Ever Bard, E007, Autumn 50 Bear – 7


Episode 007


Ever Bard, Ears of Time!

By Kenneth Shumaker & Aria

Episode 007, Autumn 50 Bear – 7

With InUPress

August 7, 2017


Ever Bard


Following in this series, we get to know the female elven teenager – a 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 Kenneth Shumaker and Aria in Kenneth’s medieval fantasy realm of Quantos. Experience their adventures beyond those of mere mortal in the time of King Dolan IV.


We continue with episode 007 on …

Autumn 50 Bear 

Bloodgrue sighs, hoping Ta’Myka understands his urgency. Bloodgrue needs to leave for North Docks tomorrow morning as he is already overdue for a council meeting. They will only postpone the meeting once, for four days, so if he doesn’t leave tomorrow morning, he will miss the meeting. That won’t be good. He wasn’t supposed to be aware of these meetings publicly, but then no one is. They are private Guild Court meetings set up by the council to iron out issues, and Bloodgrue was named a judge two years ago while still an apprentice dragoman. Next spring they will pin him as a full council member if he doesn’t mess up. This delay has Bloodgrue nervous; the Council may give a second chance, but no more. Bloodgrue needs to be a member to get past the Watcher’s Dawn. “Ta, can you give me your answer tonight? Or I will have to get your answer on my next visit. If I don’t have an answer this time, my next visit will have to be on Autumn seventy-nine.”

Ta’Myka is not sure what the urgency is. ‘I do trust Bloodgrue.’ So, Ta’Myka makes a quick decision and says. “My answer is yes. I will go upstairs and get the coins. I will borrow from Lady Mychel for now.”

Ta’Myka leaves the study and walks up the stairs to her room. Entering her room, she opens her coin pouch and discovers she has nine flairs. She takes two of her own flairs, then counts out twenty flairs from Lady Mychel’s box of coins. ‘It’s one heck of a lot of coin, but it’s investment in my future. With Bloodgrue’s aid, I will become known in Mount Oryn. Ears of Time, Eyes of Blood – how very clever.’

Placing the coins in a small sack, Ta’Myka takes the pouch and returns to the study. Confident in her decision, she gives Bloodgrue a wide smile and hands him the pouch. “Here are your twenty-two flairs, Eyes of Blood. We are now the unstoppable duo.” She lets out a light laugh.

Bloodgrue hefts the coin pouch and listens while feeling the weight. He estimates the time of day while formulating a response to Angel Ta. “Lady Bard, Ears of Time, I shall leave before gods-rise tomorrow. It will be an interesting twenty days once I am in North Docks. My stops will be home, to arrange apprentice housing, then off to get the contract for my first apprentice. But first I must safely arrive home, as quickly as possible, to attend an important meeting that is vital to the future of my career.”

Bloodgrue sighs as he tucks the coin purse into his specially crafted belt pouch strapped on his hip, his Blood pouch. These coins are staying with him until he deems otherwise ready. Standing, Bloodgrue extends an arm to Ta’Myka while he says, “Shall we join the rest for evening meal. I believe the gods should be setting about now. But with no windows in this room, it is only a guess.”

Ta’Myka accepts Bloodgrue’s offer of his arm. As they leave the study, Ta’Myka suddenly releases her arm from Bloodgrue’s. “I must check on Gerris before I eat. I will join you in the dining room in ten minutes.”

Ta’Myka quickly gathers her harp and makes her way to the servant’s quarters upstairs. She pauses for a moment, wanting to make sure she appears calm before approaching Gerris. ‘Don’t jump to conclusions. He may be better by tomorrow. Just because he is old, doesn’t mean whatever has him ill is going to kill him.’


Bloodgrue enters the Grand Hall to find Deacon Fayth and Warden Jessep seated, already waiting. With them are Arch-Bishop Physician Rena, Gerris, and Nurse Lydia holding Lady Dawn. All look over at Bloodgrue, who is perhaps a little puzzled.

