Flash Fiction Title: The Usefulness of Bards
Word Count: 420
Cover Challenge: The Song of the Saurials
As soon as the bandits leapt out of their hiding places in the thick underbrush, Gregory the Bard knew he had inadvertently broken the first rule of combat: never bring a clarinet to a swordfight.
“Poop,” he said to no one in particular. He immediately had to duck to avoid a wild swing of a claymore from a bandit.
Next to Gregory, his current teammate Ylinestra the Bloodied was doing a fair job holding her own. But it was still ten against one, and there was only so much a magic-wielding weaponsmaster could do. Gregory started moving backwards, edging away from the fight, hoping he could disappear into the shrubbery.
“Gregory!” The gravelly voice of Sarlan the Dinomancer (so called because he had magicked himself into the very likeness of the great, extinct beasts, even though his magic was more mystical in nature) shouted. “Do something!”
“What do you expect me to do, play them a jaunty tune?” he replied angrily. Another bandit, sensing weaker prey no doubt, rushed for Gregory. He yelped and spun on his heel, fleeing.
“Get back here, you coward!” Ylinestra yelled.
“You got this!” Gregory called back. “I believe in you!”
That was when he tripped over an exposed root and skidded face first into an oak tree. The world went black.
When Gregory came to, his entire face was throbbing in pain. It nearly distracted him from the fact he was sitting on the ground, trussed up against a tree with his arms bound behind his back.
“Wha’ happened?” His voice croaked like a hungover frog’s.
From somewhere on his left (it hurt too much to move his head to actually check), Sarlan the Dinomancer replied, “You decided to fight a tree instead of the enemy.” After a second thought, he added, “The tree won.”
And to his right, Ylinestra huffed angrily. She was always angry. “If we get out of this, you are going to lay down that ridiculous bard instrument of yours and learn real fighting.”
Although he didn’t think much of that idea, Gregory couldn’t even get a word out before Sarlan piped up. “Or we can always leave him behind,” the Dinomancer said.
“Hey!” Gregory sputtered.
Ylinestra hummed, a happier noise than any Gregory had ever heard pass her lips. “Now there’s a thought.”
Slumping, dejected, against the rough bark of the tree, Gregory sulked. He should never have brought a clarinet to a swordfight.
I guess I pretty much ignored the ‘Saurials’ part of the title and concentrated more on the figures on the cover. No disrespect to bards or anything–this story was all in good fun.
But yeah, no, bringing a clarinet to a swordfight is probably a very bad idea, mmkay? XD