Archive for Bloodgrue

Lanis episode eight, ‘Reining’

Lanis

Lanis

Episode eight, ‘Reining’

By Rusty Knight

 

Previously in episode seven, ‘Contrary

Drake was sent shopping to Hangela’s. Upon returning to Lenden, Drake was so contrary with him, so Lenden offers to buy Drake her own riding horse.

And now in episode eight, ‘Reining

 

Spring 12 Bear

 

Lenden hitched the mares to the carriage after morning meal. He took two-hundred flares placed in sacks, put them in the carriage and packed a set of clothing, along with a basket of food and three water-skins.

Lenden tells Drake. “We will be away at least two days, so pack things to change into if you get muddy.

Still feeling contrary, argumentative and not social, Drake goes to her room and packs a set of her new clothing into her backpack, leaving behind her tomes.

With her studied spells in mind, Drake walks out to the courtyard finding Lenden hitching the two mares to the carriage. She places her backpack in the storage compartment and takes a seat, waiting.

Lenden looks up at her. He utters. “If we get this horse, your duties are to tend to all the horses all the time. Get out here and help hitch up the team.”

Throwing herself into getting out of the carriage and hitching the team with Lenden, unwillingly, Drake gets off the seat and out of the carriage cabin.

They finish hitching the team and set out on the wet road for Tamel’s Cartwright, traveling along King’s Avenue, then south.

It takes more than ten hours of carriage riding to get to Tamel’s. Unfortunately, he refuses to deal with the pair, when they arrive an hour after gods-set.

Lenden drives to a local inn and arranges rooms and meals for the night.

Drake had done minimal talking all day.

 

Spring 13 Bear

 

The sphere is clear when Drake and Lenden drive to Tamel’s. But, the gods have cursed the day, breathing south-east strong and hard.

Tamel’s mood matches the god’s breathing, just wrong.

The three of them walk out into the corral and Tamel lets Drake pick a horse.

Drake picks out a mare and Tamel opens with a request of 82 Flairs. Lenden only wants to pay seventy-five, so Tamel demands ninety.

They agree this isn’t the horse they want to deal on.

Tamel chooses an older mare and asks for sixty-seven Flairs.

Lenden looks the mare over. Calling it a nag, he offers fifty-two.

Tamel chases off the horse and tells Lenden to choose another horse.

Lenden walks among the thirty some mares and stallions for nearly an hour, then he asks for a rope and halter. Going back out among the horses, he approaches a stallion and places the halter and the lead rope on. Bringing the stallion back, he has Drake work with the horse.

Lenden asks Tamel, how much?

Tamel opens with sixty-seven Flairs and fifty Dyns.

Lenden watches the horse and Drake. Seeing Drake is smiling, he offers Tamel. “I’ll buy it for sixty and I’ll pay regular for the saddle and tack with a few extras. No more haggling.”

Tamel extends his arm. “Deal.”

The two saddle and gear up the stallion for Drake and then tether it to the back of the carriage.

Drake balks at this. “Why can’t I ride it home?”

Lenden commands. “It doesn’t know where home is and by the way you rode here, I doubt you do either. So, if it bolts on you, you’ll spend time lost, trying to find your way home. Ride in the carriage and observe our route.”

Drake realises she has no real rebuttal for that argument, so she climbs into the cabin of the carriage, determined to make observations during their return.

The horse calmly follows along.

With drier street and roads, they make better time and are home in just under nine-and a-half hours.

In the stable, after unhitching the carriage by herself and stabling her new horse, Drake grooms her horse last, having already taken care of the two mares.

She whispers to her stallion. “You may be average according to Uncle, but we are a team. When I leave here, you go with me. I need a name for you and I know what it is. I name thee, Crystal.” She hugs his neck.

After Drake cooks evening meal for the duo, they sit down to eat.

Drake informs Lenden. “I named the horse. I’m calling him Crystal.”

Lenden nods and replies. “If you’re going to name a horse, I guess a substance is as good a name as any. Crystal he is. But, I have news for you that I was going to share, before you got all upitty snarly like a penned rat. You are going to become a teacher. Tomorrow, you are going to purchase your student that I have picked out for you. You can refuse to take your student, if the student doesn’t strike you as teachable. I advise against that, as the next one you will have no say about.”

Looking at Lenden through squinting eyes and with scrunched forehead, her cheeks blazing red, Drake growls. “You don’t think you could have asked me about this first?”

Lenden shrugs and replies, “No. You’re my assistant. Assist.”

Drake growls a guttural snarl but says nothing. She begins to eat aggressively, forcing each forkful of food to her mouth while glaring at Lenden. After about five minutes, she drops the fork onto the plate. Sparked into saying, “You know, Uncle, I do have a mind and free will. I can choose to leave.”

Lenden swallows his mouthful of food with casual grace. Then he replies while locking eyes with Drake. “But you won’t; you like the challenge and you like the idea of authority.”

Drake sits back and grins. She looks away from Lenden at the bowls of food on the table, then back to Lenden’s eyes. “Yes, you’re right.”

She eagerly eats as they discuss her travels to get the student tomorrow.

