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The Silver Bard

The bard let the music trail off, and grinning, soothed his throat with ale.

'Twas good to make 'em laugh. He hadn't felt as welcome in weeks. The barmaid winked as she replaced his empty mug with a full one. Oh, this would be a good night indeed!


Pulling his lute back to his lap, he swung the rowdy farmhands into a boisterous clapping song. As he added in the names of locals, they began to cheer, and try to follow along, so he gave them repeats to catch up. The couplet about the pudgy Bailiff brought more laughter than he had thought, while the lovely double entendre about the Lord's daughter was more strained. Interesting. He finished the romp with an exaggerated tribute to the sexual charms of the innkeepers wife that had them all, innkeeper included, laughing so hard they cried.

With a smile at their clapping he began a slower beat. Some looked a bit disappointed, but they all settled down. It had been many months since they had a good bard. In fact, none could remember having one as good stop by the small village, let alone stay the night.

Looking at the barmaid, his fine elven voice swung cooing into a ballad of forlorn love, raising a blush to her knowing cheeks. On he played, singing of the lovers yearning, of the fates that let them get so close, yet tore them away time after time. Soon the whole Inn was quiet save for his music, and more than one eye glistened with more moisture than normal. As the lovers died, together at last, the trickle of notes fell unaccompanied into silence.

He let it stay that way a moment before standing and bowing. The people of this far away place stamped their feet and clapped, many wanting to buy him a drink.

Making his way to the innkeeper, protecting his instrument as he wove through the happy clamoring crowd, he grinned and shook his head, silver hair startling highlights from the smokey common-room lamps.

"An appreciative audience, my lord." The honorific, tying in to his parody earlier drew a surprised laugh from the Innkeeper and several around him. Clapping his meaty hand to the elf's shoulder, the Innkeep had to almost shout to be heard. "Free board this night, my talented friend. And well you've earned it. Welcome you are to room here anytime you so please, and on that my word."

With another rueful shake the bard accepted "I'll not be staying long, my lord. But a night would be welcome indeed. And indeed I must welcome the night, friends. I beg your leave."

With a full court bow, followed by another wave of laughter, the elf sought a room. As he expected, the sturdy, blushing maid appeared to help him find his way down the short hallway.

...

Rising, the slim elf kissed the sated woman, letting her sleep. He did not bother to dress, merely gathering his belongings in a sack. Quietly sliding outdoors, sack in one hand he bent down on all fours and spread his silver wings.


With a downward sweep the dragon soared to meet the sun, a tune playing in his head.

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