Mouths to feed

Lord Hugo looked at the farmers around him. They had only just made it out before the Druj had arrived, but they knew this day was coming and had made plans. Plans to escape, to get out with as many of their people as they could. Belongings could be remade or replaced, but lives couldn't. Hugo was not a young man anymore, but he knew his duty to his yeofolk.

The Renard farms have fed Drycastle for many years, the hard work and prosperity of these farmers had been there for the Dawnish. Now he had to feed them. He looked down at the small box of seeds before him.

"Sebille," he said to his steward, "there is only one thing for it. We need to sell the Barrenberries"

The steward looked shocked. She had seen many things in her long life, but this was one thing she never expected to hear.

"My lord." She said. "If we lose the seeds we may not be able to grow any more." He looked at her sternly, but she continued - "Without them we might as well serve the Vexille muck" She spat on the floor as she said it, remembering the vinegary taste of the liquids from the vineyards of Lord Vincent.

"Sebille" The old man spoke. "These people have never let me go hungry. I will not allow them to"

She looked at him and knew he was right.

"To Anvil then... "

The Tower of Dawn has fallen. Drycastle lays in the hands of the traitorous Druj and the Imperial presence within the Barrens has been expelled by the green tide that swept away all before it. Many ancient families who have lived on these lands for centuries now find themselves homeless as they make the march towards the relative safety of the wooded glades of Semmerholm.

Amongst these families come a large mass of farm workers who once worked the renowned farms of House Renard. For untold time House Renard has committed themselves to the maintenance of Drycastle and the fortification it held. Their farms stocked the castle and the garrison there and have fed many a Dawnish army during the numerous crusades to take the Barrens for the glory of Dawn. Their wines have have toasted many a victory and have mourned many a defeat in those troubled lands and they alone have mastered the cultivation of the grape known as the Barrenberry which give their vintages its unique flavour.

Now all that remains of this great house is its earl, an elderly enchanter known as Hugo the Scarred, and yeofolk. Oh so many yeofolk. Farmers now without farms to work, and no harvest to feed them through the coming winter. Farmers with only the clothes on their back and their Pride.

But not all is lost for some things did survive the sack of Drycastle, carried away by hand so that the cursed Druj could not get their hands on them. In addition to their heirlooms one other thing came with the refugees, a single box of seed of the fabled Barrenberries. With the Vineyards in Drycastle now in orcish hands, whoever has access to this precious bounty will be sure to monopolise the market for this now rare resource.

With so many mouths to feed Earl Hugo comes to anvil with his seneschal to find buyers for these. He is expected to arrive at some point on Saturday afternoon.

A memorial for a loved one

The young man finished putting the books in wooden crates. Most of them were full of paper, although some contained glue, tools and thread. He remembered his time here as a child, long before he had passed his Test of Mettle. His grandmother was always working, stitching pages, gluing spines. She would work long into the night and let the long tallow candles burn down. That was before her eye sight failed her.

The yeoman went to pick up the crates for him but he waved them away. He may be a noble now, but this was family. He would carry the burden, as far as the ox-cart anyway. He had made it at least half way to the doorway when he stumbled over a loose floor board.

"By the Virtues, is nothing going my way today"

Putting the crate in the cart, he came back to find his steward, knelt in front of the pile of scraps of paper, off cuts from binding some older book and reusing parts from a long past repairing tome. Although some of the paper was half chewed, probably by some foul rodent that he didn't want to have to encounter on his own, a few of the pages were recoverable.

"Let me deal with this, my lord. I think we may be able to get some crowns for these writings that we can put towards a memorial for your grandmother." The knight nodded, and carried on with the moving of the crates.

Morold Lionsgate has sent his seneschal to Anvil, with a page of writings that he found. The writings, although incomplete, seem to have been written by a Dawnish senator long since passed through the labyrinth. Whether they will fetch some coin from the Dawnish or maybe the fabled library of Anvil that he has heard so much about remains to be seen, but he knows that Sir Morold is not a rich man and it would be good to be able to put the money towards something for him.

He is likely to begin looking for a buyer in the Dawnish camp first. He will want to try the library and maybe to speak to other seneschals to see if they are interested, maybe someone from Weirwater is interested in the writings of an influential past senator. If not, it will have to be selling the cider round the taverns again.

A mysterious death and a skein on the brink

The thane looked at the body of the young icewalker laid out before him. The grimnir laid his old hands on the body of the girl’s corpse, he examined the body for any sign of wounds or malady. There, were none apart a fine white froth around her lips. He wiped it away with a cloth and sniffed it, trying to see if it had the recognisable smell of True Vervain, the sign that an apothecary had been at work here. He shook his head confused.

"How did you find her, what had she been doing” Erkki asked the assembled crowd.

The glances of the crowd turned to a scrawny Steinr who was trying to hide the tears running

"Tolan, you filthy maggot, what have you been up to"

The young man stood forwards towards his thane.

"I found a cave... full of ruined parchments and scrolls. Most things in it had gone, but I found a knife. It must be as old as the glaciers"

Erkki looked disapprovingly, "Go on" he said.

"Ilma said that she would tell me about it. To tell me its skein. But something unnerved her, so we had a drink or two. I didn't think she'd drunk that much" He broke down, trying hard not to cry in front of his thane, but to no avail.

The grimnir coughed and both men turned round, as he compressed her chest and a salty smell was in the air as water poured from her lungs.

Ilma Erkking, a young Suaq icewalker has been found drowned dead in her sleep. Her friend has been sent from his hall, to make his own way in life. He only has one thing to sell, and although is worried about its prominence is trying to make some money by selling it. He plans to travel to Anvil where he can sell the ancient skinning knife he has found, and to try to start to make amends for the death of his friend.

He knows that the death of Ilma may make the knife harder to sell, but if he is to restart his life, it is important that he is honest with people and they know what they are getting themselves into. He has not been frayed, no Stormcrow was present at the Hall to declare him such, but he knows it wise to seek their council, maybe he could show people the cave he found, or maybe he could trade items to give a great gift to his hall.

Either way, he should start at Anvil, although this does mean speaking to his egregores, and he has heard rumours of Sulkavaris' nature.

An exemplars curiosity

Saulo looked at his sister and shrugged. The story they had been told was a good one, and they had enjoyed the tale.

"You say it was from the inspirational tomb of an exemplar of Prosperity?"

The merchant looked and them and nodded.

"And the exemplar was freeborn?"

The merchant nodded again, but tight-lipped he said nothing.

"So it was Zemress' tomb?"

The merchant kept staring, then slowly replied

"I never said whose tomb. It does not change the story"

Felipa looked at Saulo and he back to her.

"Dinner and a bed for the night for the item?" It seemed like a good deal. It was a gamble, but surely they would be able to get profit on it.

The merchant pushed the item wrapped in lace slowly and purposefully across the table. Felipa smiled and picked it up.

"I guess i will be doing the trading, you have a house guest to look after"

Saulo opened his mouth to argue, but he knew she was the better trader... and he the better cook.

Felipa i Manola i Guerra is planning on bringing this curio to Anvil to see if anyone would like to purchase it. It has not been investigated and she guarantees that no rituals nor spells have been cast on it. To investigate the item they would either have to have purchased it already or people would have to pay for the privilege.

All freeborn know that to get a good profit you need to work hard, so it is unlikely that Felipa will let the curio go to the first seller for an easy sale.