Runic - Sempiternal Solo

Young violinist Lola Pern is starting to realize how far one can go in order to perfect something, in every sense of the world. A song from the past haunts every corner of her life, one that has made for a dramatic turmoil as she gets thrown into a whimsical nightmare of violence and beauty. With only one way out, she revisits a point in time when every mistake was met with travesty in hopes of bringing closure. However, altering such forces is bound to be dangerous, and with a childhood as fragile as hers, the risks can cost dearly.

Novel Website - https://www.crimsos.org/sempiternalsolo

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1. Chapter 1 - Blue Choir

 

jubjubird.                                                                                                           

Copyright © Crimsos

 

 

 

SEMPITERNAL SOLO

 

They wanted a daughter to be proud of.

Rather than a daughter who was proud of herself.

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Some realms constitute the arts as a main focus for their society."

-Yonet, a Typhon map maker-

...

Lola stood still, an early night's whisper reminding of a summer echo, rustling her silk blessed hair of pitch black, accompanying a sundress royal blue. The smooth rolling hill below elevated her a bit closer to the lunar circle as nylon grass swayed around with no effort, surrounding her patiently. All of this made for a warm welcome, for anyone visiting to gaze the stars, and sit idly. However, as for this time, Lola saw this not as such a simple venue, but a stage, one about to come alive in a new colorful form.

Her feet rustled with her heart thumping louder, breathing, taking a glance at the surrounding fireflies and Glowtail Swallows all rising from their nests and nooks, taking notice of the girl's presence, and, to a more profound extent, the violin cradled in her hands. For a moment it all seemed like a dream, an ethereal bubble where everything was magnificent, glowing, and coaxed in nostalgia, but this was like every summer night in Yevital, a realm where beauty like this could land with a joyous mood.

The embers watched on as Lola raised her instrument and bow, motioning them to mold in a perfect balance of posture, a grand overture condensed into a single body. Her feet parted slightly, displacing weight evenly where both of them met sound equilibrium, ready to move and shift about once the notes sped up. She let her bow rest on the valley of four strings and thought the performance through, over and over, mentally encapsulating each step until it was a subconscious movie playing back in repeating circles, where its beginning and end were fused together seamlessly. Flashes of light automatically manifested as the movie played, and she waited until it ended, where it would begin again. There. Eve had already passed. It was time to play.

To begin, Lola's horse hair slid along the thinnest wire for a wavering high note that floated about, rising, her eyes closed. She flew cautiously through the high octaves, down a little, then up, her mouth stretching a bit, playing this Adagio with a pulse. It was a nice sound to start, just to start, fun for a short stay. A dip was taken for a new refreshment. The bow angled and quickened to produce a snappy plethora of mid keys, and she swayed, making her dress flow in long swells. Louder it went, gradually, cautiously, giving each new sound time to breathe before it gave way to the next one in line, at times picking off the ends of some to make a few reverse Staccatos. Finally, she breached a new volume and sat upon it happily, a new, higher decimal. It was a fantasy to explore, all these notes ranging from flat to sharp, all these large rooms with luxurious recliners, beds, and sofas trimmed by neatly woven velvet. The wooden tones explored all their possibilities, some retaining their distinct separations, while others spoke along smooth transitions, a slur between consecutive notes, not letting for a break in music. Her tempo hastened slightly, turning a previously lethargic tempo into one of agile harmony. At this new rhythm, the grass nodded in approval, and to the new warm draft casting in.

A cold stab twinged her body. It was ignored.

Lola breathed, and took a short rest, adjourning her performance until its next stage. Another soft billow of wind made a welcomed presence, stirring the deep, silk ocean of her dress, rippling it, maybe brushing off some dust, with hair that remained unobtrusive, but added to this display nonetheless. If a crowd were watching from afar, they might mistake Lola for a swath of white snow snug around a royal blue aura. Her dark cobalt eyes opened, a first occurrence since her overture. The movie continued reeling away in her brain like a unstoppable chain of well oiled gears, with Lola's imaginary self image dancing around her with every second staged seamlessly, with no real distinction between one move and the next. It was a blurry mess, one that would only grow more hazed the longer she remained still. Movement was the only absolute state of existence capable of catching up to this image. The girl's vision clung onto the strings as she raised her violin once again, ending a short, but we'll received rest. One step at a time. First, picture the path, then walk on it.

