• Solo • A Song in the Darkness

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The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Seira Shiryu
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Profession: Bard
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A Song in the Darkness

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15 Cylus 716


It was cold, and dark. It was to be expected of course, given that it was still Cylus. Seira supposed that she should be used to it by now. This was the twelfth Cylus she had lived through, after all. But she still hated the dark season. She hated the cold with a passion. Everything felt so much worse when she was miserably cold.

The dark was bad for business, too. People tended to rush around about their business, not wanting to endure the cold longer than they had to. Few were willing to take the time to stop and listen to a bard sing, or watch a street performer put on a show. Fewer still were in a good enough mood to part with a few coins for a tip even if they did stop.

Seira shoved those thoughts to the back of her mind, and tried to focus on her lesson. They were studying poetry. One of her classmates was reading a verse in the poem the class was studying. Seira hadn't been paying enough attention to the lesson to know what part of the poem they were discussing. She had read the assignment, of course, but she wasn't familiar enough with it to identify the location of the verse within the poem based on a few lines. What she did notice was the pleasant sound of the poem. Some of the words rhymed, but not all of them. It didn't sound forced the way some poems did when the last word of each line had to rhyme with something.

After a while, Seira's thoughts began to drift, lulled by the words of the poem. Poems were meant to tell stories. In that, they were like songs. Songs told stories, too. The difference being that a song was put to music and sung while a poem followed its own rules, and was meant to be read out loud. It could even be said that a song was a poem put to music.
word count: 348
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Seira Shiryu
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A Song in the Darkness

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When the teacher dismissed the class for the day, Seira grabbed her things, and left with the others. She didn't like being the first one to leave, but neither did she like to linger too long. Unless she was staying behind to clean the classroom, or help one of her classmates with their studies, Seira much preferred to leave with the group. It made it more difficult for anyone to see where she was going.

Once she left the school behind her, however, she broke into a run. If she wanted to make the most of what was left of the day, she needed to drop her school supplies off at home, and find an unused bards' corner quickly. Otherwise, she'd be too late to try and attract people as they made their way home after work. As it was, she was getting an awfully late start since she had had to go to school. All of the best corners would be taken already. There was no guarantee that she would even find an unclaimed one at all.

Seira's legs began to burn with her exertions. But rather than stopping, she pushed herself to run even faster. By the time she reached the tiny cottage she had claimed for herself, her sides were aching, and she was gasping for breath. That didn't stop her from dropping her things on top of her chest, and grabbing her hang drum from the table. But she did give herself several bits to catch her breath before heading out once more.

Rather than running, Seira kept herself to a brisk walk as she searched for a place to sing. Running home from school was one thing. Lots of kids did, wanting to get home as quickly as they could. People expected to see kids running around when school let out for the day. But even if it was expected, the sight of someone running was likely to draw attention. Seira didn't want to draw attention to herself until she was far from where she lived.

The first four bards' corners she checked were being used. Most of the performers weren't doing well, but Seira saw that one had a bowl whose entire bottom was covered by coins as she passed by. One or two of them had been silver instead of the copper that bards usually got.
word count: 406
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Seira Shiryu
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A Song in the Darkness

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Seira managed to get a lucky break when she reach the fifth bards' corner she came to. It was occupied, but the actor who was using the corner was gathering up his props, clearly finished for the day. Seira stood back, patiently waiting for him to leave. Once the man was gone, Seira moved in. She sat on the ground, and set her hang drum on the ground in front of her. Then she tapped the surface lightly, testing it.

The crowd, who had begun to disperse when the actor left turned to see what she was doing. Seira gave herself a few bits to get warmed up before playing her first song. The melody was fast paced, so it was a real challenge for her to play. But the melody was a simple one, that only consisted of a few notes, so that made it easier to manage. Even so, she missed several notes, and stumbled through several others when her fingers hit slightly off the mark. Seira could only hope that the crowd didn't notice.

