Owerton Challenge Blog:
Red Horse Comb
Owerton Challenge: Issue 106
Challenge Issue 106: red horse comb
- Creature = Horse
- Item = Comb
- Colour = Red
- M J Domet of Beaverlodge, Alberta
Autumn 56 Unicorn 3rd Cycle V Succession of King Regeanus the III
Previously on challenge episode 001 on Autumn 50 Unicorn with:
Morgus left the Mage’s University traveling to South State District, where he paid the Perch Inn for a season’s residency. During his first evening at the Perch Inn, and as he was having a meal, Morgus was confronted by an old acquaintance from his less than legal past.
We continue now with challenge episode Morgus, E002 on:
Autumn 56 Unicorn
Waking to the silence of a room without roommates, Morgus stretches, yawns, and smiles. All those years in the dorm rooms of the mage’s University trained him for lack of privacy and life with schedules. He recalls that he is now renting a private room in the inn his family used to own, before his father’s death.
Within the district, Morgus had many friends with whom he used to run the streets with before his mother was forced to give up the inn and move the remaining family away to a new lesser home.
Standing, he stretches again and tries to look around in the pitch darkness. He recalls that he has no windows in his room, which was not an oversight by the innkeeper but a deliberate slight against Morgus’ negotiations when negotiating for the room.
“What the seven hells, I still have a private room at a reasonable rate.”
Concentrating, Morgus holds his hand out in front of himself with his index finger extended, and he says boldly, “London”.
A bright orange light bursts into existence at the tip of his finger. The glow of a medium light shows his room within a five-foot radius of the two-inch glowing globe.
Morgus looks around and sees the hooded lantern on the nightstand. He uses his other hand as he reaches towards the wick and says, “Usten”, igniting a small yellow flame at the tip of his extended index finger. Still smiling, he lights the lantern’s wick.
Now that the room is lite fully with lantern light, Morgan extinguishes the flame on his fingertip, as well as the orange globe of light on his other fingertip.
‘I think it’s time to visit some haunts of old friends and see if anyone familiar is still around.’ Thinks the mage as he uses the chamber pot in the far corner of his small twelve-foot-square room.
After extinguishing the lantern, and walking out of his room down to the tavern, Morgus finds Toaren, already eating his morning meal.
In spite of there being several unoccupied tables available to sit at, Morgus sits with Toaren. He says to the bargewright, “Good morning bargewright. You never told me if you’re working.”
Toaren scowls and tosses his fork onto his plate. He stares at Morgus. “I never invited you to sit with me, boyo.”
Morgus shrugs, and then says, “I know. – But we got off to a bad start yesterday. I thought I would try to make amends today.”
Huffing, Toaren hastily stands and walks out of the tavern.
Pedren approaches the table as Morgus frowns and watches Toaren stomp away.
Pedren clears his throat while looking at Morgus.
Morgus jolts to the present and turns to the tavern keeper. “Yeah, I’ll have my morning meal, please. Did Toaren pay for his?”
Pedren shakes his head and answers, “No, he never.”
The tavern keeper answers, “Seven dusters. What can I get you?”
The mage considers events, and then smiling at Pedren, he says, “I’ll have a couple of eggs and some bacon, with an ale.”
Pedren replies, “That will be another six dusters, Master.”
Morgus offers Pedren thirteen dusters and the tavern keeper heads to the kitchen. He soon brings the morning meal.
Leaving Perch Inn after his meal, Morgus travels southeast on Drescol Street until he reaches South State Road. Crossing the intersection, Morgus then continues on the paved Drescol Road eastward until he reaches 1516 Drescol Road, Punting Horse Stable.
Standing outside the large courtyard of the noisy stables, Morgus recalls that his older friend, Terrec, used to live here.
Shivering nervously, Morgus enters the half full courtyard and walks towards the large three-story stone house.
As Morgus is nearing the red-painted house, a high voice calls to him from the stable. “Hey, we’re over here. What can we do for you?”
Recognising the voice, even after being away twenty years, Morgus turns sharply and walks towards the giant man.
Greeting the seven-foot-two-inch average appearing jalmal, Morgus smiles and begins to extend his arm. “Good-day Terrec. It has been too many years.” Morgus resists breaking into pirate speak here.
