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Shallan is a traveling minstrel and bard that accompanied King Graham on his journey to save Ahi'aorina. They had several adventures together, before he was lost during their escape from terrible creatures, only to be found safe during the quests end.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Shallan was a wandering minstrel that spent most of his days, going from place to place, singing and telling stories to anyone who would listen, often to obtain a little food, or place to rest, before moving on.

It was during one such journey that he passed a lovely little farmhouse. For a song or two, the farmer and his wife parted with a sack full of food (filled mostly with day-old bread and salted meat, and bruised fruit), before he continued on his journey.

A couple of days later, Shallan was sitting by meager fire, inside a clump of trees just outside the Old Wood in the rugged land to the east of Daventry (in an area far beyond its borders), when he spotted a man passing by his camp, Shallan was the first to introduce himself to the man, who turned out to be King Graham of Daventry. He offered to share his fire, with the king. When Graham refused, he asked to join on the king's quest to save Daventry from the eternal winter. Shallan felt that the journey would lead to a story, and new stories were his livelihood. Graham was a bit reluctant, but Shallan kicked snow on his fire, and insisted on coming with the king.

They began traveling east towards the Glass Mountains, Graham explained his quest to the wandering minstrel. The minstrel explained the mountains were about a week away and that it was a treacherous journey. He promised that should he survive the adventure he would return with Graham to court of Castle Daventry to tell the king's tale, and would perhaps even be offered a job there. He sang his first ballad to the king to show him his ability, and offered him some of his remaining food from the sack he received a few days before.

On the way down a slope to a silver ribbon of a river below, Shallan saved Graham's life, grabbing on his wrist, preventing him from toppling into a pit or falling down the hill they were climbing down. Once reach the river below Shallan lead Graham upstream until they reached the sight of the ferry. They came across imps heading back towards Zakizga, and watched as they fled away from the threatening ferryman. After Graham paid for passage and an answer to a question. Shallan stopped Graham from angering the ferryman, by asking too many more questions that weren't under the initial bargain. Then both crossed over. Shallan thanked the ferryman, and said he might cross over again after they return from their adventure.

Soon they found themselves in a forest of dead thorny trees, that stuck to everything, and that tried to scratch the travelers. They setup camp, and started a fire with the bloodthirsty twigs. Shallan decided to sing a couple of songs, hoping it would keep the unfriendly trees from bothering them further. The twigs no longer bothered them. Soon Shallan heard voices calling for him to sing another. Shallan agreed to but only if whoever was speaking showed themselves, the voices agreed. This time he sung a cheerier song by request. Following the song, two pony-sized spiders came out the trees, and introduced themselves (thanking them for the songs, and telling them they wouldn't eat them because they had previously eaten, and were pleased by the human's song). They both fell asleep, and next morning awoke hungry. The spiders returned bringing them grapes to eat. Shallan promised if he should ever come back that way he would have a new song for them to hear. Graham let Shallan borrow his cloak, after he began to get cold after it began to rain.

Some hours, later they came across a remote farm house. Shallan and Graham asked if they could spend the night, and share a little of the farmer's food. She offered to give them some of her stew, and he sang her a ballad to whet the appetite. Soon her brothers showed up, and gave appreciate for the song, before having the stew. The questioned the two companions asking where they were from, and where they were going. Unbeknownst to them, the bowls they were given were drugged. They soon became deeply tired, and Shallan asked if there was a room where they could sleep. fell asleep and were tied up, and taken to be tossed into the Pit of the Laburnum. Shallan thought that the situation and their captors would make fine grist for a ballad, if they ever escaped their predicament.

Due to the luck of the minstrel, Shallan found his bonds were loose, and was able to get free, and helped Graham remove his bonds. Shallan took the initiative and leads Graham further into the darkness. They traveled further through the cave, and soon encountered Laburnum guards. One of the guards gestured for them to hold its hand, which Shallan did. The guards brought them to their village made of human bones, where it seemed they would be sold off to the highest bidder.

Shallan knocked over one of the Laburnum against a bone table, and told Graham to run. He grabbed a basket of glowing rocks and started leading Graham east to find an exit. Graham followed Shallan as he had no way to know what direction he was going. After much time (it is unclear how much time passed), they finally found an exit, and were ambushed by Laburnum from a side tunnel. Shallan waded into the crowd kicking and shoving the creatures bodies, while clubs thumped against the meat of his thighs, and rang against his shins. Shallan told Graham to run ahead while he kept them occupied for a few minutes. Graham didn't want to leave the minstrel behind, but Shallan planned to lead them on a empty chase around and around the tunnels. He told Graham to have no fear, that they would meet again someday. But Graham refused, stating they would escape together, and began to fight into the horde of Laburnum to reach Shallan. When the creatures started throwing and shooting projectiles at the companions, Shallan told Graham to run, and that he would be ok, that everything works out for minstrels, and that he would try to catch up as soon as possible. He escaped and crawled out of the cave opening to the east. He waited around the hole but Shallan did not come out. He finally had to leave, and found a place to shelter the night. He hoped to find Shallan sleeping next to him the next morning, but was disappointed.

Shallan lost Graham, during their escape from the Laburnum cave, however Graham would twice remember the minstrel during his troubles in the Sorrowing Court, wishing inspiration from the missing bard.

