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A Bard’s Feather

November 12, 2017 by Alde Baron

One day, Desi Baron, a young woman who likes helping others and hunting treasure, decided to visit the village of Castle Graystone. There, she spotted a bard who was down on his luck. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.”I’ve lost the feather in my cap, and without it,” the bard replied, “I can’t play music.”

Desi asked the singing solo artist, “Why do you need a feather to sing? That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

“It’s my lucky charm. It’s a bird feather, from a bird far, far up high.”

“And where is this bird?” Desi asked.

“Atop the highest mountain, Steep Peak.”

Well, Desi wasn’t about to go climbing a mountain just for a bird feather. She had better things to do with her time. So, she decided to ditch the sobbing musician and be on her way.

“Wait!” cried the Bard. Desi stopped, even though she didn’t really want to, and turned her attention to this man. “I am but a bard, not an adventurer like yourself. If you get me a feather, I’ll write a song about your journey!”

“No,” Desi replied. She had no interest in a song about hiking a mountain to pluck a body part from an overgrown bird.

“Please! I beg of you!” the bard cried, falling to his knees, clasping his hands, and crying like a baby.

Desi felt sorry for this slouch. How could this singer just throw his dignity away over a feather? “Fine, fine, I’ll get your feather.”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” the bard said, clasping onto Desi’s legs.

“Yeah, don’t mention it.”

“I’ll start writing that song right away.”

“I said don’t mention it,” Desi replied. “How can you even write the song before I tell you how it goes?”

Without waiting for an answer, Desi left the bard to his newfound hope. She traveled just outside the village, and entered the Fairy Forest, which was the quickest way to Steep Peak.

Of course, anyone who enters Fairy Forest, ought to bring a map to show the way out. The forest was filled with invisible walls and exits that appeared to lead you out to one place, but ending up somewhere else.

Desi didn’t bring her map. “Bugger,” she said. “This will take a long time. Oh, hey!” What she remembered was that her friend Lina lived in the forest, and knew just how to get through. “Lina! Lina! Where are you?” Desi shouted.

Lina, a pixie, heard her friend’s call and flew down from the trees right in front of Desi’s face. “I’m here! Sheesh, keep it down, will ya?”

“Yeah, okay. There’s this sucker in town who lost a feather from some giant bird, or whatever. I just want him to stop crying like a baby and get back to playing his music. Can you lead me through to Steep Peak?”

“Yeah, sure,” Lina said, “But, uh, ya know… it’s been a while since we last went there. I think if we go… this way, we can make it through.”

Desi followed her friend through the forest, turning left, turning right, sometimes going back where they came from, but eventually they made it through to the other side.

Standing at the foot of Steep Peak, Desi looked nearly straight up along the edge of the cliff. “I can’t believe I agreed to this nonsense. I mean, it’s a bird feather. Can’t he just use a fake one?”

“Maybe it’s that important to him. What’s he giving you?” Lina asked.

“A song. Though from what I’ve heard, he’s not a very good singer.”

Desi climbed Steep Peak, where at the top, if she were lucky, a giant bird would be resting. With a few complaints from her friend about how the dry air would damage her tiny pixie wings, Desi made it to the top in one piece.

“There’s no bird up here. Not even a nest!” Lina cried. “That guy fooled you.”

“No, no, look over there,” Desi said, pointing to the north. Right there was a large nest. Desi climbed up the side of the nest, and in the center was a shining blue feather. As she went to pick it up, though, a large shadow was cast over the nest.

“Look out!” Lina shouted.

But it was too late. A massive bird swooped down from the sky and knocked the woman over.

“It’s coming back!” Lina shouted.

Desi was prepared for this. She took out her knife and, as the bird swooped down again, she sliced its leg. The bird crashed over the edge of the nest.

Desi and Lina hurried to the bird. “Ouch!” the bird cried. “That really, really, really, really, really–”

“I get it,” Desi said, interrupting the floundering fowl. “Why would you attack us like that?”

“Because you were in my nest?” the bird asked, unsure if her response was the correct one. “I mean, it’s what birds do, right?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Desi said. “Doesn’t mean you have to attack us. I mean, you could have just flown down and scared us away.”

“But you’re stealing from me.”

Stealing, Desi thought… she hadn’t even looked at her actions as stealing. “You mean this feather?” she asked. “Wait, taking a bird’s feather after it’s fallen off is stealing?”

The bird was upset. “Of course it is. Just because it’s not attached to me, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. I like to keep my feathers.”

Desi felt her stomach get empty, real fast. “Oh, wow, I’m sorry. I didn’t know your feathers were important to you.”

“Why did you want to steal it,” the bird asked.

“There’s this bard, back in town, and he’s in a real pitiful state,” Desi explained. “And he can’t play music without a bird’s feather in his cap. Your feather, to be exact. It has to be one from you.”

The bird was now feeling better that Desi was explaining her actions. “So you just wanted to help him?” Desi nodded. “Well, there are better ways of helping others.”

“How so?” Desi asked.

“Hop on my back,” the bird said, “and let’s go see that bard.”

Desi and Lina were overjoyed to ride a giant bird. To take a flight from the highest spot in the land, and fly through the air, was something they couldn’t believe was happening. “Yay!” they shouted.

And so, Desi, Lina, and the bird, flew right down to the village. The giant bird’s presence both shocked and amazed the villagers. Quickly, though, Desi set forth to make things straight with the bard.

“Hey, dude,” Desi said, as she approached the man. “Hey!” she shouted, for the man couldn’t hear Desi over his singing. “Hey!” she shouted once more.

The bard stopped playing his guitar. “Oh, hey! It’s you. You’re back.”

Suddenly realizing that the bard was singing without a feather in his cap, Desi became upset, for now she had been lied to. “Dude! You’re singing. I thought you needed a bird’s feather to sing.”

The bard couldn’t stop grinning. He had been caught. However, he wasn’t the only thing to have been caught. During this exchange, there was a clamoring, shouting, and arguing, behind Desi. She turned her back, and some of the villagers had thrown a large net over the bird.

“What are you doing!?” Desi shouted. “Leave her alone!”

The bird struggled to get free, but couldn’t get out of the net. “Help me!” the bird shouted. “Help me! I have to be free to fly!” Desi cut through the net with her knife until the bird was free.

The bird was so frightened, she left without a word of thanks. But Desi knew the bird was thankful, and she need not say a word.

Desi turned her attention toward the bard, but could not find him. “Where did he go?” she asked.

“Who cares,” Lina said. She flew over to her friend, and carried with her the bard’s guitar. “I wonder how much this is worth. Do you know any good pawn shops?”

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