Ever Bard, Ears of Time
By Rusty Knight & Aria
Episode 003, Autumn 50 Bear – 3
May, 25, 2017
Following in this series, we get to know the female Elven child – an 115-year-old bard whose beauty is god-like – known as Ta’Myka by her parents and mortals, and known as Time and as Fate by the gods and other immortal. She is joined by the Journeyman Dragoman, holy hero of four gods, Bloodgrue – a twenty-year-old human Jalnoric male from the North Docks of the royal city of Mount Oryn. Journey through these stories with authors Rusty Knight and Aria in Rusty Knight’s medieval fantasy realm of Quantos. Experience their adventures beyond those of mere mortal in the time of King Dolan IV.
We continue in Ever Bard with Episode 003 on …
Autumn 50 Bear
Ta’Myka walks over to the bookcase and crouches. “Sereee, are you under there? It’s time we got some fresh air. Shall we take a walk in Adan Garden?” Mumbling to herself, Ta’Myka adds, “Aye, I have time for a short walk in Adan.” Thinking about Adan reminds her of the evening, just a few days ago, when she was in the garden with Bloodgrue. ‘I had the vision of the gnoll, Tearrlain. Sereee and Eeene were actually talking to me. Eeene called me the goddess Time. What does it mean to be Time? Tearrlain said I had the ability to alter time. But I have no idea how to alter time, and would I ever really want to? Sereee warned me about the resurrections. Since returning from the strange world of Rolain, my life has become so much more complicated. I am no longer just an elf bard who loves to sing; I am so much more. My life is not my own anymore. For some reason, I believe I should seek out Bloodgrue. Yes, after I have completed the interviews for Lady Mychel, I will take Sereee, Eeene, and hopefully Gerris, and we will find Bloodgrue. I think that Bloodgrue is somehow connected with me finding my way as Time. It seems bizarre that a dragoman is somehow my connection to all that puzzles me. But, he was with me when I had the visions.’
Feeling more settled with what she has to do shortly – seek out Bloodgrue – Ta’Myka calls out to Sereee again. “Come out you little cheese lover. A walk and some cheese, wouldn’t that be wonderful for a soon-to-be mama rat?”
With determination, Ta’Myka contemplates Time and her future role in the events. It seems odd to contemplate such events for anyone. Is this a sign of mental instability? For some, yes, but Ta’Myka has been carried along to so many strange places. Death has called upon this elven maiden of such young years … Rolain, Bertaln, The Meadow, over the different planes, so many places she has travelled involuntarily. She has seen much for being such a young age, and she has adapted well. Her skills as a bard have served her tremendously well on the adventures. Now Ta’Myka is feeling ties stronger than almost all bonds to two rats and one mysterious Dragoman. Consider this: an elf feeling a strong need for a human? A sentient being is thinking of rodents as her family? Is this sanity?
The Dragoman refers to Ta’Myka as an angel. Maybe there is some truth in that now. He left days ago, on Autumn 46 Bear. How far has he gone? Where did he go? Did he go home? Or has he gone elsewhere?
Then, as she is contemplating these thoughts, there is a knock on the study door, just as Ta’Myka hears Sereee chirp again. She understands from the chirp that Sereee is not coming out, but she is well. Eeene emerges from under the bookcase.
Ta’Myka smiles at her Ratmal, Eeene, and quickly stands up. “I take it Sereee is okay. I suppose if pregnant rats are anything like pregnant humans, we best allow her to do as she pleases. Neither of us wants the wrath of Sereee upon us.”
Moving to respond to the knock on the door, Ta’Myka shouts out. “Please come in.”
The door slowly opens, and Jessep is standing there, looking excited. “Master, good news has arrived.”
Ta’Myka’s bright emerald eyes twinkle with excitement as she rapidly replies to Jessep. “I do love to hear good news! Out with it … what is this good news you speak of?”
A familiar figure steps around Jessep and briskly walks into the study. “Would a young dragoman be good news or bad news? Welcome or not, Lady Bard?”
Ta’Myka gives Bloodgrue a wide, surprised smile. “Master Bloodgrue! It is definitely good news to see this particular dragoman. What brings you to West Door Inn?”
