Our serial series is set in Rusty Knight’s medieval fantasy realm of Quantos. We find the Apprentice Mage Morgus is out from the Mage’s University and on his one-year walk-about before he returns for his journeyman certification test on Autumn 50 of Pine, during the reign of King Regeanus III in the royal city of Mount Oryn’s South State district. Our intrepid hero, with a checkered past, is an attractive thirty-three-year-old human Jalnoric male with a bold personality and is determined to survive his walk-about year at any cost, even if it means snuggling in and working with nobility.
We continue now with Episode 004:
Autumn 65 Unicorn
Morgus, recalling his tormenting Hessan’s holding as a youth, does question his being here, but says, “I understand you have work for me. And being as I’m a mage, I think it has nothing to do with working in the stables.”
Laughing genially, Hessan continues by saying, “Oh my boy, you do state the obvious. You know I am Baron Larap Hessan, and I’ve held this estate holding for nearly eighty years, after my forefathers have held it for over three-hundred-seventy years. I do admire men who get right down to the business at hand, as I have little time left to waste. My life-companion passed away thirty-eight years ago, leaving me two surviving of five children and nine surviving of sixteen grandchildren. I’ve lived a full life with little time left. Don’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours. Deal?”
Liking Larap’s straight slicing, Morgus nods and says, “Go ahead.”
Larap pursues the dialogue, “Well as it happens, I have multiple holdings, and an individual has taken an interest in one of them. He is strong-arming me with his interest in my property, and I don’t have the stomach to deal with him. I had a chamberlain to deal with these things, but she passed on four six-days ago … one of my properties is the Platter Holding farm, which a young Master Platter holds. He recently had an incident which a particular mage quickly and satisfactorily resolved – maybe not so cleanly, by the telling. I want to hear your version of events.”
Deciding not to laugh, Morgus ‘puts on’ his game face and answers Larap, “Baron Hessan, I see between the cracks of what you are saying, and that this is an interview on the suitability of my working for you. First, by interview, and then by test, for dealing with the strong-arming individual.” Morgus takes a drink while he observes the twinkling eyes of Larap who is gleefully acknowledging the game.
Morgus advances his theory, “So, to pass the interview I have to tell you how I resolved Farmer Platter’s issue. To tell you the truth, this might not be wise for my safety … but I’m a risk taker, and I think you’re bold and have crossed lines with decorum and law a few times yourself if I recall my past here correctly. Thus, I am going to disclose my solution to Platter’s dilemma, despite the possibility you might take action against me. I have been staying at the Perch Inn, do you know it?”
Larap gestures a positive with a flick of his hand.
“Perch Inn used to belong to my family, so when I left the university on my one-year journeyman walkabout, I returned here. I met a fellow from my checkered past there, from time before I entered the University, and he has not seen eye-to-eye with me since we’ve met here. You still with me?”
Yawning, Larap flips his hand, “Go on, quickly.”
Morgus continues, “I had a run in with Bargewright Toaren –”
“BARGEWRIGHT TOAREN!” fumes Larap, “That bastard?”
Resisting smiling, Morgus precedes, “Yes … anyway, I went for a walk. Recalling the Platters were family friends in the past, I dropped in for a visit as I was traveling by.”
“You are long winded, boy.” Larap mutters.
“Lasiter informed me that my family’s friend, Master Ferfeo had passed on. While we were visiting, Lasiter advised me that he had been robbed the night before. I suggested that I might be able to locate the missing jewelry, not informing him how, but informing him that he might have to pay to get the item back.”
“But you got it back without him paying,” says Larap.
Morgus smiles. “Yes … by luck. I happen to know the rogue guild’s fence for the district. Also, knowing that there have been a few thefts locally and the items have shown up with this fence, I surmised I would find this item there. Hoping I could get there and have him hold it until something could be arranged for the jewelry’s return to Lasiter, I traveled immediately to the fence’s location. By a stroke of luck, I arrived while the thief was trying to broker the sale of the necklace to the fence. Being as the fence and I have a history together, when I correctly identified hidden markings on the jewelry he refused to buy it from the thief. I confronted the thief, who happened to perish in the confrontation. I had to arrange for a priest for disposal of the thief, before returning the item to Lasiter along with his all of lost stolen coins which I could gather from the rogue. Upon returning to Lasiter, he gave me another minor job, and being with nothing else to do, I sought to complete it quickly. He rewarded me with a few coins, and apparently was satisfied.”
Larap chuckles, “Boy, you have no idea how ecstatic Lasiter was. He reported your resolution and raved about how excellently you treated him.”
Morgus squares himself up and addresses the new issues, “So, am I going to be charged with murder or consorting with known rogues?”
Painfully sitting up straight, Larap clears his throat. After smiling, he commands, “Seven Hells, no. You’re a man I want on staff. Do my next job for me, and I’ll offer you a position on my staff as either my chamberlain or the estate mage, we’ll decide after you complete the job for me.”
Now Morgus gleefully laughs, as he acknowledges to himself that he recalled Larap’s personality correctly.
Larap says, “Before you laugh, you should know the job.”
Morgus settles down, agreeing with Larap. “What is the job?”
Smirking, Larap then answers, “Deal with the man strong-arming me, your Master Bargewright Toaren.”
Bolting back stiffly on the sofa, Morgus stomps a foot. For the first time in years, he reacts violently to news he receives, saying, “Seven Hells! No! Are you serious? Really?”
Now Larap mirthfully laughs for several seconds before answering, “Create your way out of this, boy.”
Morgus ponders the situation for at least four full minutes. Then he says, “I need an office here!”
Larap nods, saying, “Done, third floor, the old chamberlain’s office. Ada will show you to it.”
“I need access to funds?” quips Morgus.
“One-hundred Flairs will be placed in a chest in the office for you,” answers Larap.
Morgus walks over to the desk and extends his arm.
Larap shakes his head and then says, “Only if your solution is satisfactory.”
Morgus utters, “I don’t know the issue, but it will be resolved in your favour Baron Hessan.”
Larap furrows his pale brow, as he answers, “It had better be, rogue mage.”
Smiling, Morgus steps back and bows to Hessan.
Ringing a bell that is on his desk, Larap asks, “More wine? When are you going to start?”
To be continued in part three …