Archive for June, 2014

Roof twig water

Spring 20 Bear

Bloodgrue watches the water drip from the end of a small twig lodged in the roof gutters. Spring rains never fail to dampen spirit of those under the rain.

But Bloodgrue smiles. Today the rain won’t dampen his spirit. Something wonderful is in store for this afternoon. As long as his master doesn’t see fit to give Bloodgrue a job that will take long. Bloodgrue needs to leave near mid day. If he can tell on this cloudy day, when mid day is?

Bloodgrue’s master approaches. “I can’t have you idle too long apprentice. Fetch the ladder and clear the gutters.”

Bloodgrue frowns in frustration. On a good day it will take four or five hours to clear the gutter just in front. And it has been raining since long before god set yesterday. Not light rains at the moment either. Though the gods have seen fit to return normal winds to the world, after yesterdays South east howling songs.

Instead of fighting the task and taking longer, Bloodgrue bows and silently fetches their old wooden ladder. The beast is sturdy though well used.

Bloodgrue starts on the north west corner beginning the arduous task of removing debris from the gutters.

Bloodgrue, being who he is starts telling himself a story to help along the task. Then spots the master’s cat laying on the front bench. Looking over Bloodgrue takes the twig that had dripped on himself earlier, and sets it to drip on Felix. Then continues working.

‘There was once a lazy old cat belonging to a lazy but not so old master. The cat was so lazy he sat under a dripping roof twig, gathering the water between his flickering ears. The stubby ears being all wet were pointless in stopping further water, yet the cat wouldn’t move. Determine to wait for the water to go away. The cat sat so long and got so wet a passing child thought him an old rag and picked up the cat to swat the insects fluttering about. The cat was so lazy he didn’t flinch the whole incident. The child tossed the old cat back on the bench and the cat landed back under the roof twig, dripping water still. Well the rains went on all day and that cat didn’t scat. The middle aged master walked out and sat the cat dish on the bench. You would think the cat would move from under the water, but no, he moved his nose, then head to eat, staying where the cat sat. The cat sat there so long the rain stopped and the water stopped. Smiling the cat said, ‘woof’. Now I know that cat is confused from being under the water dripping from the roof twig. But woof? I looked closer to find in fact it was a fat rat dog. Confused and fat from luxury of being fed. But where was the cat? I looked around and on the ground found the crown of the cats forehead. Now that is one well fed rat dog turned cat dog.’

Bloodgrue almost finished with this gutter, looks down from his story, seeing Felix still being dripped on Bloodgrue sighs reaches over and pulls away the twig. Felix looks up and meows. “Seven Hells its still a cat!‘ calls out Bloodgrue. Looks at the twig and tosses it into the street, “No magic in roof twig water.”

We chuckle knowing, “Yah, right!”

Felix used to be a dog.

 

 

 

 

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Yes, Ladder freedom

Winter 10 Pine

Now in the 4th year of King Dollan’s reign known as:

Year of Pine, II Succession 1st Cycle of King Dollan IV

7:30 or 8:00 am, there about, it will be at least four hours till the gods rise in the sphere. The ladder is sturdy enough, but is it placed well enough?

Why had the Master instructed Bloodgrue to place it here and at this time of day?

Bloodgrue walks towards home as the south winds are building up for their days stronger than normal forces. The souls twinkle wildly over head in the sphere. Bloodgrue relaxes somewhat on the walk towards their shop. His room upstairs being fairly stark has no real urgency calling Bloodgrue back.

Bloodgrue is about twenty metres from the ladder when the apprentice Dragoman stops and looks back at the implement. The ladder had been laying beside the stable down Terren street like he had been told. It is a very strongly built ladder, nearly new in construction as such items go.

He really should obey and ignore this and return to his room before the gods light the sphere. But seven hells, this is Bloodgrue. Ever curious and always observing, learning from every action. Bloodgrue can’t walk away now, if he had, had another job right away, maybe he would walk away.

