Hearing Voices, Seeing Places

I hear things at times. Not the kinds of things that indi­cate a need for med­ica­tion, but snatch­es of dia­logue from char­ac­ters. Some­times I “see” the setting.

The most recent: My bard char­ac­ter from Sam’s D&D world, Tarafëar, is on the road with an unknown com­pan­ion. She is quite will­ing to fetch fire­wood, care for mounts, clean up, etc. but she does not cook. Ever. 

When ques­tioned as to why, she replies, “A com­pan­ion once stat­ed that what I do with vict­uals is less cook­ing than des­e­cra­tion, and an insult to that which gave its life to feed us.”

A while back, this descrip­tion hap­pened. It is inter­spersed with oth­er para­graphs in the sto­ry I start­ed around it, which also intro­duced The Hart’s Rest and its keep­er, Yolan. They sim­ply made them­selves known, and have become a sol­id part of the world.

She noticed his hands first—all of him that she could see was dark­ly tanned, but even in the uncer­tain light of the tav­ern she could see the stark white from knuck­le to knuck­le on the ring fin­ger of his right hand. He touched that fin­ger fre­quent­ly, uncon­scious­ly, as if check­ing for some­thing that should be there.

His hair was pulled back into a clout and looked as if it had been brown at one time. Now it was sun-bleached as much as his skin had been dark­ened, near­ly the same dark gold­en col­or as his skin. Lion-col­ored, she decid­ed. The jagged white line run­ning down his face from eye to chin, pulling up the cor­ner of his mouth and leav­ing a bare track through his beard, was the same bone-white as the emp­ty finger.

If she had­n’t seen him walk in and stand next to Yolan, though, she’d nev­er have known him to be so large—6 and a half feet if he was an inch, she’d say. He did­n’t seem a large man or bulky, and he moved with the grace she was accus­tomed to see­ing in a very few who were much at home with their bod­ies. His walk made her think of ships at sea, and those who were accus­tomed to brac­ing for the next swell. She want­ed to see him move again, per­haps even dance, so that she could watch.

The man’s cloth­ing was well-made, like­ly tai­lored for him, and of the finest grade of cloth—she was her moth­er’s daugh­ter enough to rec­og­nize that. She could tell, how­ev­er, that they had also been long-worn while some­one was at hard work, and repaired here and there with nee­dle and thread rather than mag­ic. He wore no jew­el­ry at all, although she thought he’d prob­a­bly worn an ear­ring at one time. 

He treat­ed the serv­ing peo­ple very well and would appear to be pay­ing for his cus­tom as he went, so it was unlike­ly that he was a reg­u­lar here. He smiled eas­i­ly at them, but in a way that told her he was large­ly closed off from them and just being polite. Obvi­ous­ly, no few of the girls and at least one of the lads would have glad­ly shared his com­pa­ny for the night if he showed the slight­est inter­est, but he had remained polite and busi­nesslike with each of them. He ate alone, his back to the wall. His eyes roved the crowd, tak­ing in peo­ple, notic­ing flows, rather than focus­ing on his meal. 

At a dis­tance, his hands seemed well kept and clean, but she had a sense of heavy cal­lus­es and won­dered what kind they’d be—from work­ing a ship, wield­ing a sword, farm­ing? He did­n’t have the bulk about the chest and arms that she’d expect from a smith, and she had­n’t caught a whiff of the wax that always seemed to accom­pa­ny the seri­ous bow­man. She want­ed to get clos­er to find out, though. There was some­thing beyond his appear­ance that was very attrac­tive, some­thing hint­ing at a sto­ry. What bard could resist?

He’d seen that she was watch­ing him dur­ing her per­for­mance. Unusu­al, that, as she knew well how to watch sub­tly. He raised his tankard to her, and the smile on his face seemed a truer expres­sion than those he’d bestowed on the staff.

Why don’t I ever get snatch­es of a plot to go with the dia­logue and descrip­tions, dammit? 

The glimpses into oth­er worlds aren’t always about Tara. Some­times they con­cern anoth­er char­ac­ter, Seau­claire (cur­rent­ly a char­ac­ter in search of a game or sto­ry). They are usu­al­ly in CoraNi, though.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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