Dear Diary. Getting back into Lithmore, bit by bit. Got asked to entertain the patients over at the hospital; it was a fun deal, although I think most of them were pretty much out of it. Got told a wild story though, about people going into the sewers and fighting baby dragons. I’m sure not going into those sewers anytime soon!
Met the Poet Laudate, finally. The man is so busy, it took the most of two months to get hold of him. A sophisticated, serious Vandagan fellow. I’ve got a feeling he was a tad skeptical of little ol’ me, but what else is new. Serious people are my most favourite projects, I shall surely make him smile sometime. I’m at least part of the troubadours again now. At least I didn’t have to rehash my old discussion about them wanting to use the term ‘master’ with me – I can’t really argue with a title like ‘master Jester’ I guess, silly as it may be.
Now the ‘Golden week’ is coming up. I promised to a part of so many different things on there I don’t even remember. I’m sure all will work out fine.
Dear Diary, long time no read! I must admit I have other notes from those years, but they are all at the bottom of the sea by now, so time to start a new one now that I am back in Lithmore.
Three years it has been. Give or take. Three years since I snuck off Lithmore harbor and on a ship for Tubor. One day I might tell you why I left, dear Diary, but not today.
I know I once promised never to return to my birthplace in Pertport on Tubor. But I was always an optimist. And a fool of course. Always the fool. As any non-fool would have predicted, it was all the same. People change so very little. At least I learned a thing or two about myself, about things that can never be and will never come again. It took me three years to learn it, but I think I might not forget it this time.
… Wow, now I sound all gloomy and dramatic! Bad Jester! Baaaad Jester! I should be happy. My old Jester’s garb still rested peacefully in the bank vault I left it – thank Dav for Lithmorran steadfastness! Last of my savings went to paying the late fees. I write this just after having had a joyful reunion with Orbie. I mean – Baron Ariel le Orban de Savir, keeper of the Seal. There is no end to the heights that man climbs. It has taken its toll – he has changed so much! He told me I hadn’t changed at all. His normal charms I’m sure, but I don’t think he understands how happy I was to hear him say that. He is married now, to lady dul Damassande (surprise, surprise). He has a little five month-old daughter, Elena – and I’m happy for him, really I am.
All these years and we are like old folk, talking about the good old days. I fear I’m still tired from the journey though – Orbie asked me to tell a story from my trip and I … couldn’t come up with much fun at all. Tired indeed. I hate it when I make Orbie melancholic, he has enough on his plate as it is. I’ll have to make it up to him later. Next is to get hold of someone at the ‘Globe. I hope they’ll take me in lest I shall sleep in the streets tonight. Well, at least it’s not like I didn’t have enough experience with that lately anyway …
Dear diary. If you recall I gave Princess Allison a Yule present last Yule. It was the sister of my puppet, Mrs Buttons. I use to picture what kind of life the sister now live. The places she gets to see in those little hands! But I picture it’s also a tough life too. Imagine the competition a poor little puppet must have to get the attention of a little princess, who must have so many toys already.
Thus I was amazed the other day when I did meet the princess and found the jester puppet clutched with a firm grip! Clearly all those other fancy toys stand no chance against a well-traveled gal like the sister of Mrs buttons. Good girl!
The girl (the princess, not the puppet) grows so fast! And she does remember me – I have in a way known her since she was a baby after all. The Queen is a kind ‘un, letting her daughter play with a retched commoner like me (and my puppet). Then again, it’s hard for anyone – even a Queen – to withstand those big blue eyes for long.
Dear Diary. I met the intrepid mister “Good-lookin’ McOldMan” today. I have a vague feeling that it’s not his real name. I had heard about him of course, if only by description rather than by name. Many of my fellow troubadours and friends seem quite miffed with this man’s antics and disrespectful way of talking. He apparently has a knack for irritation.
And sure, He’s a rude, loud brute. But he’s also most fascinating. ‘McOldMan’ is the kind of person that kicks wasp nests just to test how fast he gets stung. He seeks a response out of people with a near desperate hunger. I guess I recognize myself a bit in him. But where I seek to instill responses of smiles and laughs, he seems happy to instill any response whatsoever – even if it is a fist in the face.
… Or maybe a fist in the face is exactly what he seeks. What do I know – when it comes to fists in faces I’m no expert.
Dear Diary. Now and then I wander. It’s not like I have a plan or anything, and mostly such wanders brings me no further than the nearest pub. But sometimes it brings me to Milford. Or some of the other small farmer’s villages within a few days of Lithmore. This time I racked up a few months in the outback. Sleeping in a barn here, at the top of a mill there.
There is something particularly endearing in making the farmer-folk laugh. Me, in my colourful garb, with my accent, my bells and pants, are like an alien creature to them. I can tell they are a bit intimidated by seeing a girl jester, but they are too hungry for fun and news and gossip that they can’t afford to be picky. I think some of these small places haven’t had a bard pass their way in years. One small place I visited saw my arrival as an excuse to throw a small village fare. I ran shows and plays for them until they couldn’t stand up from laughing too hard. It’s easier to make people laugh out there, tastes are simpler, jokes can be cruder. It’s great!
Anyway, back in Lithmore again. No lack of depressing news, what with Hillbeasts, blood and deaths all about. Hmph, can’t leave them alone even for a few months without going all dour and grumpy on me.