Bloodgrue observes the area around him, there are only a few buildings. The ladder is against the wall of Lancelon House’s street side on the west side of Terren Street. Hedges line the street for three or four hundred metres on either side of the house and both sides of Terren Street. Lots of places to hide and observe the ladder.

The next building along the way, is on the east side of Terren Street, Oraton’s Stable where Bloodgrue found the ladder. Then there is another house.

Going south of Lancelon there are two houses near each other about five hundred metres farther along Terren street.

Bloodgrue opts for a denser section of the evergreen hedge on the eastern side of Terren street. It happens to be north towards Oraton’s Stable about one hundred metres. A flash over head reminds Bloodgrue the sphere is cloudless and the avian creatures are able to see quite well, as well as they can be seen from their silhouette. He needs to move carefully and gain his concealment before being spotted.

As Bloodgrue is settling into the evergreen hedge he hears the shutters rattle open at the window over the ladder. Looking over at Lancelon House, Bloodgrue spots a dark figure reaching their feet and legs out over the window sill, searching for the top rung of the ladder.

The person finds the ladder and slowly, cautiously descends down the wooden ladder. Not a creak is heard as they descend. The figure reaches the ground and slowly steps away from Lancelon House, swinging around to walk northward on Terren Street. They stick with the street but near the eastern hedge.  The short, heavy person walks like a female. But that is all Bloodgrue can observe from here in the darkness.

The figure walks softly along the paving stone street, past Bloodgrue’s hiding spot. The figure left the ladder in place. Do they intend to return? Maybe. They aren’t carrying anything with them, dressed simply in a dress and shoes. No packs of any kind. No cloak.

Bloodgrue gets her scent once she is upwind of him and determines her to be staff, as the scent of fire smoke is heavy and her last bath may have been several days past.

Stepping quietly from the hedge Bloodgrue determines to follow the female. He believes her to be somewhat younger, from her gait as she treads along the street. She becomes more confident as she puts space between herself and Lancelon House. Obviously trying to be unobserved by anyone as she leaves the house.

Bloodgrue smiles knowing the rogue training he is practicing now, has greatly improved over the last two seasons. She hasn’t detected Bloodgrue even though he is only one hundred metres behind her walking on the same street stones she traverses. They continue several minutes and then the female stops and sighs heavily. Bloodgrue observes her shiver and knows she is sobbing heartily.

Bloodgrue approaches her, walking heavy to give his presence away to her. She jerks around quickly and in the light of the night gods and souls Bloodgrue determine she is a young Toyfem. Clean but obviously poor, no scars or markings on her face.

Bloodgrue speaks to her in Toydon, “May I aid you?”

She smiles and responds in Toydon, “Yes … please I have a problem.”

Bloodgrue nods, “Are you seeking freedom from Lancelon House?”

She pales in shock, beginning to back away from Bloodgrue.

The apprentice doesn’t follow, but offers, “It is okay, I will help you. I won’t send you back. But you will need to work together with me and then you may succeed. Lancelon House will look for you. You should have moved the ladder away though, it might have made your getting free easier. Now they will look for you and someone helping you.”

The girl stops moving but doesn’t respond. Bloodgrue continues, “I am an apprentice but I have some skills and contacts that can help you. You will have to tell me a name though.”

She replies soft and slow, as if still in fear. “Aerean.”

Bloodgrue smiles, “Good, I am Bloodgrue. Lets keep walking north towards North Docks District. You won’t be safe here in district nine. Orlantor’s guards and folks will all be watching for you.”

She walks with Bloodgrue north. “Well, Aerean you will need to try to trust someone. But very few will look out for you. I am not in need of help, but I know a family who would willingly hire a good worker to help in their shop. They are Toydon. You wouldn’t be an unpaid servant, you would earn pay and they will put you up in an apartment in addition to your pay. I think you can trust me as much as anyone you find. Will you do that?”

Aerean keeps walking then utters, “Yes.”

This is like helping a moth, you can motion to guide it but it doesn’t respond well.

Okay Aerean we have three hours of walking ahead and the night seems to have hit its coldest point. Will you be warm enough? Or would you like my cloak? It is old and only slightly warmer than without. But it helps block the winds.”

