~Singing for a Feast~
It was just after the Elder finished his speech that the Bard came behind Veint and grabbed his shoulder, excusing himself from Veint’s family that was sitting around him he took Veint outside. Veint was wearing his black tunic and trousers since this was quite the formal event. He had left his cape inside. Veint was surprised by his Master’s sudden approach and he wasn’t afraid to tell him so when they were outside alone.
“Master Loren, what can be so important to take me away from a feast? Is the Sky falling, or does wood turn to yeast?” he asked with a jester tone in his smooth voice. His eyes were dark in the low moonlight and his smile wide as it was from the moment he left the house. “My boy, this is no time for jokes nor for skives. Celebration is a time of joy and not of rhymes,” he answered with the same musical tune. A smile couldn’t help but imprint itself on his lips.
Veint let out a hearty laugh right from his stomach as he responded, “As expected Master Loren, nonetheless I still don’t understand what would be so important?” His master, still smiling walked forward, away from the inn and motioned him to follow. “Veint, from tomorrow on I will not be here for you. I will not be able to give you the support you had until now, and you need to understand that when you reach the Guild things are going to get far more difficult” he spoke while walking “Everyone travelling with you will have a far more difficult job to do when you arrive to the Guild, but especially you. Being a bard in the Guild is a bit different than being a bard in the small village of Amber Falls” He stopped walking.
They were now below one of the largest oak trees in the village. “Do you remember what the real job of a Bard is?” he asked with solid seriousness. Veint recognised this to be one of those tests his master loved to pop in the most random times. “A bard is the great equaliser” he answered seriously “a textbook answer” he thought with satisfaction. “An answer straight from the scrolls I gave you” the Bard responded crashing Veint’s confidence “Can you explain me now what that actually means?”
Loren’s face was calm and unreadable; his silver hair was glistening in the moonlight the wrinkles on his face were showing now more than ever. Veint took a deep breath, just like his master taught him. After a second his words were even more confident and more powerful than before “A Bard is an agent of nature, he acts on behalf of nature to control and protect the balance of the world” he said. A strange calmness was thrown over his mind as he said those words. “Correct” the Bard said and his smile widened a bit more “Now I want to give you a gift, to aid you in your journey” pausing for a moment he put his hands in his robe and took out a wooden box. He sat down, Veint mimicked him as he always did and put the box on the ground. He opened the box slowly and took out a small circular object, no bigger than the fist of a child, made of glass, strings, feathers and leaves.
“This is a Dream Glass, in other parts of the world there are Dream Catchers and Dream Weavers. A Dream Glass is something much greater than both of those things” Master Loren was talking now in a voice almost like a whisper “Learning to use a Dream Glass is a very challenging notion, most people can’t use it without proper teaching, what I taught you until now I think should be enough for you to work on it on your own. You’ll learn more of it when you arrive at Crenshaw and the Dawn Guild.” Veint looked at the glass ornament in awe, he had never seen an object like this before.
It was something unreal, transcending the light around it in mysterious ways. “This will transform your music into something so much more” his Master said and before Veint could respond he packed the ornament back into its box and gave the box to him “Now it’s time for the feast, and maybe some music wouldn’t be bad” he added with a light hearted smile, a weight lifted from his shoulders. Veint took the box and stood up as well.
They walked back talking about other things, about Crenshaw and the Guild, about the people Veint would be travelling with. It was all very warm and very friendly, but there was a tension underneath it all, as Veint couldn’t let go of the ornament. He was eager to practice with it and learn from it. After they reached the Sleepy Sheep his Master told him to get his lute, and with eagerness Veint went to get his cape and lute case. He opened a secret compartment in the lute case and put the wooden box next to the letter for the guild. He took the lute, wore the rich burgundy cape and headed off to find his Master in the middle of the inn where they always performed.
“There, there,” his Master spoke in a voice loud enough to be heard by the crowd but not loud enough to be considered a shout. He had a strong voice, a bit coarse and a bit husky as well, very different from Veint’s.
“Come and listen
A song is comin’
A song of life,
Of joy and might”
The Bard said and as he finished the last line, Veint joined in with his lute, singing along a song of adventure, a song for heading out; a song that not many people had heard in the town. Because this was a town for people that stayed, not for people that wandered. And yet as it turned out to be, it was a song much appropriate.
"Upon the hearth the fire is red
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow me may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world begind and home ahead,
We'll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!”
Veint sang it and sang again, his voice crisp and smooth like honey, like the wet soil and like the blazing fire. Not everyone was quiet, but everyone listened. Not everyone learned the words, but everyone was humming. Veint had sweet smile on his face and eyes glowing yellow across the flames. This was a day of both joy and sadness, as finally some would be ready to leave but even so, no mother is ever ready to leave her child. He saw everyone that would head to the road with him and everyone he knew. He repeated the song one more time. Not everyone was here, but it did not matter, he sang one more song, and then he stopped abruptly and said with a loud melodic voice.
“Rejoice, for greatness is nigh! The road is long but it never lies” he said and his brown hair swished as he gave a low royal bow. This was a night to be remembered.
A couple of minutes later having put the lute back in its case, Veint was walking along the numerous foods picking things carefully to add to his own plate when he noticed Sandra and Fenrem talking. He had met with Sandra quite a few times as he went to get some herbs for the Bard, although she never knew that it was actually for bard business and it was more than once that he convinced Fenrem to take him to the casks where they had more ale than a fourteen year old could handle. Taking his plate with him, a playful smile on his face, he walked towards them with a quiet step hoping to sneak up on them. He took a bite from a piece of meat and as he came close he spoke with a sarcastic cheeky voice that only he could do “What are you guys doing all up close and personal?” you could say that his whiskers were smiling and that his eyes were glowing mischievously.