Journey to Mdina (fall 1220)

In which various agents of the covenant return to Mdina in the spring for a number of activities, primary amongst these being the buying of books and hiring of servants.
The booksellers location is now well known in the covenant, and his titles already listed.
For finding servents there are a number of possibilities, depending on the kind of servant you are looking for. A position as a servant is valued in terms of influence- the count, for example, often takes advice from his butler who is a lesser son of a lesser noble family- barely noble at all. On the other extreme are street messenger and others who often hang around street corners and are little more than general laborers running odd tasks for tips who dream of one day being an actual servant. In the middle of these categories are those who work in a service type position already, barmaids for example, who do occasionally get hired away from their current positions to a more exclusive role. One of the best places to find servants however, is funerals of the well to do, whose servants are by and large in need of new employment...

In point of fact there has recently been a scandal in Mdina, a man married into the noble classes a few years back was rumored to have killed his wife, though no charges were pressed, and shortly afterwards fired the majority of his servants, many of whom had served in his wife's family for generations...

Hakima will ask to come, she hopes to gather herbs on the trip to add to her stores. Maybe something to make a ligature or to experiment in a lab with if she ever managed to set one up. Plus she hopes to collect a text or two on her craft. The orphan Mary will tag along just to see the city again.

Assuming this was Tamya's good for nothing husband, Paphos will ask her about the servants, how many, are there any that were particulary good or poor, and whether her new, ahem, "look" would cause trouble. Garcin can contact those determined to be possible recruits and feel them out.

In addition, what is the husband doing for staff now that he laid off everyone? Who is he hiring?

Tayma is looking in a mirror trying to figure out how to do her hair, she looks a bit frustrated. There is a broken pair of sheers in front of her.
"We had a really good cook, he can make good meals with cheap ingredients. Better than the previous cook, and the best food I've ever had when he had a decently stocked kitchen. He'll probably have a bunch of offers. I hired vintner in order to help seduce my husband into bed. I thought wine might loosen him. Turns out he just gets tired and falls asleep. Still my choice of wines got a lot more compliments. My personal maid, Anna was really eager, and friendly. I spent a lot of time talking to her about my woes. Don't hire the Butler, he looks all clean and spiffy, but he's a lech and terrible at running anything. I'm not sure why my husband insisted on keeping him, even after I told Jonathan that the Butler was trying to seduce... me... unless that was the entire point. Oh, sorry about the sheers, I was trying to shorten my hair they weren't up to the task. Apparently, it doesn't cut. And I should probably stop trying to find something that will offset the scars." she sighs
"I think that my 'look' won't matter so much as the general wrongness. Back from the dead, unnatural movement, hair that doesn't cut. I don't think I look that bad considering I was stabbed and slashed dozens of times. I bet Anna could look past it, but she's not really very good at her job. I bet the vintner could too. He's theoretically a Muslim, but he's also a vintner. But do you really need a vintner? You might be able to convince him to start a shop here, I think he has a good bit of money saved. I doubt the cook will be willing. He knows people in Mdina, probably has good offers already and quite frankly you guys rub people the wrong way. I'm annoyed that you've never died and that doesn't even make sense. Oh and I don't actually have any money. My former husband provided basically everything for the family. "

There are rumors that Tamyas husband is taking servants as payment for gambling debts, especially from some Sicilian Baron who probably won't be staying in Malta much longer anyways.

We'll send Garcin to make contact with Anna and see if the is available and willing to take a position with us. In addition, Garcin will ask her opinion of other staff members who may be seeking employment as staff members are often more "in the know" than the lady of the house. In particular he'd like to recruit another fighting man or two, if any reputable men are among those laid off.

Paphos will make contact with the vintner to make a similar offer and similar interview.

Garcin was chosen due to his ease and charm with women, and Paphos because his similar background to the vintner may put him at ease.

On a side note, Garcin is finding himself attracted to Tamya, despite his initial misgivings. His favorite sport is woman, and she is a VERY new experience. He finds her almost irresistible, and will be available is she needs a shoulder to cry upon. Or anything else.

The vinter is packing, along with his family. He has been offered a position in Sicilly, which he intends to accept. "I will have to change my religion, but my religion didn't really approve of my profession anyways. These Catholics, they drink wine in the service!"

Anna is currently at her father's house, and it is he who opens the door, looks Garcin up and down and snaps "Okay, well who are you?"

