I am currently working on another writing challenge, but it is not ready.  So, I am giving you a short story I found on an old back up disk from my first computer.

I don’t even remember when I wrote this.  It has to be over 14 years ago, but when I read it tonight, I really enjoyed it.  So, here it is for you.

 

The Fiddler’s Flute
by Nova

There was once a bard of average ability.  One night at an inn here in Cinq he played for an incredibly rambunctious crowd.  The sitting room was filled to capacity and the drink flowed swiftly.  Never before had the crowd ever cheered so for his playing.  He sawed his fiddle hard and played each song he knew at least five times.  The fiddler came from a long line of mediocre bards and the fiddle originally belonged to his grandfather.  Even then it was only of average make and could never quite keep in tune.  This night proved too much for its humble origins.  On the final note of a brisk polka it died giving its all.  Multiple strings snapped, the horsehair frayed, and the bow broke right in two.  The fiddler looked on it as a sad ending to a wonderful night, but the crowd… didn’t agree.

They demanded more.  When he attempted to make his way to the door he was shoved back on stage.  Angry shouts for more music started filling the air.  The fiddler soon realized that his life was in grave danger.  Frantically he considered his options.  The only other instrument he owned was an old lute he had salvaged, from a rubbish pile, which he never got around to fixing.  His voice was rough like gravel.  Perfect for the battle tales he told, but unsuited for the carrying of a tune.  He began praying to the name of every god he knew, for this was surely his end.

Suddenly a barmaid shoved something in his hand.  It was a flute.  Some customer had left behind years ago and it had been tossed in the broom closet and forgotten.  The fiddler’s dread increased as he gazed at the instrument in his hand.  It was a much poorer tool than his busted fiddle.  The pieces did not fit together properly, rust covered with none of its original color shining through, and the keys moved reluctantly causing dust to flake and dance around him.

The crowd increased its volume; only music or blood would calm them.  So he raised the useless instrument to his lips and blew.

The crowd immediately stilled.

No one moved, they even feared to breathe least it interfere with the song.  The beauty of the music was unlike anything they had ever heard.  It spoke of fright, danger, and hopelessness, than the joy of life and the thankfulness for another day, another hour, and another breath.  As the last note faded the people woke as if from a dream.  Women began to weep, men embraced their wives, or left to be with their loved ones.  All felt a sense of peace and an appreciation for being alive.  The innkeeper paid three times the agreed amount.  He insisted the fiddler keep the flute, but only if he returned the next night.

Later that night, the fiddler cleaned the poor flute carefully.  Around the mouth piece he found words etched into the metal.  “What you feel, so shall it be.”

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