By THLaird Colyne Stewart
Pull up a chair, stranger. Sit down and have a drink. The ale's not too bad here, but I'd avoid the wine if I was you. The Jaunty Troll is not known for its wine, but by St. Crispinus they serve a good ale!
By your looks I'd wager you're a merchant, my friend. Come up to sell us northerners some of your southron wares, are ya? Hah! You may find it hard to sell some of your thin cloth this month, as the ghost of winter is lingering in these parts, I fear.
It's Spring, or so they tell us, but you'd never know it to look out those windows, would you? Cold and damp, its more like November than May. What's more, in some parts round 'bout here, there's been snow!
In fact, on New Year's Day it was awful damp! I'm a tailor by trade, and I thought I'd go to the annual Spring Tune-up, held in the Canton of Caer Draeth, to get some business. See, it was being held on New Year's Day this year, and there was to be a maske
d ball to
celebrate, so I thought I might be able to get a few gentles to part with some
coin for a costume or two to go with their masks.
Well, when I set out in the dark dawn it was so foggy that the light from my lantern coul
d barely penetrate it. I was
worried I'd loose my way, perhaps fall prey to bandits, but luckily the
barony's army kept the roads cleared of brigands, and the fog eventually
lifted. However, what I saw when I could see again was not good! For the king's
engineers had decided to shut down large stretches of the King's Highway. Now
mind you, I ain't criticizing the king, heaven forbid, or his engineers either,
it was just an inconvenience as the lines of wagons and wains was awful long.
I decided to go off into the woods, as I do know some short cuts through there from my younger days, of which I will not bore you. It took a while, but eventually I made my way to another great road and soon I was approaching the hall. I could see some brave archers out in the wet, for it was raining again, and the yard about the hall was more water than dirt.
I heard there was supposed to be some horse riding, and some atl atl throwing outside (atl atl being some kind of spear sized arrow, or so my friend Timothy tells me), but all that was shut down by the rain.
Gaining admittance, I set up my booth and did indeed manage to sell a few items of clothing. From time to time I'd pay a young lad to watch the booth so I could wander a bit and stretch my legs. Due to the inclement weather outside, the hall inside had a tendency to be damp, and my poor joints swelled up something fierce.
To pass the time, I enlisted my services with the marshal and helped watch over the knights and squires and lords and ladies at tournament upon the list field. I don't know if the weather had made them surly, but there were a few occasions of raised voices. Now stranger, I'm no gossip, and names wouldn't mean anything to you if I said them, so I'll leave that part there.
I got so caught up in the tourneys, that I forgot about my booth altogether, an
d by the time I got back to it I found the lad fast
asleep. Luckily nothing was missing, and I sent the lad off with a penny and a
finger wagging. After locking up my gear in my wagon, I wandered into the feast
hall where I volunteered my services. With several other good gentles I served
up brimming bowls and laden plates, all over loaded with humus, sausages,
chicken, fried tomatoes, beef in a coffin and many other dishes. My compatriots
and I were given our own food to eat, and we fell to it at the back of the hall
with gusto! A few brave souls stood up to entertain the crowd during the meal,
singing jolly songs.
After the meal there was to be a court. Their Majesties Ealdormere processed to the front of the hall, and they asked Their Excellencies Septentria to join them, praising them for the work they had done maintaining the lands they held for the Crown. Their Excellencies Ramshaven were also invited to sit by Their royal side.
Perhaps the most memorable moment during the court, stranger, was when Baroness Ursula na Clan na Rath was called for. Her Excellency was actually in a room overlooking the court. A page went forth to tell Her Excellency that she ha
d been summoned, and all present witnessed the
resulting reaction. Namely, her jumping up and throwing her arms around the
hall's bar! Deciding that more force than the page was required, Her Majesty
Marion II, followe d by spear
bearers, went to persuade Ursula to come to court. His Majesty Berus II, seeing that even this persuasion was
failing, decided that if the baroness would not come to court, court would come
to the baroness. Therefore Baroness Ursula was inducted into the Order of the
Wain in the bar. His Majesty, announcing that there was no further business,
and that the bar was open for business, then closed court.
d ball was then held under the
guidance of Lord Darius the Dancer and Lady Catharine of Eoforwic,
both clad in green man masks gifted to them by Their Majesties. Many good
gentles danced the better part of the night away, clad in masks they had
purchased or created that very day.
It was a good day stranger, and many tales of it coul
told. Such as what was behind the Septentrian herald's remark, when he led
Baron Corwyn into court as "he who brings sunshine." Tell you what, friend;
buy me an ale, and I'll tell you all about it!