BARD Part Two July 15, 2016

The crowd cheered as the song ended.  Many of the ladies looked in Bran’s direction as if he were the ‘Little Wayward Man’.  He felt embarrassed.  Impatiently he jumped off the stage, forcing his way to the bar and into the backroom where some of his school comrades were already rinsing out empty bottles and cleaning up dishes.

“Late again Bran,” Sally the barmaid said as she came back and filled four mugs of beer.  Bran’s faced turned red.  Sally’s squat, well endowed figure fit her bubbly attitude and Bran always enjoyed being around her.

He walked over to the shallow barrels used for wash basins and grabbed the iron handles of two wooden buckets.  His job was to go to the nearby stream and refill the cauldron that heated the water for dishes.  His comrade Patsy brushed back the bangs of her blonde hair and looked up at him with a smile as she pretended to listen to Cassandra’s biting gossip.

Galileo said nothing as he carried a crate of empty bottles to the storage room farther back in the banquet hall.  Bran nodded at Galileo, whose mauve eyes held a great depth.  Bran knew Galileo did not stare at the interior of the hall but at the distant land he came from.  He wanted to say something about farming but Galileo turned his head away.

Galileo, who came from across the sea, was a Residence, one of the escapees from the Emperor’s land.  Bran had heard many tales of the land across the sea; many tales that sounded like myths.  He hadn’t believed the stories until he saw the truth etched across Galileo’s body.

The scars crossed the boy’s face and ran down his arms like purple rivers.  Galileo was lucky, only his left ear was missing.  On others the scars were so deep that they had to drink with a hollow reed because they had no lips.  Bran turned away from the shy boy.

The day had been long for today was Harvest Begun, and the last day of school.  Tomorrow he would help his father in the blacksmith shop from early morning until sunset.  The work on horseshoes, pots, and harvest tools would not stop until the crops were ready.  Then he and his father would go to the nearby farms and lend a hand.  A hard life, but one he relished.  He could hear his father singing and the uplifting sound of the lute as he headed towards the stream.  Something in his father’s song reminded him of what happened two years earlier.

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