Archive for April, 2016

Lanis episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’



Episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’

By Rusty Knight


Previously in episode eight, ‘Reining’

Lenden took Drake to Tamel’s Cartwright to purchase a horse. They found a horse and tack. They then returned to Lenden’s, where Lenden broke the news to Drake that she is to be a master to a student.

And now we continue in episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’

Spring 15 Bear

Gods-rise is a short time away as Drake sets the morning meal on the table. She thinks, ‘I have to teach Melinda and I am just learning my journeyman skills. Maybe this is Lenden’s way of teaching me those skills? It may be harsh for Melinda. I’m getting deeper in debt to Lenden. I must owe near a thousand Flairs now. I never thought I would ever have ten Flairs at once to spend. But I have over forty in my coin pouch, the remains from buying the horse as well as getting Melinda, after using Lenden’s allowance of one-hundred Flairs each time. How? Why is he doing this? What do I teach Melinda?’ Drake sets the bowl of scrambled duck eggs on the table for the three of them to enjoy, then she sits down, joining Lenden and Melinda at the table.

Lenden clears his throat and says in a harsh manner. “So what are Melinda’s duties? Or are you going to continue to do all the work and she reaps the benefits?”

Melinda pales and looks down at the table.

Drake’s face reddens as she blushes. She answers, “I was thinking, after studies, Melinda can do the housecleaning and laundry. I’ll continue with cooking and stables. We can alternate the livestock chores and errands.”

Lenden observes Melinda squirming in her seat, and he nods, “I think that will work. Have you set fees?”

Drake nods and answers. “She owes me her apprenticeship fee of one-hundred Flairs, but earns one-duster per day here.”

Lenden swallows the milk he was drinking. “Okay, you have that worked out. Scheduling?”

Drake pauses briefly while watching Melinda. She responds to Lenden. “I am thinking we continue with my working with you, then I work on my projects, then in the afternoon I teach Melinda. Then if I have time, I will study in the library.”

Lenden shakes his head negatively. “No, you study your projects first, then teach, then either work with me if I’m working on something, or study in the library. You end the day working on chores and errands.”

Melinda and Drake glance at each other, then at Lenden and nod in agreement.

After morning meal, Drake leaves the meal for Melinda to clean up and heads to the laboratory to work on studying her ‘levitate’ spell for three hours.

After she exhausts her mind studying, Drake searches the house looking for Melinda. She finds her washing floors in Lenden’s study on the ground level.

“Are you ready to learn what it takes to be a mage, Melinda?” asks Drake.

Melinda wipes up the wash water quickly, and then standing answers. “Yes, I’m ready.”

They put away the equipment and walk to the laboratory and Drake’s area.

Drake stands to demonstrate for Melinda. “Okay, face west with your feet firmly planted flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Stretch your arms out directly out to your sides at shoulder height.”

She watches to make sure Melinda follows directions. Once Melinda is set, Drake continues. She instructs, “With your right hand fully open, fingers together, place your palm up. Your left hand fully open, fingers together, but palm down. Stand still.”

Drake counts silently to twenty. Then she asks, “What do you feel?”

Melinda hesitates, and then answers in a firm tone. “My right palm in cold and my left palm is warm, and I’m feeling kind of lightheaded.”

Drake sits down on her chair and tells Melinda. “You may sit. That which you feel is the powers that flow around us. You will learn to use that to power your magic, to focus that and harness it into events and items of power. That is the true power of magic.”

Melinda sits after shaking out her arms. She says, “So power flows around us all the time? We only need to learn to focus and harness it?”

Drake nods. She continues, “Yes. For novices who are learning apprenticeship, you learn basic powers called cantrips – miracles in themselves really. But this is minor, compared to what you can learn to do if you keep studying. To learn a basic cantrip for someone of sufficient intelligence should take about an hour, then they can continue to practice it to master it.”

Drake sits a mug on the table in front of her. “Feel the mug.”

