Music and stories:
The teller of tales.
There was a people long ago who would travel the country side singing, dancing, juggling, playing an instrument to the gathered inside dusty old taverns where the people would have rarely been privy to such entertainment.
Robert Jordan wrote about one, Thom Merrilin, in Wheel of Time.
Patrick Rothfuss main character, Kvoth, has his humble beginnings as one in the King Killer Chronicles.
Stephen Erikson writes about one, Fisher kel Tath, so legendary that his other characters tell stories about him.
They are bards. They are clever, cunning, and charismatic. People and characters alike love them for the social value they bring along with them. They entertain but more importantly they raise spirits; and on a perilous journey what could be more important than high spirits and grand hopes?
In Dungeons & Dragons, bards are a nimble nearly rogue like class who bring utility to the party in battle as well as in town.
In stories, bards often spark the inciting incident that challenges, inspires, or shames the hero into taking his journey. In a way, they take on the role of Gandalf. Leading heroes to places they never thought possible and inspiring them to fulfill their destiny.
Musicians and Authors have this power.
I was quite depressed in college. I was frustrated with how my studies were going. I drank too much, and I acted too little. I had a serious crisis of spirit. I saw not just my own world as irreverent but that of the people around me as well. As a musician surrounded by other performing musicians I lost all connection with the spiritual value of music and how it had, for my entire life, lifted my spirits and focused me on chasing the things I valued and cherished.
So I watched Anime.
I watched a lot of anime in college. It was those heroes journeys that roused me from my depression and got me reading the fantasy authors I’ve mentioned before (Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson). Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun), Kentaro Miura (Berzerk), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto): these were the bards I needed.
I was training to be a bard in my own right, but I needed my spirits lifted to get there.
I had little value for music and story
for a long time after my music degree was finished. My music wasn’t valued by many and as a reflection of that I didn’t value music as a whole. My eyes were on what was happening in the greater scope of the world: war, politics, liberty, justice – all brutal topics to be completely enveloped in – and all the while still trudging on as a teacher and a musician.
I was valuing causes while ignoring the social fabric that brings us together. Ignoring something I actually had the power to influence.
Let’s talk about spirit as a resource.
My fellow gamers will understand.
If you’re injured, you’ve consumed some of your health resource (hp).
If you you exercise you consume some of your endurance resource (stamina).
If you’re depressed, anxious, scared, or confused you’re low on your spirit resource.
The ability to recover in another area is directly linked to how high your spirits are. Need to do a lot of cardio? Play your favorite track through your earbuds and you’ll be running faster and longer than you would have otherwise. Feeling sick? Injured? People who are happy heal more quickly than people who are depressed. More accurately: your mindset affects how you heal.
So curl up with a good book and a warm blanket and bask in your flowing spirits (after you’ve been to the doctor. After all a bard is no replacement for a priest).
Being a bard.
It is a great pleasure to be able to work story and song together. To raise spirits and to challenge heroes to go on grand quests.
What’s even better is, as a teacher, I get to train the next generation of bards who will roam the land.
Immortal Fear doesn’t have any Bards in it but once you read how beat us Silas gets, it’s sure to raise your spirits. Thanks so much for reading.