When a traveling bard stumbles into a dragon's den, he is forced to tell stories to the fire-breathing menace or end up being eaten. Eventually running out of tales to share, he makes a deal with the dragon: for his freedom, he will return with new sagas of adventure, romance, and bravery.
Tales of the Dragon's Bard is the story of one man's quest to collect the most exciting stories he possibly can, and Eventide is the first town he encounters. With wish-women, gnomes, a centaur farmer, a resident Gossip Fairy, and a blacksmith dwarf, those living in Eventide have enough going on to keep the Dragon's Bard busy collecting—especially if he can liven up those adventures a bit with his own ridiculous plots.
- Size: 6 x 9
- Pages: 306
- Released: 04/2012
- Book on CD: Unabridged
About the Authors
Tracy Hickman is a New York Times best-selling fantasy author who has published more than 40 novels, many of the co-authored with Margaret Weis. He published the first of his solo novels in 1995.
Tracy and his wife, Laura have been collaborating on fantastic works of fiction since their marriage in 1977. Together, Tracy and Laura have written role-playing games, screenplays, and works of fiction, including their first co-authored novel in 2004.
Laura Hickman is credited as the first female designer of a published role-playing game module. Laura and her husband, Tracy wrote and edited the first science fiction movie filmed in space, and a copy of their DNA is currently in orbit on the International Space Station. They are the parents of four children and live in Utah.
Laura and her husband, Tracy have been collaborating on fantastic works of fiction since their marriage in 1977. Together, Laura and Tracy have written role-playing games, screenplays, and works of fiction, including their first co-authored novel in 2004.
The Dragon’s Bard’s
Most Sincere Overture
I know what you’re thinking! You’ve never seen a dragon at all—let alone any Dragonking named Khrag. You’d be right, friend, and it’s my calling day and night to see to it that you don’t! Now, you can discern with your own eyes that I’m no dragon slayer, but I keep old Khrag from burning down your door and savaging your town more surely than any knight who ever tilted a lance!
How? Why, good friend, I’m Edvard the Just! You’ve no doubt heard of me . . .
But surely you’ve heard of the renowned Dragon’s Bard, purveyor of peace—the Minstrel of Mystery who wanders the land in search of places, people, and their tales. The tales that save all innocents from the dragon’s wrath.
That old and terrible monster Khrag, king of dragonkind, lies atop his hoard of inestimable wealth in a cavern deep among the roots of Mount Okalan, the accumulated treasure of a hundred wars beneath his deadly, ancient claws. It is as desirable a place as any dragon might long for all his long days, but dragons are creatures of adventure. Khrag lives for the stories told of the sunlit world so far above him and grows restless and angry when he is bored. But so long as his curiosity is satisfied, he’ll rest at his ease in his dark home deep in the ground.
I chanced upon Khrag quite by odd circumstance. The humorless brothers of a discomfited young lady took umbrage at finding her name prominently featured in a fictional story of rejected love, and they unthinkingly threw me into the lair of the Dragonking. Khrag was then and remains an imposing creature who, upon my rushed acquaintance, was quite prepared to eat me at once. As he raised his razor-toothed head to strike, I said to him—for dragonkind all understand the language of men—I said:
“It is entirely too bad to come to so quick an ending, for this would have made an excellent story.”
I stood humbly before the dragon, believing that I had told my final tale.
Yet the dragon—to my amazement and yours, too, I see—did not eat me! Instead he sat me down before him, surrounded by the gold of unnumbered kingdoms, and asked me, his great eyes gleaming, “You have stories? Perhaps I shall eat you later . . .”
Khrag hungered for stories, and I began immediately to tell him all the tales I knew. I told him all the great tales—those same epics and sagas you yourself have known since your youth. Tales of the House of Eldris—how Aubrey and his companions rallied the shattered and dispirited army of Duke Jonas the Unyielding in the Great Epic War and led them against the Nightmarch Warriors of Xander the Shadowmancer. Khrag became annoyed, and there is nothing more dangerous than an annoyed dragon. The tales were old to him. Indeed, Khrag had participated in many of these tales himself and was, I must tell you, frankly bored to dragon-tears with the same old legends of the great and powerful. So I switched at once to the tales from places of which no one has heard and of creatures whose stories are sung and praised only around small fires. Day and night were uncounted in the cavern, for my knowledge of stories is voluminous.
At last my tales ran dry. By this time I was haggard, thin, and quite worn out. I gazed up at the dragon with horrible expectation.
The dragon blew a puff of smoke from his left nostril, then spoke. “Good story—but now you have grown too gaunt, and eating you is no longer appealing to me. I think I shall find a nice village to terrorize with flame, burn to the ground, and utterly destroy.”