For once Orbie was cheerful though! I’ve almost gotten used to seeing him tired and torn and frowning, so this was a welcome change. Miss Le Storm – Orbie’s cousin – is getting married and both of them formally radiate. I love it! She gave us a glimpse of her wedding dress. Lady le Storm is so pretty (especially after consuming my patented ‘slimming cookies’, hehe) and I’m sure she will be very happy – I happen to know her groom is a good juggler, and that’s all I really need to know about the man.
… Oh, and after a few months in the outbacks I had nearly forgotten the reserved prudity of Lithmorran males! Me and my Charali friend got into teasing a young lad at the tavern. He built up quite an impressive blush. Clearly it was a symptom of the red plague – something only curable by a kiss. Who do you guess ended up being the one dared into deliver that kiss, dear Diary? Good guess. I thought his head would explode.
Dear Diary. Two performances – of sorts – in the same day! First I met Leesa at the theatre (don’t think I know her last name. Do I need to know her last name? Nah). Leesa is an old friend of Talya le Salyndri, from Tubor. It’s fun to get to speak so much Tubori these days – it seems there is a new island-folk to be found under every plank of the theatre nowadays.
…. Aaaanyway. As I was writing, I met Leesa at the theatre. She is seeking to the Troubadour guild and I’m a big softie for this kind of stuff. We did a small performance with various emotions. Not bad at all. Talya showed up in the middle and took the role of the cheating wife – Neesa does a very good angry husband, I give her that (but I’m skittish around sharp things and her waving her very real knife around for emphasis is a tad too realistic for my tastes). She’ll get into the guild in no time, especially with Talya so feverishly promoting her. Heh.
… Then in the evening Mistress Fournier set up an impromptu performance! I had no idea until ten minutes before it. The Poet Laudate is a great singer, but that was no surprise to me. No, what had me amazed was that she did something spontaneous like that. She even put me up for the last act without asking me first! I was quite impressed with her lack of forethought actually – almost like something I’d do! I didn’t know she had it in her!
… Of course Mrs Fournier is not a fool like me, so she didn’t quite see the greatness, but tried to apologize to me for the late notice. I don’t think I can really explain to her why there is nothing to apologize for.
Oh, and Talya sang too – very nicely by all means. And I did a little story to round things up. But that’s neither here nor there.
Dear Diary. Got Master Astartes to sing today. Had to fill him up with some whiskey first but once he got howlin’, it was worth every silver of investment!
I guess you don’t know Master Astartes, Diary dear. He’s this giant of a man – a soldier since childhood in the same way as I was born the fool. I’m actually older than him, but I shall of course never admit that to the old lug!
Anyway. With enough whiskey inside his vest, He sang me a full three verses of a wanderer’s song he knew. It was rough around the edges but fun! Mistress Fournier’s teachings sure have left their mark. And he was proud enough for it, so I gave him as much encouragement as I could – what is a jester for, if not to bring a man’s spirit up any way possible?
He sure is a glum one if left to his own devices though. Hell-bent on duties and honour left and right – stuff beyond the grasp of a simple fool. But I like the fellow good enough, and glum people are my favourite projects. Lord knows Master op Orban is still, after all these years, lapsing back into glumness the moment I turn my back – sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t do it just give me work to do …
… Hm. Maybe the entire city is actually cheering and laughing through their days, only to turn sour and glum the moment I turn the corner. Just to mess with me. How would I know – I’m not there to see it! I shall start moving faster, to check if I can surprise some of them in the act.
What a flow of new recruits to the guild of Troubadours! And Mistress op Fournier is sending them all my way! Not that I mind – they are all fun and sweet and daringly hopeful. And I try my best to be good and kind and to only tease them a little.
… But I can’t help but wonder what the guild mistress is thinking sending them to the fool, and for sponsorship of all things? Does she really expect me to be critical and serious enough to make such a decision?
Clearly Mistress op Fournier is either playing a joke on them or playing a joke on me. I’ve not quite decided which. I’m pretty sure it’s funny though, either way.
… And there I was, one wee Jester sitting with a Princess on my lap, having her try to find a paper knight behind my ear, when a lady-in-waiting came in: “The Royal heir is born, a healthy baby girl!” And of all people in the realm I got to be the first person to congratulate the Princess to her having a baby sister! Not some fancy noble or delegation but me! The world spins in strange ways, and I’m sure the Lord of Springs looked down and had at least a little chuckle today.
Dear Diary. This business of doing the Troubadour “master” tests are proving taxing on all accounts. Mistress op Fournier told me I had to study bardic lore of all things. What did I ever do to her? Huh? Do I look like a scholar?
Anyway, I was never one to sulk. Besides one might pull a surprised smile or two off a few people if I actually did study this bloody lore thingie. So today I asked around and eventually found the Bardic library. I’ve heard a lot about it, today was the first time I actually tried all the doors of the Guild to actually locate it.
Big mistake! I pulled the first book off a shelf, which turned out to be a horrible experience to a little wee jester. It was a theatrical play. It started nicely, with a pretty fish-monger-girl getting herself proposed to by a noble. Then it rapidly went downhill with jealous lovers and general nastiness all over. Almost everyone died, no one was happy. No fun anywhere! Horrible! I hate crying, and this thing had me bawling. Now my nose is all puffy and red.
Now I have to get those master’s tests done – might give me some more clout to stop such nasty plays to ever be put up at the ‘Globe again. No wonder people are depressed and glum all the time when the entertainment looks like that! I wonder if old glum-shoe Orbie hasn’t spent way too much time in here.