Ta’Myka walks over in a hurry to Bloodgrue, gently takes him by the arm and leads him to the table with the food and tea. “Surely you must be hungry and in need of drink. Tea will not do … we need good wine! Or, would you prefer ale?” Before Bloodgrue has an opportunity to reply, Ta’Myka yells out. “Jessep, please bring Master Bloodgrue a meal, as well as wine and ale.”
Ta’Myka cocks her head to the side as she stares at Bloodgrue. “How odd, I was just thinking about you today. So, have you returned for your lock of hair?” Ta’Myka lets out a hearty laugh.
Bloodgrue frowns mischievously as he lets Ta’Myka take his arm. “You will give that back when you are done, right? I came because an Angel called my name, bringing me back here to West Door Inn. Could you please turn down your volume, there’s no need to scream for me.” Looking at the tea and biscuits, Bloodgrue rubs his belly with his free hand. Picking up the closest biscuit, Bloodgrue takes a bite letting the food melt in his mouth as he chews.
Looking with longing desire at Ta’Myka, Bloodgrue continues, saying, “I can’t leave. You didn’t let me. I got as far north as the south boundary of the Central District and had to return here. My hair? I didn’t leave any hair with you.” … “Why did you call me back, Angel Ta?” With a sly look twinkling in his eyes, Bloodgrue waits.
It’s not too long before Bellah enters, carrying a tray with two plates of food. Another staff member enters carrying two shiny silver pitchers and two gleaming clear crystal goblets, which Ta’Myka does not recall seeing before. Setting these on the desk with the rest, Ta’Myka smiles at her servants and thanks them for their service. The employees leave and close the door behind them.
Bloodgrue waits for Ta’Myka to take her seat before he sits down.
As Ta’Myka sits, she looks at Bloodgrue with exaggerated bemusement. If truth is known, she is a bit bewildered by Bloodgrue’s arrival. But, she finds his teasing amusing, and she enjoys giving her own brand of teasing. She scratches her chin and frowns as if confused. “I called you back? Yes, maybe I did call you back. Now you know another of my many talents – besides my obvious charm and my pleasing melodic singing voice.” … “Thank you for the letter. I found your lock of hair inside the letter to be rather puzzling. If including a lock of your hair in a letter is your way of expressing your need for a haircut, I am sure one of the servants can oblige.” Ta’Myka says with a grin.
Ta’Myka picks up the butter knife on the serving tray and waves it in front of her face. “Or I could attempt to give you a little trim.” She puts the knife down and laughs. “Seriously, Drago Grueblood, it is nice to see you again. I understand it is difficult to leave an angel.” Ta’Myka continues in a serious voice. “Earlier today, I was contemplating the vision I had when I was in Adan Garden with you. I can’t help wondering if the gods brought us together for a reason.” She shrugs her shoulders, saying. “Our paths crossed, and now I have a feeling that my life is about to change … again.”
Bloodgrue nods and smiles like a happy child. “You did call me back; I heard your voice clearer than any. It was you. I am not sure why you called me back. But threatening to cut my hair with a butter knife is a novel greeting.” Taking up a plate, Bloodgrue sits by the desk on the side opposite of Ta’Myka. He begins eating the cold meats and bread. Smiling, Bloodgrue adds, “Your lot constantly improves. The cook has improved over the four days I was away. Seriously though, I never left a lock of my hair. But it is odd you mentioned that as I found a folded parchment in my pack that contained a lock of hair. I swear the lock matches your hair closely.” Drinking eagerly from a crystal glass goblet, Bloodgrue closes his eyes enjoying the flavours and texture of the ale.
Slowly, Ta’Myka replies. “Hmm … I really have not noticed the cook to be getting better. She’s always been good. Perhaps you’re just hungrier today.” … “You found hair like mine in a parchment? Isn’t that odd? I guess there would be no mistaking my hair, as it is rare, if not unheard of, for humans to have my colour of hair. What do you think it means – this bizarre exchange of hair placed in parchment? See … I was right the gods have something in their plan for us.”
