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Library: Walkabout


Author: Captnapalm
Date:Nov 3 2002

The Oracle had foretold that times were about to change. A new era was about
to begin - and the Realm would never be the same again. Life went on as it
used to in the dark ages but everyone knew the winds of alteration were about
to sweep the Earth. At first, just the little twisted things could be noticed.
Known places and civilisations vanished in thin air, others changed
dramatically. Villagers started to worship new Gods and religions. East was no
longer east - west was no longer west - Sun rose from south now. Strange star
constellations were discovered on the midnight sky. These abnormalities didn't
at first sight have much of an influence on everyday life on the Realm. But
the winds of change - they got stronger.

Gathering round the campfire the villagers heard the Oracle tell them stories
about new civilisations and even unheard races. And the prophesies were not
always welcome. 

"The Realm shall be ruled by strange new races - stronger, wiser and more
powerful than any giant, cyclops or thrikhren we have ever seen so far! They
will come - and oh they will rule. Rule with honour or fear - that we shall
soon witness with our own eyes." ,boomed the Oracle. 

Villagers first tried to laugh and ridicule these rumours. Deep inside they
were scared of course - and the Oracle had never been wrong so far. But by the
end of the season - they laughed no more. Strange new races did eventually
emerge. Duergars, leprechauns and lichs they called themselves. Creatures so
wonderful yet strange the Realm had never seen. Even the long lost draconians
and feared vampires returned. Doors were kept locked at night - windows nailed
shut. Times were about to change all right. Villagers turned back to the
Oracle in despair, hoping for some better news.

"This is only the beginning my friends. I looked into my orb and saw something
else. Something so odd even I can't comprehend. There were creatures of
enormous size and strength. At first they seemed some playful new race -
having fun and playing like infant hobbits. But when my orb got closer and I
could see what they were playing with - they were playing catch with some
round objects it seemed - they were catching stars! Ripping stars from the sky
and tossing them at each other, laughing. For the time of Titans shall come,
my friends." ,continued the Oracle - now lowering her voice.

Seasons passed - life went on. New creatures proved themselves trustworthy
members of the village eventually. Crops were harvested much more effectively
and the village bloomed - thanks to the new occupants. All gasped in
astonishment when they for a first time witnessed a draconian plow the fields
- led by a lich nun keeping watch for evil monsters!

Dwarves and hobbits got their well earned vacations at last. The village soon
adapted to the new world order. Strange creatures were no strangers anymore -
new worlds got discovered and explored. The Oracle got laughed at - children
giggling and throwing acorns at her. But she had not revealed everything she
had seen in her orb. The wind of change - it was now resting and brewing.
Villagers heard laughter and strange new melodies from the Oracle's house
sometimes at night. A village outcast - recently accepted member of the Elven
family was seen in her company more and more these days.

"Aww that lil' pain in the ass has gone insane. Hanging with the Oracle cannot
be too good for 'im. And he usta be a respected defender of the keep. All that
singing and drinking must've eaten away his brain like a zombie!" ,spread the
gossip throughout the village.

The village had missed the most obvious of the recent changes. The house where
a strange feline assassin used to live - shunned and ignored - now lived a
proud little merry elf. Where he came from - or more importantly - where he
went on his walkabouts each night - no one knew. They saw him leave at sundown
carrying books and instruments of unknown kind - only to return at sunrise
looking exhausted yet grinning and humming. As if he knew something wonderful
the villagers did not. They were right.

The villagers concentrated on their own lives and daily rutines, ignoring the
merry elf. Still rumours spread - villagers wondering what that little fellow
was up to. Finally - it took just a drunken gnome at harvester feast - the
villagers dared to ask the elf what he has been doing the past year. Was about
time cause the merry fellow could have not remain silent any longer.

"Whatcha doin' wit those stoopid insttttr- ..errr.. instruments and all that
you little puff, huh? No one has seen any of those darn lutes and violins nor
heard such a melody since the dark ages! They were thought lost for ever.
Whats up with that uliuliuli?" ,cried the gnome. Rest of the villagers missed
a heartbeat - but it was too late to stop - stop the tables from turning.

The merry elf tried to keep the laughter inside and decided to play a little
joke on the villagers. For this moment he had waited for too long now. Strange
walkabouts he had been on - oh yes. Night after night, day after day he had
wandered the Realm seeking. Seeking for the long lost songmasters - for they
had returned.

Tired were his little feet, eyes and pointy ears of searching - rambling and
searching the lost masters. But every morning had the merry elf returned - not
with empty heart nor empty book of tricks. He had been busy. He had
rediscovered the lost tunes and ways of performance and song. The villagers
were about to be blown away by the wind of change. For good.

"Well - I could sing you song to enlighten up the subject." ,giggled the merry
one and begun tapping his worn-out lute. The villagers soon crowded the
campfire gathering around the little fellow. And it was true. The little
fellow had truly studied the long lost art of performance and entertainment.
First the melodies hurt and ached their ears. What was that noise? The
villagers had not heard anyone singing or playing such instruments - only the
Old ones nodded their heads in acceptance. "Yes. Sing us a song." ,said the
Oracle, obviously having some problems not to laugh out loud at the villagers.
That night at the campfire turned the tables. The village had seen yet another
dawn of a new era. The merry elf introduced them to long lost bardic might -
power of song and dance. He sung them songs all night long. The villagers soon
found out the joys of dance and merry singalong. Their hearts yearned for more
and more. For had they not feel this relaxed and happy since childhood - like
they had been woken up from a sleep of seasons.

There was songs about victory - songs about lost battles and ones to be won.
There was songs about lurking dangers and awaiting endless gardens of light.
Some tunes even made the villagers tremble in fear - for this little fellow
seemed to possess powers unheard of - only to be followed by a melody that
forced the villagers join the singalong - would they dare or not. 

At one point the drunken gnome tried to start up a fight with a visitor - a
little helpless duck for crying out loud! It took just a little soothing sound
from this bard's instrument to calm down the duel. Then the merry one changed
the tune and continued. The drunken gnome dropped to his knees - it seemed the
duck had grown in size and power equal to him! Gasping in drunken
hallucination - he hoped - he felt something about the elf's song touch him
inside and he no longer thought he could even match up with the duck. From
this day on he'd cut down the ale and booze - he was obviously loosing his
tiny little mind.

"I hope you've enjoyed my performance tonight, fellow villagers. There's more
to come but the night will soon fall and I must be off to continue my
studies." ,replied the elf. He stood up and told a few jokes and when the
villagers stopped laughing - tears running down their cheeks - they could not
find the merry one. He had again vanished on his walkabouts.

After the gathering the villagers returned to their homes - feeling somehow
empty and fulfilled inside at the same time. They listened their elders
continue the saga of lost bards and tell them stories about the magnificent
Thirteen - master bards of the dark ages. Few of them slept at all that night
- just lying in their beds wondering what they had seen and heard. A loud
snore could be heard from just one house along the path. The Oracle had no
trouble sleeping - for she had seen this thing coming from her orb.

The merry elf saw his home village's lights and the campfire from a far. A
wide smile from pointy ear to another almost seemed to cut his tiny noggin
head in half. "You ain't seen nothing yet." ,mumbled the merry fellow to
himself. He had again packed his books and some favourite instruments and
headed out wandering - wandering to find the lost masters and songs to be
mastered. And the winds of change. They were now resting - resting and