I feel an urge to share an excerpt from Victory of the Hawk with y’all tonight, just to show how yeaaaah, I can’t write a damn thing without having music sneak in. My characters DO tend to be musicians. Like Kestar Vaarsen, being shown a picture of his elven great-grandfather:
It was a sketchbook. One part of Kestar’s mind stumbled over the seeming incongruity of so prosaic an object in an elf’s hands. That wisp of thought vanished utterly, however, as he stared at the page that Gerren had chosen—and found, rendered in black ink that still stood out on paper yellowing with age, himself.
Once the shock of recognition faded, though, he began to find the differences. Larger eyes. Longer hair, with some pulled back from the face in two intricate braids bound in what Kestar was willing to bet was either silver or gold. Sharper cheekbones, giving the subject of the picture a more lupine look than he’d ever seen in his own mirror, accentuated by the pointed ears. All of those details rained down upon Kestar’s awareness like a hail of arrows. But what stopped his breath in his throat was the instrument in the figure’s hands, larger than Kestar’s lost mandolin, with five pairs of strings instead of four. His great-grandfather’s hands, lean-fingered and nimble, were poised in mid-flight along those strings. His head was tossed back, as if bobbing to unheard rhythm. He wasn’t smiling, and in fact looked almost angry. But that meant nothing, for Kestar knew that look; it was the fierce joy of being caught up in the act of making music, of being swept away by song.
It was exactly, Celoren had told him once, how he himself looked when he played. And the sight of it, all at once, made Kestar’s hands ache for the mandolin he’d had to abandon when the Order had arrested him. No, he added to himself. I want what he’s playing. He had no name for the instrument in the sketch, but that didn’t matter. If he could hold it in his hands, if he could feel its living voice resonating against him as he played, it’d make Riniel Radmynn real.
The alert among you may be thinking, “Anna, are you trying to sneak another bouzouki player into a story?” This would be a reasonable and justifiable conclusion! But the really alert among you may also be noting that bouzoukis have eight strings, not ten. I am in fact thinking cittern here, not bouzouki.