Prophecy Story Index

Harmony of a Lullaby
by Becky
June 1997

The eight-year-old boy stood silently outside the doorway, listening to the music as it floated beyond the entrance. The tune was an old Rillandan lullaby, passed down from even before Seyna had been Queen. The boy closed his green eyes and leaned his head against the wall, letting the music wash over him, fill him. It reminded him of his mother who had died last year. Though she had been blind all her life, her voice had been one of beauty and strength, and it had sung him to sleep for as long as he could remember.

This tune had been a favorite of hers -- and of his. The original words were in old Rillandan, but over time, bards had altered the words and changed them so that the melody still rhymed and flowed. He could hear those words echoing in his head, sung in his mother's voice ....

Sleep, my child, my precious one
Gone is day and set the sun
Moon and stars do shine so bright
On this still and peaceful night

Sleep, my child, my precious one
Gone is day and set the sun
Close your eyes and float away
Soon will come a brand new day

Unconsciously he began to hum softly, in a counterpoint to the melody, just as he had done with his mother when she had been alive. She would sing a melody and he would hum along in harmony or pick out a harmony on the old battered lute his father had found for him for his fifth birthday.

The song continued for several rounds, each time adding submelodies and arpeggios before it drifted back down to just the one line of tune played softly, achingly beautiful for just a simple tune. When there was silence again, he sighed and opened his eyes ....

.... and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Tulan, the Royal Bard, standing against the opposite door frame, watching him intently.

He clutched his books against his chest, swallowing. He hadn't met Tulan yet, even though he'd been at the Bardic Academy for nearly 10 months now. His music teacher Ryana told him that Tulan was very nice and was interested in all the students, but especially him as she'd told Tulan of the 'wonderful talent' he showed for music.

He stuttered out, "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't mean to disturb ..." His voice trailed off in embarrassment as he felt his face flaming. He started to turn away, but Tulan's voice stopped him.

"Wait, it's all right. I'm not mad, just a little surprised. What's your name?"

He hesitated, then replied quietly, "Dorien, sir."

Tulan nodded. "Ah, yes, Dorien, Ryana has told me about you. 'Perfect pitch, perfect timing, and very intelligent' were her words, I believe."

Dorien blushed again, letting his longish dark blonde bangs fall forward to cover his cheeks and eyes. "Yes, sir, she did tell me that."

Tulan pushed away from the wall and laid a hand on Dorien's shoulder. "Why don't we go inside and have a little talk, Dorien. I'd like to get to know you better. I sent the other student out the other way so we can have a little time alone." Dorien nodded reluctantly and followed him inside the workroom quietly.

Tulan continued as they sat down. "That harmony you were humming was beautiful and blended very well with that lullaby."

Dorien shrugged slightly. "My mother used to sing me that lullaby; I know it by heart."

Tulan pursed his lips slightly, thinking. "Your mother. Was her name Corila?"

Dorien nodded. "Yes. Did you know her?"

Tulan smiled, "Yes, I did, for a little while, before she married your father and settled down to have a family. Wonderful woman, beautiful voice. I was saddened to hear that she died last year. You must miss her."

Dorien bit his lower lip, his voice low. "Yes, I do, but I'm okay. She told me before she ... before she died to be strong and to be brave. She wanted me to be a bard, to play music, to sing."

Tulan reached out again and laid his hand on Dorien's. "From what Ryana tells me, you are going to be a very good bard. You have a gift, a very special gift, Dorien, one that not many bards have. I have something to ask you, Dorien, and I want you to think very carefully about the answer."

Dorien looked up and met his eyes. "What?"

Tulan went on, explaining. "Most Master Bards eventually pick one or two bardic students to be their own special students, to teach their secrets to, to pass on their knowledge to, that type of thing. I have not done so yet, because I hadn't found anyone I wanted to have as that student . . . until now."

Dorien's green eyes widened and his voice squeaked as he replied, "Me?"

Tulan nodded. "Yes, you. But only if you accept. It's up to you, Dorien. I would like very much to teach you personally, but I won't force you."

The boy was quiet for a long, long time, looking down at his hands or fiddling nervously with the tattered edge of one of the books he'd laid on the table. Finally Dorien, son of Meden and Corila, looked up at Tulan and, after another moment, smiled.

"I accept.

- The End -

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