Melinda feels the mug and examines it, then sits back.

Drake utters, “Hearth” warming the mug to the temperature of hot tea.

Drake points to the mug. “Okay, check it again.”

Melinda reaches out, discovering the now hot mug. She excitedly replies. “Its hot, with just you saying one word.”

Drake says, “Wait here, I’ll be right back.” Drake walks down to her room fetching her tome of cantrips. She returns to the laboratory and Melinda.

Opening the tome to the cantrip of ‘warm’, Drake tells Melinda. “Each mage uses a language of script to record their spells as they develop them. So, they can study and memorize the spell for use when they want to cast the spell. Now, its not standardized so you need to learn the script you are studying from. But, basically, they all have similar elements. You can start by studying this cantrip called ‘warm’. I base my script on jalnoric script, so you should find it not too hard to decipher. Use this table and I will give you two sheets of parchment to copy your notes onto. The parchment costs you two Flairs each. If you want more, they will be five Flairs each as a standard price.”

Melinda stares blankly at the tome for a few moments, barely having heard Drake.

Then Melinda asks. “Did you say Flairs per sheet? I can’t afford that.”

Drake smiles, “Then it looks like you will be doing extra work to earn more coins, doesn’t it?”

Drake sits in her seat to help Melinda, setting the inkwell and quill in easy reach with the two sheets of parchment.

Together, they begin the instruction on the ‘warm’ cantrip.

After an hour, Melinda has a scribed a copy of her own ‘warm’ cantrip.

Drakes says, “Okay, study it and memorize it. Let’s see if you’ve learned the cantrip.”

Melinda spends ten minutes putting the cantrip to memory, and then she looks away and says, “I think I’m ready.”

Drake moves the mug in front of Melinda. “Okay, give it a try.”

Melinda focuses, then says, “Hearth.”

Drake touches the mug and frowns, withdrawing her hand.

Disappointed, looking down, Melinda reaches out. Touching the mug, her eyes light up and she straightens, shouting, “It worked! It worked!”

She squeezes Drake in a hug and Drake laughs.

Drake responds to Melinda. “I think we can make you into a mage, after all.”

Settling back, Melinda asks, “What now?”

Drake’s expression, becoming cold once again with straight lips and squinting eyes, replies. “Now a test. You try on your own. Choose a cantrip from my tome: study it, learn it successfully.”

Melinda pales again as she peers into Drake’s eyes and says, “You’re not serious? On my own?”

Drake shrugs and responds. “If you want to be a mage, yes.”

Drake turns the tome facing Melinda.

Melinda turns through the pages randomly and stops on a page, hesitating. She says softly. “This one?”

To be continued … Episode ten, ‘Spell This!’

     In the next episode, Melinda studies another cantrip, ‘Scratch’, and Drake studies ‘Levitate’, while Lenden has plans for everyone.

© 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

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 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. with the biographies of the protagonist group the, Black Swans, from Rusty Knight’s upcoming fantasy novel ‘Laret’. Later in 2016 it will be an issue from the series Lanis.

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

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Have an wonderful day.

Yours, Rusty Knight.


Markus episode 4, Home

Markus Episode 3, The Journey

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

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

Have an wonderful day.


Rusty Knight.


Markus episode 3, ‘The Journey’

Markus Episode 3, The Journey

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


Great! You finished an issue of ‘Markus’ but you want to read more. Here is a handy link to click to more, click 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 and commenting, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a great day.

Yours Rusty Knight.


Lanis episode eight, ‘Reining’



Episode eight, ‘Reining’

By Rusty Knight


Previously in episode seven, ‘Contrary

Drake was sent shopping to Hangela’s. Upon returning to Lenden, Drake was so contrary with him, so Lenden offers to buy Drake her own riding horse.

And now in episode eight, ‘Reining


Spring 12 Bear


Lenden hitched the mares to the carriage after morning meal. He took two-hundred flares placed in sacks, put them in the carriage and packed a set of clothing, along with a basket of food and three water-skins.

