Tag Archives: Bard

Valek’s Story

I am playing a bard in our new Dungeons and Dragons campaign. His story follows.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

The first gurgling of her infant child was the last sound heard by Daria before she died, never knowing that she had borne a son.

The Erdridar tribe named the boy child Valek, and on Valek’s behalf they swore two oaths: To raise him faithfully in the absence of his mother, and to avenge her death against the human father who sired him. None knew why Daria took the secret of her human lover with her to the grave; most assumed she had been raped.

The tribe delighted in raising Valek, and were charmed by his human qualities; rampant inquisitiveness and curiosity. The boy asked so many questions that his guardians began to tease, “Don’t you know already?” And so Valek would pretend he did, inventing stories which suited him and delighted his elders.

Thus Valek’s tale of a flying ship was taken for imagination for two full days, until a ship actually descended from the clouds to alight upon the outskirts of tribal soil. The tribe’s warriors approached the craft with caution, and Valek’s curiosity did not permit him to remain far behind.

A proud human descended the gangplank, dressed in strange robes which gave no protection from the elements. He gazed unflinchingly at dozens of Elvish bows trained on him, and announced:

“I have come for my son.”

The only reply was wind whispering through the trees and the grass. But if any present could divine its secrets, none spoke. Eventually Chief Tirol turned to young Valek and rose an inquisitive eyebrow.

Valek came forward, the others parting before him to clear the way. He addressed the robed man boldly:

“You may have bedded an elf maiden, but what makes you think she bore a son?”

The man turned a palm up and colors swirled in the air over his hand. He looked Valek in the eye.

“I have seen it.”

“The boy is ours,” replied Chief Tirol. “We raised him, we taught him, and we love him. It is thanks to you that Daria is dead. If you value your life, you may depart now.”

Without warning, lightning crackled from the ship’s deck, and Tirol fell to the ground dead, his body charred and smoking with an aroma like overcooked sweet-pork.

“Peace!” the robed man said, addressing his shipmates and the assembled elves.

“These elf heathens may not threaten my crew,” a staunch and ornamented man said from the deck, presumably the captain.

Seeing his mentors about to let fly their arrows, all consequences be damned, Valek spoke out:

“Stop!” He addressed the man claiming to be his father. “What is your name, tyrant?”

The man looked crestfallen at the accusation, but all he said was, “I am called Brad.”

“I am the son of Daria, Brad. I will go with you if you leave my tribe in peace.” The elves murmured at this, conflicted. Valek’s fate would be uncertain among these human barbarians, but they knew Valek’s bravery might well save their lives.

“Done,” said Brad, and turned ascended the gangplank, expecting Valek to follow.

“You will see me again soon,” Valek promised his true fathers and brothers. Then he, too, ascended the ship, which carried him away to the sky.

Three years passed before Valek returned to his tribe, broader of shoulder and deeper of voice than any remembered; his human blood advanced him beyond his years. To his stories, he now added music; drums of battle, vocal ballads and laments, but everyone’s favorite was Valek’s handheld harp, somehow sounding both hopefully bright and infinitely sad. His songs and stories were literally enchanting, infused with the sorcery he’d learned among the humans to make his audience drowsy or alert, soothed or angered, triumphant or sorrowed.

He related a hundred tales learned from the humans, or seen in his travels, or made up entirely. But the one story Valek never told was how things ended with his father, or how Valek had come to live among his people again.

But neighboring tribes had heard the rumor of a flying ship which fell burning into the ocean. When asked whether this rumor was true, or whether he’d had anything to do with it, Valek only replied, “Don’t you know already?”

April Sage’s Day

Bah humbug.

April Fool’s Day is a holiday which glorifies dishonesty. If you absolutely must mess with people today, I encourage you to play pranks in good taste rather than outright lie.

For example last year someone stole and hid the desk and chair from one of my coworkers. However, they left her computer and other working materials in place. I like the sort of prank which causes a lot of laughs, but no real harm.

That said, I have enjoyed many an April Fool’s Day joke, especially announcements by major companies, such as Blizzard’s preview of the bard class (a la guitar hero), Burger King’s left-handed Whoppers, NASA’s claim of water on Mars (a glass of water and a Mars candy bar), google’s pranks, wikipedia’s pranks, and so forth.

My friend Ben (getting married this July) played an awesome April Fool’s prank on me when he insisted (after months of excitement towards D&D and roleplaying in general) that he’d done some more research and found that playing D&D would offend his good Christian sensibilities. He’s way too good of a liar.

Pranks and tall tales which are fairly evident or quickly revealed are all part of the fun. Just make sure you aren’t saying or doing something dishonest which is truly hurtful. And remember that everyone draws that line differently.