It was afternoon on the second day before Cremsden even had time to pull the younger apprentices off the work they were doing on fellis and numbweed and gather them into a group.
When had they managed to get such a group of youngsters, anyway? He had been vaguely conscious of more kids arriving one at a time but it took seeing them in a group -- a veritable herd of small eager faces -- to realise just how many there had been lately, and just how young they all were.
Well, work out what to do in terms of training them later. There was work to do first.
"First things," he said firmly. "*Someone* decided it would be funny to spike some of the food with passionberries last night." He glanced over the young faces, looking for signs of guilt or humour. "I understand that might seem a funny prank at this stage to some of you, but the Hall has other phrases for that kind of behaviour and they involve nasty words like "theft", "abuse of medicinal substances" and if you get really unlucky and accidentally dose someone with a pre-existing condition, "murder". We might be handling substances that have occasional comedic side-effects but it's our job to know better."
He eyed them again, still looking for the guilty flush. "Everyone gets to feck up *once*," he said. "If someone decided to develop an inappropriate sense of humour last night find me later and we'll have a quick chat. In the meantime we have work to do." He produced a piece of hide from his pocket with a flourish. "Things are moving well now, so we have time to go searching for extra herbs which might be useful. I want you all to take a good look at this and then I can free you to spend the afternoon exploring and see if you can see any sign of it." Apparently what they were searching for was a plant with small yellow flowers -- otherwise looking like fairly ordinary greenery.
"Now, there are rules," he said. "We're out in the middle of nowhere here so no-one gets to go off alone. At the very least I want you in pairs if not more and if either of the pair has a firelizard that's all the better. You come back by dinner time and if you don't we'll have search parties out for you, and they're likely to be a bit displeased if it turns out you just took a nap. Be careful and I don't care if you think you find something that you grew in your own garden at the hold since you were toddling you do not put anything in your mouths. Don't even go absent mindedly chewing your nails after picking berries. There are a lot of things out there which might look familiar and have unexpected side effects. I do not want to spend the afternoon treating an unexpected poisoning, are we clear? Take water, don't spend too long in the sun and try not to get yourselves eaten by anything, please. Any questions?"
OOC: If you have a Healer apprentice of 15 or under assume they're in this group.
Blackadder: I mean, what about the people that do all the work?
Baldrick: The servants.
Blackadder: No, me; *I'm* the people who do all the work.