 

Spring 14 Bear

 

After cleaning up the morning meal and completing her morning duties, Drake hitches the two mares to the carriage and heads out traveling north-west.

The trip is long and boring for Drake with no one to talk to but herself, as she had become used to discussing things with Uncle in their times together. He has such vast amount of knowledge and wisdom that it is always interesting talking with him, so much more so than anyone at the University, except maybe the Master-Mages, and Uncle make most of them pale.

Drake finds the home of her prospective student around evening meal time.

Knocking on the door of the middle-class house, Drake isn’t sure what to expect. Uncle wouldn’t tell her anything about the student or family.

A mature jalfem opens the door and gracefully addresses Drake. “Gods-grace and good fate, how may I aid you Master?” she says.

Drake smiles, thinking. ‘At least they’re jal.’ She says, “Gods-grace and good fate Master, I am Mage Drake. I come from Master-mage Lenden, seeking Melinda as a prospective student.”

The woman virtually shrieks excited to those in the house. “Melie, come quick. The mage is here for you!”

She turns back to Drake and says, “Please come in, Mage Drake. Please excuse us. We were about to do spring cleaning on my life-companion’s next free six-day off from the engineer’s work team. We have been so busy, with me working with the local tailor’s shop and my life-companion working with the ward engineer. We have five offspring to bring up in society and I believe we did an upstanding job. Melie will suit your schooling perfectly. I am certain. She is bright, young and eager to learn. We educated her well.”

Drake motions into the house and asks. “May I enter?”

The woman’s cheeks turn a bright-pink as she sputters and steps aside. “Yes! Yes, of course. Pardon me. Follow me.”

She closes the door and then leads Drake to a common room with seating for twelve. Offering Drake the finest seat in the room, as a jalfem who looks to be fifteen-years-old, arrives.

The mature jalfem motions to Drake and says to the girl. “Melie, this is Mage Drake. She has come to see you. You talk to her while I go find your father.”

The girl flutters her hand, while saying. “Mother, you know Father will be home from work in four-and-a-half hours.” Turning to Drake, Melie says. “Gods-grace and good fate, Mage Drake. I am Melinda Castel. May I sit with you?”

Drake frowns intentionally. Thinking, ‘Smart, not over assuming, direct.’ “Yes, Melinda. And I will call you Melinda while you call me Drake. Please sit with me while your mother fetches us both a mug of water with a pitcher as well. This may take some time, before I’m satisfied that you are a satisfactory candidate as a student.”

The mother sputters. “But I was assured Mage Lenden was taking Melie. Wouldn’t you prefer milk or juice or ale. Not just water? Why the change of mind?”

Drake pauses for Melinda’s reaction.

Melinda shows a reaction as she sits in the chair across the table from Drake. “Mother, Mage Drake has traveled today and asked for water. She wants to be sure that she wants me as a student. She is not Mage Lenden.”

The elder woman fusses as she leaves the room saying, “Oh me, oh my, no this isn’t right. We had an arrangement. No this isn’t right.”

Drake looks into Melinda’s eyes, silently watching.

Melinda only lets a couple of breaths pass when she says. “Don’t worry about my mother. She doesn’t understand the difficulties of becoming an apprentice or student. I’m ready to answer your questions, Drake.” She looks down at the table politely, a small smile peeking over her lips.

Drake nods, thinking. ‘Confidence but not overbearing. Knows this will be a process I control and might deny her, but may accept her, it is my decision and she acknowledges it. I like her already.’ Drake starts by asking, “Tell me what basic educational skills you have, languages you speak and scribe and so on.”

Melinda pales white, hesitating. Then she answers, “Mage Drake, I’m not stupid but my parents didn’t invest in education or trades for their children. I took it upon myself to learn jalnoric script, just past the basics, and I am a bit ashamed to admit I learned to be good with my fists in a scrap with the boys. But other than that, I get by with cooking and cleaning, but not much else.”

‘Honest but not skilled, a clean slate. That’s why Lenden wouldn’t say anything.’ Drake asks, “How old are you, Melinda?”

The girl, still pale, hesitates again, then chokes out. “I’m nineteen. I know I look fifteen, but I’m actually nineteen.”

Drake sighs. “Can you go out and tend to feeding of my two horses while I talk to your mother, Melinda. I will come out and let you know my decision.”

Melinda starts to tear up, feeling she lost her chance. But deciding not to take any chance on breaking down, she stands and walks outside.

Melinda’s mother arrives to find the room empty, except for Drake who is sitting by herself on the worst chair in the room. Drake stands and says. “I don’t know, Letilla. Your daughter really isn’t suitable material as a mage. I can’t pay you the standard one-hundred Flairs.”

Letilla drops the tray onto her floor, gasping. “No, you have to take her. She needs work and she has no skills.”

Drake guffaws, “All the more reason I can’t pay you full fee. I’ll pay eighty-three tops. But I take her as is, with no caveats.”

Letilla rushes over, extending her arm. She rasps out. “Yes! Yes!”

Drake clasps arms with Letilla and says, “Melinda will only be visiting once every second season for ten days.” Then Drake pulls free her coin pouch and counts out eighty-three gold Flair coins on to the table for Letilla.

Drake closes the pouch and returns it to her belt.

