Things aren't always what they seemA Story by Surrealstorm
This is a story that i wrote for a contest. The story the bard tells in one that I created based off other folk-lore that i have read.
For a man that traveled a lot he was awful rotund. That was my first thought when I caught my first glimpse of the bard that had rode into town the previous night. The night before it had been dark and since he retired immediately to his room I hadn’t gotten a very good look at him. Now I could see that he wasn’t exactly what I would have envisioned when I thought of a storyteller.
In my dreams he was fair skinned and tall, with long chestnut hair that he would tie loosely at the nape of his neck. In reality he was squat, with hair so closely cropped to his head that it’s a wonder there was any hair there at all. His eyes were small and beady with red veins lacing through them as if he’d had way too much to drink. Perhaps he had, but if so his voice didn’t slur, though he was leaning rather heavily against the trunk of the large oak that stood in the center of the town square. His clothes were plain, no bright colors of large magical looking cloaks. Simple clothes that seemed washed out with wear.
I stood in the back of the crowd, not wanting to get within spitting range when he begins his story. He remained silent for several seconds, whetting the appetite of his audience, which had begun to grow in size until almost the entire town had gathered in the square.
Then he began to speak and his voice was the most melodious voice I had ever heard on a bard, storyteller or musician. He began his story like so:
There one was a beautiful maiden, the daughter of the high king of Balor. She was the youngest daughter, with two older brothers and one sister; she was unable to inherit the throne as long as they still lived. She didn’t mind though, she just enjoyed singing and would lift her glorious voice all throughout the day and people would stop what they were doing just to listen to her.
Then one day a dragon moved into the hills nearby and demanded sacrifice or he would destroy the kingdom, piece by piece. The king at first refused to pay sacrifice to the creature and instead sent his eldest son, a master with the sword to kill it. But the dragon clutched him in his talons and swallowed him whole, killing him instantly.
There were gasps from the woman in the audience at this, and the bard merely smiled. When he smiled there was a twinkle in his eyes and he looked younger than before. He continued,
The king was distraught but still determined not to give in to the dragon’s demands, so he sent his second son, a master with the bow to kill the beast. Before the second son could so much as notch an arrow the dragon blew a breath full of flame, burning the man to a crisp before he gobbled him up too.
Someone screamed at this, though I couldn’t tell whom. Many of the audience looked shocked, though intrigued. The bard had the entire town captivated by the spell he was weaving, even I couldn’t wait to hear him continue. He deepened his voice in sorrow as he continued.
Now the king was so saddened by this that he had his youngest daughter come to him and sing him a song. The song was so sweet that it brightened his spirits immensely and though he still grieved his son’s deaths he began to hope. So he gathered up all the money and jewels from his treasury and packed them on a wagon that he sent immediately to the dragon, hoping that this would be enough to placate the beast. But the beast was not satisfied. The beast had heard that the king had a beautiful daughter who could sing better than the birds and he demanded that the king send that daughter to him.
The king was saddened by this and couldn‘t bring himself to send his beautiful youngest daughter so he instead sent his eldest daughter in her place. But the dragon knew when she began to sing that she wasn’t the daughter he wanted and with one sharp talon severed her head from her body.
Many of the women began to cry at this and one woman demanded to know how this story could possibly end well. The bard just smiled and continued.
The king didn’t want to give up his only child but he had no choice. Before he sent her he called upon any man brave enough to fight the dragon to go with her and if they brought her back alive, they could marry her. Only one man volunteered for the job. He was the court bard; a young man with very little skill with weapons and the king despaired that he would never see his daughter again. But the bard had a plan to kill the dragon.
Once at the site where the dragon resided the bard told the maiden to sing a lullaby for the dragon while he played the lyre. She did as he requested and soon the dragon was fast asleep. Once the bard saw this he pulled a dagger from his pocket and stabbed the dragon in the heart, killing it immediately.
Once back at the palace there was a great celebration and the king married the bard to his daughter at once. The bard was given the name dragonkiller and they lived happily ever after.
There were some cheers at this and the audience began to almost smile as a whole at the outcome of the story. I found that I was smiling too, completely drawn in by the words of this less than ordinary bard. I truly expected little from him when I first saw him but he proved to be as good a storyteller as we had ever had in the small town of the Red Hills. Until the storyteller left I listened to his stories and lamented his departure.
© 2009 Surrealstorm
Added on September 18, 2009
Last Updated on November 4, 2009
AboutNOTICE: The name ASHLAN has been changed to ASHLYNN In the Story "The Secrets of the Goblin King" due to the amount of complaints I have had on other sites regarding it. Thank you! HI I've nev.. more..