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Markus episode 4, Home

Markus Episode 3, The Journey

Markus
Episode 4, Home

 

ISSN 2371-0667

By Rusty Knight

Episode four: Home

Previously in episode three, ‘The Journey’:

 

Markus made the final journey from Gerris’ office, down the central aisle of Arton Warehouse. He started his new journey with his new master, Dragoman Bloodgrue.

 

We continue now in episode four, ‘Home’:

 

Walking out of Arton Warehouse, no longer a Guilded Rogue, Markus ponders the ramifications of events. ‘This Bloodgrue is obviously powerful, and wealthy. But why the disguise? Why the low-class gear? Where are we going?’

The pair have left the warehouse and stand on Willow Road, with Bloodgrue smiling, looking at Markus.

Markus’ thoughts are in turmoil as he considers events. ‘I don’t like this, but I don’t have a choice. I can’t afford to buy my contract from him, even if he would sell it. If I did buy my contract, then what? No, I stick with this boy for now.’

Bloodgrue starts walking north, without speaking.

Markus quickly follows him.

Confused, yet respecting this boy who just walked into Arton Warehouse with such command and control, yet he claims to simply be a dragoman looking for an apprentice, Markus can only follow him, not knowing anything about his master.

They walk north to the Osmo and Oak intersection, and turn west onto Osmo Road, walking until they then turn south-west on Elmar Road East.

Markus is having difficulty keeping up with Bloodgrue, as Markus is exhausted. Also, Markus is sticky and stinky from the spilled ale on his leggings. They’ve been walking in the dark for some time now and still Bloodgrue hasn’t spoken to Markus.

Passing store-front businesses and stall-buildings, Bloodgrue finally slows as Markus wheezes out, “Please … slow down.”

Bloodgrue looks at Markus and speaks, as if he hasn’t done anything more then walk to the privy. “Come on Markus. You are going on day-long walks. As a dragoman, you need to be able to walk for days with little rest, to get your clients to their destination. When you get to the Tempest, you are going to sit at the table I show you and eat the food you are served, while I arrange a room and bath for you. I will try to find something for you to wear, while YOU launder your clothes and hang them for the night to dry. Tomorrow, you will work in this ward, getting acquainted with the area so you know the streets, avenues and alleys. It is now your home. You will live and work here until I release you, one way or another. I am strict, but I let you work on your own, as long as you are bringing in coin to feed yourself with and an income for me. Understood?”

Out of breath, Markus tries to answer, stammering, “Yes … Sir.”

They arrive at an inn and Bloodgrue opens the door, ushering Markus in, leading him to a table in the dimly lit tavern.  The medium size table is near the back wall and Bloodgrue points to one of four chairs, the nearer one to the inner room and says, “This is your chair until I say otherwise. This is my table and that chair against the wall is where I sit, every time. No exceptions, unless I say so. Sit and I will order you some food and a drink.”

Bloodgrue doesn’t wait for an answer.

Markus is happy to rest so he sits, dropping onto the indicated hard wooden tavern chair. He is too exhausted to notice how hard the chair is, yet how comfortably crafted it is.

Bloodgrue has the attention of a barmaid and she arrives as he gives her his order. “I want a hot meal and dark ale for me. The boy there gets a basic cold meal and a mug of water, with no extras. Thanks. I will need to see Sennet and have two baths run tonight, and hot water for him to do his laundry and a rough robe for him, nothing to pretty.”

The average thirtyish-years-old appearing jalfem frowns and she replies, “You’re mean, but okay I will get it all ready. Do you need me in the morning?”

Bloodgrue hands her a gold Royal Flair and says, “Your professional services are required in the morning.”

Then Bloodgrue hurries away through a door.

The woman pats Markus’ shoulder and says, “His bite is even worse than his bark, don’t anger him. By the way, my name is Lana. Next to the owner, Master Sennet, I sort of keep this place running. Bloodgrue is one of our better clients. You’ll like him better, once he grows on you.”

Lana leaves to take care of Bloodgrue’s order.

Looking around the tavern of this inn, Markus notes about thirty-five patrons. ‘So this is home and work.’

 

To be continued …

In the next episode, episode five, ‘Job’:

Markus is introduced to a stern fellow and the Tempest, also to a beginning concept of what his job might be?

© February 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@inupress.ca

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

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

Explore our website and pick up free samples of the ‘Bloodgrue’ serial series short stories and fantasy novel, ‘Laret’.

Wander over to www.inupress.ca and tell us how you enjoying reading ‘Markus’, by going over commenting. We’d love to hear from you.

Have an wonderful day.

Yours,

Rusty Knight.

