ISSN 2371–3747

Episode 001

January 2016


By Kenneth Shumaker

Episode 001, ‘Home? Really!’


Travelling through the medieval fantasy of Kenneth Shumaker’s Quantos realm, in the royal city of Mount Oryn, we find Apprentice Artificer Lanis on her one-year walk-about for her Mage’s University journeyman certification. Our heroine, Apprentice Artificer Lanis, is an attractive thirty-four-year-old Jalnoric human female who is trying to survive the year until her journeyman certification test at the Mage’s University on Winter 80 Bear of the reign of King Dolan IV. For now, she has found a home as an assistant to Master Lenden, a master mage and multi-estate holder.

Opening episode, Episode 001, ‘Home? Really!’:

Spring 1 Bear

She is sitting still as her mentor, Lenden, instructs Lanis on proper etiquette of addressing him. “I want you addressing me as Master Lenden when you talk to me. Your room that I give you is on the second floor. You are responsible for your own laundry. You will cook both of our morning and evening meals every day for us, except on the sixth-day, the day which is yours free to do with as you desire. Your other duties include: three hours of study with me each morning; three hours of self-study each afternoon and two hours each day to go to market for gathering of supplies for the household and laboratory. The rest of the day is yours. Understood, Apprentice Lanis?”

Stiff, Lanis sighs, yet nods and answers sadly, “Yes, understood, Master Lenden. My room is on the second floor, and I have every six-day free. I also understand my duties. When do I start?”

Nonplussed, Lenden frowns, as the seventy-one-year-old Jalmal master-mage adjusts his sitting position on the plush sofa. “Tomorrow. You can settle in here today, and familiarize yourself with my manor house and the laboratory. I understand you came to me for your one-year journey-man walkabout, to further your studies as an artificer. I am not an artificer, but you can practice your art as long as you follow my rules and do my work. Understood Lanis?”

Carefully, Lanis answers, “Yes, Master Lenden, I have access to your facilities to learn and practice my art, as long as I accomplish your work as you order.”

Offering his arm to clasp, Lenden smiles and says, “Good, we understand each other then. The library and laboratory are both on the third floor. My personal room is on the second floor; my office is this room on the ground floor. We eat together, morning and evening meals in the dining-room next to the kitchen, here on the ground floor. There is no indoor privy, its an outdoor outhouse you use, if you need the facilities. As you know, I’m classed as rank seven mage, but that means nothing if I don’t have my spells and my mind to use them. Once you pass a few of my tests you can view my spell-tomes. But that will come in time. Do you have your tome?”

Patting her half-empty backpack, Lanis smiles, then says, “I have my cantrip-tome and my spell-tome, Master Lenden. Everything I own is here with me in my backpack and this sack.”

Lenden smiles for Lanis. After they clasp arms, he says, “Then apprentice, let me show you your new home, and your room that you will live in for a year.”

Having stood and clasped arms with Lenden, Lanis follows the old man around the house, carrying her backpack and large sack of possessions. They traverse through the ground floor, then the third floor, then the half-story that is the fourth floor, and finally the second floor. The last room on second floor which Lenden shows Lanis is a ten-foot by twelve-foot stone walled, maple floor and ceiling room, with one shuttered window, room. The room contains a single maple bed with feather mattress and pillow, with Imvor-orange flannel sheets and pillowcase.

Lanis sets her backpack and sack on the maple table that stand next to the four-drawer chest-of-drawers. There is also a lone maple armless chair.

She looks down at the rough woven Imvor-orange carpet next to the bed and she smirks. Her carpet in the university was much nicer; she’ll replace this one as soon as she can afford to.

Looking at the empty three-shelf, maple book-shelf, Lanis takes her two tomes from her backpack and sets them neatly on the top shelf.

Turning to Lenden, Lanis meekly asks, “Master Lenden, it has been a long morning, where would your outhouse be?”

Lenden frowns and waves for Lanis to follow him. He shows Lanis his courtyard facilities with its well, garden, stable, duck pond, and then the outhouse. There he leaves her to do her business.

As Lanis is entering the manor house a little later, she nearly runs into a crudely dressed Toyfem exiting the house. Their eyes briefly meet, but long enough to cause Lanis to shiver.

By, Kenneth Shumaker

To be continued in the next episode 002, ‘Lenden’s Dilemma’:

Trying to study a new spell, Lenden needs a spell component and he’s having difficulty acquiring some, he sends Lanis on a search.

© 2016 by Kenneth Shumaker 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.

