Dogri: सातवें मिनट दा घर
I looked up from the toast I was trying to butter when he mentioned resonance. To be fair, there are a lot of things that I can take with a grain of salt, or admit to a passing belief in. I can talk about a lot of things that aren’t completely verifiable, as long as they’re not taken too literally. Truth be told, there are a lot of unknowns in the world, despite how far science has come.
What worries me is when I hear something that sounds a little too much like certain practices that do more harm than good, or practices that do nothing at all when the person doing them could have gotten proper help or advice. Sadly, I know of a few such practices and beliefs in the New Age sphere. I don’t mind hearing about something new, but I’m still going to do my research, as well as discuss with different people.
This ‘resonance’ that Evander had just mention didn’t have the best connotation. It was sad, really, because I would have wanted some of those New Age cures to be true. Healing crystals? They’re in a lot of the games I play. Special herbs and potions? Well, they’re not far from true, but they need more care, study, and regulation; botany is a science for a reason, right? There are so many things that I would love to be true on Earth; perhaps some of them were an important part of Tierney Ríocht.
“I can explain, of course,” Evander said, almost certainly because of the look on my face. “To begin with, you have only seen a tiny fraction of our world’s magic.”
“Oh… You mean when the house turns gold at midnight and the doors change and bring me here?”
“Precisely,” he said with a nod. He took a long sip of tea before going on. “The magic that Terrans can only imagine is much more real here. Elemental magic, light magic, crystal magic…”
“Faerie magic?” I added.
Evander smiled. “The list goes on and on. Furthermore, we– whether faun or fae, human or elf, or any other being you may meet– are made of magic and music just as the rest of our world is. You have something of that in yourself.”
“Magic?” I asked him. “And music?”
“You may think that your skill with your instrument is lacking, milady, but there is enough inside you to help us. Your love for music has power here as well. I should remind you that music is intertwined with magic here. Your sense of wonder and imagination will also serve you well.”
“Okay… So what is resonating like?”
Evander thought for a moment, as though it was going to be hard for him to describe. “It starts at the heart,” he began. “I think that explaining how Lord Owen found Aubré will better illustrate it. Sir Maël and I were helping sort through the clues from the Ballad of Ríocht Ceoil, which spoke of forests that reached for the stars and caressed the moons.”
“That’s very poetic,” I noted.
“The ballad is a lovely work,” he replied. “You’ll be able to read it in full soon enough, if you so wish; every line is borne of love and beauty. Lord Owen himself studied it closely, and he rode with us to the oak woods where the faeries play, and then to the woodlands in the south with their stone pines, cypress trees, and laurels. We even ventured far into the east, where the haunted willow groves blanket the ancient mountains. Owen felt nothing special in those forests, no pull, no spark. To him, they were lovely, vast forests, but they weren’t were he needed to be.”
“I see… So he had Sir Maël take him elsewhere?”
“Precisely,” Evander confirmed. “Lord Owen Moss had wanted to head north from the start, but Sir Maël had his doubts. They were based on the clues, mind you, but somehow he’d lost himself in the logic and lost track of the heart.”
“And Owen’s heart pulled north?”
“It did, and when the other forests proved to be the wrong ones, Sir Maël conceded and rode with him to Clurichaun Forest far to the north.” Evander paused to refill his teacup as well as mine. The breakfast tea in Tierney Ríocht reminded me of the black and green blends I could get back home, with a slight flowery taste added; I was already enjoying it. “The elves were none to glad to have us ride into their lands; they value their privacy, and prefer that only those invited come to visit, or else that they be the ones visiting the world outside their woods.”
“Sounds like most elves I’ve read about,” I remarked.
“So you understand why they noticed us riding through their woods long before we’d even reached the first village. Their scouts were asking us to go back the way we’d come– that is, until Lord Owen spoke up. As soon as they realized a Terran felt drawn to their land, they were eager to welcome him.”
That detail had me chuckling. “Eager for the fame, I take it?”
“To have a musician hail from one’s land would be honorable indeed. The elves know that very well.”
“But there’s going to be eighteen of them,” I pointed out. “Couldn’t everyone end up being represented?”
“That remains to be seen, milady. My kind are proud just to have me assisting you and our treasured musicians. It might not be possible for all the races of our world to learn an instrument from the Terrans, but there is glory even in aiding those who do.”
