Kris the Bard

 

Kris the Bard

My name is Kris. I’m originally from FirstWorld but I’m now living in your dimension.

I’ll share with you something I wrote long ago in Elannort when I was with Simon.

“My name is Kris. I’m originally from Karo but I’m now the official Bard of Elannort. My job is to collect information, to write stories, and to travel the known parts of FirstWorld to tell my tales. My stories are all true. We live in turbulent times, where truth is often stranger than fiction. I used to be the cook on a trading ship that sailed out of Karo. We were boarded by pirates and most of the crew was killed. Because I’m a coward and a weakling (and not a bad cook) they kept me alive. I was captured into a life of slavery. I was taken to a port far away called Cap Ghir, which is linked to an inland city called Taruwdant. Cap Ghir was the hub of a pirate organisation; masterminded from Taruwdant by a man they called The Wolf. It turned out that The Wolf was Weylyn the Wolf, one of the few remaining wizards in FirstWorld. Wizards were put on FirstWorld by the creators to guide the human race. They serve a concept called the Balance. I’m not sure whether the Balance is a God or just a philosophy. In any case, it’s supposed to provide a middle way between outright Law and total Chaos, which are in a constant battle for dominance in the multiverse. Originally, there was a single universe existing in a linear timeline. However, an event occurred that was so paradoxical that Time could not withstand it: the sundering. At this moment, the multiverse was formed. The multiverse is made up of alternate realities based on the common starting point. Theologians argue about whether the multiverse is finite or not. Personally, I can’t see what difference it makes, but those who are wiser than I am say it does. At any rate, there are so many dimensions that the multiverse might as well be infinite. I digress from my story. Weylyn had been turned to evil by the Dark God, Gadiel, and he was intent on conquering all of FirstWorld and setting himself up as absolute ruler. To do this, he had to take the city of Elannort, at the centre of which stands Melasurej, otherwise known as the Wizards’ Keep. Melasurej is a special place, because it was built by the creators. It is a place of peace, harmony, and balance. There are echoes of Melasurej in the other dimensions, but nowhere as strong as here. FirstWorld was the original universe, from which all other dimensions of the multiverse were formed. Weylyn raised an army and conquered all in his path until he arrived at Elannort. After capturing the city, he faced Manfred the Magician, last of the true wizards, at the gates of Melasurej. There was a great struggle between the two of them, which resulted in Manfred’s staff being broken. Manfred was cast to the ground and was about to be killed by Weylyn. It was then that I saved Manfred’s life.

I had better explain how I managed to be there, observing this momentous event. I had been slaving in Weylyn’s kitchens in Taruwdant when I was picked out by one of his lieutenants to undertake a special task. They did something to my mind, to make me obey them. They sent me to attend a meeting at Melasurej and to find out about a Hero and a Sword. There was an ancient prophesy that said a red-haired boy – a manifestation of the Everlasting Hero – would come forward to claim his Sword and defeat the forces of evil. Weylyn was very worried about this; rightly so, as it turned out. The Everlasting Hero was created to counter balance the great evil. His Sword, now called Kin Slayer (because of its unfortunate habit of indiscriminate killing, including friends and family) was created by the elves and the dwarves as a weapon of the Balance. The elves and dwarves were put here by the creators. Humans are the natives of this planet. The Sword had been used, once before, by the hero Gilgamesh. He had died defeating Gadiel’s previous attempt at FirstWorld domination. The Sword was not powerful enough to kill the Dark God, but it did put him out of action for a long time. Manfred had found the Hero – a young man called Simon Rufus – in another dimension of the multiverse. He brought him to FirstWorld and then sent him off, with some friends, on a quest to find his Sword. He was successful. Manfred had also unlocked the secrets of a time portal, provided by the creators, at the top of the High Tower in Melasurej. He sent Simon back in time, to the point of the sundering. It was the interaction between Simon and another incarnation of the Everlasting Hero that caused the sundering.

Well, I had gotten myself into trouble. Weylyn was at the gates of Wizards’ Keep. Everyone else, except Manfred and I, had escaped inside the Keep. While Manfred battled with Weylyn, I was cowering behind some rubble trying not to be seen. I closed my eyes and prayed to the Balance. At that exact moment, I was bitten by a rat. It caused me to jump up in pain and distract Weylyn; just as he was going to kill Manfred. He turned on me instead and was about to kill me, when the gates of Melasurej opened and Simon Rufus stepped forward with Kin Slayer. There was a great battle and Simon killed Weylyn. Elannort was saved. Manfred was saved. I was saved, and I was very glad about it too. My intervention had created just enough time for Simon to get there. As a reward for saving Manfred’s life, I was appointed as the official Bard of Elannort.

Now, when I jumped up that day, I said some fighting words to Weylyn that were totally out of character. The words just appeared in my head. I didn’t know where they had come from. Thinking about it later, I wondered about the rat. Ever since it bit me, I have felt different. Before then, I was a snivelling coward, always worried about fitting in. Now, I feel that I have a real purpose and that I’m part of the team. I can’t explain it. It must be fate, or perhaps rabies.

We may have won the battle of Elannort, but it is only the beginning of the war against Gadiel. Manfred says that it is a war that will be fought across the dimensions of the multiverse and across time. Many think that it is a war that cannot be won. My job is to report on that war. I will do my best.”

The story continues in Aftermath of Armageddon.