The girl shakes her head. But Bloodgrue doesn’t accept that, “So which is it? You want the cloak or you don’t want the cloak?”

Aerean looks over with a faint smile, “Yes please, I will use your cloak Master Bloodgrue.”

Bloodgrue unclasps his cloak and swings it off his shoulders then onto Aerean’s. Clasping it in place, they then continue walking north along the winding Terren Street. It is an hour and a half to North Docks District. They best be wary in Orlantor District until they reach the border.

Bloodgrue keeps Aerean talking to help her relax enough to keep from being noticed or questioned.

The pair reach North Docks District about an hour or less before gods rise. They pass the street’s district boundary post and Bloodgrue looks over at the stalls already setting up in the small market. He looks around and purchases a gallon of ale in a pottery jug. He purchases a loaf of dark rye bread, leaving him with no funds remaining. He offers Aerean first drink from the jug and breaks the bread roughly in half. Bloodgrue offers her half the bread when she hands him the jug.

Okay. Feel better?”

Aerean smiles politely and genuinely, “Yes sir. Thank you master.”

Bloodgrue stops himself from laughing and instead states, “I am not a master, nor a sir. I am an apprentice Dragoman. So just call me Bloodgrue. Deal?”

She nods but stays silent with her smile still evident, while eating small broken bites of the bread. Bloodgrue drinks some ale and eats as well. He shares the jug of ale with the freed servant girl from Lancelon House.

When they finish Bloodgrue is ready to continue but is stopped by Aerean. She hands Bloodgrue something in her closed right hand.

Wondering what she could possibly be offering him Bloodgrue offers his hand open palm up. She drops her gift into his hand. Three dusters. “It is all I have now. But it is yours. Thank you.”

Shaking his head Bloodgrue offers it back. “No, not me. You will need that or starve for a few days. You can get a gallon of ale and two loaves of old rye bread with that. You will want them.”

She hesitates but then accepts the three copper coins back. “Okay, thank you.”

Follow me. … no walk beside me.” Bloodgrue leads Aerean north and east to the rogue merchant market square. Arriving he walks to his intended destination arriving as the two great gods have been in the sphere over an hour. Talking to the Toyfem at the stall, “Melan, this is Aerean, she needs work. Can you take her as an apprentice or worker?”

The mature woman, looks over Aerean and then nods, “Sure Bloodgrue. Do you vouch for her?”

Without hesitation Bloodgrue responds, “Yes I do.”

Melan looks at Aerean, “Do you have skills?”

Aerean replies, “I cook and clean. Tend fires and can make soaps.”

Melan smiles, “Thank you Bloodgrue. Aerean, you will be learning to build ladders if you accept a carpenter’s apprenticeship.”

Aerean laughs finally which confuses Melan, but not Bloodgrue. “Yes Master I accept.”

Bloodgrue nods, “I confirm the bond until you find a Seal Watchers to sign off on it.”

Melan forgetting the laughter for the moment, confirms, “You get a single room apartment in my shop and one duster every two days for the first two years. Deal?”

Aerean beams, “YES!”

Bloodgrue smiles and clasps arms with both women, then leaves them be. While saying, “Ladies, build you ladder freedom.”

They both smile and nod but Aerean is the one who understands Bloodgrue’s statement, while Melan thinks he is trying to be humorous unsuccessfully.

Yah, right!

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Spring Chicken Pumpkins

Spring 21 Bear

Second day of the Rights of Passage for Lena’s mother. Odd, in all the years Bloodgrue has lived he has not sat through a more boring Rights of Passage.

Sure there has been the item or two to perk things up. After his grand entrance, Arragee is a right dull flower  The man rode his family’s only horse all the way up here from Littleton, down south, just to claim his right to wed Lena, during the Rights of Passage for Lena’s mother. Really now, how … can’t think of polite words for it …

The whole group is gathered for day two mid day private feast and so far nothing interesting has been said. Bloodgrue’s ready to excuse himself, or maybe vomit to have an excuse to vacate. Not sure which would be less embarrassing. Bare assing? Hum … really that might … ?