Now, I did feel significant relief at not being eaten on the spot, and the inclination of any lesser man would have been to flee at once. I nearly gave in to such an impulse when a thought came to me: What of those villages, towns, ports, and cities? What of the women and children who lived their lives peacefully, not knowing that this Dragonking was planning to sweep all that they held dear away from them forever?
What a fine story that would make!
But, no! My great heart swelled within me and courage took hold in my breast.
“Mighty Khrag,” I said, “there are many more stories across the land surrounding your lair. If you savage the countryside, they will be lost to you—to everyone. They are growing like unseen sweet truffles all around. All you need is someone to sniff them out for you. But if you go stomping about the world, you might ruin many quests and spoil their stories.”
“I want more stories!” The dragon’s great, greedy tongue flicked across his massive jowls as his eyes gleamed nearly as golden as his belly. Khrag reached forward, hooking one talon through my coat, and drew me closer as he growled, “You bag of bones! I’ll leave your precious villages alone if only you come back every midsummer with your skinny carcass, a bag of truffles, and a head full of stories.”
So it is that now I travel the face of our land, going from village to town, experiencing the lives, sights, and sounds of each place so that I might take them back to Khrag and . . .
I beg your pardon? Who? Oh, that! That is my apprentice, Abel. He is not terribly promising as a bard, but he is a faithful scribe—his ability to write and bind books is proving a somewhat useful addition to my already celebrated skills.
Oh, so you read? But of course you do! I knew at once that you were of that learned and educated class that has been trained in the art. Then perhaps I might interest you in this volume of mine, a true and accurate portrait of a village that might amuse you. You may have occasion to visit this charming locale, and such a book would serve you well, for it would acquaint you not only with the hamlet itself but with the inhabitants who live there. You would know where best to dine; where you might take your lodgings; the important eccentricities of the town’s broken wishing well; the peculiar customs regarding gnomes, pixies, and haunts; and whom you might trust there, should occasion arise.
And the citizens of that village! This book will acquaint you well with them all: Tomas Melthalion and his tragic confrontation with the Highwayman Dirk Gallowglass over his daughter, Evangeline; the dwarven blacksmith Beulandreus Dudgeon, whose arts extend beyond iron and anvil; Jep Walters and the haunted adventures of the Black Guild Brotherhood; the gentle farmer Aren Bennis, whose past is a mystery; my good friend Jarod Klum, whose love will drive him to desperately glorious deeds; and, of course, Caprice Morgan, who keeps the wishing well supplied along with her two sisters. Indeed, Khrag himself said just before he fell into a satisfied sleep that he felt he knew them so well as to make the collection on the whole a treasure of inestimable worth.
And I have many such volumes now of different places where I have traveled, which may be made available to you at a price so trivial as to . . .
My pardon! The name of this town? But of course, you may read it plainly for yourself on the cover. Upside down? Really? Allow me, then . . .
It’s called Eventide.
Quirky, Humorous Read
by Marianne - reviewed on July 22, 2012
This is a delightful beginning to what promises to be a fun, twist-filled series about a dragon bard's journey from town to town collecting (or rather creating) stories to save himself from a dragon. Eventide is a great town to start with. the characters are a ragtag and amusing bunch that you find yourself cheering for despite their occasional ridiculousness. The plot is full of surprises and somehow the disconnectedness of the sections seems to fit just right with the quirkiness of the town. Looking forward to the next town/book.
by Stephanie - reviewed on July 20, 2012
Author Tracy Hickman brings us a fun work of fiction in his new book, Eventide-Tales of the Dragon's Bard. A fantasy story following the adventures of Edvard the Just and his unlikely apprentice Abel as they travel the country-side in search of exciting stories to share with the mighty, man-devouring dragon, Khrag. Passing through Eventide, Edvard is certain he has found his next greatest story in the awkward Jarod Klum and the lovely daughter of the High-Wish Woman, Caprice Morgan. As the bard sets the scene and arranges his cast of characters - the scene is set for his next greatest story... Fantasy is not my favorite genre and I did find this a bit difficult to read as it is written with an "olde English" kind of style dotted throughout and it started a bit slow BUT I did enjoy following the sweet romance between Jarod and Caprice once the story got going.
by Shauna - reviewed on September 08, 2012
As to NOT be eaten the story-teller entertains the dragon with wonderful stories. Needing more stories to share the Bard goes into the town of Eventide to record their stories. Along the way you will meet trolls and gossiping faires, and gnomes, etc. Of course the tale wouldn't be worth telling if it didn't have "matters-of-the-heart!" If you love fantasy... you will LOVE this book!