Euthymios is eager to get started with recruiting, and although he lacks much in the way of impressive social skills, he DOES have the Gentle Gift, so avoids that particular problem. I think he'll simply start among the street messengers and see if he can find any leads we haven't begun to explore yet?

"Good day, sir!" Garcin will bow slightly and make an elaborate spanish flourish. "I am seeking Anna, formerly in service to House Zayan, Is she available?"

Hakima will break off with Euthymios since he's so much more friendly and trustworthy. What kind of servants are we looking for anyway? I bet I could be a lot more effective with an apprentice. Maybe I should try and recruit too?

Euthymios responds in heavily accented Arabic "Those in good health, first and foremost, but there are a number of things we are looking for. A good grasp of either Arabic or Italian would smooth integration into the covenant, and require less time to teach their letters. Many good texts on medicine are in Arabic, although our library is somewhat sparse at the moment. Existing skills in a service position, the ability to read, and the ability to learn quickly are all to our benefit. I would also be looking for, well, the unusual? In many places they would say those who have 'faerie blood', I suppose? I would not know the local term for it. There are some individuals who can safely enter the area we are excavating with no worry of additional harm. Unfortunately, I could not say for certain that I would recognize them as such. Only that we should listen to what is said of such people. I'm certain I have forgotten something else, but it will surely come to me when it is more relevant."

Since the vintner is leaving anyways.... Paphos will buy up such stock as he is willing to let go at clearance prices. Plus furniture, any long term food stocks, or anything else the covenant might need that is too bulky for a family to take across the water.

Anna's father replies with a hint of menace "That's nice, but who are you?"

The vinter is willing to sell off his 'table wines' (wines not used for special events) at a discount, Paphos manages to get 2 pounds worth of wine for 1 pound of silver. (net savings on consumables of 1 lb for this year)

"I represent the newly established Hospital of Domus Aureus, perhaps you've heard of us? No? No matter. We wish to extend the opportunity to interview for employment. Anna was highly recommended by another member of the household, and we are hoping our growth and her future employment needs may be compatible. If she is inclined, she could either be interviewed here, or accompanied by a suitable escort, at the Hospital."

OOC, does anyone have the bargain skill? We really need David to purchase our books, but since he's on his rounds we'll have to make do. I like Flavius' suggestion of using an illusion to disguise the buyer. Here are my thoughts:

Tartessos has decent Imagonem, so he can spont a modified Disguise of the Transformed Image for sight, sound and smell (eliminate feel to drop a mag). It's L10 so he can easily pull it off inside the aura, and has day duration so will avoid the issues of casting in town. Whoever is sent should speak Italian and have Bargain. Paphos has decent Italian and a 1 bargain, so he can go if no one else has anything better.

Regardless of how good or bad the deal, I suggest we buy all the texts, and ask them to be crated suitable for a sea journey, and delivered near the docks. This will cost slightly more, but again should point away from the covenant. Once we take custody and the delivery peeps leave, we toss the crate in a wagon and get it home.

Tis a good idea, neither Mary nor Makima have bargain, but Mary has sundry abilities like guile and charm.

The father softens a little as the introduction is begin, most noticeably on the word 'employment'. He nods to himself and asks "Who gave the recommendation? Which other members of the house are working there?"

Euthymios will start by finding a street messenger who would be willing to take a bit of coin to run the message that we are hiring to the usual places. And possibly give us a bit of information on the local hiring environment, as it were.

"Well, it depends on what you are looking for in a servant. If you want someone oh so polite and minds her manners as she turns down the bed, you're best off sending a letter to Sicily, or maybe Rome. I know a fellow at the docks can take the message if you want, even knows a guy who knows a guy in Rome, so it will get to the right place. A lot of letters like that been going out from some of the upper crust of Mdina. Now, if you're looking more for a maid who turns down the sheets and then slides between them, or a manservant that don't mind a bit of brawling when someone insults his employer, or just needs a good thrashing, well Mdina has plenty of servants, or those looking, for those kinds of positions." The message boy gives you this advice then takes off running to the usual employment hangouts while you set yourself up at a nearby tavern. It isn't long before the first applicants come wandering into the tavern, hats in hand looking to sit down and see who can have the jobs...

Mary will use her folk ken to glean what she can about them

OOC: Are we supposed to make potential grogs here?