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Markus episode 3, ‘The Journey’

Markus Episode 3, The Journey

Markus
Episode 3, The Journey

By Rusty Knight

Episode 3: The Journey

Previously in episode two, ‘Down From Here’:

Markus was in Captain Gerris’ office with the strange youth, Blood. Blood brought shocking news, and now Captain Gerris suggests that Markus tell Commander Arton.

We continue now in episode three ‘The Journey’:

Both the others in the room burst out laughing after Captain Gerris suggests Markus tell Commander Arton that Blood just bought Markus’ contract from the Arton Rogues.

Markus questions in his mind. ‘Can this be done? Will Arton let it be done? Who is this Blood that Gerris did this?’

Blood says easily. “I will break it to him … if I can get Markus walking in that direction … Apparently you’ll have to wash your floor and chair. He had an accident; either he spilled his ale, or something else, but he’s wet.”

Gerris bursts out. “Damn, seven hells, I just had that cleaned from the last one I gave a beating to. Bloodgrue, you get him out of here after we finish our ale, which you have to pay for.”

Bloodgrue places a Flair on the desk. Markus looks at the gold coin in awe, thinking. ‘This person simply had a gold coin in his hand and placed it on the desk. A damn Royal gold Flair! How? Who the seven hells is he?’

Bloodgrue speaks up. “Fair enough sleepy, but stop beating children. Pick on men once in a while, they don’t shit themselves as bad.”

Markus watches in silence with wet leggings from the spilled ale. The two comrades drink their dark ale, while chatting back and forth. Markus’ mug is now empty, drained on to his lap. ‘Where will I be going? What will I be doing? Who is this Bloodgrue? He said apprentice. But what? A dragoman? I know nothing about being a dragoman. Where are we going? What about my family?’

Markus looks at Bloodgrue, deciding he needs to show this youth respect, as he just paid for Markus’ contract and he is now his master. ‘There will be no more stealing or appraising stolen goods. At least I hope not.’

Bloodgrue stands and says, “Ok, Markus, put the mug on the desk then stand up. You belong to me now … We will talk your terms of contract when we get you home. By the way, you do your own laundry, which I insist you will be doing today when we get home.”

Markus picks up the mug from his lap and carefully places it on Gerris’ desk. Standing, Markus flinches as he looks at Gerris when ales drips off Markus’ leggings onto the floor.

To Markus’ confusion and surprise, Gerris simply laughs. Shaking his head, Gerris says, “You better hope Blood is more forgiving then we are. Get out of here. You take nothing with you, other than what you have on you.”

Following Bloodgrue out of Gerris’ office, Markus can only nod once in silence. The two walk the entire length of the central aisle to the front of the warehouse. Nervously, Markus observes reactions as they arrive at the main appraisal desk. The lieutenant smiles and greets Blood as he would a friend.

Bloodgrue says to Markus. “Wait here, I may be right back. If not, you may be a free man.” Bloodgrue walks up the stairs to Arton’s second floor office door, where he simply knocks and walks in, closing the door behind him.

‘He’s so bold. Just walked in, here he greeted the lieutenant like he’s friends. Who is Bloodgrue, that he can do this? Yet he wears upper-lower class gear, except for the Dendar Sailor’s sword there are no overly outstanding markings. Not even a dragoman mark visible.’ Markus wonders.

Fifteen minutes later, Bloodgrue comes down the stairs, smiling.

Bloodgrue stands with Markus and looks Markus in the eyes. Bloodgrue says, “All set; you’re coming with me.”

The two stand on the invisible mark, seven paces from the exit and wait, knowing that the Gold Retrievers are out of sight, but they have their heavy crossbows aimed at the door.

The door opens, and with Bloodgrue leading, the two quickly leave, starting their journey.

To be continued … in the next episode, ‘Home’:

Markus and Bloodgrue make a long walk to an inn. At the inn Bloodgrue introduces Markus to some people and Markus’ future.

 

© January 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca rusty@inupress.ca

 

Great! You finished an issue of ‘Markus’ but you want to read more. Here is a handy link to click to more, click InUPress.ca to get more ‘Markus’ or ‘Bloodgrue’ and much more from Inevitable Unicorn Press. While there click and join our free e-mail subscription list to receive a free gift, then you will learn the news and updates from Rusty Knight and InUPress. The gifts change with time in February it was a free pdf with the biographies of the Black Swans of ‘Laret’. Later in 2016 it will be an issue of the series ‘Lanis’.

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

Tell me how you enjoy reading ‘Markus’ by going over to InUPRess.ca and commenting, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a great day.

Yours Rusty Knight.

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Markus: Episode 2, Down from here

FoTS1001

Markus

By Rusty Knight

Episode 2

 

Previously … Markus arrived at Arton Warehouse to be assigned an appraisal job. Stressing out over the punishment for not getting finished on time, Markus is distracted by a boy named, Blood. Blood takes Markus to Captain Gerris’ office. There, after Captain Gerris strikes Markus, Bloodgrue pours Markus an ale and tells him to sit.