She says with contempt, as she turns to leave. “We won’t have anything to do with each other in the future, you and I.”

Outside at the carriage, Melinda has awkwardly fed the two horses and is standing by the door to the carriage cabin. Drake looks her in the eyes with a grim expression. She asks Melinda. “How bad do you want to go with me? What is it worth to you? One-hundred flares?”

Melinda starts to weep. She nods, “Yes, it is.”

Drake extends her arm.

Melinda looks confused as she looks into Drakes.

Drake smiles. She says, “It is Kannoral trade custom when you make an agreement or deal, you grasp the arm of the one you accept with by the forearm and clasp firmly, signifying you accept and agree. Usually right arms. Do you accept being my student, Melinda Castel, student of mage Drake?”

Melinda awkwardly clasps arms with Drake and says, “I have to get my things. I’ll be right out.”

Drake releases the clasp and says, “No, you don’t; you are coming with me as you are. That is your mother’s agreement with me. You can come back and visit for ten days, every two seasons, when scheduling permits. Into the carriage. We are leaving now.”

Melinda’s jaw drops and her eyes go wide. When she regains her senses, she asks, “Are you serious?”

Drake climbs up into the cabin of the carriage, waving Melinda in. Thinking, ‘I actually like her, this won’t be so bad.’ Saying “Yes, I’m serious.”

Melinda gets up into the same vehicle and Drake proceeds to drive them home.

The team arrive home around one in the morning on Spring 15 Bear. With Drake teaching Melinda, the two unhitch the horses, then stable, groom, and feed the mares. After that, Drake settles Melinda into her new room on the second floor of Lenden’s manor.

 

To be continued …

In the next episode, episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’

 

Drake begins Melinda’s lessons in more than one sphere of teaching, earning a few lessons herself.

 

© 2016 by 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. containing the biographies of the protagonist group the Black Swans, from Rusty Knight’s upcoming fantasy novel ‘Laret’. Later in 2016, the bonus will be an issue from the series ‘Lanis’.

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

Wander over and tell us how you enjoyed ‘Lanis’. Do this by going over to www.inupress.ca and commenting. We’d love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful day.

Yours, Rusty Knight.

Comments

Lanis, episode seven, ‘Contrary’

Lanis

Lanis

Episode seven, ‘Contrary’

By Rusty Knight

 

Previously in episode six, ‘Friends?

 

Lanis, now known as Drake, journeyed to Hangela’s on an errand on behalf of Lenden. To Drake’s credit, and against her better judgement, she resolved to become friends with the merchant Hangela. Things did not work out well. Drake discovered upon returning to Lenden, that he doesn’t consider Hangela a trustable person.

 

Now in episode seven, ‘Contrary’

 

Spring 10 Bear

 

Drake dishes up the fried meats and tubers onto their plates, then serves their morning meals, along with the dairy milk delivered yesterday.

Lenden smiles and he takes a bite of the spiced fried tubers. He says, “You’re almost good at cooking, practice more. Today is the supply run and sadly you need to go to Hangela’s again. Today you hitch the team on your own, drive to Hangela’s, buy the produce, goods and return. After you stock the cupboards and shelves, then the library is yours to use.”

Drake groans loudly, “Really? I have to go to Hangalots? Why, Uncle?”

Lenden shrugs, and he answers. “Because she has the best selection with reasonable prices, if you haggle properly. And, it is closer than Berry Way Market, with less hassle. I’m giving you a one-hundred Flair purse and a list. Come back with everything on the list, at minimum.”

He hands Drake a large sack of coins and a narrow strip of rag-paper with fine jalnoric script, listing his demands in point form. There are thirty-eight items on the list.

They finish eating, and then Drake does her cleaning. Once satisfied that she has completed her indoor chores, Drake walks out to the carriage house and the stables, hitching up the carriage with the two draft mares. It takes Drake over an hour of trial and error until she figures out the proper setup. Once she is ready, she travels without incident, along King’s Avenue, then Tickton’s Street to Hangela’s Mercantile.

Inside the shop, Drake bolsters her resolve, knowing she will be dealing with Hangela frequently, haggling deals, winning some, loosing some.

Hangela greets Drake cheerfully. “Good-day Drake. Come in and buy.”

Drake shivers, cold with dread. She looks at Hangela, and acknowledges the merchant. “I am here to buy supplies for Master Lenden.”

Hangela smiles. “Come in. I have been having a slow day. You have my attention.”

Drake’s innards turn with Hangela being so nice, something will go wrong.

Half-an-hour later Hangela rudely says, “No, you silly girl, the tubers are from south of here. They are from a fief where they grow them just for me. You pay what I ask. Not what you want.”

The negotiations go worse from there for Drake, with Hangela demanding more, giving less.

Spending less than forty-six Flairs and purchasing all of Lenden’s supplies, Drake doesn’t buy extras. Drake loads the over five-hundred pounds of supplies into the carriage by herself.

Drake then drives home, and there she spends over an hour unloading, before struggling to unhitch the carriage and mares. By the time she gets to her room with the tasks complete, it is three hours past gods-set and Drake simply flops into bed without washing up or eating. She quickly goes to sleep.

