Ever Bard, Ears of Time!
By Rusty Knight & Aria
Episode 002, Autumn 50 Bear – 2
May 14, 2017
Following in this series, we get to know the female elven child – an 115-year-old bard whose beauty is god-like – known as Ta’Myka by her parents and mortals, and known as Time and as Fate by the gods and other immortal. She is joined by the Journeyman Dragoman, holy hero of four gods, Bloodgrue – a twenty-year-old human Jalnoric male from the North Docks of the royal city of Mount Oryn. Journey through these stories with authors Rusty Knight and Aria in Rusty Knight’s medieval fantasy realm of Quantos. Experience their adventures beyond those of mere mortal in the time of King Dolan IV.
We continue with Episode 002 on …
Autumn 50 Bear
Ta’Myka signs her name – Ta’Myka of Fryers Chozen – on the contract and hands the parchment paper to Eren. “Congratulations, Master Eren. I truly hope you enjoy your new life in Owerton. You must bring this contract with you to Owerton and deliver it to Lady Mychel. Please give me a minute so I can make some notes for myself.” Ta’Myka jots down a few notes regarding Eren and the position she has hired him for. She lets out a sigh. ‘There, one more person hired.’
Standing with her arm outstretched and with a genuine smile, Ta’Myka offers Eren a clasp. “I will have one of the servants show you to your temporary living quarters and then to the stables. I am sure the Ostler will be delighted to have your help in the stables. My father owns a stable in Dendar. I am very familiar with the joys of cleaning stables.” Ta’Myka gives an exaggerated shudder and then a light laugh.
Eren meekly smiles, “Yes Master, cleaning stables is not pretty. But it is work. I will do my best for you.”
Through the open doorway that Gerris had failed to close as he departed, Ta’Myka notes Doorman Jessep is standing in the hallway, looking into the room. She walks into the hallway and addresses Doorman Jessep. “Master Jessep, please have servant Enamae show Master Eren to his temporary living quarters and then to the stables to meet with Ostler Terrace. Eren has agreed to stay at West Door Inn until leaving for Owerton, and he has offered to help with cleaning in the stables.” Ta’Myka nods her head and gives Eren and Jessep a relaxed smile.
Doorman Jessep nods politely to both Ta’Myka and Eren. “As you wish. A cot upstairs is best I think. Then we’ll go out to the stable. Though the stables may be clean already, there is always work out there.”
Curious, Ta’Myka enquires, “Jessep, are there any more applicants waiting to see me?”
Before leading Eren upstairs to an available cot, Jessep responds to Ta’Myka. “Yes, Lady Ta’Myka, a Master Willem waits for you. I believe he is Master Eren’s elder brother, but I think he fairs poorly of health, as he moves awkwardly and slowly.”
Looking at the seated man, Ta’Myka squints her eyes. ‘Humans … they all suffer ailments to some degree.’ Ta’Myka would not dream of expressing this thought, as she knows it might be considered insensitive. Feeling a bit awkward with Eren still present, Ta’Myka says to Jessep, “Master Jessep, please show Master Willem to the study. We should give all applicants an opportunity to interview. But, thanks for sharing your observations.” Ta’Myka gives Jessep a warm smile and turns to Eren. “I look forward to meeting your brother. Farewell, Master Eren; I shall see you anon.”
Eren nods, and in a feeble manner, he follows Jessep towards the stairs.
Jessep’s responds by saying, “I will show Master Willem into the study after I take Master Eren to his cot.”
As Ta’Myka walks back into the study, she is suddenly reminded of her rat companions, Sereee and Eeene. ‘They are probably sleeping unseen in some corner. Sereee will be having her pups soon. I am not sure what I am going to do with more rats. I don’t want to think about it right now. I will figure it out later.’ Ta’Myka looks down at the floor and whispers. “Sereee, Eeene … “
Ta’Myka hears a slight squeak from behind a bookcase. Eeene, chattering insanely, crawls out from under the bookcase and goes to Ta’Myka.
She crouches down and strokes Eeene’s back, then giggles and says, “Where’s that fat rat wife of yours? She can’t be too far off.” … “Eeene, I really do not want to deny you and Sereee the pleasure of mating, but we must find a way to prevent more baby rats. It’s too bad my good druid friend, Harstal, is not here. He may have a solution to our problem. Let me think on it. Perhaps Warden Jessep may have an idea on how to keep your family numbers under control.” Ta’Myka continues to stroke Eeene, as she looks around to see if Sereee is going to come out of hiding.
Eeene squeaks a few notes though Ta’Myka has yet to learn rat language, so Ta’Myka doesn’t understand. There is no visible sign of Sereee in the room.
