Episode 5: An Evening in Sefiro
The door to the Royal Flask swung open with a creak. While it was unusually empty for the early evening, Blair knew that when--or if--a minstrel arrived, the modestly sized tavern would be crammed to capacity with revelers eager to hear of legend and fantasy in story and in song.
"That's odd--this place is filled when I normally arrive..." Whitlea noted as she set her sword by her chair and settled at a table overlooking the bar.
"Maybe they are still out listening to that minstrel in the square?" Tane suggested.
Blair was about to answer when he saw a familiar brown haired girl clad in an elaborate purple outfit with red and gold trim enter the tavern. "Speak of Anima..."
"It's her!" Whitlea cried. "The same minstrel I met on the road!"
The minstrel noticed the female warrior's excitement, and strolled over to the table. "We meet again, guardswoman." she smiled. "My name is Lyra, a minstrel of Kanzu."
A Marill climbed onto her shoulder some seconds later, interested in the throngs of people coming inside and making themselves comfortable at the bar. "And this is Kawa, my companion." she added before feeding the rotund blue mouse a Cheri Berry.
"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Lyra...I am Dame Whitlea the Braveheart of Sefiro." Whitlea replied. "This is my companion, Blair of Avenitia Lodge." she added, gesturing to Blair.
"Hello..." Blair smiled before a waitress handed him a menu. "I have heard rumors that not only do you possess the gift of singing a spell just like a song, but you can also do it in the language of the gods. Is this true?"
"Yes--I have had both gifts since I was very young." Lyra replied. "Are you two on a quest?"
"I wouldn't call it a quest..." Whitlea started, but Blair cut her off. "We have to get to Kuroshiro Temple as quickly as we can! Yoso is in danger, and Reshiram must be awoken!"
Lyra tried oh-so-hard not to laugh at Blair's desperate plea. "I don't know about Reshiram needing to be awoken, but I'll be happy to go with you--for a fee..."
"You're not going to demand millions of gold pieces, are you?" Whitlea asked, skeptical--most minstrels with holy song would charge the armor off of her back for such a long journey.
"Oh, no--I would never charge an arm and a leg if your journey is as urgent as you say it is." Lyra assured Whitlea. "My prices are fair, and suit the circumstances."
"How about this--in return for coming with us on our...journey..." Blair began. He bristled a little at calling their upcoming travels as simply a journey. That, and Lyra didn't appear to believe just how urgent their travels were. "Will you show us your gift of holy song? I want to see a minstrel sing in the holy tongue with my own eyes."
"Their request is sincere, Lyra." Kawa assured his master as a maid set a cheese plate before him. "It's not the first time you've used your gift in a tavern."
Lyra thought for a moment. "It's a deal!" she smiled before turning to return to her table. "I'll tell one of my favorite tales that uses the holy song."
"Thank you so much!" Blair smiled, almost relieved as he watched Lyra return to her waiting harp and flute.
"Attention, patrons of the Royal Flask!" the barkeep announced. "Pay head to the Lady Lyra of Kanzu, who has come to provide us a few tales and tunes this evening." Applause went up as Lyra strolled to the center of the room, allowing every table and those at the bar to see her.
Once sure that the room was quiet, Lyra played a soft chord on the harp. "Once a fisherman and his son--let's call him Jiro--were at sea, when a terrifying giant appeared from the water and snatched Jiro from the boat. All Jiro's father could do was watch as his son was spirited away to the giant's lair." She played a tense riff for effect, making murmurs waft through the crowd. "The giant took Jiro to a pitch black room and locked him inside, telling him to not light a fire under any circumstances."
Now why would the boy be told not to light a fire? Blair wondered. Perhaps the giant wishes to freeze him to death?
"Jiro huddled under a blanket, but the biting wind made him shiver, and on top of that, kept hearing ghostly noises. But with no fire, he couldn't tell if they were other prisoners or ghosts." Lyra continued. "On the third night, Jiro decided he was going to defy the giant's instructions and build a fire." She then stopped her song to interject "But with what?" Nervous giggles wafted through the crowd.
'Surely there was some dead grass, or flint, or something!" Whitlea gasped.
Lyra started an exciting melody, quieting the laughter. "So that night, Jiro snuck out of the cave, took one of the boats moored to the shore, and sailed back to his father's house. Once there, he requested some matches, flint, and tinder. As he hid the items in his son's clothing, Jiro's father told Jiro that if he was planning to escape the giant's lair, his wits would be the most valuable thing he could have." She stops the song to interject "Thankfully, the giant had no idea Jiro had gone and returned."
"Anima knows what would have happened if the giant caught him." Tane heaved a sigh of relief Jiro had returned safely.
"Jiro lit his fire, and found out the source of the crying he had heard--a princess!" Some girls in the crowd whispered excitedly as Lyra continued. "She had not seen any light in some time, so she yelped in surprise when she saw the firelight. However, that surprised yelp was enough to wake the giant, and it chased after Jiro!" Gasps went up from the crowd at this as the harp played a frantic melody.
