Archive for January, 2016

Markus: Episode 2, Down from here

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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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Owerton revived and Bloodgrue replaced

Good day gentle folks:

The Owerton blog is reviving, pretty much without Dragoman Bloodgrue. It will involve a new character, yet revolve around North Docks in Mount Oryn. The new character is Apprentice Dragoman Markus, under the guidance of Journeyman Dragoman Bloodgrue.

All events will occur starting with the day Bloodgrue acquires Markus, Autumn 53 Bear. Life stops for Markus at Arton’s Warehouse as a Rogue, and starts with Bloodgrue as an apprentice dragoman.

So drop in, read and find out more on Markus’ events in life under the tutelage of the maverick rogue dragoman Bloodgrue, see where this leads.

Can Markus survive the life set up by Bloodgrue in North Docks? Can Markus survive Teptun Square & Market? Will Markus survive Enna’s arrival and partnership? What will happen in the chaos of life in North Docks with Bloodgrue, and then add in Enna?

The Bloodgrue short story e-series has been finished with forty-eight episodes, currently only available for purchase and download from Kellan Publishing company. The price is $8.00 US for initial subscription then $1.25 US for bundles of four episodes afterwards. Grab them if you can. E-mail me at rustyknight2015@yahoo.ca if you have difficulty purchasing from Kellan publishing as a few people have had issues with accomplishing purchases in their website. I would like to know if other are as well.

The Bloodgrue e-series are short stories following the life career of apprentice dragoman Bloodgrue for two years. There are 48 episodes of about 2,000 words each, takes about 25 minutes to read each episode.  If enough people want more I will pick it back up and continue, so give me your feed back. Check out the Bloodgrue purchase by clicking this link: Bloodgrue

Bloodgrue cover

 

 

 

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