OOC: I doubt they would be using "shillings". I think he means it as a place holder, a "mythic shilling". We are nowhere near England. If mundane coins were to change hands, they would likely be spanish or french. However, in the backstory, there are three "centers" of Mercere banking. Barcelona, Harco, and London. Some terms may cross over. However, I have only a vague idea of what a shilling is, and I have no idea what a sols from Périgord is. I mainly understand mythic pennies and mythic pounds.
Welcome to Andorra Marcellus, hope you survive the experience! (Autumn 1244)
Fergus takes the coins, takes a look at them and nods. "Sure these would do fine," he says. "Whoever takes the message will almost certainly pass through Bergerac to get there. And if they can't use the silver there, they can always get it changed in Harco or any other Mercer house. We try and keep some silver from different regions on hand so when Redcaps carry messages they can carry local coin. Tis the easiest thing in the world for a Redcap to change money."
There is none of the scrutiny Marcellus would expect from a local merchant being confronted with foreign money. Partly its a courtesy granted to magi to assume good will; partly it's a familiarity with the coins of different regions; and partly its the knowledge that a magus would be a fool to cheat House Mercere given the repercussions of such action.
"I'll head out to Harco tomorrow. Last time I was there Elaine was telling me that she was scheduled to head out to Provencal in December. But I'll wager she'll be willing to leave a bit earlier to catch some better weather. And if she takes the northern route and holds Coenobium til the end, Nidi's first on the list." He nods. "Sure I don't see any trouble with getting your message delivered right quick. I'll have to check with Elaine, but if I know her she'll be happy to oblige."
He smiles. "Oh, you'll be saying that Nidi's in Normandy not Provencal. Tis true, of course. But the covenant is so close to the border we normally send its messages with someone passing through Provencal. But then I'm forgetting that if your pater's there you probably lived there for your apprenticeship. You might have known about the Redcaps from talking to the ones that visit there."
Then, business completed, he ventures into a personal question. "So Lucas was telling me you were thinking of settling down in Andorra," he says with a smile. "If so, I hope you'll like it here. The people are generally friendly, and its a fine place to live. I wish we were closer to a big town, but you can't have everything." He smiles.
"We play cards a few times a month. Sometimes here, sometimes in Lucas's tower, and sometimes in the house across the way. If you're interested you're welcome to come. We do play for money, but it's pennies and farthings, nothing too dear. We mostly do it for the fun of playing. Between you and Lucas we should be able to cover everyone with Parma to keep everyone happy."
I assume Fergus was talking about mythic shillings. I was going by what's said in HoH:TL, pp. 83 and 84, which refers to shillings when it says:
Redcaps are traditionally paid in silver by the covenants they visit on their rounds. They can expect to receive a total of three shillings (about twelve pennies) from every covenant they visit, which is paid over the course of three days. The first shilling is given to them on the day they arrive, as payment for their journey. The second shilling is given to them when they present their messages, in appreciation of their service. The third shilling is given to them as they leave the covenant, to ensure their goodwill. By visiting about four covenants a season, Redcaps earn a modest wage, approximately a pound of silver each year, which is enough to live on if they do not belong to a covenant.
Given this reference to shillings as a coin of payment to Redcaps (1 shilling = 4 pennies), I figured it was a generally accepted term within the Order of Hermes.
OOC I was a bit thrown by the use of shillings. It's been a while since I've read the books, so I simply figured I would play with it. Sols is the French term for a solidus, roughly the same as a shilling. Though I had read that the conversion rate was 20 shillings to a pound. If HoH:TL say that a shilling is 4 pennies, then it is a smaller coin (my memory says it was 240 pennies to a pound). But this is all fluff.
"Thank you Fergus, both for the letter and the invitation. I would like to join you, though in the playing at cards I am but a novice." He grins boyishly, "Just let me know when the next is to occur and I will be there."
