Owerton Challenge, Issue 110, Morgus Episode 006, Green Dragon Shield

Owerton Challenge:

Morgus

Green Dragon Shield

Episode 006

Challenge: issue 110

  • Words:
    • Green
    • Dragon
    • Shield
  • Contributor:
    • Aaron Klassen
    • High Prairie, Alberta

 

Previously in episode 005 on Autumn 69 Unicorn with:

Settling into Hessan Manor with the staff and Baron Larap, Morgus is setting up his parchment making station. He studies spells, learning new incantations in time to deal with conflict.

We continue now in Morgus episode 006 of Owerton Challenge Issue 110 on Autumn 79 Unicorn:

Autumn 79 Unicorn

Walking into the waiting room with its artificial light of Imvor illuminating the room, it’s freezing in the chamber. Morgus enters with Tussel behind him.

Morgus asks the elven sergeant Elmar, who is in the room, “You knew the Imvor light would keep the wights at bay?”

Elven Sergeant Elmar, diminutive in stature, sighs with relief as he leaves the far side of the room where he was in the company of private Barran. Elmar answers, “I heard tales from my parents that wights dread bright light. I was hoping they wouldn’t transgress into the room. Thank you for putting that light up there.”

Morgus answers Elmar. “Creating and casting the incantation may have been fate or luck, only Ikerus knows. But it worked. I’ll pick a room on each floor and cast one ‘continuous Imvor light’ in each of those safe rooms. You know the wights’ll be back, right? We need a bishop or three clerics, or priests to deal with them. Do you know of any holy people who’ll live here to aid us? Do we have rooms for more staff?”

Elmar replies, “We have a staff bunkroom with five open bunks and three single rooms, one of which has a double bed. But it is the chamberlain or Ada who assigns rooms to staff. As to priests – I know of none.”

Tussel speaks up. “I know that a cleric of Imvor was wandering Loren Square and Market. He was looking for alms last six-day I was there. That was at the beginning of autumn.”

Morgus nods, “Thank you, Tussel, I’ll take a look soon. Did you catch his name?”

Tussel smiles, answering, “Yes, he was a jal by the name of Hez, from Arrington district.”

Morgus bows to the three warriors. “Fetch me if you need my aid. I’ll be in my study until morning meal.”

…..

Morgus arrives at morning meal to eat with Ada and the nine others at the table, as the three night guards decide to stay awake and join the rest of the staff for morning meal. Morgus asks, “Ada, if I need to bunk three holy people, can I use the rooms we have for staff?”

Peering over at Morgus, the house servant matron asks, “And who is going to take care of the extra work they will cause?”

Knowing Ada well enough now, Morgus was prepared for this. “They will be working under you as well, putting in four hours a day each, and doing what you require, within reason, with every six-day off free.”

A twinkle brightens Ada’s eyes as she asks, “Do I have to pay them, or does Baron Hessan?”

Morgus frowns, knowing this would come next. He replies, “You won’t have to pay them from the house budget. Baron Hessan will be paying them until an issue that has arisen is dealt with.”

Looking deep into Morgus’ eyes, Ada responds, “Okay, then two of them can use the bunk room, and one can have a single room. But I want a full four hours of work from each of them every day, except on their free six-day. There will be no exceptions for as long as they’re staying here.”

Morgus leans across the table, extending his arm, and Ada clasps with him.

…..

Today, Morgus crammed a total of four hours of mind-twisting spell research into the spell ‘locate object’. Now, he’s finished researching the spell, and he sits frustrated because it doesn’t matter how many times he memorizes and tries casting the new spell, the twenty-hours of complicated research seems to have resulted in a failure. Morgus appears to need to re-research the spell. This hurts his coin chest immensely, as he used two-hundred coin worth of reagents and supplies researching this and he has to do it over again. Morgus decides he that he should go for a walk to Loren Square and Market.

……

Leaving Hessan Manor half-an-hour before noon, Morgus walks to Loren Square and Market’s central square, searching for alms seeking clerics or priests. Finding several in the central square, he asks about an Imvor cleric named Hez. Locating such a priest more than three-and-a-half hours’ past noon, Morgus is soon approaching the alms seeking priest. Finding the priest dressed in soiled ragged robes, Morgus looks at the over half-century-years-old jalmal, saying, “Gods-grace good father. How fares you?”

From his seat on the fountain side, the disheveled cleric stares up at Morgus. He responds, “Poorly, good Master, could you spare a few dusters for Imvor?”

Morgus places three dusters in the empty alms bowl and says, “I have something more if you’ll come with me?”

Looking enviously at the three copper coins, the jalmal asks, “I don’t travel with strangers. Where would we be going?”

Morgus sits beside the cleric, saying, “Then let’s get to know each other. I’ll even buy you midday meal if you like? I’m Mage Morgus, Baron Hessan’s aide. You are Cleric Hez of Imvor, and I would like your support.”

Hez stutters as he says, “W … where … did you … come on m…. my name?”

Placing his hand on Hez’s shoulder, Morgus says, “I heard of your plight, and your good will, Cleric Hez. I am in need of a few good priests, so I seek your aid. Will you work for a Dyns per day until my plight is solved? It requires putting to rest several walking-dead.”

Staring at Morgus, Hez drools slightly for several seconds before responding, “By all means, yes. How many priests do you want?”

Clapping Hez’s shoulder, Morgus smiles, and then he says, “I think that I should look for two additional priests.”