Bloodgrue swallows what he is chewing and then says, “Seriously, I have no idea about the hair. After seeing things like Sky Dolls and you, I believe anything is possible. Concerning the cook, you may be right, I may be overly hungry. It might be best to moderate my eating … Share with me.”
Ta’Myka nods her head and smiles as she begins eating her meal. “The hair remains a mystery. I have never heard of sky dolls. Perhaps sometime you will tell me about them.”
Bloodgrue looks shyly over at Ta’Myka, his obvious desire in his lusting eyes. “Do you think we are meant to be together as partners, as a couple or travel mates?”
Ta’Myka takes a minute to ponder Bloodgrue’s question. She detects, in his eyes, a spark of romantic interest. ‘I haven’t thought of Bloodgrue as a partner in the romantic sense. However, he is handsome, and there is a special charm about him.’ She thinks back to her most recent, and only two romantic partners. ‘Losing my virginity to Talan, the half-elf with a dragon-sized chip on his shoulder was not the wisest thing I ever did. Clearly, it was a misguided curiosity on my part. Then Harstal – yes there was an attraction. But, his devotion to plants and animals left little room for me and what started out as my keen interest for his love of nature, soon turned old and rather boring. Lesson learned – take things slower. Something any normal elf would do.’
“Bloodgrue, I think, for now, we are meant to simply be travel partners. Since I left my parent’s home, fifteen years ago, I have had numerous travel partners. None of my travel partners lasted very long – even by a human’s standard of time. However, that may be due to the very nature of adventuring. Adventurers don’t always agree on where their adventure should take them. So, you end up parting ways. Perhaps it will be different with you and me.”
A squeak under the bookcase indicates the audience is listening and has an opinion. Bloodgrue looks over to the bookcase, casually saying, “That’s enough from you, squeaky.”
Ta’Myka laughs. “I think that is Sereee squeaking. I suspect she likes you. I think we are both independent spirits. Are you willing to give travel partners a try?”
Life has many mysteries, with the minds of people being no exception. Was Bloodgrue romantically interested in Ta’Myka, or maybe just lust for her beauty? Or was he simply pondering the concept behind Ta’Myka’s hair showing up in folded parchment inside the inner secret pocket of his pack? A place that would have to be deliberately sought for and few would find. An elf has a chance, although a slight chance, to find the secret pocket. So, it is no accident that placed the hair in his possession. He utters curiously to Ta’Myka, “I have been the possession of another person most of my life. I earned my freedom, and then I signed my life over to a guild and to Mount Oryn. But, I have gained a few freedoms, such as I can travel and I can freelance my work. As I wrote you, I own the North Docks territory. For two seasons now I have been a journeyman Dragoman. I do my job so well. I have such a reputation that two individuals are sponsoring my Master Dragoman Certification. I don’t desire to let them down, thus disappointing them and me. I was simply summoned here, towards serving along with you and maybe helping your two rodents and the people tagging along with you. Do you still have your invisible wagon pulled by Garticle and Franklin?”
Ta’Myka lets out a light laugh and shakes her head. “There is no invisible wagon, just my visible confusion as to thinking we had a wagon. I think I understand what you are telling me, Bloodgrue. You have worked hard to establish yourself as a respected dragoman. You have responsibilities. Aye … responsibilities … You aren’t an adventurer or a free spirit. I apologise if I jumped to conclusions about you. I don’t know what came over me, making assumptions.”
Bloodgrue leans forward, “Actually I am adventurous, but I also believe in honouring the commitments I make. Unless you know how I can work for you and work my district, I must stay there where my debt is owed. What came over you? Perhaps a desire?”
Ta’Myka pauses for a moment as she realises she is having a sad moment. ‘I don’t fit into the elven culture or the human culture. I was raised by traditional elven parents in a human world. I wanted to be elf and human, resulting in so much confusion.’ She recalls someone in Owerton telling her ‘you’re not like any elf I’ve ever known.’ ‘I laughed it off, but that statement hurt down to my core.’
Eeene cautiously pokes out from under the bookshelf and chirps at Ta’Myka, then Bloodgrue, as a loud knock raps the door to the office, all happening in unison.
