The Carrion Crown
The Fiddlers Lament
Soft music drifted through the campsite coming from the fiddle that Alhindriosa loved so much, she whirled around sending the world into a spin, leaping and dancing the stars whirled above her in a chaotic mesh of twinkling lights on darkness. She loved to dance for when she did she was able to forget everything about her past, about her own people didn’t understand her and how they were happy of the day she left their Forest Realm.None of that mattered to her when she danced like this a whirl wind of energy, a pure expression of joy, at least her new family her new people the Wanderers could understand that love and embrace it. As the music died down and the energy of her dancing left her exhausted she collapsed onto the grassy hill near the others who clapped and cheered for her. They talked for a bit they were going to be heading into Ravensburg in the morning to do some trading and try to earn a bit of coin but she paid them little head as she took in huge gulps of air. Then she noticed that all conversation, all noise had ceased as if the camp had gone deathly silent. She opened her eyes and saw that a stranger had entered the camp, he was swathed in heavy black clothes and all she could see was a vague outline of his features but she instantly felt drawn to him.
“May I take a rest by your fire?” he asked his voice like honey. One of the elder matrons made the sign of evil towards the stranger but he sat anyways. He then pointed at Alhindriosa “That one she shall dance for me now.” And she felt compelled to do just that and started to step towards him when she suddenly heard the sound of wood striking rock. She looked over to see her dear friend and head of the caravan Lothiaro smashing his violin into the rock destroying it. “None of the wandering folk will play for you stranger and no one under my protection shall ever dance for the likes of you either.”
The stranger stood and rolled his shoulders emitting a popping noise and said simply “So be it.” And then as she watched he proceeded to slaughter everyone in the camp moving with a speed and agility that was beyond mortal limbs. Some of her people tried to fight back, some tried to run but he killed them all with his wicked little knife. In moments the massacre was over and he stood before her drenched in blood and pointed that knife at her face “Your adopted kin have purchased your freedom at a dear price this night.” He intoned “but the demand of the Stranger cannot be denied forever. We will meet again, you and I.” with that he vanished leaving her there kneeling in the bloody mud staring at nothing. It was three days later when she was found by the villagers of Ravenburg, they took her in to care for her and saw her kin buried properly. For nearly three years they tried to care for her but it was beyond their simple means to do so, she simply sat never speaking, never moving and eating only when forced. She was forlorn they said and so the council members voted to gather what money they could to have her sent to a proper place for care. The next eighty five years would see her shuffled from hospital to prison to asylum the only name following her was the Raven Patient for she was silent and alone and forgotten by the world.
But not by the Stranger for he kept to his word and he found her again one dark night for in the early hours of morning she heard her name being called and she opened her eyes to see him there. He was clad in the same dark clothes and had the same alluring power over her. He smiled “It is time you return to your lost kin my child and to dance and play for them once more. It is time to dance for me.” She was fascinated, as she spoke by the pair of cloven hooves that peeked out from under his long jacket. She was more astonished when from those very folds he pulled a meticulously cared for violin that to her looked just like the one that Lothiaro had smashed. Life flowed back into her face as she took it in her hands and caressed it with love. She didn’t even move as he opened his jacket and wrapped it around her and when he opened it they were standing on a small hill in the pre-dawn light unmarked graves stretched down the hill around her. “Now my little dove, dance and play! Play to your lost kin!!!”