 

Spring 11 Bear

 

Lenden looks over at Drake and says. “You did well yesterday, doing everything on your own without loosing the carriage or team, doing the errand without incident, and even dealing with Hangela on her terms.”

Drake tosses the half-full coin sack at Lenden, and she sits down at the table without responding. She wipes more sleep from her eyes.

Morning meal looks half cooked as she takes a bite, nearly gagging.

Lenden twirls his fork in the mystery pottage on his plate. He looks up at Drake. “Are you going to be like this all day, every time after you go for supplies? I won’t put up with it, you know?”

Drake drinks some of her lukewarm tea. She puts down the mug and looking at her plate says. “So?”

Lenden says, “Let’s go to the lab and study today for three hours, then you can spend three hours studying on your own. If you don’t burn down the lab today, you can spend time in the library, say two hours after the lab time. Then we’ll eat. I may have an idea after that.”

Drake drops her fork into her food and stands. Picking up her plate and Lenden’s, she begins cleaning away the unfinished half cooked morning meal.

The two work half-heartedly on Lenden’s ‘Fly’ spell for three hours, then Lenden dismisses Drake.

Lenden asks, “What is the spell you’re trying to learn, Drake?”

Drake walks Lenden to her benches and shows him her notes and equipment.

She grumbles to him. “I found a copy of ‘levitate‘ in your works, so I’m seeing if I can work it.”

Lenden whistles and then replies. “Shooting big aren’t you. That’s above anything they’d have taught you in the University. It’s a class-two mage spell, Drake. You sure you want to tackle that, even a class-three mage has difficulty with that one.”

Drake looks at her work and then shrugs, saying. “I have four hours of study into it already. Sure I’ll give it a shot.”

Lenden laughs. He says, “You’re just getting started. You’ll put in at least twenty hours of study, figuring the intricacies of that out.”

Looking downtrodden, Drake almost reconsiders, then her resolve tightens and she tells Lenden. “Once I start I don’t quit or give up. I’ll learn this.”

Lenden bows to Drake and offers her. “Then more power to you, my student. I bow to your resolve. As such, tomorrow we go and purchase you your own riding horse at Tamel’s Cartwright.”

 

To be continued …

 

In the next episode eight, ‘Reining

 

Drake and Uncle take the carriage south to Tamel’s to purchase a riding horse. After sorting through the stock, they return with Lenden giving Drake news and a job to last a life-time.

 

© 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. containing the biographies of the protagonist group the Black Swans, from Rusty Knight’s upcoming fantasy novel ‘Laret’. Later in 2016, the bonus will be an issue from the series ‘Lanis’.

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

Wander over and tell us how you are enjoying ‘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.

Comments

Lanis, ‘Friends?’

Lanis

Lanis

Episode six, ‘Friends?’

By Rusty Knight

 

In episode five, ‘Well?’

Lanis acquired her mage name and a talisman along with new found skills. She bonded surprisingly with Lenden who she now calls Uncle and who gave her the mage name, Drake.

We continue now in episode six, ‘Friends?’ 

Spring 9 Bear

Waking early, excited with the discovery of her new talisman, Drake wants to explore her new power. It is dark as usual and Drake ponders the possibilities with her new talisman. ‘If Uncle is right, I should be able to just conjure up ‘Orange Light’, here and now, even though I haven’t studied, and it should work.

Drake holds her hand out with her index finger extended. She utters her verbal component, “Illiad”, and a glowing orange globe forms at the tip of her finger, illuminating an area of five-feet radius.

Drake grins eagerly. ‘Well now, that was a cantrip. But what about full blown spells? I have a tear in my old leggings that needs mending. I know the mending spell, so theory has it I can now free-cast, as long as I don’t exhaust my power.’

Getting out of bed, Drake saunters over to her clothing and sets her leggings on the bed so she can easily see the tear in them. Concentrating on the tear, she free-casts ‘Mending’. Drake feels a heavy drain on her body and notes she feels less energetic, but the tear is repaired. She also notes the orange light still glows as bright on her finger tip.

Chuckling, Drake lights her lantern and then dismisses the ‘Orange Light’. She dresses in her mended leggings and old tunic. Going out back, she collects eggs and returns inside to prepare morning meal.

…..

“I tried free-casting this morning, using the talisman, Uncle. It worked, even the ‘Mending’ spell, which usually requires a material component of two burrs. Thank you for teaching me. But what is the cost to this? These is always a cost.” Asks Drake, during their conversation over morning meal.

Uncle sighs. “Actually, the cost is high. You can not cast spells without the talisman. If you lose it, you are powerless. So don’t lose your armband. It takes great effort to create a second one. It is usually easier to find the original, if at all possible, than it is to make a second Talisman or gain the spell casting ability as a normal mage.”

Drake drops her fork and stares at Uncle. “You should have warned me. I might not have gone this route.”

Lenden sighs sadly, as he is about to eat another bite of duck. He says, “It is in your better interest to learn this way. You will be faster, stronger, almost undefeatable. Your Arturan Ankle is your talisman. You just have to keep that in mind.”

Drake snorts, upset now, but resigned to her new fate. “What are we doing today?”

