Ever Bard, Ears of Time!
By Kenneth Shumaker & Aria
Episode 006, Autumn 50 Bear – 6
April 29, 2017
Following in this series, we get to know the female Elven teenager – 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 Kenneth Shumaker and Aria in Kenneth Shumaker’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 006 on …
Autumn 50 Bear
Ta’Myka breaks up the meeting to address the next interview. Earl Jessep stands quickly and offers Ta’Myka, saying, “I will let Doorman Jessep know to send in the next applicant. If you have more questions, I will be in my room upstairs praying. You may interrupt me.”
Bloodgrue remains seated as Jessep moves the two unoccupied chairs into position for applicants to use. “I will remain again, Angel Ta. Fear not, I will not abandon you, for the moment.”
Jessep quickly leaves the room leaving the door open.
A couple of moments later, Doorman Jessep’s footsteps are heard. He is seen escorting a smaller person who is no taller than five feet and probably weighing less than one-hundred pounds. The brown hair and green eyes give away the nature of the person. Before Jessep introduces the person, Ta’Myka knows he is not human. “Master Hunter Angeran, Lady Ta’Myka.”
The young elfmal saunters in smiling. “Good day, Lady Ta’Myka, I am simply Angeran, at your service. It is a pleasure to meet such an enchanting beauty as you.”
Ta’Myka has finally met a male with beauty to match hers, and so far his personality equals hers as well.
Ta’Myka blinks several times, as she is taken aback by the sight of an elf entering the room. Entranced by his very fine appearance, for a brief moment, she forgets about her duty at hand. As is usual for whenever she encounters an elf, her mind begins running away with questions. But she knows this is just her usual reaction – the inquisitiveness of wanting to know more about her race. ‘Yes, I feel a sort of peaceful connection when in the company of my own kind. Yet there is a part of me that feels the panic of possibly disappointing my kind, because of my human ways.’
Ta’Myka gives Angeran a pleasing smile, stands and gives a slight bow. “Welcome, Angeran. Please, take a seat.”
Ta’Myka takes a deep breath and begins telling Angeran about Owerton. “A master hunter would be most welcome in Owerton. Your experience and knowledge will benefit the village immensely.”
Ta’Myka feels it would be an insult to Angeran to question his skill or expertise in hunting, so she immediately begins negotiations. “So, what do I offer a skilled hunter to convince him to go to Owerton?”
Angeran politely sits where indicated, listening to Ta’Myka without interrupting her. When she stops and asks him for an offer, he responds, saying, “So you conduct such interviews with such brevity? Even when talking with another Elfkin. I am sorry, I see so few of our race that I find it rude that there is no talk of home or our kind. But as you wish. I seek two dusters a day, and a fee per hide brought in. I will butcher the carcass for a fee as well. The fee depending on the animal I am butchering.”
Bloodgrue is also curious about the elfmal but has been silent until now, “Are you human land born, or from the elf lands, Angeran?”
Smiling an angelic smile, Angeran says, “Elfsham of course, aren’t all elves?”
Bloodgrue chuckles as he has an answer for this. “No. Actually, there is about one elf for every ten thousand people in Mount Oryn. But in Kannoral, there is roughly one in one thousand. Of the elves, one in ten was born in the human lands, of which about one in seven is a halfer.”
Ta’Myka, feeling a bit like she’s been reprimanded by Angeran, decides the best approach is to be straightforward with him. “I apologise if I seemed short, or too much to the point. It is a pleasure to meet another elf. As Bloodgrue has pointed out, there are few of us in the human lands. My mother and father had travelled to the human lands before I was born. I have never been to Elfsham. Though, my mother and father told me many stories of their life before arriving in the Dominnion. As a child, except for the very occasional elf that travelled through our community, I basically had no other contact with elves. Even since I have been travelling on my own, my contact with others of our kind has been very limited.”
“As for your terms for employment, I can agree to that. However, Lady Crusader Mychel will have the final approval.” … “May I ask how long ago you came to be in the Dominnion of Kannoral?” asks Ta’Myka.
Angeran seems to let the slight in politeness slide away as he continues into polite elven conversation, “I left Elfsham fifty-four human years ago. I have only recently, I believe twelve years ago, entered Mount Oryn. It has held my interest with its gardens, orchards and parks. But now is the time to move on, as the chaos has set my nerves to humming with frustration.”
