In the heart of Waterdeep's docks, a ship makes port. This Navy vessel has spent many a year in the war against the pirates of the now overthrown city of Luskan. Those who survived its many battles and brawls now gained their reward sought after since their drafting into the navy; freedom. The soldiers slumped off the ramp, some dragging wounded parts, others just moving without a thought and a blank stare in their eyes. They have all seen things which no one should see. Death and Destruction the likes of which only war could create. Among these now free men, elves, and dwarves walks a seemingly inconspicuous man.
The only abnormal thing about this human is the fact that he somehow made it through two years of constant front line battles, with buccaneers, wizards, and the evil things the wizards had pulled from the nine hells, without a wound to show for it. Very few notice this but a careful eye may gather from this scene that he was the only one of that group that had not a scratch on him. Not to say he wasn't brave, in fact he led many charges, but despite all that he still had an air that could almost pass for a non – veteran. Most of the poor souls, who were able, made their way towards the number of taverns along the docks to drown out the memories with the strongest brew they had the coin for. The inconspicuous man took a different path, though, through the many alleys. He found himself in a busier part of town full of markets and vendors. The people passing him now had happier faces than his comrades on the boat and that made his spirits brighten more than any drink could.
He found a small shop where he could sell the various items he collected during his days at war. He got just enough coin for some new street clothes, a bite to eat, and a bed to sleep in. He made his way through the markets, stopping here or there to look at the different goods. Towards the end of one lane of vendors he heard a soft musical tune emanating from around a corner to his right. As his interest grew so did the complexity of the song, almost as if it pulled him towards the source. He made his way slowly, wary of any ploy, his warrior tactics kicked in. He knew of monsters and evil things using similar musical tactics to draw in unsuspecting passers-by. His more dominant left hand hovering over the dagger on his belt, he glanced around a gentle corner of the wall. He saw a small group of people watching a single man, or Halfling as it was, playing a curious looking flute which looped over itself to the side and ended in a bell. The audience looked mesmerized, some swaying to a fro to the music this Halfling created. The music pitched and yawed like boat upon the sea, it danced and fluttered like the flames of a campfire, and it flew and dived like an eagle in the sky. The song then changed, beckoning, as someone would wave another toward. The people of the audience responded by moving forward and emptying their purses of their coin into the Halflings bag. Then the music pointed, in any direction but there, and the people acknowledged. They all started to walk and went right past the soldier without even looking his way. He watched them go, and as soon as they passed the corner, out of sight of the Halfling, they changed. Some shook their heads to clear the cobwebs and others looked around, confused at their surroundings.
"It seems I'm losing my touch," a voice behind him said. He whirled around to see the Halfling putting his instrument away and glancing at him in a way that said he was curious why he wasn't following the others.
"Not at all, I very much enjoyed your show. But how were you able to get them to give their money away without stopping your playing?"
"That is the question, isn't it? Let me answer your question with one of my own. How is it that you didn't?" The human was taken aback. He didn't know how to answer.
"What guild do you hail from? Who sent you here to steal from me my music? The masters will hear of this don't you doubt!"
"I know not of what you speak. I just came from the war in Luskan. I heard you play and came to watch. I can't even play a drum let alone something you have created." The halfling's face changed then from anger to curiosity.
"hmm. No other composer would give such a compliment to another player. Forgive me for any misunderstanding. Good day."
"Wait! You have yet to answer my question. How did your music entrance them so? Why didn't I do the same?"
"You seem to be a tall and smart fellow. I'm sure you can come to some conclusion on your own that will satisfy you." The Halfling started away towards a deeper part of the city but stopped a few steps away.
"What is your name, human?"
"Goran. Goran Strongblade, and yours?"
"None of your concern," he said. "And neither should yours be unless you cause me any more trouble." Goran just slumped his shoulders and walked back to his rented room, his head awash with unanswered questions and some answers he wasn't ready to accept.