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The Bard
Posted in Numb
Reflections of a Dead Man
The Bard restlessly tossed and turned in his sleep. Every jolt of anxiety that ran through his jerking body sent out a wave of pain as newly obtained scars threatened to reopen.

He was trapped in an alien city scape, the architecture featuring impossible geometry. Completely surrounding the city was that same darkness he had seen while with the mysterious woman from the ice. That same overwhelming sense of dread radiated from the shrouded miasma.

Despite the towers that spiraled out horizontally, despite the homes that had no foundation, the city had a pristine clean feeling to it. The conflicting observations of so much chaos and order within one space made the Bard's mind swim as he desperately tried to force his own laws of order and sense onto the structures. For some reason he expected results, and the agitation causing his tossing and turning grew from frustration.

A familiar yet hazy voice echoed through the cityscape. 'Why did you do it, Bard? Why did you come back?'

The Bard wildly spun about, attempting to locate the source of the sound. "Who are you?! What do you want with me?!"

Silence was the reply he received. As The Bard strained his ears waiting for a response, he realized how truly soundless his surroundings were. 'Was it this quiet before?.. Or is this whole accursed place refusing my question?' The fever grew, enveloping The Bard's head in a warm cloth, blurring his mental perception.

He collapsed, knees slamming into the cobblestone street beneath him. "I... I don't know." The miasma seemed to creep further into the city, sneaking and prowling in closer to hear his words.

"I'm just a bard- a traveling minstrel. I just wanted to become famous and wealthy, bringing joy to those that I visited and leaving admirers in my wake. But no. We had to go to that damned island of ice!" The Bard slammed his fists into the ground, bruising his knuckles and splitting them open. "WE RUINED EVERYTHING!"

The darkness briefly retreated from his cry. Silence smothered The Bard, and slowly the darkness returned to its embrace of the fallen man.

'No... The evil that the woman showed me had already consumed everything that I could see to the south of us. Regardless of where we had been, we would have fallen victim to it.' Tears trickled down his cheeks, tears that seemed to be brushed aside by the darkness that held him.

'The truth of the matter is that if we hadn't been in that village... If we hadn't met that woman... The darkness would have killed us all.'

The Bard shuttered from a sudden cold that radiated from his heart and soul. 'Is that why I came back? Is it some irrational debt that I felt towards her?' His mind flashed back to her sad smile as her soul departed to the other side in his place. 'No... She said herself that there was no shame in fleeing from this world. "You have earned a right to rest" she had said. So why did I choose to remain?'

The Bard remained unmoving from that spot in the city all night, the darkness and fever acting as both his blanket and his torment.


"We can't delay. We must go there now, I do not think it wise to see what repercussions there are for ignoring the request of a dead king."

The Magician also had a visitor last night it seemed. At least his visitor spoke back to him...

The others were divided. Ringabel was the loudest voice in opposition with The Magician. The Bard couldn't be bothered participating with the group. What did it matter? The night would consume them all anyways. 'Why did I come back... What possible reason could there be in this world for me to stay?..'

Finally, the group was decided. They were going to head out in search of the fabled Lord of the Undead. The Bard couldn't help but smile. 'Fitting. If we manage to find this supposed God of the dead, we'll be able to swear fealty to him while we still have breath, as opposed to doing so by force after the darkness thrusts us into early deaths and shallow graves.'

The Bard wordlessly broke from the group and headed to the blacksmith. There would be no time to wait for the custom weaponry that he had requested. The Bard hefted a long sword and deftly made a few short close swipes through the air. 'This will have to do for now.'

As the Bard mindlessly shambled back to the rooms where everyone else was packing, he suddenly lost his footage and slipped on a piece of ice, falling on his back. Rather than picking himself back up, he chose to lay there for a moment, staring up at the monstrous sky above him.

'Something out there is calling to me. The rest of my party may bear the marks of heroes, but I no longer share that with them. They may seek adventure and glory, but there is some other fate out there for me.'

Something snapped in the Bard's feverish mind, and a wicked smile crossed his lips. 'Whatever it is, I hope it's fun.'

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