Written by Kenneth Shumaker
Episode 015, Part One, ‘Blue Dog’s Ball’
Written: September 25, 2017
Part one published on Virily on April 12, 2018.
We continue now with Morgus episode E015, ‘Blue Dog’s Ball’ on:
Winter 24 Unicorn
The day wears on as Morgus is sitting attempting not to fidget on the plush sofa in the lavender oil scented lord’s office of the Hessan Manor. Morgus is the most nervous he’s been as his insides churn, but he remains stoic outside. This is since meeting Larap Hessan, almost a season ago so many days past.
The baron sits rigidly silent watching Morgus as a hawk would spotting its prey, while continually tapping his desk with a long narrow shiny silver dagger.
Suddenly whispering, Larap says, “fires … you used fires in my manor … I don’t approve.”
Lowering his head deep down, chin to chest, Morgus sighs in a high pitch then he looks up and utters slowly, “I do understand … knowing this issue would come about I’ve been working on researching a spell to use. One that does not require flames, but it’ll take time and resources in a lab and library.”
Rubbing his cheek with his free hand, Larap sniffles, “tell me what you need.”
Seeing an opening to a new beginning, Morgus replies, “I need reagents, and equipment along with various tomes to study from … this’ll cost over three thousand.”
Waving idlely, Larap nods. “Go ahead … set it up when you start the cathedral.”
Trying not to piss himself in his excitement, barely containing his motions or emotions, trying to restrain his actions to remain sitting in the guest chair at the desk, the mage, Master Morgus, appears calm. Morgus sips from the crystal tumbler of wine with his hand slightly shaking the half-full bright twinkling crystal tumbler.
Leaning back as he picks up his tumbler, Larap utters, “by the way, tell me how are your studies with the tomes on being a chamberlain working out?
With another somewhat slightly violent trembling shake of the tumbler, Morgus replies, “I’ve finished studying the first tome; I’m ready for tome two.”
Nodding once, Larap takes another sip of heavily sour scented wine from his shining crystal tumbler. He mutters, “is there any other business you wish to attend too?”
Sipping a draft of his wine after he takes a deep inhalation of the heady aroma, Morgus then hesitates, thinking, ‘it’s now or never!’ He boldly asks, “Baron Hessan, I’ve set up the purchase of the lease on the Westmolmot Mill property … for my personal possession … and I’ve already rented a portion of the ground floor to a tailor. But in doing so, I’ve almost used all my funds. I would like to ask for a loan of a thousand coin to tide me over as I build up my income.”
Tapping his desk more with his piercing dagger, he ponders this as Larap watches Morgus with his steely grey eyes assessing the mage. Then with a flick of his hand, Larap puts down the dagger and begins scribing a parchment document, taking many minutes. He follows this with making a second copy.
Turning both documents around to face Morgus, Larap says, “you will be the Hessan estate’s Junior Chamberlain for one year, until Winter 60 Pine at a rate of three and a half coins per day for five of every six days. You have every sixth-day free to do as you desire. For ten hours a day of five days of six you work as my temporary chamberlain … for this I will loan you one thousand Flairs, and you will repay me eleven hundred Flairs over the next five years, as you are able. Furthermore, any further land acquisitions you make will be made under the Hessan Estates.”
Morgus, just stares at Larap, not moving a twitch of a nerve or muscle, barely breathing, and not even blinking.
Larap is moving quickly, Morgus hasn’t finished the studying of the three tomes given him by Baron Hessan.
Then coughing and clearing his throat, blinking three or four times, Morgus reaches out to take the documents, he reads each carefully. Blinking frequently. Then Morgus sets the two documents on the desk, he reaches for quill with trepidation, hesitating several times. Dipping the quill, he hesitates again before he signs both. Blotting the ink to dry it; he then rolls up the one copy after Larap seals it with a wax seal, grasping it tightly.
He looks at Larap in the eyes, with a slight moisture building in his own while he’s grinning cheek-to-cheek. “Which office do I use?”
Chuckling in amusement, Larap replies, “when you do chamberlain’s work, you use my second-floor chamberlain’s office. As well, I’ll have the chest of coins delivered there … I have heard you’re into making parchment … I need ten sheets a season typically, for these I’ll pay you two Flairs a sheet if they’re of good quality parchment.”
Stopping movement yet again, surmising Ada informed Larap of his project, Morgus clears his throat and nods. “Done to all.”
Just as Morgus is busy in his dim bedroom which is only lit with one half shuttered lamp as he’s preparing for the evening meal, there comes a timid knock on his door.
Walking briskly over to the door after he ties his last lace on his second ultra-blue Clothier Busia velvet shoe, Morgus harshly opens the door. There he finds the warrior, Private Tussel, shyly standing waiting. Morgus abruptly utters, “what?”
Choking back his words in hesitation, Tussel blinks several times, answers, “excuse me … sorry, it’s nothing.”
Gesturing for Tussel to following him, Morgus leads the way into his private office and pours two ales.
Square rubs against Tussel’s leg while she wags her tail.
Looking back at Tussel, Morgus asks, “you came to speak to me … speak your mind. No one else is listening.”
Drinking from the offered ale, Tussel ruffles Squares hair on her head and neck between her ears. He sits in the guest chair setting the mug down on the desk, blurting out quickly he says, “I like being a warrior and all … but I know I can do more. Ada said Baron Hessan made you his temporary Chamberlain this morning?”
Shrugging, Morgus sits on his desk chair and takes a drink of his ale. Holding his mug low, he replies, “I start tomorrow, and I work five days, in a six-day. I’ll be working in the chamberlain’s office on the second floor … Ada was cleaning it for me today while I continued with my studies on noble law and etiquette today. What trade would you like to take on Tussel … that’s what you’re asking about? … which could have waited until my office hours tomorrow … truly, but I will hear you unofficially today, so you don’t get into trouble … that’s why we’re here now … right?”
Slumping his shoulders inward, picking up his ale again, Tussel swigs almost half of it before replying, “yes, Master Morgus … unofficially I’m asking for a trade as a smith … I have no training or skills … I really don’t want trouble with the Baron.”
Smiling shallow, Morgus drinks from his ale, eyeing Tussel. Then with a nod, he says, “I’ll unofficially ask Hez if he’ll accept you as an apprentice … that work?”
Gulping for air, setting the empty ale mug harshly on the desk, Tussel thrusts out his arm to offer for clasping, and he says, “yes! … would you?”
Clasping arms with Tussel, the mage nods once while answering, “of course … but you need to help me find a replacement for you … two, in fact.”