Hez stands as he picks up his alms bowl, “Will we administer to the household?”

Morgus nods as he smiles, saying, “Of course, yes.”

Hez starts walking northward. “I know that the cleric’s hostel for Imvor has acolytes that might help.”

…..

Morgus follows Hez to the wooden structure that is the Imvor hostel, arriving nearly half-an-hour later.

Introducing Morgus to a jalmal acolyte, Hez steps aside.

Morgus says, “Gods-grace good priest Frise, I’m Mage Morgus of Baron Hessan’s estate. We’re in need of priests for the estate. Would you be interested in residing with us?”

Frise grumbles, and then after shaking his head he says, “I’ll not work for a noble.”

Morgus tries again, “If I pay you a Dyns a day?”

Frise walks away.

Next, Hez introduces Morgus to a thirty-year-old jalfem named Loura.

Morgus greets her, “Greeting priestess Loura, How fare you?”

Smiling, Loura responds. “Good fate Master Morgus, Imvor’s blessings unto you. I fare greatly, though poor of funds. Would you spare some coins?”

Seeing that Loura is practical and in need, Morgus responds, “If I pay your debt, plus offer you a wage of a Dyns per day, will you work for my Baron Hessan?”

Immediately extending her arm, Loura grins, saying, “Indeed … yes.”

Before clasping arms, Morgus asks, “How large is your debt here?”

Thinking a moment, Loura then says, “I believe I owe the priory 0.11 coin.”

Smiling, Morgus clasps arms with her, saying, “Gather your things and meet with me in the front foyer.”

As she walks away, Morgus says to Hez, “I would like one more priest. How large is your debt here, Hez?”

Bashfully, Hez responds, “0.17 coin. Let’s see if Hon will join us.”

Greeting the over forty-years-old jalmal, Morgus says, “Gods-grace, good fate priest Hon. How fare you?”

Hon bows to Morgus, and then responds, “Imvor’s-grace Master Morgus, please, a correction – I’m not a priest. I’m merely an acolyte of Imvor. I’ve been a captive recruit of the temple and hostel for over eight years. I’d leave, but I can’t afford to pay out my debt.”

Morgus nods, saying, “If I pay out your debt and Baron Hessan pays you a wage of one Dyns per day, will you come with me today?”

Hon’s eyes leak with tears as he bows. Kneeling, he says, “Yes! Please, Master Morgus. Anything to leave here!”

Morgus utters, “Fetch your things and meet me in the front foyer right away.”

After clasping arms with Morgus, Hon rushes away.

Morgus modestly turns to Hez and says, “Take me to the office and the headmaster.”

Several minutes later, in the headmaster’s office, Morgus faces the tall, heavy, century-old jalfem in the dank room lit by only one candle. He says to her, “Headmaster Chou, I’d like to pay out the debts of the acolytes Hon and Loura, as well as for Cleric Hez, purchasing their services for Baron Hessan’s estate.”

Gruffly, Chou looks through her books for records of the three. Then, she makes some rough calculations on her old chipped grey slate. Finished, she looks up at Morgus and grumpily says, “3.57 coin for that to happen, Master Morgus.”

Expecting to be paying less than a Flair, Morgus suspects she is charging a discharge fee for each. Considering the future, and that Morgus wants the good graces of the hostel and the Temple of Imvor, Morgus hands her four Flairs, as he smiles and cheerily says, “Keep the extra; don’t fret about change. Consider it a personal donation from me.”

With over four Dyns in donation, which is more generous than most of her patrons, Chou carefully and with precise facts, crafts three discharge documents, correcting the account books carefully. With the first smile she has granted in several six-days, Chou hands Morgus the three documents, and she firmly says, “Thank you, Mage Morgus. Please, if there is anything we can do for you, let me know. Come back anytime.”

Seeing how much his goodwill meant to Chou, Morgus silently lays another Flair on her desk. He takes the documents and standing he moves to leave. Before exiting the room, he turns back, noticing the glistening of extra moisture in Chou’s eyes. Morgus says, “May you be blessed, Matron Chou. Thank you for your service and good will.” Turning, Morgus casually walks out and fetches his three priests. They begin the walk home to Hessan manor.

…..

Arriving home about half-an-hour after gods-set, Morgus smiles and greets Ada. At the meal table, he introduces the three priests, and then he says, “I would like clean clothing and baths for the three tonight. Hez is assigned to a single room, as Hon and Loura sleep in the bunks, as per our agreement. They will start working tomorrow after everyone attends Imvor services performed by Hez at an hour before gods-rise. Ada, may I suggest Hez work with Henden? Perhaps, Hon should work with you, and Loura should work with Fen. Let’s see how that works out, as I think those jobs appear to be where their skills lie.”

Ada gruffly shrugs, saying, “I’ll consider your opinion. But I’ll assess their strengths myself as we settle them in tonight. For now, everyone sit and dish up a plate of food. Eat, you will be working hard tomorrow.”

Autumn 80 Unicorn

In frustration, slamming the table hard with his fist, Morgus hastily looks around his office. He has invested five hours into researching the spell, ‘locate object’ and he seems to be going the same direction he went last time, with only a couple minor tweaks. These changes might mean the difference in success, but he needs a break from researching.

I need to find an old friend. I had a couple of local friends. Harol lived an hour north. I’ll go and see if he still lives there.’ Morgus dresses for traveling, and he gathers his quarterstaff. Then, Morgus departs Hessan Manor, walking north on Drescol Street to go to 889.

