Summer 1220, Chapter 3: Midsummer Madness

As summer wears on, rumours abound regarding the upcoming Midsummer Festival. A tradition as old as the covenant itself, the Feast is itself lauded across the countryside for its vast bounty and exotic treats-- and that's beside the drinking, music, and dancing.

May I assume everyone plans to attend?

(Where is this? At the covenant? What would Attravere know of this? Has he attended them before?)

The Midsummer Festival is a three day long extravaganza held at the covenant every year. Attravere knows that Leona began the tradition and was largely responsible for arranging all the festivities and providing all the food. He does not know who will be handling things now, though he knows that Stefan has placed orders through the House for a number of extravagant foodstuffs.

Aequi has heard rumours that there will be a troupe of play-actors performing for the festival, a number of musicians, a peddler, and a faerie fortune teller.

Rhodri's forge is interrupted by a large mockingbird who perches on top of a barrel and squawks loudly. When shooed away by one of the forge helpers, the bird shouts, "Hey! Back off! I'm here with a message." When he gets Rhodri's attention, he puffs himself up. "The Knight of the Golden Locks requests the pleasure of your company on the first night of the Midsummer Festival. I am to await your response. Do you have any cracked oats or dried peas?"

Sinmore comes stumbling out of the guest lab, bleary eyed and hair mussed. She's not wearing her normal armour at the moment, just the over sized and rather stained yellow robes that were provided for her, scratching carefully her newly healed belly wound. She carries her new sword with possesive pride as she heads to the forge. She often spends time there to indulge herself by the heat of the intense fire.

"Mornin' Rhodri! I'll have yer vis soon, I definitely will, and worth every pawn! My new Little Sister is quite the breaker of hearts, though she ain't been blooded yet." she puts her hands right over the blazing fire after rolling up her sleeves. At the spectacle of the talking bird her eyes widen with surprise.

"Surt's Blood! Be ye Hugin or Munin? One of Od's Raven's?" Sinmore is not always the most coherent in speech on the best of days, lately with the long hours she's spent in the lab plus some unexplained lapses in time, she's been even more odd.

"Don't be fools! You need to recognize important messengers! Get the bird some oats and peas!" Rhodri says to his helpers. To the mockingbird he says "I would be delighted to attend the first night of the festival with her. Please convey my great pleasure in receiving her request."

The bird scoffs at Sinmore's comments, and then repeats back to her in an uncanny mimicry of her own voice, "Be ye a raven or a crow, some filthy carrion bird that hovers over the dying in hopes of tearing off some rotting flesh? I have the observational skills of a deaf badger and can't tell a large black corvid from a small and noble blue passerine." However, he preens at Rhodri's reaction, and when the oats and peas arrive he goes about cracking them with his beak and scattering the bits everywhere. Rhodri is not sure the bird actually ate anything, but he certainly relished the experience.

"Excellent. Sir will be most pleased to receive your response. She sends a gift." He plucks a tiny velvet bag from somewhere within his feathers and drops it onto an anvil. He unties a ribbon with his beak, then grabs the bag with both feet and buffets his wings mightily. From out of the bag (which is obviously much smaller itself than its contents) tumbles a chunk of starmetal the size of a child's fist. The bird hops up to Rhodri's shoulder and speaks, such that no one else in the room can hear his voice but Rhodri. "Three parts electrum, one part stellite, one part cinnabar, two parts of the black rock you'll find at a quarry three leagues to the southeast. Smelt that mixture, then melt the starmetal with equal parts phosphor. Fold as much of it into the purple metal mixture as you can and still work the metal, and if you're half as strong as you look, you'll make an armour the gods themselves envy."

The bird takes a swipe at the mess he made on the floor, and flies off in a scatter of detritus.

"Thank you, good sir. Feel free to visit any time," Rhodri calls to the bird as it flies off. Rhodri is careful to collect the starmetal and then immediately writes down the bird's instructions.

All of my characters plan to attend, including Morwen who hopes to court some prospective patients.

Tabanus should have enough days to both tutor any apprentices he's been entrusted with and attend all three days of festival...

The tablet upon which Rhodri wrote the bird's instructions has been wiped blank by the next day, though Rhodri has no problem remembering. When he writes it down again, he finds the same thing the next time he looks. If he writes it again onto vellum, he finds the vellum is blank the next time he looks at it.

The second time Rhodri makes sure no one has access to it. When that one is wiped clean, too, he expends significant effort over a day or two committing the recipe to memory.

Iapetus has heard all sorts of rumours about how the Midsummer Festival at Gallus Florensis will be different/worse/better than previous years, since Leona Bjornaeris' disappearance. He's been there in previous years. Curious to visit it again this year?

Iapetus is QUITE excited about the prospect of another Festival. in fact, Festivals bring out the best in people! They drink, they feast, they play, they loose their more fragile inhibitions and oftentimes find new ones by accident. A man who's just a little too drunk is a man that is being honest about himself.

Clearly, Iapetus must find some means of transportation. He will acquire such with the following order of preference: A horse, a cart going the same way with attractive female company, a cart going the same way with semi-attractive female company, a new pair of boots, or a cart going the same way with no female company. The Tytalus of course curious about the current state of the Gallus Florensis covenant, what with the disappearances and the fabulous rumors flying around. Tucking the letter of introduction into his bag carefully, it's time to head out on yet another grand adventure, whether it be foolish or profitable.

Sinmore only blearily tried listening to what the bird said before it made its mess and then flew, ignoring her question. Once her hands are warmed she wanders over to the dining area and grabs some food and ale and brings it back to her lab. "Samuel! Get out of there!" she shouts as she opens the door.

Muel has not been in the guest lab at all this summer.

Sinmore mumbles as she rubs her eyes with the back of her hand. "First I'm hearing talking birds and now I'm seeing Samuel when he's not here." she closes the door and gets back to work, noticing not for the first time what seem to be large pawprints on her sanctum floor.

Iapetus cannot find a horse that tolerates the Gift; he knows of some gypsy Criamon who breed such horses, but he also knows he can't afford one. He does however manage to hitch a ride with a peddler, a wizened old fellow who looks like an apple doll, and a daughter with a face like sunrise in the spring. They are travelling to the festival himself, and the old man agrees to carry you on the stipulation that you protect his wagon, his goods, his daughter, and his person to the best of your ability until your arrival.

The festival begins, bringing with it three musical bands (one of which is made up entirely of faeries!), two peddlers, a fortune teller, a trouple of play actors, and a dance troupe. What strikes each of yours fancies?

Once the evening arrives and her day at the vis bellows is done, Sinmore will probably go to listen to the band playing the bawdiest drinking songs, and will help herself to several tall mugs as well.

((Arya, I hate to bother you, but you never replied to my question about whether Tabanus was successful in obtaining any students))

((Oh! Sorry.))

Tabanus is teaching two young Gifted children on behalf of a Jerbiton from Schola Pythagoranis, whose name I'll be able to look up on Wednesday when I'm back home :wink: