Archive for Owerton

Owerton Challenge, Issue 108, Morgus Episode 104, Red Panda Chartreuse Road Sign

Owerton Challenge:

Morgus

Red Panda Chartreuse Road Sign

Episode 004

 

December 12, 2016

Issue 108

 

Challenge: Issue 108

 

  • Words:
    • Chartreuse
    • Red Panda
    • Road Sign

 

  • Contributor:
    • C S Burgar
    • High Prairie, Alberta

 

Previously on episode 003 on Autumn 59 Unicorn with:

 

Morgus, is a mage who burns his opponents when he challenges them, he finds the thief who stole from his friends. Morgus retrieves the stolen silver heart from a dead rogue.

Later, sitting in Perch Inn tavern with a quandary over a sealed parchment, Morgus ponders the meaning of the parchment.

 

We continue now with Episode 004:

 

Autumn 65 Unicorn

 

Sitting at the tavern table, Morgus stares at the parchment he holds as Pedren sets Morgus’ morning meal on the table along with an ale.

Sighing with exasperation, the mage cautiously breaks the seal and unfolds the parchment to open and read the carefully written masculine jal script.

 

Master Morgus:

 

I am Baron Larap Hessan, I seek an audience at your earliest convenience to discuss business regarding my holdings.

Come to my residence at 1029 Drescol Street, South State district before Autumn 70 Unicorn.

 

Yours, Baron Hessan

Autumn 64 Unicorn

 

Stunned, Morgus simply stares at the writing, puzzled as to why a baron would want to do business with an unknown mage like Morgus. The baron apparently desires Morgus to such an extent that he presents a personal invitation to him.

Carefully folding the parchment, the thirty-three-year-old mage places the summons into his belt pouch. He eats his morning meal pondering the call, trying to illuminate for himself the writ from the baron. But try as he might, the jalmal produces no answers.

Exhaling, stymied with the situation, Morgus finishes his meal and cleans himself up to put forth a suitable introduction. He dresses in a new tunic, shines his boots, and brushes off his leggings.

Leaving Perch Inn, Morgus precedes northwest on Drescol Street, on the almost seven-kilometre journey to Baron Hessan’s estate.

…..

Standing outside the gates into the demesne, Morgus mulls over if he really wants to access the trust of this nobleman’s life. What will it end up meaning to Morgus? What consequences? ‘I’m not exactly crystal clean. I have a spotty past, and even though my official records were wiped clean, that doesn’t clear people’s memories. What am I entering into?

Deeply sighing and taking the next step, he ventures forward into a new life adventure. Morgus is a man who has always taken risks, never shirking opportunities, even though he may question himself.

The manor house is nestled among four other immense buildings in a six-acre courtyard of the holding. Near the massive stone four-story manor is the vast double-story wooden barn, a stone and wood carriage house, a two-story stone and wood stable, and last is the enormous three-story building which must be the storage and craftsman’s shop.

Morgus walks up the stone paved drive to the brick paved path, all the way up to the double wooden front doors in the stone face of the building. Using the silk rope of the manor’s knocker, Morgus pulls on it, and then releasing the expensive rope, he waits.

Less than three minutes later a thirty-year-old toyfem opens the elaborately carved front doors. She speaks in fluent jal. “Gods-grace and good fate master. How may I help you?”

Morgus submits to her the writ from Baron Hessan, and he says, “I was summoned for a meeting by Baron Hessan for as soon as possible?”

Without receiving the writ, she asks, “And what is your name?”

Confounded, Morgus places the summons back in his pouch before replying, “I am Mage Morgus.”

Abruptly smiling, the woman answers, “Auh, Mage Morgus, welcome. I am Ada. Please! Please enter, wipe your boots on the mat and then follow me to the Baron’s den.” She waits for Morgus to enter and wipe off his boots on the bristle mat a few feet inside the doorway.

Morgus looks at the interior of the manor, bewildered at the opulence of the intricate heart of this structure. The intimate carvings of the wooden fixtures, the fancy metal work, and the stonework that is inlaid and carved to fine details. Hundreds of thousands of coins in craftsmanship alone were expended in this building.

Walking on the inlaid basalt stone floor, the footsteps of the duo echo softly through the rooms and hallways as they walk up to the second-floor den. Invading the den, Morgus finds a twenty-foot square room with a twelve-foot ceiling. A fireplace is on the wall that nestles against the exterior of the manor, along with two three-foot square windows. The room is even more opulent than the rest of the manor that Morgus has seen. A huge maple double columned four-drawer desk with an armed padded desk chair sits along the wall near the fireplace. In front of the desk, a bear-hide rug lays on the floor, with its head still attached. Morgus sits on the long lounge sofa across the room from the desk as Ada pours him a crystal tumbler of dark red wine. She hands him the tumbler and says, “Baron Hessan will be with you when he is ready. I will let the Master know you’re here, Master Morgus.”

Morgus accepts the wine and bows from the waist as he continues to sit on the sofa, saying, “Thank you, Ada.”

Smiling, the servant departs, closing the door behind her.

Scrutinizing the chamber, Morgus is in awe at the expense placed in the construction and outfitting of the room. Just the library shelves alone contain at least five thousand coins worth of texts. Morgus is impressed at the output of wealth in the estate. As Morgus waits – for nearly two hours – he finishes the tumbler of sweet wine.

Morgus is beginning to become impatient when the door bursts open, and slowly, Baron Hessan ambles in. It is immediately apparent from the wrinkled skin and stooped posture that Hessan is at least a century old, but the jalmal still bears himself well with deliberate slow determination. He still holds his handsome appearance to some degree, with above average intelligence gleaming through the expression on his clean complexioned face.

Walking to his desk, the baron sits with the assurance of a noble with a great demeanor.

Ada follows him in, and she pours the man a tumbler of the dark red wine, which Morgus found tasted so sweet. Baron Hessan gestures for Ada to refill Morgus’ tumbler as well. Settling back in the desk chair, Hessan is humming a tune in a low tone as Ada works. Hessan waits until Ada finishes and leaves the room closing the door.

The baron now undertakes a discourse with Morgus, “You wonder why I summoned you? Mage?”

Morgus, familiar with tormenting Hessan’s holding as a youth, does question his being here, but says, “I understand you have work for me. And being as I’m a mage, I think it has nothing to do with working in the stables.”

Laughing genially, Hessan continues by saying, “Oh my boy, you do state the obvious. You know I am Baron Larap Hessan, and I’ve held this estate holding for nearly eighty years after my forefathers have held it for over three-hundred-seventy years. I do admire men who get right down to the business at hand, as I have little time left to waste. My life-companion passed away thirty-eight years ago, leaving me five surviving children and nine of sixteen surviving grandchildren. So, I’ve lived a full life with little time left. Don’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours. Deal?”

Liking Larap’s straight slicing, Morgus nods and says, “Go ahead.”

Larap pursues the dialogue, “Well as it happens, I have multiple holdings, and an individual has taken an interest in one of them. He is strong-arming me with his interest in my property, and I don’t have the stomach to deal with him. I had a chamberlain to deal with these things, but she passed on four six-days ago … One of my properties is Platter holding farm which a young Master Platter holds. He recently had an incident which a particular mage quickly and satisfactorily resolved – maybe not so cleanly, by the telling. I want to hear your version of events.”

Deciding not to laugh, Morgus ‘puts on’ his game face and answers Larap, “Baron Hessan, I see between the cracks of what you are saying, and that this is an interview on the suitability of my working for you. First, by interview, and then by test, dealing with the strong-arming individual.”

Morgus takes a drink while he observes the twinkling eyes of Larap who is gleefully acknowledging the game.

Morgus advances his theory, “So, to pass the interview I have to tell you how I resolved Farmer Platter’s issue. To tell you the truth might not be wise for my safety … but I’m a risk taker, and I think you’re bold and have crossed lines with decorum and law a few times yourself if I recall my past, here, correctly. Thus, I am going to disclose my solution to Platter’s dilemma, despite the possibility you might take action against me. I have been staying at the Perch Inn, do you know it?”

Larap gestures a positive with a flick of his hand.

“Perch Inn used to belong to my family, so when I left the university on my one-year journeyman walkabout, I returned here. I met a fellow from my checkered past there, from before I entered the University, and he has not seen eye-to-eye with me since we’ve met here. You still with me?”

Yawning, Larap flips his hand, “Go on, quickly.”

Morgus continues, “I had a run in with Bargewright Toaren –”

“BARGEWRIGHT TOAREN!” fumes Larap, “That bastard?”

Resisting smiling, Morgus precedes, “Yes, anyway, I went for a walk. Recalling the Platters were family friends in the past, I dropped in for a visit as I was traveling by.”

“You are long winded, boy.” Larap mutters.

“Lasiter informed me that my family’s friend, Master Ferfeo had passed on. While we were visiting, Lasiter advised me that he had been robbed the night before. I suggested that I might be able to locate the missing jewelry, not informing him how, but informing him that he might have to pay to get the item back.”

“But you got it back without him paying,” says Larap.

Morgus smiles. “Yes, by luck. I know the rogue guild’s fence for the district. Also, knowing that there have been a few thefts locally and the items have shown up with this fence, I surmised I would find this item there. Hoping I could get there and have him hold it until something could be arranged for the jewelry’s return to Lasiter, I traveled immediately to the fence’s building. By a stroke of luck, I arrived while the thief was trying to broker the sale of the necklace to the fence. Being as the fence and I have a history together when I correctly identified hidden markings on the jewelry he refused to buy it from the thief. I confronted the thief, who happened to perish in the confrontation. I had to arrange for a priest before returning the item to Lasiter with his lost stolen coins which I could gather from the rogue. Upon returning to Lasiter, he gave me a minor job, and being with nothing else to do, I sought to complete it quickly. He rewarded me with a few coins, and apparently was satisfied.”

Larap chuckles, “Boy, you have no idea how ecstatic Lasiter was. He reported your resolution and raved about how excellent you treated him.”

Morgus squares himself up and addresses the new issues, “So, am I going to be charged with murder or consorting with known rogues?”

Sitting up painfully straight, Larap clears his throat. After smiling, he commands, “Seven Hells, no. You’re a man I want on staff. Do my next job for me, and I’ll offer you a position on my staff as either chamberlain or estate mage, we’ll decide after you complete the job for me.”

Now Morgus gleefully laughs, as he acknowledges to himself that he recalled Larap’s personality correctly.

Larap says, “Before you laugh, you should know the job.”

Morgus settles down, agreeing with Larap, “What is the job?”

Smirking, Larap then answers, “Deal with the man strong-arming me, your Master Bargewright Toaren.”

Bolting back on the sofa, Morgus stomps a foot. For the first time in years, he reacts violently to news he receives, saying, “Seven Hells! No! Are you serious? Really?”

Now Larap mirthfully laughs for several seconds before answering, “Create your way out of this, boy.”

Morgus ponders the situation for at least four full minutes. Then he says, “I need an office here!”

Larap nods, saying, “Done, third floor, the old chamberlain’s office. Ada will show you to it.”

“I need access to funds?” quips Morgus.

“One-hundred Flairs will be placed in a chest in the office for you,” answers Larap.

Morgus walks over to the desk and extends his arm.

Larap shakes his head and then says, “Only if your solution is satisfactory.”

Morgus utters, “I don’t know the issue, but it will be resolved in your favour Baron Hessan.”

Larap furrows his pale brow, as he answers, “It had better be, rogue mage.”

Smiling, Morgus steps back and bows to Hessan.

Ringing a bell that is on his desk, Larap asks, “More wine? When are you going to start?”

Mulling the offer over, Morgus, smile stuck between being polite and being over-indulgent, he replies, “I best start as soon as possible. Ada can show me the office and inform the staff that I will be on and off the property over the next coming days. I will familiarize myself with my surroundings without lifting anything. Then I’ll start with Master Toaren’s issue.”

Ada walks into the office as Larap replies, “Exactly what I wanted to hear Morgus … Ada show Master Morgus to the chamberlain’s office and inform all staff that he will be working on the estate from that office for several days at least. Help him as much as possible … Maybe even let him eat with you once a day.”

Ada grins and she curtsies, replying, “Yes, Baron Hessan.”

Morgus and Ada walk to the third floor, going to the far northwest corner, to a darker fifteen by twenty room with a ten-foot ceiling. It is less opulent than Larap’s but still finer than any other room Morgus has been in before.

Ada asks, “Do you need anything, Master Morgus?”

Morgus snickers softly before replying, “Pinch me … no, to be serious, I’ll need ten sheets of parchment, ink, and quills, also good light. The chest Baron Larap is ordering, goes on the floor at the far end of the desk. I’d like two pitchers of wine for tomorrow afternoon, as, if all goes well today, tomorrow Master Toaren will be visiting me in this office.”

Scowling, Ada asks, “Do we have to let him in? He’s been tormenting Baron Hessan for two six-days now.”

Morgus winks, “That is why I’m here. To relieve Baron Hessan of the issue of Master Toaren.”

Deeply sighing, Ada says, “Whatever you need … to get rid of him. I’ll help.”

Morgus nods, “Just the items I mentioned.”

Morgus familiarizes himself with the office, the texts on the shelves and the desk. He then walks down to the ground floor, seeking the staff. He finds them in the staff dining room next to the kitchen. Greeting the cook and clothier, Morgus then leaves to walk back to Perch Inn.

…..

Arriving at the Perch Inn half-an-hour after gods-set, Morgus finds Toaren in the tavern drinking ale. Sitting down with Toaren, Morgus orders rum from Pedren, and then faces Toaren, “I said we would talk, as I have a message for you, Master Toaren. You’re asked to a meeting at Hessan Estate Manor, tomorrow afternoon. Can you be there?”

Grinning, Toaren leans forward saying, “So the old goat is giving in; he’s going to talk?”

Morgus answers, “I said you have been granted a meeting tomorrow afternoon. Can you make it?”

The bargewright replies, “By all means, yes.”

Morgus orders a hot meal with meat and he tenders two Dyns for the rum and meal. Morgus joyfully savors his meal at another table, separate from Toaren.

 

Autumn 66 Unicorn

 

It’s an hour past noon as Morgus wipes his boots off on the bristle pad of the front entry at Hessan estate manor. Excited to start working to prove his suitability to Baron Hessan, Morgus walks up the stairs after greeting Ada.

Ada says, “Master Toaren is in the office already, Master Morgus.”

Thanking Ada, Morgus walks upstairs quickly. Finding the office door open, he walks into his office.

“Gods-grace and good fate Master Toaren. Glad you’re here. Let’s get down to business.” Morgus says as he sits on the desk chair.

Toaren rises from his seat, growling, “What the Seven Hells are you doing? I’m here to talk with Baron Hessan!”

The mage responds, “No such luck. If you want to deal with the baron’s estate, you deal with me. Now sit back down, or give up on the idea of dealing with the baron.”

Morgus pours two tumblers of wine as Toaren paces aggressively back and forth across the room. The mage watches Toaren.

Finally sitting back down, taking the tumbler of wine, Toaren mumbles, “Seven Hells.”

Morgus lets out a deep breath, and then breathing calmly, he says, “Tell me what it is you want from Baron Hessan.”

Outraged, Toaren glares at the mage. “I want trees from Renol Holding which is held by Baron Hessan.”

Curious, Morgus asks, “Tell me why?”

“They’re tall, straight, wide, and with few branches, so have few knots in them.” He answers.

Morgus nods, saying, “Fair enough, I don’t see an issue. Let’s go and take a look after eating midday meal here. How many trees do you want?”

Distrusting the jalmal mage, Toaren quizzically replies, “Twenty-five?”

Morgus nods, “Okay, we’ll see. How much are you offering for stumpage?”

Seeing Morgus seems to know a bit about the business, Toaren replies, “Seven Flairs.”

Morgus shakes his head as he stands and leads the way down to the staff kitchen where they eat midday meal.

…..

The two men access Renol Holding fief an hour after evening meal. Addressing the bailiff, Morgus shows Reeve Gaeric the writ prepared by Baron Hessan. “We’re here to examine the timber lands and mark several for logging. The ones we label for logging are to be left alone, except by Master Toaren, here.”

“Understood, Master Morgus, as dictated by Baron Hessan through you,” answers Gaeric.

Toaren leads Morgus to the timber lands he wants the trees from. He finally states, upon seeing the giant more than three-foot diameter trees, “I disagree, twenty-five flairs stumpage is way too high, even for these trees.”

Morgus answers, “I’ll go twenty then.”

Toaren rebuffs, “Fifteen each and I’ll take the whole twenty-five.”

Morgus shakes his head, no. “For fifteen, I need you to do all lumbering work on Renol Holding, hiring all your workers from residents here, and you only get twenty trees.”

Bargewright pirate hesitates and then says, “You drive a hard bargain, but these trees are larger in circumference than I initially recall. If I can choose the twenty I want, and I can mark them right now, then I’ll agree.”

Extending his arm, Morgus says, “I can work with that.”

They grudgingly clasp arms.

The two walk the timber patch and Toaren marks twenty of the largest trees, and then they return to the bailiff’s home.

Morgus confronts an eager Gaeric, “We need rooms for the night.”

Setting up the two men with meals and beds for the night, Gaeric listens as Morgus and Toaren arrange for facilities and workers for Toaren’s tree lumbering, as well as freight shipping northeast to East Dock’s dry-dock barge yard.

 

Autumn 67 Unicorn

 

Sphere cover shelters the two men as they walk southeast on Drescol Street toward Perch Inn through the freezing medium gods-breath.

Morgus finds Toaren slow. It takes the two almost eight hours to walk to their destination, arriving half-an-hour before evening meal.

Toaren walks to his room, and then comes back down with three sacks of Flairs for Morgus who takes these to his room.

Morgus halfheartedly rests for the night, trying to construct a new game plan, which is harder than he expected.

 

Autumn 68 Unicorn

 

Morgus impatiently sits in Baron Hessan’s den, viewing the extravagant setting. He observes the scenic painting near the fireplace, as he deliberates the affluence displayed by Larap in this chamber. Morgus has been sitting and waiting for ten minutes since he arrived three hours after noon.

The den office opens and in walks the slightly infirm man, who eagerly assesses the stash of three sacks of coins on his desk as he asks, “What is this?” as he sits on his desk chair.

Morgus stands and bows to Larap before taking a seat on a chair near the desk. “My answer to the quandary you set to me. This is three-hundred Flairs for twenty trees stumpage from your Renol Holding fief. Plus, your holding gets employment for workers in lumbering the trees and freighting the lumber to East Dock’s dry-dock shipyard. I think you will find this to be an equitable economic solution to Master Toaren’s strong-arm request.”

Touching the sacks, Larap reflects on the deal, before he asks, “Tell me the particulars, how many trees and the stumpage?”

Breathing deeply before answering, Morgus answers, “Twenty trees for fifteen Flairs per tree, as long as all workers are hired from Renol Holding, and all lumbering is completed on location in Renol.”

Tapping his desk, Larap’s lips are tight and straight across, “How many trees did he originally ask for and how much did he offer to pay?”

With knots in his stomach, Morgus is getting nauseous with nerves, “Toaren asked for twenty-five trees at seven Flairs stumpage. I countered that he could take twenty-five trees for twenty-five Flairs, but lowered that to twenty Flairs when he said he would go elsewhere. We talked and looked at the trees, and he countered with fifteen Flairs stumpage, taking the trees off-site. But I refused, and we struck our deal. He selected the twenty trees while we were on site.”

Still tapping the desk, Larap eyes Morgus through squinting eyes and furrowed brow. Stopping his tapping, Larap drinks wine, and then he says, “You and I are going for a drive.” Ringing his bell, the baron refuses to talk anymore as they wait.

Ada arrives and Larap demands, “Have Gendal hitch the carriage, as he’s driving master Morgus and me to the Red Panda today and bringing us back tonight.”

Ada quickly leaves after bowing and acknowledging the command.

Half-an-hour later, Larap leads Morgus to the courtyard to mount the waiting, gilded and carved carriage with its four horses.

The driver sets out on their journey, turning left on Drescol Street and heading to a chartreuse road sign. They turn left onto Handle Avenue, driving to the Red Panda Stable.

Confused, the puzzled mage follows Baron Hessan into the large upper-class stable.

The old man slowly leads Morgus to a stall and points to the beige seventeen-hand stallion, saying, “This is my prize seven-year-old heavy warhorse, Red Panda. I’ve had him since he was a colt. Master Ostler Henreitte trains my warhorses for me and keeps them here. I have ten heavy warhorses all trained by Master Henreitte of the Red Panda Stable. She’s been my horse trainer for over three decades. Should I continue keeping warhorses?”

Morgus gulps, as he doesn’t know nobility responsibility or requirements. Uttering cautiously, “Baron Hessan, I have no skills with the responsibility of nobles. So, I cannot advise you at this moment whether you should or should not keep your warhorses. Nor can I advise you as to whether you should have men-at-arms, or what staff you need or should keep. That is what I can say. My apology if you thought otherwise.”

Laughing flamboyantly, Larap steps away from the stall as a ninety-year-old jalfem approaches the two. Larap addresses her, calling out, “Good-day Master Henreitte, Master Morgus, here, is proving his salt to me. He seems to feel that his life has little value. I am deciding his value to me. Please inform Master Morgus the place of my horses in my baron-ship.”

The pampamoo smiles her toothless smirk, answering, “By all means, Master Larap. Morgus, my boyo, Master Larap is a baron who is required as a noble baron to supply 240 days of military service to the king each year. In this capacity, Baron Hessan provides 240 days’ worth of heavy horsemen for his service. With a service of ten heavy horsemen, he only need send his team for twenty-four days. So, you see this team is important to Baron Hessan’s noble rank.”

Morgus, suddenly curious, asks, “But at what costs do you send the horsemen?”

Henreitte answers, “It costs Master Larap twenty-seven Dyns per horse per days for upkeep and training to keep the horses here. Sending them to service costs thirty-three Flair per day per horse. The penalty for not sending troops is one-hundred Flairs per day for each of the 240 days missed.”

Morgus quickly does the sums of the numbers in his mind, replying, “So, if you don’t send any troops at all, then the fine is twenty-four-thousand coins. If you fulfill your obligation with these heavy horsemen, then it costs you 792.00 coins.”

Larap drawls, correcting Morgus. “Not quite – the twenty-four-thousand penalty is right – but my costs for my contribution is higher because to get my troops to the post they serve from takes a minimum of five days of traveling. So, my minimum costs each year are thirty-four days at 1,122.00 coin, plus their yearly upkeep, plus the wages of the warriors and their expenses, coming to a total for my heavy horsemen of 19,124.00 cn every year. But you may learn more. Let’s go back to the manor. You are invited to dine with me when we return to Hessan manor.”

Morgus estimates it is now an hour before gods-set, and the drive back is about three hours. It will be two hours after gods-set when they arrive at Hessan manor. Even a quick meal with the baron will mean the time will be midnight before they complete their social gathering. Morgus asks, “May I have a room for the night?”

As the two walk back to the carriage, Larap answers, “We’ll discuss that over our meal.”

Arriving back at Hessan manor, an hour and a bit after gods-set, Morgus is impressed how fast Gendal drove the carriage back and kept the ride comfortable.

Now sitting and eating an impressive hot meal of turkey, tubers, and vegetables with mulled cider, Morgus asks again, “Baron Hessan, it is now around two hours until midnight. I have a three-hour walk back to the Perch Inn, so I’ll even pay for a room for the night.”

Larap sets his fork beside his plate, washing down his mouthful of food after he chews it. He looks at Morgus, saying, “You have a lot to learn if you are to be my chamberlain, yet you have much to offer. I can’t just ask for these from someone off the Avenue. So, I feel I am in a quagmire. What do I do with you? Of course, you can have a room tonight. Don’t offend me again with offering to pay for the room or for my hospitality, mage. You currently are my guest. Do you want to change this?”

Contemplating Larap’s statement and query, Morgus responds, “As I understand you, you’re offering me a position. Correct?”

The baron nods curtly once.

Morgus, seeing Larap is concise and to the point, does likewise, saying, “Yes.”

Smiling for the first time with a handsome genuine friendly smile, Larap says, “Good, I’m not offering you the position of chamberlain, not just yet. You have to show me you’re earning that. No one gets the position knowing all its details; they earn the position, learning the details while on the job. But you have too little knowledge right now to be of service to my estate or me. What I will offer you is a position as my aide and as estate mage. That is what I think you qualify for. Remember, the position only lasts as long as I live. After I die, my children decide if you stay on. Which could be tonight at my age.”

Not able to resist, Morgus burst out in good-humoured laughter, as does Larap. Morgus responds, “For as long as the position lasts, it does fit my abilities. Will I have a laboratory and library?”

Larap starts tapping the table, saying, “Not yet, you supply your own supplies and equipment.”

With a sad, sullen face, Morgus asks, “What about a room, or rooms?”

Larap, still tapping, mulls this over and then replies, “If we agree on this, you can have two adjoining rooms on the fourth floor.”

Sighing with satisfaction, Morgus sees a future here, however temporary. He asks, “Then the matter of pay comes to bearing. How much?”

With an expression that would freeze water, Larap stares at Morgus while still tapping the table. “I think one Flair a day is fair.”

Choking on the frugal amount, Morgus counters, “My dear Baron, no self-respecting mage will enter into a contract for that price. A chamberlain or aide might. A mage may if you supplied a laboratory AND library. No, a minimum of three Flairs a day, or two and a laboratory.”

Guffawing, Larap answers, “Not likely, two and no laboratory.”

Evaluating this counter offer, Morgus counters, “Eighteen Dyns per day and a laboratory.”

Shifting uncomfortably in his seat, drawing frustration from negotiations, Larap replies, “No, two per day plus an initial two-hundred coin.”

Seeing an out in the impasse, Morgus offers, “How about two Flairs per day plus an initial bonus of two-thousand Flairs?”

Leaping forward, Larap’s friendly smile returns and he stops tapping the table. Extending his arm, he says, “Done, this is for you to be my estate mage and my personal business aide.”

Morgus leans forward clasping arms with Larap while adding, “With the caveat that on Autumn 49 next year I take leave to return to the Mage’s University to administer to my testing for master journeyman mage certification.”

Grinning happily, Larap says, “At your own expense, of course, agreed.”

They seal the agreement with the gentleman’s clasping of arms.

Finishing their meal together, Morgus asks, “Who do I eat my meals with?”

Larap commands, “The staff … I will get Ada to show you to your room now, Morgus. Have a good night. You officially start your position at midnight tonight. But you can fetch you gear tomorrow from Perch Inn.”

Smiling mirthfully, Morgus stands and bows to Larap. Morgus is happy his financial situation is resolved, and his residence is situated firmly, at least for a while.

Larap rings his bell for Ada.

…..

In his rooms, Morgus finds the bedroom to be large – a richly appointed wooden room with two windows and a double size goose-down-filled mattress. The attached room is slightly smaller but big enough for a study or laboratory and library with its shelves and large intricately carved oak desk. Both rooms have area floor carpets and many wall-mounted hooded lanterns.

Saying good-night to Ada, Morgus washes and then crawls into bed just after midnight, unable to sleep.