Confused, Bloodgrue, seeing Gerris, asks politely, “Master Gerris, you are up and about? How are you feeling?”

Grimacing, Gerris turns to Bloodgrue after looking briefly at Rena. “Arch-Bishop Rena tended to my illness, thank you. I feel much improved. I feel I can continue my duties now, Master Bloodgrue. Will Lady Ta’Myka be joining us shortly?”


Ta’Myka, confused with not seeing Gerris in his bunk, looks around the room. Not wanting to jump to conclusions, but concerned that someone may have thought he was too sick to stay upstairs, she quickly runs down the stairs. Entering the dining room, she is just about to ask about Gerris, when she notices him sitting comfortably in a dining room chair. “Gerris! I went to look for you in the servant’s quarters. Should you be downstairs? You do look better.”

Ta’Myka looks over at the others, surprised to see Rena has returned.

To everyone’s happy surprise, Rena miscalculated her return and arrived backwards in time. She spent over twelve days at Physter Hospital but was only away from West Door Inn for the larger part of a day. Rena offers. “I was able to look in on Gerris and concoct a medication to ease his suffering, along with a prescription of plenty rest and no physical activity other than light walks. He is to only use stairs at a minimum until he regains the strength of his heart and lungs, which might take the better part of a season, at his advanced age.”

Ta’Myka gives Gerris’ shoulder a gentle squeeze before sitting down next to Bloodgrue. She looks at Rena and smiles. “I knew you would be able to help Gerris. Your skills as a physician are outstanding. I’ll keep a close eye on Gerris to make sure he gets enough rest and relaxation. We don’t want him to relapse.”

Ta’Myka announces to those sitting around the table. “It’s been an important day for my future as a bard. Bloodgrue and I have decided to work and travel together. Travelling alongside a dragoman will give me more exposure as a bard and hopefully more opportunities to sing in taverns and other venues while living in Mount Oryn. Rena and Jessep, after our meal I would like to speak with you about something.”

Rena nods her head to Ta’Myka and says. “Absolutely we can meet.” She looks over at Jessep to make sure he is in agreement. “We’ll want to give Dawn a bath and spend some time with our daughter before settling her for the night. But, we can talk immediately after our meal.”

Enthusiastic, Ta’Myka replies to Rena and Jessep. “Thank you. I promise I won’t take too much of your time away from Baby Dawn.”

She looks over at Dawn and smiles. ‘There is something very extraordinary about that child. The way she came to be in this world is very mysterious. At least one good thing came out of the chaos and tragedy of Tearmain.’

Motioning for attention, Bloodgrue eagerly speaks up. “I have to leave before gods-rise, but I should return by Autumn seventy-eight to torment the world with Ta’Myka, as the Ears of Time and Eyes of Blood.”

Gerris, feeling much better, smiles and adds eagerly. “I feel able to take on some of my duties as well.”

Joyous, Jessep smiles boisterously. “I know very little about you, Bloodgrue, but I know a few things about Ta’Myka. You won’t be bored. And you will find adventure and trouble. Time won’t be an issue, nor will death. So, have fun.”

Things are drawing to a divergence, and the group cheerfully eats evening meal while they discuss their day and Rena’s last twelve days. Dawn feeds from Lydia. Gerris has a few episodes of weakness but recovers quickly enough. Bellah checks that the food is to the satisfaction of the diners.

Andalyn finally drops in, and she addresses Fryers, saying, “Excuse me, we are wondering what the instructions are for the folks that are leaving to Owerton. We have no more bunks. Most are willing to help out and work here until they depart for Owerton. A couple of the folk are ill and are being tended to. But, so far there are no issues. Who do staff members address if there are issues, and will there be additional folks? I am thinking we can convert stable space and use second-floor common space converted into bunking space, but we will need funds to purchase some more cots.”