And now we continue … Sitting in the directed seat, Markus is frustrated. He is loosing time on his appraising, and still has no idea what this is about.

Then the youth speaks words that drop Markus into a stupor.

“I’m here to purchase Markus. How much is he worth to you?” The boy asks Gerris with a grin, like he owns the world.

Mortified, Markus watches the boy; Markus spills some of his ale. ‘How? What can he be doing? Why?’

Gerris laughs heartily. “Put that ale down, you thief. You can’t come in here and buy my rogues and drink my ale for free.”

Blood takes a drink and grins. He continues. “Why Not? I have coin with me; I will pay you a Dyns for this ale … There, the ale’s not free. I will buy his too … Drink up Markus, don’t waste my Dyns or my ale.”

Old Gerris sits up straight and looks Blood in the face, studying him intently. “My gods, you’re serious, you want his contract … To what purpose? You don’t have a guild.”

The newcomer smiles, ear to ear. “Nor will I … I want a dragoman apprentice and I heard good things about Markus. He’s diligent, loyal, and seems to be able to think quickly, though right now I’m questioning that … What’s the matter Markus? Is my ale not good enough for you?”

Markus lowers the ale into his lap, in shock at this turn of events. ‘Another shift of fortune. Where would I go? What would I be doing? What about my family?’

Gerris looks away from Blood, towards Markus. “Don’t insult your potential master, boy, drink up.”

Lifting his drink from his lap to drink what’s left, Markus is confused, afraid and dazed.

Gerris turns back to Blood, and asks, “How much are you prepared to spend?”

Blood looks like he’s settling in for long negotiations. “I was thinking fifteen Dyns would be plenty. He is a boy, and he is green. I would have to start him from scratch and outfit him.”

Gerris guffaws and sits back. “He’s worth more to me than that in a year. Twenty-five and I might consider it, if you talk nice.”

The newcomer leans forward, looking mean. “How about … I talk dirty to your life-companion, and we say twenty, and seal the deal … He leaves all of his goods here. I take him as is, here and now.”

Markus looses his grip on his mug, breathing raggedly, going pale, his vision blurs. ‘No, not leave everything I’ve worked for, and my family. Everything?’

Turning to Blood, Gerris says, “If you can walk him out the door today … Now, he is yours for twenty.”

Blood stands and extends his arm to confirm the deal. Gerris stands and accepts, clasping arms.  Together they seal the deal. In unison they say, “Gods grace and good fate, Master.”

They both sit down, and Blood asks, “Who tells the grouch?”

Choking on his ale, Gerris coughs. He clears up and answers Blood, while looking at Markus. “He does.”

To be continued:

In the next episode: Markus leaves Arton Warehouse in the company of Blood, trying to learn more about the stranger named Blood.

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Markus: Episode 1, Bloodgrue

Autumn 53 Bear

Life is harsh when your part of the lower-class of Mount Oryn. Add to that living in North Docks, and it down right sucks plums. Markus had to rise long before the two day-gods ever consider breaking the horizon in the east, eat a bowl of cold left-over pottage, drink stale well-water and dress for work, all in the dim light of a single candle. He does this every day, so he can come here to Arton’s Warehouse, where he earns a grand three dusters a day. More than most labourers, but it goes to pay the rent and feed his family, consisting of his mother Angeline, his eighteen-year-old sister Terra and five-year-old nephew Johonna. Mom refuses to work, says her feet bother her, his sister is with her second child, nearly ready to pop any day now, so she is not working, and Johonna’s just too young to work. So when Arton bought Markus in a contract to pay the years rent, three years ago, Angeline was more than happy to sell Markus to the rogue.

Markus wasn’t so happy. No, it was a bum deal. Now Markus now has a reputation as a rogue, and damn if Arton didn’t make sure Markus received the training. They found out Markus has a knack for appraising things, so he got a promotion to the warehouse last season. And with it a damn regular work schedule, with the regular pay of three dusters a day, instead of the chaotic random earnings of a street rogue.

Here we go again, first, the knock on the man-door. Back up ten steps and then thief cant signing, ‘safe keep’, then ‘mark easy’, then finally sign ‘mark hard’ and wait for the door to open.

There, they open the door, quickly walk the seven steps inside and wait to be acknowledged.

Routine, but it must be followed. There are five Gold Retrievers with poisoned tip crossbow quarrel loaded heavy crossbows aimed at entrants, watching over the entry. The poison kills in less than ten seconds. Markus watched the Gold Retrievers in target practice a few times. They rarely miss. With five of them aimed at you, your chances of getting past them are like surviving a mad pack of range dogs. Not likely.