OOC The letter is to let the mundanes who will be joining Marcellus where he is settling. Between the time it takes the letter to get there and the trip to Andorra, they should arrive some time during the Spring season.
The Catalan money would be the Quatern (fourthern?) Introduced in 1212 by Pere II. Just before acting like a stupid oaf in Muret, apparently. It was also known as Court Money. Its value was 4 marks of silver and 8 of copper.
A mark is 2/3 of a pound. IIRC.
Just to increase your nerdiness level to start the year. Or finish it in the bother Sid of then pond. Bon any nou from Castrum Octavianum.
El quatern era una moneda catalana de billó creada per Pere II per decisió del IX de les calendes d'abril de 1212. També se'n deia moneda de Cort . El seu valor era de quatre marcs d'argent i vuit de coure.
I once had a bunch of this stuff memorized. I have since forgotten. I do think that the "Mythic Quatern" would be worth a quarter-pawn of Vis (vis is worth 12 pounds silver). There is a gold coin minted in Barcelona around this time, with a name I forget. Maybe this is the Quatern?
I was also surprised when they referred to three shillings being twelve pennies. But as I consider it, perhaps they were inelegantly implying that a single shilling was twelve pennies (which is how the British reckoned things - or did before they went metric). That’s worth pondering and makes much more sense.
In the end it’s very hard to cite prices without a far greater grounding in Medieval economics than I have. I think it’s fair to toss in any variety of coinage for color. But in the end we should tally our numbers based on the mythic pounds, mythic shillings, and mythic pennies that the book does. Yes, it’s very Anglo-centric. But we have to choose some currency as our basis and that’s the one they chose.
For my part I’d recommend using the following exchange rate:
1 mythic pound = 12 mythic shillings = 240 mythic pennies
Perhaps that’s a central coin (real or imagined) that House Mercere has created to keep their books.
OOC Don't you mean 1 mythic pound = 20 mythic shillings = 240 mythic pennies? So that a shilling is worth 12 pennies.
Yes, yes, 20 shillings to the pound. That’s what you get when you post from your phone!
As Marcellus is new it might take a few days for him to run across Vocis, given his priority of his family and his apprentice, then the library. That said, Vocis would frequently be talking with members of his family across the covenant and Arans, who include grogs, swordmasters and such, so he wouldn't be difficulty to bump into.
Arthur - as you like - perhaps seeing Vocis and Clotide walking together across a courtyard toward their tower?
OOC Works for me.
Two days after the initial meeting in the north solar, Marcellus is coming back from the outer courtyard, where he arranged for a small keg of El Serat beer for the coming meeting with Jordi, when he spots the head librarian and his apprentice making their way across the courtyard. Hurrying, he catches up with them and bows. "Greetings, master Vocis. How are you today?"
Vocis and Clotide stop their quick steps, both have looks of irritation in their faces, though Vocis's face changes to be more welcoming when he sees Marcellus, who he does not know. "Good morning", he replies a little tentatively, "I don't believe we have met?"
He's clearly trying to recall if he's met and forgot Marcellus, and if so, who he is. The
OOC: Clotide is a young girl around 11 (?) years old.
OOC My mistake, I misread. I will correct my post.
"My apologies, master Vocis. My name is Marcellus of Verditius. I arrived two days ago as a guest to your covenant, and will formally seek to become a member in a few seasons, once you all get a chance to know me."
The young magus smiles, "Master Lucas gave me a tour on my arrival, which included your wonderful library. He said I should speak with you about getting access to the arcane collection. This is the first chance I have had to meet you since I arrived, so I decided to take the initiative and seek you out when I saw you."
"ah Magus Marcellus welcome. It is a pleasure to meet you, this is my apprentice Clotide", he says gesturing to the girl with sharp eyes.
