Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Category

h1

Friday Flash Fiction: The Bard and the Girl.

March 28, 2008

Sorry about the length here, but it just wouldn’t stay short. (1353 words)

I liked my Becker character and decided to transport him to a different setting.  I imagine I might do it again somewhere else.  Here he is as a Bard with ill intent.

Oh and not much editing here, I’m pretty busy, so forgive me for some rough spots in this entry.  I will come back to it and clean it up.


Even with the big open fire pit and the roaring flames the cold seeped into the great hall.

Becker stood in the middle of the room, his lute across his chest recounting the exploits of Sir Thalan and the forty gremlins; a humorous tale that kept his audience in laughter from start to finish. He particularly liked starting with this one because it loosened the crowd up and let him gain their friendship before he entranced them and robbed them blind.

Laughter fully filled the chamber as he ended the tale with poor Thalan beating the gremlins but losing his wife to them when she realized they could bed her better than her knight. The gremlins being more ribald and virile and she more hearty and wanton than her man could satisfy.

They clapped and demanded more. The crowd now primed and receptive, Becker moved into the realm of improving his fortunes.

The chords for the next tale began with a melancholy tone, the crowd settled in for a tragedy as clearly the bard was beginning. The fire crackled and popped and Becker used its dancing light to begin his enchantment.

Perhaps it was a story they had heard or perhaps one similar or, more likely still, one based on age old themes repeated in many forms; a tale of woe and sorrow, of madness and anger. He sang of the two lovers forlorn and of their sad tale ending in death.

And as he played his tune and sang the story, his spell coursed with the smoke and the cackling flickering flame to entrance the audience. He began to weave in amongst the tables seeing how strong the spell was, some kept their eyes on him as he wandered in and around the gathered Baron’s household. Others kept their eyes on the fire, already succumbing to his enchantment.

He casually walked close to the flame and while holding a high somber note sprinkled some gindlebrau herb into the flames. The aroma of vanilla and pepper quickly filled the room, doubling the enchantment’s strength. This was a tricky phase of the trancing, the herb was strong enough to enchant the enchanter if he were not mindful of the effects.

Becker knew his craft well, the gindlebrau was ineffectual against him.

A few minutes further on and the entire gathered household was slackjawed and drooling. Becker placed his lute down and set it a-playing on its own with a trivial spell from his childhood. It kept the instrument traipsing along the sad melody. This allowed the bard to walk freely around the dining hall.

He cut purses from waists, lifted necklaces from necks, and pulled rings from fingers. Smiling as he did so. By the time his victims awoke he would be long gone. It was always so easy…

“What are you doing?” Asked a small voice.

Becker froze his smile. A girl of no more than fourteen stood in front of him watching, clear eyed and quizzical.

“ummm…Yes,” he answered quickly.

“Are you stealing m’lords baubles?”

“umm..” Again he brought his vaunted quick wit to bear. This had never happened before.

“Why…no lass, no, I’m…uh..I’m ..uh…merely taking inventory for the king.”

“I think you’re lying.”

Becker decided to change the subject, “Why aren’t you enjoying the nice music like everyone else?”

“I don’t know, it seemed kinda boring to me? Why’ur you stealing from everybody?”

“Boring? How could it be boring? And I’m not stealing.”

“Well I mean it was up until you cast your spell? Then what do you call it if it ain’t stealin’?” She said putting her hands on her hips.

“umm…who are you?” Said Becker now confused.

“..nobody…My daddy’s over there.” And she pointed across the room at one of the fat noblemen sitting stoned in his chair.

Becker was getting scared now. The enchantment would only hold so long, he needed to finish his round and depart; the sooner the better.

“Well little girl,” She grimaced at his patronizing tone.

“I’m not a little girl.”

He lifted another purse in his hand and felt its weight, 30 shillings at least. He looked her in the eye and then he started to continue his way around the room, talking as he went from victim to victim.

“Look girl, everyone’s got their own way of getting by. Your da there,” as he put a jeweled dagger in his bag, “Has lands that provide for him,” A ring from a slack finger followed, “The baron there as well.” He moved on as the girl followed him around.

“Me, I don’t have something like that, all I have is some rare gifts.” Brooch and necklace lifted and pocketed. “A little singing, a little enchantment, and I’m on my way.” He sidestepped his way around a particularly obese woman beginning to tip off her bench. Becker gently nudged her back to lean on what he supposed (and if so pitied) was her husband.

“Not much harm done really.” The fat one did have a very nice necklace though, Becker whistled briefly as it followed the rest of the loot into the bag.

“But it ain’t right to steal.”

“Now lassy, on one hand you’re absolutely right, but on the other you’re completely wrong.” Finally he was up to the Baron’s table. He focused on the little baubles, the goblets were too heavy anyways, but the rings and necklaces were light and full of gems.

“The Baron here can afford to buy a new necklace.” As he gently removed a heavy gold and silver chain encrusted with five rubies from around the Baron’s neck, “in a matter of a few seasons…He’ll barely miss it.”

The baroness lost her tiara and some rings as well as the matching necklace to her husband.

“If I were to steal 30 shillings from a farmer or 100 from the blacksmith, now that wouldn’t be right. That’d hurt his family and…well…I’d feel all bad about it.”

“You don’t feel bad about this?” She said walking around following him.

“Nope. It’s fun.” He finished and walked back to his lute by the fire, picked it up carefully so that it continued it’s magic tune and started to walk out of the hall.

“What do you intend to do girl?” He said as he walked backwards up to the great doors, eyeing her.

“What can I? I can’t stop you.”

Becker paused before grabbing the brass ring on the door and looked at her again. She was nearly a woman, but still a year or two short. Was she too old? What would a woman bard be like?

“You know you have a rare gift…umm…what are you called?”

“Carmen.”

He opened the door and repeated himself, “You know you have a rare gift Carmen, it would be a shame to waste it as some little lordlings wife.”

She asked in return, “What are you saying Becker.”

“I have no apprentice, and you are a gifted child…woman…young woman… Carmen.” He pushed the door open a bit further, held it open with his foot, bowed slightly and motioned out the door, “I offer knowledge, adventure, song and dance. The likes of which you will not get in this backwater barony.”

“I…I…can’t. I can’t.” She looked around the room again. Her life was here. She shook her head.

“Suit yourself. Pity though, you have some gifts that are going to be wasted, I would have enjoyed seeing them brought forth.”

And he walked out and let the door close behind him.

Suddenly the music was gone and the crackle of the fire was all that was left. She turned in a circle and looked at everyone there. She tried to find a face of someone in the dazed audience that she cared about.

There was nobody here who mattered to her for more than a bed and a meal for her mother was long dead and her father was a drunken bastard. What did she have to look forward to here but as Becker had said of becoming some lordlings wife.

Carmen nodded to herself, grabbed her cloak and followed Becker out the door.