The Lost Wizard
Jaime the Bard - First Tale
By Douglas E. Gogerty
I am Jaime, entertainer extraordinaire. I learned my craft under the great William Tremblesword. I have played in palaces and in theatres throughout the civilized world. You are probably wondering how I ended up at the bottom of this pit all alone. Let me start at the beginning.
I was born the youngest of 17 children. At least that is what the Monks of Saint Ambrose Monastery told me. Apparently, my parents left me in a basket upon their front door when I was just a few hours old. They had so many children that they could not manage one more, or so the story went. Several children at the orphanage had similar stories, so I have begun to look at my beginnings rather skeptically.
In any event, I learned to fight at the orphanage. I had no choice in the matter. It was either fight or die. However, it has been a useful skill, so in retrospect, I should not complain.
In fact, with the amount of fighting that went on between us boys, the monks decided to channel that fighting into swordplay. I cannot speak on the wisdom of that idea, but there it is. I learned to use a sword in defense of attacks by other orphans.
Further, because of the constant attacks upon my person at the orphanage, I also learned some healing techniques. Being a regular visitor to the healing monk, I could not help but pick up a few things. This is another useful skill I obtained by my rough life at the orphanage.
To reward us for our hard work with the swords, the monks invited the renowned William Tremblesword to put on the play Fred and Ethel the Pirates Daughter. It was a tragic tale full of swordplay.
Ethel was beautiful. She was a lovely young thing with blond hair and striking blue eyes. I was instantly smitten.
Since I was raised in an all male orphanage run by monks, I had never known that there were other creatures in the world other than boys. Ethel was different. She did not appear that she would attack me at first light. With her, I would not have to be constantly vigilant.
When the troupe packed up and left the orphanage, I hid in their wagon. I left the orphanage and joined the great William Tremblesword for the love of a woman.
Naturally, I discovered that Herman Snodgrass played Ethel. The first love of my life was a young dark haired boy in a wig, who gratefully gave up the women's roles to the younger orphan boy -- me.
That is how I ended up studying my craft. While I had hoped the constant barrage of attacks upon my person would subside, this did not happen as of yet. The youngest of the troupe was the whipping boy of the group. Thus, my self-defense skills were continually honed.
In addition, as the youngest, I had the greatest number of chores. Besides learning the necessities as a traveling performer, I also cooked, cleaned, washed, and learned the myriad of other skills to keep a troupe of men happy.
Eventually, as actors moved on, William recruited some young men to join us. For a while, only boys older than I were hired. Thus, my duties as the youngest continued. However, it was inevitable that I would move up in the ranks.
While performing shows, I saw my first real females. They appeared curvy and soft. They were unlike the rough and tumble males that I had spent my entire life with. I fell in love -- many times.
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to get return affection when you are in a wig and dress. On the other hand, it is easy to get close to them. This is how I discovered much of the anatomical differences between men and women. Further exploration, however, was needed.
When I began playing male roles, I got more attention from the ladies. In fact, this is how I ended up in the town of Yansey.
We had just played Yansey, and we were continuing on our tour. We had a small performance at an inn on the road to Giland. It was just an advertisement to our main performance, and it got us a night's stay at the inn.
I found a person willing to warm my bed. She was a lovely thing, but she was about twice my age. Her name escapes me. Nevertheless, the chemistry between us was quite extraordinary. I did not get to sleep until it was quite late. I slept right through the morning bell.
William discovered me in bed with the woman. It seems that she originally agreed to spend the night with him. However, after a few minutes, she left him. Perhaps his excitement could not be contained. In any event, he kicked me out of the troupe for that.
The woman paid for another night with me, and gave me some money in addition when I went on my way. I walked back to Yansey to see if I could make a living there.
Yansey is a small town with the Grand Old Mountains on the north and the River of Yan on the south. The Yan is a fast moving and treacherous river that disappears into the Forest of No Return.
The forest gets its name from the fact that no one ever comes back from the forest unchanged. Many times, they do not come back at all, but when someone does come back, he or she is completely different. The person would have no memory of anything, and often appeared to be a completely different person.
It is because of the nature of this forest, that the town uses it as a punishment for crimes. The judge would send the convicted into the forest. Often, it may be months or even years later; the convict will emerge but is completely different. They could even go in as a woman and emerge as a man. Often, the convict would resume his or her life as if nothing happened.
I was performing daily, and making a fine living there. I would sing songs for meals. I had an arrangement with a widow for lodging. I was quite comfortable in my life. I only had an occasional fight with someone who refused to pay. It was far from the constant attacks, which I had been accustomed.
However, one day that all came to an end. Apparently, the Mayor's wife, daughter, goat, and dog all became pregnant all at once. Some sort of investigation went on, and they named me the prime suspect. I do not understand why, I would have never slept with the Mayor's wife!
After a sham of a witchcraft trial, a judge convicted me and sentenced me to enter the forest. At least I did not have to enter the forest with nothing. To make the punishment more severe, some convicts are sentenced to enter the forest naked. I was able to keep my clothes and my trusty sword. The widow gave me her husband's leather armor and a few days food ration as a farewell token.
I entered the forest bravely. There was a path of sorts from the previously convicted. I decided to follow it. I heard the rushing waters of the Yan to my left. I would use that as my navigational aid.
The path headed south towards the river, and at one spot, it opened up to a beautiful vista. The River of Yan plunged down into a great waterfall. The roar of the rushing water was immense, and I dare not stay long or go deaf.
The path continued along the river; however, it sloped down considerably. I heard a growl behind me, and a pair of glowing eyes appeared in the shadows. I contemplated battling the creature, but I decided to rush headlong down the hill instead.
At te bottom of the hill was a pit. With the speed I obtained as I rushed down the hill, I was unable to avoid falling into it. That is how I ended up here at the bottom of this dark pit -- all alone. I have not decided on what I am going to do next; however, for now I am going to stay put.