Friday, September 23, 2011

The Morning After the Feast of July

August 4, 1650

The campaign starts on the knife-edge of time, just as any moment does, with the players having paid for their room and their lodgings all the nights before this one with money that is now gone - and therefore never needs recording.  Another night would cost from their present purse, but then that is how it is when a campaign starts.

The High Mast.
You have all been lounging these last three weeks with your lost earnings at an Inn called 'The High Mast,' built on a twelve foot bank overlooking the Estuary at the extreme western edge of Cuxhaven.  The town is not walled, though it includes a citadel built by Hamburg, and stretches in a long single curve along the curve wrought by the tides.  Two dozen wharfs stretch half a mile to the east, and a hundred boats are in the process of being pulled from the shore and onto the water as the sun has not quite risen.  This last day you four were the only ones using the common room on the Inn's second floor.  The last three days, from Friday until Sunday, the town has celebrated the harvesting of grain and vegetables in the Feast of July.  The first day of Autumn was the 1st of August (not, as many might wrongly think, the 21st of September), and you are all full and sated from the public distribution of vendor and the very last dregs of the spring season's beer.  There'll be no more beer until October, a sad thing, but for the present you have no complaints ... except perhaps for Andrej, who may or may not have viewed sourly the lack of honest respect these Lutherans have for the sabbath - that is not for me to say.

With the departure of the rural peoples returning away from the festival, the town has been 'emptied,' and following the feast you four, Andrej, Silvius, Nine-toes and Ahmet have come to know each other a great deal better.

It happens that Silvius was told only the evening before by the fishmonger, Gerhard, that his brother who helps manage the lighthouse on Neuwark Island has told him the families that dwell upon the island have fled from some threat.  According to Gerhard, there are only three persons remaining - Rupert, Gerhard's brother, the other lighthouse keeper and the catholic who oversees the chapel upon the island.  Word has been sent to Hamburg for aid, but nothing is expected for a week ... and in the meantime there's a danger that homes could be damaged.  Gerhard, who spoke to Rupert just the day before, on the 2nd, said that even the stone lighthouse had suffered abuse.

This Silvius tells to the others; we may presume Silvius asked for more information, but Gerhard would not be forthcoming.  He expressed his concern for the island ... but more to the point Gerhard expressed that it was "a terrible waste" and that the worst of it was the opportunity that was lost, "handed over to those hard-fisted merchants in Hamburg, no doubt," in Gerhard's own words.  From thence he could not be pressed for more information, except a word or two about the good a cart and a foolhardy driver would do him ... whereupon Silvius remembered his recent acquaintence Andrej.

52 comments:

Silvius Volundr said...

Noting with interest the devout missionary's tell-tale orcish features, Silvius pauses briefly before speaking.

"My god," he moans. "Me head is ringing like a damn church bell." He presses his palms to his temple and notes the look of disapproval from Andrej. "Apologies," he mutters with a reddening face.

Changing the subject, the stoutly built smith's son strolls to the window and gazes outside. "This fisherman. He was rather closed mouthed about that near island." Turning back to face the missionary, he raises his eyebrows when he speaks.

"Mentioned a priest or some holy man out there all alone. A Catholic, said he."

"Might be he could use looking in on. You know...just to be sure he's unharmed."

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: I had misread Gerhard's last point. Apologies all around.

"Said something about damaging a light house too...Them's made 'o stone, if memory serves."

"Andrej, can you drive that cart o' yours?"

Andrej said...

"Could be that I would drive my cart into some danger for these shopkeepers and fishmongers. Could be too that I'd like to pay a courtesy to my catholic brother upon the isle. I would, though, know more of this danger beforehand. Perhaps more to the point, considering our current circumstance, what commercial venture does this Gerhard wring his hands over.

Andrej said...

OOC: I know Alexis has already claimed that Gerhard would not offer more info, but that was before he knew we had a cart and a foolhardy driver. Silvius, you should be our broker in this. Either arrange a meeting for us all with Gerhard or meet privately. I presume you all are willing to see what's what on the island. The condition of our involvement and the use of our cart is dependent upon a more thorough explanation from Gerhard and a negotiated share in whatever we recover from the island.

Silvius Volundr said...

"Now that was the funny part, for he did not come out and say it out and out. I reckon we could seek him out at the docks." Silvius casts a glance to where Ahmet and Ninetoes slumber away.