…..

Arriving at the small lot with the old wooden two-story house, Morgus knocks on the weather-beaten door. A beautiful jalfem, nearing thirty years of age, answers the door. It is now nearly gods-rise as Morgus bows, soul-struck. His eyes sparkle as he says, “Gods-grace master, I’m Mage Morgus. I came to see Master Harol. He’s an old friend, but I think I’ll forget him and I’ll see you, as I’ve just forgotten everyone else. Who do I have the pleasure of meeting?”

With her eyes now sparkling, her cheeks flushed, pupils expanded, and her breathing changed to slightly more rapid, the woman answers after a giggle. “I’m Leza, Harol’s younger sister. Master Morgus, would you do me the honor of coming in for tea?”

Trying to catch an even breath, Morgus attempts to remain calm. “Indeed, I would enjoy a mug of tea, along with your company, Master Leza. Is Harol around?”

Leading the way to the kitchen, Leza makes the two of them a pot of strong tea and sets milk and honey on the table for the tea.

Using the milk and honey sparingly, Morgus pours himself a mug of steaming tea. Morgus discovers that he is having a difficult time focusing, as he is trying to look away from Leza.

They sit across the table from each other with their mugs of tea. It is Leza who finally speaks, her voice quavering. “Unfortunately, the pox struck our family five years ago. Everyone in my family died except myself and my youngest brother. It hit hard in this area, nearly two-hundred passed away in a season.”

Morgus places his hand on hers. “My sympathies, Leza. It must be hard maintaining your home with just the two of you, and being without your loved ones.”

Glistening moisture rises in her eyes again as her lips quiver, but then she regains her composure, and Leza says, “I’ve become a journeyman tailor, working over at Armal Tailors. And, Sesan has steady work on Renol fief. We earn more than enough to support ourselves. We’re saving coins to lease a tailor shop for me, for when I become master, and also enough to buy Sesan an apprenticeship.”

Morgus smiles, and then he asks, “Would you both like to come to Baron Hessan’s on Autumn 84 Unicorn? We can discuss an apprenticeship fund for Sesan.”

Blushing again, embarrassed to be going to a noble’s, Leza hesitates.

Morgus says, “I’ll send the carriage in the morning, about an hour after gods-rise. I’m glad you’ll make it … How did the pox start?”

Glad to change the subject, Leza responds, “Oh … it was when a green dragon came and breathed on our food supplies in the area. He was driven away by a knight who had a dragon shield and sword. The knight wasn’t able to kill the green dragon … the dragon shield saved the knight’s life three times before the green dragon left angry and defeated.”

Morgus files this information away in his mind – with an idea to research green dragons. If the dragon is still alive, he’s likely to return. Morgus also wants to know what happened to the knight and his dragon shield and sword.

Morgus spends several hours with Leza, talking about local history and Leza’s life. Morgus skillfully avoids discussing his past, specifically his pre-arrival at Perch Inn.

Morgus excuses himself two hours before evening meal. With a light step, he slowly walks home. It takes him an extra twenty minutes to walk home – a walk that would usually take an hour.

To say he is happy is an understatement. The last time he saw Leza, she was five-years-old, and the family was strong and healthy with a thriving merchant business, Sesan had not been born yet.

…..

Entering Hessan Manor, Morgus scrubs his boots off on the mat and walks to the staff dining room. Cheekily, he says to Hez, “How fares the holy?”

The three priests wear new sparkling clean robes of Imvor-red linen. All three are grinning as Hez replies, “You are our saviour, Master Morgus. We actually get real food, real work, with pay and believers who’ll pay attention to us if we preach at appropriate times! And we don’t have to beg for alms. You did us each a great service. Working with Ada is great. Even though Ada likes to complain, you couldn’t find a harder worker.”

Ada huffs and grins while the others laugh.

Morgus asks, “You’re welcome. Now Ada, can I use this dining room to entertain guests for meals?”

Ada shakes her head, answering, “No! Use downstairs in the staff social room. Do you need meals cooked and served? Loura can cook, and Hon can serve. If so when?”

Looking at Bushnel, Morgus asks, “Can Bushnel pick up a couple of people at 889 Drescol Street on Autumn 84, at about an hour after gods-rise? Then, we’ll entertain the guests with morning meal and midday meal, with Bushnel returning them to 889 right after his own meal after midday?”

Bushnel nods, saying, “Barring Baron Hessan’s needs, yes, of course.”

Gesturing haphazardly, Ada replies. “I know of no issues. So far, Larap hasn’t informed me of any appointments.”

Cheering loudly, Morgus does a small jig in his chair.

Autumn 82 Unicorn

Having talked with Baron Hessan about setting permanent ‘continuous Imvor light’ lights on each floor in safe rooms, in case the wights come back, Morgus selects a safe room on each level. He exhausts himself casting three of the ‘continuous Imvor light’.

Resting, Morgus looks at his research notes and estimates that he’ll be at least ten more hours researching the spell, ‘locate object’.

Autumn 83 Unicorn

Sighing deeply, Morgus rubs his tired eyes. His mind is cloudy and exhausted. He has been working on his research for five hours, and it’s a little more than an-hour-and-a-half to gods-rise. Morgus walks down to the staff social room where Hez is holding his Imvor service. All of Hessan Manor’s staff and Baron Larap Hessan are attending the service.

