Enchante Journals, Volume 3 (book)

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The Enchante Journals: A Chronicle of Music and Magic

By Elesigis Arilafrei


Introduction

Bards are the storytellers and lorekeepers of the land, but too often we have forgotten the truths of our own past. There are fascinating tales behind the music and magic that so defines what and who we are as Bards; tales largely unknown. For that reason, my companions and I have taken it upon ourselves to create these chronicles, what we have called the "Enchante Journals."

In this endeavor, this vast undertaking, I have been aided by the following noble Bards: Hildart Sverul, craftsman of Hibarnhvidar and master of the Dwarven epics; Nereeth Gethaelt, wandering singer and performer and entertainer of children; Endirek Chydaku, of the Order of Kalodi. In this volume of our chronicles, we look at the origins of instrument sentience.


Volume III

It was often said, throughout time, that a Bard's instrument was his surest, truest, and most loyal aide and companion, offering him comfort and reassurance, giving him power and strength, allowing him the means to ply his profession and earn coin. But it was with the development of the processes that allowed actual instrument sentience, that this statement became more accurate than the ancient Bard's could ever have imagined.

The first sentient instrument was created, actually, through happenstance -- a random encounter of two separate and most unique Bards. Had they never crossed paths as they did, who knows if their gift to all Bards, the sentient instrument, would ever have come into existence?

Those two individuals were Modag Gaith, a Human Bard, and Thuerzi Kariban, a Halfling Bard. The first, Modag, was the scion of a noble and wealth family with a long history in as Warrior Mages -- specifically, as artificers and enchanters. But the fifth son of Chelieth and Laseothra Gaith was a rebellious sot, who strained under the obligation and formality expected of him, a roguish sort that was never pleased with the expectation of him, from his very birth, to set a certain course throughout life and to make certain specific achievements in a field chosen for him. So like many in similar circumstances with that same Bardic spirit and flair, he ran off.

He spent a number of years as a womanizer, spending frequent time in taverns, living an easy and carefree life. It was in one such tavern, the Closed Fist Punch in the city of Ratha (its rowdy and bawdy port district, to be precise) where his effortless days came to a close. For you see, years of free spending had finally caught up with him, and he had eaten through the coin he had taken with him when he fled his parents' abode. The tavernkeep was prepared to either gut the louse or call for the guards to throw him in Ratha's deepest dungeons, when Draasulk, an elderly and revered Bard, intervened.

This fine man offered to take the boy under his wings, show him the way of a minstrel, and enlighten him in the secrets of the bardic craft. Draasulk was old, you see, and he had no children. He had never taken on any apprentices, either, and so as his days came to a close, he wanted someone to carry on his legacy. And Modag did remind the old S'Kra of his own childhood.

Modag agreed to become apprenticed, and a fabulous partnership was born. The elder Bard paid the tab, easing the disgruntled tavernkeep, and off the two set on grand journeys.

Under the tutelage of Draasulk, Modag became well learned in our ways, our life. And he came to respect it, admire the others who walked this road in life, and he became extraordinarily fond of his teacher and friend, who had given him such a wonderful new direction, given meaning to his life. He sought to honor his old companion when the S'Kra Mur finally did pass away... he sought to, as his master had intended so long ago, carry on the legacy.

It was sheer ingeniousness that gave him the idea to try and combine his Bardic knowledge, and his love of his instrument (his new best friend, with the elder Bard's passing), with those things he had learned from his childhood, of elemental enchanting. He wondered if he could make his instrument come to life.

The next Bard, integral in this piece of our history, was our Halfling fellow. Now, this chap was a wanderer, mostly, who went from village to village, across lakes and plains. At some point in his travels, he came upon the Arid Steppe of Forfedhdar.

There, he journeyed for some time with the Nomads of this steppe, somewhat savage tribes... but he was quite taken with them, fascinated by them. He remained with these tribes for years, studying them, documenting their ways, attempting to learn more about them. And he watched some of the incredible things he did, things he had never imagined before.

There were rituals performed involving the shamans of the tribes... some users of the moons' energy, some utilizing the power of the gods... that were unlike anything he had seen in "civilized" lands. Kssarh, a GuildMaster of the Moon Mages, put it like this:

"Skindancers were potent shamans who employed
spirit invocation, myth and trances born of
both ecstasy and pain to enter the netherworld
and touch the future."

That was part of what they did, and Thuerzi was quite taken by it all. He eventually left the Arid Steppe, wondering just what the limits of the shamans' powers were, and wondering in what ways it could be used to affect Bards.

So, to go back to my earlier point, it was mere happenstance that these two very unique Bards came together at the same time. Modag was staying at an inn in the village of Boar Clan, seeking some rare woods to utilize in his work, when Thuerzi arrived on his way out of Forfedhdar. While they sat over drinks, they discussed their lives, their experiences... and they realized that they just might be able to help each other. They set out for the place Thuerzi had just left: the Arid Steppe.

This was the first step toward the original sentient instrument.

Modag had prepared a very special instrument, you see... one he had crafted with his own hands, and had dedicated in honor to his mentor. Beyond just crafting this instrument, though, he prepared it with his elemental magic, placing enchantments upon it. This was the first step. Then came the next...

With the aid of the shamans of the Arid Steppe, these two Bards were able to speak with a deceased Bard, long dead, a valiant skald who had died in a long- forgotten battle. The shamans were able to use their ritualistic chants and dances and fires to summon the spirit of this deceased Bard. The two living ones, Thuerzi and Modag, were then able to speak with him. They sought to convince him to cross over from the boundary between the Planes of Abiding and Unknowing, and to attain life in a new form, inhabiting the instrument Modag held.

With the magics of the shamans, the power of the stars and the moons and the gods themselves, combined with the elemental enchantments that marked the harp, the essence and thoughts of that deceased Bard were sealed within the instrument. It was, in a sense, alive.

They tried this process with other instruments, with other souls, and they were indeed able to replicate it. The Bards then and there formed a pact with the Nomads... although, at this point, I must make note of this fact: though we know what the Nomads offered to those Bards (an agreement to aid in the creation of sentient instruments) we do not know, and I fear, never shall, what those Bards offered in return.

Nevertheless, they returned to civilization. And rest assured, they awed and amazed their Guildfellows, who had never before seen such a thing as a living instrument.

It was through their efforts that today we can honestly say that instruments are a Bard's best friend.

****************

Our chronicles of Bardic magic are continued in the next volume.

By my hand,
Elesigis Arilafrei