By Kenneth Shumaker
Episode 009, ‘Green Dog Square’
Written: May 31, 2017
Part 1, published on Virily: December 21, 2017.
Our serial series is set in Kenneth Shumaker’s medieval fantasy realm of Quantos. We find the Apprentice Mage Morgus is away 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.
Previously in Morgus episode E008, ‘Green Rabbit Bottle’ on …
Autumn 87 Bear
Having spent time courting Master Leza, Morgus discovers that the staff and Baron Larap think they know his background and that they support him.
We continue now with Morgus episode E009, ‘Green Dog Square’ on …
Winter 3 Unicorn
Idly pondering Morgus, Baron Larap sits in his office after the staff’s evening meal, looking at the mage, with a smug expression. The Baron says, “As someone with your history, this job shouldn’t be too hard or be an issue. Get rid of the thug, Kellum, permanently, so that I never have to be bothered by her, or any of her followers, again. But first, I want you to find out who’s supporting them and funding her.”
Sipping his wine slowly, Morgus considers the job Larap gave him. Kellum has threatened Larap with extortion, demanding ten-thousand Flairs or else they’ll raze the estate. Larap doesn’t know how many there are in Kellum’s group, or who put them up to it. He does know that the payment must be delivered to Harrow Estate, located at 1648 Drescol Road. According to Larap, the estate is old and abandoned, deserted after the Harrows died from the Dragon’s pox years ago.
Leaning forward, Morgus asks, “May I take Gendal to drive the carriage and Tussal as a backup for myself? I’ll leave in the morning. We’re not going to pay, are we?”
Larap taps on his desk hard and slow, as he sets his wine down with the other hand. He replies, “Take the carriage and the people that you feel you need. I refuse to pay, but I do want to know who is behind this.”
Nodding slightly in acknowledgement, Morgus responds, “Thank you, Lord. I’ll just take the two, along with the carriage. I hope to be back in two days from tomorrow.”
Winter 4 Unicorn
The darkened sphere cover is still glowing with its dim yellow and orange-red as the warm east gods-breath blazes harshly across the three in the carriage.
Morgus opted to ride inside the cab with Tussal, leaving Gendal on the driver’s seat as they trundled southeast along the Drescol until reaching half a kilometre from 1648 Drescol Road.
Reaching forward to the window grate, Morgus knocks on the driver’s seat and motions to Gendal to stop.
Pulling the carriage aside on the road, Gendal looks down after sliding open the wooden window grate. “Yes, Mage?”
Morgus points through the greenish pea soup fog to the barely visible driveway on the left. “Pull into this farm, see if we can rent rooms and stabling for a couple of nights.”
Quickly obeying orders, Gendal pulls the extravagantly gilded carriage into the large farmyard and then in a sweeping motion he dismounts. Addressing the Jalmal adult walking toward him, he talks at length. Finally, firmly nodding, Gendal returns to Morgus, and opening the cab door, Gendal says, “For two Flairs, he agrees.”
Dismounting from the cab, Morgus sighs. Stretching, the mage then hands the drover three gold coins. “Set it up.”
Walking the yard in a circle through the thick fog, to stretch out his legs and back after the nine-hour drive, Morgus considers their options. They’re less than half a kilometre from 1648.
Turning to the warrior, Tussal, he says, “I’m walking to Harrow to look around before we address them tomorrow. Hopefully, this pea soup fog conceals me as I investigate the surrounding area, looking for any run escape off routes.”
In the darkness of night, arriving at the edge of the manor’s courtyard, the fog conceals him from sight. But the fog also conceals most of the terrain from Morgus. Carefully edging around buildings and getting close to several fire sources, the mage manages to count eleven people in the area. As he starts to leave, he’s confronted by a group of six thugs coming from behind him.
Being outnumbered, yet curious as to what damages will happen, he casually asks, “I’m here from Baron Hessan, I need to see your leader, Kellum.”
The group sergeant chuckles, and then says, “Well, you’re in luck, Kellum wants something from the Lord. Come with us.”
Following the sergeant, with the group of six, Morgus is lead inside the manor to a common room. One of the thugs leaves and then shortly returns, accompanied by an average-appearing and unassuming Jalfem of sixty-years age.
The Jalfem watches Morgus intensely as the room fills with more thugs until there are twenty-three folks in the room, plus Morgus.
Frowning mildly, Morgus thinks, ‘I’m in a Seven Hells ton of trouble. I won’t easily get out of here.’ Like a bear cornered, addressing Kellum, Morgus says, “Pampamoo, I’m here with a message from Lord Hessan. He’s not paying the ransom.”
Growling, Kellum paces back and forth across the little open space there is, before she stops, turning to Morgus. “Go back to Hessan; we’ll kill people until he pays.”
Nervous, fidgeting, moving from foot-to-foot and with hands clenching and then opening, Morgus asks, “Who are we paying?”
With the speed of a striking Goren hawk, Kellum strikes Morgus’ face hard, knocking him back, bruising the mage, and then Kellum answers, “Me. Now get back to Hessan and tell him to pay.”
The first six thugs escort move to Morgus off the property, and Morgus starts to walk west to the farm.
Returning to the farm, Morgus talks with Tussal and Gendal, saying, “Let’s rest for tonight. They threatened to kill folks if Hessan doesn’t pay. I’m going back to their hiding hole tomorrow to change Kellum’s mind. I intend to get her when she is alone.”
This episode was written by, Kenneth Shumaker
May the words stay with you!
©2017 by Kenneth Shumaker with Inevitable Unicorn Press
To be continued in Morgus episode E009, ‘Green Dog Square’ part 2 on …
Winter 5 Unicorn
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