At the end of the service, Morgus approaches the baron, asking. “Baron Hessan, would it serve you better if we held services upstairs?”

Larap chuckles, “It would greatly serve me better, mage.”

Thinking about different locations, Morgus says, “I noticed there is a large unused room on the ground floor, which is next to the dining room. Perhaps the priests could use that room as a chapel?”

Clasping arms with Morgus, Larap answers, “Make it so, my aide.”

…..

Morgus and the others are eating their morning meal when the baron enters the staff dining room. Immediately, all stand and Larap gestures for them to sit. He says, “I see you now have Imvor priests on my staff and Mage Morgus petitioned me for a chapel. The Hessan Imvor Chapel is now on the ground floor next to the dining room. Please make good use of it. I will attend morning service with you, which I hope you will now hold at half-an-hour before gods-rise … for an old man’s sake?”

Cleric Hez nods, saying, “Yes Master. Baron Hessan, it will be so.”

Hessan smiles and leaves, causing much talk during the meal.

Later, while leaving the dining room, Morgus recalls that he was to pick up his parchment knives from Smith Beraran today.

…..

Entering Bladesmith Beraran’s shop, Morgus clears his throat to get the smith’s attention.

Rushing over to Morgus, Beraran says, “The knives are ready for you to take, Mage Morgus. I finished the final touches this morning.”

Morgus holds up his hand, saying, “Hold on, I want to see the knives before I purchase them.”

After Beraran shows Morgus the knives, Morgus is deeply disappointed, finding several obvious flaws. He sets down the last of the eight knives, saying, “I can’t take these. They’ll damage my hides and parchment too much for the quality I need my parchment to be. No.”

Gesturing wildly and rubbing his hands together, the smith pleads. “Let me try again, but you have to give me more time. I need ten days.”

Morgus frowns, feeling put out, and not wanting to deal with further poor craftsmanship. Thinking, he considers different possibilities. Morgus says, “If I give you another chance and ten more days, then I will offer only fifteen Flairs.”

Beraran extends his arm eagerly. “Yes! Yes!”

Morgus clasps arms with the smith, thinking to himself. ‘Hez said that he is a smith. So, if Bushnel and I can set up a smithy for Hez, then I’ll ask Hez to craft a set as well.’ Walking out of Bladesmith Beraran’s, Morgus walks home with a driven purpose.

…..

Seeking out Ada and Bushnel, he asks the pair, “Would it be feasible and okay to set up a small smithy in the crafts shop for Hez to work?”

Bushnel smiles as he nods, and then replies, “We had a smith before, so we have a smithy set up. We even have supplies in stock from before. Hez can start when you want him to, with Ada and Baron Hessan’s permission and his agreement.”

Looking at her co-partners, Ada says, “I’ll get the baron’s permission tonight, but I agree, as there are a few items I’ve been wanting to be smithed, if Hez can form them. You give us equal time between the items, and I’ll agree, giving him up from his husbandry duty.”

Morgus extends his arm and he clasps with Ada.

…..

Seeking out Hez after evening service in the new chapel, Morgus sits with him in the chapel seats, asking, “How do you feel about giving up being estate husbandry servant and become official estate blacksmith as well as official Cleric of Hessan estates?”

Sitting back, mouth dropping open, brow furrowing, Hez says, “You draw me deeper into Hessan, but a smith or an official Cleric both earn more than a Dyns per day. How much would I earn?”

Morgus smiles as he had asked Bushnel how much the old smith had earned. Morgus has an idea how much priests and clerics in temples and monasteries earn from researching texts in his office. Morgus says, “Tell me how much you’re asking for.”

Hez ponders this, and then he says, “Well, a typical estate smith earns three or four Dyns per day plus ten percent of the value of the goods he produces. A typical Temple cleric earns two to three Dyns per day, plus alms earned. So, I would say at least three or maybe four Dyns per day? Plus, bonuses such as alms and percentage of products?”

Prepared for this conversation, Morgus had numbers in mind already. “I think we will offer four Dyns per day, plus the alms, but with no percentages. This is to keep things simple. But I have to get Larap to approve this.”

The gleam of moisture in Hez’s eyes betrays his excitement as he says, “I accept.”

…..

Sitting in Baron Hessan’s office with Ada and Larap, Morgus continues their conversation. “Thank you, Baron Hessan, for allowing Hez to use the forge and smithy in the crafts shop. But I would like to propose that you hire Hez as official estate smith and cleric.”

Ada silently nods in agreement.

Larap notices her nod, and he starts tapping his desk. “And how much do you propose we pay him?”

Morgus replies, “Let’s keep things simple and pay him a combined wage of four Dyns, plus he keeps his alms.”

Again, straight-faced and emotionless, Ada nods.

Larap is not watching Ada; he is studying Morgus like a Spertan focused on its food. Larap says, “Mage, I like that. You are working out well. You’re doing chamberlain work, even though you’re only my aide.”

Morgus’ face turns a light shade of red, and he replies, “The priests are a simple response to the wights of a few nights ago, as are the safe rooms with the ‘continuous Imvor light’ in them. Remember, the room next to your bedroom is the safe room on the second floor if you need it.”

Larap stands and walking to his bookshelves he removes a large tome, placing it on his desk. He retrieves two larger tomes, adding them to the first. Sitting again, he returns to tapping the desk as he eyes Morgus, before saying, “Read these, as they are treatises on being a chamberlain for an earl or baron. Study them well. Then, when you’re finished, seek me out again. I agree with you on Hez’s pay and titles. I approve the positions and wage for him.”

