The Unrequited Love of Andreas the Bard

"My dear... Carilette? A beautiful name, that... as beautiful as its bearer... My dear Carilette, might I enjoy the honor of your company once we complete this afternoon performance? I would love to get to know you over a nice dinner, and perhaps after the evening performance, you and I can raise a toast to the star-filled sky."
— Andreas Highcastle to a young admirer at a Traveling Troupe performance
Andreas Highcastle the Bard
The bard, Andreas Highcastle, Bard, of the The Traveling Troupe is well known in the Feywood. And every one of the Folk in the settlements visited by the Troupe that has not yet life-bonded knows that he is "available". In fact, he is probably the most desirable uncommited person in all of the Feywood. Whenever the Troupe arrives, most of the single young ladies, and quite a few young men as well, flock to the village square to at least catch a glimpse of Andreas.

The bard has something of a reputation along the circuit of towns that the Troupe travels. During performances, he will usually select somebody from the audience for some "additional attention" during his songs, and afterward will invite that person to spend some "private time" with him to get to know him better. But when Andreas singles out a young woman or man for special attention for the first time, they are in for a delightful evening, though not perhaps exactly what they expected. Andreas is not looking for one-night-stands; he is looking to assuage a broken heart.

A Date with Andreas

In every village that the Traveling Troupe visits, they typically perform twice a day for a week before moving on. During the afternoon shows, while Andreas is onstage performing his ballads, he will banter with the audience in between sessions, and will pick out a (usually) young, attractive female - or occasionally a male - to interact selectively with. After his performance set, he will approach that person. After apologizing for any possible embarrassment he may have caused, he will invite this person to dinner at a local tavern, and will ensure that person has a good seat for the evening perfromance of the Troupe.

When the evening performance is done, Andreas will sit with his "interest of the day", sharing a few drinks and making conversation. He will then ask if a quieter, more private place would be acceptable. Sometimes, this is in an inn bedroom, sometimes it is in a popular "lovers lane" spot in the village. Andreas' companion typically expects some physical advances at this point, and thanks to his charisma and gentlemanliness to this point, is usually prepared to let the evening take its course. But Andreas is not after physical gratification. Conversation continues, though often gets more personal, and as the evening goes on, Andreas gets more thoughtful and withdrawn. The evenings invariably end, though, with the chosen companion convinced that Andreas was simply being the ultimate gentleman... was really interested in them... and in time he and they would inevitably life-bond. Thus, while they may be "unsatisfied", the evening ends with them longing for more.

Sometimes, Andreas will spend an entire week with the same companion (which only reinforced the belief in that person that they are about to land the "catch of a lifetime"). Other times, he will select diffeernt companions each day. As a result, of all this, he has a reputation of being the consummate Lothario. Fathers cringe when they hear their daughters are going to see the Troupe... Mothers shudder when they find out their boys will be spening the evening with Andreas. All are surprised to hear that "this time", the bard did not go too far.

"So... tell me all about yourself. Have you a lover that will be jealous of the time I'm spending with you? No? That's good - nothing ruins a pleasant evening as much as a jealous mate. But surely you've been courted. Tell me... are there any special places around this town that where the young folk go to... get acquainted better?"
— Andreas Highcastle to Carilette, his chosen companion for the evening.

Andreas' True Love

What Andreas is doing whenever he spends an evening with a young admirer is not what those admirers expect. He is not looking to take advantage of them physically, though most would be more than willing to "get physical" with him. He is, in fact, trying to forget the fact that he has just spent two or three hours performing with the only person he would ever seriously consider life-bonding with. But Elianna Altuliel, the Elven songstress of the Troupe, will not return the affections he offers.

Andreas realized two years ago that Elianna was his lifemate. Since then, he has tried many times to let her know this in the hopes that she would return the sentiment. But instead, she merely looks at him with a sad smile, shakes her head gently, then locks herself up in her room for the evening. There have been times when he is sure he has even seen a tear on her cheek as she turned away. Andreas feels in his heart that Elianna has the same feelings for him and he has for her, but something is keeping her from giving into these feelings - and he'd give anything to find out what that something is.

Perhaps some day, Elianna will tell him that she once had a life-mate - a human male whom she loved more than life itself, and who loved her in return just as much. But she is Elven, and he was human. The forty years they spent together were wonderful, but in the end, she had to sit by quietly and watch her love age and die, while she remained a young elf. When he finally succumed to the ravaged of time, her heart was broken, and she swore she would never again allow herself to love a short-lifer so deeply.

These days, Elianna finds herself feeling the same things for Andreas as she did for her first lover, Karall. But she is afraid that if she gives in, she will once more condemn herself to watch her lover age and die long before she is ready to to the same. And so she suffers silently, not even daring to tell Andreas of her fear since that will only convince him to try harder to get her to accept him.

While Elannia suffers in silence, Andreas suffers in confusion. He knows in his heart that she loves him. He believes that he will one day win her over. And in the meantime, he will honor his love for her by not diluting it with any dalliances that another bard in his position might take advantage of while moving from town to town. He assuages his loneliness with company and conversation, knowing full well that this chosen "companions" are hoping for more. Ever the performer, he keeps them thinking it possible, not to tease or torment them, but because it is all he can bring himself to do.

"He was more than the perfect gentleman... he never laid a hand on me! We even went to the lakeshore to be alone, and he just sort of stared out at the water and the stars for a bit. But when he took me home, he promised we'd see each other again! I think he really likes me, and he's just trying to be proper! I can't wait till the Troupe returns in six months... I'm sure he'll be looking for me again when he arrives!"
— Carilette speaking with her friends the morning after her "date" with Andreas Highcastle


Tokens and Character images, including side panel fey images, made by RPGDinosaurBob using HeroForge®
Banner image by RPGDinosaurBob using Flowscape on Steam.
Side panel forest images by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)


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Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
6 Aug, 2021 13:40

What a delightful take on the prompt, and what a complex and interesting story for this character!

Check out my article for the 2022 Summer Camp Reading Challenge
6 Aug, 2021 19:39

Thank you!

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