Archive for May, 2015

Black goose water

Spring 9 Pine

Bloodgrue looks at the farmer sadly. “Are you serious? I have to catch the damn goose myself, or pay you another two dusters?”

The toyfem nods. “Yes, that’s the deal. If you want that goose for six dusters, you catch it yourself. That one you picked out is worth at least eight, if I catch it and take it to the market in Lesser Square.”

Bloodgrue pays her six dusters and then secures his pouches, short-sword and items. He looks at the goose. Turning sharply towards the farmer, Bloodgrue asks. “So how do I catch the goose?”

“Chase it into a corner and catch it with your hand so you wrap its wings shut, so they can’t flap. It’ll beat you with its wings if you corner it. Or if it’s trying to escape.”

Bloodgrue frowns. How much can wings hurt? He looks around the farm. There is a set of black water ponds. No real fences. There are some low wooden buildings as well as a few stone structures. There appears to be nothing really easy to corner it in. Well here goes.

Bloodgrue slowly approaches the gander in a low crouch, hoping not to frighten the goose. Hoping to get in close enough to pounce on the beast and thus make an easy catch. Getting to within ten feet, he is almost ready to spring on the male goose, when it honks loudly at him and flees towards a pond of black water. Bloodgrue pursues it quickly, trying to catch the gander before it gets into the pond. But he is too slow for the quick goose. The goose splashed quickly into the shallow water.

Bloodgrue watches the gander swimming in the water for about five minutes. The acre size pond seems to keep the goose content and safe feeling.

Bloodgrue waves the farmer over.

She laughs when they are standing together. “Give up? Want a different goose?”

Bloodgrue grimaces. “No. But, how deep is the pond?”

She laughs more. “This pond, I believe to be two feet deep at its deepest.”

Without waiting for more, Bloodgrue wades out after the errant goose.

The goose, sensing a chase and challenge, heads for shore. Bloodgrue wades after it toward the shore. Bloodgrue gets to shore as the goose is already nearly half way to the safety of buildings and bushes.

Bloodgrue, now standing beside the farmer asks. “Okay, would you happen to have a net? And why does that water stink so badly?”

She laughs heartily. “Well, the net is your first smart idea. Yes, I do. I’ll get it for you. The stink is the goose shit at the bottom of the pond. That is now all over your boots and leggings. Come on, let’s get the net.”

After getting Bloodgrue her goose net, they locate the gander again and soon Bloodgrue has his prize, with its wings tied to its body.

Being one to learn from experience and not hold grudges for fun being held at his expense, Bloodgrue also left the farmer a duster extra as a tip.

Leaving 3617 Willow Road Farm ponds, Bloodgrue walks the over three and a half kilometres to 4749 Monrose Avenue in Trenton ward, North Docks.

He knocks on the door to the middle-class structure. Wrinkling his own nose at his smell, he looks at the goose and says. “Shut up, stinky.”

The door opens and the intended recipient looks out.

The jalmal backs up gagging slightly.

He looks at Bloodgrue and smiles. “Well, you did what I asked you to. You brought me a live gander. But man, you stink. What did you do?”

Bloodgrue sighs heavily. “I went swimming in black goose water for this one. That’s six dusters, my friend, for the goose, and four dusters, dragoman courier fee.”

The client, Lamond Lor, smiles. “I’ll be right back.”

He leaves, about ten minutes later he returns with six other family members, who all take a quick look and smell, then they leave laughing. Lamond Lor approaches Bloodgrue. He hand Bloodgrue one Dyns and one duster. “Sorry, I had to show the other to what extent you go to accomplish your tasks. Thank you. There’s a duster tip for going above necessary, to get me my twenty-fifth birthday feast, goose. Thank you, Bloodgrue. Have a great day. Have a bath when you get home and do laundry, my friend.”

Bloodgrue hands over the trussed up goose and accepts the two coins. “You’ll spread the news, I am assuming, the shitty job I did for you?”

Lamond Lor smiles joyfully. “Of course we will. But it’s all in good course dragoman; you have my business in the future. Good day. Good fate.” He closes the door and Bloodgrue thinks. Black goose water wasn’t so shitty.

He walks home to clean up.

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Sarcastic purple balloon

Autumn 77 Unicorn 

Bloodgrue is walking along with Maret, who is holding the purple paper balloon so they don’t lose the precious object to the strong breathes of the gods on this very hot cloudy humid day. The rains of last night left puddles everywhere. The heat of today with last night’s rain is broiling everything. 