Rapidly, Ta’Myka addresses Andalyn’s questions. “If there are any questions or issues in regards to the extra folks staying here, then I am the one to see. I suspect they will be with us for about three more days. Definitely, you should see to buying more cots. The cots and extra food expenses will be covered from the funds I have from Lady Mychel. We want our guests to be comfortable, within reason. Hopefully, the ill ones will recover soon. Rena, would you mind offering your services to the ill ones? Lady Mychel’s funds will cover the costs of your time and any treatments you deem necessary.”

Rena nods her head and adds, “Certainly, I will check on the ill ones. There will be no charge. I suspect they probably just have minor health problems, or they wouldn’t be seeking employment in Owerton.”

Ta’Myka shrugs her shoulders non-committed. “I hope any health problems are minor. It’s best they travel to Owerton in good health, or at least as good as possible. One of them has a cough so it could be just a cold.”

Andalyn bows politely to Lady Ta’Myka. “Yes, my Lady, we will address you then. A fund of one-hundred Flairs for cots and food and other extra items for the next three days will suffice, I think. Any coins left over will be returned to you. Do you have an idea how many more cots we will need? As to their health, I am not so sure the health problems of the one man are minor. However, after seeing what Archbishop Physician Rena has accomplished with Gerris, anything might be possible.”

Nurse Lydia stands, cuddling Dawn who is now sleeping peacefully. “If we may be excused, I will put Lady Dawn to bed for her sleep and tend to my own family. Good evening ladies and gentlemen.” Lydia quietly and quickly departs from the room.

Bloodgrue looks around as Andalyn also leaves. In the room are Ta’Myka, Rena, Warden Jessep, Lady Fayth, and Bloodgrue. “Ta’Myka, please perform a song for us; your harp was on the desk. I can fetch it if you like.”

Ta’Myka gives Bloodgrue an easy smile. “I never turn down a request to play my harp and sing. I placed my harp on the little table outside the dining room.”

Ta’Myka fetches her harp and then settles herself back in her chair. She plays a few chords as she says. “I wrote this song while in the realm of Rolain. But, I think it fits today, as all of us gathered here are about to embark on a new journey in life. It’s the beginning of new times for all of us. The song is called ‘The Bridge’.

Ta’Myka begins her song. She sings …


I want to be your shining light

When despair is the only thing in sight

Waiting for you to find a smile

And strong enough to wade through the vile

They left you naked, shadows playing in your mind

Stumbling to find a way, let me whisper words so kind


Let me be your lantern in the dark

Let me be your sweet singing lark

Let me be your wings to fly away

Let me be your hope in all this decay


Hear my words, all you lost and betrayed

This song tells of the beginning of your crusade

The light will shine for you, so strong and true

As we join together and begin anew

Building a bridge to set us free

Together, we’ll leave nothing but their debris


Let me be your lantern in the dark

Let me be your sweet singing lark

Let me be your wings to fly away

Let me be your hope in all this decay


It’s not too late to wonder where we are

Never mind that our journey seems so far

Our souls they shall not shackle

Adversity is but a challenge to tackle

It’s hard to follow the light of one firefly

Let us be a swarm and light up the sky


Let me be your lantern in the dark

Let me be your sweet singing lark

Let me be your wings to fly away

Let me be your hope in all this decay


We’re building a bridge to set us free


Ta’Myka puts down her harp, and for a few brief moments, she’s lost in the memory of Rolain – the wonder, the fear, the chaos, and mostly the uncertainty of her future. She is struck with the realisation that if she, a mere elven bard, was able to free herself and so many other souls from the chains of Rolain, then she can probably conquer any challenge life throws at her.

Ta’Myka feels herself relax … ‘I am safe and among friends. Life is good.’

“So, that’s my song. I am sure Rena, Jessep, and Fayth can all relate, considering what you have all gone through these last several days. We all have our own special light to share. You too, Bloodgrue.” She gives Bloodgrue a subtle knowing wink.

