Bard-tricks at the Fair

A brief insight into Pyanni bards and why you shouldn’t piss them off, inspired by today’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers photo challenge.  See the photo prompt and the other writers’ entries here (click on the blue frog).


Photo credit: freepik

Jaelen stood where the smell of roasting pig overpowered that of rotting fish. As he sang, the clackers on his particolored hat kept time with his lute.

He spotted a well-dressed child, already smiling, silk-festooned mother nearby. His favorite type of child.

Jaelen flared his eyebrows conspiratorially at the child, blowing through his circled thumb and fingers. A bubble appeared, shimmering blue. Jaelen kept blowing, making a colorful tower of floating orbs. Jaelen waved, prodding them into shapes—tree, dog, snake. With a last triumphant gesture, the bubbles popped in a glorious shower.

The child clapped. “Mamma, magic!”

The noblewoman snorted. “Bard- tricks.” Sneering, she dropped a coin into Jaelen’s hand. A very small one.

Pompous miser.

Jaelen juggled a rough clay ball, singing, “I love a journey, I can’t wait for fall. But the trip to go home is the best trick of all!”

He blew the ball’s powdered remains from his hand, like a kiss, toward the retreating noblewoman.

Stumbling, she fell bottom-and-hands into the mud. She screamed indignantly.

Jaelen smirked. Worth it.

18 thoughts on “Bard-tricks at the Fair

    • Thanks! I didn’t think at first that I could use such a modern photo (obviously Eneana does not have helium balloons in the shapes of cartoon characters!), but this idea came to me on my walk this morning. Plus I’ve been writing such serious and sad stories lately, it’s nice to contribute something a little more fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, I wasn’t sure how well it fit, so that’s nice to hear. I feel a little bad for not including the photo prompt here, but it would go against the whole theme. Hopefully anyone who hasn’t seen it will click on the link to see the original.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Normally, I would ask that the photo prompt be included with the story. The story doesn’t have to match the prompt photo it just needs to have something that matches it to the prompt photo, which I think yours did very well.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Nice of you to say so, thanks! I haven’t thought about incorporating the characters from these flash fiction adventures into my “real” (ha ha) short stories, but who knows, maybe Jaelen will show up in one in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Millie! Yeah, definitely no helium balloons in this world. I ended up cutting some of Jaelen’s character to keep the word count down. The line I miss most was cut from the first paragraph, when he’s singing along with the lute (and nobody realizes it, but this is how he casts the bubble spell):

      “Most would think the lyrics nonsense, but children always love a hey-lolly-lolly-loo, and the pretty maids too.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that would have been a great addition. The medieval sound of the lyrics complement Jaelen’s lute playing and the general scene you have drawn at the fair. Word limit can be a real pain sometimes!


      • I started on this challenge when PJ set it up and, at first, I refused to let myself exceed 150 words. Now I’ve found that the extra 25 words can make such a difference! So for the last couple of months I’ve taken my stories to the limit. I manage to plan most now to fit close to 175 words so I have little to adjust at the end. My daughter, who you may have met on this challenge (Louise – afairymind) often writes long stories and has to cut them drastically. Like yours, most of her stories are fantasy. It’s so hard to get rid of lines you love, just because of a word limit. But I suppose, that’s a skill in itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I planned to stick to 150 but that didn’t last long… The key seems to be to start small and build up, but on this one I made the mistake of ruminating on the story while I was out walking, and by the time I got home I had a big ol’ idea.

        And yes, I just “met” Louise and am following her too — nice fantasy stories, and she also posted great photos of your recent castle tour, hooray!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well then, I’m sure we’re all going to enjoy following each other. I like your writing style, Joy, so that’s a good place to start. And your story was excellent. Lou does lots of photography posts as well as writing. I do writing challenges and historical
        posts, which fits with my historical fiction writing. What’s not to like about castles? They’re just so inspirational! Talk again soon…

        Liked by 1 person

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