Short stories: A song to die for

The inn was bursting with music and laughter. The smell of alcohol, sweat, and a hint of vomit reached his nose. “Merde…Orcs” he whispered to himself. The bulky orcs at the bar started early and were already screaming for blood. It was entertainment night. It was always a bit more crowded at the Rusty Fork on entertainment night. All the harbour workers came here to spend their hard earned gold on booze and girls. And sometimes one of those cold coins got lost and found its way into the pouch of a bard. “Well, C’est la vie.” He sat down at a table in the back and got a good look at the stage.

There he saw a young half elf trying to sing his ballad. He was good. Very good. He just had the wrong song for the wrong crowd. The orcs threw a few tankards of ale and laughed when one hit the poor sod in the face.
“Oi, pretty boy! Come back when you have grown some balls!” screamed one of the younger orcs. A great scar marked his grey skin. Our stranger stood up and walked towards the stage, passing the dronken orcs. Slowly he removed his cowl and presented his long chestnut brown hair. Under his nose graced a bushy moustache with the same colour. His garments were dark purple and had seen the passing of time. But there he was. On stage. In his hand he held an old lute. He was ready for it.

The orcs had noticed the new entertainer and flung a few tankards to the stage, but missed the man completely. “Get your ass down from that stage, you whore son.”

The man ignored the rough crowd and coughed a few times before starting his performance.
“Bonjour, mes amies. Je suis JeanPierre. I will be your entertainment for this evening. It’s very nice.” His thick accent silenced the room and all eyes were set to the stage. One of the orcs grimaced and screamed. “Show us what you got, mister fancypants.”. JeanPierre smiled and continued.
“I believe we have some messieurs here who are behaving badly tonight. So before I will start my song, I will first lighten the mood with a few jokes.”

“How many orcs does it take to light a candle?
Je ne sais pas. Don’t believe they even know how to make fire.”
The crowd looked confused at the bard and back at the orcs. The bartender tried to hide his amusement, but ignited a salvo of laughter throughout the whole inn. The orcs looked confused. “Oi, what did ya mean by that, little human?”
JeanPierre shrugged.
“What do you call the moment you need to explain a joke to an imbécile of an orc?
Mission impossible.”
The crowd starts to laugh again. The eldest orc stood up and growled. But JeanPierre was not impressed. Not a bit.
“What can you say to the mother of an orc?
Nothing, they are too stupide to understand anything.”
The audience loved it, but the old orc was nearing the stage.
“You! I will kill you and feast on your entrails!” he shouts in a gravely voice.
“Monsieur Orc. There is no need for violence. I will start with my song, non?”
“We will kill you as soon as you get of that stage, little human!”
“Mais non, mon chéri. This will song is magnifique. This song will be to die for.”
He smiled and placed his hand on his lute. His fingers stroked the snares and music filled the room. The crowd looked mesmerised at the display of music. Their eyes glowing in excitement. This is why they were here. This was the display they were waiting for. All of them loved it. All of them, except the group of orcs.

Their eyes widened and they started to scream. Anger and fear. Both trying to escape their bodies at once. One started to throw up blood. The other blocked his ears with his hands and fell to the ground. One by one they joined their orc friend on the floor.

The crowd started to panic and ran for the exit. The orcs were still on the floor. Lifeless. Blood dripping from their ears. JeanPierre smiled and jumped off the stage. With a quick movement he grabbed a pouch of money from the orc bodies.
“Merci beaucoup. You were a great audience.” he whispered to himself and disappeared into the chaos of the crowd.

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