"And then?" Blair asked over the panicked glissandos and sharp chords that filled the air.
"Jiro finally lost the giant and took shelter in an alcove somewhere on the island." Lyra assured Blair as her song gave way to a calmer tune. "As he caught his breath, Dorcha appeared to him and said..." In a slightly deeper voice, she interjected "Long has the giant caused suffering in the land, but if you were to slay him now, he would still live, as his soul is not in his body. On the other side of the ocean in a palace courtyard stands a post. Hit this post with your finger, and a sword will fall down from the sky. With this sword, kill an Ekans in the forest, and a Buneary will appear and race away. Catch that Buneary and cut off its head, and a Pidove will appear. If you can catch the Pidove when it flies to heaven, an egg will fall, and in that egg is the giant's soul."
I see...but wouldn't an egg be a bit fragile? Blair thought.
He was snapped from his thoughts by Lyra announcing "Just as Dorcha left Jiro, the giant discovered him!"
"Oh no!" a girl gasped, making some people laugh.
"Jiro was taken to a high mountain peak, where he was left to die." Lyra continued over a sad interlude.
"Then what happened?" Whitlea asked. The holy song has to be there somewhere!
"Jiro spent two days shivering in the cold before working up the courage to climb down." Lyra explained as her song turned hopeful. "The mountain path led to a forest, where he found four mages arguing over how best to divide the meat of a Stantler they had killed. Jiro skillfully cut the Stantler into four even portions. The mages each gave Jiro a mystical gem as a reward for helping them. The fire mage gave Jiro a ruby that would grant him Entei's strength and power. The wind mage gave Jiro an amethyst that would allow him to soar like the twin Eons. The water mage gave Jiro a sapphire that would allow him to swim like Kyorge. The earth mage gave Jiro an emerald that would allow him to dig as masterfully as Celebi."
She then played a tense chord. "Just then, the giant found Jiro again, but this time, Jiro was prepared--he held the ruby high and called..." With that, she held her hand in the air, closed her eyes, and sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... Awed murmurs went up from the crowd as Lyra appeared to glow red for a few seconds, as if she was Jiro in the story.
"Amazing!" Whitlea gasped.
"A blessing against flames, if I remember right..." Blair added.
"Sure enough, Jiro glowed red with the power of Entei's fire, and managed to throw the giant to the ground. While this didn't kill the giant by any means, it did buy Jiro enough time to get to the shore minutes before the spell wore off." Lyra continued. "Knowing the giant could find him at any moment, Jiro held the sapphire high and called..." She held up her hand again and sang Rou iitsa von selga vichi.... making her glow blue for a few seconds.
"A blessing that gives the singer swift swimming." Blair explained.
"Jiro glowed blue with the power of water, and easily swam to the palace courtyard with Kyorge's speed and grace. He easily found the post and touched his finger to it, and just as Arceus had said, a beautiful sword fell from the sky and landed at his feet." Lyra went on. "Jiro wasted no time in killing an Ekans, and just as Dorcha had said, a Buneary darted from the brush. Jiro knew that a human had no chance of catching up to a Buneary naturally, so he found his amethyst and sang..." She held her hand high a third time, and sang Karuto, iichiida shou... making her glow purple for a few seconds.
"A blassing that either grants swift movement or flight, depending on where the singer is." Blair explained.
"Jiro glowed with the purple energy of the wind, which gave him enough speed to catch up to the Buneary and cut off its head." Lyra explained over a triumphant chord. "No sooner had he done this, did a Pidove appear and fly to the heavens...just as the spell wore off. So he evoked the amethyst again-- Karuto, ichiida shou.... Some in the crowd gasped in awe as a gust of wind formed around Lyra's glowing purple body for a few seconds.
"Did she...just grant herself super speed?" Whitlea was stunned at the spell Lyra had seemingly cast.
"This time, Jiro was able to soar through the sky, much like Latios and Latias." Lyra explained. "He caught up to the Pidove and caught it, causing an egg to fall from the sky. After he landed and the wind magic had worn off, he took the emerald and invoked the earth magic within." She paused to hold her hand high, and sang again. Imultao, ame no ga bakeno... Whispers went up as Lyra glowed green for a few seconds.
"Isn't that a blessing for thick skin?" Tane asked.
"No, it is a healing song that draws on nature to work." Blair replied.
"Once Jiro had dug through the earth and located the egg, he returned to the island and smashed it on the rocks, killing the giant!" Lyra announced over a triumphant glissando. "The princess was elated that someone had finally set her free. They returned to Jiro's homeland, where they fell in love and married not long after their adventure. But Jiro kept the four magic gems with him, just in case he needed their power again. So ends the tale of 'The Giant's Captive'"
"WOW!!!!" Whitlea lead the enthsiastic applause.
"It's true...Lady Lyra CAN sing in the holy tongue!" Tane was just as amazed. Lyra just smiled and took a bow for her enthusiastic audience...
To Be Continued...