Carousing-Peasants-In-A-Tavern-C.-1635Morning came and the soldiers woke to a brittle winter day. The snowfall that had started when they reached the village had clearly not lasted long into the night. A thin white blanket covered everything, but in the mean sunlight the contours of the land and buildings were protruding as if they were ribs poking through the skin of a decomposing corpse.

The village was active as the men slouched out of the foul smelling tavern. They looked along the road. One way lead back the way they had come to the forest and the other lead up to the fairy-tale castle. Buildings clustered around the road: clearly the lowest point in the valley. Over West a river bed was visible wending its way down from the mountain. It was impossible to tell at this distance whether it still flowed for was iced over. People moved between the buildings. They moved quietly, with no talk. Their clothes seemed quaint and old fashioned to the cosmopolitan Spaniards. Ancient looking caps covered the villagers’ heads. Smocks reached to knees in a way that would not have looked out of place in a painting several centuries old.

Smirking to themselves, they decided to explore the town. There could be loot. There could be food. There could be women.

[New scene modifier. Praise, Masses.]

Before the soldiers get set about despoiling the place, the villagers started to cluster around.

Fearful at first, the Spaniards readied themselves for battle. Albergio, Eduare and Gari summoned their still-mind, relaxed their postures and placed their hands on scabbard and hilt ready to draw. Dide muttered to himself, readying a spell. Jurisco did likewise, though his mutterings invoked The Virgin. He also slapped his warhammer in his palm a bit. Ernat’s busy eyes darted about the street, calculating the best positions for fight and flight.

But the villagers came forward in friendship, bringing gifts of food and wine. They clustered round, fondling the soldiers’ clothes.

“Thankyou,” they said. “Thankyou for coming.”

They were distrustful at first, the soldiers of Spain. But the feelings were sincere. They allowed garlands of winter flowers to be strung around their necks. They took the flasks of wine. They savoured the kisses.

“This place seems to be untouched by the war,” Jurisco said.

“Yes.” Ernat and Jursico sat in conference on stools in the middle of the street while their friends danced with the locals in a spontaneous celebration.

“No better place to winter?” Jurisco said.

But before Ernat could offer an opinion on the matter Damian, the Burgomeester they had met last night, came to them.

“We are so pleased that you have come to us to free us from the tyranny.” He inclined his head to the castle.

[Complex question (thanks to Blastedpsychic on the Mythic group for this formulation). Trust. The Innocent.]

“They need our help.” Jurisco shook his head later when they were all pretty plastered.

“Look at them,” Ernat said. “They are clearly Calvinists. Their houses and clothes are dull. They have no joy. No ornamentation. They have no loot,” he said, shaking his head.

“They need our help,” Jurisco repeated. He clasped his crucifix and nodded to himself.

That night they slept, fully-bellied and drunk again. Again the scratching at the shutters did not have an impact, but the nocturnal visits of lithe bodies kept them in a haze of lust and exhaustion.

How much time passed this way?

NPCs:

Altivo (docile entertainer)

Antonio (pessimistic shopkeeper)

Beltran (curious officer)

Damian (conformist statesman)

Elisio (insensitive hitman)

Fadrique ( established thug)

Fernando (barman – shrew villain)

Open threads:

* What help do the villagers need.

* Why are their clothes and manner of speech so old fashioned.

* Dide has critically not been to the eastern empire. What does that mean? (New character discovery: Dide does not like to appear ignorant. While he knows a lot of stuff if he does not know he just makes it up as he knows the others know no better.)

* What is the story with the mysteriously used Roman baths.

*What is the story with the destroyed schloss.

* What is beneath the floorboards at the schloss.

* Where are they that there can be high lands and coniferous forests in Flanders.

* Where have all the other travellers gone.

* What does Albergio’s dream mean.

* Will Eduare become a king and where is all this wine coming from.

* From where will the party get food and drink. (Closed. The party are being fed by the villagers of Barovia.)

* Will the horses get fed before they die of starvation. (Closed. Horses fed.)

* Is Dide serious about cannibalism or is he just being an asshole as usual. (Update: chances are he is just an asshole.)

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