That Way Madness Lies
(25 Dolefaren 413: The Crossing, Zoluren)
She might even admit to herself she was waiting for this.
She walked in to the empty sitting room and sensed immediately that she was not alone. She knew he was here, unseen, unbidden. There’s really no explanation for it, she is neither extra perceptive or magically so. She couldn’t tell where. But here, he was.
Every fiber of her being screamed, “Flee! While you can, flee!”
She gave no outward hint of the panic that was rising. She sat at the harp and arranged her skirts so she could play. Touching it purposefully, she listened to each string, making small tuning adjustments. “Music hath charms …” the old saying started. Her mother had taught her that. She leaned slightly into the harp and started to play.
Just now, she wasn’t quite sure if she was the one who needed soothing, or if he was the target.
With a softly inhaled breath, she began to play a new piece she had been working on. It was an experiment in 3. The bass note was the same for the entire verse portion. Plucked deliberately, all the other strings danced around it. chords moved, arpeggios rang, and her voice softly hummed a descant. But the quickly paced bass note drove the waltz. Never changing. (I hope I can remember this when I awake.)
The pace quickened as she moved into the trio, where the full chord progression began to play out. The base notes walked up, skipped down, turned around. The lightly fingered chords alternated inversions, and her voice soared without words as the dance played out on her finger tips.
She was lost to the music which completely owned her at this moment.
At the climax of the song, she was breathless. The music spilled through her like a twirling wind, and ended, tarrying in the very air. Her hands did not still the strings, her eyes remained closed.
He chose that moment to draw closer to her. She could feel his breath on her neck. She knew he heard her small, involuntary gasp. But she did not open her eyes.
“Bardess,” he whispered close to her ear, “That was moving. Beautifully moving.”
She quickly drew her hands into her lap and folded them together lest they betray her with their trembling. Her voice had already failed her.
He brushed stray hair from her neck, and was gone without a sound. Perhaps the barest hint of a breeze marked his exit. Perhaps not. But she knew he was gone.
Slowly she exhaled. All she could think was, “What have I done?”
She might even admit to herself she had been waiting for this.
But no, that way madness lies.