Skara Brae Craftsmen Unusually Busy

Janis Williams

UP: Baja

    Skara Brae's craftsmen have always been an industrious lot, since hard work strengthens the spirit so dear to the residents of this township. This month, however, their work ethic has been put to a harsh test, as a large number of huge requests for their work has been received.

"It's incredible", explains Devin, a carpenter. "Normally at this time of the year, people only request replacement furniture for redecorating their homes a bit and maybe replace a broken table or two. But this year... First the housing boom, and now this fellow who comes in and orders several thousand boards! Not furniture, not chests, just the boards. What could someone possibly want to do with just boards, let alone several thousand?"

His partner, the lumberjack Edward, agrees. "I am going to have to travel far a field, maybe as far as Yew, to find all that wood", he explains. "And even then it's going to be rough. I have three people already all over the forest and I'm going to have to add two more or I'm not going to meet it!"

Other craftsmen, running the gamut of Skara Brae's market, have received similar outlandish requests. "With my neighbor passed away and his lands in the hands of some merchant, I have the largest farm of the region", the farmer Joseph announces proudly. "I didn't expect the kind of order I'd get, though. Lord Agnacio asked to make ready enough food for well over two hundred people!" The benefits of this unexpected boom extend to other Britannian cities. "I've had to import all kinds of cattle from all over Britannia", Dwayne recounts. "And I'm going to have to do the same with grain and vegetables."

The person responsible for this mini-boom is none other than the famed Lord Agnacio, Skara Brae's wealthiest nobleman. Met by our reporters at his manor, Agnacio was mysterious as to the whys and wherefores of his orders. "You'll see", was his message. "I promise you won't be disappointed. I am going to resurrect a long-lost Skara Braean tradition", was the most he would say.

Whatever Lord Agnacio is planning, it must be soon, if the time limits of the orders is any guide. "Requests for rounded stones are already pretty rare", explains Gwen, a stonecutter of Skara Brae. "Spires and round towers are completely out of fashion. But the man not only wants them, he gave me less than a week to cut them!" She indicates she will have to hire additional apprentices to finish the job in time without neglecting her other customers. The specifics of the order are also puzzling. "With the curvature he asks for, whatever he intends to build can't be more than two paces across."

But the gold is too good to pass up. "Twelve coins a stone - - thrice the usual price!" says Gwen with a glint in her eye. "Whoever it is, he has a lot of gold to throw about", Devin concurs. "Agnacio paid me twice the usual fare for the boards!" "And then he negotiated a price with me for getting the logs", Edward adds. "I tried to tell him that Devin's price already included my own fee, but he'd hear none of it." In total, he counts, the boards will give the pair four times their usual revenue. "I don't know why Agnacio wants any of these", Gwen concludes, "but if he's willing to spend so much gold, we'll do our best to accommodate