The bard dropped another log over the fire and watched the sparks swirl into the night sky. They mingled with the swathe of stars above, dancing and swaying until they burned out and were lost to sight. The bard regarded the distant paths of purple, blue, and silver that outlined celestial roads to places she would never travel but longed to just the same.
“Beautiful night, isn’t it?” The night air carried her voice away into its emptiness. She received the gentle soughing of field grass in response. An empty space in her heart panged as she glanced across the lonely fire. She could almost see his familiar shape; the special sort of smile he reserved just for her. All simply traces of memories made years ago.
The bard sank down to her bedroll and rubbed the jagged scar across her nose and eyelids. The war had taken so much from so many.
A sudden wash of awareness spiraled up from the bard’s stomach to her throat. Her spine straightened and her fingertips buzzed. She felt as if she could take in the great expanse of grass and trees and mountains and stars around her all at once. The fine hairs along her body tingled with energy that flowed in the air around her. The sparks from the fire leapt into the air in a brilliant shower, snapping and fizzing.
The bard quickly dug a blank sheet of parchment from her knapsack and laid it beside the fire’s perimeter. She then leaned back and pressed her palms to the cool earth. Shutting her eyes, she listened. The familiar voice composed of creaking trees, burrowing worms, the bloom of flowers, the wash of water, and the rumble of the mountains filled her body. She channeled the sound through her, and a song spilled forth.
The end times wait
For a fallen state.
When blood runs free,
Innocent voices plea,
And the Earth cries for release
Vaguely, the bard heard a crack and a hiss, and smelled burnt parchment. The fire worked as her scribe as she continued to sing.
For now or then
On heroes born
In lands war torn
By the fight for life and death.
The balance now lies
On lost past ties.
They hold the keys
To the divide ‘twixt men and kings
Which once remembered will incite chaos
Armies will rise,
Claiming thousands of lives.
Men will fall
Having given and done all.
All to claim the kingdom’s heir.
To the man of the forgotten,
Let wisdom choose where trust is given.
For Mother Night,
Or Sister Earth, to fight.
Your choice will determine this world’s end.
The last, haunting note faded into the empty expanse of fields, bound for the crags of the Northern mountains. The voice that filled the bard’s body fell silent. She slumped in exhaustion, hardly able to open her eyes. She stretched out a trembling hand and collected the sheet of parchment. Glancing over the lyrics that had been burned there, she gave vent to a heavy sigh.
“Sweet Sister Earth, I hope we’ll survive this future you’ve seen.”