Zenda the Bard

Zenda Blackfoot was born in Rebelton on New Year’s Day of the first year of the Current Age (1 Methyltina, 1 PC).  As a young Halfling, she demonstrated a beautiful soprano voice and an uncanny knack for remembering the stories her gammer to told her.  When she entered her teens, she began playing the dulcimer and soon no sweeter sound could be heard around Rebelton than Zenda plucking the strings of her dulcimer and singing as she strolled through town on a lazy afternoon.  In her tweens, Zenda began to take bard’s training to channel and control the magical energies her music could summon.   Until finally at the age of majority she was ready to set out on her own.  She hitched a ride on a caravan to Walton.

In Walton, she soon made a name for herself as an up and coming young bard, where she first met Manty, a dashing older Halfling with many exciting stories to tell her.   While she was entranced by his heroic tales, it was improper for a fine young lady to spend too much time with a man so many years her senior.  Then one day Manty stopped coming around, and Zenda discovered she missed his roguish smile more than she had let herself know. 

Months and years passed.  Zenda’s skills grew as she performed her music around Walton.  Often, she would work tales of Manty’s wondrous exploits into her performances.  Then one unexpected day, Manty returned.  Although beat up and gravely wounded from a fierce battle, he didn’t seem to have aged a day.  In fact, he had no recollection of the years passing.  Zenda was no longer such an innocent young lady and Manty was no longer an imprudent friend.

Zenda and Manty spent many long evenings together as she listened to his tales.  At first she was incredulous of his stories of strange places and other worlds, like Fivtoria and the Magic Mountain, and of Manty’s battles alongside Lukinvor and other great heroes and heroines of the last age versus Gresham the Golden and Zodyu the Grotesque and the vortex that haunted Manty and his travels through space and time.  But finally, it made sense, the reason he hadn’t aged during the years of his absence and the very reason why he had left so suddenly and stayed away for so long.  To Manty, he had only been away a few days.

Zenda found herself falling in love with this dashing rogue and his wild stories.  She began working more of his exploits into her songs and stories and the power of the tales amplified her magic.  But then, as quickly as he had come into her life, he was gone again.  This time she didn’t doubt what had happened.  She knew the vortex had taken him off to another adventure.  Better yet, she knew someday he would return.

Again the days turned into months and the months into years.  Every show Zenda performed increased her magic and every show she would scan the audience for the familiar face of her friend and love.  Almost twenty years had passed since Zenda first arrived in Walton, when Manty returned.  Again, he hadn’t aged a day, and again he was battered and bruised from his latest tribulations.

But, this time she was ready.  She grabbed the rogue and kissed him.  It didn’t take but a moment before he returned her kiss.  The next day they started making plans for a wedding.  They hopped the first caravan back to Rebelton so Manty could meet all of the Blackfoot clan.  The news of their engagement initiated a celebration that Rebelton hadn’t seen in years.  The party, nuptials and ensuing reception lasted for more than a week.  Then the newlyweds returned to Walton for their honeymoon.

Wary at first, they counted the days, treasuring each hour and dreading the moment when the vortex would return.  But, time passed and the days stretched out.  They began to hope that Manty wouldn’t be whisked away yet again.

They bought into a tavern in Walton and hired a crew of Halflings to cook and serve.  Zenda would perform in the tavern frequently and Manty made it a safe haven for rogues to meet.  A neutral house, where the Walton guilds could gather and Manty could mediate their disputes.

It didn’t take long before Zenda brought Manty the happy news, she was with child and several months later, in 53PC, Menominee was born to Zenda and Manty.  Zenda and Manty went on to raise a large family.  Their reputation in Walton grew as did the Tavern as they added rooms and turned it into an Inn.  Eventually, Manty and Zenda settled into semi-retirement, letting Men and their other children run the Inn.

Then a fateful Dodecatina day, nearly 70 years after their marriage, Manty summoned Zenda and the family.  In hushed tones, in the privacy of the Inn’s cellar, Manty told the family it was time for a holiday.  They hadn’t been back to Rebelton for many years.  They would close the Inn and the entire family would travel by first-class coach to visit Zenda’s family.  Manty had to stay behind a few days, but he promised he would catch up to them quickly.

But, the day after they reach Rebelton, the ground shook and a huge cloud of dust could be seen rising above Tanglewood from the direction of Walton. Two days later, news reaches the Zenda from a courier charged with delivering a chest by an “ancient halfling”.  Walton and the entire mount it was built upon have collapsed. The chest is filled with gold except for a note from Manty to Zenda.

Zenda pined for her lost Manty, hoping beyond hope that her ancient husband had somehow survived the fall of Walton.  When she got word that some of the survivors were building a town around the old troll’s bridge south of the Walton crater, she insisted on moving the entire family from Rebelton to Troll’s Bridge.


In Troll’s Bridge Menominee used the gold in the chest to found a new Inn, the Smoking Pipe.  Zenda would occasionally still perform there, singing songs and telling tales of Manty’s heroic adventures.  As her eldest grandson Hurley grew up, she shared her music with him.  Just as her gammer had done for her a hundred years before, but much to her daughter in-law’s chagrin.

Finally, on the 8th day of Dedocitina, 129 PC, Zenda life came to an end on the point of an orc’s sword.  She slew at least a half dozen orcs that were invading the Smoking Pipe’s cellar and held off the beasts long enough for the Halflings above to safely exit the tavern.  But there were too many orcs and one of them ran her through just as Hurley came to her rescue.

But, Zenda wasn’t done with the Mirror.  Her ghostly spirit haunted the Smoking Pipe and gave Hurley the quest.   To find Manty and bring him to Troll’s Bridge so she could rest in peace and know once and for all what had happened to Manty in the Cataclysm and why he hadn’t come back to her;


Hurley succeeded in his quest and brought Manty back to Troll’s Bridge where Manty and Zenda’s ghost had a long quiet talk, just of the two of them, before her revenant faded away.  Some say you can still hear the faint sounds of a dulcimer, played as sweetly and joyously as you’ve ever heard in the quiet of the night in the Smoking Pipe.