Ever Bard, E008, Autumn 51 Bear – 1


Episode 008


Ever Bard

By Kenneth Shumaker & Aria

Episode 008, Autumn 51 Bear – 1

With InUPress

August 21, 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 008 on …

Autumn 51 Bear 

West Door Inn is quiet this early in the morning. Ta’Myka lays awake in her bed, not sure what time it is. She is not sure even if the mice are awake, Ta’Myka hears insects scurrying and buzzing. Yet, no human activity can be heard. The gods aren’t even breathing outside right now. Today is Autumn 51 Bear, at least Ta’Myka hopes it is. After all she is Time.

The two familiars aren’t licking her feet; the servants aren’t scurrying about. Yet here Time is, wide awake. Being an elf, the darkness is not a barrier to her. She recalls as a child, her numerous trips to neighbor’s houses this early in the day, to play with friends, only to find everyone asleep, and her getting into so much trouble for waking people at ungodly hours.

Crawling out of bed, Ta’Myka stretches. Clearly, the worst part of living amongst humans is their need for so much sleep. I really cannot lie here any longer … life awaits.

Washing her face, Ta’Myka dresses into her leather leggings and yellow tunic. She brushes her long pale blonde hair until it feels smooth and silky. Leaving her hair to hang loose around her shoulders, she puts on her cloak, grabs her harp, and heads downstairs and out into Adan Garden. She walks toward the platform, where Bloodgrue said he would spend the night. If he is awake, I will say a proper goodbye. I might even walk a little ways with him. If he is asleep, I will sit on the nearby bench.

Walking out to Adan without finding out who else is awake and active; Ta’Myka notes, by the positions of the lights in the sphere, the time is around 7:00 to 7:30 in the morning.

Entering Adan, Ta’Myka walks quietly, using her natural elven ability, mixed with her learned roguish skill, to approach the area Bloodgrue mentioned. Though confused slightly, as the last time she was out here the platform was gone. She passes along the path, through the trees and bushes of Adan, until she breaks out into the clearing to find the white limestone platform has indeed returned, as well as the four cardinal position limestone benches.

In the centre of the raised platform is the sleeping figure of Dragoman Bloodgrue, covered by a good orange wool blanket. It is easy for Ta’Myka to see, by the rhythm of Bloodgrue’s sleep, that any out of sync sound will wake him. So, being even more careful and staying off the gravel, she walks around to the northern bench to face south, so she can watch him sleep. Seeing his face in his slumber she notes the worry in the lines of his forehead and around his nose. His lips tightly closed, keeping their secrets.

Carefully sitting, Ta’Myka again looks up to the sphere overhead looking for the signature lights of the early morning. Spotting enough of them through the broken cloud cover, judging their position, Ta’Myka thinks there is another two to two-and-a-half hours until the gods rise over the eastern horizon.

A voice softly says, “I wondered what it would be like to wake to an Angel in the morning. How are you Angel Ta? You really are silent, until you sit down. I wouldn’t know you were here but I woke and opened my eyes to see you sitting there staring up at the sphere. Are you looking at your home?”

Chuckling, Ta’Myka says, “Good morning, Master Blood. I do so like the night sky – I always have.”

Playing a tune on her harp, Ta’Myka begins to sing.

“I asked your god to bring to me the night

When the skies have a thousand eyes

And I find sweetness without light

The moon sings mysterious lullabies

While my shadow rests amongst the trees

Leaves collect their dewy drops

And I sigh to know everything is at ease

When the challenge of a weary day stops

Bring me the sweet night, bring me sweet dreams

Familiar faces in the stars, radiance that gleams

Bring me the sweet night, bring me sweet dreams

Laugh at that which is not as it seems

I welcome the night storm that crosses my path

Streaks across the sky like bolts of gold

I feel no fear, but take pleasure in its wrath

The fleeting surge I want to feel and hold

As the sounds of time come clashing down

Like tendrils of ancient vines attached to me

Covering me with your sparkling crown

I take refuge in all that day cannot see

Bring me the sweet night, bring me sweet dreams

Familiar faces in the stars, radiance that gleams

Bring me the sweet night, bring me sweet dreams

Laugh at that which is not as it seems

Aye, not a night goes by I do not feel the beauty

I think of how the darkness is clearer than day

How it seems to strip away the day’s duty

And graciously offers me a mystical bouquet

To cherish and hold forever in my heart

Night, your infinite secrets never revealed

Kept sacred in the souls of those who depart

My sweet night, my love, my gem, my shield

Bring me the sweet night, bring me sweet dreams

Familiar faces in the stars, radiance that gleams

Bring me sweet night, bring me sweet dreams

Laugh at that which is not as it seems”