To be continued …

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Owerton Challenge, Issue 109, Morgus Episode 005, Black Sword Pangolin

Owerton Challenge:

Morgus

Black Sword Pangolin

Episode 005

December 26, 2016

Issue 109

Challenge: Issue 109

  • Words:
    • Black
    • Pangolin
    • Sword
  • Contributor:
    • Eathel T Carmichael III
    • McLennan, Alberta

 

Previously on episode 008 on Autumn 65 Unicorn:

Morgus resolves his summoning puzzle, finding a dilemma where he must face his nemesis, Bargewright Toaren. Morgus does so while in service to Baron Hessan. Morgus used to raid Hessan estate as a youth, but Larap appears not to recall this. Morgus faces down Toaren, apparently winning this round and Baron Hessan’s favour.

We continue now with Episode 009 on:

Autumn 69 Unicorn

 

After a restless night in Hessan Estate’s Manor, Morgus rises two hours before Stonewire breaks the eastern horizon’s southern hemisphere.

He has a long day ahead – traveling to Perch Inn to gather his gear and clear his accounts, and then return to Hessan’s.

Morgus eats with the rest of the staff in their dining room near the kitchen, talking with Busia, the twenty-year-old jalmal tailor. Morgus asks, “Do you have the time to craft tunics and leggings for me?”

Briskly, Busia responds, “Of course, Morgus, anything else?”

Smiling ruefully, Morgus adds, “Yes, if you have opportunity – a new hat and shoes?”

Extending his arm quickly, Busia grins, saying, “Yes, two of each.”

Flabbergasted, Morgus clasps arms with Busia, asking, “How much will this cost?”

The clothier quickly does calculations, and then he replies, “Seventeen Flairs for the works.”

Choking, Morgus expected to be quoted a lower amount. “I’m used to a total more like 6.50 cn. Why so much?”

Busia grins as he thumps the table. “I don’t make common item or use commoners’ materials, my friend. If you want common, go to the markets. I am offering you a deal as it is, cutting about twenty percent off the costs.”

Stunned again, Morgus takes a moment before he can reply. “So, these would cost over twenty Flairs?”

Busia nods once.

Morgus sighs, exasperated with the deal he just made. Obviously, living here isn’t going to be cheap. Morgus adds, “Add a belt and necessary adornments as well. Tell me how much that’ll cost.”

Without delay, Busia replies, “I’ll do the rest for another twenty coin.”

Coughing as he chokes, Morgus closes his eyes, realising he shouldn’t have spoken. He just spent thirty-seven of his two-thousand flairs on his first morning before even starting.

…..

Walking out of the manor, looking back, he feels overwhelmed by the extravagance of all this already. He walks down the paved road to the street, in a hurry to Perch Inn. Pondering events, technically he has elevated his status in society by two classes, yet he could very well loose that today or tomorrow.

He best not get too comfortable or cocky with this.

…..

At Perch Inn, Morgus addresses the Innkeeper, Master Toya, “I’m checking out of my room today. You can keep my rent and rent out the room again.”

Toya looks flustered as he shakes and flutters his hands, blinking his eyes as he utters, “You and that bargewright as well. He moved out at gods-rise. What did you two do?

Morgus, not wanting to start fires, shrugs, answering, “I found a job, fairly far away. I’m moving to my work.”

Toya turns the register log, so Morgus can sign out, saying, “Good luck to you Master Morgus; you treated my staff decently. I heard no complaints about you, except from Master Toaren. But he complained about a good many things, so I take no mind of his complaints.”

Signing the register, Morgus replies, “Fair enough, you’ve taken good care of my old home, Toya. Good tides to you.”

With his signing out completed, Morgus enters his room and packs his belongings. He then returns to his new room in Hessan manor.

…..

Arriving late in the day, about two hours before evening meal for staff, Morgus settles his belongings and arranges his two rooms to his liking. He sets up the study as his laboratory, library, and work office. He washes before going to eat. Arriving in the dining room for staff, Morgus inquires with Ada, “Where do I take my baths and do my laundry?”

Ada says with a straight expression, “Your laundry is my duty. Your bath I prepare in the cellar in the staff facilities. I’ll show you the staff suite after we eat. You can leave your laundry in the laundry room. I do laundry every third day. I did laundry today, so next day is Summer 72.”

Morgus, unused to others doing any work for him, is dumbfounded, and he doesn’t know how to respond. He stares at Ada for a minute, disregarding his meal. Suddenly shaking himself as the others are good-naturedly laughing at his expression of confusion, Morgus asks, “Can I take a bath tonight?”

Ada replies, “Can you? I’m not sure if you know how. But if you want to try, I’ll heat the water, and you may try.”

Laughter breaks out around the table.

Morgus turns a bashful red, realising grammar may actually be as important here as it was in the university. Recently, he has fallen lax in the world of civilians. “Of course, yes. May we set up the bath for my bath tonight? When is a scheduled time?”

Ada nods and answers, “The Baron is usually in bed at gods-set, so I’ll have your bath ready an hour after that, Master Morgus.”

An idea strikes Morgus, “I also need facilities where I can manufacture my own specialized parchment. Where may I set up?”

Ada answers while pointing to a thirty-nine-year-old toymal. “Bushnel is groundskeeper; he’ll set you up tomorrow.”

Bushnell smiles and adds, “We will set you up in the craft shop. How much room do you need?”

