Those who have heard the mystical tales...

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Second Tale of the Bards: The Dragon of Mille

Mille was a quaint village up the banks of the Bamah River, a two-and-a-half day's journey from the kingdom of Bamah itself. It was Gizmo's former home, and many wanderers found themselves in its inn from time to time. The people there knew of Gizmo, and the great King Carl, who both formerly lived in its borders. However, the townsfolk knew nothing of Gizmo's reappearance in Bamah.
One day, a majestic three-headed dragon, terrible and fierce, and with the wings of a bald bat, flew into Mille and began terrorizing the people. Afraid, Mille called upon army after army of other kingdoms, who battled the dragon heroically, but to no avail. Finally, the people of Mille, in denial and despair, came together and decided to reach out to King Carl. His power and authority great, he immediately responded to the challenge. Turning to his people, Carl himself decreed that the mightiest warriors, save the Knight, join him in battle. The reward would be great: a pardon for generations.
At Dumon's Flat, the Bards readied their latest medley of joyous songs, best fitted for revelry, as opposed to war. Fox, Holden, and Schaff wielded their drumsticks with great force and precision, while Paddy used mallets to carry a tune no other had ever heard. Gizmo's fingers flew across his strings like no falcon above had ever before or since, and Dumon and Badger's reeds sang lighter than any lark. The music was a beautiful sound, pleasing to all who heard.
The Bards finished their lovely piece, when Qabel, deputy of the King Carl, came through with the decree. He announced it to all warriors and nobility; any who could prove their worth in battle could claim it. Freddy the llama was off on his own adventure (another story for another time), so the Bards looked to each other. Gizmo and Schaff, realizing the possibility, readied for war. The other Bards saw their speedy responses and remembered the prize. As Schaff and Gizmo began to leave, the other Bards stopped them. It was then and there that the Bards stood together; each had their own path, but they would never walk alone.
On the eve of the march, the Bards assembled. Fox was joined by his lovely maiden Kat, Badger by her love The Great Scott, a magician from the southernmost Bamah Fort Ni Aps, (which translates from the ancient "higher mountains"), Holden by his darling Haley, and Schaff by his secret princess Claire. These were the names of the Bards' better halves. Dumon and Paddy were already established as being a pair, and were happy in each other's company. Gizmo had yet to pierce the heart of a woman, but that was not his battle yet. His battle, was, however, on the horizon.
The magnificent warriors from Bamah approached Mille. Seeing his hometown, Gizmo was moved. He could not be physically changed, but he felt the motion of fate to his side. He felt half the weight of the world. Looking to Schaff, they met eyes. The sons of Atlas were to be redeemed; their sins forgiven.
The town of Mille welcomed the Baman armies with open arms. They were treated to their finest foods and drinks; everyone had their fill. Paddy told many merry tales, especially those of the moon-bear and the origin of the cosmic numbers. Finally, before all was quiet, Gizmo pulled out his stringed lyre. Plucking an introduction, the melodies and chords he played and sang rose above the crowd in the hall. The Bards joined in, one by one, adding percussive or harmonic detail to the piece Gizmo began. At the end of the song, the hall cheered with applause, and the Bards left to their quarters.
The next morning, the Bards prepared for the grueling day. One woman came up to the Bards and asked Gizmo his name, citing familiarity. Cornered, Gizmo revealed himself. Word spread, but not before two men asked of his voice, again claiming to have known it. Three sparks lit the fuse, and as the procession of Baman heroes, regiment by regiment, left for the dragon's lair, crowds gathered. As the Bards came past, the town of Mille found its heroes. Cheering them on, the Bards' spirits rose, and confidence was their own.
