Hein (fub) wrote,

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Marehuizen, session 9

[Wherein the character of the local population is experienced]Dramatis Personae:
- Senex, most senior magician of Marehuizen;
- Matilda, his young apprentice;
- Johannes, Jerbiton magician from Marehuizen.

As Senex and Matilda are the guests of Hoede Schutte, he explains that tonight the family of Baruch the Jew celebrates Pesach. Baruch invites Rudbert and Hoede and his family over for a festive dinner -- also to celebrate the fact that they have built Grunloh up in the absence of ruling nobility. Hoede gets up and announces that they will go to Baruch's, and he offers to escort his guests to their quarters. There is no need for that, and so the magicians take their leave. Senex ambles to the shelter they prepared, but Matilda want to make use of her freedom: the people usually watching her are absent! With Landru the cat under her arm, she walks around Grunloh, seeking out Baruch's house. Landru has been there before, so he gives directions.
Peering through the windows, Matilda sees Rudbert the pastor, Hoede, his wife Diede and Baruch's family sitting at the table. Baruch and Rafael sing in an exotic language, and Rafael is clothed in something even more exotic than normal... Matilda creeps closer, and when the singing stops, she uses her magic to whisper 'Come outside!' into Rafael's ear, but her magic fails her...
At the end of dinner, the women clear the table and retire to the kitchen to discuss 'women things'. After some time, Rafael returns with a tray with spiced wine, which he serves to the men. Then he excuses himself, and the men drink to each other's health. Rudbert starts talking about he wants a bigger church in the city (which seems to be a recurring theme in discussions with him). He tells Baruch that, to celebrate the end of slavery (from a noble ruler), he is thinking of dedicating the new church to St. Calixtus, who used to be a slave. In that way, every day would be a celebration of the end of slavery, and not only Pesach! Baruch, who on previous occasions did not seem inclined to pay for a new church of a religion that is not his, seems to think dedicating the church to an end to slavery is a mighty good idea...

By then, Matilda has to move, because it's becoming obvious she is listening in... She walks on towards the church to take a look at the pyre there. The wooden church itself is small: maybe not more than a classroom, with maybe room for ten families. It's much too small for the current population of Grunloh, and it has seen better times. Behind it is the field with the pyre, and Matilda sees the biggest pile of wood she has ever seen: easily more wood than the church is made of! Behind the stack is a large rectangular boulder, which looks like a altar before a large tree. This tree already has many leaves, unlike the other trees: it's still too early in the year for that! Matilda detects a faint aura of Faery from the tree. Landru remarks that the people who are moving around the stack, adding more and more wood to it, seem to have the same respect for the stack of wood as they do for the church...
But it is getting dark, and Matilda returns to their camp outside of the city. When she walks to the gates, she encounters Rudbert. Rudbert seems surprised to see her, but he greets her and continues on.

That morning, at Marehuizen, Johannes sets his plan for befriending the local farmers in motion. He creates a procession: he will wear his best clothes and go on horseback, with two guards behind him. Right before him, two French servants will push a cart, on which the baskets with the sweetbreads will be placed. The carts are decorated. In front, two local servant girls will walk, and they will offer the baskets to the farmers. He has thought of a route along the paths that will take them to every farm in the area.
The first farm they reach belongs to farmer Koster. He sees the procession coming long before they reach him, and he comes to the road with his pitchfork in hand. He is suspicious, but when one of the girls approaches him with the bread, he sticks his pitchfork in the ground and takes it. He stammers that he has nothing to give in return, and offers to perform some work in return. Johannes smiles his most fetching smile at him, and wishes him a happy easter.
The next farm is from farmer Koekestroe. He, too, approaches with a pitchfork, accompanied by a large, barking dog. He shouts to the procession to go away, and his teenaged sons come running with improvised weapons from farming equipment. Even when Johannes tells him he only wants to wish him a happy easter, he is adamant they leave. Not wanting to push the issue, Johannes orders the group to turn around. One of the French servants mutters that the farmer should have been turned into a frog, but luckily the farmer doesn't speak French!
Farmer Geerdink didn't see us coming, and is startled when he finds the procession standing next to him! He comes up to the group, and says: "We haven't had nobility here for fifteen years, we're not going to start now!" Johannes tries to ease his worries by pointing out he is not of nobility and merely wants to wish his neighbours a happy easter. With that, one of the girls approaches with the sweetbread. When he sees that, Farmer Geerdink takes the basket and says his boys are always hungry. He warns that he will not give anything in return -- and Johannes reassures him (or at least tries to) that there's no need for that.
Farmer Lurvink sees us coming and greets the group and Johannes especially. Johannes smiles his most fetching smile and wishes his neighbour a happy easter! Lurvink thanks them for the sweetbread and announces that he will send one of his children with a gift to Marehuizen later that day. Johannes assures him that won't be necessary, but Lurvink insists he does not wish to be indebted to anyone.
Farmer Groot Grunnewiek has a larger patch of land, and has enough money to hire a farmhand. The group finds him sitting on a bench in front of his house: it's a nice day, and he has the luxury of leisure. When he sees the procession, he calls his wife who comes out of the house. Together, they wait for the arrival of the group from Marehuizen. When the sweetbread is offered, they accept the gift with good graces, and the wife gets handed the basket. She dissapears inside while the farmer makes smalltalk: he has seen the lands around Marehuizen being worked, and so he knew someone was set up there. When the wife returns with a large basket of eggs, he looks at her and shakes his head. His wife dissapears back inside and then returns with a pie she had baked, and offers it to the group. Johannes graciously accepts this gift, and after some further pleasantries, the group returns to Marehuizen.

When they return, Dorkas is waiting for them. She asks Johannes how his little expedition went. Knowing the local common folk better than he, she already suspects that things did not go as smoothly as it had played out in Johannes' mind. She points out that the locals do not want to feel beholden to anybody, especially not to nobility! Positively speaking, they are independent and self-sufficient. But negatively, they can't take anything from anybody without having to pay them back...

Later that day, a daughter of farmer Geerdink comes by, and delivers a cheese. And to Johannes' surprise, also a son of farmer Koekestroe comes by! He comes to deliver a black pudding, and when questioned about this by the kitchen staff, he tells them his parents have gotten into a screaming fight because of what happened. His mother called his father uncouth for refusing a gift, and his father didn't want to take anything from anybody who has the air of nobility around them: he does not wish to return to serfdom! When his father stormed out of the house, his mother gave him the black pudding and told him to bring it to Marehuizen. He does not want to bring a sweetbread back with him, but on the insistence of the staff, he reluctantly takes it...

When evening comes, the locals leave Marehuizen and go to Grunloh, to spend the evening with their family and to celebrate the lighting of the easter fires.
Tags: marehuizen

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