To be continued …

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Include your name, and e-mail address as well, so proper credit can be given to you as the contributor. We will not share your email information unless you ask us to and you give us your permission to do so.

Thank you for your time and effort from;

Rusty Knight and InUPress

©2016 by Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca www.owertonna.com/blog inupress@inupress.ca

 All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system (except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review or other endorsement or in a recommendation to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Internet) without permission in writing from the publisher.

However, when contacted, the author may be generous with reprint rights and articles.

 No association with other corporations or the names is implied or intended.

We would like the acknowledge the work of the following:

The episode author is: Rusty Knight.

Our episode graphics designer is: Rusty Knight.

Our editor for the episode: Donna Shumaker.

The episode producer, publisher and distributor is: Inevitable Unicorn Press known as InUPress

The Lanis series marketing and promotions are by: InUPress

Have an wonderful day

Yours,

Rusty Knight

If you desire to reach us we can be contacted at any of the following sources:

www.inupress.ca or www.rustyknight.ca

or by email at:

inupress@inupress.ca or rusty@rustyknight.ca

Or call InUPress at

1-780-523-5835

Or the slow way, contact InUPress through postal mail at:

InUPress

Rusty’s Den

Box 3323

High Prairie, Alberta, Canada

T0G 1E0

 

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Owertonna Challenge, Issue 107, Morgus E103

Owerton Challenge Blog:

Morgus

Blue Horse Toy

Episode 003

 

November 30, 2016

Issue 107

 

Challenge: Issue 107

  • Blue
  • Horse
  • Toy
  • Sub-titleBlue Horse Toy

Contributor:

  • Brian Hill
  • High Prairie, Alberta

 

Previously on episode 002 on Autumn 56 Unicorn:

 

Morgus ventured over to an old friend’s for a visit, where he discovered a theft. In an attempt to help the old friend, Morgus encountered trouble and had dealings with a healing priestess. Eventually, Morgus returned home, but he’s not out of trouble, yet.

 

We continue now with episode 003:

 

Autumn 59 Unicorn

Sitting in his room at the medium sized pine desk, Morgus tries to focus on his studies. He has an idea, but it is taking all his university training to keep his mind off his wounds and on his studies.

Working late into the night, burning much lamp oil, Morgus stretches, and yawns as he decides to call it quits for now, until tomorrow. Rubbing his eyes, he stands and wanders out to the communal chamber pot before returning and settling into bed for the night.

Yawning again as he turns out the lantern, Morgus grudgingly sighs, considering that he almost has the spell figured out enough to scribe into his spell book. He’ll be able to use the spell as an offense – to burn the poor bastards he’s battling with. It will be better than simple melee, for sure.

 

Autumn 60 Unicorn

 

Clamoring out of bed, needing to use the chamber pot, Morgus uses the facility and then dresses and hurries down to the tavern for a quick morning meal. He had an epiphany last night, and he needs to work the details of his epiphany into the spell incantation.

Finding Erec in the tavern, Morgus waves the servant over to his table. Gesturing to his slashed and blood stained tunic. “Erec, I’m in need of a tailor’s services. As you can see, a blade found my tunic, along with my own blood. I’m under repairs, but unfortunately, my tunic has no such whim of its own. Do you know someone who can stitch together my tunic?”

Erec laughs and answers, “Lessa is a seamstress of sorts, so perhaps if you talk to her?”

“Can you ask her to come out here? I might not be welcome in the kitchen of this establishment.”

Erec nods and wanders off toward the kitchen. Roughly ten minutes later, as Morgus is ready to walk back up to his room, Lessa arrives at his table. The jalfem addresses Morgus. “You wanted me?”

Morgus stands, indicating the cuts and blood stains on his tunic, “How long will it take you to clean and repair this tunic?”

Lessa looks over the slices in the fabric. She hums and then answers, “Two days.”

Morgus frees his coin pouch from his belt and replies, “Will five dusters finish the work?”

Lessa shakes her head, saying, “No, six will make it happen.”

Morgus sighs shallowly, frowning, counting out six copper coins. “I’ll leave this tunic in my room.”

Lessa takes the coins. After bowing, Lessa leaves Morgus to go back to the kitchen.

Returning to his room after eating, Morgus changes into his only other tunic, a tattered blue beast from his early days in the university.

Sitting back at the desk, Morgus continues his studies, deciphering the construction of the spell. After working out the spell for an hour, he starts scribing the script into his book.

At an hour before noon, Morgus is interrupted by Lessa as she is retrieving his damaged tunic. So, Morgus takes a brief break.

After a fifteen-minute break, Morgus continues with scribing until evening meal. Morgus is happy with his progress in scribing the spell.

Morgus quickly devours his evening meal and then he returns to scribing. Just before midnight, Morgus sets down the quill, viewing the page in his book. Smiling, he memorises the finished spell written on the one page.

Standing by the bed, facing the door ten feet away, Morgus extends his hands with his thumb tips touching, and fingers splayed out, fan-shaped. He focuses quickly and utters the words, “Fire”. A 120o arc, consisting of bright yellow flames, spreads out from his fingers and extends forward five feet, not quite reaching the far wall.

Feeling the extreme heat from the flames, Morgus falls back. Smiling, he congratulates himself.

Ready to sleep, Morgus chuckles as he closes his book.

 

Autumn 61 Unicorn

 

Sitting two tables away from the pirate bargewright, Morgus doesn’t even look at the thug.

But, unfortunately, Toaren has different ideas. Toaren, the bargewright, walks over to Morgus, and standing near him, the bargewright says, “You best leave this area, boyo. You’re not wanted by me or the locals – by no one, ever. This is your only warning.”

Morgus says, “I think I’ll listen, and take your advice under advisement after you sit and talk with me.”

“There’ll be no talking, boyo.”

Morgus shrugs, answering, “Yes, I think we will.”

Toaren huffs and walks away, saying, “You’ve been warned.” He exits the tavern.

Deciding to go for a walk to get clear away from Toaren for a while, Morgus leaves Perch Inn and journeys south on Driscol Street.

The air is cold, but the gods barely breathe, gently wafting east under broken cover.

Having ambled south just over three kilometres, Morgus is passing a farmstead at 1387 Driscol Street, when he has a thought, ‘This is the old Platter Holding, and I recall being friends with the papa. I wonder if they’d mind me stopping in.

Morgus walks along the roadway, through the old plum orchard, and up to the house.  Morgus finds the old two-story stone house much the same as it was twenty years ago. Knocking on the sturdy wooden door, and followed by a couple of minutes of waiting, a twenty-year-old jalmal of average build answers the door. The jalmal asks, “Yes, how may I help you?”

Morgus respectfully replies, “Gods-grace and good fate young master. I am Morgus; I used to live at Perch Inn before my father died twenty years ago.  I knew the master here, Ferfeo. Does he still live here?”

The youth frowns sadly. “Yes, I know him; he was my papa. Ferfeo died last year from wasting disease. I’m Lasiter Platter, holder of Platter holding. Come on in and have tea with me.”

Bowing in respect for the loss of Ferfeo, Morgus says, “I would enjoy that. Let’s get to know each other. I’m in the area for a year.”

“Where are you staying?” Lasiter asks while they go inside to the kitchen to dine on tea and buns.

“I have a room in the Perch Inn, again.”

Lasiter asks, “Are you looking for work?”

Chuckling, Morgus nods, replying, “As a matter of fact, yes, I am.”

“I was robbed last night. I actually believed you were the City Watch I sent for. I reported the theft to Loren Post.”

“Another robbery? Robberies seem to be rampant in the area. Another friend of mine was robbed at Punting Horse Stable. What did you lose?” asks Morgus.

Lasiter answers, “My safe chest was emptied, clearing over forty-seven Flairs and my mamma’s silver heart necklace.”

Morgus, shocked at the theft, asks, “Was that the necklace your mamma received on her life-companion ceremony day to your papa? The one with the initials of both her and your papa’s engraved on the back?”

Now it is Lasiter who frowns and squints at Morgus, “You know the necklace?”

Morgus nods, answering, “Yes, my father gave it as a gift.”

Lasiter sighs deeply, “You do have family ties with us. In the least, I would really appreciate getting the necklace back.”

“It may cost you, but I think I know where to find it. I’ll see if it’s there, but I won’t be able to make a deal to get it back. Only confirm if they have it. I’ll leave now to see if I can get there by tonight,” offers Morgus.

Heading out back on Driscol Street, nearly an hour after sitting down in Lasiter’s house, Morgus is soon on South Street Road going north to Hampton Market, knowing full well where his destination is this time.

An hour along South Street Rood, Morgus meets Toaren, who is walking south towards Morgus.

“Boyo, I hope you are leaving South State. You don’t want trouble here,” says the pirate bargewright.

“I might want on a crew, actually Captain. I know you’re running the crew now, so light up the signal, and stop being a damn mule.” Morgus commands.

Toaren scowls again, uttering, “Bilge rat, Seven Hells be your home.” Without looking back, he continues walking south.

Morgus watches him walk away, thinking, ‘Well, he is easing up.

Continuing to walk north to Fletcher Moren’s, Morgus arrives at an hour after gods-set. He then enters the trade room behind the main shop.

