The Bard gently strummed his Lute, an old friend through thick and fine. In his hands music was a powerful tool to protect others. Something his father had never understood. The grand Vizier thought he could teach the boy to take power, he never realised ‘The Bard’ already had all he needed.
The Bard had attracted a small group of adoring fans. One more song,the most romantic in his repertoire, and there would be some fun times ahead,baring general adventuring duties.
A severed greying hand landed at his feet with a soft ‘flump’, jumping out of his skin, he looked up as the crowd fled screaming in terror. Good lungs, they’d have made impressive backing singers.
Threw the fleeing ample hips, the pintsized figure in the midnight blue robe sauntering towards him.
“I have to ahem hand it to you, you know how to clear a room” The Bard quipped, keeping a completely straight face and stared unblinking into the gnomes face who did not or choose not to hear. He put his lute to one side, he doubted the Necromancer had any appreciation for music.
The hand leapt into the air of it’s own free will and darted back into Mortimer’s bag.
“How’s it goin’ Brad? we’re gonna need you’re crossin’ amulet soon… I’ve been roundin’ up the flock, you’re my last call. We’re goin’ home… er… yours that is”
Said the unmistakably gnomish voice from beneath the hood, which was now flipped down to reveal a small pale face with ashen eyes and a shock of red hair.
“It’s The Bard” the young man said trying to keep the frustration out of his voice. Not everyone was a fan, yet. “What do you need me to do?”
“Ahhh, didn’t explain myself, sorry ‘bout that. We need to do a magic ritual with the crossing amulets.”
The corners of The Bard’s mouth twitched, his chiseled jaw clenched a little.
“I don’t do magic”
“Yeah, I know, you can’t do magic, so I just need to borra’ your amulet, I’ll return it as soon as we’re…” but he was cut off by a single raised finger from the young musician, who was looking off into the middle distance. In truth Mortimer wasn’t sure why he stopped at a mere gesture but… the man had, presence.
For a moment, Bard was back in the classroom, strict teachers trying to crush his spirit, spells were to force nature and people to your will, father smashing his instruments and burning his music, telling him he was destined to rule the kingdom, tell the ruler what to think. There was no glory in music.
“That isn’t what I said, I don’t do magic, not I can’t…”
“You do songs that mess wid’ people’s heads, it’s an impressive skill I wasn’t tryin’a…” but the smaller mage stopped there as the human had risen up at that. His leather trousers creaked at the motion, and for a moment that was the only sound to cut the silence.
“I definitely don’t do that!”
The young man said quietly, deliberately. “I do things in my own way, with music, if you need my help, tell me what you need.”
Mortimer pondered for a moment, this was one of those human interaction moments he begrudgingly accepted were part of life… he knew The Bard wasn’t happy with him, but was making an effort to be ‘reasonable’ – that was the word, but he was just stating the facts, so why should the guy get mad?
“No offence meant, I’m sure, but we need to do a spell and you just said you don’t do…”
“Spells” the young man finished. Then he reached down and took a book from Morimer’s bag, noting in passing it said “Burne” on the spine.
“You’re a Wizard, I know the type, when what you’ve got is magic, every problem looks like it needs a spell. Twist the world into enough knots, pelt it with enough power, and the problems go away…” he set the book down on the tree-stump with a thud, “…it lacks… he pinched two fingers before his mouth trying to find the word for a moment, then finished: “finesse”
“When I play i’m tapping into the natural rhythm of the universe and go with the flow. Music can’t be forced….” he trail off, struggling to explain something that was a feeling, a deep truth in his soul, meer words felt lame. Some notes would express it maybe, but somehow he felt that would be lost on the ever pragmatic gnomes. But his heart was in the right place, sticking by the party despite self interest.
The wizard frowned, opened his mouth to object but the man put a silencing finger down on his lips even as he flicked his golden locks over his other shoulder.
“What’s this?” the young man demanded jabbing a finger at an expression of eXML
“It’s represents a 46th arcanic resonance oscillation in the extra-planar concept of Air, at the 8080 circle interface…” Mortimer sighed as if he was having to explain calculus to a dog, and waiting for the obvious look of confusion.
Instead the bard picked up his stringed instrument. “I think it would sound something like this”… he plucked.
Ma Ma Ma Ma Maaaa
Mortimer’s had rose toward his face, but he stopped it at the last moment and ruffed his hair instead.
“It doesn’t sound like anything, it’s a defined variable in a spell!” the pint sized practitioner insisted sounding exasperated, “really, we just need the…”
“No, it’s not only that, it’s also an open G string…” he mused on this for a moment looking off into the distant red sun… “A favorite of mine actually!” he added with a conspiratorial wink that flew right over Mortimer’s head. Getting back to his point, The Bard turned from the wizard and added: “or, if you play it once more, with feeling, it sounds like this:”
The note thundered out across the village, two of three hedges were buffered by the shockwave of sound that rang out, stones rolled, a discarded ale bottle cracked as it flew end over end. Mortimer’s teeth rattled, a flap of ornamentation on his robe fluttered up and over his face. He pulled it away with an annoyed flick.
“I know Wizards, I chose not to do magic, not to ‘do’ spells, I make music…” at this he fished a familiar looking black amulet out of a pocket in his impossibly tight leather trousers (which seemed magic in its-self given how tight they were) deposited it around his neck. “So instead let’s start with telling me the problem, and let’s go make beautiful music together?” He suggested, turning and striding confidently off toward the horizon.
Mortimer wanted to say something, but he just opened and shut his mouth, he guessed he should follow but, his legs apparently wanted to ‘take a moment’. He wasn’t sure why.
“Well… I guess… it’s’a kinda’ magic….”