Lenden tells Drake. “We will be away at least two days, so pack things to change into if you get muddy.

Still feeling contrary, argumentative and not social, Drake goes to her room and packs a set of her new clothing into her backpack, leaving behind her tomes.

With her studied spells in mind, Drake walks out to the courtyard finding Lenden hitching the two mares to the carriage. She places her backpack in the storage compartment and takes a seat, waiting.

Lenden looks up at her. He utters. “If we get this horse, your duties are to tend to all the horses all the time. Get out here and help hitch up the team.”

Throwing herself into getting out of the carriage and hitching the team with Lenden, unwillingly, Drake gets off the seat and out of the carriage cabin.

They finish hitching the team and set out on the wet road for Tamel’s Cartwright, traveling along King’s Avenue, then south.

It takes more than ten hours of carriage riding to get to Tamel’s. Unfortunately, he refuses to deal with the pair, when they arrive an hour after gods-set.

Lenden drives to a local inn and arranges rooms and meals for the night.

Drake had done minimal talking all day.


Spring 13 Bear


The sphere is clear when Drake and Lenden drive to Tamel’s. But, the gods have cursed the day, breathing south-east strong and hard.

Tamel’s mood matches the god’s breathing, just wrong.

The three of them walk out into the corral and Tamel lets Drake pick a horse.

Drake picks out a mare and Tamel opens with a request of 82 Flairs. Lenden only wants to pay seventy-five, so Tamel demands ninety.

They agree this isn’t the horse they want to deal on.

Tamel chooses an older mare and asks for sixty-seven Flairs.

Lenden looks the mare over. Calling it a nag, he offers fifty-two.

Tamel chases off the horse and tells Lenden to choose another horse.

Lenden walks among the thirty some mares and stallions for nearly an hour, then he asks for a rope and halter. Going back out among the horses, he approaches a stallion and places the halter and the lead rope on. Bringing the stallion back, he has Drake work with the horse.

Lenden asks Tamel, how much?

Tamel opens with sixty-seven Flairs and fifty Dyns.

Lenden watches the horse and Drake. Seeing Drake is smiling, he offers Tamel. “I’ll buy it for sixty and I’ll pay regular for the saddle and tack with a few extras. No more haggling.”

Tamel extends his arm. “Deal.”

The two saddle and gear up the stallion for Drake and then tether it to the back of the carriage.

Drake balks at this. “Why can’t I ride it home?”

Lenden commands. “It doesn’t know where home is and by the way you rode here, I doubt you do either. So, if it bolts on you, you’ll spend time lost, trying to find your way home. Ride in the carriage and observe our route.”

Drake realises she has no real rebuttal for that argument, so she climbs into the cabin of the carriage, determined to make observations during their return.

The horse calmly follows along.

With drier street and roads, they make better time and are home in just under nine-and a-half hours.

In the stable, after unhitching the carriage by herself and stabling her new horse, Drake grooms her horse last, having already taken care of the two mares.

She whispers to her stallion. “You may be average according to Uncle, but we are a team. When I leave here, you go with me. I need a name for you and I know what it is. I name thee, Crystal.” She hugs his neck.

After Drake cooks evening meal for the duo, they sit down to eat.

Drake informs Lenden. “I named the horse. I’m calling him Crystal.”

Lenden nods and replies. “If you’re going to name a horse, I guess a substance is as good a name as any. Crystal he is. But, I have news for you that I was going to share, before you got all upitty snarly like a penned rat. You are going to become a teacher. Tomorrow, you are going to purchase your student that I have picked out for you. You can refuse to take your student, if the student doesn’t strike you as teachable. I advise against that, as the next one you will have no say about.”

Looking at Lenden through squinting eyes and with scrunched forehead, her cheeks blazing red, Drake growls. “You don’t think you could have asked me about this first?”