The three-headed dragon was the most fearsome beast any could lay eyes upon. Armies advanced and were driven away by its flaming breath. One unknown hero finally took one head of the beast, while the other two took the man's life. The Bards were almost alone on the field that once numbered 250 men, but their minds ran furiously. Calling all the men to regroup, the Bards circled the dragon and charged the beast. Schaff, Gizmo, and three other Baman men scaled its back, while the remaining twenty-nine men fought its belly; the dragon was distracted from the true intentions of the Bards. The beast burned men alive and beat them back with its wings and great legs. Schaff and Gizmo were shaken, but of the five who began the ascension up the beast, they remained. The beast lost toes, scales, and blood, but it was winning the skirmish. Finally, Gizmo and Schaff reached the beast's neck, and as the Baman armies stopped to watch, the two toppled the beast's heads with single blows. As the beast fell, Schaff and Gizmo were thrown to the ground. Mostly unharmed, the Bards came together. Schaff and Gizmo led the return to camp. The many dead bodies were buried outside Mille, with highest honors to the first beheader. The Bards were celebrated for their tactical skills, as King Carl made good on his promise. The Knight also came, to meet Bamah's victors, and so when King Carl moved to officially pardon Gizmo and Schaff, the two fathers finally recognized their sons. The joy of the occasion drowned whatever rage Carl had for Schaff, so the King requested the Bards' joining him in residence at his castle Fole.
The Bards who were not Dumon and Paddy considered their friends' Flat. Dumon and Paddy, gracious toward the group chemistry that the Bards had officially enacted, declined the King's offer. The King, being the powerful ruler he was, still offered them solitude in his castle.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The First Tale of Gizmo: The Newly-Knighted Nomad

In the far land of Mille, Gizmo was a young nomad, whose family to this day loves him dearly. His father was a wise but silent war hero, who fought battles at home, defending their clan's possessions. His mother was a moneykeeper, and the clan looked to them for guidance. Gizmo, however, held dreams and aspirations above that of the clan, and they more than supported him for it. Nonetheless, Gizmo's bright future had him feeling chained to the clan. With his wits, best bow, and fresh shave, Gizmo left the clan.
He traveled among the mountains and the deserts, under the watch of the sun and his army, the stars. Day and night the nomad followed his kind's footsteps into the wild. Finally, several seasons after his departure, the young man came upon a strange creature. It was actually a boy in shabby clothes with wild hair and eyes. He mumbled about "Lucky Charms" and froze. Looking slowly up at Gizmo, the boy frowned. He greeted Gizmo solemnly, but burst out in a laugh more contagious than the plague. Introducing himself as Paddy, he shook hands with Gizmo, who repeated the gesture. Thus, Paddy became Gizmo's first friend. They ventured together into the nearby kingdom of Bamah.
Meanwhile, Gizmo's clan wandered into Bamah, not searching for Gizmo, but continuing in their nomad ways. Gizmo's father was brought before the Great King Carl, who had heard much of Gizmo's family. The King immediately knighted Gizmo's father, and in exchange for defending Bamah, their father was given a quaint village in his name, for the nomads, and a beautiful cottage to dwell in.
Gizmo and Paddy ventured into the King's village, and were taken in by Paddy's girlfriend Dumon, who became his second friend. Also housed at Dumon's Flat were a talking Blonde Fox with hair that grew over his eyes, who in fact went by Fox, and Holden, a drummer. They claimed they were creating a traveling band named the Bards, as they were, in fact, Bards. Dumon and Paddy, sufficient in their monetary funds, agreed to join the group. Gizmo, after much peer pressure, joined also. He had nothing to lose.
Just then, Dumon's best friend burst through the door with the news of the newly-knighted nomad. The Badger, as she was called, was a dark-haired, mysterious vigilante. She led her own life and was herself a free spirit. She also dabbled in alliteration. Paddy introduced Badger to Gizmo, Gizmo to Badger, Fox to Holden, Dumon to Freddy, Holden to Badger, Badger to Gizmo, and Paddy to everyone. Freddy was a llama who sat in the corner. He lived in Holden's closet, but that is another story. He will probably appear much more often.
