The Lowly Scribe
"... and six shares of high wheat flour. Next, there were four lambs born to the ..." Kyry scribbled down everything the tally man was reporting to her. He was one of her most frequent customers as he was always having to send written reports and his writing was atrocious. He had to dictate to her what he had written on his notes because he was the only one who could read them! The tally man finished and stood up. "I expect it and the envelope ready for tomorrow morning" "Certainly, Master Townsend." She assured him. The tally man left. Kyry got up and closed the door he had left open. She appreciated having to get up and move a little bit, despite his having left the door open being poor manners. She was about to sit back down when there was a knock on the door. "Enter," she said and turned back to the door.A messenger walked in, dropped a letter on her desk then hurried on out, closing the door behind him. Kyry sat down and picked up the letter. It was from Lady Milkhaven, Kyry frowned. She had worked for Lady Milkhaven until one of her handmaidens had shown great skill with calligraphy. Kyry had been let go as Lady Milkhaven seemed to not understand that a scribe did far more than make pretty letters. The pay from Lady Milkhaven was handsome but she was tired of the uncertainty. She loved her new home. It had taken all her earning to pay for it, and make a little parlor shop in the front have of it. The amount of modest work she did allowed her to live fairly well with the certainty that her home was truly hers. Kyry pulled a blank paper from the neat stack on the corner of her desk. She grinned as she imagined the fits Lady Milkhaven would throw once she read the refusal letter Kyry started to write.
Being A Scribe
A scribe writes things for others. From copying manuscripts and other texts to taking dictation, the sources of their words are many and varied. Not only do they write things, they do so with precision and, when needed, very beautifully. By far the most writing a scribe does is the writing of letters for others. Not only because of there clean penmanship, but because a scribe knows the proper forms of every kind of correspondence. Knowing the proper salutations and complimentary closings for all the various types of correspondence is as important as what goes into the body of a letter. In addition to copying and letter writing, a scribe will also keep records in an orderly manner. These records can be for private business, judicial, and historical. They are often tasked with keeping and maintaining schedules in business and governments as well as seeing to it that the various papers required to keep such things running smoothly are filled out.
A scribe dress in well cut clothes of common clothes so they look dignified yet can easily be unnoticed in the presence of their employers. This allows them to take dictations without distracting the speaker. Employers often have them quietly dictation entire conversations within their studies and meeting rooms. This is only possible as scribes know shorthand, a means of writing quickly using symbols and abbreviations. Most scribes toil in the archives and studies little noticed save when when their employers wish to dictate some correspondence. This unnoticing often spreads into their everyday lives as well. It is rumored that a scribe can rival a butler with an air of unassuming presence. This ability often leads employers to forget just how important their scribe is until they dismiss their scribe on a frivolous whim, causing great disruptions.
There are so many ways for a scribe to earn a living. Many are hired by the wealthly and nobility as personal secretaries. Others can find work in conservatories, libraries, and in the nobles courts. Some have even built simple shops where they offer their skills to the more common citizens charging a somple fee for each requested task. A scribe's life may be modest but theirs is a life full of opportunity and a promise of never struggling to get by.