Maret, the youngest of the four strong, jal family, is not happy. Bloodgrue has been escorting the family from Erren docks where Bloodgrue delivered a previous client. The family hired Bloodgrue to guide them to their matriarch’s brother’s new apartment. The apartment is at 1214 Second House, Loadway Avenue in Sterric ward. It has been three days of walking and the group is almost at its destination. 

The sad thing is, only one of the four wants to arrive. The matriarch, Fisherman Enala, a twenty-nine year old jalfem, is reluctantly accompanied by her life-companion, Forester Elesen, a thirty-one year old jalmal. As well as their two children: ten year old daughter Mala and five year old son Maret. Because none of the others want to go, even Enala is despondent during the travels. 

The hiring of Bloodgrue at Dock A was socially painful for Enala. Bloodgrue seeing the difficulty, encouraged the children by buying a purple paper balloon from a vender on the dock for them. This cheered up Enala and the children temporarily. Not Elesen. 

Two blocks from Second House apartments, Bloodgrue is tired of the brooding brood. 

“You know balloons have opinions and feelings, right? You knew that Maret.” Says Bloodgrue; seemingly random.  

The boy grumpily returns. “No they don’t, they can’t talk.” 

Mala replies also. “Maret’s right, balloons don’t talk.” 

Bloodgrue grins for the pair. “Of course balloons talk. You just have to know their language and be able to hear them. An old wizard friend of mine taught me balloon language. It’s called Sarc. Do you want to know what the balloon is saying? Cause he really won’t shut up. He’s been spouting off since we bought him.” 

Maret almost let go of the balloon, then hurriedly offers it back to Bloodgrue. “You take it. I can’t have a talking balloon. It’s not right. It’s wizardry. I’m not a wizard. It might trap me.” 

Bloodgrue hesitates, then carefully takes the balloon from Maret. “Okay, but he really wants Mala to hold him. He says she’s stronger and has more power. She can control him. He would feel safer.” 

Bloodgrue keeps walking, hold the balloon out away from him. 

Mala grins. “Really? He said that? He can tell?” 

Bloodgrue frown. “Of course he can tell. He’s magical. He is a balloon after all. He can feel power. He says yours is red like a wizards. Enala’s is blue like a priest’s. Maret has none.”

Bloodgrue keeps walking holding onto the balloon; while diligently watching the street, the people and buildings. 

Mala walks up close to Bloodgrue. “I’ll take good care of him. You can give him to me.”

Maret rushes over. “But it’s mine, Bloodgrue got it for me.” 

Bloodgrue not looking at the children keeps walking and talks more. “The balloon says you don’t want your uncle so you can’t have the balloon. He says, because the balloon is actually a friend of your uncle’s, if you don’t want your uncle, he doesn’t want you. So you can’t control him. He’s mine to control. I think … I should just let him go free and see if some more … friendlier children will pick him.” 

Maret say. “But … I only met my uncle once and I’ve never been to his place. I don’t want to go there. But I want the balloon.”  

Bloodgrue shakes his head. “The balloon says that’s a poor attitude to have in life. Not wanting to see people because they are somewhere you have never been. Really … you believe yourself saying that? … The balloon is asking if you will use the next outhouse since you haven’t been in it before.” 

Mala looks at the balloon, then Bloodgrue then her mama. “Mama, I’m sorry we can see uncle Jered. I forgot that we had some fun before he left to come to Mount Oryn … It’s just I didn’t want to leave home … It’s strange and different leaving home. I had to leave my friends.” 

Enala looks at Bloodgrue. “I believe I will use the next outhouse we find. How far to my brother’s? … And Mala I understand. I never left Uplund before either. It’s all new to me as well … But I want to see Jerred’s new place before we get to spring season and the good fishing, and the winter when your father’s work gets busy … I apologize for pulling you away from your friends. Next time I will give you more warning.” 

Elesen shrugs. “It doesn’t matter anyway … we are in Mount Oryn now so we are going to Jered’s place for a few days … then we will go home. No balloon talks … A nosy dragoman making up stories does though.” 

Bloodgrue points to a large four story stone and wood building. “Yes … to some of all of that. First, we are at Second House apartments. Second, Yes … I tell stories … Third, yes … I talk … Four, yes, balloons talk … Fifth … yes, Master Elesen is a grumpy man who doesn’t want to be here … The balloon told me … Master Mala you must care for the balloon until it dies.” 