Looking at Rena and Fayth, Ta’Myka can tell from the expressions on the two priestesses’ faces that the song touched them. Though, looking at Warden Jessep and Bloodgrue, she’s not sure if the song had an emotional impact. ‘I suspect both Bloodgrue and Jessep have learnt how to hide emotions, out of necessity.’

Rena takes a deep breath. “You have no idea how I can relate to that song, Ta’Myka. Thank you, I so enjoyed it.”

Fayth, her eyes moist with tears, nods her head and swallows. “I still have the nightmares. I don’t know if anyone would ever believe me of some the things I witnessed. I am not sure if I will ever be able to speak about some of the things … even to my betrothed, Visrathh. Sometimes I want to talk about it, but the words just won’t come out. It’s as if … if I speak the words, then it will make it all true. I’m not sure I want to accept such horrific truths.”

Fayth, who has always felt a bond to Warden Jessep, looks over at him as tears flow down her cheeks.

Ta’Myka gives Bloodgrue an apologetic look. ‘I am never too sure how a song will touch someone. I wanted the song to represent hope; I didn’t mean to cause Fayth more pain.’

Warden Jessep, knowing Fayth’s pain, stands and moves over to comfort the young woman. Even though Fayth is an Archbishop, a church-appointed Deacon, and a Warden of the Imvor god, she is still child-like in mind and soul. Reaching out for Fayth, Jessep takes her in his arms as her father might have. After all, if it hadn’t been for Fayth and her father, Jessep might have passed away or, at best, been blind for life. He had no children until he met Rena, so Fayth is his soul daughter to guardian in her father’s stead.

Bloodgrue’s mind wanders during the performance, considering so much that has passed in his life and the possibilities of his future. ‘Bridges indeed! Never burn the bridges in front of you or behind you. Always consider the placement of any you come across before crossing.’ He smiles excitedly as Ta’Myka sings. ‘Adventure and growth are everyone’s; it’s how we deal with it that shows our character. Ta’Myka seems a strong to match me. We will do well.’

Bloodgrue cheers and claps enthusiastically, but then yawns. “I must sleep now. I will go out to Adan and use the platform for the night. I will leave without disturbing anyone in the morning. Good tidings to all. Fayth, cheer up, it is all going to be great now.”

Ta’Myka replies to Bloodgrue. “Safe travels, Bloodgrue. You are welcome to sleep upstairs. But, if you insist on sleeping in Adan, then at least ask Andalyn for some blankets. The night can get cold. I look forward to our next meeting.”

Grateful, Fayth finds so much comfort in Jessep’s arms. As much as she loves Visrathh, it is Jessep who seems to understand her more than anyone, even more than her father. Fayth unconsciously gives Jessep a light kiss on the cheek. Withdrawing from his arms, she wipes her eyes and gives Jessep a weak smile. “I’m fine … really, I am. The song just struck a chord in my soul. The words of Ta’Myka’s song and Bloodgrue’s words ring true. Things will be great now. I truly am blessed. Our futures are bright.” Fayth excuses herself. “I too am going for a walk in Adan before settling into bed. Have a good evening everyone.”

Ta’Myka stands and gives Fayth a bow. “Be well, my friend.”

Lord Jessep looks at the two remaining people with him and smiles at how lucky his life has been. Turning to Ta’Myka, Jessep waits patiently.

Alone with Rena and Jessep, Ta’Myka takes a deep breath and speaks her request. “Rena, Jessep … as I mentioned earlier, Bloodgrue and I are joining forces, so to speak. For Bloodgrue to spend more time travelling with me, to promote my singing, he requires two apprentices. I am sure you both know that taking on apprentices’ costs plenty of coin. So, I borrowed twenty flairs from Lady Mychel’s funds to lend to Bloodgrue. I’d like to borrow the same amount from you so I can pay back Lady Mychel. I am certain she would be agreeable to lending me the twenty flairs. But, since she is not here to ask, it doesn’t sit right with me to just take her money. Would you be willing to lend me the twenty flairs? I will definitely repay you, in time.”