The group groans as old Otter coughs and says, “ I recall …” Enough to shut down any listening for anyone, except Bloodgrue today.

Annie and I were going to surprise her mother, my dear deceased wife, one spring. Annie at the time was twelve if I recall. We needed something for her mother’s birthday supper. Annie insisted it be good. Not something common. I don’t recall everything we looked at that day. We walked Tepton Market Square searching for some food for Annie to prepare for the supper for my wife, Annie’s mother. We stopped at this stall selling chickens. A young Jalfem was hawking chickens and she had three left. Annie found it odd a man just paid a Royal Flair for a carcass. So my little Annie walks up to this Blue haired Jalfem and asks. ‘Why did that man pay so much for one of your chickens?‘. To which the young lady answered, ‘Because these are special chickens.’ Annie a curious child then, asked, ‘How are they special?‘. Blue hair replied quickly with this odd smile and a wink, ‘They tell stories.‘”

Pampalo stops and looks at the cooked chicken on the feast table and smiles. “Damn if that chicken isn’t the same shape and size as the one Annie bought for the supper. Annie was tickled that Blue hair gave her the cleaned carcass for two dusters. Less than any other customer had previously paid at that stall. … Anyway we cooked the chicken for Annie’s mother. It turned out not too bad for being cooked by a twelve year old and her father. Not burnt, not raw. We cooked a gourd to go with the meal. But the rest we tried to prepare had burnt. … Annie set the supper platter on the table for her mother and us, and waited standing at the side. The side your sitting at Lena. … Well Annie was nervous and her eyes were red from worry. But my Nettie looked at the chicken and gourd with a smile and said, ‘thank you both, tell me Annie about this.’ Annie had waited for the moment, … her mother always gave her that.Mama it is a Chicken Pumpkin and a Chicken I cooked. The chicken is a spring chicken and it ate Chicken Pumpkins all its life. The woman in the Square told me if I cooked the two and served them together it would be special. The chickens tell stories if cooked right and served with the Chicken Pumpkin if it is cooked right. I hope I did it all right. See the Chicken Pumpkins grow in the chicken yard at the lady’s cottage. The ones that grow to harvest are special because the Chickens know this and don’t eat them. Instead the chickens feed the Chicken Pumpkins all winter. So when the Chicken Pumpkins ripen in spring the lady harvests them and with each one she also kills a chicken that had fed it. So they won’t be lonely or away from each other. You know Mama some people pay a whole Royal Flair just for one of these chickens. The Blue haired lady sold us a chicken for two dusters and a Chicken Pumpkin for a duster. I worked all winter to earn four dusters, so I was lucky to find the Lady with these.’ sometimes Annie was gullible but that Chicken did have a story and Annie told it well. She never told such a good story again afterwards. But it was fun the one they did have together. Blue Hair still sells her chickens and gourds. And rarely are they cheap and almost never without a story. But Annie received a story for cheap that lasted her, her whole life. I won’t forget Annie’s smile as she told her mother the story. Annie, may you find your voice again and may you find your smile with the gods.”

Bloodgrue silently mutters, ‘yah right!‘ as he watches Arragee fondle Lena’s leg under the table.

Arragee sits beside Lena. Bloodgrue is on Lena’s other side, wanting to reach out for her hand in respect to comfort her. Bloodgrue also wants to remove Arragee’s hand, and not just from Lena’s leg. But the added blood on table might be noticed.

 

 

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Blue Doll Ring

Winter 66 Pine

 

Bloodgrue stretches lazily. He has been at his place of apprenticeship for two hours today. Listening to the howling North East winds of angry gods. The flags, banners and hanging signs are straight out with the forces of the winds.

To top off that, the water froze in the barrels, buckets, troughs and fountains. Looking across the near dock, out over to the river, Bloodgrue nods small like a dove to a wizard. That water at least will never freeze over. Until one of the seven hells thaw any ways. Or maybe one of them freezes over?

