THE STORYTELLER PLUCKED THE FRAGILE strings of a lute nestled in his lap, creating abstract tunes that fell mutely on the ears of those passing by. His absent eyes watched as the dance of colors, patterns, and textures whisked past him without acknowledgment;the civilians and patrons were lost in the mundane chores that busied their lives and swept away thoughts of leisure.

He was nothing but a small splash of detail in the frenzied town, and his listless music added to the encapsulating din that stole the melodies and flung it where no one listened.

~~~

The Storyteller’s calloused hand withdrew from the instrument upon his lap and moved to idle his fingers along the lip of a chipped stone fountain on which he sat. The gentle trickle of water behind him splashed and sloshed up against the interior of its stone hollow, refreshing his skin where and when it could.

    He propped a leg up along the fountain's edge and gave a strong, decisive strum of the lute. His eyes pointed towards the younger crowd as they screamed and yipped with joy, still unaware of his presence. Leaning forward, he flicked his fingers in an improvised tune and spoke loud and deep; a sound they were sure to hear: