|Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 5:00 pm Post subject: Background
|Jakeen watched in awe as the caravan passed. Standing beside the road, choking on the dust thrown up by the passing carts, carriages, and animals, he marveled at the size of it. It was not the first strange thing he had seen since leaving his home, but it was definitely the most impressive. Although most of the occupants and cargo were safely tucked inside, there was still much to see. The strange animals that pulled the carts and carriages, driven by foreign men dressed in robes or armor, working under different flags, was quite a sight to behold.
As he watched, his mind wandered back to a time before he was called spellsinger. He thought of his time at home, after the harvest, when the small merchant caravans would come to his village. If the weather had been kind, and the harvest had been good, his father would sometimes give him a small bag of wheat as reward for his work, to trade as he saw fit. Jakeen would walk through the merchant stalls taking in sights, sounds, and scents from all over the Baklaran region. That’s where he got his lyre. That’s where his life had changed.
He had always loved music. It was not uncommon to see him working in the fields, singing or humming a new song he was composing. He was always being asked to sing at weddings and birthdays because his voice was good and his lyrics were better. But, he had never had an instrument until that day at the merchant stalls.
In the excitement of the day, Jakeen had almost missed the lyre completely. It had been in the back of a stall that carried expensive, decorative objects. He didn’t think he could afford any of them, so he had paid the stall only a passing glance. His friend Karsor, had pointed it out to him.
“Jakeen, come play us a song,” he had called out over the din. “Let’s see if your hands are as skilled as your mouth.”
It had been said in jest, as two young boys will always tease each other, but it had sealed Jakeen’s fate forever.
The lyre was tarnished and pock marked, aged, and abused, but it was the greatest thing Jakeen had ever seen. He was in love and nothing would keep him from his desire. As he entered the stall and approached the lyre, the merchant gave him a questioning glance. It was a look that said, “I know you cannot afford my wares, and if you break anything; you will be punished.” However, as Jakeen softly strummed the strings a strange thing happened. Buyers and sellers alike stopped haggling, and listened to the sound. Soon a crowd had gathered around the stall.
The merchant, seeing a chance for bigger profits, made Jakeen an offer. If the boy would play songs for the remainder of the caravans stay, he would receive the lyre as payment for his efforts. Jakeen had agreed to the deal, and for the next four days he sang joyous standards while simply plucking an accompaniment on single strings.
The merchant made good on the deal, and soon Jakeen had his lyre at home. Every free moment was spent mastering the instrument. He learned the sounds of the individual strings and then studied them in combinations. He practiced so much that soon he was able to compose his own songs.
It was one of his original songs that started his journey.
He had been laying in bed, working on lyrics for a new song praising light and fire, when a string pattern suddenly came to him. Sitting up in his bed, Jakeen reached for his lyre on the nightstand beside him. Not wanting to wake his sleeping family, Jakeen softly plucked the pattern he had visualized, and the candle on his nightstand ignited by magic.
After he had extinguished the candle, Jakeen had laid awake thinking about his discovery. He knew he had caused the candle to light because he felt the power, first swelling inside, and then rushing out of him as he finished the pattern. He was excited, and felt drained as well, but he could still see the pattern.
Working secretly over the next couple of weeks, Jakeen was able to learn to control his new power. He found that he could ignite a specific candle if he concentrated on it. He also noticed that he could summon larger fires by playing harder on the strings. He then discovered he could extinguish fires by playing the patterns backwards.
Over the next couple of years, he was also able to “see” the patterns for wind, thirst, and anger, while composing songs. With practice, he was soon able to control the effects of these patterns too. With each new pattern, came a renewed longing to know more about his abilities. He felt that the patterns he could “see” were part of other patterns that he could not “see”.
So on his birthday, of his eighth and tenth year, he gathered his few meager coins, a water skin, and his lyre, and headed toward the Lyceum, in hopes that someone there could help him see the larger picture.