Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus

The Saga of Villus Bluesteel : Planting 2, 636 CY

As Spoken by Edward Prester Bard of the South Lands

The Saga of Villus Bluesteel

Baldrun was giving instructions to a raven when I walked into the tent. I waited while she whispered into its ear. After a few moments the creature took off and flew out of the tent and into the morning sky.

“My son,” she said, “will be returning by the end of the first week of Planting, by your reckoning.”

I stepped forward excitedly, “Villus? Why?“

“Most importantly, he is getting married. Of secondary concern he is coming to explore the Caverns of Suel Memory to find a piece of the Song of Ages.“

I smiled at her ordering of importance.

“You may find my priorities humorous, Bard of The South. But I know what you think of it, and I assure you that you are wrong to put the Song above the marriage.“

I had learned to not dispute with Baldrun, but this seemed a fight I could not lose. “So an artifact to save the world is secondary to a wedding?”

“To a marriage, they are different.”

“Semantics.”

“That is your game, not mine. A wedding and a marriage are vastly different. But since you draw little distinction, I’ll explain why I say the marriage is more important.”

She gestured for me to sit and I did. I found it interesting that she had not sent her women away, apparently things were in motion. Normally if the conversation settled on her son and his quest she would speak of it in private since they were family matters.

“Why do the gods choose the young to save the world? There are tales of older heroes, mentors and sages or those finishing a need…but mostly the tales are of the young. Why?”

I thought a moment, apparently I was taking too long.

“At this moment,“ she continued, “the world hangs in the balance. The Heroes of the Key live, some perfectly capable to stand up and take arms against the devilish horde and outer darkness coming.“

“What’s coming?” I asked…

She smiled, “Horrible things, bard of the south. Be grateful you are here where I can protect your frail form. But my question remains: Why the young? Why those who have a greater chance of death over experienced adventurers? Why those in this group so connected to what is happening that it could interfere?”

I shrugged, more interested in her answer than any I could devise.

“Because it is their world to save, not that of older people. It is the world they will inherit. A hero must have something to fight for; family, people, redemption…something. Villus and Hanna have been in love since they were children. Do you know the kind of life children plan together, Bard?“

“I suppose one that is not realistic,” I said bitterly.

She caught the bitterness and nodded. “Yes. Lives of unrealistic beauty. Things that make the old and wise shake their heads in sorrow at the lack of practicality expressed. They plan lives of miracles we have given up on ages ago. They dream of lives and a world that you would fight a dragon for, stand up to a lich to create, stand down an army of devils to preserve…or face horrors far worse to make possible. What makes a hero is that they fight for the world as it should be, not as we have allowed it to become. For the lives they dream, not the ones we tell them are possible. They can make possible the impossible. They can be the source of magic. I know my son. If you want the world saved…give him his world to fight for; and his world is incomplete without this marriage.”

I sat for a moment before rising, “Well I have never seen a wedding of the Frost people before. I am sure it will be charming. If Villus is to arrive, I need to be ready to understand him…it can only help the saga.”

I turned to leave but she stopped me with a question. “If you do not believe as I do about heroes, then what music drives your songs?”

I shook my head, for an unstoppable force of nature, she could be romantic at times. “The music others bring to it, Lady Baldrun. I have had none of my own for a very long time. I’ll kindly take my leave of you now. I have preparations to make.”

I exited her tent and made my way to the shore line. The fishing boats were coming in with the late morning catch. I made a note how many fishing villages there were in this story. There was something in that, something I was not quite getting yet.

This village was beautiful in its own way. A seaside village on the Grendep Bay, Silental fed the barbarian lands. Green struggled through the snow and hard frost. It did get green here, as opposed to the lands of the Ice and Snow Barbarians. Spring, such as it is here, was coming. Two people were getting married. A world needed to be saved. And I could muster only the detached interest of an academic story teller.

Hanna was down helping unload the catch. Soon her fiancee would be here for their marriage. I did not dare think with hope on their lives or reflect on my own wedding. Some things were best left unremembered. Perhaps hope did, as Baldrun indicate, make a hero. It would probably take someone with hope to understand. If Villus Bluesteel was such a man, I would be happy. If he could remain one, I would be surprised.

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