BARD  Part One

“When the wind plays in the pouring rain and the sea rolls its high breakers over your naked body, then you will know what the Earth is, and who you are.”

–  The Prescient Sphinx, Vires


His brown eyes wandered over the mirage of green foil and up into the grey sky.  His heart pounded from exertion, filling his lungs painfully with air.  Pineneedles scratched his hands as he made a desperate passage towards the banquet hall.

Sweat soaked the back of his grey, cotton shirt, and the groin area of his dark green trousers.  He was late!  In front of him, a few steps away, he saw light coming through cracks in the crumbling clay between the squared logs that made up the banquet hall.  He forgot about rushing for a moment, fondly reminiscing about the old building.

All his life he had come to the banquet hall. The smell of brandy aged in barrels and malted barley beer gave the place life.  At night, when his father played the lute, he would drift to sleep while music danced in his ears.  He would dream of working in his father’s blacksmith shop.  Occasionally, when the air was humid, the rain came.  It beat against the logs to the sound of his father’s playing.  So hypnotic did it play that the rhythm surrounded him in euphoria.

He approached the door where men lay up against the porch pillars with half empty bottles resting loosely against their chests.  Some slept, while others looked from under half open eyelids and grumbled.  He pushed the door open.  Inside feet stamped and hands clapped.  He forced his way through the line of people waiting to reach the bar.  Beyond the dancing couples, at the far end of the hall, he saw his father.  An old leather hat with drooping rims shadowed all but his father’s chin.  Darkness filled the place as daylight came to a final end.  Torches were lit and he could see that his father wore the dark green pants and shirt his mother had made.  His father’s head lifted so that the wolfish eyes saw him.  He waved Bran to the stage.

Bran hesitated, before shaking his head.  Smiling shrewdly, his father nodded his chin towards the stage.

“My son,” his father said to the crowd in his gruff voice, “will join me in singing ‘Wayward Man’.”

The crowd gibbered to one another.  “He’s late again, Calwind!” cried out a man in the crowd.

“That he is,” his father replied with a cool smile that he directed at Bran.

Bran did not want to sing this song, a song about a child whose incompetence destroys his family.

His father began by playing some notes on his lute.  “Wayward Man,” his father said in barely audible song-words.  Bran ground his teeth in annoyance before joining his father:

A little boy ë was

Sitting on a log

His was a lost soul

And you know why

Cause he’s the Little Wayward Man


Gone away from the place where your house once stood

Sittin’ on a log, cryin’ out a sad song

Oh, Little Wayward Man, ain’t it bad

Your momma, and your papa nothin’ but dog’s bone

Fire you started burnt em all away


Poor Little Wayward Man

Shouldn’t uf pulled the dragon’s tail

Cause worm don’t take to play

Now your game has gone all wrong!


So, Little Wayward Man, remember this

Don’t go wanderin’ away from home

To a lair that’s of a dragon’s care

Now you got no home


Oh, poor Little Wayward Man

How long you gonna sit on that ole log

Singing a sad man’s tale

Poor Little Wayward Man

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