Bloodgrue, bending down, strokes Eeene’s back while smiling and saying, “I know. Congratulations papa.” He sits up straight in the chair again, as Eeene walks proudly over to Ta’Myka, where Eeene chirps yet again four times.
Ta’Myka looks over at Bloodgrue and then down at Eeene. ‘Why does Bloodgrue, a dragoman, understand Eeene and I can’t? They are my familiars.’
A squeaky voice penetrates Ta’Myka’s hearing, “You never asked to.” And Eeene chirps again in rat and squeaks, “Four new mouths to tend in pack.”
Ta’Myka smiles as she says to Eeene. “I didn’t know that all it would take is for me to ask. I should have asked sooner.” Ta’Myka wants to be happy for Eeene and Sereee, but the truth is, she sees the situation as something else to tie her down – another responsibility, another thing to worry about. Regardless, Ta’Myka says cheerfully. “It’s wonderful that Sereee had her pups!”
Ta’Myka congratulates the rats, but even Eeene knows she doesn’t mean it, asking, “Is the pack too large for the food supply?”
Ta’Myka sighs sadly. “Eeene, I am happy for both you and Sereee. I am not so worried about our food supply, as I am in your pup’s safety. I’m just not sure what the future holds as far as your family. I can conceal you and Sereee easy enough. But, keeping six of you away from harm may be difficult.”
Eeene says, “We could make our burrows in Adan with the other long life ones.”
Ta’Myka looks towards the door and says to whoever is behind it. “Yes, please come in.”
The office door quickly opens half way, and Jessep leans in and exclaims, “Your next interview is here Lady Ta’Myka. A Miss Annalise.”
Ta’Myka gives Jessep a warm smile. “I’ll see Miss Annalise in about ten minutes. Thank you, Jessep.”
Bloodgrue smiles but feels tired, as he clears up the now empty plates and tray. Walking to the door carrying the tray, Bloodgrue says, “Later, when you are done, we can talk more. You don’t mind if I go out to the Garden for a while?”
Ta’Myka nods her head. “Yes, we can talk later. I have committed myself to finding workers for the village of Owerton. By all means, enjoy the garden. As you know, Adan Garden is a very special place to spend time contemplating or just relaxing. See you in about an hour, Bloodgrue.”
Bloodgrue bows and smiles, and with a wink he responds, “Lady Ta’Myka Angel, it will be a pleasure in about an hour. Take the time you need. You might have the last applicant now, or there could be a dozen more today. Anything can happen.”
Ta’Myka, now alone with Eeene and the hidden Sereee, speaks candidly to the rats. “I want to share your joy, I really do. I just don’t know enough about the structure of a rat family. I am worried that six of you will eventually lead to sixty of you. Do your offspring eventually leave the pack, or is it just the female offspring who remain? Having you as my companions is new to me. We all have to adjust, and I want your pups to thrive and be welcome. After all, they are your family.”
Eeene replies calmly. “We control our numbers as we need to. Every pup stays with pack until dead. You, as matriarch, say how many we be. That how many we be, only three. Then pups die so we only three, no more pups until matriarch say more pups. That how rats work.”
Ta’Myka, in all her confusion, isn’t sure how to respond to Eeene. ‘I am not even sure how this works – communicating with Eeene and Sereee. Do they know what I am thinking, or just if I want them to know what I am thinking?’
She speaks aloud to Eeene. “My little rodent friend, what do you mean that there will be only three of you? You say three of your four pups are going to die? How do you know that? As for communicating with each other – is it more complicated than just speaking aloud to you?”
Eeene responds as best a simple mind can, “We be a pack of three if you want. You, Sereee, Eeene. Pups will die if Matriarch decrees so. As many pups live as Matriarch decrees. We see your mind when not guarded.”
The ten minutes pass quickly, with footsteps now heard from the hallway and a firm knock is heard on the door.
Rusty Knight and Aria
To be continued in the next episode 004 …
© 2017 by Rusty Knight and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press
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Rusty Knight and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press
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- Ever Bard, Episode 002, Autumn 50 Bear – 2
- Ever Bard, Episode 004, ‘Autumn 50 Bear – 4’