He paused to clear his throat. “Now, as for the matter of Lord Owen, he felt a pull. It took him to Clurichaun Forest, and once he was there, he passed village after village until we’d even gone north of the center of it. It was nearly two days of riding and taking shelter in villages along the way when night fell, but the further we went, the more radiant he became.”
“You mean he was glowing?” I asked. “Did that happen to the others, too?”
“Precisely,” Evander confirmed. “Once we got to just the right village in the elvan woods, Lord Owen asked to be presented with every warrior trained in both blade and bow. We were taken to the training grounds, and there your dear ancestor remained, transfixed on every elf who sparred and demonstrated their aim. When Aubré was called forward, he seemed to be bathed in the light that came down through the canopy. His red locks glowed like fire, and his eyes shone like emeralds. Even I could tell that once Lord Owen saw him, he knew he’d found him.”
“So there’s some amount of… I don’t know what to call it; instinct? But there’s also magic that signals it.”
He nodded. “Lord Owen’s meeting of Aubré was the most profound I’ve seen thus far. He watched intently as Aubré took down everyone he sparred with, and again as his arrows plunged into the center of each of his targets. When he was done Aubré turned to him, and he smiled and asked if he’d be good enough for whatever quest they had planned.”
“It sounds like he was!”
“Very much so.” Evander was smiling as he remembered the events. “Lord Owen hopped over the fence, into the training yard, and walked right up to Aubré. He put his hands on his shoulders and grinned back at him, having nothing but praise to offer him. All the while, light surrounded them both, starting as a glow at first, then sparking when they touched. Colors swirled around them, seeming to sing as they spoke; it was a beautiful sight to behold.”
“That sounds incredible,” I said. “Aubré must have been proud to be one of the ones who could protect the world. But what about Great-uncle Morrigan? What was it like for him?”
“Ah, well…” Evander rubbed his chin as he thought. “We were lucky enough to be granted an audience with the king; it was only because we’d brought a Terran with us, of course. His Majesty’s ministers were with him, and that included Jean-Marc.”
“Let me guess,” I interjected with a grin, “Morrigan couldn’t take his eyes off of him?”
“It may have been somewhat more subdued than that,” he said. “I recall Jean-Marc having a golden sort of aura around him, which brightened as we stepped forward. His Majesty noticed the same glow surrounding Lord Morrigan, and when he beckoned the two of them to approach one another, their lights joined, and music seemed to whisper across the room.”
“Wow, okay… So that’s an idea of what I can expect, then?” I asked. “If I stay and do this, I mean.”
Evander nodded, but I think he was trying to hide his feelings of disappointment. “Yes, milady…” He turned around to face the couch where the young faerie sat. “Ilphara, my dear, could you join us?”
She hopped up from her seat in a fraction of a second. Her wings fluttered, and she set her sewing down to bounce over to the table. “Yes, Evander, sir?” she said, full of glee and eagerness.
“How much longer do we have until the next full moon?” he asked her.
Ilphara’s eyes glanced upward, and she tapped her finger on her chin as her mind raced. When she looked to him again, she cheerfully announced, “four days, sir.”
“What happens at the full moon?” I wanted to know.
Evander picked up his cup of tea and took a long sip before answering my question. “Opening verses of the Ballad of Ríocht Ceoil mention a world devoid of light. There was naught but stone and metal, solid and essentially fused together, spread out in every direction. Can you imagine how silent it must have been.”
“Do you want me to try, or was that a rhetorical question?”
“Let me suggest something else,” he replied. “Think back on what science tells you about sound.”
“That wasn’t exactly my major,” I told him, but I’ll try. Sound, umm… it has to do with the vibrations of matter, I think.”
He nodded. “And that is the basis of how instruments work, is it not?”
“Yeah, but…” I didn’t really know what to follow up with after all.
“I hear there is something that your scientists call white noise,” he went on. “Lord Morrigan mentioned it a time or two. But what if there wasn’t even that? Not the hum of all your technology, not the distant sounds of the city… Not even the faintest sounds of nature.”
“Oh, I see what you’re getting at,” I said. “Absolute silence? As in, not even the sound of the air around me.”
“And not even the sound of your own body,” Ilphara added.
“It was even more silent than that in the beginning,” Evander said. “But we have no way to tell how long that lasted.”
“Tobias said that it would be terrible if that silence ever came back,” Ilphara said. “It might take over everything.”
I looked between them both, my worry growing. “You cannot mean that I only have until the next full moon to help you,” I gasped.
The time ticks down, and the mood becomes more sullen. Does Leila really have enough time to think things through, or will the decision be all but forced upon her?