The second song that she played was a slower one, that was less of a challenge for her. She missed fewer notes on this one, but she still missed a few, and she messed up on the tempo in a couple of places as well. Most of the crowd had dispersed, not wanting to brave the lousy weather for such a poor performance. Seira hated to see them go, since with them went any hope of getting tips for playing. But she couldn't really blame them.

So in the hopes of enticing the few who remained to stay, she switched to singing. She was more confidant in her ability to sing than she was in her ability to play the hang drum, and sometimes a bit of confidence made all the difference. It only took Seira a few trills to decide what she would sing. It was an old, haunting ballad about a girl who fell in love with a warrior who had to leave her when war came. The girl promised to wait for him to return, and wait she did...even death could not prevent her for waiting for her love to return. When he did, arcs later, her spirit greeted him warmly, welcoming him home, only to fade away in his arms. The war weary warrior had only survived out of the sheer will to return to his love. So he followed her into death rather than continuing on without her.

It was a fitting song, given the dreary twilight day. But it was also a depressing one. So she sang a lively one next. It was about a barmaid who moved from one man to the next in search of love. All kinds of misadventures befell her until one day, she was caught by the stable boy, a childhood friend who had loved her since they were children. The melody was bright, and fast paced. It was a challenge to sing because it was difficult to find a good time to breathe between the words. But it was a song that Seira had sung many times before, so she was familiar with it. As a result, she sang it well.
word count: 550
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Seira Shiryu
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:23 pm
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A Song in the Darkness

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The crowd loved it. Many were smiling as they listened to her sing. Several tapped their feet in time with the melody. A few even tossed coins to her when the song ended. Seira thanked them with a bright smile.

In order to keep the crowd's attention, she had to keep them interested in her performance. With luck, new people would see the gathering as they passed by, and stop to see what had caught their interest. But to do that, she had to keep offering them new things to listen to. She had already sung a sad ballad, and a lively drinking song. Before that, she had played a couple of songs on her hang drum. There were many other types of songs she could sing, but Seira decided to try something new.

She sat behind her hang drum, and began playing a slow, sad melody. It was a simple tune, and slow enough that it was easy for Seira to play. But there was a beautiful, haunting tone to it. With the dim twilight of Cylus gripping them, it gave the song an eerie mood that made one think of those that had lingered on in the world of the living after they had died.

After a few trills, Seira began to sing along with the melody. But unlike before, she didn't sing words. Instead, she vocalized the notes she was playing. Sometimes, she "sang" the exact note she played. But other times, she sang it in a complimentary tone. The end result was something Seira was quite proud of. The technique needed work. It was more challenging to sing and play at the same time because she had to focus on getting the notes right for both. She suspected that singing a song with words while she played would prove to be harder still. It was something that she wanted to work on, though. Being able to do both at once reliably would please more people at once. And that would mean earning more nels during a performance.

It didn't take long for Seira to lose herself in the music. As she did, she began to relax. Pleasing the crowd didn't matter anymore. Seira never lost awareness of them, but they existed simply to share in the experience of her music. As she gradually stopped worrying about making them happy, she began to enjoy herself more. That, in turn, was expressed in her music.

Twilight descended into true night before Seira regained her sense of time. Most of the crowd had dispersed, and those few that remained looked as though they were ready to leave as well. So Seira gathered up her things, and stowed her earnings in a safe place. Then she began the long, winding walk home.
word count: 473
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Kingdom
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A Song in the Darkness

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Seira Shiryu
[columns=2]Skills:
Research: 1
Observation: 2
Endurance: 1
Musical Instrument: 1
Performing: 2
Singing: 1

Basic:
Poems: Tell a story
Location: Schoolhouse
Location: Barb’s Corner
Singing: Local tavern songs in Andaris

Specialised:
Performing: Influenced by time of day and weather
Performing: Keep the crowds attention with new material[/columns]

Comments: Really easy, enjoyable, well written piece. Thank you!
word count: 63
A N D I T' S A L L J U S T S M A L L S T U F F, B A B Y.
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