The docks in Vesper are generally busy, though at night they are less so than during the day. Ships don’t sail at night but the sailors frequent the bars.
In one of the bars, a voice floats out in the air, accompanied by the dulcet tones of a ukulele. It’s an old song, a mix of english and a language that isn’t heard often. A song of the seas and a lost love. The voice, is owned by a Dolphin Changer. A dusky skinned, polynesian woman.
Music is something of a foreign concept to Yaren. His kind do not produce such tunes, and if they had, then it is a memory long lost with that of their original forms. The closest he would have compared music to would be the sounds created by the creatures he has studied, their unique calls, their methods of communicating. He might have said that Kthzyx’s words would be musical. The sounds he hears drifting from the bar however is far different, far more deliberate, and not at all unpleasant.
That the words sung are of a voice familiar to him are only secondary in drawing him into the warmly lit bar. Glowing violet eyes look about from beneath the shadows of his hat, worn from age and travel as the rest of his attire, so faded that it’s impossible to tell what color it might have been if anything more than the neutral tones they now are. Now that he’s inside, Yaren looks specifically for Malie, for here he finds her, he will find the source of that lovely sound.
The last strains of the music fades as Yaren enters and Malie bows her head to the scattering of applause. Tilting her head in the hatted mans direction, she offers a smile as she takes her drink and moves to the table near her.
Kicking out the chair opposite herself, she invites him to sit with another tilt of her head “I’d say you looked troubled, but it’s hard to tell. How are you Yaren?”
Drifting quietly over, Yaren adjusts the chair a bit before he sinks into it to sit. “Not troubled, not exactly. But I have been thinking. And then I heard you, Malie.”
His manner of speech has been more smooth of late, but then his experience with the Rat King has given him more of an awareness, and he’s not still sure how he should feel about that.
“…what were you doing, just now? It was beautiful… I have not heard anything like it before.”
Malie’s dark brown eyes take in the figure, quiet for a long moment before tilting her head. “What I was doing?” She picks up her ukulele and plucks at the strings “Do you mean singing? You haven’t heard that before.” She supposes that might be the case given what little she knows of the man … is Yaren a man? A being … that’s more like it.
“It’s an old song of my people and I sing sometimes to entertain others. Sometimes just to give voice to what I’m feeling?” A light strum on the four strings on the instrument and her eyes rise to his again “What is you were thinking of, if I might ask …”
He peers curiously at the instrument, violet eyes blinking at the sound produced from just a simple gesture. “Yes… I have heard birdsong and howls, the wind and the sea, but nothing like your singing, and what sound you create with that,” he says, nodding at the ukelele.
“A voice to what one feels…” Yaren muses at her explanation, hat tilting slightly in thought. “You put words into sound, and weave it together with the sound from that. It is…like magic.” He blinks then, glancing back at her.
“I was thinking about what we have been asked to do. It should be my responsibility. The kayrah, they are from my world, the reason we separated ourselves from the magic again, to aid in seeking them before they can cause such trouble.”
“More like magic than you know …” the Whale Singer smiles “… my magic is based on music. It is one reason we are called Whale Singers.” One reason. There maybe more and magic … from music? That might be interesting.
“The Lord of The Deep, who made me what I am should be my responsibility but there are others who assisted me. Why should I, and Auren, not return the kindness.?” She starts strumming a light tune that she seems to know well. It’s an old tune, it was old when she was young, which makes it even older now.
“Tell me of these Kayrah, Yaren.”
For a moment Yaren allows himself to be distracted, watching her fingers as they move across the strings, listening to the pleasant tones produced. Even without words sung to it, he finds he enjoys it, although it still seems to be missing something now that he’s heard lyrics applied.
“…the kayrah are no different from us, from me,” he says quietly, violet eyes flickering as he lifts them towards Malie again. “We are all the same. The only difference is that they take without asking, and use what they will to do whatever they wish.”
