It was an unseasonably warm Lamashan night and the tavern was packed, but for the first time since it opened all of the conversations had stopped. No more doting on the beautiful new tavern building, no more idle observations about how the whole place seemed lighter and brighter since that nasty Grigory stopped slinking around. The large crowd has fallen silent, transfixed by the human bard, Gwendolyn.
Her first song of the night had been light and funny, “The Ballad of Bang-Bang Pistolfoot and The Monster Formerly Known as Hodag,” but then, when the song was over, beautiful Lily stood up from her table and shouted, “Sing one about Baron Melvin!” The crowd agreed, cheering, shouting for a song about their noble lord.
Gwendolyn paused, thinking for a second, before nodding in agreement.
“This is something I’ve been working on. It’s not finished, but it’s ‘The Ballad of the Troll Killers’. I hope you like it.”
The crowd did like it. At first they were struck silent, but soon the quick beat set people dancing. The men stomped and the women clapped to keep the time.
“Once in Stagfall was a man,
who set out with a simple plan,
to see the world
with two girls
and a little gnooome!
They were so far to rooooam!”
Gwendolyn paused to clap along, getting caught up in the merry beat. She smiled then began the next verse.
“But then you see they found a spot!
With the help of tiny Zot!
Full of trolls
or maybe gnolls
and things you’ve never seeeeen!
Oh how far they’ve beeeen!
“Now Restov says they sent him there.
But our lord goes anywhere!
No matter what he’s tooold!
Making friends with the koboooolds!
“But this time there was some fear,
The outcome it was never clear,
So Ravena had to fly
So that she could spy
And saw a Dwarven caaaave!
She thought it was her graaaave!
But soon the team they all came up
And they fought hard while we did sup,
It was their plight
Upon that night
To battle all those troooools!
And steal off all their goooold!
So Zot he did hatch a plan,
They fought hard and never ran
Hard she shot
In they dashed”
Gwendolyn gasped for air, then continued, her pace picking up.
“They had no fear,
Though trolls were near,
Trusting in their swoooords!
Oh how great our looooords!”
“You want to know what happened next?
Ravena she did cast a hex,
Zot’s gun flamed,
The trolls were tamed,
But that was just the staaaart!
Gwendolyn leaned over the stage, whispering conspiratorially to the audience-
“-Cover your ears!
Not for kids to hear!-”
Then she stood back up straight-
“It’s not for the weak of heaaaaart!”
“Trolls you see do not just die
To be rid of them you have to fry
Their skin and bones
Upon the stones
And leave them naught but flaaaaames!
Lest they come back the saaaame!”
“But Melvin he did make a spark,
And Ravena she did cast an arc,
Of shining fire-
I’m no liar
And the trolls they left for deaaaaad!
With a bullet through the heaaaaad!”
As our lords went further in,
Louder did become the din,
They never wavered
Lest they be savored
As a troll-hound’s snaaaack!
How wild was their attaaaaack!
You might think that they’re finished now,
But our lords they fought through somehow,
And soon they saw
Within the maw
The greatest troll of aaaaaall!
He was so soon to faaaaal!
Miracelli’s bow, Ravena’s hand,
Zot’s loud gun and Melvin’s band,
And mace of cold,
(Or so I’m told),
Made a mess of troll insiiiiiiides!
How nasty did he diiiiie!
And so among the grisly death,
Finally they did catch their breath,
And said “We’re done”,
And “That was fun”,
And then how they did reeeest!
Within the troll-lord’s neeeeest!
And now our lords you’ll find them home,
But you know that soon they’ll roam,
You’ll find them here-
buy them a beer
And hear them tell their taaaaales!
Our lords they’ll never faaaaail!
But as for me my song must end,
I hope you have enjoyed it, friend,
For it is true,
You never knew,
How much our lords have dooooone!
…and yet, they say it’s all in fun.”
With that, Gwendolyn winked at the table where Melvin, Zot, and Ravena sat. The crowed cheered, as much for their leaders as for the bard. Her words had woven a magical spell over the audience, but indeed, everything she said was true. Soon the crowd had lifted Baron Melvin up on their shoulders.
“Three cheers for Baron Melvin!” Someone shouted.
“Hip-hip-hooray!” The crowd shouted, holding him aloft, then lowering him to their shoulders again.
Skitter sighed audibly.
“Quiet, you.” Ravena snapped at her familiar, “I think someone’s about to buy me a beer. Or do you have a problem with that?”
The scarlet spider shook its head.
“Hip-hip-hooray!” The crowd shouted again, still holding their Baron aloft.
“Ha!” Zot laughed. “Looks like Melvin’s getting a little sea-sick up there!”
“Eh, that’s just a look he has.” Miracelli replied, dropping out of nowhere.
Zot and Ravena both yelped with shock.
“Where the hell did you come from?!” Ravena demanded, catching her breath.
“The ceiling. Where did you think I’ve been this whole time?” Miracelli said, seeming slightly offended.
“Just… just don’t sneak up on us like that!” Ravena exclaimed.
“That’s not a promise I can make. So you said other people are buying us things?” Miracelli smiled.
As if on cue, a barmaid sloshed four full mugs of ale onto the table.
“These are on the house.” She said. “Guess my boss took the bard to heart. Anyway, thanks, guys.”
“A TOAST!” The tavern-owner shouted. “TO HOW AWESOME YOU FOUR ARE!”
“To how awesome we are!” Miracelli squealed in agreement.
“Hip-hip-hooray!” The crowd shouted a final time, lowering Baron Melvin to the ground.
Finding his feet again, Melvin paused, then corrected the toasting group around him.
“No,” He said, “TO STAGFALL!”
“TO STAGFALL!” Was the resounding shout.