Quickly, Morgus responds. “I need a well-ventilated area about twenty-by-twenty feet.”

Bushnel nods. “I have an area you may use. Is the second floor okay?”

Morgus grins. “It’ll be fine.”

Finishing their meal, Ada takes Morgus to the cellar showing Morgus the five room staff suite for work and recreation – laundry, bathing, storage and clothier’s work area as well as a social room.

Thanking Ada, Morgus returns to his quarters where he makes a list of items he requires for spell research and scribing, as well as a plan for parchment crafting. Setting these aside, he chooses a text from the shelves which Baron Hessan stocked. Sitting down, he starts to read until an hour after gods-set.

Taking a set of clean clothing, Morgus wanders down to the cellar and finds a hot steaming, violet-scented bath waiting for him. He has also been supplied with plush towels and washing cloth, as well as oiled soap powders. Morgus luxuriates in his first noble servants’ bath. Morgus takes an hour to enjoy the treat, before happily returning to his room. This evening is alleviating his fears from earlier.

 

Autumn 70 Bear

 

At gods-rise, after the Baron Hessan has eaten his morning meal, he has Ada summon Morgus to the baron’s study.

Arriving in the study, Morgus finds Larap sitting near the soothing fire of the fireplace. Pointing to a second chair near his, Larap commands, “Sit.”

Obeying, Morgus takes the seat, finding it warm and comfortable.

Larap states, “Our agreement is eighteen Dyns per day for as long as I live, plus a signing bonus of two-thousand Flairs. Seven Hells if I’m going to carry two-thousand Flairs for you. Those two chests have one thousand in each. You carry them to your rooms. They’re your responsibility after that.”

Looking at the two medium size chests, Morgus grunts. He’ll ask for help to carry them up as they’re both over one-hundred pounds. Turning to Larap, “Thank you Baron Hessan, I appreciate this.”

Larap waves Morgus off, saying, “Have them out by noon or I reclaim them.”

Standing and bowing to Larap, Morgus swiftly exits the office in search of Ada. Finding her in the kitchen with the cook, Morgus asks, “My dear Ada, I have a task to complete, and I was wondering if you’d help me with it?”

Ada hrumps loudly and then says, “It’ll cost you. Is it those damn chests Bushnel and I lugged to the baron’s study?”

Bowing, Morgus acknowledges her, saying, “Indeed it is, all the way to my rooms, you and me.”

Ada slumps forward, sighing, “Damn Seven Hells, my aching knees, and those damn stairs … It’ll cost you one Flair a chest.”

Pulling two Flairs directly from his coin pouch, Morgus holds them out to her.

Ada smiles and accepts the coins as Morgus responds. “We have to do it now. Larap gave me only two hours to move them.”

They move the chests quickly, as both are strong, able workers, despite Ada telling Morgus otherwise. Setting the chests in his bedroom, Morgus tips Ada a third Flair and another thank you.

Needing a physical rest after the carrying the two 155 pound chests up two flights of stairs to his rooms, Morgus decides to work on the studying of his spell.

Getting lost in his spell for over five hours, Morgus comes out of his reverie to find midday had passed long ago and evening meal will be in three hours.

…..

Walking around the grounds of the estate with Bushnel, Morgus begins collecting items for parchment making, and placing the supplies in the space of the craft-shop provided to him by Bushnel. The location is more than adequate. There is more room than Morgus is used to working in. He is able to set up his troughs, including drainage, work tables, and surfaces. Almost everything is available, except a few crafting work items. There are no hides available, so Morgus needs to find a farm, market, or butcher to get the hides he needs. Plus, the knives he needs will have to be purchased. Satisfied with their progress, Morgus and Bushnel enter the manor to clean up for evening meal.

After the meal, Morgus pays Busia for the clothing.

 

Autumn 71 Unicorn

 

Yesterday was sweltering hot. Today, the gods switched, freezing the world to cause ice on the edges of any open water. This is the environment of autumn in Mount Oryn of North Amara on Quantos. It is a world of extremes.

Morgus spends the morning in his study twisting his mind over the new ‘continual light’ spell that he is crafting – a spell of greater difficulty than any he has tried before. Morgus is attempting a spell that is more complex than even a journeyman with five-years service would be expected to try.

Midday meal finds Morgus’ mind warped and tired of trying to work out the spell. He eats with Ada, where he asks her, “Is there a decent blade-smith nearby who makes good knives – someone who I can buy from or who will make specialty knives for me?”

Ada thinks a moment, and then replies, “Master Smith Beraran at 928 Drescol Street.”

“Thank you, Ada, I’ll go see him after our meal.”

Walking the nearly six kilometres in two-and-a-half hours, Morgus finds Beraran Smith quickly enough, with its large hammer sign at the gate to its courtyard.

Encountering the thirty-year-old jalmal is another treat, as he is excited upon greeting Morgus. “Gods-grace and good fate Master, how may I be of service to you?”

Trying to be gracious, Morgus returns, “Gods-grace and good fate Master Beraran, I’m in need of parchment crafting knives. A whole set if I can get them?”

Chuckling, the smith leads Morgus to his displays, pointing to his well-crafted set of skinning and draw knives. The knives are used for cleaning and dressing hides and then for processing the hides for parchment. He says, “This is a set I made for a master’s student who passed away from illness before I finished. I’ll sell them to you for a decent price – fifty Flairs. The knives are masterly crafted by me.”