Ta’Myka nods her head. “Yes, I can understand you wanting to leave Mount Oryn. It’s been troubling times, to say the least. But the worst is behind us.”
Standing abruptly, Angeran adds, “I will retrieve my pack from its storage place and return tomorrow morning. When shall we be journeying to Owerton Stronghold?”
Bloodgrue notes that Angeran has the set of irritation to the tone of his movements. “I believe no date has been set for the journey to Owerton. Preparations are underway, as hiring is being conducted. Several more days, I believe, Master Angeran.” Bloodgrue, quite entranced with the appearance of Angeran, can’t seem to get past the bad connection with the Elfmal. The Elfmal’s angelic beauty has the opposite effect, as Ta’Myka’s angelic beauty does on Bloodgrue.
Ta’Myka looks over at Bloodgrue, wondering what he is thinking. She turns her head and speaks to Angeran. “Angeran, you are more than welcome to stay here, at West Door Inn, until you and the other hires make the journey to Owerton. Upon your return tomorrow, I will offer you six Dyns as a signing bonus. Whether you stay here, or not, you’re travelling expenses will be covered.”
Angeran nods to Ta’Myka with an elven grin that just barely breaks into a smile. “Manke nae lye omentien?” (Where are we meeting?)
Ta’Myka lets out a small laugh. “We will meet here, right?”
Ta’Myka writes out the employment contract and hands it to Angeran. She says in Elven. “Aa’ menle nauva calen ar’ ta hwesta e’ ale’quenle.” (May thy paths be green and the breeze on thy back). “Quel fara.” (good hunting)
Bloodgrue, feeling left out, deems it wise to remain silent for the moment and allow Ta’Myka the moment.
Angeran replies steadily with reserved High Court Elven usage of language, “Tenna’ tul’re.” (Until tomorrow then.) “Diola lle.” (Thank you.)
Ta’Myka stands and gives Angeran a bow. “Saesa omentien lle.” (pleasure meeting you) She wonders if it has indeed been a pleasure meeting Angeran. ‘As usual, being near an elf makes me feel small and inept. Though, I do feel less this way with my elf friend, Tahzan, now that we know each other slightly better. So, maybe it’s just the uneasiness of not being acquainted with each other.’
Angeran, still amazed by Ta’Myka’s beauty and the fact that she’s an Elffem, stands and bows. He takes her right hand and kisses the palm gently. Before releasing her hand, he speaks in courtly fashion. “Amin dur lle. Ta nae amin saesa. Tenna’ ento lye omenta.” (I believe you. It was my pleasure. Until next we meet.)
Ta’Myka feels the warmth of Angeran’s lips on her palm. She can’t help but give him a sweet smile. ‘That was unexpected. I guess he isn’t put off by me after all.’
Bloodgrue, having determined the meeting is over, offers the coin pouch to Ta’Myka in case she wants to pay the second angel that Bloodgrue has encountered in his life. “It has been nice meeting you, Angeran. I hope to meet again soon?”
In a sweet angelic voice, Ta’Myka says to Bloodgrue. “I will give Angeran the Hunter six Dyns upon his return tomorrow.”
Bloodgrue places the pouch back on the desk in its storage spot.
Gracefully, Ta’Myka walks to the study door, opens it, and says to Angeran, “Adieu, for now.”
Ta’Myka, feeling light and airy, gracefully strolls over to Doorman Jessep. “Jessep, Master Angeran will be returning tomorrow. Please let me know when he arrives. Is there anyone else to see?” All the while her eyes follow Angeran as he flowingly walks to the main door.
In the hallway, near the front entrance, Doorman Jessep answers Ta’Myka as Angeran silently exits West Door Inn. “No, Lady Ta’Myka, there currently are no more visitors. I have a message from Lady Fayth and one message from Miss Bellah … Miss Bellah wishes that I inform you evening meal will be ready at gods-set. Master Fayth informed me that Master Gerris has taken a turn for the worse and that I am to send for Archbishop Rena to see Master Gerris, upon her arrival. Meanwhile, Warden Jessep has taken Lady Dawn and Nurse Lydia to Adan for a daily stroll.”
Ta’Myka gives Jessep a concerned look. “Thanks for passing on the messages. I must check on Gerris soon and talk to Archbishop Fayth. I am very worried about Gerris.”
