcome the rest and fall asleep in the grass.

Edwin replies to the man-at-arms "I work for the scholars at the tower of Ungulus. They generate a reasonable amount of correspondence to other learned men and to write to schools and monasteries to enquire about books. As such, they could use a scribe to dictate their letters to, and to help copy a book if a monastery agrees to loan them one.
Oh, you think we are all travelling players because we have amassed a large number of workers? The masters desire more servants to chop wood and bring their food, and Hamish decided to offer work to every able-bodied person he met in town. Finn is a great storyteller and will no doubt keep folk entertained, but I am a steward and Hamish is a fighting man. It takes many people to keep an estate running in good order, as I'm sure you are aware."

«Hmm,» says the man-at-arms, «the bard acted as your leader, so I assumed you were his troupe. It is a large crowd to feed in times like these. I don't think you will find anyone to recruit here. Those who cannot make a living here tend to draw towards Carlisle.» He mumbles a bit, «scribe, you say?» before he continues, «you can find the vicar in the church. I will let you know that you are looking.»

Assuming that you go to the church, you find it open but empty, and have to wait half an hour before the vicar turns up, red-faced, on unsteady feet down the aisle. He is looking around for you, but his eyes seem unfocused.

Hamish continues to keep watch over the recruits and anyone approaching them. He makes eye with Finn and Edwin in particular in case they are spotting any forthcoming trouble.

Leofric approaches the vicar, bowing his head, "Greetings, brother. May my travelling companions trouble you with a few questions?"