The Glass Harp
Verse I Intro
Trudging along Vintner’s Walk, the party’s spirits hang low. Night after night, drizzling rains saturate your clothes, only to meet a feeble sun in the morning that never allows them to fully dry.
Your food is running low, and the hope that the once prosperous village of Kriff awaiting at the end of your journey will receive a weary band of entertainers is one that none of you voice, though all of you doubt.
As you travel you come across a dilapidated church barely capable of holding its roof aloft. Thankful for what shelter it can offer, you make camp within the three walls that still remain. That night it rains harder than normal, causing a nearby creek to crest its bank and sweep through the churches once green yard.
In the morning you discover a shallow grave has been unearthed. Trapped under an incomplete set of bones is an oiled satchel that has managed to preserve a portion of a journal.
One of you turns to the remaining legible pages.
At last, on the third day since leaving the North Highway, Kriff’s Orchards come into view. The crippled apple trees that once were ripe with fruit stretch their scraggly branches skyward as if in surrender. Through the rows of the dying limbs you can see abandoned wineries in states of disrepair and the houses that once sheltered the workers.
As if from the distance, carried on the cold wind you can hear a child’s voice singing…
“Shiny chips ’neath the sycamore of old
Starry rocks, bauble bright, and sparklers glowing bold
Never find me, never see me, but never do I go
“Shiny chips ’neath the sycamore of old.”
“The sycamore was ten or more men tall
Roots so deep, branches wide, and sturdy ’gainst the winds
Never knew me, never saw me, but never did I go
The sycamore was ten or more men tall”
A remarkably beautiful woman, likely still in her teens, happens to be in the orchard. At first she hesitates, deciding between running or standing her ground, but chooses the latter as she sees the genuine tiredness in your eyes.
“Looking for food, I’d venture to guess”, she says with a sweet voice that contradicts the surroundings. “There’s a little to be had, but you’ll need to work for it. Look for my nana, she goes by the name of Doreese. Or you can ask around, others have work too.”
She begins to leave, but then stops to offer a word of advice.
“Try not to get yourself hanged while you are here.”