Lenden answers her with, “I need you to go to Hangela’s today. Take the carriage if you can. I want two-hundred feet of her silk rope, half-inch. I’m studying a new variation on my Rope-Trick spell this season, and Hangela’s rope has the qualities I’m looking for.”

Trying not to tell Lenden where to go in the Seven Hells, Drake sits firm and straight. “As you desire, Master Lenden.”

Lenden, seeing Drake is upset and going to be difficult, simply ignores her attitude, and he finishes his meal, after telling her. “I’ll teach you how to properly hitch up the carriage and horses, and give you quick lessons on driving the team. Then you can set out. I’ll give you a coin pouch with three-hundred Flairs. That should be enough for the rope. If she wants more, she is stealing from you.”

Drake doesn’t answer, simply sitting and playing with her food, picking at it with her fork, until Lenden is finished. Then, Drake cleans away the morning meal and afterwards they get the team ready and Drake is on her way to Hangela’s.

…..

Arriving at Hangela’s, Drake hesitates before entering. She is drained from guiding the carriage for the first time, and nervous because she has to face Hangela again. Drake has that feeling in her gut that one gets when you know you have to do something you really really don’t want to do. Pulling up her boots, she locks the carriage brakes and slowly climbs down from the safety of the cabin.

Walking into Hangela’s Mercantile, Drake gags just at the smell of the place. ‘To the Seven Hells with this. I’m going to have to deal with this cow a lot, if I’m staying with Uncle. And with what he has spent and I owe him now, I have no choice. I can’t pay out the debt. I have to learn to deal with Hang-root. So we might as well be friends, at least I’ll try to be.’

Seeing the overbearing merchant dealing with customers, Drake walks around the inside of the store, looking to see what is in stock. Finding a few items of interest to her and also finding the rope Uncle wants, Drake waits for Hangela to finish with her current customers.

As the customers walk out with their goods, Drake approaches Hangela and extends her arm in a friendly gesture. “Gods-grace and good fate, Master Trader Hangela. How do you fare?” asks Drake in a friendly voice.

Hangela, likewise, clasps arms with Drake, and answers, “Gods-grace and good fate Apprentice Lanis, I’m good. How do you fare?”

Lanis smiles for Hangela, forcing a cheerful, “I’m good, but I don’t go by Lanis any more. Master Lenden registered me as Mage Drake. So I go by Drake.”

Hangela laughs, releasing the arm clasp. “I thought he would see humour in the sale.”

Drake fumes inside. ‘So it wasn’t an accident, she sold me drakes on purpose. I’ll … Lanis settle down …’ “Yes, he found it rather humours.”

“This time, I know what I’m looking for. Come with me, it is right over here.” Drake leads Hangela to the coiled half-inch silk rope. “I need two-hundred feet of the better quality rope you have. I’ll inspect it before I buy it, to be sure it meets what I need.”

Hangela reaches for two coils at the back of the stack and places them on the counter for Drake. “I keep these at the back, just for Lenden.”

Drake carefully inspects each coil of one-hundred feet of silk rope. Satisfied, she asks. “How much for them?”

Hangela says, “I sell this for twenty Flairs a coil.”

‘I can do better than this, it is much better than what Lenden stated, but I think she’ll sell cheaper.’ “At that price I’ll only buy one coil. If you sell it to me for say, eighteen a coil, I might buy both coils.” Says Drake.

Hangela’s eyes light up. “I could sell them both for eighteen, each.”

Liking the deal, but wondering if she can do better, Drake continues, “Maybe I’ll buy some more if you sell for sixteen-fifty each; say three coils the same quality?”

Hangela reaches behind for another coil, setting it with the first two. “Done.”

Now more confident, and seeing if she can push even further, Drake says, “If you open up a fourth coil, I’ll pay fifteen a coil.”

Hangela growls, “Now your playing and fishing. Nineteen each just ‘cause I hate being played.”

Drake steps back. She offers, “Okay, seventeen each and I’ll take three.”

Hangela starts putting the coils of silk rope back behind the stacks. “No, I am thinking twenty-three each, because you wasted my time.”

Feeling she definitely lost this, and needs to gain it back, Drake says, “I’ll give you eighteen a coil, for two coils and I will continue to shop?”

Hangela hesitates, then places two of the coils back on the counter. “You want these, I want twenty Flairs, seventy-five Dyns each, and stop wasting my time.”

Drake takes the pouch from her side and counts out thirty-seven Flairs, “I’ll pay you thirty-seven for the pair, and I’ll leave your store carrying them out myself.”

Hangela takes the coins, and counts them, then extends her arm to clasp. “Okay, I’ll work with that, if you buy the third coil for nineteen Flairs.”

Drake counts out eighteen, “I’ll buy it for eighteen, there are eighteen Flairs for you.”

Hangela clasps arms with Drake while scowling.

Drake puts the coin pouch back in her belt-pouch then carries the three one-hundred-foot coils of half-inch high quality silk rope to the carriage, placing them in the cabin. Done, she gets in, and releasing the brake, she heads home. ‘So much for being friends, but at least I won that one.’

…..

Arriving home, Drake carries the three coils of rope to the laboratory for Lenden.