Lenden shrugs and replies, “No. You’re my assistant. Assist.”

Drake growls a guttural snarl but says nothing. She begins to eat aggressively, forcing each forkful of food to her mouth while glaring at Lenden. After about five minutes, she drops the fork onto the plate. Sparked into saying, “You know, Uncle, I do have a mind and free will. I can choose to leave.”

Lenden swallows his mouthful of food with casual grace. Then he replies while locking eyes with Drake. “But you won’t; you like the challenge and you like the idea of authority.”

Drake sits back and grins. She looks away from Lenden at the bowls of food on the table, then back to Lenden’s eyes. “Yes, you’re right.”

She eagerly eats as they discuss her travels to get the student tomorrow.


Spring 14 Bear


After cleaning up the morning meal and completing her morning duties, Drake hitches the two mares to the carriage and heads out traveling north-west.

The trip is long and boring for Drake with no one to talk to but herself, as she had become used to discussing things with Uncle in their times together. He has such vast amount of knowledge and wisdom that it is always interesting talking with him, so much more so than anyone at the University, except maybe the Master-Mages, and Uncle make most of them pale.

Drake finds the home of her prospective student around evening meal time.

Knocking on the door of the middle-class house, Drake isn’t sure what to expect. Uncle wouldn’t tell her anything about the student or family.

A mature jalfem opens the door and gracefully addresses Drake. “Gods-grace and good fate, how may I aid you Master?” she says.

Drake smiles, thinking. ‘At least they’re jal.’ She says, “Gods-grace and good fate Master, I am Mage Drake. I come from Master-mage Lenden, seeking Melinda as a prospective student.”

The woman virtually shrieks excited to those in the house. “Melie, come quick. The mage is here for you!”

She turns back to Drake and says, “Please come in, Mage Drake. Please excuse us. We were about to do spring cleaning on my life-companion’s next free six-day off from the engineer’s work team. We have been so busy, with me working with the local tailor’s shop and my life-companion working with the ward engineer. We have five offspring to bring up in society and I believe we did an upstanding job. Melie will suit your schooling perfectly. I am certain. She is bright, young and eager to learn. We educated her well.”

Drake motions into the house and asks. “May I enter?”

The woman’s cheeks turn a bright-pink as she sputters and steps aside. “Yes! Yes, of course. Pardon me. Follow me.”

She closes the door and then leads Drake to a common room with seating for twelve. Offering Drake the finest seat in the room, as a jalfem who looks to be fifteen-years-old, arrives.

The mature jalfem motions to Drake and says to the girl. “Melie, this is Mage Drake. She has come to see you. You talk to her while I go find your father.”

The girl flutters her hand, while saying. “Mother, you know Father will be home from work in four-and-a-half hours.” Turning to Drake, Melie says. “Gods-grace and good fate, Mage Drake. I am Melinda Castel. May I sit with you?”

Drake frowns intentionally. Thinking, ‘Smart, not over assuming, direct.’ “Yes, Melinda. And I will call you Melinda while you call me Drake. Please sit with me while your mother fetches us both a mug of water with a pitcher as well. This may take some time, before I’m satisfied that you are a satisfactory candidate as a student.”

The mother sputters. “But I was assured Mage Lenden was taking Melie. Wouldn’t you prefer milk or juice or ale. Not just water? Why the change of mind?”

Drake pauses for Melinda’s reaction.

Melinda shows a reaction as she sits in the chair across the table from Drake. “Mother, Mage Drake has traveled today and asked for water. She wants to be sure that she wants me as a student. She is not Mage Lenden.”

The elder woman fusses as she leaves the room saying, “Oh me, oh my, no this isn’t right. We had an arrangement. No this isn’t right.”

Drake looks into Melinda’s eyes, silently watching.

Melinda only lets a couple of breaths pass when she says. “Don’t worry about my mother. She doesn’t understand the difficulties of becoming an apprentice or student. I’m ready to answer your questions, Drake.” She looks down at the table politely, a small smile peeking over her lips.