Setting her harp beside her, Ta’Myka sighs, then says, “Yes, I really do find peace in the night. But, at the same time, I welcome daybreak when humans come alive again… refreshed and renewed. I am fortunate that I do not require much rest time. It allows me to take in the quiet of the night and the busy of the day. I really do have the best of both worlds – night and day.” … “I suppose you will be taking your leave soon. Perhaps we should rummage through the kitchen first and get you some food and tea. Or, I could walk a short distance with you and we could stop at an Inn for breakfast. What do you say, Master Blood?”

As Ta’Myka performs, Bloodgrue remains still, laying on his side, with eyes open watching her. He smiles as she sets aside her harp and Bloodgrue listens politely, remembering briefly the other worldly, Round Green. Will this one go up in thunder and light as well?

Sitting up and folding the blanket, Bloodgrue responds to Ta’Myka and pulls forth his pack. “Your performance is entrancing Angel Ta … With Bellah’s help I already raided the pantry last night before coming out here, so I wouldn’t disturb folks this morning. I told Doorman Jessep I would leave the blanket on the shelf by the door in the stable, and I would let myself out the stable yard’s man-gate. But, yes, I would enjoy your company as far as you want to walk with me. I am ready to travel after I relieve my bladder in the stable.”

Standing, Bloodgrue shoulders his pack. Then he offers his hand to aid Ta’Myka to her feet. Once both are standing, Bloodgrue picks up the blanket, folds the blanket better and makes sure he has left nothing behind. They watch the platform fade away from this realm before their very sight, leaving gravel and the four benches in its place. They turn to walk out of Adan to enter the stableyard. “I am becoming used to these oddities around you Angel Ta. I am assuming I must become accustomed to oddities if I keep company with you.”

Giving Bloodgrue a wide smile, Ta’Myka continues, saying, “It’s good to see that you wake up in good spirits. Yes, oddities seem to be part of my life, especially lately. There is little chance you’ll get bored around me.” Ta’Myka offers a laugh.

Walking alongside Bloodgrue, Ta’Myka says, “I will walk with you for a ways. I need the exercise after spending most of yesterday sitting behind a desk. Just don’t get me lost.”

She asks Bloodgrue, “So, it will be a few days before I see you again – somewhere around Autumn 75? It was good of Earl Jessep and Rena to agree to the coin. Do you already know who you are going to take on as apprentices?”

Stretching slightly, Bloodgrue then leads to the stables where he unceremoniously relieves his bladder into the manure refuse pile.

Closing the stable yard man-gate behind him and securing it as the stable master indicated, Bloodgrue starts walking up the street, northward with Ta’Myka. “Several things, next time perhaps a little privacy during the morning duties … next, you won’t get lost coming back, as we will only follow this street north, you will return south until you find the front gate. Jessep will let you in when you ring the bell. Exercise is wonderful every day we exist. Earl Jessep saw me last night and offered me coin which I accepted. I know the first two youths I will try to acquire as apprentices. The first will be a responsible young lad named Markus, if he is still available and at the right price. The second is a young girl named Enna, a daughter of a destitute Toydon widow.”

The night darkness stretches away from buildings as they walk without a light source along the street, north towards Bloodgrue’s destination which is two days away. He sets a sturdy pace with easy breathing, but eating ground steadily. Thus, being able to carry on a conversation with Ta’Myka while they walk.

“I will begin with looking for venues closer in to West Door Inn once I return. We can get a foothold into the business, getting a feeling for the business nearby. I think getting in contact with the College of Bards is a great idea too. At least acquiring advice and contacts for us to begin with.”

Listens to Bloodgrue, Ta’Myka walks side by side with the dragoman, she responds, “Contacting someone from the College of Bards is a good idea. And, starting out with venues close to home is wise. I want people from this district to feel I am their girl — Ta’Myka the Bard from West Door Inn of South Palace Hill.   I didn’t have the privilege of knowing the previous owners of West Door Inn. However, I believe the Baron family was well known in the district. The estate was left to Fryers Chozen after the deaths of Lord Baron and his wife.”

Giving Bloodgrue’s arm a light tap, Ta’Myka says excitedly, “I am really getting excited about this. This feels like a new beginning for both of us. Tell me a bit about yourself, Blood. How did you become a dragoman? What makes you happy?”