He hands the balloon to the young girl, Mala as they stand outside 1214 Loadway Avenue in Sterric ward. 

Turning directly to Enala, Bloodgrue says. “I should charge extra for having to put up with grumpy people. But I won’t because the balloon said not to … You have to put up with them. That will be, three Dyns Master Enala, for delivering you to your brother’s abode.” 

Enala pays Bloodgrue three Dyns and two dusters with a wink. “So, Dragoman what is the balloon’s name, if it talks?” 

Bloodgrue smiles genuinely. “But of course, that is easy, his name is Darius. He likes it if you call him Dar.” 

Enala nods wisely, clasping arms with Bloodgrue. Turning to her brood she says. “OK, with Dar, you three should have no trouble behaving in Jered’s apartment. Say goodbye to Bloodgrue.” 

Mala, then Maret, take turns hugging Bloodgrue. Elesen clasps arms, with a begrudging grin. “Okay, you earn her tip dragoman. Thank you.” 

Bloodgrue watches the less than enthusiastic family enter 1214 Second House Loadway Avenue. But at least they are more enthusiastic with their sarcastic purple balloon and destinations in the future.

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Blue Apple tree Rattlesnake

Summer 12 Unicorn 

The sphere is clear and Bloodgrue needs to rest after escorting a family over to 4601 Monrose Road, from Teptun’s Square and Market. 

The day had gone well, but it was long and now it is less than half an hour to gods-set. Bloodgrue spots a Blue Apple tree to rest under. Walking over, he almost steps on the four rattlesnakes nesting under it, from the evening’s cold. 

While one slithers off rapidly, the other three strike out. One bites his comrade. One strikes air. But one finds Bloodgrue’s leg. It bites deep into Bloodgrue’s flesh. 

Bloodgrue withdraws quickly. Bloodgrue knows from Onar’s lessons, that rattlesnake bites are fatal within ten minutes to an hour. He tries to recall if there is a healer or physician within ten minutes of here, but fails. Having wasted a minute he looks around. Bloodgrue spots the farm house at 4609 Monrose Road. Hoping they are home and can help, Bloodgrue as calmly as possible walks to the farm house. Panicked in mind he wonders what to do if no one is home, or no one knows what to do. 

Arriving at the house in about three minutes, Bloodgrue judges at worst he has five minutes to seeing Death. 

He knocks on the wooden door of the house and waits. Trying not to count, but … fifty-four … fifty-five … the door opens. A thirty something toymal stands in the open the door.  

Bloodgrue blurts out, trying not to panic or sound panicked. “Gods-grace and good fate farmer if I may intrude, I have an issue I need urgent aid with.” 

The farmer looks out and around then back to Bloodgrue. “Gods-grace and good fate master what would that be?” 

Bloodgrue exposes the leg bite and says. “I appear to have gotten myself bit by a rattlesnake. Do you know of some aid to help?” 

The farmer takes Bloodgrue’s arm, tittering loudly. “Get in here boy. I can help you; I have some anti-venom, concocted by a healer. There’s a nest of those bugger snakes in my field. Come on let’s clean out the bite and get you administered with some anti-venom quickly. How long ago did you get bit? You didn’t run here did you?” 

Bloodgrue lets out a very audible sigh. “Seven Hells, I know enough not to run. I would say … six minutes have passed since I was bit, and I walked here … Thank you. My name is Apprentice Dragoman Bloodgrue. Who is my life in debt to?” 

The farmer nods respectfully. “You’re one of the few smart ones that didn’t panic … Three dead folks in the last two years on the road cause they panicked. My name is Jessasaih … Come on, hobble over to my sofa, I have a kit I keep. I have been bit a time or two, myself. Sit here and wait a minute.” 

Jessasaih is gone only seconds, when he returns with a kit. Opening it, he cracks open a vial and hands it to Bloodgrue. “Drink this. I am going to bleed out as much venom as I can as well. You will have a pretty scar, as I use a sharp razor.” 

Bloodgrue drinks the bitter bile in the vial, the whole three ounces of clear liquid. Bloodgrue gives Jessasaih back the empty vial. 

Jessasaih take a razor from his kit and slices a short neat cut along the axis through the two puncture marks, letting it bleed freely in to a small basin. 

