Sometimes I just feel like having a poke at some D&D tropes, so here we are:
Tropes in the snow
“Bard!” the barbarian roared as the opening bars of the same song rang out from the lute for the fifth time that day. “You play that song one more time and I will smash your face into my ax.”
The bard blinked but quickly regained his composure. “No need to take that tone with me, madam,” he replied, then flashed a smile and plucked a different chord. “I take requests.”
“My request,” she replied. “is silence. We’ve been walking for six hours and you’ve been singing the whole time. At this rate I’m going to hear you in my sleep.”
“I believe what the baroness is saying,” the paladin chimed in, clearing their throat nervously. “is music is all the sweeter when it isn’t… constant.”
“All right, all right… an intermission, then,” the bard agreed, though when they swung the lute onto their back it was with a sullen face.
They trudged on in blessed silence, the only soundtrack their boots crunching in the snow and the sound of the wind through the pines that crowded them on all sides. Six hours trudged, six more at least before they reached their goal and nighttime was approaching fast. The direwolves descended upon them as the last rays of sunlight disappeared, giant, mangy things looking for dinner. By the time the last one fell, heavy body thudding to the ground, the barbarian’s mood was much improved.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” she laughed, pulling her ax from the creature’s skull. “Bard! Play a song to our victory!” She laughed again, and the paladin laughed with her as they cleaned their sword off on another fallen wolf’s fur. They’d lost about half an hour of walking time to the fight and there was little point in setting off again now with daylight gone, but camping a little further from their target was well worth it for the boost in morale a quick scuffle provided. “I said,” the barbarian reiterated. “Play us a victory song!”
She turned to where the bard had last stood, and the grin on her face fell away. The lute sat strings down in the snow, a smear of crimson across the finely crafted body. Beyond it, red mixed with white in the drag-marks that disappeared between the trees.