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Bernard the Bard, singer of songs and seller of information, is unsettled about the two ravens that have been following him. Entering a pub, he overhears a plot to kill Bethany Regina, the Crystal Sorceress. He cannot sell this tidbit for he is accused of theft and pursued by the conspirators to a walled courtyard. Hiding from his pursuers, he discovers a beautiful young woman. Hesitant, she asks for a song. He asks for a kiss as payment. That innocent kiss flames through him making him realize she is his own true heart. Alas, she is blind. How can he claim her when he cannot provide a home?
Aurora O’Brian, lover of song and poetry, is the daughter of a merchant. Blind since childhood by a tragic accident, she’s sheltered by her overprotective father. Bernard’s gentle kiss awakens suppressed emotions of adventure and independence. Booted from the garden, Merchant O’Brian threatens Bernard’s life. A wanted criminal, Bernard hides aboard the O’Brian caravan to escape the city. He overhears the hired freelancer guards: they plot to kill the travelers and abscond with the goods.
What can he do? He’s naught but a simple singer. With his lute as his weapon, he joins forces with the cook and her pot, the merchant and his saber, and Aurora wielding a staff to defeat the knights. Foraging dragons descend to claim the dead bodies. Other victims of foul play are in the woods. Micah and Jenny Leigh have suffered in an ambush and are aided by the O’Brians.
The Regina comes at the request of Fiona the Flower Fairy scout and heals the brother and sister. An instant attraction occurs between O’Brian and Jenny. Also, Micah and Fiona know they have loved before. He is carrying the soul of her man-god lover who’s been gone for over 800 years. Goibniu the Master of the Forge awakes in Mica’s body and claims his beloved, Fiona.
Prince Darren, consort to the Crystal Sorceress, arrives. He pulls Bernard into the woods to ask about the theft charges. Bernard reveals the vile plot. Darren insists that Bernard go to his keep and keep an eye out for the scoundrel, Ronnie O’Dell. However, O’Dell has already fallen to a horrific evil.
Bethany’s magic has awaken many fey species. One of them is the Fomorian leader, Balor. Balor and his ilk feed off the magic and souls of both human and fey. Once he kills Bethany and takes her magic, he’ll be able to resurrect his brethren and conquer New Camelot. A banshee appears and warns the ruling family of Balor’s intent.
Bethany hypothesizes that Balor is weak from his long sleep and to deprive him of nourishment brings the local villagers in to the keep. Waiting for Balor to appear and be defeated by her noble bard, Aurora pursues her Bernard with a fox’s cunning, seeking more of his kisses.
Bernard desperately keeps her away for he loves her too much to despoil her. Merchant O’Brian hammers down the walls Jeanie has built and claims her love. Goibniu in Micha’s body, resumes his torrid love affair with Fiona. When not creating magical weapons that will kill the demon, he and Fiona sing of Goibniu’s prowess and of the magical properties of his ale.
Lugh Lámhfada awakens in Bernard. The man-god knows how to kill Balor. Grandson of the demon, he’s defeated him before. Lugh/ Bernard with the ravens, his familiars, use the magic sword Fragarach to seek Balor. The demon and man-god engage in a due to the death. Balor lifts the flap over his eye and sucks the life from Bernard. But not before Bernard orders the ravens to attack Balor’s face. With a last blow, Bernard severs the head from the distracted Balor.
Aurora runs to his body and demands Prince Darren fetch the ale Goibniu brewed for it has mystical healing properties. Forcing it down the desiccated body, she kisses her true love. Bernard awakens, hale and hearty. Given a small duchy for saving the kingdom, Bernard now has roots and the means to support a wife. Once again, true love has defeated evil.

SF et fantasy
27 février
Brenda Gable

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