A Wednesday Interlude

No philosophical arguments for your WIPpet this week. For the 10th day of June, I give you 10 paragraphs from EoD — plus one bonus paragraph just because. This will be your first look at Ferris, a new character that insisted I include him. He (thankfully) did not hire Berk’s agent, and so does not have his own POV. Unfortunately, that won’t save him from just a bit of torment. In this scene, however, he and Ciara are relaxing at the house of a friend. I did have a different scene picked out, but since I’ve been including some music in my posts of late, I decided this one was far more apropos. (Just a side note, Mercien and his son Engel are very minor characters. They’ve a bit role, nothing more.) And, again, this is very first draftish so go easy on me.

No, this isn't Ferris, or Mercien, just an example of a lute playing minstrel.

No, this isn’t Ferris, or Mercien, just an example of a lute playing minstrel.Β  Bard With Lute by Daniel Eskridge

That evening after dinner Ferris finally wore Mercien down and convinced him to bring out his lute, and Ciara got to see a totally different side to the Lord of High House. The instrument transformed him from the chill, stiff lord into a passionate, animated man who — given his choice of songs and the emotion he poured into them — clearly loved his children and mourned both his wives — even the living one. He proved to be quite an excellent musician, with a rich voice. His youngest son, Engel, paired with him on several songs including a comical tune that had them all clapping along and laughing at Engel’s acting out of some of the lyrics.

“Turn about is fair play,” Mercien said after his fifth song, holding the lute out to Ferris.

“Ah, you should have let me go first, then,” Ferris said, trying to wave him off. “I’m not fit to follow your performance. Perhaps her ladyship –“

“Oh no!” Ciara threw up both hands, shaking her head. “I know nothing of the lute, and my singing is more likely to set the dogs howling and scare the horses out of the barn.”

“Come on, Ferris,” Engel said. “Do The Legend of Khonrah and I’ll join in on the chorus.”

The Legend of Khonrah, with no time to practice? You’re mad, boy.”

But even as Ferris teased Engel, he picked up the lute and began moving his fingers across the strings, humming softly to himself.

“That’s not it,” Engel complained.

“Hush.” Mercien leaned back in his chair, a smile lingering on his lips. “He’s taking the long road.”

“Haven’t touched the strings in quite some time,” Ferris said absently, eyes half closed as though he needed to concentrate on his chording. “I need to find my way back.”

The room fell silent save for the crackling of the fire and the gentle tune lifting from beneath Ferris’s fingers. Ciara had never heard anything like it before. The music started quiet and halting, as though Ferris was searching for just the right song to play, but his voice drew all the notes together. He sang in Cearnease, barely loud enough to be heard, and though Ciara didn’t know the language, images flooded her mind, sounds and smells claimed her senses — waves crashing, the scent of sea salt and lush grass and blooming heather, the feel of the wind — through it all spilled a feeling of longing, as well as great joy tempered by deep grief.

I couldn’t find any specific lute music that fit the bill, but here’s a bit to listen to if you’ve a mind.



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  1. Ooo! I bookmarked that YouTube video! That’s the perfect mood piece for my return to my high fantasy novel!
    Once again I am in awe of your world building. Love the mention of songs!! That always gets my attention. I love to include songs in my stories.

    • Glad the music will come in handy for you. πŸ™‚

      This scene just popped in there, as much for world building as to give Ferris a bit more dimension. Until then I didn’t even know he could play the lute.

  2. Pingback: WIPpet Wednesday | Books & Such

  3. I will have to listen to that later (about to lose wi-fi here at Panera). But I liked the snippet. I liked the way Ferris and Meriden know how each other both “work” here. And I like layers anyway in characters. Yay!

  4. Ha! I love this: “clearly loved his children and mourned both his wives β€” even the living one.” I definitely know people like that.

    • Oh, there’s a story behind that comment. Seems his second wife decided a life elsewhere was more preferable to being wife and mother.

  5. Very nice. I like the description of Ferris’ warm-up as the long road. πŸ™‚ I love the intimacy of the last paragraph and the way it affects Ciara. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. I really know bupkiss about music — well, I once knew how to read it and dabbled at both the piano and the guitar. Doing neither well because I didn’t put into them what they deserved. If I could, I’d love to learn the violin because that… but I’m afraid it would sound as though I’m strangling a cat. Anyhow, what I do know is how music can stir emotion, and that’s what I wanted to get at, so I’m glad it worked. πŸ™‚

      • I tried the violin as a 7 year old. I learned to play Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. I couldn’t stand having the sound so close to my ear, though. It was really painful even when I got all the notes right. Alana, however, considered being a concert violinist at one point. πŸ™‚

        • Get outta town!! Alana was thinking of being a concert violinist?!!? Awesome. And you know, I never thought about the sound being so close to my ear…

          • She was! You should ask her about it sometime. πŸ™‚

            Freakishly high pitched hearing runs in my family, so that had something to do with it. I think for most people it wouldn’t be too big a deal.

  6. I would so want to hear this!

  7. Beautifully written, I could picture Ferris playing.

    I am curious about more in the story. πŸ™‚

  8. I love the mood and atmosphere of this snippet when Ferris takes up the lute and he searches for the melody. I love those quiet evenings with someone strumming a guitar and singing, and you’ve captured that beautifully.

    • I’m so glad I was able to spin that mood. I don’t hear it near enough, but I love a musician who can lose themselves in their music and it’s just them and an instrument and a feeling.

  9. The scene’s so nicely written, I could imagine it so clearly, a little how Ciara describes Ferris’s playing.

    I’m going to have to bookmark the lute-playing, it sounds like it’ll come in handy later on in something I’m writing!

  10. Great snippet, Kathi! Love the descriptions and all the info about the characters packed into a few short lines. πŸ™‚

    Great illustration too. Maybe if you ever give Ferris his own story, you can get the rights for the cover. *g*

  11. Seems like Ferris already has ideas, but he’s taking the long road again and lulling you with his sweet lute-playing. The way you describe Mercien makes me think of Spock playing the Vulcan lyre – the closed off and controlled scientist fell away, and the passionate, sensual, and definitely MALE side peeked out to play for a while…

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1XESPCg6ns&w=560&h=315%5D

    Love this snippet, and saving the music…

    And let me add that I’m so glad you’re back! =D

    • You know, I didn’t think of Spock when I was writing Mercien, but they do have quite a few similarities.

      • I think Spock’s gone so deep into our culture that we don’t even need to be thinking about him for him to be there! =)

        Sneaky, wonderful Vulcans. THEY never said they were going to assimilate us, but maybe they kind of have?

  12. So Ferris is forcing his way into this story? That’s someone I want to know more about. I like the way Mercien’s music changed Ciara’s perception of him. Music can definitely cause transformations.

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