He stops as he finds an eighteen-year-old good-looking toymal youth trying to sell Moren a silver necklace. Taking a close look at the necklace, Morgus smiles inwardly. But outwardly he curses, “Bilge rat, Seven Hells, you stole my necklace. Be damn if you’re going to sell it. Give it back.”

Stunned, the youth stutters, “T … th … this ain’t your n … necklace. I a … ain’t s … stole from you. I d … don’t even know who you are.”

Morgus turns to Moren, “This bugger stole my necklace. If you look at the back, it has my parents initial engraved on it, F P and E P in jal. The script is about three-eights of an inch high.”

Moren turns over the heart of the necklace and whistles. Handing the necklace back to the youth, he says, “I can’t buy this from you with the rightful owner standing here.”

“Damn Seven Hells, It ain’t his. I stole it from Platter’s holding.”

“He identified it correctly, so you take it up with him, Timin,” says Moren.

Morgus says, “I want the necklace and coins you took.”

The boy shouts, “I ain’t givin you shit back.”

Morgus moves in for a melee attack with his staff, forcing the youth to defend himself by drawing his dagger after placing the necklace quickly into his pouch.

Morgus strikes the youth hard, and then a second time as Timin defends himself. The second hit knocks Timin down on his ass.

Timin grunts and then leaps to his feet, stabbing Morgus.

Morgus strikes the youth yet again with his staff, knocking more air out of him.

The two vie for position, each of them looking for an advantage.

Then, Morgus decides magic is his strong suit and braces to cast ‘fan flame’ with thumbs touching, while he stands, balancing his staff against his shoulder. As he is about to say “Fire”, the youth stabs Morgus, breaking the mage’s focus, and causing him to lose the spell.

Being in the stance already, Morgus begins casting again. This time he avoids the attack by the youth. As the youth is recovering from his failed attack, Morgus says “Fire,” causing the sheet of fire to fan out from his fingers, five feet forward. Morgus’ aim is so precise that the yellow flames catch Timin and nothing else.

The flames cause Timin’s clothing to burst into flames.

Morgus rapidly grips his staff, swinging at the burning rogue.  But he misses and strikes the floor instead, shattering his staff.

Timin is busy extinguishing the flames on his clothing as Morgus pulls free his knife.

With Morgus holding his knife, Timin has the fires out. However, the youth has second-degree burns on large areas of his body.

Rushing Timin, Morgus draws blood twice from separate wounds, causing a fatigued and severally injured Timin to yield, calling out, “I give, the necklace is yours.”

Morgus drops back, and accepting the offered necklace, he says, “I want the coins, too.”

Timin answers, “No, I just earned those.”

Morgus steps forward slashing with his knife. The blade opens up Timin’s chest, leaking a large volume of blood, killing the rogue. Morgus says, “You can’t keep them; they’re not yours.”

Kneeling, Morgus takes the two coin pouches and the dagger from the rogue.

Standing again, he addresses Moren, “Do the Dragon Horsemen have a priest to tend to dead victims?”

Shaking his head grimly, Moren answers, “Not for you.”

“What about Draken; will she tend to this dead man?”

Again, shaking his head, Moren answers, “No, she doesn’t tend to the dead.”

Considering all of this, Morgus asks, “If I get a discrete priest tomorrow, will you put me up for the night? I’ll even cook morning meal again.”

“For a Flair, sure,” says the rogue’s fence.

Sorting through Timin’s coins, Morgus picks out 1.00 cn and gives the coins to Moren. “I’m hungry; do you mind if I cook?”

“A Dyns for the food.” replies Moren firmly.

Handing him another Dyns, Morgus cooks a quick, hot, meatless, meal. They eat, and then Morgus cleans up the trade room before settling into a restless sleep.

 

Autumn 62 Unicorn

 

Rising late, Morgus is fatigued from repeated late nights, early mornings, and strenuous activity. Morgus doesn’t have his spell books with him, so he can’t memorize spells. But, he has a mission today: travel to the Orange Temple to Imvor on Hex Avenue.

Sitting with Moren while Morgus eats his poached eggs and fried meats cooked by Morgus, Morgus asks, “This dagger is a hindrance for me. I have no use for it. How much will you give me for it?”

“A Flair.” Is the simple answer he receives.

Placing the dagger on the table, Morgus replies, “Okay, agreed, but it’s worth twice that.”

“To a customer of a weapon seller, yes. I need to make a profit, so I pay you less.”

Morgus accepts the Flair from Moren and then cleans the kitchen after they finish eating. He heads out once he has made sure the currently crippled fletcher and fence is taken care of and is set for a day of working.

Walking west on Hex Avenue, Morgus arrives at the Orange Temple to Imvor an hour after noon. After talking with an acolyte, Morgus is quickly escorted to the headmaster of the Temple.

Headmaster Peneal greets Morgus coldly, “Gods-grace and good fate master mage, what do you seek from Imvor?”

Addressing the old jalmal, Morgus answers, “Gods-grace and good fate Master Peneal. Imvor’s blessing on us all. An unfortunate incident involving the death of a young man took place yesterday. Unfortunately, his family cannot be located. I was wondering … with a proper donation, will this Temple see to the deceased’s Right of Passage?”

Peneal ponders this, and then replies, “Unfortunate incidents are expensive: seventeen Flairs will acquire a retrieval team for Right of Passage of one body.”

Morgus stands and offers his arm, saying, “Accepted.”

After clasping arms together, Morgus pays Peneal from Lasiter’s coin pouch saying, “If anyone asks, the body turned up in your care with no sponsor or claimant.”

“I’ll get your team ready to go with you right away,” offers Peneal.

Leaving the room, the headmaster returns thirty minutes later with three people. “You will be taking a wagon with these people. Priest Herod is leading, followed by our elven acolyte, Stump, and their aid, labourer Arabellen.”

Morgus greets the jalmal priest and then greets the other two. They mount the wagon and ride to Fletcher Moren’s, where the jubilant Herod enthusiastically leads the team in. They hurry to load Timin on the wagon and take the body back to the Orange Temple.

After the wagon leaves, Morgus turns to Moren and says, “I know you would enjoy my services as a servant with me paying you for me to stay here, but I should go. I may be back again to seek your services in the future. Maybe.”

With that, Morgus leaves the stall shop and returns home to Perch Inn. It is well after midnight before he arrives at the inn and goes to his room. After he has set traps to warn him of intruders in his room, Morgus settles into bed and goes to sleep.

 

Autumn 63 Unicorn

 

Entering the tavern, Morgus finds that Toaren is present. The pirate waves Morgus to his table, and then says to Morgus, “If you insist on staying, it’ll cost you eight Flairs every thirty days, boyo.”

“We’ll see, Captain – depends if I’m earning a wage or not.” Morgus leaves and sits by himself to enjoy a meal he has already paid for.

Lessa comes out of the kitchen with Morgus’ morning meal and repaired tunic, “All done, good like new.”

Morgus sets aside the tunic for later. Finishing his morning meal, he places his tunic in his room then he travels to Platter’s farm. Arriving at noon, Morgus finds Lasiter working in a shed.

Handing the farmer the coin pouch and necklace, Morgus says, “The thief got caught on the way to his destination. He may have divested himself of some coins already.”

“Can he be brought to justice?”

Morgus replies, “He already has been; he is at the Orange Temple.”

“We need to purchase horse toys for our colt. If you could do so, I’ll pay you. Take the wagon. Here are two Flairs to purchase them with,” says Lasiter.

Morgus bows as he contemplates taking the wagon home to the Perch Inn. Then thinking that he needs a new tunic and a new quarterstaff, Morgus decides that a trip to Hampton Market is in order. So, instead of going home, he turns east out of Platter Holding and travels to Hampton Market.

Searching the market, Morgus can’t find a staff, but he finds a deal on tunics for five Dyns each, buying three. Also, he finds a good price for two blue horse toys worth a Flair each.

Returning home to Perch Inn, well after three in the morning, Morgus unhitches the wagon and tends to the animals before going to sleep.

 

Autumn 64 Unicorn

 

Leaving Perch Inn at gods-rise, Morgus delivers the wagon and two blue horse toys to Lasiter Platter.

“Thank you Morgus, not only did you get back the necklace, but you got back most of my coinage, and you were quick on the shopping trip. Here are five Dyns for your trouble.”

Morgus smile, “Thank you Lasiter; I was glad to help.”

Still needing a staff, Morgus walks to Loren Market. Searching long and hard, Morgus finds a suitable staff for two dusters at a mercantile.

The rogue mage arrives back at the Perch Inn two hours after gods-set. Morgus is now reequipped, but coinage is low. He goes to sleep without eating.

 

Autumn 65 Unicorn

 

Groggy from extremely long days, Morgus stares at the sealed parchment in his hand. He reads it again … it is addressed to him, here at the Perch Inn … it is from Baron Hessan.

 

To be continued …

©2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@rustyknight.ca

 

 

Awesome, thank you for reading Issue 107 of the Owerton Challenge Blog where you the reader participate in the writing of each issue.

We here at InUPress.ca have much gratitude for your reading and participating. If you desire to participate by contributing to an issue please follow the link: www.inupress.ca and go to submissions tab, following that, leave these three items for an issue of Owerton Challenge Blog and please if you haven’t already, subscribe to the InUPress email list.

