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:: The Balad of Toren Isa :: :: The Forgotten :: :: The End of the Beginning :: :: Untitled :: :: Sorrow :: :: The Forgotten Ones :: :: From the Eye of the Palantir :: :: Music :: :: Night Moves :: :: A Bardic Tale ::



[This article was originally presented in the October 31, 1996 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "Music" by Lorelei Nilsfulcentruali.]

Power and energy come in forms that are infinitely diverse, and all life is equipped to drain every last ounce, vampirically, from the source, no matter how strange or nebulous its shape. For Hullian Bulloofern, a typical young Secian, this was especially true of music. She knew that music held great power, even if she never rationalized it that clearly.

She was a healer, as are many of her race, and she spent many hours wandering the Spur, healing those who had been hurt in the pursuit of money or gems. They too, were after power, though they did not have Hullian's gift for finding it in any scrap of melody. Whether it be from the giant, bellow-pumped organ near the altar in the temple of Taath, or in the wind through a copse of trees, Hullian could find the music, and through it, her power. She would often rest from the ardourous profession of bringing health to the injured by sitting in the Bard's hall, listening raptly. The bards loved her, for she would clap happily for any song, no matter how incompetently it was produced. The apprentices cherished her especially, for her enthusiastic approval lifted their spirits when they grew discouraged with their progress, or lack thereof.


Her patients noticed that she would hum to herself when treating a particularly tough, or deep, wound. Her pleasant contralto, by no means spectacular, but still harmonious, never quite ceased in its' tuneless meandering. When she seemed depressed, or especially tired, her friends would often drag her to a performance, hoping to raise her spirits. Most telling of all, the pendant she received from Taath was in the shape of a flute.


Energy flowed into Hullian and out of her fingertips into her patients. Within mere months, she had gained such favor with her god that even the power to bring dead adventurers to life was granted her. For weeks this kept her busy to, and beyond, the point of exhaustion. This endless cycle of healing and resurrection eventually calmed down as people began to learn to be more safe. The calls gradually lessened, and Hullian spent most of her time in the center of the Spur, casting healing spells.


One day, however, a call came from deep within the Mansion in the Noble district. It was a telepathic cry for help, laden with grief and panic. Hullian would have ignored such a call, for the house northwest of the Gilded Lion Inn was filled with all manner of unclean creatures. But the one in trouble was a dragon, and she had to go.


As she traveled quickly, her tiny wings carrying her as fast as she could make them, she tried not to dwell on what she might find there. Taath was the god of Death, but some creatures defied death in evil and twisted ways, living past their rightful time, feeding on the energy of the living to exist. The concept of these creatures frightened Hullian, for she used her energy to preserve life, not distort and destroy it.


The house barely impinged on her consciousness as she rushed up the stairs to where the fallen dragon lay. She prayed to Taath loudly, and in moments, the noble beast was alive once again. She cast several healing spells, and concentrated, focusing on healing its' wounds. So engrossed in her work, she didn't notice the spirit that had floated out of the wall behind her. It raised its' claws, preparing to strike to diminutive healer down.


The dragon leaped to its' feet with a roar, and began to claw viscously at the attacker. Berserk with rage, it sought only to protect the little one. Intent on saving both of them, it didn't notice that Hullian was standing still, listening carefully to the sounds of the drafty, creaking house. As it clawed the undead life from the spirit, Hullian slipped quietly through a hidden doorway.


She didn't see anything. Her lack of perception was no longer based on fear. She was listening to a melody, and her other senses had shut off, so that her ears might concentrate fully. The song was one of power, and life, and she could not resist its' call. It made her entire skin thrum with energy, and she knew if she learned that song, power would be hers. Eagerly, her feet flew across the floorboards, hurtling her towards the source of the sound.


As she turned the corner, she realized her myopic devotion to music had deceived her. The power of the song was irresistible, but it was not hers to posses. It came from one who used music to defy the fabric of the world. It came from one who hated the music, even as she used it, not one who loved it, as Hullian did. In her arrogance, she thought that she was the only one who could draw power from music. Now she would learn from that mistake. With a sigh of resignation, full of regret, Hullian closed her eyes and waited for the banshee to embrace her.