Another stab.

The play resumed. She combined the two ranges of highs and lows, and her bow was now granted freedom to slant up and down at its leisure, suddenly opening a door to new formations more complex than before. She could hop between these planes, pitching around in her progression, growing louder, more distinct, and maturing in its identity. The fireflies stirred up like tiny floating light bulbs with eyelids, watching Lola stray from her spot and move around. Her feet waved across grass as if in the arms of an invisible partner, slowly, making sure not to step on his toes, or trip, a waltz that was aware of every sound leaving her strings. She winded off a trill of characters sewn together with smooth, legato intervals, fluidly altering between sounds, climbing up the scale, then back down, then wrapping around in more intricate patterns. And just as it seemed this phrase would end, she jumped off the ledger line and performed a high presto of short brisk accents to tie up the phrase splendidly, each one meaningful, and distinct. Instantly, the light bulbs and swallows cascaded as if reacting to a magnetic force repelling them away. She snapped into focus every minute detail no matter how much her fingers cramped in protest, and so, the smalls joints of pain were flattened out by her sudden Presto. Everything was moving along, and though not entirely synchronized with that imaginary image,​ it still showed no signs of stopping. Her feet swirled around where there was no distinct separation between different movements, playing faster, giving her instrument torture.

Perhaps it was a tiny knot in an otherwise straight line, a split second's sound coming out mutated. Her bow hand stiffened making all five fingers buckle under a weight beyond comprehension. The last note left her strings as a choking squeal, like an static discharge. Lola's entire frame crunched as the bow dropped dead with a soft thud, and suddenly her instrument was so cold that it seared hot. She stumbled, and lurched back as the embers and lightbulbs fell back to earth leaving only a tiny grimmer within grass blades. Gradually, she leaned down on bent knees, letting the malicious wave drone by, waiting for the sharp, severing wiggle of her ear drums to subside. Like an old friend, it was bewildering, seeing that phantom image continue playing away every marvelous accent, dancing happily until it vanished with a smug wink, but there was nothing that could be done, not this time. One misstep would leave a crowd disappointed even if everything else was performed perfectly.

"By the stars," she muttered sternly, "another wasted play."

After a lengthened pause and a mental curse, Lola rose feeling her dress heavier, a cloak made of iron as it slumped down relentlessly. Faceless attendees laughed behind tight lips from outside her bubble, even though no one watched. Once fertil currents of air now felt as if creeping over, these irritating little bugs with spindly legs hardly touching over her skin. She mistaking tried to swat them off. It was best if she returned home and revise her mistakes, again, much like the past few weeks.

It was a long way back home, on the lonely narrow sidewalk winding towards the small town, passing the Mejis sanctuary made of domed marble with enormous pillars, and expansive grass meadows disturbed only by white stone Gazebos. Even an elf born of high class would at least stop to admire some of it, but Lola's half closed stare never drifted off the bar of concrete sliding under her feet, lost in another realm. That is, until she glanced up to get bearings on the moon's position, and sighed. It was just turning into the morning hours, at least. Time had railed by faster than expected, and it made her finally notice a certain roughness taking over her eyelids, realizing how tired she was, how weak she felt. It was understandable, absolutely. Playing for hours on end made her feet turn into into brittle pieces of ice, with arms about to give under the violin and bow they were holding. Perhaps if she walked with more assertion, a few bones might snap. Then, there she would lay, a little pile of crystals on the smooth, moonlit walkway. There were no crickets or frogs to pick through the silence, so her mind drifted away into thinking up such metaphors, even if some were simply ridiculous.

It was when the first oil fueled street lamp arched over the horizon did Lola know she was close, its tawny gold halo making her shadow visible once she passed under it. The girl's body flickered on and off which each lamp saying a quick hello before turning her dark again.

She turned the corner leading to a wider road.

