Markus, 'Down From Here'



Markus gets a surprise, his contract is purchased, and he spills ale. Now he's stumped.

By Rusty Knight
Episode 2: Down From Here

Previously … Markus arrived at Arton Warehouse to be assigned an appraisal job. Stressing out over the punishment for not getting finished on time, Markus is distracted by a boy named, Blood. Blood takes Markus to Captain Gerris’ office. There, after Captain Gerris strikes Markus, Bloodgrue pours Markus an ale and tells him to sit.

And now we continue … Sitting in the directed seat, Markus is frustrated. He is loosing time on his appraising, and still has no idea what this is about.

Then the youth speaks words that drop Markus into a stupor.

“I’m here to purchase Markus. How much is he worth to you?” The boy asks Gerris with a grin, like he owns the world.

Mortified, Markus watches the boy; Markus spills some of his ale. ‘How? What can he be doing? Why?’

Gerris laughs heartily. “Put that ale down, you thief. You can’t come in here and buy my rogues and drink my ale for free.”

Blood takes a drink and grins. He continues. “Why Not? I have coin with me; I will pay you a Dyns for this ale … There, the ale’s not free. I will buy his too … Drink up Markus, don’t waste my Dyns or my ale.”

Old Gerris sits up straight and looks Blood in the face, studying him intently. “My gods, you’re serious, you want his contract … To what purpose? You don’t have a guild.”

The newcomer smiles, ear to ear. “Nor will I … I want a dragoman apprentice and I heard good things about Markus. He’s diligent, loyal, and seems to be able to think quickly, though right now I’m questioning that … What’s the matter Markus? Is my ale not good enough for you?”

Markus lowers the ale into his lap, in shock at this turn of events. ‘Another shift of fortune. Where would I go? What would I be doing? What about my family?’

Gerris looks away from Blood, towards Markus. “Don’t insult your potential master, boy, drink up.”

Lifting his drink from his lap to drink what’s left, Markus is confused, afraid and dazed.

Gerris turns back to Blood, and asks, “How much are you prepared to spend?”

Blood looks like he’s settling in for long negotiations. “I was thinking fifteen Dyns would be plenty. He is a boy, and he is green. I would have to start him from scratch and outfit him.”

Gerris guffaws and sits back. “He’s worth more to me than that in a year. Twenty-five and I might consider it, if you talk nice.”

The newcomer leans forward, looking mean. “How about … I talk dirty to your life-companion, and we say twenty, and seal the deal … He leaves all of his goods here. I take him as is, here and now.”

Markus looses his grip on his mug, breathing raggedly, going pale, his vision blurs. ‘No, not leave everything I’ve worked for, and my family. Everything?’

Turning to Blood, Gerris says, “If you can walk him out the door today … Now, he is yours for twenty.”

Blood stands and extends his arm to confirm the deal. Gerris stands and accepts, clasping arms. Together they seal the deal. In unison they say, “Gods grace and good fate, Master.”

They both sit down, and Blood asks, “Who tells the grouch?”

Choking on his ale, Gerris coughs. He clears up and answers Blood, while looking at Markus. “He does.”

To be continued:

In the next episode: Markus leaves Arton Warehouse in the company of Blood, trying to learn more about the stranger named Blood.

© January 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press

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