Gingerly, Bloodgrue sets his right hand on Ta’Myka’s shoulder. “Perhaps we can use the office and be serious for a few minutes. I have an idea to discuss.”
Ta’Myka turns casually to Bloodgrue and nods her head. “Certainly.”
In the office, Bloodgrue carefully closes the door.
After Ta’Myka sits, Bloodgrue takes a seat across the desk from her. “I can’t work for you. You know that, right? But we can work together. As a Dragoman, I can travel, but I must maintain my territory. If I have enough resources, I can take on an apprentice to work for me, and I can train them to be a dragoman journeyman. I have sponsors for my Masters Certification so I must maintain my proper journeyman status and territory. It would work in my favour to acquire an apprentice, or even two, to explore territory in the regions around my territory. As you know, Fryers Chozen ousted Tearmain from Mount Oryn. I also know Fryers Chozen resides here at West Door Inn in South Palace Hill District. I know Fryers Chozen has the eyes and ears of the King. Also, they have the attention of the courts of various nobility, religions, and mages. I know the Watchers owe Fryers Chozen for their survival. For all of my career as a dragoman, I have been seeking full status as a Watcher. I underwent the Dawn ceremony, a few seasons ago, to be an entry-level observation certified and papered novice of the Watchers. So much coincides to this location where you reside and work. I would be greatly indebted to you, to work with you when we can. That is if you agree to such an arrangement. We will negotiate remuneration, between us, as you see fit. But I suggest a fifty-fifty split when we work together: we keep what we earn to ourselves when we don’t work together. How do you see this?”
Ta’Myka sits back in her chair with a faraway look in her eyes as she ponders what Bloodgrue has said.
She nods her head just slightly. “I like to try new things and broaden my horizon. Working alongside a dragoman will be beneficial to me. I am sure I will meet some very interesting people. But, you should know that it is my singing and playing of my harp that is my passion in life. If I don’t sing and play my harp, my spirit withers. It’s not enough for me to sing in private; I crave the connection that I feel from singing for others. I really cannot explain the joy it gives me. So, yes, I welcome the opportunity to work alongside you, but I also must sing. We’ll work it out.”
Ta’Myka adds, “You have the desire to be a Watcher? Your dragoman skills will come in handy with that. Watchers are an elusive bunch. In all my travels, I suspect I have met the odd Watcher, but it is difficult to know for sure. I know that the other Fryers Chozen – Rena, Warden Jessep, Visrathh, and Fayth – have been in contact with a few Watchers. I doubt they would have found Rena’s stolen little sisters, or defeated Tearmain, without the aid of the Watchers. Watchers are like Eeene and Sereee – hiding in the background while taking in everything. A Watcher’s work is dangerous though – being neutral and selling information is risky business.”
Ta’Myka gives Bloodgrue a smile. “Yes, Fryers Chozen has become well known to the King and nobility. The King is extremely grateful to Rena, Jessep, Visrathh and Fayth for saving his city from the evils of Tearmain. It’s true, you will benefit greatly in your career goals to be associated with Fryers.” … “Are you interested in making West Door Inn your permanent residence? The estate is lovely and is in a good location. I don’t mean to sound overly self-important, but to live here at West Door Inn, the home of Fryers Chozen, would bode well for your future. Don’t get me wrong, you will do fine with or without the influence of being associated with Fryers. But, in this world, knowing the right people can greatly lessen the time it takes to make oneself known. Besides, the others will be returning to Owerton soon, and I will be living here alone with Eeene, Sereee, Gerris, and several servants.”
Ta’Myka grins, curious as to how Bloodgrue will respond. ‘He strikes me as a very independent sort. And, he is also very ambitious. Is he overly proud? Of that, I am not sure.’