Ta’Myka can’t help wondering where Sereee has gone. ‘Yes, rats are very good at hiding. But, there are so many new people wandering around the estate. Does everyone on the estate know that my rats are not to be hurt? Servants talk amongst themselves, especially about anything unusual. I am an elf bard and have rat companions. In human terms, it doesn’t get more unusual than that. No one would harm Sereee … I am sure she is probably just sleeping somewhere.’
Time passes for the Bard of Time as Ta’Myka hears the activity going on in West Door Inn. She listens to the footsteps of Doorman Jessep as he walks by going from the stairwell to the entryway. Then, there is a knock on the study door, alerting Ta’Myka to the presence of two people: Doorman Jessep, plus a mature Jalmal who Ta’Myka doesn’t know.
Ta’Myka stands and greets Doorman Jessep and the stranger. “Please enter.” She fixes her eyes on the stranger. Ta’Myka says, “Are you Eren’s brother, Master Willem?”
The foppish man nods hesitantly. “I am indeed Eren’s brother, Master Willem Hinar, elder sibling by many years, and I’m also much better educated. My Lady, I am applying to go to this Owerton which you sang of in the square. Please, pardon my tardiness. I have been ill of body for several days, else I would have sought you out earlier.”
Smiling at Doorman Jessep, Ta’Myka says, “I think some tea and something to eat would be nice. The cook probably has something baked by now. Will you see to having a servant bring us something? Thank you, Jessep.”
Doorman Jessep bows his head, politely acknowledging Ta’Myka.
Willem cautiously enters the office and gingerly closes the portal’s door. Willem’s fine orange wool tunic and leggings are offset by older orange wool cloth shoes. The shoes have seen much wear, compared to the much fresher tunic and leggings. The mature Jalmal waits patiently for Ta’Myka’s commands.
Ta’Myka sits herself down at the desk with the flare of a regal. “Please have a seat, Master Willem.” She gives Willem a forced smile. At the moment her thoughts are on Sereee’s disappearance. ‘Even if the rats are hiding, they are never far from me. Is Sereee off having her pups; or is she just exploring or maybe she went somewhere quiet to rest. She rarely ventures far from Eeene. I must admit that I have grown attached to the two rodents. Was it like this – so much worry and concern – for my mother when I would wonder off? My poor mother … I was forever exploring when I was a child.’ Ta’Myka suddenly realises that she has drifted off in thought, resulting in a rather awkward moment between her and Willem. She returns to the present, and utters, “I am sorry, Master Willem … I have a lot on my mind. Now, let me tell you about Owerton …”
Ta’Myka spends a few minutes telling Willem about Owerton Stronghold and Lady Mychel. “You say you are more educated than your brother, Eren. What is it you are educated in, and what skills can you bring to the people of Owerton? I suppose you should also tell me if your poor health will have any effect on your employment. I assume not, or you probably would not be here.” Ta’Myka, temporarily forgetting about Sereee, gives Willem an unconscious easy smile.
Ta’Myka is deep in discussion with Willem when there is a polite light knock on the study door. The door opens, and Bellah quietly enters setting a pewter platter on the desk, containing a pot of steaming tea, two mugs, and a plate of steaming biscuits. Also on the shiny pewter serving platter is a smaller plate with a pat of smooth, creamy yellow butter, a small wide-bladed knife, a pot of golden creamy whipped liquid honey and a tiny pitcher of rich dairy cream. Alongside the mugs are two silver tea spoons. Then, after setting this all on the desk as unceremoniously as she entered, Bellah quietly exits and closes the door.
Speaking in the smooth tradesman dialect of the Jalnoric, Willem explains confidently. “I am a bargewright; I build barges. Being a hard worker and strong learner, I’m now a Master Bargewright. I seek to build and maintain barges in a new place; to be senior Master if the opportunity exists. My health doesn’t affect my work. I had a few rough days, but I am feeling somewhat better now.”
Ta’Myka feels her jaw drop. Then she blurts out. “I think I hired a barge builder yesterday. If I recall he has the same aspirations as you do. Let me check my notes.” Ta’Myka continues to speak as she checks her journal. “Regardless, I am sure Owerton can use two barge builders. Lady Mychel would have to make a choice as to who would be senior Master.”
A look of disappointment shadows Willem’s face, but he asks, “Six Dyns a day as a senior assistant will be fair then I think.” He settles forward, ready to negotiate, appearing to know he has the job and they are simply negotiating terms.
Ta’Myka shakes her head in confusion. “On second thought, I believe you are the first bargewright I have interviewed.” Ta’Myka squints and frowns. “Have you ever had one of those moments when it seems as if you’ve experienced the very same moment in the past? I just had one of those with you, Master Willem. I take that as a good sign. I will put your request for five Dyns per day in the contract. However, final negotiations rest upon Lady Mychel.”