Morgus, knowing knife quality, examines a few of the knives. Spotting a few imperfections, he points these out stating, “I’ll pay ten Flairs for the lot; they’re only worth five.”

Beraran huffs gruffly, puffing out his chest, saying, “The cost of material that has gone into these is more; pay me at least twenty.”

Morgus walks away from the knives. “Craft a new set without imperfections, and I might consider paying twenty. But I’ll never pay twenty for that set.”

“Okay, ten, just so I can get rid of them.” Pleads Beraran.

Morgus shakes his head, “No! They’re not worth the effort – make a better set. I need quality knives for my work.”

Eager to please, Beraran says, “Okay, come back in twelve days and I’ll have a set of eight knives for you for twenty Flairs.” He extends his arm to clasp.

Morgus looks at Beraran but doesn’t clasp arms, stating, “I’ll be back around Autumn 83 to examine the knives. If the knives meet the qualities I need, then I’ll purchase them.”

Leaving Beraran, Morgus turns south to Platter holding. He arrives tired, several hours later where he finds Lasiter home.

Lasiter greets Morgus enthusiastically. “Good day Master Morgus. How fare thou?”

Chuckling, Morgus extends his arm, stating, “Because of you, I’m Baron Hessan’s aide and estate Mage. I owe you a debt of gratitude, my friend.”

Motioning Morgus inside, Lasiter smiles broadly, saying, “then we should celebrate. Come in and have a drink with me.”

Entering the Platter house, Morgus sits with Lasiter, accepting a dark rum. “Lasiter, do you know where I can get some good hides for making parchment?”

Lasiter stops and thinks for a bit, and then replies, “I have a couple hides, and I can search around, fetching you more. Where do you want them sent? Say, three Flairs each?”

Morgus flinches, saying, “I appreciate that, but I would have to see the hides and inspect them before I pay that much. I would only pay two Flairs without seeing them first. Or, you can deliver them for my inspection, and I will buy the ones I want for three Flairs?”

Leaning forward, Lasiter offers, “I’ll take three Flairs each for the ones you inspect and accept if you return the ones you don’t accept.”

Hesitating, Morgus adds, “Only if you cover the expense of returns.”

Extending his arm, Lasiter says, “Done.”

The two men clasp arms, and an agreement is arranged. Morgus says, “I need at least twenty good hides in the near future.”

Nodding, Lasiter acknowledges Morgus’ order.

 

Autumn 72 Unicorn

 

Morgus stretches as he has spent another five hours in studying ‘continual light’ True to his word, he checks in with Larap this morning and finds no new work with the Baron. With fifteen hours of study into the spell, Morgus is slightly disturbed when Ada knocks on his door.

Morgus asks, “Yes, Ada?”

The servant boldly says, “A Master Lasiter is downstairs in the waiting room; are you expecting him?”

Morgus jumps to his feet, nearly tripping as he says, “I’ll be down to meet him. Where is the waiting room?”

Stepping out of Morgus’ way as he rushes by, Ada replies, “First room to the left from the entrance.”

Bounding down the stairs rapidly, Morgus arrives in the waiting room as indicated by Ada. He greets Lasiter enthusiastically, “Great day to you Lasiter. Did you bring hides?”

Pointing to an enormous bundle by the door, Lasiter smiles, saying, “Indeed, I brought four to start with.”

Unwrapping the package, Morgus carefully examines the four hides in minute detail, looking for scaring and damages that disqualify any of the hides for his use. Finished with examining the hides, he tosses one aside, saying, “I reject this one. But, as agreed, I’ll pay three coin a piece for these three now. Seventeen more hides and I’ll be on my way to being happy.” He hands Lasiter nine gold coins.

The farmer gingerly handles the coins, quickly placing them in his coin pouch. Then Lasiter hastily wraps the rejected hide, as Morgus carefully rolls the other three.

They walk out together: Lasiter to go home, and Morgus to take his new acquisitions to his shop to begin preparations for making parchment. Morgus determines that Lasiter had prepared the one hide so well, that Morgus can put the hide in the soaking bath with minimal preparation. It takes Morgus several hours of preparations and general work to prepare the other two. Cleaning up afterwards, he enters the manor in time for evening meal. Morgus goes to the staff dining room after confirming with Baron Hessan that there is no immediate work for him.

 

Autumn 73 Unicorn

 

Late in the morning, with his mind exhausted after completing another five hours of mind-wrenching computations for his spell, Morgus sits back overjoyed as he cheers, “Praise Stonewire!” He has put over twenty hours of work into developing the ‘continual light’ spell. Now it is time to test the incantation to see if it works. Dedicating twenty-minutes of mind-numbing memorization to the spell, Morgus finally stands and looks at the wick-hood of his lantern trying to decide if he should cast on the cloth wick or the metal hood. Then, with his decision made to cast on the small metal hood, Morgus gestures and utters, “York.” He is nearly blinded by the Imvor orange-red bright light, illuminating the entire room. Quickly, Morgus moves to draw the shutters closed, drawing it down to a mere quarter sliver, dimming the illumination enough to light the room, but not overwhelmingly so. “Well, that worked. Let’s see how long the light lasts.”

Sitting and using the light from the hooded lantern, with his spell illuminating in it, Morgus begins the tedious process of meticulously scribing the new spell into his spell-tome, which is filling past the halfway mark. Celebrating as well, Morgus pours himself a tumbler of wine to drink while scribing, indulging for the first time during his study since arriving and setting up.