Rena speaks with a tone of excitement. “Ta’Myka, I think it is important for you to spread your wings in Mount Oryn and become known as a bard. It’s an honour to help support you in any way I can. I have no problem with lending you the twenty flairs. Jessep, my darling, do you have any objections?”

Jessep frowns. “Yes, it comes down to money, doesn’t it? Rena, you put in twenty, and I will match it. Might as well start the dragoman and bard off on the right foot; I don’t think they realise how expensive it will be getting in the good doors to perform. I will go get twenty Flairs and take them out to Bloodgrue if you get your twenty for Ta’Myka.” Quickly rising to his feet to head out to fetch his coins, Jessep hesitates at the door. “Any objection, Rena?”

Rena looks over at Jessep and shakes her head. “I have no objections. I had my father to support me with my ambitions to become a physician. Ta’Myka, I am giving you, not lending you twenty flairs, in my father’s name. My father’s life was healing, but he also enjoyed music very much. He would want me to help you get started in Mount Oryn.”

Ta’Myka’s eyes widen with surprise. “Thank you so much. I don’t know what else to say.”

Rena smiles as she gives Ta’Myka a warm hug. “I must see to Dawn. I will leave twenty flairs on the dressing table in your room.”

Alone in the dining room, Ta’Myka takes a moment to think about her future.’ I am not sure what travelling with Bloodgrue is going to be like. Though, I can imagine it will be interesting.’

Ta’Myka sits back down with her harp in hand and begins working on a new song. The hours go by without notice as she works on finding the right melody to fit the lyrics of her song. When she is satisfied that the song just needs a few minor adjustments, she climbs the stairs to her room. Finding the twenty flairs in a small sack on her dressing table, she places them in Lady Mychel’s box of coins. As Ta’Myka prepares for bed, she contemplates how fortunate she is to have such good friends in her life.


Life is different for everyone, and Bloodgrue knows this. He takes life as it comes. Ta’Myka is someone who is special, and Bloodgrue isn’t going to leave her to get by without investigating her specialness. ‘She has to be an Angel.’ But Bloodgrue has life business to attend to as well.

Bloodgrue prepares for a quiet night. Using the wool blanket supplied by Andalyn, Bloodgrue lays down on Adan’s limestone platform to sleep.

Almost asleep, Bloodgrue is surprised when he is disturbed by the footsteps of Earl Jessep. Sitting up, Bloodgrue offers, “Good evening Earl, did you want to discuss something else?”

“As a matter of course, yes, Dragoman. I understand that you are entering into business with the Bard. But I believe that you underestimate the costs. The Archbishop and I believe you two should get a decent run at the gate. So we are fronting you a grant of fifty Flairs. No thanks are needed now. But later we will expect some favour in return. Understood?” Jessep hands Bloodgrue two leather pouches of coins.

Concerned, Bloodgrue frowns. “Earl, you are serious, an additional grant of fifty Flairs in addition to the twenty from Ta’Myka, in exchange for our services in the future to you – people who do things others can only imagine of?”

“Simply put, yes!” Earl Jessep says.

Bloodgrue needs no time to ponder this, then he replies, “Of course, yes, but I must maintain my work and dragoman status and the holding territory at all times, deal?”

“Granted, Master Dragoman.”

The two men clasp arms, and Jessep returns to the manor house.

Bloodgrue sleeps, resting easily with seventy-two Flairs that are secure in his special Blood belt pouch.


By, Kenneth Shumaker and Aria

To be continued in the next episode 008 …

© 2017 by Kenneth Shumaker and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press

www.inupress.ca inupress@inupress.ca


All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system (except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review or other endorsement or in a recommendation to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Internet) without permission in writing from the publisher. However, when contacted the author may be generous with reprint rights and articles.