Drake nods, thinking. ‘Confidence but not overbearing. Knows this will be a process I control and might deny her, but may accept her, it is my decision and she acknowledges it. I like her already.’ Drake starts by asking, “Tell me what basic educational skills you have, languages you speak and scribe and so on.”

Melinda pales white, hesitating. Then she answers, “Mage Drake, I’m not stupid but my parents didn’t invest in education or trades for their children. I took it upon myself to learn jalnoric script, just past the basics, and I am a bit ashamed to admit I learned to be good with my fists in a scrap with the boys. But other than that, I get by with cooking and cleaning, but not much else.”

‘Honest but not skilled, a clean slate. That’s why Lenden wouldn’t say anything.’ Drake asks, “How old are you, Melinda?”

The girl, still pale, hesitates again, then chokes out. “I’m nineteen. I know I look fifteen, but I’m actually nineteen.”

Drake sighs. “Can you go out and tend to feeding of my two horses while I talk to your mother, Melinda. I will come out and let you know my decision.”

Melinda starts to tear up, feeling she lost her chance. But deciding not to take any chance on breaking down, she stands and walks outside.

Melinda’s mother arrives to find the room empty, except for Drake who is sitting by herself on the worst chair in the room. Drake stands and says. “I don’t know, Letilla. Your daughter really isn’t suitable material as a mage. I can’t pay you the standard one-hundred Flairs.”

Letilla drops the tray onto her floor, gasping. “No, you have to take her. She needs work and she has no skills.”

Drake guffaws, “All the more reason I can’t pay you full fee. I’ll pay eighty-three tops. But I take her as is, with no caveats.”

Letilla rushes over, extending her arm. She rasps out. “Yes! Yes!”

Drake clasps arms with Letilla and says, “Melinda will only be visiting once every second season for ten days.” Then Drake pulls free her coin pouch and counts out eighty-three gold Flair coins on to the table for Letilla.

Drake closes the pouch and returns it to her belt.

She says with contempt, as she turns to leave. “We won’t have anything to do with each other in the future, you and I.”

Outside at the carriage, Melinda has awkwardly fed the two horses and is standing by the door to the carriage cabin. Drake looks her in the eyes with a grim expression. She asks Melinda. “How bad do you want to go with me? What is it worth to you? One-hundred flares?”

Melinda starts to weep. She nods, “Yes, it is.”

Drake extends her arm.

Melinda looks confused as she looks into Drakes.

Drake smiles. She says, “It is Kannoral trade custom when you make an agreement or deal, you grasp the arm of the one you accept with by the forearm and clasp firmly, signifying you accept and agree. Usually right arms. Do you accept being my student, Melinda Castel, student of mage Drake?”

Melinda awkwardly clasps arms with Drake and says, “I have to get my things. I’ll be right out.”

Drake releases the clasp and says, “No, you don’t; you are coming with me as you are. That is your mother’s agreement with me. You can come back and visit for ten days, every two seasons, when scheduling permits. Into the carriage. We are leaving now.”

Melinda’s jaw drops and her eyes go wide. When she regains her senses, she asks, “Are you serious?”

Drake climbs up into the cabin of the carriage, waving Melinda in. Thinking, ‘I actually like her, this won’t be so bad.’ Saying “Yes, I’m serious.”

Melinda gets up into the same vehicle and Drake proceeds to drive them home.

The team arrive home around one in the morning on Spring 15 Bear. With Drake teaching Melinda, the two unhitch the horses, then stable, groom, and feed the mares. After that, Drake settles Melinda into her new room on the second floor of Lenden’s manor.


To be continued …

In the next episode, episode nine, ‘What is a Cantrip?’


Drake begins Melinda’s lessons in more than one sphere of teaching, earning a few lessons herself.


© 2016 by Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press


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 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’.

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