There, the touch on the shoulder after the door closed. Markus takes a look to see which Gold Retriever signed him in. It’s always nice to know who you owe your safety to. It’s the eighteen-year-old jalfem, Gem. She’s cute, but harsh. Don’t cross her, or that bolt from her crossbow will find you, even ‘accidently’. More than one errant person has found that out.

Markus simply nods and walks away, to go to the office to report to his manager.

Entering the office, Markus finds his twenty-four-year-old ugly as sin jalfem manager with an attitude to match her appearance, sitting at her desk.

Tora looks up at Markus and sneers. “Early today Markus. Looking for a bonus? I don’t pay bonuses, neither does Arton. You’re not getting a promotion this quick either. I told you. It’ll be at least a year. Now go to the far end, in bay forty-two. A shipment of crates came in from an outer. We want them sorted and appraised as soon as possible. You have two days. Get to it boy or Captain Gerris will be giving you more of those lashes, like when you broke that statue. Hurt didn’t it, and you only got ten that time. You get twenty for every day your late on this assignment.”

“Yes, Master Tora, bay forty-two, sort and appraise in under two days. Got the assignment. How many crates?”

Tora laughs. “Sixteen, eighty pounders. Don’t know what’s in them. Get to work.”

Markus walks out of the office muttering under his breath. “Seven Hells.”

Walking almost the entire length of the 250-foot warehouse to bay forty-two, Markus peers at the sixteen old wooden crates. ‘They’re somebodies moving crates damn it. Some outer was moving and his load got lifted. Could be just about anything in them. Each crates going to be different. Damn Seven Hells. Could take four days to appraise this.’

Markus takes his parchment and charcoal, to record with, setting them on one crate. Then he opens the first crate with his crowbar. “Great! Women’s clothing!” Markus snarls.

Markus proceeds well into the day, when an older teenage jalmal stops in the aisle and calls to him. “God’s grace and good fate Markus, how is your day going?”

Not really having time for chit chat, as Markus is only on the fifth crate, and it’s a crate of small knickknack that will take a couple hours to sort and appraise, Markus really doesn’t want to talk. He doesn’t recall who this boy is. Looking him over quickly, appraising the teenager. Markus spots the Dendar Sailors short-sword; a rare prize few can travel with. The clothing is fine, and relatively new, but upper-lower-class. He is clean, but wet from walking in today’s rain. ‘Still don’t recognize him.’ Though the boy is walking around the warehouse freely without an escort, so he must be important. “God’s grace and good fate master, I am well and yourself?”

The fellow responds quickly in reply. “Good lad. I think my day is getting even better. Will you come with me please. We are going to see Captain Gerris. I need your help with an issue. Nothing you’ve done yet.”

‘Damn! Seven Hells. He knows my name and wants my help? This will set me back on the assignment. Lashes for sure now. And to see Gerris. This aint good.’ Markus sets down the wooden carving he was appraising. Silently he hesitates, then follows the fellow the rest of the way down the central warehouse aisle to Gerris’ office.

Completing the last forty-feet they stop and the boy ponders something, while Markus also ponders what could be happening.

The stranger knocks on the office door.

Gerris calls out in clear bold jal. “Enter.”

The stranger boldly opens the door and smiling walks into the office, ushering Markus in before him.

The stranger says, “God’s grace and good fate Captain Gerris, Arton sent us to wake you and put you to work … So you are going to train Markus here one simple lesson … Then we can do business, the three of us. Seeing as you are awake, part of the instructions are carried out.”

Markus begins to shake inside. ‘What the Seven Hells is this guy doing? Who is he, that he talks to Arton, and this boldly to Gerris? No one does this!’

Gerris stands and walks over to Markus, while asking, “Can you stop this?”

‘Stop what? I don’t see anything.’ Thinks Markus still in shock at all of this.

Gerris’ fist flies out, smacking Markus right arm solidly. Markus tries to avoid the blow, as he just barely sees it coming, he fails to avoid the strike, receiving a bruising blow.

Gerris walks back to his desk as Markus rubs the wounded arm.

Gerris says, “I did an assessment and I feel at this time Markus does not have the skills of a fighter … There, work done. Now pour three dark ales, Blood, and let’s do business.”

This stranger, who Gerris referred to as Blood, points to a chair and says to Markus. “Take a seat, you haven’t been hurt yet … You now get an ale, for being trained.”

Blood pours three dark ales from Gerris’ special cask. One for Gerris, one for Blood, then one for Markus.

Handing one to Markus, Markus takes it while thinking, ‘I hate ale, it tastes like puke.’

Then Blood takes a seat across the desk from Gerris.

Markus sits as he was directed.

To be continued:

In the next episode: Markus, undergoes even more grueling torment by both occupants of the room. Blood makes a purchase that confuses Markus, even terrifies the rogue.

 

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