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Library: BardTales : Adversary


Author: Millikan
Date:Nov 29 2001

  'Why are you throwing that food away? It's perfect!' the voices said to
  'No, it is not', Servant said. 'Now I have to do it again, and this time you
won't fool  me to put poisonous mushrooms in it. Leave me be!'
  'Oh, no, I am just thinking your best. If your master would happen to die
you would be  the next master. Just think. Just think. Wouldn't it be nice, to
be free? To do what you  want? Just think about it. Think.'
  Servant was singing loudly as he prepared dinner for his master, Noitulove.
To memorize the words he had taught yesterday and to drown out the nagging
little voices in his head. One of these goals succeeded but it seemed nothing
could shut down those nasty words.

  Noitulove rubbed the wound in his neck. That definitely had been a close
call last night. Servant had attacked him while he was sleeping but after the
attack Servant just went  quietly to sleep without another word, as though he
would have done it asleep.
  Servant did puzzle him. He came to his service as a fever-eyed lad several
years ago but did not want to say his name or who his parents were. Well, that
was not really surprising, crossbreed that he was. Only name he answered to
nowadays was Servant.
  He did not have quite the talent or voice his other apprentices or other
bards had but  he had keen mind and definitely made up his shortcomings with
unmatched passion. But it  seemed his passion was too overwhelming nowadays,
that he couldn't control his actions and  did try to kill him again and again.
  'Servant?' he called.
  'Yes, master?'
  'I believe large parts of "Wedding of Moon" are not really meant to be sung
from top of your lungs.'
  'Pardon, master, if I did disturb you. I merely was memorizing the words
while cooking.'
  'There is more in memorizing than just words. You have to follow the rhythm,
the feel of song. You will not learn that song by just bellowing through it.
However, I must say it is  good that you practice your lessons all the time.'
  'Yes, master.' Suddenly Servant noticed scratch on Noitulove's neck. 'I am
very sorry,  master.'
  'Oh, there is no need for that. Everybody makes mistakes.'

  Noitulove woke up in the middle of the night. Servant was humming softly
"Spring Snow", one  of the earliest songs he had been taught. 'Well, I did say
he should know it even in his sleep but...'
  Servant was turning around in his restless sleep and muttered 'Just a little
cut, and he  wouldn't wake up ever again...he is asleep and wouldn't notice a
thing. Juuust a liiittle  cut...take your dagger and do it. It's just so
  Slowly Servant rose but Noitulove noticed he hadn't opened his eyes. He took
his crude  knife and moved silently near Noitulove. then lethally quickly he
stabbed Noitulove's bedroll and woke up.
  'That was not very nice thing to do. You ripped perfectly good blanket and
even with your  sewing skills it will not be as good', Noitulove said,
succeeding in keeping his voice from  trembling.
  Servant burst into tears. 'I am sorry, master! I did not mean to do it! I
did not want to do it! Please slay me for failing to be faithful servant!'
  'I do prefer if neither of us would die this night. And I must say you have
been quite  persistent for a person who does not want to kill me. Do tell, why
have you been trying it then?'
  'I did what I could but my father's spirit wills it that I would become
master of bards  through your blood! It keeps bothering me and nearly always I
can ignore it but sometimes he forces me to do horrible things!'
  'Oh. Is that why you have shouted through all the most beautiful and tender
romances and  forced their writers to roll in their graves?' As Servant nodded
Noitulove picked his horn and did couple of practice blows. 'I am afraid I
cannot drive away restless spirits but I can teach you how to do it yourself.
This is little something I picked up long time ago...'

  Two weeks later Noitulove called Servant to him. 'I notice you have learned
that song to the perfection I never could take it. Because of this, I now name
you full bard. Your  apprenticeship has ended.'
  'You are throwing me away from your company? Have I not been satisfactory
servant to you?'
  'Quite the opposite, and I am not throwing you away...from now on we are
equal and we are  taking different directions. It hurts me to part from you
but I must.' (To save my hearing,  he thought by himself.)
  'Yes, mas- I mean fellow bard.'
  'Oh yes, you cannot be called Servant any longer. From now on you are to be
called  Stringbreaker, because of the song you have grown so keen on. Go visit
four corners of the world and teach the youth how to quiet their inner
tormentors. Teach them about beauty of  dischord.'