Solo Her Last Lament

Gwin fiddles around with a ballad.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Her Last Lament

Postby Gwin on May 22nd, 2015, 9:00 pm

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Spring 32, 515 AV


Gwin was curled up on the floor of her suite at the Blue Gem, bent over a few sheets of parchment that she was covering with tight scratchy writing. From time to time she looked up, humming a melody to herself. Although she was gazing at the small pool next to her, turquoise eyes hardly saw its still surface. Plunge Pool Bay had satisfied her hunger just an hour ago. Now she was trying to remember the words of the ballad she’d sung with the Hirem the Benshira. Who would’ve expected them to meet him again after that!

Words didn’t come as easy to her as music did. Thankfully, a ballad wrapped words into a melody, drew some out and swallowed others, which helped her memory. He’d only recited the words to her twice, only once in Common, but eventually she had it all in front of her.

Dimah's Lament :
Dimah's Lament
(Text by Hirem)


Oh Eyktol sweet / and desert wide / with burning heat / and rippling seas!
Across the dunes / we bend our heads / and hum the tunes / of those before!
Come with us now / and share the fire / wipe clean your brow / and hear our song!
The song of love / and the song of despair / of Dimah the dove / and her shepherd fair!

The winding sea / of twisting sand / conquers all / in the Burning Land!
The shepherd young / guides his flock / and on his tongue / a budding love!
Love and care / for home and god / but none compare / to the girl Dimah.
Dimah the girl / for whom he lives / the desert pearl / the queen of queens!

She goes to him / among the sheep / her basket's brim / with sweet orange!
He feels his heart / start and stop / they have lived apart / but now they are not!
But could they be / united in harmony / with her a dove / and him below, staring above?
Doubt plagues him / and his hand fails him / and his heart conquers him / and his eyes betray him!

But wait! / They cannot be / For wolves unseen / creep near!
And look! / the first lamb slain / its cry of pain / echoing far!
He stirs! / And grabs his staff / Dimah torn in half / oh how she weeps!
A bite! / More blood is spilt / pouring onto silt / oh how Dimah cries!
And stop! / The shepherd falls / and the wolves' calls / grow faint!

Trembling / Dimah joins him / tears falling freely / on the boy so grim.
Shuddering / his hand grazes / her cheek so pure / and her beauty he finally praises.
Dying / the shepherd grows faint / his soul flying / free of mortal constraint.
Quiet / Dimah holds him / the love of her life / finally grown dim.

And see how gold / the sky grows / as blood turns cold / a feast for crows.

And see how gold / the sky grows / as blood turns cold / a feast for crows.


Pushing herself up into sitting position, she went through the ballad again. Raising her voice, she sang in a soft soprano, struggling to adjust the words to the rhythm. It felt weird to sing it in a language it wasn’t intended for, but she’d already gotten that feeling during the duet with Hirem. Even so, she’d heard of musicians that translated songs into different languages, connecting words and melody in new and interesting ways. Gwin didn’t want to stray too far from the original, but she did think it possible to translate Dimah’s Lament.

Through singing it, she discovered a few words that didn’t fit and replaced them according to her memory. Picking up the parchment, she read over it again and gave a satisfied nod.

As the tips of her tail lazily dipped into the pool, the next sheet was filled with lines and notes at frantic speed. The melody was still fresh in her head, so writing it down proved to be far less difficult than remembering the words. The alphabet of music, a series of lines and dots most people found mysterious or even intimidating, had been etched into her mind through years of practice. Ledousium had taught her daughter well.

It still took longer though. As Gwin drew her charcoal stick across the parchment, doubts were crawling up her spine. Her wings trembled slightly, sign of her unease.
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Gwin
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Her Last Lament

Postby Gwin on May 22nd, 2015, 9:28 pm

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The melody jumped back and forth between two voices, the deep contemplative baritone of the shepherd and the lilting sweet chime of his lover. The first two stanzas were divided neatly between them, but with the third their voices were dancing around each other, mingling and joining hands to signify their love.

Gwin hesitated briefly. Desert love felt so warm, almost searing hot at the back of her throat. Whenever she summoned the Benshira and their music, the sensation of heat and dry sand became so strong that she almost felt it between her teeth. After so many seasons, that thing called music still left her in awe.

After another line, their joy culminated. Sighing, Gwin looked back at the mess she’d made. It was only natural for the two voices to sing at the same time, but she had crossed out a handful of notes to correct her notation. Two lines for the same beats, one dedicated to the baritone, one to the soprano.

Shaking her head, she moved on to the next part. The pace was picking up and tension woven into the sweet melody as the sheep were attacked by wolves. The previously carefree and sweet melody turned dark with discord. Tongue between her teeth, Gwin went back several times, humming one voice and then the other to herself. After another line, they were laced with desperation.

A few punctuated notes stood for drops of blood. Gwin worked through the last stanza with precision and care as she recalled the piece that had inspired the ballad’s name. When she’d heard it for the first time, she’d instinctively distanced herself from the overflowing emotion. Personally, she enjoyed more subtle music, but she couldn’t deny that the tragedy touched her. Anyone who claimed otherwise, she thought, had to have ice flowing in their veins… or poison, perhaps.

With a monumental sigh, she scribbled the last note, then the last pause. One last breath after Dimah’s lament had ended. Then nothing.

Sitting up and curling a damp tail around herself, Gwin wrinkled her nose at the crossed out parts and smudges before going through her work again. Turquoise eyes narrowed as she spotted the first mistake.
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Her Last Lament

Postby Gwin on May 23rd, 2015, 6:31 pm

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The dull throb behind her temples was a clear sign. Gwin packed the sheets into her satchel and grabbed her violin case before leaving her suite. Up through the corridor and out the front door she flew, blinking into broad daylight.

Despite the clouds, she had to take a moment to adjust. Then her wings carried the Akvatari across the promenade towards the beach. Instead of leaving the pavement, however, she stopped opposite the port and settled down by the water. With her furred tail, she didn’t mind the dusty stone in the slightest. Once again, her fin was hanging into the water of the bay. For a brief moment she observed the hustle and bustle across the water. Eager hands opened the case and brought out the violin. A careful inspection of the light wood found it untarnished and in perfect condition. She lifted the violin to her shoulder and began tuning it.

As often as she played the instrument, tuning didn’t take long. After that, she began with the first beats of Dimah’s Lament, playing from memory, and tried to sing to it softly. Gwin had always focused on her skill as a musician, she didn’t sing often. For that reason, her voice was overshadowed most of the time. She also noticed acutely that the words didn’t quite fit the melody, at times not matching up with the beat.

Despite her less than satisfying performance, a few people applauded. Gwin smiled at a Konti, her blue child and a human woman before unpacking her sheets. Pinning them down with her tail, she laid the violin into her opened case so she could write with one hand.

First she compared the words with the music line by line, beat by beat. The parts that didn’t match up came to her easily and were marked as such. Pausing every time, she tried to pronounce the words differently or, if that didn’t work, find similar words that provided a better sound. She worked about halfway through the first page before taking a short break.

With a sigh, she looked up. The fresh air was soothing her headache. As she turned left, she saw a familiar figure walking over the bridge across the bay. Squinting, she tried to identify if it was the person she had in mind, but couldn’t be sure.

A moment later, she turned back to her work, adjusting more words. It took precious time, but she didn’t rush the task. The singing part was every bit as important as the music itself, so she made certain the result sounded solid. Still, there were two or three parts that just wouldn’t bend to her will.
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Gwin
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Posts: 229
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Joined roleplay: February 25th, 2011, 2:12 pm
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