"In maintaining the covenant library Master Lucas and our team have executed their duties in an exemplary manner, I cannot take credit for their ongoing work. The covenant is fortunate." Now speaking a little more relaxed while watching the girl's reactions.
to the library topic further, "as a formal guest of the covenant you are welcome to consider the magical tomes, and most are available. Due to the complexity of the chapter houses and ranks within the broader group of members we have devised an algorithmic system for prioritization between the many interested parties, and Master Lucus or myself will advocate on your behalf to ensure you are afforded proper position. Where one volume is unavailable, others can be reserved. I will have my catalog made available later today in the outer chantry and send word."
"Please also let us dine together in the coming week, and if you have need or questions please ask directly."
"If I may" , he adds, "once you are homed I have in mind some commissions in the near years that your House might assist with."
It takes a moment for Marcellus to decipher Vocis' unusual speech patterns, but he adapts quickly to it, "That would please me greatly, master Vocis. As I mentioned to the other magi of Andorra that I have met so far, I would be more than willing to consider any commission that would be of use to the covenant or its members. I only ask forbearance as to the time it might take me to attain knowledge adequate to the crafting of a specific item. For the moment, I have some skill in blacksmithing and leatherworking crafts, while my studies of the Arts have been concentrated in Animal."
He smiles, "But your wonderful library will, of course, help me broaden my knowledge and abilities. Which is one of the reasons I am eager for you all to let me know as soon as possible what kind of commissions would be considered desirable for my sodales."
Turning to Clotilde, he smiles to her as well, in Latin, "I am pleased to meet you, Clotilde. It was not very long ago that I was myself still an apprentice, so if there is anything I can do to help you in your studies, let me know. With, of course, the approval of your master." If Clotilde's demeanor shows that she does not yet understand enough Latin to understand Marcellus, he will repeat it in Occitan, although his Gascon accent may make it more difficult for her to understand him.
Clotide doesn’t give much away, and looks skeptically at her master and the new Magus. “Excellent, “ Vocis replies, “when you are established we can coordinate further. We must both return to the tower, as many tasks remain today.”
“A pleasure again. “
OOC: Clotide is Silveroaks character, by now her Latin should be more than enough.
Clotide smiles and replies in Latin "We have good teachers here, Master vocis and the teachers, and the books are very good. I'm afraid I do not speak Occitain. I have not begun the study of animal yet, how good are you?" though the girl's stature would peg her as an adult, and a large adult at that, nearly the size of a pony, her voice is that of a child.
OOC Marcellus would only have reverted to Occitan if Clotilde displayed signs that she did not understand Latin. As this is not the case, he stayed with Latin.
Marcellus smiles, "How do you measure "good"? Particularly when comparing magi of different Houses, the word can quickly get confusing. Let us only say that Animal is my strongest Art but that, as a magus who just passed his Gauntlet, that is no great reason for pride. It is probably a level of knowledge that could be reached in two or three seasons of dedicated study from a good library like that of Andorra."
He makes a small gesture towards Vocis, who is showing signs of being ready to leave, "But for now, your master has business to attend. I am sure we will have a chance to speak further in the coming months. A pleasure meeting you, Clothilde."
As they leave he overhears Clotide asking Vocis "What was a Verditious again? What are they usefull for?"
Vocis explains as they walk, starting with, "Firstly you must remember that they are highly secretive, and like us their House has principals which cannot be compromised. Magi Verditius are primarily far superior with investing magical devices; so much so that the Verditius have developed their own philosophy on the values of artefacts, which has become a respected view in other Houses. Their secondary specialisations tend to be as master craftsmen, but I do not understand the depths of that synergy. They are highly valued across the Order, and more consistent in temperament than many other Cults."
"Magus Marcellus and his brethren are very useful allies to the Tremere, because they often stay outside political issues, and can supply artefacts which sometimes outstrip the Artificers. I suspect that Magus Marcellus' humility may be truth today, but given a handful of years will surpass my abilities easily" , he adds with a tone of respect.
"There are also stories of granting intelligence to inanimate objects, or being able to extract vis from items and creatures in secret ways, or able disenchant magically invested artefacts... the truth is probably something different again."