There was a clearing in the midst of a forest thick enough to hide its secrets but thin enough to let the rays of light filter through and hit the old inn that stood in that clearing. A worn path through the forest was busy for a morning. A few travelers stopping with their carts in front of the inn at the smoldering fire pit. There was a lumberjack hewing wood on a tree stop to the side making a small beat that echoed around the camp over the tired hum of the travelers. One traveler in particular was walking down the path with a guitar on his back and a tall dirty stool in his hand. His leather boots were muddy and his clothes were dark and as tired looking as the man’s wrinkled face. He had a black and white checkered scarf around his neck loosly which was the only thing that kept his wild hair in check. He had long curly hair that pointed every which way standing on end growing up out of a his head defying gravity.
This man took his stool and set it in front of the fire pit and nodded a simple greeting to the other travelers. Some of the sleepy crowd took notice of his guitar with furrowed brows.
“Hope you don’t mean to use that Mr...” a child of one of the travelers blurted to the man.
As the man sat down on his stool he took the guitar off his back and stared at the child smiling.
“There was a time...” The man murmured with a soft but gravelly voice.
The crowd around him gasped and looked at the man and started to panic gathering their things to leave quickly as he took out his guitar. A mother held her child back and pulled away worried.
The man hit one low E note on his guitar and the whole clearing turned to silence. The wood chopping stopped. The crackle of the fire pit silenced. The crowd hushed immediately. All that could be heard was the resonance of that one note.
“There was a time...this was not a weapon. In fact...where it was not needed at all...” The man explained to a worried crowd.
The man started to whistle a simple tune, but out of his breath a blue spark appeared floating in front of his face. As he continued to whistle the spark grew wings like a butterfly and flitted around the man leaving a trail of blue and gold light.
“He’s...a bard.” One of the older men in the crowd said aghast.
The man then started strumming a simple repetitive tune on his guitar. The sun then intensified its rays to focus on the man so that golden light shimmered on him. He stopped whistling and the butterfly disappeared but it was then that he started to sing.
“Come gather round people, wherever you may roam...”
The crowd watch the bard intently, mesmerized.
“And admit that the waters around you have grown...”
A mist grew in front of the bard and formed into images.
“And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone...”
The mist turned into an image of the world. The people looked on in wonder.
“If your time to you is worth savin’...”
A burly innkeeper hustled out of the inn and charged towards the crowd yelling.
“Stop! Stop! Begone with your witchcraft!”
The bard stopped and the sun grew darker. The mist dissipated and the sounds of the forest returned.
The crowd turn to the innkeeper with mixed reactions of annoyance and relief.
“I don’t know what trouble you intend for this establishment but go now!” The inn keeper shouted.
The bard sat up slung his guitar over his back picked up his stool and walked over to the innkeeper.
“I do apologize, I meant no harm.” The bard said to the innkeeper tilting his head in a slight bow.
“Who are you? Bandit? Deserter from the king’s army?”
“There was a time...when the tune was used by neither. When it was meant to help man...not destroy him.”
“I don’t care, go before the guard finds you here.” The innkeeper blurted looking frightened.
The bard nodded and continued walking down the path.
A spry young lady with long dark red hair emerged from the crowd and started following the bard.
“Hey! Wait! Are you really a bandit?”
The bard kept walking, ignoring her. The lady chased after him, her short knee high skirt dancing in the air as she ran. She caught up with him and kept at walking pace with him.
“A bard? A minstrel!? A deserter?” The girl asked excited.
“Are those the words they use now?” The bard murmured.
The girl smiled, her hair was adorned with trinkets that jingled together as she walked.
“Please don’t go...” the girl pleaded.
“Go home girl.”
“Don’t have a home.”
“Well neither do I. But that won’t stop either of us from going a certain way now will it? Like the walk back to the inn for you...”
“At least...tell me about the time you were going to show us.”
“That time is gone. That’s what the song twus to be sung.”
The girl stopped in her tracks and frowned watching the bard continue to walk away.
“Are you going to Tennes?” The girl asked.
“If that’s where the road takes me...”
“Farewell bard, I hope we meet again.”
The bard grunted and kept walking.