Join Kenneth Shumaker (Rusty Knight) in his Dragoman Bloodgrue anthologies of serial short stories. ‘Dragoman Bloodgrue, Volume I: Fare Where?’ is the first of the episodes in the Dragoman Bloodgrue serial series. Read how Bloodgrue tests the patience of the gods’ resolve. Do the gods let the brave be fools? Is Bloodgrue brave or a fool? Follow Bloodgrue to see where his life’s path takes him. In ‘Dragoman Bloodgrue, Volume I: Fare Where?’ we are introduced to Apprentice Dragoman Bloodgrue as he begins his journey climbing the social ranks of Mount Oryn in North Docks, District 5. Find this volume to purchase on:

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Enjoy Kenneth’s new intriguing fantasy novel ‘Laret’, released June 19, 2017. Enter the Darkness of Souls and journey with the Black Swans through the Web Shireward as they battle the invading armies of the god Tearmain. This captivating novel is available at the following:

: Amazon

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Discover this new novel ‘Exhaust from the Tin Woods’, published from InUPress, written by Eric J Kregel, available in e-book and paperback. You can purchase the novel at:

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Sincerely, Kenneth with Inevitable Unicorn Press.

Awesome! You’ve completed episode 001 of Lanis’, but you want to read more! We have an easy link here to click so you can get more, click You can get issues of ‘Markus’, ‘Lanis and ‘Dragoman Bloodgrue’ with much more from Inevitable Unicorn Press. While there, click and join our free e-mail subscription list, where you will also receive a gift when you first sign up. Once you have signed up, you will receive more news and updates from Kenneth Shumaker and InUPress. The free bonus changes with time, the bonus was a pdf. with the biographies of the protagonist group the, Black Swans, from Rusty Knight’s upcoming epic fantasy novel Laret. Later it was an issue from the epic fantasy serial series Lanis.

From me to you, thank you, for reading Lanis.

Wander over and tell us how you enjoyed reading Lanis’. Do this by following the link to and commenting. We’d love to hear from you.

We would like to acknowledge the following for their contributions to Lanis:

The author is Kenneth Shumaker.

Episode editor is Donna Shumaker.

Graphics designer for InUPress is Kenneth Shumaker.

The episode distributor, marketing, producer, promotions, and publisher is Inevitable Unicorn Press known as InUPress.

contact us at the following sources:



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Box 3323

High Prairie, Alberta, Canada

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Lanis, E002, Lenden’s Dilemma

ISSN 2371–3747

Episode 002


By Kenneth Shumaker

Episode 002, ‘Lenden’s Dilemma’


Travelling through the medieval fantasy of Kenneth Shumaker’s Quantos realm, in the royal city of Mount Oryn, we find Apprentice Artificer Lanis on her one-year walk-about for her Mage’s University journeyman certification. Our heroine, Apprentice Artificer Lanis, is an attractive thirty-four-year-old Jalnoric human female who is trying to survive the year until her journeyman certification test at the Mage’s University on Winter 80 Bear of the reign of King Dolan IV. For now, she has found a home as an assistant to Master Lenden, a master mage and multi-estate holder.

Previously in episode 001, ‘Home? Really!’:

Lanis encountered Lenden and her new home. Lanis is now out in the normal world on her one-year journeyman test as an artificer mage. She has to survive out in the real world, away from the confines of the Mage University, then at the end of the year she can return for her final test for journeyman certification as a full mage. She is adding difficulty by specializing as an artificer class mage.

Now in episode 002, ‘Lenden’s Dilemma’:

Spring 2 Bear

Hours before gods-rise, Lanis stretches in her new bed. It is currently the first morning in this new house and it’s over two hours to gods-rise. The two gods rise about eight minutes apart. First to rise is the yellow god Stonewire, who breaks the southern end of the eastern horizon, then is followed about eight minutes later by the orange-red god Imvor cresting in the north of the eastern horizon. This is how Quantos citizens start marking the beginning of each day. Some days the sphere is covered over, or partially covered over, and the visibility of seeing the gods is restricted. But it is known the two break the eastern horizon on their trek across the sphere to the western horizon every day.

Considering that outside most days the gods blow their breath eastward, but some days they decide to breathe other directions, causing some havoc, Lanis ponders the gods. And also that some days they breath gently, some days stronger, and some days so hard they damage the structures of Quantos, thus on those days many barge Captains won’t risk sailing. It sometimes rains, occasionally it will ice sleet. Because of the latitude of Mount Oryn, it rarely snows in autumn or winter; once in a while, there is a spring with the odd snow fall. But rarely does it get cold enough to freeze over open-water solidly.

Looks at her belongings, Lanis dresses for the day. One of her jobs is she has to start the stove to cook morning meal for Lenden five of every six days now for the next year, to keep job her secure here. This manor is a safe place for her one-year journeyman walk-about test. There are numerous stories of how so many apprentices die on their walk-about, because they went to superstitious villages and made mistakes casting magic, thus they were killed for accusations of witch-craft. Or there are others who simply starve to death because they couldn’t make an income to purchase enough food or shelter.