Bloodgrue watches the road the best he can for obstacles as they walk along. Listening to Ta’Myka, he smiles mischievously and answers her humorously. “As your representative, I will have you known as the Ears of Time, Bard Ta’Myka of West Door Inn. We will have you in everyone’s ears before you know it. People will be talking about you like you are a goddess and wanting to touch you just for the experience of doing so. To listen to you perform just to experience going to the Nine Heavens for a brief moment. What do you think? You want to know about Bloodgrue? Well let’s see. My brother named me when I was born, so my mom made it official on the birth certificate; or so said my father when he sold me to my first dragoman master. That dragoman thought I was too slow and stupid so he sold me at a loss to Master Onar who kept me as an apprentice for about ten years in North Docks, running errands for people. I self-educated myself; earning what I could, to learn more. I made as many contacts as I could, including exotic creatures such as stone stairways along with two Sky Dolls, also including a Round Green Demon from the Sixth ward of the Seven Hells. I have friends I can’t talk about and friends who won’t mention me. I have enemies you don’t want, so I will try to keep them distant. I can scribe in Toydon fourth line script and am working on learning fifth line script. I am considering learning Jalnoric script too. I have skills that will get you into as much trouble as they can get you out of trouble. I can find you most places on Mount Oryn’s surface and a few under it. I can’t sing without hurting things or people’s ears. My dancing needs practice. My brewing is so bad it can kill. What else do you want to know?”

Ta’Myka chuckles at Bloodgrue’s description of his talents. “I probably cannot improve on your singing. But, I can help with your dancing. Dancing comes naturally to me. I actually spent a season with a dance troupe from Dendar. I was quite young at the time, so my parents didn’t allow me to venture too far with the troupe. So, I only performed with them in venues close to home.” … “Ears of Time, Bard Ta’Myka of West Door Inn is the perfect name for me. I like it.” … “This is the second time you mentioned the Sky Dolls to me. And now, the mystery of the Round Green Demon. I am intrigued to hear the entire story. Believe me, I have a few rather mysterious stories of my own. Sometime, over a jug of good wine, we will have to tell our stories. Perhaps your tales will prompt me to write a couple of new songs.” … “But, you still haven’t told me what makes you happy? Do you have a special lady who warms your heart?”

Smiling happily in the darkness, Bloodgrue wonders if Ta’Myka can see his expression. “You are a Bard, I am a Dragoman wanting to be a Watcher. To us, stories are in our blood and come natural. To tell them well and do justice we will sit over a pitcher of wine near a fire and tell them properly. The Round Green Demon may not be near as interesting as your stories.”

Deftly avoiding a suspiciously shiny pool, Bloodgrue continues onward enjoying the company, however brief it maybe. It still maybe over an hour until the gods both rise in the east. The two folks have been walking almost an hour and Ta’Myka has an hour’s walk back to West Door Inn alone. She brought no protection other than her harp. Bloodgrue heard some bards can do more with a harp in defense or offense then a skilled warrior with a weapon, or rogue with poison. But that Bloodgrue hasn’t witnessed yet. Those two rats never let her leave West Door Inn alone though. They trail noiselessly a few metres back. Bloodgrue spotted them in some gods light not far back.

Ta’Myka stops and says to Bloodgrue. “I should return to West Door Inn. Good luck with recruiting your apprentices and the important meeting you must attend. I look forward to when you come again. In the meantime, I will see about contacting the Bard Guild.”

Giving Bloodgrue a smile, Ta’Myka offers him a hug. “Take care, Eyes of Blood. Stay out of trouble’s way.”

Moving to turn away, Ta’Myka says to Eeene and Sereee. “Come on, little ones, let’s go home and eat breakfast. I am sure you are as hungry as I am.”

Eager to embrace Ta’Myka in a hug, Bloodgrue bends down to meet her in a warm embrace of friends. Once completed, he smiles patting her arm. “Walk back safe. Your guards are small, they won’t scare anyone directly but they might indirectly cause fear. You though would charm any threat. Safe travels Ears of Time. Angel Ta, I will miss you … I am happy when learning. That is when I am happy.”

Turning away, Bloodgrue walks off into the darkness to continue his journey on his own through the dark streets of Mount Oryn’s District Eight, South Palace Hill, northward towards the next district, District Four, Velan. And eventually his home, District Five, North Docks.