 

Owerton Challenge Blog items list:

  • __________One colour
  • __________One object related to fantasy medieval setting
  • __________One creature, real world or fantastic

 

Include your name, and e-mail address as well so proper credit can be given to you as the contributor.

Thank you for your time and effort from;

Rusty Knight and InUPress

©2017 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca www.owertonna.com/blog inupress@inupress.ca

 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system (except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review or other endorsement or in a recommendation to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Internet) without permission in writing from the publisher. However, when contacted, the author is generous with reprint rights and articles. No association with other corporations or the names is implied or intended.

 

 

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Lanis episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’

Lanis

Lanis

Episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’

By Rusty Knight

 

Previously in episode eight, ‘Reining’

Lenden took Drake to Tamel’s Cartwright to purchase a horse. They found a horse and tack. They then returned to Lenden’s, where Lenden broke the news to Drake that she is to be a master to a student.

And now we continue in episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’

Spring 15 Bear

Gods-rise is a short time away as Drake sets the morning meal on the table. She thinks, ‘I have to teach Melinda and I am just learning my journeyman skills. Maybe this is Lenden’s way of teaching me those skills? It may be harsh for Melinda. I’m getting deeper in debt to Lenden. I must owe near a thousand Flairs now. I never thought I would ever have ten Flairs at once to spend. But I have over forty in my coin pouch, the remains from buying the horse as well as getting Melinda, after using Lenden’s allowance of one-hundred Flairs each time. How? Why is he doing this? What do I teach Melinda?’ Drake sets the bowl of scrambled duck eggs on the table for the three of them to enjoy, then she sits down, joining Lenden and Melinda at the table.

Lenden clears his throat and says in a harsh manner. “So what are Melinda’s duties? Or are you going to continue to do all the work and she reaps the benefits?”

Melinda pales and looks down at the table.

Drake’s face reddens as she blushes. She answers, “I was thinking, after studies, Melinda can do the housecleaning and laundry. I’ll continue with cooking and stables. We can alternate the livestock chores and errands.”

Lenden observes Melinda squirming in her seat, and he nods, “I think that will work. Have you set fees?”

Drake nods and answers. “She owes me her apprenticeship fee of one-hundred Flairs, but earns one-duster per day here.”

Lenden swallows the milk he was drinking. “Okay, you have that worked out. Scheduling?”

Drake pauses briefly while watching Melinda. She responds to Lenden. “I am thinking we continue with my working with you, then I work on my projects, then in the afternoon I teach Melinda. Then if I have time, I will study in the library.”

Lenden shakes his head negatively. “No, you study your projects first, then teach, then either work with me if I’m working on something, or study in the library. You end the day working on chores and errands.”

Melinda and Drake glance at each other, then at Lenden and nod in agreement.

After morning meal, Drake leaves the meal for Melinda to clean up and heads to the laboratory to work on studying her ‘levitate’ spell for three hours.

After she exhausts her mind studying, Drake searches the house looking for Melinda. She finds her washing floors in Lenden’s study on the ground level.

“Are you ready to learn what it takes to be a mage, Melinda?” asks Drake.

Melinda wipes up the wash water quickly, and then standing answers. “Yes, I’m ready.”

They put away the equipment and walk to the laboratory and Drake’s area.

Drake stands to demonstrate for Melinda. “Okay, face west with your feet firmly planted flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Stretch your arms out directly out to your sides at shoulder height.”

She watches to make sure Melinda follows directions. Once Melinda is set, Drake continues. She instructs, “With your right hand fully open, fingers together, place your palm up. Your left hand fully open, fingers together, but palm down. Stand still.”

Drake counts silently to twenty. Then she asks, “What do you feel?”

Melinda hesitates, and then answers in a firm tone. “My right palm in cold and my left palm is warm, and I’m feeling kind of lightheaded.”

Drake sits down on her chair and tells Melinda. “You may sit. That which you feel is the powers that flow around us. You will learn to use that to power your magic, to focus that and harness it into events and items of power. That is the true power of magic.”

Melinda sits after shaking out her arms. She says, “So power flows around us all the time? We only need to learn to focus and harness it?”

Drake nods. She continues, “Yes. For novices who are learning apprenticeship, you learn basic powers called cantrips – miracles in themselves really. But this is minor, compared to what you can learn to do if you keep studying. To learn a basic cantrip for someone of sufficient intelligence should take about an hour, then they can continue to practice it to master it.”

Drake sits a mug on the table in front of her. “Feel the mug.”

Melinda feels the mug and examines it, then sits back.

Drake utters, “Hearth” warming the mug to the temperature of hot tea.

Drake points to the mug. “Okay, check it again.”

Melinda reaches out, discovering the now hot mug. She excitedly replies. “Its hot, with just you saying one word.”

Drake says, “Wait here, I’ll be right back.” Drake walks down to her room fetching her tome of cantrips. She returns to the laboratory and Melinda.

Opening the tome to the cantrip of ‘warm’, Drake tells Melinda. “Each mage uses a language of script to record their spells as they develop them. So, they can study and memorize the spell for use when they want to cast the spell. Now, its not standardized so you need to learn the script you are studying from. But, basically, they all have similar elements. You can start by studying this cantrip called ‘warm’. I base my script on jalnoric script, so you should find it not too hard to decipher. Use this table and I will give you two sheets of parchment to copy your notes onto. The parchment costs you two Flairs each. If you want more, they will be five Flairs each as a standard price.”

Melinda stares blankly at the tome for a few moments, barely having heard Drake.

Then Melinda asks. “Did you say Flairs per sheet? I can’t afford that.”

Drake smiles, “Then it looks like you will be doing extra work to earn more coins, doesn’t it?”

Drake sits in her seat to help Melinda, setting the inkwell and quill in easy reach with the two sheets of parchment.

Together, they begin the instruction on the ‘warm’ cantrip.

After an hour, Melinda has a scribed a copy of her own ‘warm’ cantrip.

Drakes says, “Okay, study it and memorize it. Let’s see if you’ve learned the cantrip.”

Melinda spends ten minutes putting the cantrip to memory, and then she looks away and says, “I think I’m ready.”

Drake moves the mug in front of Melinda. “Okay, give it a try.”

Melinda focuses, then says, “Hearth.”

Drake touches the mug and frowns, withdrawing her hand.

Disappointed, looking down, Melinda reaches out. Touching the mug, her eyes light up and she straightens, shouting, “It worked! It worked!”

She squeezes Drake in a hug and Drake laughs.

Drake responds to Melinda. “I think we can make you into a mage, after all.”

Settling back, Melinda asks, “What now?”

Drake’s expression, becoming cold once again with straight lips and squinting eyes, replies. “Now a test. You try on your own. Choose a cantrip from my tome: study it, learn it successfully.”

Melinda pales again as she peers into Drake’s eyes and says, “You’re not serious? On my own?”

Drake shrugs and responds. “If you want to be a mage, yes.”

Drake turns the tome facing Melinda.

Melinda turns through the pages randomly and stops on a page, hesitating. She says softly. “This one?”

To be continued … Episode ten, ‘Spell This!’

     In the next episode, Melinda studies another cantrip, ‘Scratch’, and Drake studies ‘Levitate’, while Lenden has plans for everyone.

© 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@inupress.ca

Awesome! You’ve completed an episode of Lanis’, but you want to read more! We have an easy link here to click so you can get more, click www.InUPress.ca. You can get issues of ‘Markus’, and ‘Bloodgrue’ with much more from Inevitable Unicorn Press. While there, click and join our free e-mail subscription list, where you will also receive a free gift when you signup. Once you have signed up, you will receive more news and updates from Rusty Knight and InUPress. The free bonus changes with time, in February the bonus was a pdf. with the biographies of the protagonist group the, Black Swans, from Rusty Knight’s upcoming fantasy novel ‘Laret’. Later in 2016 it will be an issue from the series Lanis.

From me to you, thank you, for reading ‘Lanis’.

You can wander over and tell us how you enjoying reading ‘Lanis’. Do this by going over to www.inupress.ca and commenting. We’d love to hear from you.

Have an wonderful day.

Yours, Rusty Knight.

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Dance kiss joke

Autumn 3 Bear

It is mid day and Seven Hells is it hot. Bloodgrue sits in the Tavern drinking a fresh cool ale wondering about the day ahead.

It is fairly cruel how hot it is on this Autumn day. Just two days after the harvest celebrations. The gods tease by placing a few clouds in the sphere and ever so slowly moving them south eastward. Offering no one real relief from anything.

As he takes a soft drink from his dewy tankard Bloodgrue spots someone enter. Someone new here.

She is a slightly taller Toyfem that looks very young.

Bloodgrue is a Jalmal but even he is finding this woman alarmingly attractive. Bloodgrue blatantly watches her quietly enter Tempest Tavern.

The young woman looks around, spotting the Tavern Keeper she walks casually over and speaks briefly with him.

Bloodgrue’s eyes are glued to her in curiosity.

A grin plasters itself to Bloodgrue’s face when Inn owner and Tavern Keeper, Sennat nods to the mystery woman and points over towards Bloodgrue.

The woman touches Sennat’s hand then offers him a few coins and speaks again shortly, then she turns and elegantly approaches Bloodgrue.

