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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