Lenden inspects the rope, proclaiming with glee, that he has eight useable pieces, for eight castings of his improved new ‘Rope Trick’.

“You did well, again. How much did you spend, Drake?” enquires Lenden.

Drake hands Lenden the remaining two-hundred-and-forty-five flairs while saying, “I spent fifty-five on the three-hundred feet.”

Lenden smiles and he makes a few calculations, marking down notes in a new ledger he has on his desk. He tells Drake. “You have now paid off five Flairs of your debt to me. Keep up the good work.”

Drake stops and frowning she asks, “I’m afraid to ask, but how much is my debt to you?”

Lenden points to the balance column of the ledger.

:598.17 owed

Drake sighs, ‘Its going to be awhile, I knew there was a catch to the nice yesterday.’

Drake asks, “How can I pay that off, if I don’t have a job? Or some income?”

Chuckling, Lenden says, “Starting yesterday, you are being paid one Flair every day you work for me, plus bonuses. Like today, you saved me five Flairs on the cost of that rope, so the savings went to you as a bonus. You see, I know Hangela’s price for the rope, you could have paid regular price, but you bargained well and got it for less. I reward that, by paying you back the savings. Also, I will pay you on the thirty day marks in the seasons. You can take it, or use it to pay off your debt, your choice.”

Drake sees the value in this, and possible futures. “Thank you, Uncle. I will work towards paying this off as quickly as possible.”

Lenden waves her off, “Five-hundred Flairs is a minor concern for me. Just be sure it is paid before you go for your testing at the University.”

Drake has a thought and engages Lenden. “Master, how does one get to be a friend of Hangela’s?”

Lenden sneers, “You don’t want to be that woman’s friend; she robs her own mother for profit. I only stay on her good side because she can get me things I need.”

Confirmed that there is no good side to Hangela, Drake resigns herself to the relationship they have.

To be continued in episode seven, ‘Contrary’

Drake is sent to Hangela’s again, Spring 9 Bear. Unfortunately, things go bad and Drake becomes contrary with Hangela.

© 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@inupress.ca

For a free copy of the biography of the Black Swans of ‘Laret‘, the upcoming fantasy novel of Rusty Knight, check out www.inupress.ca and sign up for the subscription to the e-mail list. You will then in a day receive a free downloadable pdf. of the biography of all six Black Swans from Larret Hamlet.

Laret’ is due out in 2016 and if you purchase the May issue of ‘Dalan‘ e-zine you will be able to vote on the sub-title and one of three covers for the ‘Laret‘ novel. March issue is available over at www.inupress.ca

 

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Lanis, Episode five, ‘Well?’

Lanis

Lanis

Episode five, ‘Well?’

By Rusty Knight

Previously in episode four, ‘Really!’

Lanis discovers the riches of Lenden’s laboratory and library, being rewarded for diligently working through Lenden’s lab and library on Lenden’s birthday.

Now in episode five, ‘Well?’

Spring 8 Bear

Lenden sits back in his chair as Lanis is placing their food for morning meal on the table. He smirks. “So, Drake will you go out with me today?”

Lanis falters, ‘What is this? The old fart called me a duck and asked me out. Now what do I do?’ She regains composure quickly. “Well, only if you’re going to buy me gems and jewelry, old man, Master Lenden.”

Lenden smacks the table hard while smirking. “Done. I need a bag-lady anyways. And my own personal Drake will do just fine. We leave as soon as I have the carriage geared up and you have the house cleaned up. I say an hour after morning meal is eaten. What kind of gems and jewelry do you like?”

Taken aback by this oddity, Lanis’ only reaction is to flippantly answer, “Oh I think garnets and silver armbands.”

Smiling even more, Lenden answers. “How odd, I am buying a dozen garnets today. We’ll see if they have armbands, if I have any coin left.”

Staring at Lenden, Lanis’ mouth opens and closes a few times, then she asks, “Are you serious?”

Lenden swallows his scrambled duck egg that he had been chewing and replies. “Very much so, Drake. I am also serious about calling you Drake. You will pay to learn to know the difference in items, before you purchase things.”

Lanis, who is now to be Drake, thinks about this. It was kind of ironic, coming back from Hangela’s with drakes, when she was sent out for hens. He won’t let her forget, and this is Lenden’s way of continually reminding her to learn about her subject before going out and spending good coin on it. The name Drake is a badge of honor and a lesson well learned.

“OK Old Man, I’m Drake. But, I will find a name for you too, Master Lenden.” Drake responds. “Besides, any good mage has a mage name. Drake will do as well as any.”

They laugh together at this, then proceed to finish morning meal.

…..

Having rode in the carriage together, with Lenden driving, the two went shopping in Berry Market. Lenden surprised Drake even further today with purchases of clothing for her. He also purchased curtains, a rug and bedding for her room. Then, they did a large food purchase before arriving at Morgus’ Gems, at stall 12 in Berry market.

Lenden negotiated with Morgus for half-an-hour over twelve perfect garnets. Drake watched in admiration at Lenden’s skill at manipulation as he bought the twelve precious gems for half their normal value.

Normally, the garnets sell for five-hundred Flairs each. By the time half-an-hour had passed, Lenden purchased them for two-hundred-and-fifty Flairs each.

