A Bard’s Tale (Excerpt) 12/14/18
“I told everyone, but they are busy with the fields this time of year,” Credence said. “We are only a small village that doesn’t have much to offer after the king takes his taxes. We’ve been hit three times already the past year-”
“It’s fine, really,” Cade said holding up his hands to her, “he’s just dramatic at times. Don’t pay any mind to him.”
Neil watched the exchange and felt a bubble of annoyance begin to fill inside him.
“Who’s ready for some music?” Neil said pulling out his lyre. “Any requests?”
“Now we’re talking,” Tevarin boomed, “maybe some music will bring in some more people, Faleth.”
Neil walked to the stage feeling the eyes of the three travelers as well as Credence and her family on him. He sat slowly in the chair and checked the tuning on the strings. Methodical and calmingly they came into true tone without much effort.
Neil took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and let his fingers dance across the strings. The notes were perfect as he played some of the classic songs his mother had taught him. The Wandering Bard went over spectacularly in his opinion, with Cade joining him for each chorus. The halfling’s voice was surprisingly pleasant and at the end of the song, where the Bard dies, he was almost certain he saw Tevarin’s hand wipe at the corner of her eye.
Neil played The Fighter’s Ballad specifically at the request of Tevarin, then The Hills of Glad Glen for Cade. Faleth was decidedly quiet, his eyes fixed on Neil as the firelight danced in his amber eyes.
Fiona danced as Jack slapped his thigh to the beat and Credence listened. Neil’s fingers moved with a life of their own, flitting from string to string. They danced as though possessed, and though he had played the songs hundreds of times previously, his melody became complex and unfamiliar as the songs poured out of him.
The world became a blur of movement and melody combining to instill a sense of energy in him that he had never felt before. He lost sight of the faces in the audience as sweat began to bead on his forehead. He closed his eyes to not feel overwhelmed by the increasing sense of dizziness that threatened to topple him. It was in the middle of Ogre’s Song that he stopped recognizing the music he was playing, it frightened and exhilarated him.
After half an hour of playing tunes he didn’t recognize, Neil’s hands became still and the sound echoed through the room. He felt drained of the energy he had felt previously as a shiver went through his body. The fire had gone out behind him and he was drenched in sweat. He looked around the room and saw the stunned faces of his audience.