Sunday, October 16, 2016

Meriac the Bard

Sound, rhythm, music reacts powerfully with the stuff of magic. A few rightly played notes not only induce strong emotions in the listener, but also tap into the latent magic in all things. Bards are those gifted musicians, singers, performers that have become skilled in utilizing this conduit to harness supernatural power. In many cultures bards are simply magicians, in others druids, soothsayers, and mages. They are spellcasters in their own right, with their own methods and expertise.

Bards appear all across the Northern Realm. Traveling bards are the delight of Keleti nobles and a welcome respite from the hurts and wariness of constant conflict. There are many paying lords and taverns willing to hire a bard for his services. Still others travel from place to place aiding those in need. In Crocáno, they wander the cobbled streets of the huge city playing for guildhalls, taverns, and rich merchants, while others come in search of apprentices. In Gealdor there is a glut of talented musicians, the best of which travel between villages, some as far as the halls of House Norrum in Domov. Many bards in Gealdor fill the role of druids. In aelfen lands they are perhaps the most learned. Throughout the Northern Realm bards wander the lands. They are not relegated to storytellers and minstrels. They are the most versatile of classes. Many are champions, swashbucklers, enchanters, freedom fighters, advisors, and more. 

  MERIAC THE BARD  

“... and thus ends the tale of Ivrin, the Man Who Sold His Death!” Meriac flourished his traveling cloak in a grandiose bow. The patchwork of colors that lined his garment seemed to cascade all around him and the tavern patrons applauded him uproariously.

“Well, I’m sorry dear friends but the night is closing in and I must be on my way.” Meriac couldn’t help but smirk at the cacophony of boos and moans at this announcement. “But allow me to leave you with one memory you shant soon part with. For this, I’ll need a volunteer... Yes! You sir, step up here with me. Now I’d like you to assure these good people, you have never met me before.” At this there were scattered guffaws. As if a noble would keep company with a traveling entertainer. “I would like you to check my pockets carefully... and now my sleeves if you would be so kind. Satisfied? Now for the tricky part. Watch closely.” A hush fell over the crowd. With a wave of his hand and an incantation under his breath, Meriac found himself in an alley outside.

The rain was falling quite hard from the black sky, and he could hear no sound from beyond the tavern wall. The silence was soon broken by near-deafening cheers, applause, and laughter. Meriac shook his head disapprovingly. A serving maid had nearly seen him pocket the noble’ s purse. Thank the gods she was knocked over by that drunken patron. He whistled as he walked nimbly over the slick cobblestones. Next time, he would be more careful.

Meriac is a bard currently living in Crocáno. He hails from Gealdor, which instilled in him not only a love of adventure, but his acumen in storytelling. He has traveled through Rhen, picking up skills (and picking pockets) as he traveled south. Settling in Crocáno was the obvious choice for now. They knew the worth of a well-performed tale or song, and both poor and rich alike would pay in their measure. However, he is grateful for his stays in other parts of the realm. His brief stint as a thrall to a Vann chieftain gave him more words, stories, and honed his escape skills. And he wouldn’t have a quarter of his magic tricks had he not been an aide to that crotchety old wizard from Evleen Lake. His own purse is now heavy with gold and these lamp-lit streets have grown perhaps a bit too familiar. For Meriac, every location is a training ground, every person a teacher and every situation an opportunity.