On the walk back home, Ta’Myka contemplates her future, but keeps her senses alert for anything that may pose a threat to herself or her rodent companions. By this time next year, I will be well known… singing to the crowds. Gone will be the days of collecting just dusters for a few hours of performing. I can see it now … my popularity will soar and people of wealth will pay me to perform for important celebrations. But don’t worry, Eeene and Sereee, I will still be the same lovable Ta’Myka who giggles when you lick my feet in the morning.

Ta’Myka finds the walk back a little nerve wracking. The two rats stay close to her feet, understanding her every word and maybe even every thoughts, but not indicating if that is so.

At the front gate of West Door Inn, Ta’Myka feels the heat from the light of the two gods breaking over the eastern horizon beat onto the left side of her face. No, it is no hotter then she can normally feel. But then the elven sense of temperature is known to not be very good. They can tolerate ranges much broader than other humanoids. The pull rope for the bell is right in front of her face as Eeene chirps, ‘We ready to hide today. We feed and tend pups. Not disturb matriarch.’



Watching the two gods rise to his right, Bloodgrue ponders Angel Ta. Is she even going to remember me? I will do my best. This damn meeting best go well on the 54th. I hope they rescheduled it. Hopefully it’s still in the secluded old inn by the river. Markus best not be difficult. I will deal with my brother’s Lieutenant first to get a feel for their guild mood these days.



As Ta’Myka is before the gate to West Door Inn, she turns to Eeene and Sereee. “My friends, I will bring you fresh food and water in the study. Go, tend to your pups.” She pulls the cord to alert Butler Jessep.

She greets Butler Jessep with a cheery good morning. “I hope you are well, Jessep. My walk this morning was refreshing.  I expect we may see more applicants this morning. By the way, thank you for all your help.”

Ta’Myka makes her way to the kitchen to find some leftover food for Eeene and Sereee. After preparing a bowl with food and one with water, she takes the bowls to the study and leaves them by the bookshelf. Her stomach growling for sustenance, she peeks into the Great Hall to see if breakfast is waiting.

In the Great Hall, the folks of West Door Inn that are awake and already gathered. In here are Butler Gerris, Arch-Bishop Physician Rena, Warden Fayth and Lord Visrathh. Earl Jessep is absent, but Nurse Lydia is nursing Lady Dawn near the fire place.

On the table is a vast spread of wealthy food including; scrambled eggs on a ceramic platter, toasted bread, steaming oatmeal porridge in a silver serving bowl and a ceramic platter of hot cakes, a pitcher of sugared syrup, a pitcher of milk and one of apple juice are in the centre of the table. A pitcher of warm mead is near Ta’Myka’s setting. There are good pottery plates and ceramic mugs, silver cutlery and glass tumblers at each setting. Each day the lot of West Door Inn improves. Obviously, Andalyn isn’t idle or spending all day in West Door Inn.

Walks in, Earl Jessep cheerfully speaks up. “I went to check on our guest but he is gone. I assumed you took a stroll with him, as I know you are an early riser and were not to be found in West Door Inn.”

Ta’Myka’s mouth waters at the smell and sight of such good food. She helps herself to some hotcakes and scrambled eggs. Hearing Earl Jessep’s voice, she turns and says, “Good morning, Jessep. Yes, I did take a stroll with Bloodgrue. He is on his way to North Docks and will return in about twenty days.”

Takes his seat, Jessep is smiling and with a wink answers Ta’Myka evilly. “I am waiting to see what he has cooked up for you. Or what he is going to cook you with? He has big plans for you Ta’Myka, but he won’t share them. At least he didn’t last night when I dropped off the coins to him. I think he married those coins though. They went straight into his belt pouch.”

Pouring herself some mead, Ta’Myka begins to eat at her usual nibbling speed. “My walk this morning has given me an appetite. Gerris, how are you feeling? Do you feel up to joining me for more interviews this morning? I don’t want you to overdo it. You still need rest.”

Rena is quick to say. “As long as Gerris takes a rest this morning and one this afternoon, I think he will be fine. But, it’s up to Gerris.”

Replying to the women cheerfully, Gerris says, “Physician Rena, I am even better now than yesterday. Lady Ta’Myka, I won’t miss these interviews for anything.”

After a good meal and some casual conversation, Ta’Myka leaves the Great Hall to see if any applicants are waiting.  She finds no applicants waiting in the entry way or in the office.

The rats have feasted as she checks their bowls by the bookcase.