Looking at Drake, Lenden asks, “Well?’

Drake sighs, smiling, and then she answers. “I apologize for my ineptness in buying two drakes when you wanted three hens. I did purchase you the spell components you required though. I would love an armband, seeing as you have a few coins leftover from your purchases today, Master Lenden, Mage Extraordinaire.”

Laughing, Lenden smiles as he nods and points to a specific armband on display. It has three ducks in flight, etched in the silver. Lenden says, “Three drakes for my Drake. How much?”

Morgus sighs and taking the female-size armband from his display, he hands it to Drake. “Try it on My Lady, then the old geezer will pay me two-hundred-fifty Flairs for it.”

Lenden coughs, covering his mouth. He says quietly as Drake tries on the armband. “Its worth less than one-hundred-fifty.”

Morgus shakes his head, “No, its worth two-hundred, but seeing as you stole my garnets, you can pay well for this, and I see it fits the lady well. Is she your niece?”

Drake laughs as she gently rubs the armband now on her right wrist.

Drake muses, ‘It feels so comfortable, so right. Like it was made for me. Lenden is right. Drakes’ for Drake.’ “Uncle, I’ll take it.”

Lenden doubles over laughing. Morgus looks confused as Drake breaks out in infectious laughing as well.

As Drake and Lenden calm down, Morgus says, “Like I said, two-fifty.”

Lenden wipes the tears from his eyes to clear them and he says, “No, you old goat. A hundred and fifty and I’ll leave you two-hundred for my niece to come shopping later.”

This stops Drake and Morgus. Drake peers mischievously at Lenden, and Morgus guffaws.

Morgus says, “Leave three-hundred and I’ll consider this sold for one-seventy-eight.”

Still wiping laughter tears from his eyes, Lenden looks at Drake, then he extends his arm to Morgus, “Deal.”

Lenden unloads another five hundred usury note from his belt pouch and he hands it to Morgus.

Lenden says, “Take the one-seventy-eight from that, three-hundred for Drake’s future purchases, and what is left for my future purchases. Unless you are going to deduct conversion fees from that, then bill me the conversion fees.”

Morgus looks at the note signatures, then smiling he looks at Lenden, “We’ll call it even at one-seventy-eight and three-hundred, Master Lenden. Drake, I look forward to your visit in the future.”

Lenden, Drake and Morgus exchange arm clasps, then the two mages leave and take the wet road home. It had rained more than five millimetres for nearly three hours while they were in the market. Water is still running in the gutters, though the rain had stopped nearly an hour ago.

“So uncle, to what do I owe all these treasures?” asks Drake.

Lenden looks out at the sphere, from inside the cabin of the carriage. He then turns to Drake. “Oh don’t you worry; you’ll be earning it all, and more. I tested your powers this morning; your flow is strong. You’ll be working hard for me and yourself. Your studies and work aren’t going to be easy, Drake.”

Taken back a notch or two, Drake looks at the pair of horses for a minute before responding. Then she gasps before saying. “Isn’t it proper for a mage to tell someone that he is reading them, before he reads them, Uncle?”

“It is, and I like you too, Drake, but we’ll only maintain proper etiquette when in public. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a pass at you. You’re much too young.” Lenden pats Drakes knee.

Drake sighs, “And here I was hoping.”

They laugh together a minute. “Okay, so I don’t have to call you master anymore when we are in private?” asks Drake.

“No, Drake, you don’t. I know you, you’re past that.” Responds the old man.

“Okay, thank you, as long as you know there will still be secrets.” Offers the student.

Lenden chuckles, “More than you know, Niece.”

They converse idle chatter the rest of the way home. Arriving home, Drake unloads the carriage before Lenden unhitches the team and puts away the carriage.

Following their evening meal, they meet in the laboratory, as discussed, where Drake has set on her desk the forty-two-page tome, ink, quills and parchment, which Lenden purchased for her today.

Lenden enters Drake’s zone. “Okay like I said, you’ll be able to focus your spells better if you use a talisman. It is just the way your power works. This is why you haven’t had the success you desire so far. You are an artificer … Artifice Drake. Make the armband your talisman. It is something you will always possess and shouldn’t lose. Give it the power to channel for you.”

Drake looks at the armband, then at Lenden. She asks, “Like we talked about in the carriage?”

Lenden nods. “Yes.”

Grasping the armband with her left hand, she stands and faces west with feet placed shoulder width apart. Drake begins the chant, repeating it, feeling her power build in her. Focusing on the armband and the power flowing around and through her, she chants, infusing the ley-lines and focus through the armband, drawing them in to the jewelry tighter, stronger, until it can no longer be bound any stronger. Then she begins the chant to bind this all together, and hold it so the focus binds between her and the armband. Sweating, she continues chanting, tying it together tightly and sealing it. Suddenly, she feels a bursting flash and loses consciousness, falling to the floor of her lab.

…..

Lenden is leaning over Drake, wiping her forehead with a cool damp cloth. He is smiling proudly. “You did excellent. I was right. You are clearly a true artificer and your armband is now your talisman and focus. Welcome to being a Class One Artificer, Apprentice Drake.”