The giant of a man squints as he peers at the six-foot-four-inch and two-hundred-pound mage, frowning as the ex-pirate draws closer to Terrec. He asks cautiously, “Do I know you?”
Morgus laughs as he finishes extending his arm to the stable master. He then says, “Yes, but long ago, old friend. We were trouble buddies, running together on the streets of Drescol Road area and terrorizing the hapless rich families. Though, that was over twenty years ago.”
Terrec suddenly grins mischievously and asks, “Is that you, Mor?”
The two men eagerly clasp arms as Morgus nods and says, “Yes, Terror Tot.”
Laughing, the two men embrace in an awkward hug. Then, backing away from each other, they examine each other thoroughly.
Terrec is wearing a blacksmith’s apron over dark leather leggings and a grey wool short-sleeve tunic. On his feet are ankle-high leather boots.
Morgus has on a long-sleeved bright orange wool tunic, and vibrant Imvor-red wool leggings with knee-high brown leather boots, topped off with a wide-brimmed Imvor-orange leather hat.
But, even with his dandyish appearance, Morgus doesn’t take care where he sets his footing, not bothering to avoid soil surprises from animals.
Terrec leads Morgus into the stables while asking in his crude jal, “What brings you down this way, old friend?”
In the office, Morgus takes the seat indicated as Terrec pours two light ales. He answers Terrec, “Well, I’m not really sure. I have a year to travel, work, or cause havoc before I return to the Mage’s University to take my journeyman test for certification. So, I thought I would hang-out in South State for a while. I came to my old stomping grounds to see what I could find.”
Intrigued, the two men eye each other as they slowly drink their ale.
Terrec asks, “Do you want work?”
Morgus chuckles, then he replies, “I’m no stable boy, Terror.”
Waving erratically Terrec says, “No, No. Not a stable worker. I had a theft which I was wondering if you’d solve for me, seeing as the City Watch can’t.”
Sitting up straight, Morgus enquires, “Really? How much are you paying?”
Terrec sighs, “If you agree to do it, I’ll pay more than I can rightly afford – a Flair.”
Morgus frowns. He looks at his friend and sets down his ale. “A Flair is more than I’m earning now, but it depends on what was stolen and when. Tell me more.”
Leaning his tall, lanky frame forward, Terrec replies, “The red curry comb and mane brush of one of my customers who stores her horse grooming gear here with her horses. In fact, all her grooming equipment was stolen. I thought she took it, but she says she never. The halters, ropes, mane brush, dandy brush, and curry comb were all stolen during the night on Autumn 53. She had a unique set of grooming tools made – all are Imvor-red.”
Morgus and Terrec talk for nearly an hour more. Then, Terrec shows Morgus the grooming gear storage room.
Morgus sighs and says, “There’s not much for information or clues that I can get from in here. I have an idea. I’ll see what I can do for you two. I’ll go now. If I find the items, I’ll be back with them and collect that Flair.”
Walking west, back along Drescol Road, Morgus arrives at the Perch Inn nearly an hour after evening meal time.
Entering the tavern, he takes a seat alone at a table separate from Toaren who sits alone at a table near a corner.
As Pedren addresses Morgus, the mage observes the tavern keeper’s hands and arms. Not seeing the signs he’s looking for, Morgus keeps his thoughts to himself. Ordering his meal, he dines by himself and then goes to his room for the night.
Autumn 57 Unicorn
Morgus walks into the Loren Square and Market and tries to recall where the stall he wants was located twenty years ago, uncertain it will still exist.
Eventually, locating the old stall in the popular market, Morgus sighs, as it has obviously been abandoned for many years.
Searching for one of the members of the local rogue guild, Morgus wanders among the thinned out crowd of evening pedestrians. Many stalls are already closed, and Morgus is hungry. He hasn’t eaten since morning meal at gods-rise, and it is almost gods-set now.
Seeing an old fisherman’s stall still open, Morgus approaches, intent on buying food to cook over a campfire somewhere.
But, Morgus quickly realises that the stall owner is one of the people he has been looking for, as her right hand’s tattoos give her away.
