The first short story of the month, and it is a three parter, though each part stands alone. Follow the story of a bard with a tragic past, an unlikely success, and a dark secret. I will admit one part of this was written right after watching Witcher Season 1, and I had bards on the brain. Welcome to part one, the story of how the bard got his start in life, this one is pretty dark.
The way my story starts changes depending on the day. On a good day, my family knew that I was smart, and crafty, and that the farm life wouldn’t be enough for me. So when the travelling merchant came through and needed an assistant they offered me up, knowing that I would live a far better life with him than at home. They knew that I would get all manner of opportunities and have the chances they never would, and I would makes something of myself.
On my darker days, I was given to a questionable passer through in exchange for almost nothing in the way of goods cause I was pretty much worthless. Okay, I know that sounds a little self deprecating, but look at it from my parents point of view. They had their two good size strong boys, the heir and the spare to take over the farm. Then what they really needed was a girl, the marry the first born son of the farmer to our west. They had better land, more established, but we had a river access, and if the farms could be combined through a marriage of some sort, they would be golden.
Then I was born, and it was like, oh, oops lets try again, and they got my beautiful little sister a 11 months later. Maybe it was being weaned too early to make way for my sister, but I was tiny, frail, and sickly. I was smart, that I wasn’t lying about, but I took a lot of time, effort, and food and never gave much back. When the travelling merchant showed and wanted an assistant, giving him me was a good way to have one less mouth to feed. Maybe they hoped I would do well, but well, I doubt it.
I was only with the merchant for about a year, when he gave me to a blacksmith, who had no use for me, and who gave me to a stable keeper who also had no use for me, who gave me to an innkeeper, who had less than no use for me, but whose wife had desperately wanted children, and was unable to bear then. So she got me, and by this point I was a little less sickly, I had learned to read and write, mostly by irritating people until they taught me so that I would do something other than talk to them, but I got it.
Life at the inn was pretty easy, there was plenty of food and drink, and ll I had to do was clean up, help out with the horses a bit, which was breeze after the stable keeper gig. The best part though was the stories. People who stopped at inns travelled the world wide and they brought back the most amazing stories from their travels. I soaked them up, used the bits I got from tips to buy parchment and wrote down every scrap of them I could remember.
I knew at some point it would be expected that I would take over and run the inn, but my “Father” was fairly young and in very good health, and found me quite irritating in large doses, so he suggested I go off and explore the world a bit. Ironically, it was his recommendation that I go with a travelling merchant. A different one that my first, but it was a relatively safe job. I could go round, and collect my stories, and some day when I took over the inn, maybe I could change it up a bit, put on a show?
I had dreams a plenty and I was on my way…to jail. I didn’t do it, and by it, I mean the innkeepers daughter. She was a floozy by any account, but I was an innkeeper’s son and you do not screw, literally or figuratively, with the child of an innkeeper.
I suspected my rather large companion was not quite as innocent as I, but I was small, and stupid enough to get caught, so I was thrown in prison, where I knew I would languish until I died.