Things have gone from hectic yesterday to droll today.

While Ta’Myka waits for applicants, she keeps herself busy in the study. Although she has a fairly large collection of original songs, she knows it’s important to continue producing more songs. Sometimes the lyrics and notes flow like a steady clear stream, at other times the words or music get caught in a weedy swamp. This morning, as she attempts to finish her latest composition, she finds herself caught in the weeds. She puts down her harp and gives Gerris a frown. “It’s not working this morning. The only thing to do at times like this, is to let it be for a while. I do my best work early in the morning, or at night. I am sure it will work itself out, but right now all I am creating is frustration. We should go over our notes of applicants.”

Ta’Myka passes the time with Gerris, working on her notes, getting a clear picture of who she has hired. “We are lacking warriors. Not one warrior in the bunch. Owerton needs more militia and village guards. They don’t necessarily need to be highly skilled, as that can come with training. It could be Mount Oryn has their own shortage of warriors – the aftermath of Tearmain.”

The two wait patiently.

Gerris is happy to have some slow time as he continues to gain strength in lungs and heart.

The day passes and the two discuss the items of those hired.

Coming to a conclusion, Gerris asks, “Lady Ta’Myka, you need two wagons to go back to Owerton. You have teamsters or cartwright’s, and perhaps they should get that taken care of today? Someone can start getting your supplies gathered right afterwards?”

Nodding her head, Ta’Myka says, “That’s a good idea Gerris. Willin is a teamster, so we should have him go with someone to buy two wagons, and the beasts to go with them. Round up Tahzan, Willin and Levan and have them purchase two wagons and horses or mules – whatever they can purchase for six-hundred flairs. Obviously, we are not going to get anything fancy or high quality, but as long as the beasts and wagons can make the trip without the beasts dying or the wagons falling apart, that’s all that is important at this point. The coin chest is in my room. After you get that settled we will make a list of supplies. No sense in buying the supplies until we know how much the wagons and beasts will be.” Giving Gerris a smile, Ta’Myka adds, “Thank you, Gerris.”

Weakly, Gerris stands, coughs slightly while smiling, “Yes, Lady Ta’Myka, I will get right on that. I think Tahzan stays up on the third floor and Willin stays with Levan in the stable housing. I will take care of it. Your chest is on the second floor in your room you say?”

Ta’Myka replies to Gerris. “Aye, in my room on the second floor. After today that chest will be considerably lighter. Take your time rounding up the gentlemen; I don’t want you to overtire yourself.”

Slowly, Gerris hobbles towards the office door smiling.

Hoping that Gerris is up to the task, Ta’Myka ponders. I want him to feel useful. It’s difficult to know how much he is capable of without becoming overtired. He’s a proud man.

With time to spare, Ta’Myka looks through the collection of books in the study, hoping to find something interesting to read.

Gerris toddles off happy to finally be busy again; though finding himself weak. This task may take him some time and he won’t be moving the coins himself.

Ta’Myka investigates the shelves of books. Many are in languages of script she doesn’t know. Of those she knows, she finds treaties on politics to be common, also religion. There are a few play scripts dispersed among the texts, as well as texts of biology, anatomy and zoology.

But what catches her eyes perhaps most intriguing are the tomes of music in bardic script that she easily comprehends. Twelve tomes she locates of songs; one which is at least as old as one-thousand years, the newest maybe only one-hundred-and-fifty-years old. The newest one is new by elven standards; yet it is classical by human standards.

She has them on the desk quickly. All twelve tomes regarding song and tales set to music.

Feeling her heart quicken, Ta’Myka she flips through the pages of the oldest tome. A few of the songs she is familiar with, but most are new to her. How could I have not noticed these tomes before? This is like discovering a huge pot of gold. I can learn some of these songs … adding them to my repertoire.

Picking up her harp, Ta’Myka begins to play the notes of a song that caught her eye. She stumbles a bit at the complexity of the notes, but she notices the simplicity of the words will be easy to learn. ‘The Winds of Time’… how very fitting for me.

She is startled when there is a knock on the office door.


By, Kenneth Shumaker and Aria

To be continued in the next episode 009 …



© 2017 by Kenneth Shumaker and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press

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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.

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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Awesome! You finished Episode 008, ‘Autumn 51 Bear – 1’ of Ever Bard.

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Kenneth Shumaker and Aria with Inevitable Unicorn Press

We would like to acknowledge the following for their contributions in this episode:

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