Once the bleeding stops Jessasaih washes the area, stitching closed the wound and bandages it with clean flaxen bandages. 

“How much do I owe you Jessasaih?” Asks a grateful Bloodgrue, as twenty minutes have passed and besides feeling slightly weak he is still alive. 

Jessasaih waves off the offer, but answers. “A real healer charges fifty Flairs for that vial and five Flairs for the healing. I’m not a real healer, just lots of practice and lots of stock for my family. Whatever you think you can afford. Even a bit of work on my farm is welcome.” 

Bloodgrue smiles and takes his coin pouch off his belt. Opening it, he counts out all of his Flairs. Twelve of them, he hands these to Jessasaih. “That’s the coins and I will give you twenty days work, plus any Dragoman service you want for life, my friend.” 

Jessasaih accepts the coins and offers his arm to clasps. “Accepted Dragoman Bloodgrue, harvest season is when I really need the help.” 

Bloodgrue clasps arms with the farmer and confirms. “Done, Autumn 1 to Autumn 20 this year I am yours.” 

The farmer beams. “Stay here tonight, we’ll feed you and you can be on your way in the morning, after a farmer’s morning meal, Bloodgrue. I will expect you Autumn 1 at gods-rise.”

 

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Yellow thinking rope

Summer 11 Pine 

It is late evening of a cloud covered day with the gods breathing north very hotly. Bloodgrue sets down the heavy eighteen by twenty-four inch parcel he has carried all day for these three clients. They chose this clearing in a beech grove, along Oak Street to camp in, because the eldest has become tired and wanted to rest for the night.

The group only covered just over six kilometres today. Added to the over five kilometres from yesterday, they are quarter of the way to their destination at Erren Dock ward. Bloodgrue’s arms ache from having to carry the package, they refuse to let him put it in a pack and carry it that way. They are insisting that Bloodgrue carry it in his arms with his hands.

Looking around the clearing, Bloodgrue decides to use his cloak and the twenty feet of yellow rope the three gave him, to make a lean-too shelter, under one of the trees. Placing a few branches over another branch, Bloodgrue begins to tie them together with the rope, but the ache halts him. He looks at the rope. Beginning to wonder, thinking strongly Bloodgrue tries to will the rope to tie itself into knots, and thus tying the branches in place. Failing this he looks at the rope and tries to think it into tying his cloak in place. But again this fails. Gingerly Bloodgrue painstaking manually ties the items into place.

He finishes and settles down under the shelter. Thinking that the rope must be smarter than him to have strong enough will to resist his will of mind, Bloodgrue pouts.

Eating the offered cold meats and drinking water from his water-skin, Bloodgrue ponders if the rope thinks at all. If it does, what does rope think about; not food, as it doesn’t have to eat, nor shelter, as it doesn’t need any. Pain? It must think about pain, as it can be damaged. Bloodgrue pulls out his dagger from his waist band.

Testing the point, he taps it with the tip of his finger, being rewarded with a drop of blood, Bloodgrue then cuts off the last inch of rope and whispers. “Next time I think tie a knot. You think tie a knot and don’t fight me.” 

Bloodgrue puts away his dagger, smiling and goes to sleep with his muscles in his arms quivering from exertion and exhaustion.

Bloodgrue starts dreaming of a yellow rope thinking of the pain of tying in a knot.

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Dirty brown Statue

Winter 12 Pine 

Bloodgrue left 4212 Willow Road well before gods-rise this morning. The day-gods chose to clear the sphere, breathing mildly eastward a warm breath. Making for a pleasant morning for the walk to Anchor’s Rest ward.

Walking Low Deck Avenue along the river, Bloodgrue observes those doing business along the thoroughfare. Looking for tells showing a possible client. He has been on the avenue almost an hour when a toyfem stops him.

“God’s grace and good fates master.” She offers in toy.

Looking a little flustered she continues. “I hear you’re a dragoman in the know. Do you have a moment to answer a few questions for me, sir?”

Finally. A client.’ Bloodgrue answers in good clear toy. “God’s grace and good fates Master, I am Apprentice Dragoman Bloodgrue, alright. I know a few things, mostly places and people. I will try to help. Ask the questions. The worst that can happen is I won’t know an answer. Right?” 

The toyfem beams a bright smile showing two missing lower teeth. She offers Bloodgrue a slow reply. “Well then, what is your price? I am Mainette of Darreal Fief, here on a private matter. I am looking for a cabinetmaker who works with art work.”