No, Lanis thought this journey out; get hired on with a master mage as an assistant for the year, and stay smart. Stay in his good books and survive the year, then go back to the University and take the journeyman test, hopefully pass, and become a certified full Journeyman Artificer. The trick is to survive this year. The statistics say only twenty-three percent of apprentices who go out on their journeyman walk-about, make it back to the University for testing to certify.

Lanis plans on being one of those twenty-three percent. Not only that, but she has chosen to specialize, which less than ten percent of mages do, and she’s even making the odds tougher. Not only is she specializing by being one of ten percent of mages; she’s also being one percent of specialists. She’s going to be an artificer. Yes, Lanis chose a tough road, but she chose her road to go on and to build her life. She has the plan set already. Her class-one skill knowledge is complete already. When she goes to test for certification, she wants to have a complete class-two skill set as well. That should make the testing easier. Maybe some class-three skills to help out; if old Lenden will teach her. He is, after all, a class-seven mage, a Master mage, and she plans on staying with him for the full year — That is part of her plan.

In the kitchen, using her cantrip ‘firefinger’, Lanis ignites the fuel in the stove and then she fills the water-boiler. She lights the oil-lantern with a second ‘firefinger’, and she looks around the kitchen, gathering the food to prepare for morning meal.


Later, at the dining table, Lenden says, “Lanis, this is actually good. You seem to know how to cook. What do you know about spell components?” asks Lenden, as they sit eating the morning meal Lanis has prepared.

Pondering Lenden’s question, Lanis has answers. The question is so broad and has so many answers, so she simply chooses one answer. “Basically, spells are made of three components, verbal, somantic and material. The verbal is the sound component we make, the somantic are the physical motions we make and the material is the substances that fuel the spell.” ‘There, the basic university answer from class-one apprentices.’ She thinks haughtily.

Frowning benignly, Lenden says, “Okay, you told me what any student can tell me. Tell me what YOU know about material components, as my assistant. I don’t want student’s answers. I want to know if my assistant is worth her salt.”

Now Lanis smiles. Spellcraft was her strong suit in university, and one of the reasons she chose artification. “Master Lenden. Not all spells use material components as fuel. Not all materials can be used as fuel. For example, the jump spell uses live spiders swallowed by the caster. But the caster can not use just any spider. For the average caster, one in twenty spiders he examines will be suitable for his particular use in casting his jump spell. You also need to know that the spider which one caster can use for the jump spell, may not be suitable for another caster to cast the jump spell. Each caster must select his material components based on criteria individual to himself as a caster. Even though two casters are casting the same spell, they may not be able to use the same materials.”

Leaning forward, Lenden grins. He reaches out and pats Lanis’ arm. Speaking slowly, Lenden says, “Then you understand my dilemma. I need some very expensive material components for a class-three spell. The value of the components for each casting are at least one-hundred flairs. But to purchase the components, I must send you out with four-thousand Flairs, and my understanding that you know what to look for.”

Staring at Lenden without blinking, Lanis, has drool starting to collect at the corners of her mouth. ‘Did he just say he’s sending me out to collect components with FOUR THOUSAND Flairs?’

Tapping Lanis’ forehead, Lenden says, “Quantos to Lanis, you there?”

Jerking alert, Lanis blinks several times as she coughs. “Sorry, yes. Yes, I’m here. Did you say four thousand Flairs?”

Laughing, Lenden sits back, watching Lanis. After a bit he settles down, and says, “Yes, I did. Get used to it, as a mage you will be dealing in thousands of coins a lot.”

Sitting forward, Lanis enquires, “What are we looking for?”

“Good girl. I want some diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls or sapphires for my spell, Lesser sign of sealing.” Going on to explain, Lenden inform Lanis of the specific properties of each gem that he requires. He gives Lanis eight usury notes, valued at five-hundred Flairs each, made by a local Master Usury.

Taking a moment to simply stare, Lanis watches the notes in wonder, pondering the incomprehensible value in her hands.

About an hour after the two gods rise, Lanis sets out, under the directions of Lenden, to Morgus Gems at stall 12 of Berry Way Market.

Arriving at Morgus’, it takes Lanis half-an-hour to negotiate a price on two pearls, for a total of nine-hundred Flairs. Giving Morgus two notes, he burdens her with ten pounds of gold Flairs and two pearls worth about five-hundred Flairs each. But, Morgus refuses to give referrals to any lapidary or other merchants selling gems.

Leaving the shop, Lanis wanders around Berry Way Market in search of gems, or someone who knows someone.

A little over half-an-hour later, at nearly evening meal time, a merchant refers Lanis to Trendonal, at Happenstance Jewelry over at 4369 Wenton Road.

