from The Songster's Tale... The innkeep went about his rounds in quick fashion. The musician would keep the guests preoccupied enough that he could get to work on Damien’s list and he silently thanked the gods for his good fortune. Before leaving the commons he stole another look at the odd musician and his strange instrument. He had never before seen such a fiddle. It was thin, with sharp angles, and a chin rest seemingly made of hammered silver. But the strangest bit had to have been the color of the wood. How was it possible to achieve a teal stain? It must have been stained- after all the grain was still visible. He shrugged, resigning himself to never knowing the ways of strange lands as he walked toward the stables. That was when he heard it. A note so pure it might as well have been made of crystal.
Borris remained just outside the door of his inn, statue-like, waiting for the rest of the song. But no other notes came. Had that been a warm up? His chest was throbbing with anticipation and the hair on his arms was standing on end despite the mild summer night. The explanation was simple. A single note from that strange instrument had sent a chill through him. Should he stay and hear the performance? How much of Damien’s wrath could he weather?
The old innkeep did not have much time to answer his own questions as the music began to play in earnest. The first note was higher in pitch this time, and was played with such an intensity, Borris could have sworn he felt the music in his blood. It was an airy song, vibrant and energetic so that it called to mind images of vast mountain ranges blanketed in winter’s chilling embrace. It was sunrise in this icy domain, and every beam of warmth cast its rainbow about him. It was adventure pounding in his chest, the thrill of new places and new people curling his lips into a smile. He was now leaning against the door frame, taking in the wonderful vibrations of the song, delighting in the emotions it evoked in him. There were frosty caverns to explore, relics to uncover and matters of life and death careening through his fanciful daydream. This was the life of an explorer, a trail blazer, a man as large as life itself...
The visions in his imagination eventually faded with the song's dying notes, and Borris snapped out of his reverie, finally remembering where he really was. This was Wótheȟika...there was no room for wonder and adventure here. If the guilds didn't bleed you dry, the blightpus would get you, or some other tragedy would strike, just like it always did. It occurred to him the inn had been quiet since the song had ended. Then a mortifying thought struck him. What if he was the only one who had enjoyed the tune? He craned his neck, hoping to hear the usual chatter of the inn's patrons. Nothing. Would he have to compensate them for his mistake in hiring the minstrel? He had promised the giant man a meal, how was he going to kick him out without a fight? An explosive applause burst into his senses and he breathed a sigh of relief. How could anyone have disliked that perfor-
Borris stared into the moonlit night, making sure he was not still dreaming. Sticking out his hand, he became acutely aware of how awake he was. The tiny pin prick melted immediately as it struck his palm, but there could be no doubt about it… it was snowing.
Author's Note: This one has been in the works for a long while now everyone, bear with me a little longer and I promise the story you get will have been worth the wait.