 

Autumn 75 Unicorn

 

Before morning meal with the staff, Morgus convened a meeting with Baron Hessan to confirm work, finding nothing. After eating a hasty morning meal, Morgus excitedly returned to his brightly lit study with the spell still lighting the lantern from the original casting, going on the third day.

Past gods-set, Morgus sets down his quill, stretching and then rubbing his eyes. Looking down at his tome, he counts the pages he filled in his completing the scribing of ‘continual light’. Five – five neatly packed note filled pages with diagrams, calculations, and notes. Satisfied that he has the complete spell scribed in the tome, Morgus paces between his two rooms for twenty minutes. Then, he sits and begins memorizing a castable version of the spell.

After he finishes memorizing the incantation, Morgus chuckles to himself. Walking down the four flights of stairs and entering the waiting room, he chooses the stone carved fixture of artwork representing a pangolin’s armour and focuses on the creature, casting the spell so that the illumination will be on the pangolin’s casing. Suddenly, he is greeted with an orange-red light that is almost as bright as Imvor’s light just before gods-set. Morgus cheers loudly. “Blessed be Stonewire!”

He hears running footsteps almost immediately and coming into the room are two armed men, bearing black longswords.  They shield their eyes as Morgus tries to recall if he has seen these people before. Realising that he hasn’t met Baron Hessan’s guards, Morgus steps back, saying, “Good men of Baron Hessan, I am Mage Morgus, the estate mage. You can sheath your deadly black swords as the pangolin will now and forever illuminate this room with Imvor’s setting light.”

A thirty-six-year-old toymal in studded-leather armour responds, “I haven’t seen you around before. When did you start?”

Morgus, feeling a little trapped without his quarterstaff, nervously answers, “Autumn 68.”

The accompanying elfmal sheathes his longsword, uttering, “Yes, Baron Hessan mentioned he hired an aide who is his estate’s magus. Morgus, I’m Sergeant Elmar. How long is that infernal light going to shine?”

The first guard sheathes his longsword as well, saying, “Mage Morgus, I’m Private Barran, the third guard on duty is Private Tussal; he’s up on the second floor right now.”

Morgus views the orange-red pangolin and ponders it, nearly blinding himself. Facing the two guards, he shrugs and responds to Elmar. “I don’t know. I cast the first spell in my room nearly four days ago, and it’s still shining as bright as when I cast it.”

A fifty-five-year-old jalmal in studded-leather armour rushes into the room with his longsword drawn. Stopping as he sees Elmar and Tussel relatively relaxed, he views Morgus. The guard sheaths his sword, asking, “Who are you?”

Getting tired with introductions, Morgus only says, “The estate mage, Morgus.”

Extending his arm, the man genially says, “I’m Tussel.”

The two clasp arms, and then Morgus clasps with Elmar and Barran, affirming his place on the estate with the guards.

Morgus, relieved that the new spell works when memorized from his tome, returns to his room and goes to sleep for the night, satisfied with life.

 

Autumn 79 Unicorn

 

It is 4:45 am as Tussel wakes Morgus. Feeling the coldness of the freezing night air, Morgus crawls out of bed quickly as Tussel loudly whispers, “Mage, there are four walking-dead wandering the grounds. We have no priest or cleric to put them to rest. Can you deal with them?”

Realising that this is his job now. Morgus pulls on his new Imvor-orange suede leggings and royal-blue velvet tunic made for him by clothier Busia. Then, pulling on his old knee-high brown leather boots, Morgus retrieves his quarterstaff and turns to Tussel, saying, “Show me, and we’ll deal with them.”

In a rush, the two men nearly run down the broad staircase to the ground floor to find the other two guards holed up in the waiting room with four walking-dead pacing outside the room.

Morgus stops as he recognises the creatures. They are highly intelligent, mean, vile death-dealing wights – a hunting pack seeking to gain recruits – killing hosts by draining their lives, thus converting the unlucky.  The manor really needs a cleric or priest with holy items to deal with these, but something comes to Morgus’ mind. These creatures fear or hate bright light, that is why they haven’t gone into the waiting room. Elmar must have realized this, too.

Before the creatures realize Tussel and Morgus have arrived, Morgus casts his one memorized ‘continual light’ spells directly into the eyes of the closest wight, hoping that this will drive the lot of them out the open front door.

Three, including the lit one, flee as quickly as possible out the front door into the darkness of night. But one wight remains and searches for the source of casting, angry with the intrusion and the attack from a mage.

Quickly, Morgus calls out, “York” for a second time, trying to cast into its eyes, as the creature rushes him. The spell hangs in mid-air behind it as the creature reaches for Morgus. Then, the light vanishes.

Tussel intercedes between the walking-dead and Morgus, as Morgus shouts out, “York” for a third time, making the required gestures and casting the spell upon the creature’s nose.

This ends the fight for the wight, sending it fleeing after its comrades, and thus, saving Hessan estate from a hunting pack of walking-dead wights. Morgus sighs with deep relief as the three guards congratulate him.

Morgus counts his castings, wondering about the exhaustion he is feeling, and if he could have cast another ‘continual light’ or any spell? Would the people of Hessan have been at the mercy of the wight if his last incantation had failed to send the creature packing?

Allowing the good wishes to follow, Morgus ponders the usefulness of their three black swords and the ability of the four of them to protect against future wight invasions?

 

To be continued …

 

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