Ta’Myka begins to draw up the contract. “Do you have papers proving you are a bargewright?”
Willem brightens briefly until Ta’Myka offers five Dyns. “Lady Ta’Myka, Senior Master Bargewright typically earns nine Dyns per day. You offer me less than Senior Assistant Bargewright. May I ask why so low pay? Is Owerton so poor it cannot pay its tradesmen properly?”
Feeling rather flustered and embarrassed at how she conducted the interview, Ta’Myka reaches into her change purse and offers Willem eight Dyns. “This is a signing bonus of five Dyns for you and three for your brother.”
Ta’Myka gives Willem a smile. ‘Reputation is vital to me – as a bard and as a resident of West Door Inn. Hopefully, he remembers my generosity and forgets what a dolt I have been.’
Accepting the eight Dyns, Willem brightens again. His eyes shine with a new spark. “But I can’t be Senior Master for only five Dyns per day, Lady Ta’myka. My staff will cost more than that.”
Ta’Myka feels her face redden, something that rarely happens to her. “I am so sorry. I shall script the contract to read nine Dyns per day.” Reaching into her purse again, she takes out a Flair and hands it to Master Willem. “Please accept this flair as an extra bonus. Rest assured, Owerton is more than ready and willing to pay proper wages to their workers.”
Willem blinks awkwardly, accepting the additional Flair, adding it with the eight Dyns. “Yes, I agree to this. I will set up where you direct me, Lady Ta’Myka.” Coins in hand, weakly standing up from the chair, Willem follows Ta’Myka out into the hallway.
In the hallway, Ta’Myka offers an arm clasp with Willem. “Doorman Jessep can show you to your living quarters. I wish you the best in Owerton.”
Standing outside the door to the study, Ta’Myka looks to see if there is anyone around to show Willem to the servant’s living quarters. Peering towards the manor’s entry way, Ta’Myka spots Doorman Jessep sitting on his chair by the door, smiling at her. She accompanies Willem as they make the short walk to Jessep. “Master Jessep, can you see that someone shows Master Willem to the servant’s living quarters?” Adding, in a concerned voice. “Have you seen Sereee? She came into the study with me this morning. Now she seems to have gone off somewhere.”
Following Ta’Myka over to Jessep, Willem watches Jessep, smiling eagerly.
When Ta’Myka address the doorman, he happily answers, “Master Ta’Myka, I will show Master Willem to his cot and get him settled. As for Sereee, I last saw her with you. But you know how animals wander sometimes. I wouldn’t worry. Everyone here, except maybe Master Willem, knows not to harm the three rats. Master Levan has instructed everyone in this matter. Master Ta’Myka, I sorely worry about Master Gerris; he is in a bad way. I hope he recovers. I sent word to Lady Rena as you instructed.”
Worried, Ta’Myka sighs gently. “I, too, am worried about Gerris. I will seek Lady Rena out later this afternoon and see if she has examined him. Thank you for all your help, Jessep. Sometimes, I don’t know how we would cope without you.”
Smiling childishly, Jessep replies, “Lady Ta’Myka, Fryers let me stay in my home and keep my place in life. There is nothing to thank me for. It is I who owes gratitude. And if I lose my mind, to such as I cannot be of aid, it will be a very sad day indeed. I will help as long as I am physically and mentally able to.”
Turning, Ta’Myka says to Willem. “Master Willem, I will see you again before you leave for Owerton. If you need anything, just ask.”
Willem bows silently, smiling happily with a new Flair and eight Dyns in his pouch. He, too, has no reason to complain today.
Resigned to her Fate, Ta’Myka says, “Master Jessep, I am going to have a bite to eat and see if I can find Sereee. I’d like about an hour break before I see any more applicants.”
Jessep is walking down the hallway towards the stairwell with Willem following. He turns to respond to Ta’Myka. “Understood, Lady Ta’Myka.”
Ta’Myka returns to the study and pours a fresh mug of tea and eats two biscuits. She looks down at the floor to see if Eeene is nearby. “Eeene, find Sereee.” ‘Does he understand me? Unlikely, but it makes me feel better.’
Emerging from under the bookcase, Eeene squeaks in acknowledgement of Ta’Myka’s request and then scampers off underneath the same bookcase.
As Ta’Myka becomes frustrated and concerned, she is answered by another squeak. Ta’Myka smiles with glee as she is certain the squeak must be coming from Sereee. The bard turns as she looks down at the floor. “Sereee?” Looking at the floor, she realises the sound is coming from under the bookcase.
Rusty Knight and Aria
To be continued in the next episode …
© 2017 by Rusty Knight and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press
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- Ever Bard, Autumn 50 Bear, Episode 001
- Ever Bard, E003, Autumn 50 Bear – 3