Story and Song

Date: 2016-08-31 09:23 pm (UTC)
Three plain doeskin bound volumes. The scratch of my pen fell silent as they were placed on the corner of my desk. I grabbed for the books, quill clattering down as my had sprang out for the one on top.

“Are these... are these what I think they are?” I murmured, not even looking up. Distantly I was aware of Makalaurë's response, but my focus was only for what lie in my hands.

My fingers, blackened with ink, stood out against the pale leather. With care not to leave any marks, I traced my hands almost...reverently, yes that's the only fitting word, over the cover. It felt like velvet. Pulling the book open, I began to flip through it. A grin – Almost hungry, I'm sure – spread across my face as my eyes scanned through the pages flying past my vision, lighting upon those words that had come to be my life over the past months. Cuiviénen, Wild Wood, Dark Rider.

“Remind me,” I said as I finally managed to tear my eyes away from the book and look Makalaurë in the eye, “To tell your brother that I love him when next I see him, yes?”

He had been staring down at me, the long strands that had escaped from his perpetually unraveling braid spilling down over his eyes as he leaned up against the desk. At my words his brows shot up and he pushed himself back upright, his arms crossing, his head tilting back.

“I'll take it you are well pleased then.” He drawled, pacing around the desk. Pausing for a moment, he fell silent and a smirk tugged at his lips. “Ai, Nyárë, had I only known the way to your heart was a well versed hand in transliterating Sarati!” He spoke with a sigh who's wistfulness was enough that it would make one of my actor's jealous. A performer to his core. Even as I rolled my eyes, waving him off with a snap of my wrist, a short snort escaped from me.

“What's worse,” He went on, edging around the bench I was seated upon and coming up behind me, “I receive no credit for what work I have done for you!” By now he was craning his neck, attempting to pear over my shoulder at my work.

“This isn't for you to worry about.” I said, snapping away the sheet of parchment as I twisted around in my seat to face him. Shaking my head I went on, “What is this you are going on about, anyway?”

“Why, begging those transliterations off of Maitimo for you, of course.” He said it so matter-of-factly, “And so many hours spent, so you could have written down what stories you could have just so easily gotten by asking me – ”

I sighed, leaning back against the desk, “I am looking for some semblance to truth to this tale, Makalaurë. Not an exaggeration that would drive even Lord Finwë to blush.”

“Grandfather isn't that bad...” Makalaurë murmured.

“Hrmmm...” My eyebrows rose, but I said nothing more on it.

He sighed, dropping himself down in my bench and straddling it. “This is a masque you are writing, not some loremaster's history tome. And in any case...” He lunged forward, to snatch at the parchment in my hand. I flung my arm back and dove against the bench, laughing and shooting a teasing look up at Makalaurë. It was only then that I realized how near he was, leaning above me, a mere hands breath away. If I wanted it would have been so easy to reach out to touch him, to slip my hand even under that tunic hanging so loosely now around his torso... A sudden wave of heat crashed over me at the mere thought, and I was sure I was blushing scarlet.

I watched Makalaurë's breath catch, the gentle rise and fall of his chest shuddering to a halt. Clearing his throat he carefully backed away. “Right.” He was muttering, shaking his head. “In any case, is a dramatic truth any less worthy than a factual one?”

I did not answer him right away. Too concerned with straightening myself, pushing my body back upright and rearranging my skirts. “Not less worthy, no...” Giving a sharp shake of my head, I turned back on Makalaurë suddenly, fixing him with a hard look. “But seeing as you were the one to bring it up, yes this is a masque. And what is a masque without it's music? Yet I have not yet seen your contribution to our collaboration, Makalaurë ”

“Ahh, well...” I watched as his lips thinned and he leaned back, rolling his eyes up towards the ceiling as if somehow hoping to find an answer (an excuse) written there.What was this? Had I caught the great minstrel without song? The elf who so often made such a show of his talent by dreaming up melodies as he played them?

“Ahh, well?”I cocked my head to the side, batting my eyes at him, “Have I stumped you, Master Bard?”

“Hardly!” He snorted, “Merely...” His gaze darted off again, down the long aisles of books and shelves, as absently he reached up to tug on his hair in that way of his. Several strands worked their way out, tumbling over his shoulders.

Makalaurë, I am the one who is completely without sense of tone, if you have not – ”

“I could not work with what you have given me! The words fell to the earth like so many sacks of flour rather than soaring – ” He cut himself off, wincing as he glanced back at me.

I blinked. “Ah.” the only thing even close to a word that I was able to find. So many hours worth of work. Days even, weeks, and...Criticism was to be expected of course, in writing as in all works of skill. Yet, expectation had never yet made the blow hurt any less. My fingers ran along the edge of the parchment in my hand, I felt it crumple, more, it seemed, of it's own volition than mine. The crushed edges bit into my palm.

“That is to say,” Makalaurë rushed to add, “You can do better. I have seen what you can create. Ai, Nyárë...” I turned away from him, “Nyárë,” He reached for my hand, his fingers brushing against my own, “Mórowen...

Eyes flickering back to him, I drew my hand back, “Do not soften your words, Kano...”

“I am not.” He assured me, “Did I not think you skilled would I be working with you now?”

“Hrmm....” I shook my head, but remained otherwise silent for some time. “Come,” I finally said, not quite turning to him as I forced my shoulders back and brought my head higher, “We will get no further while I wallow in doubt.

I let the parchment in my hand drop, and brought forward a new sheet.

Makalaurë it seemed would not let it go, however. He did not answer me, and when I finally did turn to him, I saw that he was pulling himself out from beneath the table, flattening out my discarded writing in his hands.

“ Makalaurë, please don't – ”

His eyes were already scanning over the page however, and by the time I had spoken, he was already looking back up at me, brows drawn together for a moment, before a smile cracked across his features. “As I said, I knew you could do better.”

And with those words he was already drifting away, leaning down to pick up his harp from where he had left it at the foot of the desk.

I watched him as he settled himself on the floor, curling around his instrument, braid tumbling over his shoulder as he reached forward to pluck at the stings. As those first silvery notes left the instrument, any protest died upon my lips.

There was always something focused about his expression when he played, as though in those moments everything faded away from him, and all the world was his his harp. He was relaxed then, you could see it in every line of his body, and the way that sharp gleam of perception in his eyes softened just for a few brief moments. A soft smile touched his lips. Eru, perhaps even more than to listen to him play, I loved to see it.

As he sang those verses, scrawled out during those few moments waiting for him, he breathed his own life into the words, one that I don't think would have been found without his intervention. Nor without your creation... piped up a voice at the back of my mind. And despite myself a felt a small bust of pride.

As the song came to a stop, Makalaurë paused, looking me up and down for a long while. “A love song.” He mused. Another pause, before he leaned forward against his harp, cocking his head to the side. “Nyárë, what do you think of changing the course of this masque of yours?”

I stood and made my way over to him, “That depends,” I replied. Settling myself down, I leaned up against him, “Tell me what you had in mind.”
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