Old Joy

(21 Olaesta 5115; Ta’Illistim)

She had lost track of how much time passed since the Lord Admiral had entrusted his song to her. Truthfully, it was his sister’s song, she had learned. But she heard him sing it first, and it had impressed with his voice in her memory.

The song, “The Loss of My Heart” by Siralina Machtes Ashrim, was a beautiful, passionate piece the bardess had first heard under the Old Oak in the Landing. It drew her, it spoke to her. She was pretty sure her mouth was hanging open as the music fell over her the first time when Aetheri sang it.

He introduced it as a song of his people, the Ashrim. It was not what she expected, but she loved to be surprised by a song. This one lay bare the emotions and deepest sorrow at both a personal level, and at the grandest scale of loss. It was melancholy in a major key, and without apology.

A few weeks ago, she had shared The Legend of Winter’s Rose with him, and after she had finished singing it, he broached the subject with her.

“Would you like me to teach you that song I sang the one night in Town Square?” Aetheri inquired of the bardess.

For a moment, she wondered if he would hear her heart jump, and just looked at him incredulously. It hardly seemed possible that this conversation was happening.

“You would let me sing your song?” She found her voice, and answered with a question of her own.

“Sure. It sounds better with a woman’s vocals anyways,” he told her.

“It would be an honor, m’lord. I … never imagined…” she tried to get the words to come out with the amount of respect and honor she felt. To herself, she thought, “How is it can I never say the right things at the right times?!”

This was when she learned his sister sang the song to her husband. No wonder he thought it sounded better in a woman’s voice. Without waiting for any further answer, he began to teach it to her.

Luxelle did not own up to it to him, but she did not need him to sing it again or teach it to her. She had sung it in wonder almost every day since the first time she heard it.

That was how this amazing set of circumstances had come to be, and why she sat most of the day on a bench in BriarStone Court, working out a heart-felt arrangement to a song that she did not write. First she slowed it down a little. She simplified the musical accompaniment, playing a simple background on her beloved harp.

From time to time, she glanced at the harp with a surprised look on her face, and nodded, making subtle changes in the execution of the music. Her voice floated, lingering in places, anticipating in others. There would be no key change in this arrangement, the performance itself should not distract from the heart of the song. She carefully added an echoing repeat in two places, no more lest it become trite.

Then after taking all of that and putting it together, she and the harp rehearsed it. It was not difficult to hold the pace on this song. She wanted to sing the intensity as softly as she could. She wanted to use the harp to pluck the heartstrings of her audience so they could understand this song on a level beyond words. In a way that only music could communicate.

She made more notes, working over some spots several times with the harp. Hours had passed and the sun was down when she finished. She was happy with the result. But it is always perilous to be happy with a song when it meant something to you. It was so easy to lose all your perspective.

She knew she needed Lord Aether’s sign off on the arrangement and performance before she could sing it in public, and she sat the music aside, and worked on the introduction until she would see him next.

A few hours passed, and she had long ago memorized how she would introduce the song, but she needed two pieces of information. She did not know his sister’s name, the composer, the bardess – and she had no idea what the title of the song was.

She was in luck, late in the evening, his familiar, the very precocious Pelthie, came to her, she eventually asked the penguin to pass on a message that the performance was ready for his approval, at his leisure, of course.

He appeared within minutes and she was able to obtain the needed information from him. Then, she drew her harp into her lap, turned towards him, and sang him a familiar song, in her own arrangement. The notes still echoed at the end as he burst into an applause for her.

“Well done! You really drew the emotion out of that!” he exclaimed, looking very pleased.

“Honest, you can tell me if something needs adjusting,” she explained to him.

“You did it perfectly. It rivaled that of my sister,” he told her.

Luxelle noticed that Aetheri smiled quietly to himself, but she did not know him well enough to guess what that might mean.

She was so thrilled he liked it, and honored that she could add it to her repertoire. She would put it on the set list for the concert.

A sense of accomplishment filled her. She had learned so much more about the song during the process of working on her arrangement, and it was still an even bigger wonder to her that he trusted her with it.



Author: GSBardess

A young bardess named Luxelle is currently learning her trade and hoping to one day make a name for her songs in GemStone IV. Follow along with her adventures in life and song.

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1 Comment

  1. All caught up!
    Loving all of this.

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