A large laundry basket in a washhouse

Result 12 – Part 3

Before long, the two of you enter another greener district beyond the previously built-up one; apparently, you’re at the edge of the city here, judging by the farmland you catch a glimpse of along the way. You eventually come to an area of grassland surrounded by temporary iron fencing, decorated with banners, flyers, and screens between which you can see an array of carriages, stalls, and the tops of some tents in the distance. From the limited view you have here, it’s apparent that the Grand Jamboree is pretty big.

Finnegan points further down the road to a large gate where a small handful of people come and go, watched by a couple of guards. Finnegan opts not to get much closer, not wanting to risk being harassed by the watchmen.

“That there’s the main entrance.”

After gazing through the fence for a while longer, you ask Finnegan where the washhouse he mentioned is. It’s not very far, so he opts to take you there as well.

Sure enough, a short while later, the two of you stand outside an iron gate leading to a large courtyard filled with numerous washing lines draped with dozens of items. As you look, you can see a woman busy hanging more clothes on another line from a large basket on the floor. Finnegan gives a whistle.

“Ey there, Ellie!”

The woman looks over, and tuts upon seeing the grinning Finnegan. She strides over, muttering something under her breath, though you can’t quite make out what she said.

“Here to cause more trouble, are ya?”

“Now, I ain’t done so much as disturb a leaf, and you know it! Per’aps I’ll just take me friend ‘ere to the other washhouse and let them ‘ave ‘er custom instead…”

Ellie tuts again and rolls her eyes, shaking her head as she unlocks the gate to let you both through, muttering something about Finnegan being a “muddle mug” for bringing a customer in via the back entrance.

“Go on in. And don’t touch anything!”

Finnegan waves dismissively and carefully leads you around the drying laundry, trying to avoid touching any of the clean, white sheets while Ellie resumes her work.

In the washhouse, warm and humid and smelling of soap, lavender, and a scent you don’t quite recognise, Finnegan leads you into one of the laundry rooms, where four women are hard at work scrubbing clothes, talking and laughing heartily. Before Finnegan can say anything, one of them spots you both and calls out.

“Keep your wits about you, girls; Finn’s in town!”

The others turn to look and a chorus of greetings (and light jabs) follow. One of the women speaks to Finnegan.

“I don’t have any work for you today, Finn…”

Finnegan shakes his head.

“No, it’s OK, Morrie; I brought you some work.” He gestures to you dramatically and then gives them a quick summary of what the two of you have been up to all morning, with an eager display of his new shoes, of course. His description seems to put you in their good books.

Morrie wipes her brow and comes over to you and asks to see what items you need to be washed. You tell her you don’t have them on you right now, but you can go and come back with them. She says that’s fine; if you bring them soon enough, they may be able to wash them and start drying them before they close up for the day.

Alright; that sounds like a plan. You turn to Finnegan and thank him for showing you around. You offer him another 5 cogs, stuffing them into his pocket when he refuses to take them in his hand after protesting that you’ve already given him enough. You say goodbye to the other ladies as Morrie leads you to the reception at the front of the building, passing an adjoined room where another lady is busy ironing whilst keeping an eye on the entrance.

Standing in the doorway and looking up and down the main road, Morrie points you in the right direction and gives you some instructions to get back to Slaryn House from here; Rorora Washhouse on Rorora Street. You thank her, and promise to be back shortly.

Back at Slaryn House, you knock on Ameronis’ door to see if she wants anything washed as well, but there is no response. You gather your things, then take a quick bath and change into your last clean outfit, adding your previous one to the pile of laundry. Then, with bundle in hand, you return to the washhouse about an hour after you left.

Back in the reception, the ironing lady is still ironing, though she spots you as soon as you enter and greets you warmly with a smile. She puts the iron to the side and welcomes you back.

“Ah, Morrie said you’d be back. She said to bring you through.”

At the washhouse

(Ai-generated image produced using Stable Diffusion)

She leads you back to the washing room, where the four women you saw before, along with “Aggie” from the courtyard are still vigorously washing clothes.

Your presence is announced and the washerwomen turn their attention to you. Morrie wipes her hands on her apron and comes over once again.

“Welcome back. Let’s see what you’ve got, shall we?”