Graham later found him alive and well when he returned to Daventry. He was leaning against a stone wall at his back, and clapping his hands having seen the end Graham's quest and adventure, the parting between Graham and Culatha. Graham was not surprised to see him there to see the end of his tale. He kept his promise to the minstrel of a meal and a place to sleep, and invited him back to the castle to tell him the rest of his adventures, and possibly offer him a job (such things always work out for a minstrel), and then both walked back to Daventry Castle.[2]

It is not known what happened to Shallan following the adventure if he chose to remain in Daventry to become the king's personal royal minstrel, to sing the songs of his and his family's adventures, or if he became restless to journey and explore to find new stories in the great world beyond the kingdom. It is said that minstrels often entertained the court of Daventry, and Shallan was sure the king would likely offer him a job in his court[3]. Even still, he believed even if he sang for Graham at court, it wouldn't be long before he got the urge to walk again.[4]

Personality and traitsEdit

Shallan is a tall and lanky man, with narrow shoulders[5] (at least a foot taller than Graham, so perhaps 6-7 feet, but weighed no more than the king[6]), with fiery red hair that catches the sun. He is apparently older than Graham, as he states 'age before beauty' before choosing to go first. He has a pleasant, disarming appearance on his face, his smiles begin small, and quickly spread across his entire face. He carries his lute on his back which uses to sing his the stories he has collected. He prefers to walk, believing that walking loosens a mans feet, and fires the appetite. He sometimes gives cautionary handshakes, and runs his fingers through his red hair.

Shallan always has an optimistic and positive attitude, and always in perpetual levity, and constantly chattering.[7] He lives by his wits, his charity, and his songs. He has lived by his wits for years.[8] He has sense of humor, even a morbid one, even in when things become most dire, which offers hope to those around him.

He usually dresses in summer-weight clothing: light tunic, pants, and low boots. He rarely wears a hat on his head. he is largely unaffected by cold, cold doesn't touch him much, at least not often. It still take something out of him, but only after a while (he still has to worry about snow sleep, as it is potential danger).[9] He didn't like getting wet, he didn't mind cold, as long as he was dry.[10] He has an excellent sense of direction, even underground.

He doesn't mind living his life in the cold, rather than spending his life inside with a fire, or inside with a women, he had tried the settled life and preferred to roam. He is very energetic, and rarely gets weary at all. Still he could be winded if chased for a long time.

He had long legs, and big feet which allowed him to cross snow with little trouble. He has the balance and dexterity of a mountain goat, on steep slopes he neither stumbled nor dislodged stones.[11] As a wandering minstrel, he sleeps well wherever he is at, or not at all.[12] When he slept his red hair fell in his face, and was blown up and down by his breath.[13]

Shallon is a very good minstrel, with a clear tenor voice[14], and loves singing Ballads which he often uses to get room and board, and other gifts people, rather than through payment. For stories are food and drink to a minstrel. Thus he is always on the search for new stories to tell, and no minstrel worth his lute strings would pass up the opportunity for a big story..[15] His songs have the power to influence ones emotions and heart. Some of his songs can help the heart, others can break them, for sad songs touch the heart more readily than a happy one. A happy song can banish thought while a sad one binds people together in their thoughts and their feelings.[16] His touching songs always affect those who love. He sometimes uses the songs as a test to see if someone is hard-hearted or kind-hearted, and gentle.[17] He has discovered on his travels that anyone who appreciates a song is loathe to let anything happen to the singer.

He is skilled in such that if he sings a song he can sing the parts in different voices for the different people in a song. This makes the funny songs, even more hilarious. He breaks into falsetto for female parts.

He is a relatively generous figure with the food he is given, who knows if he gives freely (and requiring no repayment), he will gain more stories. If he tells stories he will gain more food to survive. He believes perhaps naively that no one needs repayment for things that come from the earth freely (not understanding that there is much toil to tease crops out of the earth and make it bountiful). In his mind there are always more than one story behind everything, and that doesn't matter to him, it still seems free to him, and he likes to share. He believes there is nothing to worry, for the world always provides for minstrels, and it may even be a magical talent that minstrels have.[18] Such details of life work out for traveling minstrels like Shallan.[19] He never turns his nose at gifts no matter who gives the gift, believing it is never wise to spite a gift freely given.[20] He had been on the road so long he knew a thing or two about gift-giving and gift-givers.

Shallan is also relatively brave, in that he willingly walks into danger to see what the danger is, believing he has a better chance of overcoming it if he knows what he is going to encounter. Especially if there is no other alternatives at hand. His view is that people can stand around in the dark or go on. Strange sounds are strange sounds are just strange sounds, if one wants to find out what they are and how to deal with them, they have to go into the light. Even his songs reflect his personality with brave and pithy remarks.[21]

Behind the scenesEdit

It is possible that Shallan could be in part inspired by other minstrels in King's Quest such as those shown in the introduction of KQ4 or Frankie of Avalon.

ReferencesEdit

  1. KoS, pg 83-131, 184, 278, 324, 325
  2. KOS, pg 324, 325
  3. KOS, pg 86
  4. KOS, 104
  5. KoS, pg 119
  6. KOS, 85
  7. KOS, pg 102
  8. KOS, pg104
  9. KOS, 83
  10. KOS, pg 104
  11. KOS, pg 89
  12. KOS, pg 100
  13. 99
  14. KOS, 86
  15. KOS, 84
  16. KOS, 96
  17. KOS, 97
  18. KOS, pg 87-88
  19. KOS, pg 101
  20. KOS, pg 103
  21. KOS, 184

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