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About the Authors: Aria and Kenneth Shumaker:

About the author: Aria:



I met Kenneth (Rusty Knight) (the moderator of the Quantos realm blogs and my beloved husband) who introduced me into his world of North Amara almost 14 years ago. For several years, myself and various other followers contributed to the ongoing stories. My character, Ta’Myka the elven bard, was one of my characters in one of our fantasy story. It’s exciting to bring her ‘back to life’. I hope you find her as interesting as I do.

There isn’t much to say about myself; I am really just an average middle-aged woman.  I work in education and have a nursing background. I have two wonderful grown children granting me six grandchildren.


About the author: Kenneth Shumaker (Rusty Knight)



Following a long break from writing, Kenneth recovered his passion for writing. He is a science fiction and fantasy genre author, as well as a non-fiction writer, with Inevitable Unicorn Press (InUPress). Kenneth has been blogging with the Owerton Challenge and other blogs for many years. He now writes several serial short stories. Kenneth’s two businesses, his wife, his two children, and his six grandchildren keep him busy.


With an annual subscription from InUPress, you will receive our monthly delivery of ‘Notes from InUPress’ for C$12.99 annually. The notes, by Kenneth Shumaker, contain interesting information on writing and publishing and is published through Inevitable Unicorn Press.

Available to you, Kenneth also has coaching sessions on the art of writing and getting published for C$125.99 per hour. This service is available to a limited number of applicants. To arrange an intake appointment email inupress@inupress.ca or call 1-780-523-5835 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm MST, Monday through Saturday.



InUPress offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Your payment will be returned to you if you are not 100% happy with our friendly courteous client service and professional work.

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Join Kenneth Shumaker (Rusty Knight) in his Dragoman Bloodgrue anthologies of serial short stories. ‘Dragoman Bloodgrue, Volume I: Fare Where?’ is the first of the episodes in the Dragoman Bloodgrue serial series. Read how Bloodgrue tests the patience of the gods’ resolve. Do the gods let the brave be fools? Is Bloodgrue brave or a fool? Follow Bloodgrue to see where his life’s path takes him. In ‘Dragoman Bloodgrue, Volume I: Fare Where?’ we are introduced to Apprentice Dragoman Bloodgrue as he begins his journey climbing the social ranks of Mount Oryn in North Docks, District 5.

Find this volume to purchase on:

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Enjoy Kenneth’s new intriguing fantasy novel ‘Laret’, released June 19, 2017. Enter the Darkness of Souls and journey with the Black Swans through the Web Shireward as they battle the invading armies of the god Tearmain. This captivating novel is available at the following:


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Discover this new novel ‘Exhaust from the Tin Woods’, published from InUPress, written by Eric J Kregel, available in e-book and paperback.

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InUPress offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Your payment will be returned to you if you are not 100% happy with our friendly courteous client service and professional product.

Sincerely, Kenneth with Inevitable Unicorn Press.

Awesome! You finished Episode 007 of Ever Bard.


Let us know what you think of Ever Bard by going to www.inupress.ca or www.everbard.ca. While you are there, you can join the Inevitable Unicorn Press or Ever Bard e-mail subscription lists to receive news and updates from our authors Kenneth Shumaker, Brian Hill, Eric J Kregel, and Aria. When you sign up for the e-mail list, you will receive a free document. This free pdf changes with time. Recently, the gift was a copy of Kenneth Shumaker’s biography of the protagonists, the Black Swans, from his epic fantasy novel Laret. Later, the bonus was an episode from the epic fantasy serial series, Lanis’.

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Kenneth Shumaker and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press



We acknowledge the following for their contributions in this episode:

Kenneth Shumaker and Aria are the episode authors.

Kenneth Shumaker creates the graphics.

Donna Shumaker as our episode editor.

Inevitable Unicorn Press, also known as InUPress, is responsible for distribution, marketing, production, promotions, and publishing.

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