Brotherhood

The Name of the Demon: Part Two

Interlude

Ardos Lilt pushed his way through the front entrance to The Chanterelle Lounge, grimacing briefly as a discordant acoustical confusion made its way to his ears, the disharmony arising from a half dozen different instruments and their respective bards peppered throughout the common room. The crisp mid-morning autumn sunlight briefly fell across mostly empty seats and tables as the door swung shut behind him. Ardos jauntily doffed his cap and swept himself into an elaborate bow to the stocky, mutton-chopped barkeeper behind the counter. Baldric Llyndon rolled his eyes in return as the colourfully-clad minstrel settled upon a stool before him.

“Back from Hestial in one piece I see. Find what you were looking for Lilt?” Baldric asked, as he uncorked a bottle of Vener white.

Ardos shrugged casually, as he reached for the goblet being filled, “I discovered some new pieces in my travels, it’s true. A couple of shanties from the docks of Bheiburg, a canticle from an isolated monastery of Kerpani and a truly unique dwarven lullaby from the hills of Rhodren. None of which I had hoped to find, but all valuable additions to my repertoire nonetheless.”

Ardos flicked his calloused fingers to the various musicians scattered throughout the room. “What’s all this? The philharmonic is busy when at this hour they should still be abed.”

“Composing” Baldric grunted. “The only thing on anyone’s lips since last night is the tale of those blokes and that demon up in Millenforte. Everyone’s in a rush to create the first epic ballad of the event. The masses are eating this stuff up, a village forgotten by time, an evil wizard’s castle, vanquishing a demon, and doing it all underneath the Mage Guild’s nose. Get a catchy tune to go alongside it and they’ll be singing your song for months to come.”

“Oho!” A lanky youth half-rose out of his chair across the room in unbridled excitement. “I just realized Valmeer rhymes with Shear! Nobody else use that!”

Baldric pinched the bridge of his nose and let out a sigh at this outburst, which was why he missed the expression of shock that passed over Ardos Lilt’s face.

“By any chance,” Ardos enunciated delicately, “Did these blokes include a Pryga, a Tomai and a Minotaur all bearing the symbol of a wolf upon their garbs?”

“Aye.” Baldric nodded. “I see you’ve heard the tale already.” He ducked underneath the counter to grab a rag off the shelf, and by the time he had straightened up Ardos had unstrapped the lute upon his back. “Don’t tell me you’re going to start too?”

Ardos laughed brightly. “Not at all. I’ve been working on their song for months. The difference is, now there’s an audience for it.”

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