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Comments: 12
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Rating: 4.1111
Condition: Normal
ID: 3515


December 31, 2006, 2:52 am

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Cheka Man

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The Song of Sorrow


The bard tuned his lyre for the 5th time. He looked at his reflection in the mirror. Ancient eyes greeted him.  This would be his last performance, it had to be perfect.

The party heard the music pouring from the open door of the tavern. They looked at the darkening sky and knew they should continue on to shelter before the clouds made good on their threats but the music drew them in through the open doors nonetheless.  Save for the soft strumming of the lyre, and the soothing voice of the young bard, the place was silent.  No one held whispered conversations, even the barkeep and maids were still and attentive to the sad tale. 
The party quietly found seats and became as enraptured as the rest.

The blonde bard could be of no more than 25 summers yet he seemed to sing of experiences denied to even the most worldly and weathered. The music seemed to hang in the air, as if the words and notes were tangible and could be picked up and placed in your pocket for safe keeping.  When the last strain echoed off the silent walls every eye held a tear.  The audience seemed to inhale a simultaneous breath as if they had forgotten, until the last word faded, that air was necessary and they could not live on the music alone.

The crowd eagerly offered the bard whatever they had in their pockets. This one night would easily make his fortune.  He smiled at the crowd, bowed low and elegant and left the bar empty handed. As he walked through the doors memory of the song faded from the minds of the audience. Only the emotion and the name of the bard remained.

The party got back on the road but soon sought shelter from the rain in a nearby cave.  Within the cave they find the body of the bard. There is no evidence of what caused his death. Clutched in his hand is a weathered parchment containing the words to a song.  It is stained with ink from a bottle that is over turned nearby. It is a sorrowful
tale of a man that fortune smiled on and then abandoned. 

Possible Explanations:

1)  Truth In Rhyme: The poem was written by the bard and is the story of his own life.  It tells of his rise to wealth and fame and his eventual ruin which led to his suicide. 

2)  Poetic Justice: The bard stole the scroll from a well known, and more successful, bard hoping to gain a bit of the fame for himself.  The other bard, knowing his competitor to be a thief, wrote the poem with poisoned ink.
The slow acting poison allowed the man time enough to perform the song once before it took its toll.

3)  Your Soul For A Song: The bard obtained the song from a strange old fellow he met on the road. The man was dirty and his clothes were little more than rags. Over a camp fire, he told the man that he would give anything to have just one song that would make his name be remembered forever. The old man said he had just the thing for the young bard.  After performing the song the bard became well known and highly paid for his performances. He soon discovered, however, that his life was doomed to be twisted into the very image of the tale he told.

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted manfred
December 31, 2006, 4:28
Now this is a Side-Quest as it should be. You get a short story that touches you in the right places, with a little mystery if you wish to follow it.

Elegant work, kamina.
Voted Iain
December 31, 2006, 5:32
Short and sweet - I like it.
Voted valadaar
December 31, 2006, 7:49
This is really excellent! Wonderful job!
Voted MoonHunter
December 31, 2006, 11:44
A lovely submission. Good description, some nice hooks, and a solid place in a game world.
Ancient Gamer
January 1, 2007, 9:01
Hmmm... I beg to differ. While the tale is short, concise and properly touching, there weren't any plot hooks of any substance to speak of. For me this was a nice, short tale, but also a dead end. The hooks offered explanation, but no further adventure.
January 1, 2007, 11:35
My intention was that this could be a nice snag for a party with a bard in the group. They would remember the effect that the song had on the crowd. What bard could resist?

If it is only the young bard's "suicide note", then no harm will come of another bard taking and using it. If it is either of the other two options, then he will be using the song at his peril. If it is the last option, they would have to find a way to undo the curse (maybe find the old man, a mage who could undo it, get someone else to take the song, etc...) but this has been left open to the discretion of the GM.

Since this was written for Wulf's "Tales of the Road" I will await his input before expanding further.

As always, I appreciate your input AG and your comments and observations are well taken.
Voted Cheka Man
December 31, 2006, 11:55
I really like this too.
Voted Murometz
December 31, 2006, 12:17
exactly what manfred said. A lovely tale, which aptly pulls the emotional strings and adds a touch of mystery. Well done! Poetic Justice is a particular eye-opener!
Voted Strolen
December 31, 2006, 21:05
This one is great. Quick, easy, and a great story!
Voted Ancient Gamer
January 1, 2007, 7:15
Only voted
Voted Scrasamax
January 1, 2007, 8:15
I think the meeting with the tattered man very closely resembles the Southern notion of meeting the devil and selling your soul to play the guitar. I approve.
December 16, 2008, 10:28
BUMP. Woud make for an interesting one-shot session.

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