Dropping a silver Dyns onto the woman’s counter, Morgus looks around to make sure there is no one nearby to overhear him. Satisfied that he will not be overheard, Morgus quietly says to the woman, “I need a fence. Oh, and some food.”
The heavy, tall, toyfem coughs, and then taking the coin, she says, “Buy two of my fish, and I’ll talk to you. Twelve dusters.”
Considering her unreasonable request, Morgus decides to bite and sets twelve copper coins onto the oily stall counter.
The woman gives Morgus two of her larger fish, and she says, “Go to the fletchers on the west edge of the square, two alleys over. Say that Dorea sent you.”
Morgus, carrying the fish, starts to leave, but he stops and turns back, asking, “Who am I looking for?”
Nodding, Morgus leaves and walks away looking for the indicated fletcher’s stall.
Finding the fletcher’s stall 32 on the west edge of Loren Square & Market, Morgus notes that it is a large water-blue wooden building two stories tall. Morgus enters the wooden structure, finding the shop lit by only one lantern.
A voice calls out from behind a floor-length, multi-coloured wool curtained doorway, “We’re closed.”
Not one to waste effort, Morgus replies loudly, “I’m Morgus. I was sent by Dorea. I’m looking for Fletcher Moren for a particular item.”
A taller heavy toymal walks from the back room and looks at Morgus for a long minute. Then he shakes his head and says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, mage.”
Morgus can see the guild tattoos on the man’s right hand and wrist. “You’re the local fence for the Dragon Horsemen Guild. I am looking for certain items.”
The man quickly draws his dagger and rushes Morgus, cutting the sleeve of Morgus’ tunic as the mage tries avoiding the attack while attempting to cast his ‘Fireburst’ spell using the flame from the lantern.
The attack by the fletcher drops Morgus’ focus, causing his loss of the spell.
Morgus readies his quarterstaff as Moren attacks again, slashing through Morgus’ tunic front.
Morgus deflects the next blow using his quarterstaff, causing Moren’s dagger to break.
Moren strikes out with his fist, which Morgus avoids.
Swinging his quarterstaff, the mage strikes Moren hard, and then comes around in another attack, driving the end of his staff into Moren’s left hip, breaking the hip, and dropping the fence to the floor.
Morgus, breathing heavy, steps back.
“I’m not here to harm the Horsemen. I am looking for your help.”
Moren, in severe pain, moans loudly and rapidly blinks his eyes as he lays on the floor of his shop. “Bugger off. I know you now. You’re done.” He utters through gritting teeth.
Morgus, trickles of blood on his chest and arm, steps closer, and he says, “I never intended harm. Help me, and I’ll go and get help for you.”
“Bull, you will. You’ll get the City Watch.”
Morgus considers this, and he frowns before he says, “If I get your guild healer, will you help me?”
“Help kill you I might. Go get Drakin, and I will help you.”
Morgus stalls for a couple of seconds and then asks, “Who is Drakin?”
“Our priest of Lorn.”
Smiling and eager now, Morgus answers, “Yes, where is he?”
Growling in pain, Moren tries to move to a more comfortable position before replying, “She is at the Lorn shrine in the central square. Tell her that Eric Teller requests her presence and that she is to go with you.”
It’s just after gods-set and already dark when Morgus arrives at the shrine. Entering the shrine, he finds a six-foot jalfem dressed in blue robes of Lorn, holding services for about thirty people. Morgus takes a seat and waits, observing the rituals for the hour.
With the services now complete, Morgus approaches the large woman and asks, “Are you Priestess Drakin of the Dragon Horsemen? If you are, I was told to inform you that Eric Teller needs your help and that you should come with me.”
“Let me get my gear. Who got hurt?”
Satisfied, Morgus sighs, and then he replies, “Fletcher Moren.”
It’s after nine-thirty in the evening by the time the pair arrive at the fletcher’s shop. Morgus is becoming fatigued, famished and thirsty. As he shows Drakin to Moren, he asks the fletcher, “Do you have something I can drink? And, somewhere that I can cook the fish that I left here?”
Moren, frowning, stares at Morgus. He then says to Morgus, “You’re shit, you know that. But you did what I said. In the back is my kitchen, help yourself.”