Large blackened bodies of apartment complexes looked down from either side, with a scent carrying musky bricks wafting up her nose, a standard for humid weather. It was a nice residence nonetheless, each structure bound together by complex designs curving fittingly, with picket fences and well kept gardens encircling her own motel, which was four buildings down from where the street started. Lola's room sat on the second floor, where it had been waiting for hours.

Up the stairs, a corner turned, walk twenty feet, and stop. Lola craned over and pulled a small nickel key from one of her flats. She leaned against the thick heavy door because pushing it open would have sapped away her remaining energy. After a light, closing click from behind, her limbs loosened along with a listless exhale of tense air. A bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and a living room formed a loop within these walls, all creating a rather small quarters, but still, there was no place like it. Not to mention rent prices were tolerable. Both the violin and bow were casually placed back in their case, the one that, admittedly, was purposely left behind. Lola seldom carried it unless she was making way into town, which, recently, was more of a rare occurrence with most classes already over for this year.

After pushing away a few strands of sticky hair, she headed around back, bathed, changed, ate a small sandwich, and did so with such weariness that the disdainful memory of what recently transpired only came back as she swung into bed, just before letting that drowsy weight to finally run its proper course. Across the room, two connected squares of snow watched from across the room, a music stand holding an open booklet of sheet music. A window above doused pale rays over the paper consumed with back notes and lines.

"Please, not now." Lola's whisper died midway, because it was crazy talking to a lifeless object, but, nevertheless, she wanted a look at it. The bed complained as its passenger rose off, and she made a stumbly walk towards the portal where wonderful sounds were stored within ivory colored sheets. "Hummingbird's Verse" was scripted in large cursive font near the top, and below, a sea of symbols contained within their rails peered back at her; an audience of people all shapes and sizes. This song was flying off her strings not an hour ago, a five and a half page set of dynamic chords connected with slur lines, rests, repeats, and all manner of markings constructing the extensive piece. She hummed the first few phrases, and continued the rest in her mind because no one could ever fluently voice Hummingbird's Verse completely, at least, not from personal experiences of watching singers try and try again only to fail. It mattered not what race of creature tried to stir their vocal cords, not a Human, Aven, Elf, or anyone so far had succeeded, at least no one she had witnessed. Only an instrument played by hand could explore this foreboding plane. It was also why many believed the lyrics for the song were discarded a long time time ago, and was reorchestrated into a purely wordless creation.

Her fingers softly turned the sheet, exposing another layer of sounds trapped in parchment, passing a line where the tempo and pitch climaxed, bringing forth a crescendo, one of the more emotional parts. Past that was a short rest, then a set of eighth notes played in Glissando, meaning to slide between them. All of it was rather easy compared to other sections, or even other works of music at this difficulty level, even though it still appeared like a forest of ink. However, she knew harder portions were waiting for her underneath a few more layers.

Page four came along, a jumbled mayhem of keys and symbols all latticed together, and there it sat, a measure where one had to jump around the sharp scale with a Tremolo. A Tremolo was performed by rapidly moving the bow back and forth against a string to create a wavering effect that produced slightly different pitches than normal, prominent overtones. This spot was where her brain screeched horribly, and halted. Even after weeks of meticulous rehearsal, this incomprehensible maze still appeared as it was, a maze, and every time a journey was made through it, she never failed to stumble, or trip, or simply fall flat. Time had stubbornly refused to let her bring closure to the predicament even with long spans of practice. Nothing clicked. If there was a point where shear resolve could not succeed on its own, Lola was standing right in the cavity of it. Another hyperbolic metaphor, yes, but it was in many ways based on reality, and true all the same. So, a quite simple conclusion brought itself forward and stood on a pedestal, awaiting confrontation.

"I need help," Lola whispered evenly, giving that conclusion a physical existence.

She did, after all, attend one of Yevital's most esteemed colleges, known for specializing in the advanced musical arena, and that said plenty coming from a realm where the arts already had a firm hold on society. It was best to visit her teacher there and share dialogue of her dilemma, and luckily, this teacher was someone who she already had a close companionship with. Mr. Krayble was a wise soul who taught many, only to befriend a few. Krayble normally welcomed those who wanted tutoring regardless of the hour, however, their meeting would have to wait until afternoon.

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