The bard a story, p.1
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       The Bard: A Story, p.1
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           R. Russell Clarke
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The Bard: A Story


  The Bard: A Story

  By R. Russell Clarke

  The Bard: A Story

  Copyright 2012 R. Russell Clarke

  Cover Image Copyright 2012 R. Russell Clarke

  All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of this book.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use is not authorized, associated with or sponsored by the trademark owners.

  -1-

  340 AF (After the Founding of the Sunlight Empire)

  Wood shavings littered his booted feet as he sat on the porch of the local general store. He was carving on a length of wood that was as long as his forearm and as wide as three fingers. What it was going to be, he never knew, especially when he first started. He would let the knife and wood guide his hands and they would tell him what they wanted. He felt deep inside that there was something special about this piece.

  Customers came and went all day as he sat there carving away. Everyone smiled at him, as all had known him since they were children. He was a landmark here and had actually helped in the founding of the town 200 years before, but few alive knew that story anymore. They assumed he had some amount of Elf blood in him as he hadn’t aged much since he had finally settled here almost 100 years before, that and the small points on the tops of his ears. He’d actually started the store at which he sat, with the wife he had brought with him. Their children had inherited the store when they came of age and down the family line it had passed. Currently his great-great grandson ran it now.

  He didn’t feel nor did he look like he was 250 years old. The only thing that showed any signs of age was the slight peppering of his dark hair, which he wore long. He had worn it this way since he began his traveling life 180 years ago, with the top half pulled back to keep it from falling in his eyes, while the rest hung long down his back. In his youth he had worn bright and extravagant colors. He now chose the more subdued colors of a simple townsman.

  “Grandfather!” came a high-pitched yell.

  He smiled as a glint came to his blue eyes and his clean shaven face creased in delight. It never got old when the young ones called out to him with the endearment that everyone in the town called him. It was probably one of the things that kept him looking so young for his 250 years.

  “Grandfather!” the girl cried out as her feet hit the wooden steps that led to the porch.

  He raised the blade and piece of wood up into the air as the little girl tackled him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He looked up and saw eager smiles everywhere as more children from the town began to surround him.

  “A story, grandfather,” came a call.

  “Yes, a story,” said the girl wrapped around his waist.

  He smiled.

  “Yes, grandfather,” came a more adult voice. “A story please.”

  He turned his head and found his great-great grandson’s wife standing behind him. She was leaning in the doorframe with a sweet smile of her own. He remembered that smile when she was a child and she had brandished it when she had heard his tales. She still loved hearing of his life before he had settled. But he knew that at this time she had ulterior motives. She knew when the children were occupied with his stories; their parents were in the store spending what money they could afford. He returned her smile as she turned and walked back into the little store.

  “So,” he began as he turned his attention back to his audience, “a story?”

  “Yes, grandfather.”

  “Yes.”

  There were about eight children surrounding him now as he smiled.

  “About dragons, grandfather,” chimed one boy.

  “No,” exclaimed a young girl, “magic!”

  “Dragons,” argued another girl.”

  And the yelling began. Children’s voices were beginning to rise and he raised his hands to gain some semblance of control. He tried to yell over the children.

  “Here, here!” he tried.

  Nothing was working for him. Then he banged his carving on the bench.

  “Young Ones!” he yelled finally gaining control of the little mob. “Enough or there shall be no story!”

  Many young faces looked startled or saddened by his edict. The thought of no story from “grandfather” was just what they needed to get them to calm down.

  “Now be quiet and I will tell you a story of a dragon,” disappointment sounded from some of the children, “AND of magic.”

  A couple of cheers went up but generally the children quieted and settled in for their story.

  “It all begins,” he began as he sheathed his blade and smiled a wicked smile, “over 200 years ago…”

 
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