"Reckon they are dead?"

Andrej said...

"Nay, not dead. I can smell their breath from here. Beer, Silvius, is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. The hangover is a reminder that the Sabbath os for other things. Let us seek out Gerhard at the docks."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet has spent these last three weeks hunting for work, but with little success. The last three days -- not a single copper. Though he has availed himself of the food (but not the beer, after learning it apparently contains alcohol), Ahmet has otherwise not joined the infidels in their odd festival. He also seldom spoke to the three others who remained in the common room, beyond introducing himself and saying he is looking for work -- be it as a common laborer or as a mercenary.

Now he lays in bed, thinking, half listening. When two of the others begin talking of heading to the docks, he sits up.

"If there is work to be had at the docks... I will go there as well."

Nine-toes said...

"What's that about docks? And I don't suppose you saw the Queen of Sweden anywhere about here, did you? No? How does one dream about someone one has never met, I wonder."

Silvius Volundr said...

"Queen of Sweden? Here? I think not, friend. This is the last place you would find one such as her."

Silvius returns his gaze to the window. "Ack. Just look a them. They pull their boats from the sand as we speak. What a miserable life t'would be to hunt fish. Up afore dawn and then it is to hope and prayer that we rely. Hope that a fish climbs into our net. No way to earn your wage."

"We should make haste if we are to catch up with this Gehard. And this time, I shall not let his silvered tongue befuddle me."

"Ahmet, You are awake! Do you believe in irony?"


OOC: Love the Queen reference, 9Toes! That made me laugh. Andrej,if we catch up with that cat, Gerhard, we can work a deal.

Also, I didnt mean to ram us into this course of action. I was just trying to get the ball rolling. If you guys want to change directions at any time, I am all ears. This island does seem to hold some promise though- and probably a lot of danger if they are sending for help.

Andrej said...

OOC: Not at all Silvius. We're looking for some coin, this is our only prospect so far.

Stop me if you've heard this one, a priest, a muslim, a buddhist and a smith's son all walk into a bar...

Ahmet said...

Ahmet ignores the question from Silvius. Perhaps the question is not worthy of an answer. Perhaps he did not hear him. Perhaps he does not know what the word "irony" means and, thinking it is the name of some pagan god, chooses not to engage in religious debate.

Instead, he stands and begins pulling on clothing. But stops, a doublet in one hand, studded leather in the other.

"What manner of work is at the docks?" he asks. "Fight? Or fish?"

Nine-toes said...

Nine-toes gets dressed as well.

"Fight or fish, I could use a good walk."

Looks up at Ahmet.

"They certainly don't grow them small where you're from. If we could but take a sack of potatoes and plant them in your native soil, no doubt we'd never starve. I pray you take no offense at my wit or lack thereof, good sir. No doubt last night's festivities have not sharpened it any. Let us hope a walk will clear the fog."

Nine-toes said...

To Andrej:

"Might I be right in thinking you are a holy man, good sir? I would hate to trouble the Lord for something so trivial - I am a peasant with a peasant's understanding, and I am hoping you will correct me like a shepherd before I stray too far. But would you perhaps be able to cure those afflicted by headaches? Ah, I see from your expression that I have erred grievously once again. No doubt I am being rightfully punished for my previous overindulgence, and it is my duty to suffer properly. I shall shut my mouth and not speak of it again."

Andrej said...

Andrej mutters a silent prayer and crosses himself as Emmanuel aids him in the donning of his armor

Ahmet said...

Ahmet nods to Ninetoes, then, seeing Andrej strapping on armor, does likewise.

Ahmet said...

(OOC Note: Alas, I will likely be unable to post for the next eight hours or so, but Ahmet will tag along with the party in the hope of a pay day.)

Nine-toes said...

*stomach growling*

Have we any time before we are expected? I find I still have some coin even after the festival, and I'd be of even less use to anyone on an empty stomach. What say you? Can I buy you fine gentlemen anything to eat in honor of our impending business venture? Let it perhaps be said that Nine-toes is addlepated and rude, but always generous with any willing to be his friends.

And if we are taking a long trip, it might be wise to prepare in some way. If time is pressing (tosses an apple to Andrej, Emmanuel, Ahmet and Silvius) this will have to do for the time being.

Andrej said...

