‘My father,’ to laugh at this.
‘He is an instrument maker. Though sometimes, when pressed
he sung to people, out-with his tune.”
‘Badly I take it?’
He made me feel as a small child wandering down lost,
narrow roads. And forever would—he made me mapless.
‘No. Not really.
He taught me to sing.’
‘And you are travelling on your own?
Your Father is a man of great surprise.’ He smirked.
‘Join me, Dalsarion! And you will not sing alone.’
I had no other offers. Our talking had passed quickly,
but perhaps so, not quickly enough.
And a travelling seller of one’s wits and one’s voices
—with one’s vices–often does not often appeal so,
much to the morning.
As to the fantasy of the night.
Accuse me of the haste to be flighty if you will,
but among those accusations numbered upon me I will rebel,
to be called slow
on the up-take.
It was a quick, clever choice to make.
‘I am,’ I said,
‘quite taken with this talk of our flight.
And I am packed and I am ready! As you see me.’
‘Well! Then this is my morning’s blessing,’
an old swearing; the brothers and sisters, the mornings
taking their great delight
in changing, however slight, their traveller’s directions.
‘I am also suited as you well see me,
and we may be gone.’
He had himself up, laying down
his and my portion of the keeper’s bill
—to which I was much satisfied—
and swooped up in his arm, a light-looking pack
all almost before I had made my aggrandisement.
He strode for the door.
By the time I had found my way
outside I looked to find my new travelling companion.
And I saw him stand by a fancy-looking horse.
I had never seen one like it, it was out of my league.
She was almost twenty hands and had—that morning chosen—to be pearlescent.
I suddenly wondered… this man did not seem a lord.
He stood looking in his clothes, fine! By any means.
Yet seemed too comfortable–unlike any lord.
His horse confused me, by making of him an ambiguously fancy man.
‘Sir?’ I asked him—for I was still young and would call any man
let alone one for my lack of breakfast-chores
with the title;
‘What is it that you do?’
And he laughed as he turned and as he said:
I do much the same as do you.
I sing for my lively-hood! Would you not hear it in my voice?
I tell the old tales with flute and lyre.
‘And the new, with wry amusement!’
To be said with a ‘little flourish,’ he would tell me, to introduce himself.
Tell me later.
‘Would you seat first upon the horse?’
Then this, was that.
The bard’s name who had so
was Mithril. And he was an Elf!
As we swapped our seat upon
that gilded horse, between the two of us
we had begun. And, by way of introduction,
he gave me a tale of travelling minstrel’s mirth;
how he was an Elven-Court Bard and
a singing-player of delight.
That he wandered now,
to find new pieces with which to serenade
His lover’s rest
His kingdom, maid.
He said, or rather sung it now. In my listening I was not to doubt,
Sir Minstrel Mithril laid it out, and I was caught up there within it.
The Bard was talented, and I envied him.
Thankfully he seemed to wish to regale me.
He was not silent, no, on that journey south
—where I had not thought to set travel—
and though he would not quiet,
in his sing-song voice,
neither he nor I were set to suffer.
We talked and played our tunes,
taught and tutored and debated in wordy might;
two players on the road.
This, said he
would be my traveller’s fee.
Fine. He sang. We played. I did as he asked.
While we travelled, he would often find his un-able’d humours
in proclaiming with certain magnitudes
statements worth such ridicule, as thus:
that his poor, en-aged fingers fought
to play with any similar, and focussed fortitude
as I took for granted.
To with such, I would reply
‘surely to mine eyes, thou doest look much,
as so spoken, en-aged,
but to another’s? I must engage…’ Plaintively mocking.
Therein, his shocked look would find
my eyes wandering his pretty, youthful facade, finding,
perhaps looking, for that wrinkle or two
that would summon to him such a wrath.
And he would? Laugh!
‘Ah! Such youth
banter aside. You look upon a man-elf not one-day younger
than one ninety-five.’
He kept his spirits up so, while grumbling that
his travelling partners—as I learned—were so slow.
And I must have agreed, that though he swore they travelled
much in his foot-steps on those ways;
that they had slept within the same inn as we, the night before.
That they had planned to travel early,
he had seen no sight of them,
and I none either.
Here though, is what I learned through his jesting,
this morning for me was profitable:
That the Elves,
Were long lived,
Were musically inclined—in common-mis-conception,
only—many were, he spoke aside,
no-so more directed, than the singing drunkard, as I had come to mind.
That they were magical creatures,
often so inclined to gloriously-glamour with any
that they so would choose.
I looked then at him suspiciously, and he smiled.
Though this later became our long-standing joke,
that one time left me sweating my yoke.
As it were, they were often left standing when,
those Elven peoples he said… yet,
what words he was to say,
were too soon lost,
to a disturbance down, whence
way we had came.
* * * * *
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