As Drakin starts working on Moren, Morgus heads towards the rear of the store. As he passes through the next room, he spots a full set of Imvor-red horse grooming gear. Sighing a little, he continues to the kitchen where he fillets the two fish after pouring himself an ale. Morgus cooks the fish, as well as some tubors, on the brazier.
Morgus is pleasantly relieved as Drakin helps the hobbling Moren – now with a splinted leg and bound hip – into the kitchen.
Both delightfully sniff the air and smile. Moren says, “So you can cook.”
Ready to serve the food, Moren is setting plates of food for the three of them on the table. “Sort of. I think I didn’t poison us. No promises, though.”
The other two nervously laugh. As Morgus serves the plates of food, they wait for him to eat first. After Morgus eats several bites of fish and tubers, he says, “I saw what I was looking for as I was passing through your inner room. The red horse comb and grooming gear.”
Moren laughs and then says, “You stayed and fought me for that shit? You’re stupid. It’s worth maybe five Dyns to me. Pay my priest bill, and it’s yours.”
Morgus looks at Drakin who casually says, “Five Flairs.”
Morgus sadly shakes his head, and then says, “Not my bill. I’ll send the gear’s owner. Hold the items for the proprietor for twenty days. You’ll know the owner when she tells you that Mage Morgus sent her.”
Drakin looks at Moren with determination, “I need payment.”
Moren gruffly looks at Morgus, “It’s your responsibility.”
Morgus wonders what will happen if he shrugs this off. Morgus decides that it might not be good to get on the wrong side of the Dragon Horsemen yet. He already must contend with Toaren, and who knows what links he has. “If you give me a place to sleep tonight then I’ll cover the charges.”
Moren nods curtly, “Done.”
Morgus says, “I’ll collect the grooming gear in the morning.”
The fence shakes his head, answering, “No, if you stay the night then the gear is another five Flair for the trouble you’ve caused me – if you want to leave in peace?”
Taking his coin pouch from his belt, Morgus dumps his remaining coins onto the dining table. Counting out five gold Flairs, he hands these to the priest. Counting his remaining coins, he finds he has three Flairs, seven Dyns, and eight dusters to get him through nearly 360 days and then back to the Mage’s University.
Autumn 58 Unicorn
Walking into the Punting Horse Stable, Morgus finds both brothers working with horses. Morgus also sees a beautiful mature toyfem with rare blonde hair and amber eyes working with a black mare and a tawny year-old colt.
Morgus addresses Terrec, “I found the grooming gear, but they were going to cost me five Flairs to acquire, in addition to the five Flairs it already cost me to leave peacefully. If you want them, it’ll cost you a Flair for me to tell you where they’re at.”
Terrec addresses the toyfem woman, “Larra, is your grooming gear worth six Flairs to you?”
The woman shakes her head, and she answers casually, “No, leave it there. I can buy new gear for less than a Flair.”
‘Damn to Seven Hells, I lost five Flairs for nothing.’ Thinks the mage. Morgus smiles and then says, “If you’re ever curious as to where to find the gear, then let me know. Terror, I need a place to sleep tonight. Do you mind putting me up for the night?”
Terrec’s brother, the smaller six-foot-seven-inch jalmal, responds, “A Dyns and you can have a bed in the stable for the night, boyo.”
In the past, Morgus never got along with Essen, and already their relationship is not starting off well.
That evening, Terrec and Morgus spend a few hours rehashing the antics of their childhood days – particularly their runs on the wealthy family estates. Morgus realises that their antics might have been partially to blame for his family having to move.
Essen didn’t join the two after he collected a Dyns.
Autumn 59 Unicorn
Morgus left the Punting Horse an hour after gods-rise, arriving at the Perch Inn roughly three hours later.
Entering the tavern, Morgus asks Pedren when he last saw Toaren.
Pedren answers, “Autumn 58, why?”
“Nothing, I was curious.” Morgus stops and asks, “Has Toaren ever said why he is here?”
“Toaren said that he’s looking for something for his barge crew.”
‘Damn it, he’s running a crew now.’ Morgus says, “Thank you Pedren.”
He eats his cold mid-day meal, followed by a relaxing bath, before retiring to his room.
To be continued …
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