Andrej takes a bite from the apple, "This should do for now, I say, much thanks Ninetoes. Emmanuel, see to the horse and cart please. We may be making a hasty departure if the tide is with us."

Alexis said...

Emmanuel answers, "Yes Master Andrej."

The new moon is in five days, and the tide is therefore highest at 10 am.

Andrej said...

I believe that our next course of action would be to seek out Gerhard, starting with the docks/ fishing boats.

Nine-toes said...

Lead the way, Silvius, if you would be so kind.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet nods in thanks, eats his apple, and follows the crowd.

Silvius Volundr said...

Taking a bite from his own Apple, Silvius nods his thanks to Ninetoes and, with spear in hand, leads the way to the docks.

OOC: sorry boys, took my turn at the other side of the table at a game of D for much of the day.

Alexis, it is probably too early to hit the market for rations as of yet...but I want to grab a few grocery items at some point.

Ahmet said...

OOC: I'm bringing everything I own -- I'm assuming we're "checking out" as it were. Ahmet doesn't have enough money to stay another night anyway!

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: Good thinking, Ahmet. Silvius will also bring all of his gear.

Nine-toes said...

OOC: Same with Nine-toes.

Alexis said...

(OOC: You'll all find I generally don't get on during the weekends. I do most of my D&D work, get around, and run my games on the weekends. I'll look in, add a word here and then, but I'm probably not around for sustained play.

Please take note that it being a Lutheran city, and being on the shore, the full gamat of shops and stores are open virtually every day)

Gerhard is not difficult to find. He's a fishmonger, a seller of fish, and not a fisherman, and you find him laying out his stock for the day. He will take note of you, Silvius, and nod, asking, "And what is this gang of rough customers you've brought me today, Silvius?"

Silvius Volundr said...

"Rough customers, Gerhard? I admit that this one here," jerking his thumb toward Ahmet, "could frighten a body at first glance, but I assure you he is simply a hungry man seeking fresh catch. I fancy something local. Say from around this Neuweek Isle."

"Also if you have some smoked herring or some such, I shall take a barrel. Give us something that can stand a little travel, will you?"

Silvius pulls a cigar from his pack and lights it, taking several quick draws before continuing. "If my mind serves me, twas you that mentioned need of a cart n' driver. It may be that we could be of service in that way. Where is it that you need such a cart to journey to?"

Alexis said...

"Catch, yes, that's what I could use around Neuwark Isle. I've a load of timber and stone to carry out there, for which I'll pay 6 c.p. for the day's use of a cart and horse. As far as smoked herring goes, I've not more than two fifths of a keg, not quite two gallons...but I'll hand that over for 48 gold pieces.

"But I'll be honest with you, Silvius - it's rough customers I want. There's more on Neuwark than just broken homes."

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius gives the fishmonger a reassuring smile and nods his head.

"Alright then." Silvius steps closer to the man, ensuring that his voice is kept low when he speaks. "You have a need of some hardened men and we have some needs as well. Give your friend Silvius a taste of what is going on out there on Neuwerk. "

"What else is out there asides broken homes?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet folds his muscular arms across his broad chest, looking very much the rough customer indeed. He purses his lips as if to ask a question at the mention of "more than broken homes," but holds his tongue, allowing the smooth talking Silvius to continue.

Alexis said...

Gerhard will back off a step or two. "A bit of business, which I won't speak about here. If you are tough as nails, and you ARE foolhardy enough, round up a cart for me and I'll show you once we're out there. The last thing I'll do is play my hand out when there's any number of others who'd take advantage once they knew."

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius nods to the man with a smile.

"Foolhardy, then. We shall be back within the hour. Don't go getting yourself lost or somesuch until then, if you please, Gerhard."


OOC: if everyone else is in, I say we go get Andrej's cart and do this. If all are in, Alexis, I would like to swing be the marker and buy a box of salt and 5 dozen potatoes.

Nine-toes said...

OOC: I'm in. Nine-toes already offerred, does anyone else need anything they couldn't yet afford? I've got 113 gp. Being a novice, Nine-toes will look to Andrej for what we might need. Also, it would be good to get Ahmet a hammer.

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: I was going to ask the same, 9toes.

Alexis, you told us when we were making our characters that you didn't want us pooling funds. Can we help one another out now?

If so, Ahmet, what so you need or want? I have around 70gp burning a hole in my pocket.

