Bard's Voyage of Discovery, A

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A Bard's Adventure of Discovery

by Bardess Eoworfinia Galarang, Bladesinger

I don't recall exactly what year it was but it happened when I was a younger bard. Ya see, I grew up in Ratha and knew lots of the sailors (to my parents' distress), but there was a Chantey man named Olaus that I was often found seeking out to listen to his songs and tales of the sea and his days of working for the Redthornes.

He had a wonderful songbook filled with many songs as well as tales of mysteries of the seas and lands. Olaus never said if they were truth or not but after my adventure with him, I have a feeling that songbook held more than just songs and stories but many clues to secrets. It is a shame that book was stolen, but I get ahead of myself.

One day, I happened upon Olaus in Jack Tarr's bar to learn that Olaus had spotted that good-fer-nothing Captain Janus selling some strange instrument to Elepaio in her shop. This instrument I came to find out was a shintu and made of coral. It made no sound, though, Olaus went on to tell me. Odd, we both agreed, and after a few rums, Olaus pondered on the instrument, and perhaps it was just the rum, but he vowed he thought he'd seen something of an instrument that made no sound in his songbook. We parted our ways that day and it was several weeks before I was able to speak to him again.

Upon our meeting, Olaus told me and a few others of a song scroll he found on a creature called the selkie. He sang the song -- well, what he could recover of the song -- and a few rums later he was off, and we were left with a puzzle. Over and over we sang this song:

"Long, long, long and lone 
 Is the selkie's song when the storm winds moan, 
 Is the sigh of the sea as it rubs the stone, 
 Is the word of the sea that lives in the bone..." 

"By a fire on the beach at the edge of night, 
 She brushes her hair in the flickering light. 
 Her throne is the shadow of a broken keel, 
 Her white feet rest on the hides of seal." 

What could this mean? Surely this creature was not hidden to us on our island? But just maybe it was. After all, that bastard son of the Redthorne's, Captain Janus, along with that Skra'Mur thug of his, Thaarl, wouldn't happen upon the island for nothing. We began to realize that there was something on our island they wanted and it was very important we find it before them.

We began to search day and night but with no luck. Olaus did his best to find more of the song of the selkie but the pages were too ruined. Olaus took to carrying his songbook with him as we searched, which turned out to be a mistake.

Mark my words, one day this is going to come back to bite us all. That Skra'Mur Thaarl ambushed us and took that songbook. Poor Olaus had a bump on his head that the empaths could only shake their heads at and tell him to put a cold slab of meat on till the swelling went down. I think Olaus merely cooked that meat up and proceeded to down a bottle of Jack Tarr's rum instead. I heard tell many years later of visions the moon mages were getting that I tell you, my body took a chill the moment I heard the retelling of those visions because I knew right away it was Thaarl and the stolen songbook.

The Skra'Mur in the visions murdered his guides after they helped him through the jungle as he sought his prize, a mask. The visions stopped, and I can only hope that nothing else ever comes of them, for the Skra'Mur knew he had found a treasure book filled with many prizes if he followed the clues to them.

But again, I fall away from my tale. Soon after that eventful eve when the songbook was stolen, we looked on the horizon to see the volcano; did that not look like a keel? Quickly we began to explore, climbing down a step incline to a water's shore. Our excitement grew as we dove into the water. When we surfaced the most beautiful creature I have ever seen was there before me. She wasn't nearly as tall as an ale barrel, almost looking like a thin Olvi child wearing a grey pelt cloak. She was hairless and pink-skinned with golden, almond-shaped eyes that glinted from beneath the hood like the first light of dawn. She moved with a feline grace that exuded an aura of wisdom as would an ancient creature conscious of its place in time.

We looked at each other curiously then suddenly she opened her mouth and sang. Olaus got an idea and pulled out the coral instrument that Janus had brought to the island and handed it to me. To my surprise, he told me to play it for her, and as I lifted it to my lips to play it, instead of silence coming from it or a watery-airy sound, a beautiful song sprang forth and the selkie began to sing with it.

After several mesmerizing moments had passed, we were suddenly confronted with a web-footed creature with razor sharp teeth called a merrow. Before I could blink, those teeth sunk into me. The selkie grabbed me, pulling me away from the teeth, but I had already suffered wounds too deep, and soon my spirit floated over my dead body. My spirit watched as the selkie protected my body until someone was able to get to it and bring my spirit back to it to once again breathe.

Since that day, I often go to the area and play the shintu to the selkie, listening to the song they will sing back. I have learned that some hunters will seek prize from the slaying of a selkie. Many of those hunters have found a prize of my blade at their throat instead. Olaus explained later how the selkie had gone there years earlier, back in the time when Ratha was ruled and the selkie were used for torture and experiments. So remem- ber dear hunter, do not let your blade silence another song from a selkie -- she will protect you if you let her. If the creatures with teeth so sharp, the merrows, surround you, call out to the selkie with a shintu and she will come to your aid.

The End