ay Queprur strike me dead where I stand should a word of this
story prove to be false, for I tell it only as I saw the events I now put to
page for the sake of having some proof that it was not a dream that passed one
night as I visited Marcogg.
It was a cold, damp night. The wind had picked the chill off the falls, and
everything had a dank, earthy scent that was common in the capital. It was to
the White Deer I made my way. The building was made of that dark, local stone
that people seem to be fond of, rather than the white clay from the north, and
had been painted with an enormous White Deer on the wall just off from the
As if the mural had not been enough of an indicator (and considering the local
penchant for drink it might not have been) the sign swinging in the evening
breeze above the door declared this to be the White Deer. A joyful bustle could
be heard from the doorway as another happy patron staggered out, rather drunk.
Carefully stepping aside from his stuttering path, I made my way in to the inn,
which was filled with music. This came from one man, sitting alongside the
hearth at the inn. The sound from his fiddle rose like a songbird’s trill over
the heads of the enraptured patrons. Those who hadn’t been swimming in their ale
in any case.
“He’s good isn’t he? That fiddle brings in the patrons hour after hour, and they
just keep buying drinks until they keel over or run out. Some of ‘em as run out
of the drink still stay around to listen to him. He’s something else, I’ll give
him that.” The innkeeper, a swarthy man with a receding hairline and a deep
“Why would he be playing in a place like this?” I inquired, for the fiddler was
no passing amateur playing for a meal and a corner to sleep in.
“Search us, should be playing in a manor, not a tavern, a good tavern though she
is,” the innkeeper added hastily.
Though his fingers held no rings, it was plain to those who listened that he
could well pass for a masterbard.
The fiddler played on through the night, his bow moving effortlessly, singing
out notes like the sweetest songbird. I cannot say whether or not the wine made
the music better or the music improved the wine.
I stayed at the White Deer, as planned that night, intending to continue the
trip towards New-Santhala the next day, when during the night, I awoke to a
curious sound. The fiddler had begun playing again. Gazing out at the sky, I
could see that it was far from time for the Injera to rise again, and so I threw
on a cloak and made my way down the hall towards the common room stair. The
fiddler sat at the hearth again, playing a low, mournful dirge on that joyful
instrument. As he played, he stood and began to walk for the door.
I hastily descended the stair, watching as he opened the door and went out into
the street, playing all the while. I followed him as he continued his melancholy
tune, playing as he walked up the mossy cobbles. I was grateful for the moss,
since I realized I was barefoot in the street, with only my cloak to guard
against the chill autumn air. As we passed through the city, I could hear…
things stirring in the alleys and sideroads. I realized, after what seemed like
an hour of walking, that we were nearing the falls. As we did, an eerie light
appeared on the road near the falls.
On the road above us, stood a figure with a fiddle. As we approached, I heard
this glowing fiddler take up a tune. The melody was such that to hear it might
break the heart and rend the soul. It brought tears to the eyes and bore down
with a crushing weight of sheer sadness and loneliness. From the opposite side
of the falls, the man I had been following changed his tune, almost as though in
response and lifted his head to the figure on the falls.
Though it was far away, it was plain to see that it was a woman, playing up on
one of the higher ledges of the falls. I made to cross the bridge to gain a
better look as the first fiddler finished his playing. As I tried, with what
little stealth I could muster, to gain a better vantage the lady on the falls
took up the air on her fiddle once again turning it to a dark and saddening
melody that haunted the soul and echoed in the darker recesses of the mind. From
where I had stood before, it had not been plain but the woman was finely
dressed, in flowing white silks and lace. While she still played, the fiddler on
the road below took up a new tune with a vengeance, throwing anger and passion
As I crept up the road by the falls the woman’s hands became clearer. Rings on
her fingers marked her as a Masterbard, one of Bardavos finest by the number
though I could not quite count them as the bow moved back and forth across the
fiddle in her hands.
It was frightening, even awe inspiring, the way they played back and forth over
the falls for what must have been hours, in a rolling mixture of melodies and
tunes. It was soon apparent that the Injera would be rising in no short order. I
turned my gaze away for a moment, and the music from this eerie white fiddler
had stopped. I turned to look again and she had vanished. I swear on my fathers
bones to never wander the rest of my days should this story not be true.
A phantom minstrel appears when the moon is full and the sound of a fiddle can
be heard in the city streets late in the night. I know not her reasons, perhaps
she only wishes to play one last time.