Chapter 7:

The Runaway Bard

Reverie's End: Blades of Malice


                                                              Date: 5/13/991; Time: 9th hourBookmark here

The rain outside was pouring, but many wealthy families could still enjoy their stay in Samara. Whether it was food, art or music, there was always something to do in this wealthy capital of the Ramah Republic.Bookmark here

On this particular day, Will Isles was present in the audience chamber of House Loire, one of six great houses in Ramah. It was a small gathering of approximately 20 aristocrats and their families. Everyone was dressed in expensive clothing, and the hall was fit for kings. Yet, at this present moment, it was Will that was the center of attention. He was the entertainment for the morning; he was their bard.Bookmark here

He sang old folk songs from Charon, Gaea, and Ramah. He even knew a few from the west. This was how Will made his living and got to live the free life he so desperately wanted. His voice and lute brought joy; his blade brought pain and sorrow. It was an easy decision for Will to make. He swore to never return to the old path, but the sword his sister gave him never left his mind — her words sunk deep, scaring him. "Can I truly live free and never hold the blade again," he thought to himself.Bookmark here

His songs that morning began to take on a more solemn tone as he thought upon these things, provoking tears from some of those present. Will's heart dictated his music; it was unavoidable. He could not hide his deepest thoughts forever.Bookmark here

It was time to end the concert, for he had been playing for quite some time. He bowed and the audience applauded. Will bid the ladies and gentlemen present farewell and left the premises of the hall. He could have stayed and eaten some fine food, but he was simply not in the mood for such things at the moment. He only collected 40 bronze pieces from the butler for his concert and went on his merry way. Nobility in Ramah always paid well.Bookmark here

When Will wasn't playing the role of bard, he preferred to spend his time outdoors, speaking with the locals. Samara, although a wealthy city, still had its fair share of poverty. This was to be expected anywhere in Ethos.Bookmark here

As he walked through the streets, he ran into Nick, the beggar, who he talked to briefly and gave him a bronze piece. Will's wealth was not only for himself; it was for those he felt truly needed it. There were several in town, who Will knew personally by their first name. As in other towns he had been to in the past two years, he was starting to become popular. He never wore his amulet, so that people would not recognize the Tide of Isles engraved in it. Will never gave out his real name; he was only known as "The Bard of Samara".Bookmark here

After Will visited a few of the usual places and did some good deeds, he chanced upon a small restaurant that was within his price range and ate some fish there. Samara, being a coastal city, had plenty of it.Bookmark here

Will continued his rather normal day, trying to not stay in the rain for too long. Then, he arrived at his final destination: an orphanage. There was plenty of work to be done here. There were approximately 70 children of various ages, and only one girl old enough to be considered an adult. No other adults could be found to help out. Sometimes the children got adopted, but Ramah's nobles generally frowned upon such an act. Even Samara had a darkness hidden behind all that beauty.Bookmark here

Will had become popular with the kids in just the short two months since he arrived. He not only supported them but also spent time with them. But even the altruistic and kind Will had the potential for an ulterior motive. He had fallen in love with Namira, the girl that stayed there. She became an orphan at age 4, when her parents died from starvation. Unfortunately, poverty, as well as the resulting alcoholism, were a common occurrence in Samara. Not everyone in Samara could afford to live here. These orphans depended on others for their survival, and Will was not going to let them down.Bookmark here

Will entered the vicinity of the orphanage, which was comprised of 10 small wooden houses, all in heavy disrepair. He was immediately greeted by a swarm of small children running out to meet him. They ran so fast that they almost knocked him over. Will could only chuckle; he finally felt at home. Castle Isles and the Loire Mansion were not his "home".Bookmark here

Namira came out to greet him with a smile and waving her slender arms. She had copper hair, blue eyes, and wore simple clothing, just like the rest of the children. Will wanted to buy her a better dress but knew that she would refuse, saying the money should go to the children.Bookmark here

"How was your day?" asked Namira in a sweet voice.Bookmark here

"The usual morning concert. I got paid well and they even want me back tonight. These aristocrats give out bronze pieces like they're candy. It makes me so angry" said Will in an angry tone.Bookmark here

"You can't be expected to right all of the world's wrongs," replied Namira.Bookmark here

"I really wish I could" Will said, laughing at his own child-like faith in something unattainable.Bookmark here

Namira and Will both giggled, sighed, and decided to drop the depressing subject. Then, they spent the next hour playing with the kids. But it was now time to leave.Bookmark here

"Sorry, I have to go now. There's an evening concert; we can always use the extra money," Will said in a regretful tone.Bookmark here

"Bye Mr. Bard!" shouted the kids.Bookmark here

"Maybe one day you'll tell us your real name," said Namira, with her hands on her hips.Bookmark here

"Maybe I will…. One of these days," said Will, hesitating.Bookmark here

He waved goodbye and left, walking away from the dilapidated houses, and into the city. Will arrived in Loire Mansion shortly afterwards and entered his private quarters to rest. The room given to him by Niro Loire was better than what most commoners could afford. Such was the power of Will's charisma; he was now an overpaid musician working for a noble.Bookmark here

Will tried to rest, but he could not. The black sword in the corner of the room kept speaking to him and reminding him of the past. Yet, he could not bring himself to toss the family heirloom. It was a part of him; a part that he wished to leave locked up forever.Bookmark here

It was time for the concert. Will left his room and went to the audience chamber. He was professional and played without error; Will had sung and played these songs many times. But something kept bothering him and he sensed an evil nearby.Bookmark here

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