He falls silent for a moment, flexing the overly long fingers formed only of tattered gloves and wound wrappings. “…I have not personally come across any of them until I came here. But it was not until I encountered the Rat King that I realized the fine line between being what I am, and being drawn to what they are.”
“So they are you. You are all … one consciousness, is that correct?” Malie might not have that quite right. “I think I saw that with the dolphin and those sharks. What is it, do you think, that they hope to achieve in doing this? Do you know, Yaren?” He might not, Malie suspects but she has to ask.
She’ll let him speak though and listen carefully. Although, to her strumming, she adds a quiet voice.
I have a dream, I hope will come true
That you’re here with me, and I’m here with you.
I wish that the earth, sea and the sky up above
Will send me someone to lava…
The words … might not make sense, but it’s a pretty song.
“Not exactly. We were individual, once. We gave that up, mostly. It was…difficult to pull ourselves back from being a part of magic. There are not many of us who could do so.” Yaren lowers his hand again, sighing as he closes his eyes, and he listens to the short little song. The last line of it confuses him as he opens his eyes again, but he doesn’t seem familiar with the term ‘lava’ to get the pun. But he has a question to answer.
“I do not know. The answers I received from the kayrah we pursued from the fishing boat were not to my questions. If they have some greater purpose other than to be in control of such extraordinary creatures, then I do not know, unless there has been an outside influence.”
Malie might not get the pun either. It’s a song her grandmother sang to her mother, her mother sang to her and she, in her turn … sang to her children until they were taken from her.
“Being part of magic must be … freeing, I think.” the dusky skinned woman returns to just strumming, the song changing to something a little more upbeat and the pattern of the strumming changing – making it more of a western feel as opposed to an island feel.
“Is it the same Kayrah that you encountered? Can you tell?” That might be hold some clue in and of itself. “I know that there is a sense of power in controlling another. It is not something I, or other Whale Singers, enjoy but there are those who find the practice addictive. Perhaps you are correct and it is simply that.”
But the idea of an outside influence has the woman’s eyebrow cocking but she doesn’t pursue that, not yet. “How do you propose to discharge the task that Kailastia has given us?”
“It is… was,” Yaren corrects himself, sounding wistful. “One can be everywhere at once, sensing the growth of plants, the flow of a river, the rush of the wind and the creatures who dwell in the world, how they experience it in their own ways.” Those memories are faint, that time seeming so long ago, and potentially it has been, for even Yaren can’t remember how long he has been Yaren, wandering his world in a clothed form before even finding his way through the Rift.
He shakes his head slowly, regretful. “I am not sure. I did not gain a good sense of the one before. …but you are right. Such is how power is.”
In all honesty Yaren hadn’t given the suggestion of an outside influence too much thought. He’d mentioned it in a generalized way. The very world they were in could be considered an influence. The bunyip or whatever ancient power lies beneath Vesper seemed to be one as well.
Malie’s next question has him looking troubled again. “…I do not know. It was purely chance that I recognized the sense of another of my kind when the rats plagued the city. I did not defeat the Rat King alone, and never have I gone against a kayrah before then. I had thought to absorb it, but nearly became so in the process.”
“I see …” Malie murmurs, dropping her eyes to her instrument for a moment. “… but you recognised it, that is something and it recognised you, if I’m not mistaken. Perhaps there is something in that.”
It’s then that one of the patrons calls out to the Whale Singer encouraging her to sing again. “Will you excuse me and will you stay for while? We can perhaps work this through…”
Either way, it looks like Malie is going to be busy for the next half hour or so.
Yaren nods, uncertain, but it’s at least something for now, he supposes. At the calls from the other bar-goers, he lifts his head, looking about before glancing at Malie again. His gaze softens.
“That is by far the easiest request I have received, Malie,” he replies, his eyes seeming to smile. Indeed, he has nowhere else he needs to be, and if he can listen to the music of the whale singer, then at least it will be something to distract him from other things for the time being.
Drawn into a bar by Malie's music, Yaren and the whale singer take some time in conversation to talk about where Yaren comes from and those of his kind.
April 10, 2411