Episode 002, ‘Red Horse Comb’, Part Two
June 26, 2017
Our serial series is set in Kenneth Shumaker’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 13. 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 challenge episode Morgus, episode 002, ‘Red Horse Comb’, part two on:
Autumn 56 Unicorn
Curiously, Terrec asks, “Do you want work?”
Shaking his head, 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?”
Slumping in his seat, Terrec sighs, “If you agree to do it, I’ll pay more than I can rightly afford – a Flair.”
Thinking quick, 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, “It was 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 an hour more. Then, Terrec shows Morgus the grooming gear storage room.
Heaving a few deep sighs, Morgus then 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 a few minutes to 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 lets out a sad sigh, 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 though 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 two 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 ‘Fire burst’ 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.
Continued in episode 002, ‘Red Horse Comb’, part three …