Drake sits up weakly and then touching the duck etched armband, she feels the power ebbing and flowing in it. Smiling, she thinks. ‘He was right, it worked and I did it. I can do this. I’m not a fraud or wanna be. I am an artificer.’ She turns to look up at the mage, who is now sitting next to her. “Thank you, Uncle. It worked; I can feel it.”

To be continued …

In the next episode six, ‘Friends?’

Drake attempts to put aside her initial feelings, and the bad experiences with Hangela and make a friendship with the merchant, for the sake of Lenden.

© 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@inupress.ca 780-523-5835

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Lanis, Episode four, ‘Really!’

 

Lanis

Lanis

Episode Four

By Rusty Knight 

Previously in episode three, ‘Hangela’s Duck’

Lanis met Hangela, again, having to buy three ducks for her master, Mage Lenden. Unfortunately, Lanis ended up with owning two of the ducks as Hangela misrepresented the sales to Lanis.

Now in episode four, ‘Really!’:

Spring 7 Bear

Lanis returns inside with Lenden to clean up their morning meal.

Lanis is coming to terms with the idea of owning two ducks, when Lenden sits at the table and utters, “Do you know what day today is?”

Lanis ponders this question carefully, wondering if today is a holiday, but she doesn’t recall any holiday that lands on Spring 7. “No, Master Lenden, I don’t, other than it is Spring 7. Something special about Spring 7?”

Mopping sullenly, Lenden says in a soft voice, “I was born on this day, seventy-two years ago, to a woman who raised me for thirty years before passing away from the pox.”

Lanis sits down and places her hand on Lenden’s. She says with conviction, “Shall we do something different or unique to celebrate?”

Lenden shakes his head and answers Lanis. “I want to study my new spell uninterrupted. So we are going up to the lab and I am going to show you your space. You can set up then go explore the library. But be careful not to disturb my concentration or the balance in my work space.”

Lanis grins, ‘Finally, my work space and the library. I waited long enough.’ “Thank you, Master Lenden. I will stay out of your way and not disturb your space or time.”

Lenden takes Lanis to the lab on the third floor of the manor and he designates her an area of the lab, fifteen-feet by fifteen-feet, in the north-west corner, so Lanis can set up her own area in the thirty-two-foot by thirty-five-foot laboratory.

Lenden watches Lanis move her table, two chairs and desk into an organized work space. Lenden grudgingly says, “Lanis, perhaps you can aid me for an hour or two with the more tedious organizational aspects of the spell research?”

Lanis smiles, realizing this is an in to learning more complex spells. They work on the mundane items of Lenden’s research for four hours.

A couple hour after noon, Lenden stretches and yawns. “Well, you are a decent research partner and you’ve made my birthday go well so far. How about we eat, then you spend some time in my library?

Lanis almost wets herself in her excitement at getting into Lenden’s library so soon. She shyly answers, “Of course, I’ll cook. Yes, Master Lenden.”

They eat a late mid-day meal of tubers and vegetables, in a peppered cream sauce. It is a recipe Lenden enjoys, and Lanis delights in.

Lenden takes Lanis to the library, a great room next to the laboratory, of equal size. The library is lined with shelves of great and small tomes and scrolls.

Lenden says with pride. “You can peruse the library for three hours. No tome shall leave this room.

Perusing the great and small tomes, Lanis goes into shock finding a rare tome by the relatively unknown artificer, Ranton. The tome is a class-four work, of his treaty on crystal structures in magical artifacts. She carefully picks up the sturdy medium size tome of oxen-hide covered parchment pages.

Sitting on the only couch in the room, Lanis opens the tome’s cover and beams the largest grin she has expressed since leaving the University. Ranton scribed in jalnoric script. Her hand lexigraphy script is neat and tight, allowing Ranton to put a large amount of script detail on each page. She used little in the way of flourishes and her diagrams are concise with only the necessary details. This is a basic text, full of details on the art of crystal artifact construction. By page four, Lanis is out of her element, but is so excited to learn what the pages contain that she doesn’t want to let the tome out of her hands.

Looking around the large room, Lanis ponders what other treasures Lenden has buried in here. She puts the tome back where she retrieved it from. Memorizing its location, Lanis walks to the library desk and retrieving two sheets of the highly expensive parchment and a bottle of the rare black ink, she sits down, scribing notes for herself on what she learned from the tome. She makes notes on what she can do now, using her own skills, for use in casting. Lanis fills both twelve-inch square parchment sheets with her own tight script. She debates using a third sheet, but instead blots the ink, to be sure it is dry, then she turns the sheets over and continues scribing. She nearly fills both of the pages, with barely two inches left on the fourth page.  Finished, Lanis sets down the gold quill worth ten Flairs.

She calculates what she owes Lenden for this: two Flairs per sheet of parchment, plus a Flairs worth of ink. So, she owes five Flairs. Thus, she has to do a lot of work for Lenden, or find income somehow.

To be continued …

In episode five, “Well?”:

Lenden and Lanis go for a carriage ride to Berry Market where Lenden makes some purchases for Lanis.

Lanis is a little forgetful and Lenden’s question is, “Well?”

© March 2016 by Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@inupress.ca 780-523-5835

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