She is smiling as she approaches and it is disarming Dragoman Bloodgrue like none have been able to before.

Dragoman Bloodgrue may I sit a moment with you?” She asks using Toydon in a Toydon voice smoother than silk.

Bloodgrue amateurishly nods and grins.

The woman beams a smile happily, “Thank you. My name is Lara. I seek your aid if I may?” again in her feminine Toydon silky voice speaking in the Toydon language.

Bloodgrue is distracted as Sennat sets a half gallon clay pitcher of red wine on the table and two silver goblets.

Sennat smiles, nods and walks back away to tend his many customers, I count seven others customers right now, but that is unimportant.

Bloodgrue sits up straight, carefully pours Lara a goblet of wine, then one for himself. Why not, she paid for it.

Okay you know who I am, you told me your name. What business do you propose?” having regained his composure, now it is time for business matters. Bloodgrue also speaks in Toydon with Lara as she seems to prefer to use her native language.

Lara cheefully replies, “They were right you do speak great Toydon. Great, I am missing someone terribly. We were supposed to meet on Harvest Celebration day. But he didn’t come to me. Will you take me safely to him? I will pay.”

Bloodgrue thinks his usual twenty seconds … prices of course, you know.

Then he responds enquiringly bright, “Who and how far? Also when?”

Lara is sitting straight displaying her alluringly clothed womanly beauty. Bloodgrue suspects she is around thirty years old but Lara appears barely twenty. She is well to do wealthy but a hard worker by the appearance of her clothing and hands.

“I am not sure how far we will go. But he is originally from Littleton Town. He lives somewhere in North Docks now but travels alot. I am not sure what his real name is but he is a twenty year young Jalmal. Works often when he wants to. I hear he has a place in this area. He looks a lot like you. So look in the mirror, then lets find him, you will look for someone who looks like you. Today if we can please. When you are ready of course.”

Bloodgrue not one to spend much time looking at his reflection, has seen his appearance in the Library some time ago. He smiles at the so called coincidences. This fellow she is seeking she says is twenty, Bloodgrue turned nineteen back on Spring 11. This mystery fellow looks similar to Bloodgrue. The only people Bloodgrue knows that look similar to Bloodgrue are fellow Clansmen. Arton looks alot like Bloodgrue but their age difference is very apparent. Bloodgrue thinks about this request for several minute while drinking from the dry wine in the goblet.

Lara sits patiently smiling and watching Bloodgrue while drinking her wine as well.

Three minutes, then four, the two watch each other as they think drinking.

About five minutes and Bloodgrue sets the empty short silver goblet on the table, sitting tall and straight Bloodgrue smiles. In his own silky smooth male Toydon he asks, “Dance or Kiss?”

Lara laughs loudly heartily, but not in an evil manner, “You win, Dance I think if you don’t mind. How did you figure it out?”

Bloodgrue shrugs smiling, “Arton and I played jokes on each other alot when we were children. We pulled this joke on Uncle Sirus with the help of Aunt Lesa. He actually fell for it. … I pulled it on my Master a year before I graduated to Journeyman Dragoman. He fell for it with the young woman for three days. I finally had to rescue him.”

Lara laugh again then adds, “Kiss and dance tonight my friend then.”

Bloodgrue smiles while cheerfully replying, “I do lock my valuables away. If I know it, you are a pirate over from Dendar way. Do you have a holding?”

Lara smirks and answers, “Close … I do have a holding and I am a navigator but I won’t say any more on that. There are bounties you know. I know you won’t try collecting any but there are ears about, even here.”

Bloodgrue nods, “I wanted to stay out of the heat. I see more heat found me. What is he paying you?”

Lara winks, “My lovely friend is paying 5 Dyns. Piddling coin for me, but I was up for the new challenge.”

Chuckling humorously Bloodgrue says, “Tell him it worked but he owes you a Flair for costs on goods.”

Lara draws back stiffly in mock shock and genuine respect. “Well thank you young Dragoman. Then this has cost your brother two Flairs if you’re good with it?”

Of course, the joke will be on him. … After we have a dance and a kiss agreed?”

Lara nods eagerly and quickly offers her hand and forearm in confirmation, “Agreed.”

The two strangers spend the last of an extremely hot day talking about their businesses and some about pleasure.

Sennat fetches three local musician as requested by Lara and Bloodgrue pays their 5 Dyns performance fee.

As the night settles on North Docks District and Tempest Inn and Tavern, the pair dance several dances, some fast, some slow.

Finally Ibon stretches its light into the Sphere above, and Lara sighs.

It has been pleasant. You earned your kiss Dragoman Bloodgrue then I need to travel over to Arton and collect my fee. He should believe the success and chuckle for a bit. I won’t spill the actuals if you don’t.”

Bloodgrue smiles mischievously, bends slightly lower the two inch difference and the two share a passionate kiss for a moment.

Standing straight again Bloodgrue lustfully winks, “Well worth the evening. I don’t know anything other than we couldn’t find your lost friend. Good luck Lara and stay safe on the river.”

The two part ways with both of them happy and no one hurt.

Though Bloodgrue is five Dyns shorter, he did have good wine and interesting company for what would have been a sad afternoon.

Challenge contributions:

October 1 2014

autumn Aria – “think outside the box.” … There is a box?

3Aria – “Time is a created thing.”, to say “I don’t have time.”, is like saying, “I don’t want to.”

joke Aria – I have to keep reminding myself things could get worse.

dance Aria – I like the smell of paper and old books.

kissAria – Don’t put too much distance between yourself and the things that are important to you. … Or you might forget what the important things are.

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Old wishes lantern

Summer 6 Bear

The brigand leader Jessep is not typical, not for a brigand, for we know he is the son of a Mount Oryn Earl. But Jessep detested his Father and that life style. He had everything, but chose to follow a different path of righteousness, clearing out a rogue’s guild that ruled in central Mount Oryn.

His Father’s reaction even further infuriated impulsive Jessep, who spoke back to Earl Driscol in not very kind terms. Resulting in Earl Drescol disowning his son,  Jessep, in response.

Now Jessep is a master with the Two handed axe and he knows no rival as an expert with one such as he. Taking this unrivaled skill and having no home to call his own, Jessep finally did what he desired so much. Challenge the rogue guild ‘Red Crosses’.

Red Crosses encompass two districts in their claimed territory. Jessep knows of about 60 members in the Guild and he aimed to defeat every last one personally.

—–

With many claims in battle Jessep is an unrivaled Master Axe man. He spent two years hunting down the members of the Red Crosses. Jessep had actually been so focused on his goal that the very Nobles he once sat with as friends now drove Jessep out of their districts.

Then there was the ending day, as he calls it.

Cornering the Guild leaders and remaining Red Crosses members in a Tavern in Central Mount Oryn.

Master Axe Man Jessep had called upon the City Watch to arrive at mid day. Jessep though planned to be at the Tavern much earlier.

Unfortunately as plans go this one got delayed as well. Jessep showed up at Crowsnest Tavern only an hour before the good City Watch arrival.

In Jessep’s rage, 32 people were killed and another 47 were injured during the battle, by both parties, with this conflict between Jessep and Red Crosses. A Lieutenant and a couple other members escaped the wrath of Jessep. Their Guild leader, Turin was captured alive, as the City Watch arrived.

True Jessep won the day, was bloodied and exhausted. But he won … Sort of.

The Guild’s escaped lieutenant put out a 50 Royal Flair bounty on Jessep’s capture, alive. Ten Royal Flairs for a dead Jessep’s head.

The City Watch executed Guild Leader Turin for his role in city life as a Rogue up to those disastrous days.

No one ended up happy, not even Jessep. He was pursued so relentlessly by folks wanting to collect the Noble Ransom of Fifty Flairs, his only choice is he had to secretly exit Mount Oryn.

Realizing his resolution to the dilemma would be his death, Jessep crossed the four kilometre wide river by barge, to go north into the semi wild north woodlands. North away from ‘civilized’ people.

He was accosted by an unaware band of brigands shortly after he arrived in the area, but again Jessep survived and he took leadership of that unruly band.

—–

Today Summer 6 Bear, Jessep has held that role of leader for more than a year. Leader of a Brigand band in the wilds of northern Kannoral, he had set them up with a well defendable hidden settlement of a few small buildings. Jessep kept the band culled down in size to keep their band easily manageable and to keep from attracting the unwanted attention of Kannoral’s Guard or Army. They have success so far.

Well, today he sits here with Joan Dearc, the band’s Wise Woman. Joan, a Jalfem of some 67 years age is chiding Jessep on his recent decisions, but Jessep is only partially listening to Joan.

Quietness … Jessep comes alert and Joan smiles, “Are you going to listen now that there is silence?”

Brigand Leader Jessep frowns upside down sarcastically , “Seven Hell’s Joan, you tell me this daily. Tell me something new. I am tired of the crap.”

Joan reaches for the lantern next to her on the table and then hands it rudely  to Jessep. “In about two hours the Gods, Stonewire and Imvor will pass the western horizon, taking their light from our sphere. Take this magical lantern of wishes and follow the path it guides you on. Can you do that you simpleton?”