Bloodgrue knows neither he nor his master will have customers today. No one will travel in this weather. The master informed Bloodgrue that there are five or so days each season that folks don’t travel, in the winter it is the days that freeze over.

With King Darnan VI dying Spring 1 at only 37 years age, business has been brisk, to a point, mostly towards the Palace Hill. Mourners and well wishers, as well as, rogues and cons. No one is sure which of his four surviving children will be appointed monarch, yet, but surely it will be one of them, said everyone. Then Dollan IV recently was chosen to succeed Darnan and speculation now runs rampant as to how the churchs, politicains and Arts will solidify this all. How much power will Dollan have?

The gossip could fill hundreds of large leather bound Tomes of Parchment pages. And still have more being said.

Watchers must be being over extended, still. Their service of information is expensive but usually accurate.

Turning at the sound of foot steps to his left, Bloodgrue faces Lilla square in the mid section. She is standing next to him as he is sitting on his old worn wooden bench. Bloodgrue should have heard her, as she came with the winds. Bloodgrue frowns and looks up into her attractive Jalfem face and smiles, “Hello Lilla. Nice to see your abdomen covered still.”

Lilla smiles, “We could change that Dragoman.”

Bloodgrue shakes his head saying, “Two things, First I am only an apprentice Dragoman with little to no income. Second, you are twenty five and I am nineteen. A little awkward on both counts. But I enjoy the attention.”

Lilla chuckles, “Want a job Dragoman?”

Sighing Bloodgrue looks down to Lilla’s booted feet. Her boots are much better than any he can afford, how would she even take him serious enough to be more than a nights company? He doesn’t want to be just a nights company and until he is a Master Dragoman with a good income he will remain back.

Standing and looking straight into her eyes, Bloodgrue, even toned voice and with a steady expression, answers, “Apprentice Dragoman Bloodgrue at your service my lady.”

Lilla laughs and answers, “Good. I lost a ring. It is blue. Can you help me find it, hound?”

Bloodgrue looks confused, “Find a blue ring? I am not a recoverer, nor searcher, nor linkboy. I am learning to be a Dragoman. How are the two linked?”

Lilla smiles demurely, “Well Dragomen help people find places. I am people and I want to find a place. Simple you simpleton.”

Bloodgrue argues back,Lilla a ring is not a place.”

Lilla smiles slyly, “But where the ring is, is a place and I need to find that place.”

Bloodgrue stops, blinks several times slowly. Turning to Lilla he chuckles and answers, “Where do we start my Lady?”

Lilla frowns, “Do I have to do your job for you? We start here and go find the place the ring is at.”

Bloodgrue stumbles back to sit down on his bench, exasperated to frustration. A simple, “Okay.” falls from his mouth.

Looking at the river Bloodgrue wonders if the Spertan are swimming close to shore and are particularly hungry. He knows a woman who should go for swim in the polluted waters along the dock. If she never returned to the dock he would be fine with that now.

Clasping Bloodgrue’s hands together the man-boy stands knowing he has so much more to learn about people yet.

“Okay my beautiful Damsel where did you last see your ring?”

Lilla smiles, “It is not my ring. But I will show you where I last saw it. Do you want to see?”

Not sure if its another trap, or Lilla is serious, Bloodgrue blinks, sighs and answers, “Please. Show me.” Already regretting his answer Bloodgrue follows Lilla as she walks out of the shelter of the building, out onto the frozen docks and into raging winds.

Bloodgrue less protected clothing wise, and obviously mentally, follows along as the two walk south west. Bloodgrue surmises they are walking to Lilla’s apartment. Does he save honor and face, turn around now and abandoned the damsel? ‘Yah, right!’

Bloodgrue was right, the pair entered Lilla’s third floor apartment where she lives alone. Bloodgrue starts to feel heat rising with tension in his body. He fights it knowing where following those feelings can lead. He wants to retain respect, for now.

She leads Bloodgrue to her sleeping area of her single room. Pointing to an old crate beside the bed she says, “There.”

Bloodgrue stupefied asks, “What?”

Lilla rolls her eyes and answers, “The ring was last there, dragoman! Geez. are you that bad at this?”