Bloodgrue is confused a moment as he considers the request. Going through his mind’s catalogue of tradesmen; particularly cabinetmakers. Then he comes up with a short list of five, throwing three out as definitely not artistic workers; leaving him two. He ponders these two then he answers Mainette.

“I have a person in mind. He is in another ward. He is nearly retired, but an exceptional cabinetmaker. If you are looking for fancy work he is your tradesman.” 

Now Mainette is jiggling with excitement. “So the fisherman over there was right. You are the man to talk to. How soon can we leave and what will it cost?” 

Bloodgrue sighs. This is the easy part as he knows the distance and this will be a distance fee, as Low Tide ward is close. “We have to go to Low Tide ward. It’s about three and a half kilometres so my fee is four dusters, up front. Do you have company or cargo as well?” 

Mainette points to a wrapped crate sitting on the cobblestones near her. “I have my statue to take with me. I need to rent a hand cart to get it where we are going. If you arrange that, I will pay your fee, plus the handling of the cart.” 

Bloodgrue estimates the crate to be about twenty-four inches by thirty-six, so a small hand cart will do. He knows a freight house carter, near here who will rent him a cart for a few days at two dusters a day. “Okay, so for three dusters a day I can get you a cart I think. We will rent it for an initial three days. So pay me thirteen dusters and I will go get the cart.” 

Mainette pays fifteen dusters and they clasp arms.

…..

The two day-gods fall below the western horizon as Bloodgrue enters the 112 Ristor’s Avenue shop. He looks around quickly. Seeing the old jalmal sweeping the floor in the lantern light, Bloodgrue approaches him. “God’s grace and good fate Master Henrete, how fare you this beautiful day?” 

The century old jalmal stops sweeping, looking at the floor, he returns a reply, also in trade jal. “If I get to listen to another cheerful apprentice, it is fine. God’s grace and good fate, Apprentice Bloodgrue, this is business I take it?” 

Bloodgrue smiles and then answers cheerfully as Henrete’s answer indicated he is in a good cheer. “Yes master, a customer. We rushed as quick as we could. She has a package she wishes to deliver to you to work on. May I bring her in now, or in the morning?”

Henrete frowns and turns to look at Bloodgrue, meekly answering with a low tone. “Bring her in.” 

Bloodgrue opens the door and waving Mainette in, he quietly says to her. “Be concise and polite. He’s in a good mood, but tired. You do well to not waste time. I will take you to an inn after you’re done business here.” 

They greet Henrete and begin with Bloodgrue saying. “Master Henrete, this is Sailor Mainette, she brings a statue to you to refinish, if, you have the time and the desire. Sailor Mainette this is Master Cabinetmaker Henrete. I leave you two to business. I will wait outside with the cart, Mainette.” 

The two thank Bloodgrue and he steps outside.

Thirty-five or so minute pass, then Mainette comes bounding out with a spring in her step, she strides over to Bloodgrue. “Help me unpack the statute and carry it inside. He will do the work at the price I was expecting.” 

Taking a crowbar she brought out from the shop, Mainette begins to pry free the crate’s top and sides, revealing a dirty brown statue. It is very old, pitted, and scratched, with the paint flaking, faded and dirty brown. It is the bowhead of a barge. A Pegasus standing with wings folded back.

Together the two carry in the fifty pound statue to the delight of Master Cabinetmaker Henrete.

As Henrete looks it over, he ohs and awes, then he turns to Mainette. “I carved this over thirty years ago, for the barge White Stream. How did you get it?”

Mainette smiles devilishly. “I found it and salvaged it off the carcass of the remains of the barge White Stream. Not much left of her now but a few planks and her beams.” 

They look at Bloodgrue and wink, both saying together. “Thank you.” 

Mainette and Bloodgrue enter the Drop Bucket Inn. Bloodgrue ponders if he should ask or not. Then he turns to Mainette. “Master, it is three hour walk home for me. Do you mind putting me up here for the night? I will try to be polite and snore lightly. I leave before gods-rise. Being in Low Tide I will likely, simply look for work on the dock in the morning.” 

Mainette frowns. “Put up you for the night? That’s all? Of course, and also a meal along with a couple ales. Getting the statue back to the creator was a stroke of luck. It will get the full care it deserves. I will be proud to put it on my barge. I owe you something for that, spend some time as my guest dragoman.”

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