A Bard’s Tale (Excerpt) 12/19/2018
Neil double-checked the jugs in the back of the cart and pulled himself to the seat.
“Are you ready, Willow?” he asked the horse.
Neil flicked the reins but Willow shook her head.
“What?” he asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Neil!” his mother said coming out of the house, “you forgot your lyre!”
Neil looked from Willow to his mother in disbelief for a moment before he jumped down to grab the instrument from her.
“Thank you, Mother,” Neil said as he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’ll be back later.”
As soon as he was seated in the wagon Willow began moving. The sudden lurch of the cart caught him off guard as a laugh came from his mother.
“Stay safe!” she called after him as the cart picked up speed down the dirt path.
“What has gotten into you?” Neil asked the horse. He wondered how she had known that he had unintentionally left his lyre in the house, or how she understood that they needed to make better time getting to the village. She moved along significantly faster than they normally traveled without any prodding from him.
They arrived to the blacksmith, just at the edge of the little village center to find Sonya, the blacksmith’s daughter, outside looking cross as Neil had ever seen her. She had a milk jug in her hand and a sour expression on her face.
“Running a bit behind today, Neil?” she asked him as she tossed the jug up to him. “Father will be in a foul mood all day thanks to you.”
“Just a bit, Sonya. I’m sorry I’m late, I performed at the inn last night and it kept me out too late. I won’t let it happen again,” Neil said.
“You’re lucky you’re cute,” she said before she turned and disappeared into the house.
Ninth bell was just sounding as he stopped the cart behind the inn. Fiona appeared for a moment before ducking back inside the building.
“About time you showed up,” Credence boomed as she came through the back door. “We’ve been waiting for two hours so we could make some breakfast. I thought you would be alright after last night, but apparently you can’t handle playing late and still doing your duties.”
“I’m sorry,” Neil said feeling his cheeks flush in embarrassment.
“Next time I’ll make sure you stay in a room here and you can make the run in the morning,” she said. “Now get those jugs in here so Jack can begin making breakfast for the travelers.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Neil replied jumping from the cart