(( Good to see you made it! Welcome to Making the Band Part 2, the fifth serial story in the Ballad of the Emerald Bard! To recap: Deeya went to visit the Crimson Bard, Karn'Al Jex'Ter in hopes of recruiting him, and his connections into a band that the Goddess of Music told Deeya she was destined to put together to save the world. Deeya has a few reservations, but Karn'Al's connections are paying off, and they are now off to meet the next bard she will attempt to recruit ))
The wind blew through Deeya’s hair, as she looked around her in amazement. Below her was nothing but clouds, above her the sky was incredibly blue, and all around her were huge mountains that were detached from the ground. Deeya had visited the Floating Mountains only a few times in her travels, yet she never got tired of flying in on griffons. The beasts themselves were a wonder, having bodies much like lions, with a head and wings of the eagles. Some claimed they were the result of the magical explosion that made the mountains float, either way, they were indigenous to the area, and luckily, easily trained.
The Floating Mountains were about as remote a place as you could get in the world, and out of all the huge chunks of rock floating up here, there was only one settlement. There were very few reasons to even come up here, but there was one.
No matter where you are, or who you know, everyone knows dwarves are amazing miners. Their engineering constructions are second to none, and some even have a nose for minerals. A very long time ago, a dwarf had the idea to look into the Floating Mountains to see if there were good minerals there. What he found, almost changed the world.
Spell casters had been able to imbue gems with magic for a very long time, something about the crystalline structures held magic within them, which would radiate out and imbue items they were put into with slight magical properties. The metals that were mined out of the Floating Mountains were able to do what gems did, but they were metals themselves, so the magic that was put into them was much more potent.
Thusly, the dwarf that discovered this place became incredibly rich, and he started an industry. An ancestor of his now ran the settlement, which employed dwarves and humans from all over the world. They came and worked a decade, leaving never having to work again. The metal itself was incredibly rare, only producing enough to make a ring to fit on a finger a year.
And as with all settlements, they needed entertainment. Luine was a human bard, a buxom blonde woman who had run every bard out of town, including Deeya, as she wanted to monopolize the tips in the settlement. She was promiscuous, flirty, and Deeya did not like her at all. Back when she did it, she had not gone by the name, The Sapphire Bard of the Floating Mountains. She had a sultry voice, and would sleep with anyone. She was an entertaining whore, in Deeya’s eyes, but she had been the first to respond to Karn’Al’s letter.
The Crimson Bard himself was on the griffon behind Deeya’s. Karn’Al had dismissed Deeya’s tribulation about inviting her into the band, as Karn’Al wanted to see if the magical music techniques could be taught to a human. He was devouring the abilities Deeya was teaching him at an alarming rate, forcing Deeya to wonder if she wasn’t making a huge mistake.
The griffon landed on the edge of the flat surface. The mountains were mostly jagged boulders floating stationary high above the valley below. The valley below was nothing but poisonous clouds and mist, completely impassable. The theory was the magic that held the mountains up, kept the clouds down, or that the poisonous clouds was actually a fog emitted by whatever below the surface held up the mountains. Either way, it was a beautiful crazy, and very deadly area.
The settlement was built on the flattest mountain, and built up around hills and valleys. In the dead center was the Tavern, which was the only establishment that dubbed as bar and Inn in the town. The government here was out of the jurisdiction of any government in the world, and mainly consisted of a mayor, which was the descendant of the dwarf that discovered the magical metal, and his or her sheriffs. I was as near a lawless town as you could find, and truly wild. Corporal punishment was shoving people off the mountain, or stranding them on a smaller mountain in the range.
Deeya did not like this place, but Karn’Al obviously did. Deeya had seen lawless areas like this, local dictators that rules with an iron fist. When she was here before, she made quite a bit of money, and the music was appreciated, but they wanted her to show more skin. It was no wonder that the more salacious act like Luine would flourish here.
Deeya thanked the griffon driver, as they were called, and tipped him, shouldering her pack and walked into the town beside Karn’Al. He was dressed in one of his performing outfits, a grand outfit that showed off the muscles in his legs and arms. Deeya even caught herself admiring his rear, but shook her head. She had spent about a month with the bard, and though he had finally stopped trying to seduce her, she realized he was still trying without trying. It made her think about how important music was to her, and how it was the paramount thing, not the debauched lifestyle that Karn’Al wanted to live, which led to its own form of reputation.
The ideas of reputations and such floated through Deeya’s head as they entered the public house in the middle of town. It was dark, and seemed like a seedy place, but Deeya knew they kept that crowd in the basement, where the gambling tables were. The main floor here, consisted of a large stage. There was an identical stage in the basement, but it was mainly for burlesque dancing. Upon the stage in the main floor, though, was a woman that would be well suited for burlesque dancing.
Luine sat upon a stole, with a sitar on her lap, plucking at the strings. The sound was unique and the song a slow lilt. As this Inn was the only true bar in town, it always had entertainment during ‘shift changes’ when the workers were flying back from their rocks they were mining as someone else was taking over. Everyone needed a good stout drink after working on a floating rock, hundreds of meters in the air, knowing that one slip and you would fall to your death, and your body could never be recovered.
Luine’s outfit was a deep beautiful blue, that matched her eyes. As did the large sapphire that hung in her decolletage. She wore a corset, similar to Deeya’s on stage outfit, but Luine’s showed off her mammoth amount of cleavage, that simply seemed to spill out of her top, especially since she was slightly hunched over the sitar playing the delicately haunting tune.
Most of the tables were full and few took notice of two more patrons talking into the bar, even if they were two decently well known bards. Luine finished the tune shortly, and looked up to the crowd who applauded sparsely. The shift change had only just happened, and the sun was starting to wane on the horizon. It would soon be time for the fast music to start, but instead of going into the next tune, Luine notice Deeya and Karn’Al and said, “Well well well, looks like we have a special treat in store for you tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Crimson Bard, AND the Emerald Bard to the stage!”
Luine’s voice was sultry, like a nice chocolate, and though Deeya had not prepared, she was compelled to take the stage. Deeya and Karn’Al bowed, after sharing a smirk at being lured up here. They had expected to watch Luine perform a few songs then talk with her during her break. But alas, now they stood in front of a large group of people, who looked anxious to hear something new from their esteemed guests. There was nothing like being put on the spot, but together, they rose to the challenge.'
(( CLICK HERE to see how the Emerald and Crimson Bard rise to the challenge! Something tells me to expect a song!
Be sure to leave a comment below, how else will I know you liked it? Or what I can do to fix it, or even learn what questions you want to ask or suggestions you may have to make the series better in the future? ))