Walking to Happenstance, Lanis finds a less than co-operative young Elfmal who has one ruby that suits Lenden’s needs. But an hour later they are still at four-thousand Flairs for it, so Lanis begs off, asking instead for a referral to someone with possibly less expensive gems.

Trendonal is more than happy to give Lanis the address of Jessen’s Gems on Beddington Street.

Walking home, Lanis arrives mid-morning on Spring 3, exhausted. Going right to sleep after settling in.

Spring 3 Bear

Waking early and after cooking morning meal, Lanis is quick to excuse herself and set out for Jessen’s Gems.

Arriving eagerly, she finds several gems available, an emerald and two sapphires. Negotiating diligently for fair prices with Jessen, Lanis ends with purchasing the sapphires, one for nine hundred Flairs and one for 1,180 worth in gold value. She pays Jessen with four notes and eighty of her one-hundred Flairs

With Lanis asking for referrals, Jessen supplies her with Hangela’s Mercantile on Tickton Street.

After getting directions and considering the time of day, Lanis decides it is best to go home, then travel to Hangela’s tomorrow.

Arriving home long after gods-set, Lanis gives Lenden the four gems she has purchased so far. He sets them aside and informs her that he will assess them all once she completes her purchases.

Spring 4 Bear

At mid-afternoon, entering Hangela’s; Lanis’ breathing and heart stop. ‘It’s her, that woman from the first day at Lenden’s’

She starts breathing again as her heart pounds in near panic, thumping hard in her chest so loud she is sure the woman, twenty-feet away from her, can hear her heart beating, and hear her breathing.

The woman looks up into Lanis’ eyes. Lanis shivers, goose bumps spread over her arms and back. ‘Is this fear, or panic? What is this? Why? I don’t know her.’

The woman approaches aggressively, stomping up to Lanis. Stretching out her arm, the woman says easily in trade Jalnoric. “Good day Master. I’m Trader Hangela. Welcome to my mercantile. What are you looking for? If I don’t have it in stock, I may be able to get it for you.”

Swallowing, Lanis blinks, feebly clasping arms with the offensive woman. ‘Why don’t I trust or like her? She hasn’t done anything.’

“Trader Hangela, I’m looking for gems.” says Lanis, quickly removing her arm from the clasp, and she continues. “In particular: diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies or pearls.”

Smiling, Hangela nods then says, “Indeed, follow me.”

Gesturing for Lanis to follow, Hangela leads Lanis to a small back room, where a table and two chairs occupy the space along with a locked chest. Hangela unlocks the chest with a key from a heavy neck chain around her neck.

Opening the chest, it is filled with several sacks. She pulls out a smaller sack and closes the chest’s lid. Deftly untying the sack, Hangela dumps about forty gems on the table. She takes two minutes to sort out five gems for Lanis. With eases Lanis picks three: two emeralds and a sapphire. Quickly Hangela places all the others back in her sack.

They haggle for several minutes to negotiate the price of the three gems, but in the end all Lanis can afford is the uncut emerald for five-hundred Flairs, paying with one of the remaining notes.

“Do you know any other merchants or lapidaries that I can go to?” asks Lanis boldly.

Slamming the table, Hangela snarls, “What, do I look like a dragoman? No, go find them yourself.” She places the remaining gems in the sack and carefully places the sack back into the chest, locking it again. “Are we done? If so, let’s go back out front.”

Frustrated, Lanis leaves Hangela’s, feeling unwashed and violated, still not sure why.

Walking home slowly with one note and twenty Flairs left, Lanis arrives back at the manor and addresses Lenden. “Next time I’ll pay a dragoman to guide me around. But this is the last of it. Here’s an uncut emerald, a note and twenty Flairs to add to the others.”

“Let’s go to my lab then, assistant,” says Lenden.

Together the two go up to Lenden’s lab, and under his focused continual-light, Lenden examines each gem, humming and hawing, but generally looking frustrated, muttering several times, “This won’t do.”

“Okay, so here we have five gems chosen for qualities to be components for my spell. Most assistants would get one out of twenty right when selecting spell components. So, I could expect you to get zero correct out of this lot of five. But you, my dear, did outstanding. This sapphire and this uncut emerald are perfect for my Lesser sign of sealing. Congratulations, you succeeded beyond the average. So, in my eyes, you are more than average. I hope you can keep that up, assistant. Tomorrow, the lab and library are yours to use. But you still have to cook both meals. You owe me three evening meals.”

By, Kenneth Shumaker.

To be continued in episode 003, ‘Hangela’s Duck’:

After Lanis has her day off, Lenden sends Lanis to Hangela’s to make more purchases. Lanis discovers a reason to dislike and distrust Hangela, and uncovers the reason for her panic.

©2016 by Kenneth Shumaker with Inevitable Unicorn Press

Kenneth Shumaker·
15 min
4 cards

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