Legends of Belariath


Pterot Zaruismith - Moons, Blood, and Lightning - The Reality

There is nothing like seeing a blood red moon during a lightning storm. I have not seen once since I was but a young child in my village, watching the world rush by me in droves as my family farmed peacefully as generations of my family always have on that same patch of land. Centuries have crossed my great-grandfather's fields with clouds and rain for as long as halflings have tilled that land. Tribes of barbarians have risen and fallen over time, like the tides of the ocean close to home. And yet did that one night change my world forever.

Was I not ravaged by gargoyles or raped by wolven, violated by hunting parties of dark elves, or tortured by goblin raiders. Nothing horrific happened to skin and bone mine, nor blood and soul due to my witnessing of the moon of that night. I could not ever forget it. Something happened in my heart when the lightning bolts crossed my sight which turned an innocent farm girl into a naive bard-to be. My tongue reached for a way to tell my family what I saw during that night, only for it to tie itself into knots. The only way I could truly tell them was to write it down... but I could not read or write.

So did my quest to explain one thing in my short life begin. The next few nights did I stay in the barn, watching the storm's progression as the forks of pure natural rage struck out at the countryside, even thrice destroying tall trees or boulders rich in the ores the dwarven smiths in the nearby town prized and raved over. Such beauty had I never been witness to before, and could I not simply leave such a memory behind me. Even now when depression strikes me, and I lose all time to loss and woe, does the sheer moment of that first sight devour all such pain from my spirit.

Not knowing much of what I was doing would be considered foolhardy even by a trained adventurer, did I run away in order to seek out a bard. I sought not just any bard, mind you, but one who could evoke the same reaction in me that the blood moon and lightning did. Being relatively inexperienced with men and women and the relations between them, I thought the more attractive physically the person was, the more they could teach me. I wound up in one of the trader cities two weeks later, tagging along with the most arrogant high elven bard one could ever hope to come across.

(To this day, I cannot remember his name, nor what he truly taught me. All I remember was that his kissing was horrible, and his prose far more pathetic than his "tales" of his past adventures when he claimed to be a swordsman in the army of Tyrrian. Years later, I found out in a most amazing fashion that the bard had not lied totally about his illustrious history: he had been in the army of the high elven state of Tyrrian... as a pathfinder and archer. With hands like his, it is not hard to imagine such, but I digress.)

Spending the next month in his "tender" care, did I learn much about life, living, and lyrical content. He might have been a horrible storyteller, but his target audience was something shy of an elven court. Mostly semi-drunken tavern patrons and those of "lower blood" than he, his ways of capturing the essence of the moments he witnessed from three bow-shafts away performed all the magic he needed to earn himself enough copper talents and golden Mehrials to pay his way through life. Having suffered no grievous wounds to show during his tales, could one so delicate at some strange passings of the day be brusque and blunt with his words to the point some with delicate stomachs would turn pale and shift in their seats. I always loved it when some of those stuffy, inebriated and slovenly bastards who would grope at me found themselves strangely lightheaded and rushing for the doors to allieviate their stresses.

My family found me in time, however, as I was not trying to hide from them. I found myself punished for the next year because of my "flight from responsibility" as my father called it. The bard did I never see in person again, but his tales did I managed to find popping up in places I would find myself traveling through many years after. The moon when I first came home was not the colour of ochre, but a rich golden, as if kissed by Syune Herself. Now I may not celebrate in the Dragon Goddess' glory, but I do like some of the legends surrounding her. I was spoiled for great tales after meeting that one bard, and so did I intend to give others that same joy. First, however, did I have to survive the next year stuck on that farm with naught to read or write with but my own wits and thoughts.

After that year, however, I convinced my family I would not run off with strange and attractive men. Good thing I did not stride the same way as a gorgeous Torian, or I might have found myself lost in her trails for another spell. I did my best to breed the best livestock for my family, and even found myself going to other farms to help out with their harvest, if only to gain a few more coppers so I could buy my quills and ink and parchments. Some days when I would travel into town, would I find myself at the mage's shop, asking the proprietor if there were small tasks I could do in order to earn myself an extra parchment or two. Did I learn more words in there than in a lifetime with any bard, for those sorcerers are more wordy than swamp trolls are covered in boils and warts during the summer.

Once when I was a few years older, and finally on my own, did I come across the most peculiar man. Tall, dark of complexion and darker of spirit, he found himself in the same tavern I was. His bearing was not of a sorcerer, although wielder of magic he must have been. Younger than I by half a ten-year, was I certain, but his mannerisms told of one whose maturity had been burned into their soul and flesh through means one is best not considering. When I was reciting something I had wrote to a rather unappreciative audience, he came to my defense with a tirade of words and swift striking illusion that caused all to pause and literally SEE what I had been saying. After that, none interfered with my tale - was it out of fear or actual interest to this day I cannot say. When I went to thank him, he silenced me with the most interesting quotation I had heard from any human:

"I silenced the others not for your sake or mine, but their own. If only once can they be shown the majesty of what lay beyond their own reach, should such event be made to happen. Even if mortal soul is undeserving, and mortal coil so fleeting, can one taste greatness like elixer upon their palate, if only shown the flask from which to imbibe. Besides... it was a good story."

Never again did I see the likes of him, and for some odd reason I believe that is for the best. Any time I tell an elf that story, for some reason, they seem to shiver in abject terror... unless it is the rare occasion I see a dark elf. Then they begin to laugh or cry, but always with mirth. I do believe in a way that mysterious human has saved my life more than once. The fact he gave me a wierd scroll with about twenty different poems on it does not hurt either, for it has been a grand source of inspiration... especially for that one piece I have yet to finish - the one that got me started on this twisted and glorious path I continue to tread to this very day.

With fortune's folly on my side, and blessing of the goddess of poets and bards smoothing my way, can I not truly fail, but merely stumble and find myself in the midst of distraction. My dagger which I keep against my thigh weighs me down this night, meaning without a rabbit's quiver should my quill be dampened with ink. My humble breast is tickled with the kiss of creativity, and should be answered with my total concentration. If I do not, would I be denying an essential part of myself its chance to breathe and grow.