Written by Kenneth Shumaker
Episode 016 Part one, ‘Purple Rhinoceros Straw’
Written on January 10, 2018.
Part one published on Virily on May 10, 2018.
We continue now with Morgus episode E016, ‘Purple Rhinoceros Straw’ …
Winter 26 Unicorn
Ada summoned Morgus before the priest’s services in the morning. Sitting together in Larap’s bedroom the two are stalk still.
Again, Morgus repeats, “I’ll go find a healer or physician, Master … first I’ll ask Hez if they can help!”
Her hands clenched tightly together, Ada stutters slightly as she asks, “Mast … Master Larap … d … do you desire to eat?”
Lightly flipping his hand on his quilt after he moans from pain. “No.”
The two estate staff leave the bedroom, as they walk down the hall, Morgus addresses Ada. “When did this start?”
Tucking her clenched fists into her waistband on her apron, the matron shrugs. “This morning was the first I knew about it.”
With a single nod, Morgus considers this as he, Ada and Square walk down to the staff’s cellar suites. Entering the common area, he spots Hez tending to the fireplace, with his parchment notes tome on the table.
Tapping the kneeling priest’s shoulder, Morgus attracts Hez’s attention. “Can any of you three cure diseases?”
Quick as a hare, Hez stands. “Why? Whose ill?”
Finger to his own lips, Morgus responds, “Lord Larap, is having issues this morning … I believe he is ill with disease.”
Hesitating briefly, Hez pales, and then he gestures for Morgus to follow. Walking into the shrine, Hez motions to Hon. “He’s our healer.”
Hon, hearing this looks over and asks, “we have an issue?”
Motioning for Hon to join them, Morgus explains, “Baron Larap has stomach and chest pains after developing severe runs last night. He is unable to get out of bed this morning.”
Staring out at empty space, Hon asks, “he is in his bed now?”
After Morgus nods, together they start walking to the stairs. Morgus follows, answering, “yes.”
Palpating Larap’s abdomen and checking his lower chest. Finding that just under the ribs is very tender. Hon asks the Baron. “What does it feel like?”
Groaning for several second as they cover him again. “It’s like I have a set of ropes getting tighter around my midsection or being repeatedly kicked by a team of horses.”
Hand on his chin, Hon looks from Larap to Morgus. “He needs a better healer than any of us … perhaps even a surgeon. Our priest’s healing, which we have access too, will do nothing for Lord Larap.”
Galloping swift as a wind along Drescol Street on his riding horse, Rex, while Square races along beside them, Morgus heads north. The breaths of the gods whip east harshly under a partially broken cover of the sphere. Morgus’ heavy cloak keeps him comfortable as it flops loosely about him.
They arrive winded, trying to catch their breaths and with Rex foaming with sweat, at 1018 Drescol Street’s Chester Home. Leaping from Rex’s back, landing with a stumbling falter, Morgus gathers himself as he straightens his tunic and leggings, he slows as he approaches the door.
Knocking loudly on the wooden door, waiting, he impatiently taps his foot.
Leza opens the portal, and with excitement, she embraces Morgus in a warm hug. “Hello, Master Morgus.”
Gripping her waist pushing her away after returning the hug, Morgus says, “I come with business … I seek a great healer. One who may be able to perform surgery.”
Blinking three times, Leza’s face changes away from a broad smile as her mouth turns down grimly. “Issues? Who’s injured or ill?”
Gesturing inside the house, Morgus frowns. “Baron Larap has taken ill.”
In Leza’s kitchen, sitting at the table as Morgus gathers his breath and his muscles have stopped twitching. He drinks from the mug of ale.
Setting down her mug, Leza looks down at it. “I know of a healer over near the market. Master Bettel at 827 Drescol.”
Kissing her hand, Morgus smiles. “Thank you … what news do you have?”
Jiggling on her chair, her lips curling up into a slight smile. Leza takes Morgus’ hands. “With the help you’ve given my brother and myself I’ve asked Usurer Wesre for a loan for after I leave the Tailor’s shop. I received a loan of 500-coins to purchase my equipment and supplies so we can set up the shop till I start selling goods. I must make my first repayment on Summer 1 next year. But we have no wagon for acquiring and moving the needed equipment or supplies to the shop.”
Squeezing her hands, his lips slightly rise in a gleeful grin. Morgus’ weary eyes look into hers. “I’ll rent a Punting stables wagon, and we’ll fetch your equipment and supplies … as soon as I deal with Larap.”
A slight squeal erupts from Leza, as she clenches his hands tighter. “You’re serious?”
Winking once, he says, “yes!”
Having taken only a short while to visit with Leza, Morgus then set out to ride for Healer Bettel’s at 827 Drescol Street.
Coming upon a two-story stone structure which is a hundred-feet across the front, Morgus recognizes it as a hospital.
Tethering Rex to the front rail, gesturing to Square then to Rex, Morgus says, “stay!”
The yellow hound whines but sits on her haunches near the horse staring at Morgus. Her head hangs low.
Taking quick steps, Morgus marches up the steps to the large dark front entry doors.
In the reception area, he discovers a young Jalmal sitting at a low desk. “Good-day Master. I come seeking a healer … Master Bettel.”
Motioning to a teenage Toyfem the young man instructs her then as she rushes to the back door. The youth says, “that will be two coins for an audience with Healer Bettel.”
With quick deftness, Morgus drops two gold Flairs onto the desk. “How long will I be waiting?”
Slipping the coins into a small lidded box in a top right-hand drawer of his desk, the youth replies. “likely only a few minutes.”
Rising from the bench he had been sitting on for over half-an-hour, Morgus greets the middle-aged Jalfem introduced to him as Healer Bettel.
She scowls seeing Morgus. “I remember you … your parents owned the Perch Inn many years back. You were over at Renol Holding several days ago.”
Furrowing his forehead scrunching his brows together. Morgus shakes his head, as he says, “I don’t know you.”
She sucks in her breath through her teeth. “Mor, you teased me and my sister frequently. Our family lived three lots north of the Perch … I don’t think I want to help you.”
Offering her five Flairs, Morgus bows low. “I beg your forgiveness … but it’s not for me … Baron Hessan needs your aid … as soon as possible. Our healer claims Baron Hessan may need a surgeon.”
Pushing away the offered five coins, she turns her mouth corners straight and even as she says firmly. “Bring him here.”
Adding five more coins, Morgus replies, “he’s unable to travel. We’ll pay you twenty just for your travel, plus your fees and an assistant.”
Casual as possible, Bettel takes the ten gold coins. Looking each over for signs of shaving, she places them in her pouch, then says, “thirty, plus fees and two assistants … because you’re involved… Morgut!”
Extending his arm, they clasp.
Bettel turns to the reception agent. “Get a carriage ready and have my two aids meet me ready to travel.”
to be continued in the next Morgus E016 Part two, ‘Purple Rhinoceros Straw,’ …
May the words stay with you!