Bard Lore

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Chronicle Bard

Around hearth and table Bards work their wonders, spinning tapestries of poetry and music, and keeping the memories of ancient days alive. Their ancient craft was born among the skalds of the Northmen, but now Bards can be found among all the peoples of the World. Every Bard must be a master of tale-telling and music, and must hone their memory to supreme heights: the great sagas and chronicles span thousands of rhymes, and can take three days to hear in full. A master Bard knows several great sagas, and can sing them through from end to end without missing a single word. They need no books or notes to keep the sagas: the weave of rhyme and kenning is their only guide, memory their only tool.

But there is far more to a Bard's life than singing and playing. Bards must record the events of the present as dutifully as they remember the past, and therefore every Bard is a vagabond, a chronicler in search of a new epic. Bards are welcomed everywhere, for a good song and a moment free from care have become precious things in this troubled Age. Bards also carry news and tidings from distant places, which the folk of remote towns crave more than ale. Through the work of Bards deeds seen become sagas told throughout the World. So the works of the strong and the honorable are known and revered, and glory is heaped on the names of the brave.

A Bard's knowledge of the redes and sagas has other benefits as well. Bards know how every hero triumphed or failed, and remember every trick and secret employed by giants, sorcerers, witches, and heroes. There is a power in words, names, and songs, and Bards know much that is hidden. The ways of beasts are theirs to know, and the name and history of any magical treasure is theirs to impart, provided that it figures in one of the ancient tales. Bards can also sing songs of magic and enchantment if the need arises. More than one fool has mocked a Bard's harping only to find himself snared in a powerful spell from which he could not escape. The songs of a gifted Bard can kindle fury in the hearts of Warriors, goading them on to glory and death. Their songs remember what was, preserve what is, and ensure that the memory of both shall be forever.

Narrative

Tell me your name, so that it may be remembered. Tell me your deeds, that I might gild them with glory. Don't feel like talking? Very well then, perhaps listening will suit you better. Allow me to sing the Ballad of Bretheithel, the story of - oh I see, not in a mood for music either. Dear me, your face is as dark as the weather is fair. At least tell me where you're from, to while away and idle moment before the coming storm. True, the day is sunny - that was but a figure of speech, good sir. Fine weather indeed for a battle, but from the looks of things you'd rather it turn stormy. Well, I've come a long way to see this, so I hope for history's sake that it all proceeds.

Who am I? I, sir, am but a humble traveler, a teller of tales and singer of songs. I heard the rumors that war was brewing while I was fifty leagues to the East of here, and raced to see it. Looks as if I've arrived just in time. It is every Bard's duty, after all, to watch the deeds of men and to remember them. As the All-Father wrote the future destiny of the World into stone before the first dawning, so we Bards spin past and present into air with song and saga. At the Ending of Days the master Bards will sing the All-Father's great saga back to him, and all the folk of the World will be judged based on their performance. May the Father of All find them more pleasant than you seem to find me!

Don't be so glum, sir, for you've the look of a hero about you, the look of a man who could do deeds worthy of a song. I'm sure you'll do well in the fight. Why, from your shoulders and the sweep of your brow I'd guess that you were kin to Sir Diarmid the Bear-Cloaked, who single-handedly slew four great Giants while questing for St. Meynard's Chalice. Ah, I see you've heard that tale! A rousing one, much suited for times such as these. Your men all look fit, and well supplied. I agree that their side looks to have more men, but think of the Battle of Krollenford, when Duke Leonard's men held the ford against a horde ten times their number! The sight of your army and the lay of the field reminds me very much of that tale. Your men might like to hear it, I daresay, even if you wouldn't. I've watched my share of skirmishes and slaughters in my day, and have seen the effect a little rousing song can have on a body of soldiery.

What good are songs and fairy tales to men of action? Oh, good sir, how you wound me! Without the redes, sagas and tales, what could any man hope to accomplish? How can a Warrior know the true measure of valor if he knows not the tale of Sir Hurrigan, who stood alone against a host of Minotaurs to save Queen Candrae the Fair? How can he know of cunning without hearing the saga of Cuthric Rune Thief, the Northman who tricked the Giants into revealing the secret wisdom of the All-Father? Any Prelate can tell the tale of Saint Nemmorane, but only a Bard can put the full meaning in the words, so that folk weep to hear of his blessed sacrifice. How can a man know glory without hearing the tale of Cambruin, the High King, the greatest man ever to live? The sagas tell us who we are, and let us dream of what we might accomplish.

Indeed, my lord, we Bards are useful folk to have around. Marks my words, once the fighting starts I'll sing songs of valor, strength, and victory, songs to bolster the hearts of your men so that each fights with the strength of three. You would prefer the strength of ten? Well, I'll see what I can do. Oh my, here come the heralds - it looks like things are beginning. So sir, I implore you: tell me your name. If the fight goes well, I shall sing a mighty epic of your deeds today, in fine meter. If the fight should not go well... your valor will be remembered, sir. Either way, I can make you a Legend.

Promotion Narrative

Our ancient craft was born among the skalds of the Invorri (the unenlightened call them Northmen), who performed at hearth and table, spinning tapestries of poetry and music, and keeping the memories of ancient days alive. The College of Bards as it exists today is quite different. The College has trained Bards for thousands of years, and now we can be found among all the peoples of the World.

Every Bard must be a master of tale-telling and music, and must hone their memory to supreme heights: the great sagas and chronicles span thousands of rhymes, and can take three days to hear in full! I know three, and can sing them thorugh from end to end without missing a single word. I need no books or notes to keep the sagas: the weave of rhyme and henning is my only guide, memory my only tool.

What good are songs and fairy tales to men of action? Without the redes, sagas, and tales, what could any man hope to accomplish?> How can a Warrior know the true measure of valor is he knows not the tale of Sir Hurrigan, who stood alone amongst a host of Minotaurs to save Queen Candrae the Fair? How can he know of cunning without hearing the saga or Cuthric the Rune Thief, the Northman who tricked the Giants into revealing the secret wisdom of the All-Father? Any Prelate can tell the tale of Saint Nemmorane, but only a Bard can put the full meaning in the words, so that folk weep to hear of his blessed sacrifice. How can a man know glory without hearing the tale of Cambruin, the High King, the greatest man every to live?

We Bards know how every hero triumphed or failed, and remember every trick and secret employed by giants, sorcerers, witches, and heros. There is a power in words, names, and songs: the power to inspire, enrage, and to enthrall. I can sing songs of magic and enchantment that can kindle fury in the hearts of Warriors, goading them on to glory and death. I can sing dirges that will make the hearts and sword arms of any foe heavy as lead. And I can spin puns so wicked that they cause pain and death to those who hear them. Would you learn them?

Our songs remember what was, preserve what is, and ensure that the memory of both shall be forever. Through our work deeds seen become sagas told throughout the World. So the worlds of the strong and the honorable are known and revered, and glory is heaped on the names of the brave. It is every Bard's duty, after all, to watch the deeds of men and to remember them. As the All-Father wrote the future destiny of the World into stone before the first dawning, so we Bards spin past and present into air with song and saga. At the Ending of Days the master Bards will sing the All-Father's great saga back to him, and will name our fate based on their performance. So listen and learn, and sing well!

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