Minx Lissanda’s Fell Bespelling
(Crossing, Zoluren: 68 Akroeg 360)
A few days ago, I ran into the Minx Lissanda out where I was resting from a rather strenuous guardian hunt.
After she dispatched a roaming viper quickly with her tago, she came and joined me where I was about to rehearse some music up the tree.
I expressed my relief at seeing her alive and well. She told me how she had been captured by Sadiaer and taken to the Keep. OK, I knew that. Then she said that she was tormented, and I guess, even killed, when she did not do the right things.
Now this got my attention, but rather than say anything much, I listened.
She reached for a glittering obsidian charm suspended from a thin platinum chain that she wore and rubbed it. (Fashioned from a carved piece of obsidian, the charm glitters even in shadows.) Then told me how Sadiaer had rescued her in the Keep, given her the charm to prove how much he loved her, and let her go, evidently shortly after the rescue of Prayk. (That is another story, and one that will have to be told by someone else, I was not there.)
All my alarm bells were ringing in my head by now. She had this deliriously happy look on her face, and the conversation turned very sweet at any mention of Sadiaer.
She watched while he carved the charm for her, and then he gave it to her. It was his goodbye gift, she said. He gave her her freedom and sent her away from the Keep. She went, but soon realized that her place was by his side.
When doubt crept into her voice, or an unpleasant memory seemed about to vocalize, she reached again for the charm. All doubt flew from her eyes, and she would reiterate how much Sadiaer loved her, and what a good man he was. Just misunderstood.
Not wanting to go there — I am an awful liar — I decided to speak to her of music. She is a bard, I knew that much. I showed her my charm, it is a Bardic Knot.
I am not sure what it was that made me remove my charm and let her try it, too. But I did. I think I was hoping that somehow it would recall the truth of music in her soul and would help overcome whatever power that other fell charm seemed to have over her.
The Knots have, well, something, about them that a bard can sense, can hear, can feel the power of music and of generations of music, right in their soul. I believe it is simply the magic of music that gives them this extraordinary … presence.
Lissanda studied my Bardic Knot, and even wore it. She left her hand upon it for a while.
"Aye, I hear the harmony. Tis very faint, though …" she told me.
I hoped that my eyes did not betray how my heart sank at that moment.
I tried to get her to keep it, but she would not accept it. She was concerned something bad would happen to it should harm befall her.
And with all the tormenting, threats, and harrassing which were being aimed at her, she was worried indeed about that.
We exchanged songs, and spoke more of music. As she performed, I could see a geniune light sparkle in her eyes again, and a true smile of joy light her lips.
She sang a wonderful tale of Randal. I sang for her the song which I had composed for Wren, which was the tale of how songs were woven.
But these bright moments spent discussing and sharing music were soon lost when she reached for that fell charm! The too-sweet smile was pasted back on her face again, and she started to talk about how nice Sadiaer was.
It was clear by the end of my visit with her that she was a bardess in trouble. Far more trouble than she realized, or, obviously, had the capacity to realize.
If the song within her was fading, I felt that all hope for her rebelling against this awful charm would be lost.
We promised to share some songs again when she was called swiftly, and rather coldly, I might add, back to the Keep.
I am no mage, but that was a bespelled woman. I took the time now to find the people who would need to know this — and hopefully know what to do. Over the next few days I shared this information with Prayk, the leaders of the Realms who would be in a position to help accomplish something, my friends, and a number of bards and bardesses.
Some people believed me, some were dubious, one of them candidly asked me how I knew the charm was a problem.
My answer probably did not prove much, but it was all I had.
"A bardess’ intuition."
I told them all I was going to Riverhaven to purchase Lissanda a Bardic Knot of her own. My only thought was that if we can keep the music alive in her soul, there would be a chance to break through Sadiaer’s awful spell over her.