Children of the Music

By Lorinda J. Taylor

Fantasy, Action & adventure

Paperback, eBook

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420
1 mins

Ch.1: The Spring among the Stones

A child sat cross-legged, playing the flute – a girl-child of five, in a gray woolen smock, with bare, sun-browned arms and legs and tawny hair waving loose over her shoulders. Beside her a boy scarcely older than she sang a chant of ancient Siritoch words in a small, clear voice that ran beneath the piping like the sympathetic string of a lute. Between them a third child danced, weaving mysteries of arms and feet and swaying torso that needed for teacher only the dreams of the tribe.
And with the sighing of the wind and the beaming of the ancient summer sun the music intertwined itself – the ancient Music of the changeless pattern that the children of the Land between the Mountains and the Sea suckled with their mothers’ milk.

Thanol appeared in the doorway of her lodge, vigorously sweeping out the spilled grain and potato parings with a cedar broom. Her lips were pursed and her green eyes gloomed under a scowl, intended to be fierce. Himrith the Headman’s wife was coming across the compound from the milking house, bent under a yoke bearing two full buckets. Thanol saw her and swept with heightened agitation, making a flurry of barley chaff in the morning sun.
“Himrith! Himrith! Is that naughty Nebet in your house?”
The older woman stopped and regarded her neighbor with slight amusement. “What? Have you misplaced that grandson of mine again?”
“It’s Nebet that misplaces himself! I sent him out to the goats and here is Anthin come just now to say he never arrived! Seven years old – and can he do anything to help anyone? I tell you, he’ll be the death of his poor aunt Thanol!”
Himrith’s amusement was growing. Balancing the yoke, she pushed her gray hair back from her face, her gold-flecked eyes shining in the sun like the glittering barley chaff. “But you know where he is, Thanol. He’s wherever my father is.”
“Oh, of course! And where would Leys be, I would ask? Nebet is seven and Leys is seventy-five and they’re two of a kind.” Thanol stamped a foot, her doeskin boot failing to make any noise on the packed earth.
“Don’t be so upset, Thanol. The boy has no parents and my father is old. Let them have their peace for a while. Lonith and Corith and Harmandrol are over there playing at music. Send one of them to the goats.”
But with some muttering about the trouble her naughty nephew caused the family of Chro, Thanol turned her back on Himrith and disappeared into her lodge, still sweeping.
For a moment Himrith looked after her, her warm eyes darkening a little as the image of Nebet’s mother – her dead daughter Leyith – flicked across her mind. Then her eyes cleared again and she hoisted the yoke, smiling at Thanol’s lack of tranquility, a fault so alien to the Siritoch temperament.



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