The Tale of the Travelling Bard – Part Two

Welcome to part two of the Tale of the Travelling Bard, though it stands alone. This is the story of the bard’s Father, as he finds out what his son has made of himself out on the road, and how his son’s profession has changed the way he interacts with the bards that pass through town.


“Sir, please, I promise to weave a tale that will keep your patrons here drinking late into the night. All I ask in return is a spot of soup, and, of course, if you can spare it a room, is that really too much to ask?”

Really, yes, it was far too much to ask. These damn bards would wander into town and just expect free food and lodging until they felt like moving on. The merchants at least had a service, offered something in trade, but a story, a story!

Ie took one look at the furrowed brow of his wife, and he gave the bard a room, a bowl of soup, a biscuit and a cup of mead ignoring the mans profuse thanks, and instead looking at his dear Louisa who is glowing at the show of kindness.

“Do you think Danny is getting enough to eat?” She asked when I walked by.

“Of course,” he lied. “He is twice the story teller as this bloke, and a with a merchant he is sure to see a pretty penny. He’s probably having the time of his life. Don’t worry dear, just focus on remembering the story for next time he visits.” And she lit up at the idea of being the one to tell Danny a story for a change and focused intently on the bard, who true to his word had quite a story to tell.

The longer I listened the more, with a sinking feeling, I began to realize, he was talking about my Danny. Though I wouldnt’a called him of flaxen hair, he met the rest of the criteria, and I prayed to the gods that my wife didn’t realize that the idiot bard following around a monster hunter was our boy.

After that I was a little freer with my lodging for bards, and at least 4-5 times a year someone would come in with a take owing bard to Danny and I prayed all the more.

It’s why I was so surprised the day that Danny walked back into the tavern, taller, broder, fuller, a man. A man that anyone would be proud to call son. He hugged him Mum, took his bath, and came down and started to tell a tale.

I knew he had a gift, but gods, this was more than that, they were enthralled, ensnared by it, and drinking by the tankard unknowingly. The next night the tavern of the was so full I had to turn people away, and I knew my son’s ridiculous story inn was going to become a reality.

Danny had money now, or Daniel as he so liked to be called, and hired folks to build onto inn, making a stage, to tell tales and songs upon, and it didn’t take many months before we were adding rooms to the inn, getting another building, hiring staff. Our little middle nowhere town exploded as people came round from all parts to listen to Danny’s stories, and I couldn’t blame them, they were magnificent, the best I had ever heard.

He started teaching, my boy teaching, the art of story telling, and I couldn’t help but think back to the useless waif we had taken in all those years ago, and feel pride for being the one to keep him. My boy, the bard.

The Tale of a Travelling Bard- Part One

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.

Binding

Welcome to this weeks response to the Friday Picture Prompt on The Writer’s Mess. This week the picture was of a calligraphy pen, with a single dot of what looks like black ink on a white surface. I chose to interpret this as blood, under strange lighting, and made what could be a continuation of previous picture prompts, as someone signs a contract to escape a place, and go back home.


A single drop of blood fell from the tip of the pen, and it looked almost black in the strange light of this place. She thought back to how she got here, all those years ago, and shuddered at the thought of what she had done to stay alive.

The endless summer paradise was a trap, set to trick you into a hunger and thirst so great that you would do anything to quench it…and she had. She had done things that she could never speak of, and the sounds of the screams still echoed in her ears at night when she tried to slept.

This though, this was her last shot. This contract would be enough to get her home, well not home, for she knew too much time had passed for her to ever really go home again, but it would free her from this place.

The price was high, almost higher than she was willing to pay, but in this case almost was a word that meant yes, and so she took a deep breath, signed her name to the page , watching as it turned gold, the contract binding her unto it.

There were only two outcomes left for her now. One, she finished the contract and got to leave, and two, she didn’t finish the contract, and she died. Either way, she would soon be gone from this wretched place., forever.

Sunshine and Daisies

This is another Friday Picture Prompt response from The Writer’s Mess, (picture below) where apparently last weeks doors have not yet left me alone, and I brought along my poor protagonist to see what happens next…


The door was gone, and she wanted to cry. It was hard to be sad here though, standing in an endless field of daisies, warmed by the sun on her face.

There was a second where she thought of her brother, alone, untended, crying, but that wasn’t really her responsibility. Her mother was home, and would see to little Johnathan eventually, or so she hoped.

She let the smells and sounds of summer sooth away her worries, as she began to wander. She could always try and find the door later, but for now she wanted to enjoy this perfect afternoon.

She walked, ran, skipped, spun, and danced through the field, laughing. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been this light, this carefree. It was like a weight, maybe the weight of a little boy, had been lifted from her, and she was finally her again.

While the sun hadn’t moved, she knew time had passed, because she was growing hungry, and weary. She turned to head towards the door and froze. There was no path in the weeds showing where she had been, and she had spun, so much so she didn’t have a clue from where she had come.

As she walked, weeping, her limbs grew heavy, as if filled with lead, and she made a choice, she probably wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been so tired. She stopped where she was, and laid down among the flowers. Surely everything would seem better when she awoke.