She counts and sizes up your bundle of stuff, asking for 17 cogs to wash the lot. You agree and hand over the money. While she sorts through your clothes and travel gear, one of the other woman continues to watch you, waiting until Morrie is busy moving your clothes over to the wash tubs.

So, “Valine”, was it? What brings ya to Durna? Finn said you been travelling?

You turn and lean against the counter, nodding. You tell her that you’re just wandering along to see the world and happened to pass by Durna so decided to stop and see the sights.

The women are intrigued by the concept of you coming from out of town, and what wonders you’ve seen on your travels so far. They ask you what treacherous mountains or mysterious ruins you’ve seen. You laugh and tell them that you haven’t quite seen anything like that yet. Mainly pretty landscapes and quaint villages, though admittedly, your adventure has only just begun, so there’s plenty of time to find yourself some interesting sights and get yourself into wild situations.

Another lady shudders at the idea of travelling along like you have.

“Oooh, I don’t fancy that! Always having to look over your shoulder, keep one eye open…Never knowin’ when someone might try to rob you or stab you in the back! And that’s on top of having to deal with spiders and… bears, and… getting soaked in the rain and mud! No, not on this side of the river, I say!”

“Oh, go on, Brinnet, you’re too soft! Where’s your sense of adventure?” says the first lady.

“Not in the jaws of death, that’s for sure! I’ll leave the adventuring to the fools and heroes, thank you very much”, says Brinnet.

“Ah, you’re boring. I’d happily leap at the chance to go out on the road and see the world! And if anything tries to trouble me, I’ll give ‘em a good thrashing!” the first lady says.

She chops the water a few times for emphasis, and what follows is a heated debate between the women about the ups and downs of adventuring, and whether any of them has what it takes to actually survive a single week out there on their own.

There are accusations that some would spend more time crying than anything else, with others being unable to hold a map the right way up. There are suggestions that two of the women are likely to perish after eating poisonous mushrooms or managing to set themselves on fire whilst trying to make a campfire, which results in a lot of teasing, shouting and soapy water being flicked about (until Morrie puts a firm stop to that), but one suggests that she’s more than capable of managing out there, but would definitely trip and sprain her ankle during the first 5 minutes on the road thus rendering her incapable for the rest of the time, an admission that results in uproarious laughter and others agreeing that something like that would likely happen to them too.

Afterwards, they’re a little more balanced, shooting each other and themselves down in certain areas, but, suggesting areas where individuals would actually manage to do well. They all agree that Elaphora; “Ellie” who was hanging clothes in the courtyard earlier, would be capable of handling bears or bandits, except Elaphora herself, who claims she would faint and crumple to the ground immediately if she saw a bear.

Any bandit or bear who tried to harass Morrie, the boss of the washerwomen, or Agnai, the one who started this whole discussion, would instantly regret their decision, though for different reasons, apparently. Were it to come down to a fight though, Morrie would likely stand the best chance.

Grace, who is, by far, the loudest of the group, is nominated as the one who could likely talk her way out of any situation; she could apparently convince both the bandits and the bears to reconsider their life choices. The concept of Grace giving therapy to a bear is met with a fit of laughter that causes the washing to grind to a halt for a second; Morrie threatens to beat them all with the broken mangle handle she extracts from her belt and waves about; the washing continues, as does the laughter.

Brinnet, with her distinctive, infectious laughter, is likely to be able to get out of trouble as well, mostly because people would take one look at her and would melt into a passive puddle. Brinnet, on the other hand, thinks she’d be an easy target. The women spend the next few minutes trying to convince her that she wouldn’t be captured immediately.

They face a similar conundrum in regards to Magara though, the ironing lady currently manning the reception, when Brinnet mentions her. Both she and Brinnet are quite soft and gentle, so might not be able to handle any kind of conflict.

However, Grace says there’s a chance that, when push comes to shove, they might be more capable than anyone might think. She says that looking at you, people might not see you and think that you’re some kind of battle-hardened warrior, but, you’ve clearly managed to survive on your own for a good while. Brinnet counters by saying that you might not have run into any trouble so far, so that doesn’t prove anything.

So the women turn their attention back to you and ask you directly; have you run into any trouble with beast or bandit so far? You nod, telling them that you’ve had more than a few encounters along the way with both. They push you for more info, and you’re simultaneously asked what happened, and how you managed to get out of that situation.

You bring out your battleaxe.

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