Gizmo's father, the Knight, began a search for Gizmo after defeating a dragon, tearing down some windmills, and riding in his own parade for both. The townsfolk searched high and low in the village, despite the Knight's fervent "check ALL the countryside!" but to no avail. Mrs. Knight wept. One day, the King asked why the Knight sought so for his son. The Knight told of Gizmo's flight, and the King then told of his own son's disappearance. The King, angry with the fact that Gizmo fled, named him a criminal threat, (much like he did his own son) and proposed a payment for his capture.
Meanwhile, the Bards traveled to the King's Village's forum, where Badger met her most knowledgeable consultant, one she called Schaff. (sh-off, one syllable.) When they didn't find him, the Bards traveled to Badger's home. There, they found Schaff in hiding, sharing tea with Badger's mother, Mama Sinkus. She was once Helen of Troy's handmaiden, but she ran away when Helen actually was abducted by Paris. Schaff told of the price on the Knight's son's head. Gizmo asked the Knight's name, and was given his father's. Gizmo's shock was so great that Schaff was forced to reveal his identity: the King's lost son. The two immediately became friends and allies.
Paddy then connected the price to paper, which grows on trees, which burns in southern California wildfires, which are hot, like fire, which is made by Charizard. Also, he made sure that I put this in my own story. I will never know why.
The Bards agreed to never reveal either identity to the King or the Knight. The returned to Dumon's Flat. At the same time, the King ordered that no one would leave the kingdom, save for a fearless warrior who was not the Knight. Stuck in Bamah, the Bards continued to make music, Gizmo and Schaff hidden from the world they both knew.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Introduction

In the faraway country of Bamah, a proclamation was declared: any who could defeat the King in battle with song, would be freed to battle elsewhere, apart from his musical army. The challenge was undertaken by few; this is the story of one such group.
One blustery Bamahan day, the Fox, Gizmo, and Holden were searching for a song. This song was no ordinary song; it would lead their merry band into battle against all opposition, and thus, to victory. The Fox was a sly, cunning, and foresighted hero. He knew about people and places no other ever uncovered. Holden was the drummer. He had the speakers stolen out of his car once, but that is probably the most devastating thing to occur to him in recent memory. Gizmo, the hero and author, director, producer, composer, and main actor of our story was an egotist. He was brilliant, but his own lack of common sense negated any dreamer that he could ever manifest. Before, the Bards worked together to select a song worthy of their title and victory. However, on this fine day, all was almost lost. Our hero sat strumming his lyre, pondering over the future of the Bards, and singing a wondrous song, when the Fox joined him on a large stringed instrument. The song became more wondrous, and reached truly majestic proportions when Holden joined in. Beauty flowed from Gizmo's mouth and the instruments the Bards played. They worked it out, and the Bards were officially born.
This band was already a merry group, but the amazing song birthed an adventurous group. The other members, Badger, the quick-witted and grounded but fierce and loyal, joined the music on her reed. Badger was known to be free-spirited; she regularly took on her own adventures (remind me to tell you of her spar with Kawan, the dark one.) Schaff was a meek but powerful leader who also bowed strings. He was not so much wise, but his authority over young clarinets and members of the junior class was astounding. Paddy and Dumon were not part of the musical alliance, but the original group. Paddy was known for his random but insightful (sorta) outbursts, and Dumon blended Paddy's courage (I guess) and Schaff's humility.
The song was warmly received by all, but it lacked victory in battle. To become a true contender, it had yet to face the dark-haired king of the land, a fearsome wonder to behold, Carl. Many a day, the Bards would challenge the mighty King, but he was not at his office--i mean, castle. Finally, Carl returned from battle. The Bards sang, strummed, bowed, blew, and drummed, but the King was not to be defeated. Instead, the King denied them freedom.
Undaunted, the Bards moved forward. Determined to make a name for themselves, they planned and practiced. They would be known, tomorrow.