As our online Dungeons & Dragons group became more cohesive and took more risks, I decided to create a “just in case Skrie dies” character. (Skrie is the halfling healer with more than a pinch of rogue that I play in our game.)
When I created this new character, I chose a bard, knowing it would be a stretch for me to imagine. I took a music class once when I was 12. My dad wanted me to play the clarinet. I hated it. I didn’t last the quarter. The next time I tried to learn an instrument, I was in high school and wanted to learn to play the guitar. I failed at that, too, because I play left-handed and could never get the hang of playing right-handed or fingering the strings upside-down. 🤷🏼
This new is named “Lyryk Starsong” because that’s what she told me it was when she began her backstory. I decided that instead of trying to be a poor poet, I would have her think in musical terms. While I can’t read music at all, I tend to have a lot of music running around in the background, whether the radio is on or not. So, the same would be true of Lyryk. The music is part of her magic.
This is the first in a series of short stories with Lyryk Starsong as the protagonist. (Sorry, Sam, it still ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. 😉)
Thoughts of Freedom
“Don’t you ignore me, you little …” snarled Jarla, aiming a backhand at the girl’s ear. The woman discovered early on how sensitive Lyryk’s ears were to a slap or pinch. After not being quick enough the first handful of times it happened, the young musician learned to listen for the music in her head that warned her the evil woman was near.
For as long as the young half-elf could remember, music had guided her thoughts. Even though Jarla called her “Kyreah,” she had always called herself “Lyryk Starsong.” At twelve, the girl was coming into her own, and she could sense the change in the older woman’s demeanor whenever she knew Lyryk was near.
The older half-elf claimed to be Lyryk’s “mother,” but the girl could see no resemblance between her and the woman. Jarla wore a permanent sneer that marred her otherwise pretty face. Well, that and years of hating the world because she was born poor and couldn’t figure out how to make an honest living.
That night, the troupe was evicted from yet one more village for their crimes. Lyryk was surprised when the next town along the trade road welcomed them with open arms, as though their reputation hadn’t preceded them. The music had a touch of magic, or not, depending on their reception by the townsfolk.
The girl knew her days were numbered. She had seen what Jarla did when her “children” got too old to do as told. “Accidents” resulted in mangled arms, missing fingers, and twisted legs among the young performers. They were left to fend for themselves.
Soon, thought the young half-elf, soon, I’ll be able to escape this horrid woman.