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Bad Luck Charm, Part One

November 12, 2010

            Ye ain’t heard of a bad luck charm?   Seriously?  Well now, I guess there’s no explainin’ a person’s knowledge or experience.  To be fair, I didn’ know about ‘em when I was yer age, and they’re rare, not like good luck charms.  Everyone knows what a good luck charm is.  The thing is; good luck’s fickle.  Ye never know when it’ll run out.      Bad luck though, that’s another thing entirely.
            There’s no explainin’ a bad luck charm; at least I don’t know if I can, because ye’ll get the wrong impression.  Maybe some wizard, wit’ all his books and learnin’ might, but then again maybe not.  I’ve had plenty of experience wit’ their kind and that sort likes to use words to impress people and the best way to show someone how smart ye are, is to confuse ‘em. That’s where they get ye, see, they start explainin’ stuff and everyone just nods along like they get it, even though they don’t, because they don’t want to seem ignorant.  Crafty folks.
           Where was I?  Oh yeah, bad luck charms.  I had truck with one when I was younger. 
           Twas right after the War of the Six.  I’d enlisted with the King’s Own Army to seek me fortune and adventure in foreign lands, when the war was over I’d returned home with what loot I’d garnered to buy meself a little homestead.
           What’re ye grinnin’ about?  Ye think every soldier wastes his wages on drink and whores?  I’ll grant ye, I squandered some, but I’m a fast learner.  It only took me a couple of times wakin’ up broke, with me head poundin’ like a martial drum. That, or sick with the flux or pox from some cheap strumpet, before I decided that wasn’t the life f0r me.
            Besides, there were some lifers around that had to scrimp to buy a pair of boots and I realized that I didn’t want to be one of ‘em.  So I suffered through the marchin’, the long slow times and the short fast times that still haunt me sleep and saved me coin.
            When me stint was up, I came back home to Shady Brook.  Ye never heard of Shady Brook?  Well, wasn’t much back then, tis even less now, but twas where I grew up, and there was a lass there that I was thinkin’ of courtin’.
            So I’m home and discover the lass’s no longer a lass, she upped and married the miller’s son and was heavy with child.  I don’t blame the lad; he jus’ beat me to her.  Besides, most women are pretty pregnant.  She wasn’t one of ‘em and so I’m thinkin’ fortune’s done smiled on me.
            So I go to the inn to think.  This put a hitch in me plans, pure and simple.  I’m sippin’ ale, which when I left thought was the richest, smoothest ale in the world.  Show’s what I knew.  Twas watered down and tasted suspiciously like the cedar shavin’s on the floor and I suspect the barkeep squeezes ‘em back inta the barrel when he closes to make a tad more profit.
            So there I am thinkin’, because there weren’t a lot of people in Shady Brook even back then, and the prospects of findin’ someone to start a family with is pretty small.  It seemed to me, that this might be a sign of some kind.   No point in settlin’ down if ye don’t have someone to settle with.
            So, I’m sittin’ there, ponderin’, not sure what to do when the exiled prince comes walkin’ in.  The wanted posters didn’t do Prince Cathel justice, but they were close enough.
            Now, back then the king had some pretty specific orders about what would happen to anyone that aided his brother, on account of their dispute over which was the older twin and proper heir and all.  Anyway, the king was kind of unforgivin’, if ye catch me meanin’, which really ain’t fair if ye consider it properly, because the prince and his ‘peers’ as he called ‘em weren’t the kind to brook any refusals to their requests which they worded ever so politely.
            So it gets real quiet like, and people are starin’ at their drinks, tryin’ not to be noticed and it comes to me that this is an opportunity.  So I look at him from over at the bar and he notices me lookin’ at him.
            The first thing ye notice about any royalty, is how small they be.  If ye ask me, it comes from marryin’ all those princesses with the dainty features and fine hands.  That stuff starts condensin’ the royal blood ‘til both princes and princess have dainty features and fine hands.
            Fragile beauty’s fine in a princess, heck ye expect it, but it don’t make for a strong heir.  Tends to make the men rat faced and weaselly which is never good when dealin’ with the burly members of the barbarian clans around treaty time.
      Tis a good thing that a hero mingles his blood every now and then with that of royalty or sure as the sun rises, the line would die out.  Sometimes I wonder if mayhap there might be a little more of that goin’ on than we all realize.  I can see a princess or queen getting’ a little hankerin’ for somethin’ a bit less feminine in their male companionship.  They can always have the lad executed if he gets a bit uppity and above his station. 


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