The Bumbling Apprentice

Arianna Daelin

UP: Chesapeake

    A snatch of melody touched my ear as I neared Lord British’s Conservatory of Music in Britain. A missed note here and there gave away that it was a student of the conservatory playing the piece, but obviously one who showed much promise in his art.

I found the friend I had come to visit, Maestro Trenton, pacing the library on the second floor of the conservatory and muttering under his breath. "Fool boy, get himself killed," he continued his agitated mumbling before he saw me.

I called to the Maestro, who promptly stopped his pacing and came to greet me. "What troubles you, my friend," I asked.

"Oh, 'tis this daft pupil of mine. I swear to you, the boy is tone deaf! If not for Heinrich’s wealthy parents, I would have sent him home long ago. But now he has finally gotten himself into more trouble than I would have imagined possible," Maestro Trenton began his tale.

"You see, the other students could no longer stand the discordant sounds he would make while at practice. You would not believe the horrid screeching the boy could produce from an innocent lap harp! His fellow pupils convinced him that he’d be better off practicing in seclusion, so the fool boy took his harp to the Hedge Maze of all places."

"After he did not report back to the conservatory for a few days, I began to worry for his safety. You see, not only did the music he made with that harp sound bad, but it also had the most uncanny affect on creatures. It could drive the most harmless of creatures into a frenzy."

"So, after having my ears well blistered by his mother’s screaming, I decided to form a search party to go after the boy. I wandered the streets near the conservatory talking to people until I found seven brave adventurers willing to join me in the search. I’ll tell you their names so you’ll know them for the brave souls they are if ever you should meet them: Kellandros, Highlander, Luna, the Lady Laurian, Lina Inverse, Joy, and Verapin Applesamm."

"We traveled from Britain to the Hedge Maze, and found him at the center. He was standing on the balcony of a house there, making horrid noises from that harp of his. As expected, there were all manner of angry creatures surrounding the house, all trying to get to Heinrich. You would think the lad would have enough since to stop his awful playing, but instead he played all the harder thinking he could calm the beasts!"

"My brave search party bested the creatures and fought their way to Heinrich on the balcony trying to convince him to put his harp away. But the nitwit refused to believe it could be him causing such a ruckus, so finally I took the harp from him and broke it beneath my own boot."

"Well, we brought the lad back to Britain and I delivered him to his parents. After hearing the story, they’ve decided to remove him from his studies here at the conservatory. I believe his father mentioned sending him off to Yew to be apprenticed a carpenter there. I hope he has better luck with that than with the harp."

After hearing the Maestro’s story, I would suggest the residents of Yew keep an eye out for Heinrich the Carpenter's apprentice. If he’s as bad with carpentry as with music, there could be trouble coming that way.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Saturday, June 17th 2000