Percy Bandello


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1. Percy Bandello


The lusty, drunken strains of a bawdy shanty filled the still air of Brittany’s wharf district, emanating from a ramshackle building at the end of a narrow alley. An old drunkard burst forth from the doorway and weaved unevenly through the alley, as if in time with the music, before falling face first into the muddy street. From a sign above the establishment’s door, a painted parrot with an eye-patch looked on impassively with its good eye, no doubt having long since been inured to such boorish behavior. 

And so the nightly drama played itself out upon the stage that was the Ruffled Parrot Tavern. Throughout this charming performance a motley, ever-changing troupe of actors arrived and departed as if on cue. Scriptless and uncertain, they played their various roles, each adding a crucial brush stroke to the ever-growing masterpiece of enchanted evenings that made up the story of the tavern.    

Enter one Percy Bandello: troubadour, seeker of adventure, lover of women, drinker of ale. His is the tale of a man at ease with all the world- content in his many simple pleasures, yet hungry for all that is unknown and mysterious. His hair is longish and poetic, its golden curls tamed in the style of the pageboy, a trend not too uncommon among the bards of the day. He wears his facial hair in a carefully maintained Van Dyke which comes to a slight point at his chin. He is thin of frame, yet sturdy. His clothes are simple and elegant: a white silken shirt, dark brown vest with matching breeches and soft leather boots. At his side hangs an ornate rapier; slung across his back, his trusty lute. A broad-brimmed hat with bright crimson plume completes the costume.  

Whence came this traveler on this loveliest of spring evenings? Only the silvery moon could say, and on this night she was silent. He entered the tavern as a conqueror enters a fallen city, victorious and eager for well-earned spoils. And wherein lies his victory, my friends? Why, life itself! Life was both the game and the victory, the goal and the means to attaining that goal. 

Crossing the threshold of the tavern, he removed his hat and bowed low to a lovely raven-haired maiden seated at the bar. She had before her a tankard of dark amber ale. Ah, how he admired a woman who fancied her ale! Especially one as lovely as this one. He put on what he thought was his most charming smile, and handed her a small, delicate red rose, having produced it as if by magic from some unknown area about his person.  

 “Barkeep, a tankard of your finest ale!” cried Percy, tossing a shiny gold coin in the direction of the bartender and clapping a young man at the bar on the back in a friendly gesture “And cease not their flow until the last keg is tapped out, or I am.” 

Thus provisioned, Percy seated himself in a comfortable chair by the hearth from where he could observe the patrons and the goings on of the tavern. Already he was composing the first verses of would no doubt become an epic ballad about this very evening, words that would soon be lost in the depths of several empty tankards.  

 

 

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