We have a brand new story submitted for us to share with the CSTM audience. This story is by Mericc of Nimrodel (not Merric – Mericc, who says that he gets this question often) and the story is entitled “Under the Eaves”. This is Part 1.
Part 1: The Teller of Tales
The late hour fire flickered in the common room of the Prancing Pony, casting it’s shadows over the long wooden tables that had sat there for years beyond count. Various regulars quenched their thirst from a long day of toil while travellers, stopping by the famous inn, rested their legs from a long days journey from parts unknown. Waitresses hustled and bustled from table to table, trying to keep up with the demand for more food or more ale whilst with long experience deftly avoiding the occasional sly pinch or prod from an overzealous and over-drunk patron. Behind the main bar, Old Holman Butterbur, master of the Prancy Pony orchestrated with a keen eye and ready smile, the business of keeping the inn running in good and proper order. The crowd was large, the music and the ale flowed readily and freely, especially near the fireplace where a group had steadily grown, listening to the stories of one of the travellers who passed by the inn from time to time.
He was a popular figure at the Prancing Pony, never there for long but always a treat for the patrons of the Pony for his tales of daring adventure and intrigue. At times they would be tales of his own exploits, for he had once been an adventurer of some renown(And infamy), and at other times stories that he had heard or of people he had travelled with. Always he was dressed in flamboyant yet handsome clothes and sported a grin so roguish that it made men worry for their purses and houses and wives(and not always in that order). But for the most part he was an attraction that the people of Bree came from miles around to enjoy and listen too.
He had a name but most in Bree-town referred to him as The Elf, for that is what he was. Elves were seldom seen in these later days, most having passed long ago into the West but The Elf was one of the few who had stayed behind and this night the drinkers and travellers were glad for it for he had just finished up one of his more astonishing and engaging tales.
“And that, my friends is the tale of the Winter Witch and the Winds of the Guardian”, The Elf finished with a flourish, his slender fingers plucking the finishing notes on his lute. He rose to the crowd, bowed, and gave his signature grin that seemed to stretch on forever. The crowd clapped, banged mugs and gave him praise for as fine a tale as he had told in some time. He resumed his seat in front of the fire, drank from a flask that he kept on a small footstool near him, and played a few furtive notes on his lute.
“Was that there Mericc fella really real? Seems like a lot for one person to overcome, beggin your’ pardon.” asked one of the listeners, a farmer by trade.
The Elf smiled, “May the gods strike me down and my beautiful hair fall out if a word of it is untrue good sir.” he replied, running his hands through his hair with an exaggerated air. The crowd laughed though The Elf seemed to make a quick and nervous sidelong glance to see if the gods were in fact going to carry out the sentence of his oath. Seeing that he, as yet, still had a full head of hair and was intact, resumed. “If you would all like..” He began, punctuating this with a quick dramatic strumming on his instrument, “I can tell you another tale of Mericc the guardian, and this one strikes much closer to home. In fact it starts in this very room, on a night much like this one a long time ago. I play no part in it, but it is still a decent tale despite that.” He grinned.
The crowd hushed, their eager faces pressed forward, awaiting the Teller of Tales to begin. He took a sip of what was in his flask, thought for a moment, struck up a slow ominous tune on his lute, he began
“The Guardian sat at a table in the Prancing Pony, drinking a mug of honey mead and listening to the minstrel ply his trade by the fireplace….”
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