Jessep laughs and looks at the old lantern he is holding. A well made old metal and glass, hooded lantern. With the reservoir full of lantern oil, the wick dry the lantern is ready. Jessep nods while laughing and then he answers good humoured, “What ever you say Joan. At dark when the Night Gods rule I will follow the path of light. You really want me to believe it will lead me to the resolution? This old lantern I have seen sitting on your table for two seasons?

Joan smiles demurely, “Follow its path and see you skeptic. For a leader you are awfully close minded. But that is probably your noble birth side. Don’t let it block you tonight Jessep. You want resolution? You want to lead? This will help you with both. Get out of here before I charge you several high fees for sitting in my house.”

Jessep chuckling answers slowly and dryly, “Only you get away with that Joan. Only you.”

Jessep departs Joan’s house and waits for the day gods to leave the sphere.

—–

Taking a small brand from his fire place Jessep lights the wick of the old hooded lantern. Once the wick is burning evenly Jessep closes the shutters enough to only allow limited light to escape. Enough light to see to walk through the extreme blackness of a Kannoral night, no more light than that. No need to warn anyone of his approach.

Dressing for the warmth of the clear skied night Jessep picks up the lit lantern and his Two Handed Battle Axe. Never leave home without it, is Jessep’s motto.

Jessep steps outside into the windy darkness of another Kannoral night. Frowning he notes the light is more to his right, Jessep walks into the brighter lit area. Following this method Jessep walks through the woods of the temperate north lands for two hours or so.

Frowning, as there is only two hours of oil left, Jessep stops, peers out into the night through slightly awkwardly squinting eyes. Eager ears tensely listening for any out of place noise.

He pauses, there was a hick-up from the darkness to his right. A suppressed hick-up, but he picked it out of the strongly determined cacophony of night sounds.

Walking towards the detected noise Jessep spots a dirty bare foot sticking out from under some obviously hastily placed broken bush branches.

Lifting his axe to be ready Jessep looks around the area then stops at the blatantly exposed foot. He can hear the muffled crying that sounds like woman’s sounds.

Jessep sets the dimly glowing lantern firmly on the dry ground of the forest’s littered floor. Then he reaches out suddenly and removes the cover of dead branches. “Come on out now. are you alone?”

What Jessep discovers is a poorly dressed Toyfem who is  obviously in her forties and hungrier than a Raven that has been involuntarily fasting. Taking a strong hold of her right, thin elbow Jessep stands her up. Jessep is satisfied she is alone and has been for some time.

Jessep coldly asks, “What is your name, if you understand Jal?”

To Jessep’s delight she responds in a very educated Jalnoric dialect, “Onna. Please don’t kill me Master Jessep.”

Jessep lets go of her arm slowly and he steps back into semi darkness, leaving Onna in full light of the old wishes lantern.

Amused but curious Jessep asks. “And how do you know me?”

Onna quivers somewhat frightened replying, “You are well known Master. We all fear your wrath and avoid you and your people the best we can.”

Jessep nods knowing a fearsome reputation out here keeps him safer. He curiously asks, “How do you come to be here alone?”

Onna falls kneeling on the ground, still in fear she answers, “I became lost while searching for healing herbs for my healer’s kit. In my panic to find my way out of your area I lost my kit. Spare me, I will leave your area.”

Jessep has been listening to Onna and calmly thinking. He laughs enthusiastically now, “Pick up the old wishes lantern. Follow the path it guides you on. I will be with you.”

Confused Onna does as directed by this most feared of brigands. She takes hold of the metal and glass, hooded light source and stands up shakily. Onna looks down and around, obviously lost and confused. She starts walking slowly. Jessep walks a little way behind her as Onna twists and turns through the night woods. The echoes of insects, birds, canines and other creatures are heard the whole time.

Onna stops and gasps, pointing at the ground near her bare feet.

Looking down Jessep nods and commands. “Pick it up. Is it yours?”

Onna smiles shyly but then quickly supresses the smile, “Yes.”

She carefully squats down and quickly picks up her newly recovered healer’s kit.

Standing back up she looks at the dusty pouch and then at Jessep, tears streaming down her thin face Onna enquires. “Now what?” she asks hesitantly in fear.

Jessep smiles knowingly with an answer already on his tongue. “We follow the path. My turn though, we only have an hour of lantern light now. Then we will have to wait for the gods to rise before walking further. Lets go.”

Jessep gingerly takes the old wishes lantern from Onna and starts cautiously following the uncertain path the lantern lights for him.

Confused but more afraid now of being alone Onna follows Jessep carefully. Her bare feet seeking clearly defined safe steps.

The duo walk for almost a full hour and then the light from the lantern slowly fades out, leaving the absolute darkness of night for the two of them.

Jessep almost curses  but then laughs, as he reaches for Onna’s hand. Jessep walks through the darkness with a new determination. Avoiding walking into most obstacles as he leads the way, then Jessep calls out after ten minutes or so. “Darious, I need light and food!  Quick man, or you will have restricted rations. Food for two, now at Joan’s.”

Footstep are heard rapidly scurrying through the area ahead, soon a young Jalmal is silhouetted by a dim light, running.

It is okay Onna we are at my village. You will have a meal, clean up and get your kit ready. You have a patient.” Jessep leads Onna forward carefully picking their way through the darkened obstacles. Walking her between the barriers of wooden and iron spikes out into the concealed light of his small hidden village.

A cough to their right alerts them another guard also is present and being vigilant. Jessep doesn’t respond as he leads Onna to a smaller building, maybe 20 feet square, with one obvious door and three windows on the two sides the pair can see.

Jessep opens the door abruptly and forcefully gestures for Onna to enter as a female voice calls from the musty interior. “Seven Hells knock damn it. About time you got back. Why are you so late?”

Jessep carefully follows Onna into the house and then carefully closing the weakened door. “Joan quit complaining, you knew I would be back. Your damn lantern ran out of oil but I saw the Village signal lamp luckily. Here is our solution … This is Onna, a healer with some observation skills, but gets lost way too easy. She will help cure your Bloodfires in your leg if you shut up and don’t complain. Complain too much and I will leave you die and Onna can have your house.”

A very excited and cheerful Joan laughs, “I told you didn’t I. Thank you Lord Jessep. You can go now. Don’t worry about the oil I have more.”

Joan  rapidly stands up onto her left foot and passionately hugs Onna. “Hello. Don’t mind him he is always that way. He is leaving us to our work. Thank you for coming.”

Onna is even more confused by all this, returning the unexpected hug from this strange old woman who seems to get away with back talking to a man deeply feared by many.

As Jessep opens the door to leave he calls back, “Darious is bringing two rations for the two of you. You might cook it this time Joan, at least for your healer.”

Jessep closes the door behind him and frowns sadly. There is enough darkness left he should be able to rest for a few hours.

Jessep walks tiredly back to his quiet house and acquires rest.

In Joan’s house Onna looks at Joan’s right foot and leg. The Bloodfire is deep and hot. “I will have to cut it off before treating for Bloodfire but I have the things I will need. At the knee will be best.”

Joan frowns unhappily, grumbling ashamed, “Seven Hells lets get on with this. Yes, the knee. But you will have to work for me afterwards until it heals over. Understood?”

Onna still not certain if this is real or a delirious dream, nods in acknowledgement. Setting out her tools and supplies conveniently located. Onna is startled as a knock raps sharply on the door and a young male voice calls in Jalnoric, “Food for two.”

Joan now has a little slurring of her words from her medicinally liberal use of rum, calls back. “Darius bring it in and cook for us.”

The light weak door opens gingerly and Darius steps cautiously in setting the two rations on the near by table, “Sorry Joan, I can’t. I am still on watch. I have to get back to my post or Jessep will dock my rations.”

Joan sputters, “Damn him and his rules. Okay get lost, I will eat later.”

Laying prone on the room’s dirt floor, with a basin under her dark red leg at the knee, Joan bites down on the willow branch as Onna cuts off Joan’s right leg. The stench from the retched Bloodfire is strong but Joan doesn’t notice as she passes out.

Joan got her wish. A resolution to her Bloodfire in her right leg, caused by being viciously bitten by a small local domestic cat.

Summer 7 Bear

Jessep awakens and as he dresses for the day he recalls his last night of events.

Dressed, Jessep walks quickly over to Joan’s house and unceremoniously enters. He spots Joan sleeping soundly uncovered on her feather mattress bed, but missing her right leg at the knee and down.

Onna is curled up tightly near the burned out fire pit, with a worn aged blanket protecting her from the cold cruel world.

Joan’s lower right leg lays on the dining table, clearly cut off with precise expertise.

Jessep picks up the diseased leg and exits the house quietly closing the house door behind him.

Walking over to the small confined, village burning pit Jessep quickly tosses in the stinking rotting flesh, then tosses in a bucket full of sulphur scattering it on top of the dark red flesh. Watching the flesh burn Jessep wonders how this will all evolve.

Onna will be part of their village now.

Hopefully Joan lives as well.

 

Challenge contributions:

September 12 2014

oldAria – Favorite creature: Penguin

lantern Aria – Person would like to know from history: Joan of Arc

wishesAria – If could teleport any place for one day would like to go to an old Scottish castle

SummerAria – There should be more tolerance in the world

6Aria – Doesn’t like super heroes

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