Archive for March, 2016

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.

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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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