Bloodgrue patiently listens to Ta’Myka, taking in all she has to say, as any good Watcher would. At this point, Bloodgrue is considering the options and information. With the current break in the conversation, Bloodgrue feels ready with a counter argument. “Great Lady, Bard Ta’Myka, I would never deny you your skills or life, your desires or needs. Sing and perform as you must, as I must live and work the North Docks life. Being here in West Door Inn is a luxury I can afford only on occasion. If you could front me enough to house and feed the two apprentices I have in mind. Then I could spend more time here than is otherwise available to me. Now, you may ask how much time? It varies, but at a minimum, if I continue on alone I will have to be in North Docks for twenty-five days out of thirty. I could possibly remove five of those days of obligation, for each apprentice that works for me. If I were to take the coin now, the first apprentice I have in mind would easily free up seven days. The second, if hired under the first apprentice, would open up an additional six days. So, between these two specific apprentices, I would be free for eighteen days out of thirty. You may ask what eighteen days will mean to you? You are a bard. You earn your reputation by performing. You say you live by connecting with your audience when you perform? A dragoman can help on all counts. I can help you find venues to perform at. The more time I have, the more time I can spend finding places for you to perform and the better places I can get you. Are you with me so far?”
Ta’Myka nods her head, confused. “I think so, continue.”
Bloodgrue adds. “What will this cost you? The contract to buy the first apprentice, I think I can arrange for two Flairs. The second contract will be settled for fifteen Dyns, hopefully. Lodging for each will be two Dyns a season. I would like to pay up four seasons ahead, so I don’t have to sign a contract with the Inn. Board is two dusters a day. I want to set a tab of eight Flairs for board for one year, per apprentice. By my math, I am looking at an initial cost of twenty-one Flairs and one Dyns for the two contracts, one-year lodging, and one year for board for two apprentices … If you front twenty-two Flairs to set it all straight, I will take on all other expenses such as clothing and any tools and such that they may need. There are no wages to worry about. It will take about twenty days to arrange all this. I would return here around Autumn seventy-five or seventy-six to spend eighteen days with you as a partner working together. We would be earning reputations as the duo of, The Bard and Dragoman, or maybe as the Ears of Time and Eyes of Blood … You will be earning more than a reputation in the time together. In those eighteen days, you should earn at least half your coins back if not more, plus any expenses for setting up your venues.”
Ta’Myka thinks for a few moments, and then replies, “You are quite the business man. As you know, I was not in Mount Oryn when Fryers was in the middle of all the chaos with Tearmain. The Fryers members who defeated Tearmain gained much coin and riches from their dangerous endeavours while in the process of defeating Tearmain. And, the King greatly rewarded them. I, though, do not have the amount of coin you are asking for. However, I am quite certain that Rena would be willing to give me a personal loan.”
Ta’Myka gives Bloodgrue a puzzled look. “But, I wasn’t thinking along the lines that you would be working for me. I thought we would work together. I was considering a sort of collaboration. Being a bard, I could get you more jobs. Likewise, travelling alongside you would benefit my work. I really had no intention of hiring you. I was thinking more along the lines of a mutual friendship that would benefit us both.” … “If you really think it would make more sense to hire you, then I will have to think about that and perhaps ask Rena for a personal loan.”
Bloodgrue smiles at Ta’Myka. “You misunderstand, Angel Ta. If I find you venues, I get experience in these regions and in an industry which I have limited experience in. I will not be your employee. I will be promoting you and earning a reputation as an agent of the finest bard in Mount Oryn. You are possibly the finest Bard in all of the Dominnion. I will be promoting my skills and gaining new contacts as well. Also, I will be exploring and expanding my known realm, and thus I will further my abilities and contacts, increasing the likelihood of acceptance for my Masters Certification. It’s all totally selfish, while it’s helping you out as well. It’s a sort of double edged weapon. So, these funds would either be a grant, or they would be a loan – a loan I would pay back with a fee.”
Ta’Myka smiles. “I understand now. So, you need twenty-two flairs to establish two apprentices. I will have to see how much coin I have on hand, and then talk to Rena when she returns from Physter Hospital. You are most welcome to spend the night at West Door Inn so we can discuss this further, after I have an opportunity to speak with Rena.”
Kenneth Shumaker and Aria
To be continued in the next episode …
The Elven phrasing and language were taken and used from www.grey-company.org
© 2017 by Kenneth Shumaker and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press
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About the author: Kenneth Shumaker (Rusty Knight)
Following a long break from writing, Kenneth recovered his passion for writing. He is a science fiction and fantasy genre author, as well as a non-fiction writer, with Inevitable Unicorn Press (InUPress). Kenneth has been blogging with the Owerton Challenge and other blogs for many years. He now writes several serial short stories. Kenneth’s two businesses, his wife, his two children, and his six grandchildren keep him busy.
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