The anticipation is always thick, nigh tangible. I ready my lute, fingers gently plucking the strings, ensuring they remain in tune. My instrument is lovingly tended; a tool of beauty and harmony, capable of weaving intricate melodies that inspire and enliven – and yet so too can my humble instrument, my nimble fingers, the timbre of my voice bring pain, suffering and even death.
I strum carefully, two notes of perfect pitch in an octave that resonate powerfully. The sound lingers and builds as it is held, growing stronger, until the maestoso is complete, the strains of my lute filling the room with unseen power. All is in readiness, and my fingers hover, ready to play, my throat clearing once, voice ready to sing.
They come. My heightened senses detect the arrival of my enemies; my allies shift and tense in readiness. They move adjacent, soon they will be upon us, soon they will strike, try to decimate our forces and take control of our ground.
In a flurry of shouts and deadly moves they arrive, our forces clashing with great violence. Chaos reigns supreme as magics and weapons alike fly through the air, striking, rending flesh, decimating energies. Somehow amid the storm I find calm; I choose a target, and the deliberate strum of my chord releases the full force of my song of torment upon them.
The sounds of carillon knells wrack their body as they shudder in my presence, the beauty of my music twisted to thrum with painful dissonance. Each chord adds to the torment – smoke of several hues leaks from their ears as the sounds penetrate their being and wreak havoc from the inside. They are not so easily slain, however. While they cough and writhe in pain, still they continue on, now turning to return fire upon me, unable to leave the irresistible strains of my perfect fifth chord.
With deft hands and determination I alter the power of my song; a threnody, a song of death and despair, that will be their demise. My voice rings out as I play, my gaze locked to theirs as my voice rings out, “Surrender to your destiny, harken to my threnody!”
The battle rages around me but my concentration is focused on my adversary, the slight bend of strings as I hold the notes. The screech of rusty cogs twists them, drawing nearer, sharp and bloody and beautiful. I must hold! Sweat beads on my brow and my hand trembles; so close, the dissonance builds, my enemy still valiantly attacking me with desperation.
I ignore their offense; no curing, no moving, not even a sound escapes my list as I hold the chord. I cannot hold it much longer, wounds leave me bleeding, magic drains my energies, but close, so close! The cogs grind and whirr, ghostly shapes about my victim, rusted and wicked and then – then it is too late. Blood and gore flies asunder as the threnody reaches its conclusion, my foe shredded and defeated, their soul torn from their body as they are sent to beg the fates for mercy.
I breathe, I heal. And then I turn my hungry gaze to my next victim, my faithful silver lute at the ready.