Bloodgrue relaxes, they are safe for now. “Okay but all I see is an old empty crate with nothing on it or around it, but your bed. Did you rummage through your bedding or in your mattress?”

She laughs, “Despite how that sounded, yes I did those things.”

Bloodgrue blushes, of course, she hasn’t changed that part of her mind. “Okay we keep getting off track. Now was there anything with the ring? When did you last see the ring or the other items?”

Lilla stops and looks at the unmade bed and the empty crate. She answers shortly, “Two days ago, MY doll and her blue ring were on the crate. I have had no visitors. I have no pets. I can not secure my door other than to close and latch it. I have two small windows that an adult can not fit through.”

“You can only latch your door? You live on the third floor of a five floor apartment building. Ever reconsider that?”

She frowns, “Even with who I am, I can’t afford a lock for my door Dragoman. Do you have the two Flairs for even a simpler lock?”

Bloodgrue hasn’t had a total of two Flairs at once, never mind total over the last five years. “No my Lady Brick Master I don’t.”

Lilla frowns, “Nor will you at this rate. One Dyns if you find my doll’s Blue ring. That is what I will pay.”

Bloodgrue becomes excited, that sum is thirty days full work pay for him. If he has work all day every day for every six day.

“Okay I will try to locate the place your ring resides now.”

Bloodgrue looks about the room then asks, “Are there any children in this building?”

Lilla asks, “Right now, or, who reside in this building? First one, I don’t know, second answer, three. Two young females, and a male toddler.”

Bloodgrue hesitates but then asks, “Do they reside together?”

To which Lilla retorts, “In the building or apartment? First one, they all reside in the building. Second answer, The two girls reside in the same two room apartment with both their parents on the second floor. The boy lives on the fourth floor with his widowed father.”

Bloodgrue wants to go for the obvious answer. But he doesn’t, instead he quietly commands Lilla, “Come with me.”

He is going on instinct. We answer, ‘Yah, right!’

Bloodgrue walks over to the stairwell in the hallway, with Lilla following him. Instead of walking down he takes the flight up to the fourth floor. “Which apartment My Lady?”

She answers deep in thought, “Fourth.”

Bloodgrue and Lilla walk to the fourth apartment and the young man, Bloodgrue, knocks on the door. There is shuffling and thumping heard. The additional sound of something dragging on the wooden floor.

The door opens and a small Toymal toddler stands looking up at the two guests. “Unhun.” he utters cautiously.

Looking at the boy, Bloodgrue sees the boy has been dragging a large cloth and wood doll. Around the neck of the doll is a lanyard of woven purple wool yarn. Attached to the lanyard is a small painted, blue wooden ring, child size and obviously well loved.

Before Bloodgrue can respond Lilla squeaks excitedly, crouches down and addresses the boy, “Darnan, may I have my doll please?”

The boy, obviously known as Darnan, holds out the doll, “Unhun.”

Gingerly Lilla takes the old doll and hugs Darnan, In her clear tradesman Jalnoric she offers the boy, “Thank You Darnan.”

She hugs the doll as the boy recedes back into the apartment and he pushes the door closed.

“How did you know?” asks Lilla.

Bloodgrue smiles eagerly, satisfied with his results, “Every little boy wants company and a doll is good company, it doesn’t sass back.”

Lilla looks hurt but then smiles, “I am a doll.”

The doll and Lilla happy again, in her apartment, Bloodgrue looks at Lilla, waiting. Lilla sets the returned object to it’s place of residence on the crate. Bloodgrue believes the twinkle in Lilla’s eyes is briefly reflects on the surface of blue doll ring.

She lifts the mattress and says slyly “Want what is under here Bloodgrue?”

Trick question right? But no, she takes a small silver coin from under the mattress. The single Dyns shines in the light of the gods coming in through the small west window. Lilla hands the coin to Bloodgrue with a small statement, “That was too easy. You have to work harder next time.”

Bloodgrue smiles and replies, “Why?”

We look at Lilla and think, ‘Yah, right!’ 

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