The man stood on the street corner, playing his hand organ, singing along to its simple tune.
“Oh, five great lords of the Court of the Right
Brutally butchered on the course of a night.
Their bodies were broken in a way awful to see
The murderers escaped and roaming free.
Oh to live in such days, so drenched in blood,
Where lives are cut short, where men die in the mud.
Cruel the fate of we, born in such times
Our lives measured out by the bell’s chimes.
What man can tell how it will end?
What man knows what the Seven send?
Pray to our saviors who watch from above
Ask that they protect those that you love
For this might be the day, might be the hour
When your salvation lies in their power.”
As passerby placed their coins in the cup set before him, it occurred to the minstrel that the recent wave of murders was proving quite good to those, like himself, in the moriat business. It was not there was ever exactly a dearth of crimes to sing about, but many particularly interesting. But a procession of brutal killings among the powerful with no known suspects?
Moriat gold. Or at least silver, he noted with a glance at his cup.
“You write that song?” came a harsh voice.
The minstrel glanced up, to see a short, ugly balding man, with a tall, ugly hairy man standing behind him. “The words, sir,” answered the minstrel. “The melody is traditional.” And he noted to himself easily learned, and quite playable, so that one could set any number of moriats to it.
The little ugly man beamed at the minstrel. “Well, would you look at that, Razalic? A bloody poet!”
The big ugly man nodded. “Good to hear quality work, Jernis.”
“You, sir, have brought cheer to us on this black night,” declared Jernis, placing two gold coins. “Never doubt your gifts, boy--Razalic and I is most dis-kerning musical critics. Not a lot of work brings a smile to our faces.”
Razalic nodded. “And flute music is right out.”
“It most certainly is, Razalic,” noted Jernis. He cleared his throat. “Well, we must be on our way. Business to attend to. Just thought we’d tell you we appreciate you work, sir.” And then, with another nod, he and his friend were off, humming the moriat’s tune.
The minstrel smiled to himself. What nice, generous gentlemen. Moment’s like that kept you in the business. Still, they weren’t the only thing that fed you…
“The body found by the Crystal Fount,
The list of horrors, oh do they mount.
The skull it was crushed, the arms torn off…”