King and Bard (3)

The following continues directly from Part 2.

The Bard’s forehead itched. Again he reached up to satisfy the itch and again his finger met the ground up bark that the King had applied to the wound. This time it was cool to the touch. A change, but it was something the bard could classify as either pleasant or unpleasant.

He leaned his head back against the tree. As he took a deep he let his mind wander over the potential story uses for a King’s medicine. Exhaling, he followed multiple stories to ends comical and tragic. Standing, he pulled up his pants and tried to push away the possible tragic ends for this story as he laced his breeches tight.

It was time to rejoin the King. They needed to continue their journey down the mountain and the Bard was eager to hear the King’s version of his story. His head itched again but he kept his hand at his side. It troubled him that he didn’t already know the story. Tales of royalty was popular fare, but when the Bard reached for it in his mental library he only found empty shelves. This prompted worries over the head wound, but that too needed to be pushed aside.

A thought slowly emerged and as it blossomed it sprouted a smile. Years had been spent singing songs and telling tales to people from all walks of life. He had recounted yarns in front of hovels to be rewarded with worm-ridden apples and elegantly plucked high ballads in palaces before feasting on royal geese.

But now the tables were to be turned. He would be the guest and the King himself was to to be the troubadour. How many other bards could speak of such happenings?

All of them. It would be all to easy to make up such a tale.

His smile faded and his face went grave. In his excitement he had almost forgotten a key rule. All storytellers are liars. Every one. Lies are their stock and trade. Just because this tale was going to come from a king did not make it any more true than if it came from a beggar. Like any other tale, this one would need to be sifted for the truth. And often truth was easier to find in tales of beggars than in those of kings.

The bard plastered his face with a smile and went to hear the tale the King would offer.

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