Ninetoes, they are fresh out of hammers in this fish town.

Alexis said...

As long as you're committed to a single venture, yes, I don't care if you pool resources at this point. However, since shopping takes a long time, and since the tide rules, Gerhard will tell you that he wants to leave town at 2 p.m, when the tide begins to drop. That will give four hours to get to the island before the tide rolls in again.

On account of that, and the time it takes to buy items, and it being just now past 7 a.m., I would like to limit the players to 7 shops (fishmonger's, weaponwright, town market, etc.), or one per hour, each.

Ahmet isn't proficient in hammer. He gets his +1 with a pick axe.

Silvius Volundr said...

7 shops should be plenty.

Alexis, assuming that everyone buys into this course of action, shall we just list where we go, what we purchase and then reflect it on our character sheets or would you prefer we handle this another way?

Alexis said...

Be honest and update your character sheets; just that will be enough.

Ahmet said...

OOC: I'm good, thanks. I was eyeing a cooking pot, but it was too dear at 28 g.p. Anyone have one?

I have a shield, but no sword. (As blades go I'm proficient with the scimitar, as every Turk should be.) I think a scimitar is likely too pricey. But I call dibs if we come across one!

Alexis said...

(OOC: Part of the problem with my equipment table is that I cannot account for every item that might be needed. Ahmet, I've updated my potter's table - won't be sending it out - so that there's an earthenware cooking pot included, for 26 s.p. Somewhat more fragile, but much cheaper)

Alexis said...

(OOC: oh, and it weighs 4.5 lbs.)

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: Andrej has a cook pot, Ahmet. We should be good to go there, unless Alexis has it save vs. peteification (+2) with each usage.

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: in Alexis' newest post on his Tao site, he explains that he is not referring to "the online game", but I think that we may be doing some of what he is referring to since some of us are familiarizing ourselves with this game and its pace (read the post if you haven't yet).

I don't want to do that.

As such, Silvius is going shopping for groceries and then meeting Gerhard at 2pm. Period.

Nine-toes said...

OOC: Okay. I do the same.

Alexis said...

Andrej and Ahmet are probably hung up; I'll give them a little more time to jump in ... I don't want to railroad either.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet looks a little confused -- shopping, now, BEFORE we get paid? -- but of course, the others likely have more coins in their purse than he does. He follows them, ignoring the goods in the market that he can't afford, keeping a wary eye out for the numerous pickpockets, cutpurses and -- what was that word again? foot padders? -- he has been told frequent such places.

Andrej said...

OOC: Sorry folks, was tied up today and tomorrow isn't looking good, but the rest of the week should run smoother.

Ahmet, I've got a pot. If you guys prefer buying your own groceries go ahead, but it might be easier if you let me plan it out, at least in the beginning, and just throw cash in for now once I let you know what I'm buying.

My activity today will be limited to buying some food, based on how/ what the party wants to proceed with that. I'm good with taking Gerhard out to the isle @ 2PM.

Alexis said...

Ahmet hasn't definitely said so - being so wrapped up in his character that he's forgetting to address the foregoing issue(OOC: only an observation), but he's "following along" ... so as DM I'll interpret that as yes, he'll join you with Gerhard.

I'll continue this on the next post. If Ahmet wants to borrow money for something to buy, I'll give him the rest of today (real time) to do so.

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: Sounds great, Andrej. I have a small amount of food (a few days worth?), but will kick you some sheckles for chow later.

Now I am just hoping that whatever is on this island is actually something we can handle!

It better not be Mottled Sea Worms or Salt Water Trolls...

Ahmet said...

OOC: Sorry, Alexis, I tend to get wrapped up in character. Yes, I'm following Silvius to meet with Gerhard, and no, I'm not buying anything. I too have some food, so we should be OK for a few days.

Andrej said...

Well, I just bought flour, potatoes, butter, cooking oil, feed for the horse, salt, small odds and ends. My specialty is on-the-road dumplings & potatoes. If you want to eat from Andrej's pot the going in cost will be 11 silvers and 7 coppers. This will keep you fed for several days. Please note in Alexis game you must take in a certain number of pounds per day of food to remain healthy. Odds and ends you bought at the grocer may not last you as long as you think.

Andrej said...

P.S. items are already bought. You can pay me later if you're low on capital.