Broken Hearts in Theren Keep
(Therenborough, Therengia: Akroeg 358)
A scarred dwarf hunkers up to the bar, bearing a heavy weight upon his shoulders. Baresh recognizes him, and draws a bottle of Langenfirth Red Ale for the empath. He’s seen the look before. There’s a story that has to come out. The Dwarf’s tongue is loosened by a few quick sips, and he begins to speak.
"I tell ye Baresh, I dunno if ye been keepin’ up with events in Theren lately, but their lordships are having something of a time up there. Markik, Anzius, and myself were having an interesting conversation concerning clerical piety when all of a sudden Lord Jarod showed up. Ye know the fella, Lord Damerran of House Thistlebriar’s son. I tell ye Baresh, as an empath I’ve taken a lot of wounds in my life, and seen a lot of pain. But lookin’ on this young feller about broke my Dwarvish heart. I’ve never seen someone so depressed in my life."
Guillard pauses a bit, staring at the bottle in a timeless fashion before continuing. "Well, I hadn’t ever actually met Lord Jarod myself, so I asked if he was in fact the one I’d heard tell of. He confirmed the fact, and then wet to looking as if he was ashamed to be drawing the breath of life. We asked him what was the matter, and after a bit of himming and hawing he confessed he was looking for a lady. Well right away I jumped to praising Lady Gayla and how much she spoke of him and how highly she though of him and I don’t know what all, trying to cheer the lad up."
A look of anguish crosses Guillard’s face before he speaks again, in a low, almost confessional voice. "I didn’t know that lady Galya, according to Lord Jarod, had told the lad that she didn’t love him. I tell ye Baresh when he said that I felt lower than a creppo at the bottom of Arthe Bay. When we offered our assistance in helping him, he only asked if we could find him a new heart. The poor fella is about crazy with grief. He said he only wanted her happiness, and left soon after."
"Now I don’t know what this means, and the rumors of court affairs are always flying thick in Theren Keep, but I wonder why Lady Gayla would say such a thing to him. Best I can figure is that if she’s gonna be forced to marry that Edmund fella by her father, then she oughta make a clean break with Jarod. I reckon she loves him so much, she had to break his heart now, rather than let it waste away over a long period of time. Now that’s only my speculation now, and it ain’t worth much. But I do hope both of them young folks end up happy, but I can’t see it coming from actions like this."
Guillard finishes off his bottle of Langenfirth Ale and gets two for the road, paying Baresh with a faded gold lirum. "I’m heading off into the night, to ponder this. Like I said, I healed a lot of people in my job, folks you thought would never live again. But I’ll be damned if I can mend a broken heart. Never felt so useless in my life. There’s some wounds even an empath can’t heal."
With a somber nod from Baresh, Guillard leaves the Tavern, bottles in hand. The sounds of laughter and singing from within the tavern fade as he walks into the Therengian forest, and the night envelops him as he keeps walking.