A Question of Power (“Song Caster” Launch Week)


Song Caster Cover, resize

“Greetings, readers the world over!” says Gant-o’-the-Lute, with a sunny smile and breezy bow. “It is I, shining star of ‘The Song Caster’ – which, you’ve surely heard, officially ventured out into the world just two days past, via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. You’ve put in an order for your copies by now, yes? No? Make it so.

“Now, onto the business of the day. As part of the Launch Week celebration (which includes the ongoing giveaway explained in detail here), I’ve gathered a number of my fellow characters to ask them the all-important question the ‘Song Caster’ tale compelled me to face: What would you do if you got hold of a magic flute that could control the world? Let us start with you, Your Majesty.” He turns to Wilderhark Tale veteran Villem Deere. “How would you answer?”

Villem Deere as portraited (pretend it's a verb) by the mega-talented Yana Naumova.

“Are we to assume,” says the king, with his characteristic, doctorly sobriety, “that I am, in this hypothetical scenario, equipped with the skill to play the instrument?”

“Obviously,” says Lute. “You’d get no use out of it, otherwise.” He waves at the group. “For the sake of argument, we’ll pretend you’re all musically proficient.”

“In that case, I would then ask—”

“We actually haven’t got all day, Villem,” Queen Ursula interjects. “Don’t be a Deere about it, just say something.”

Though his cool eyes express quiet disapproval at the notion of speech before adequate consideration, Villem replies, “I would play a tune that stimulates the minds of all who hear, such that their capacity for logic and sound judgment would be heightened as far as humanity’s utmost limitations permit.”

“How perfectly reasonable,” says Lute, by which he means perfectly dull. “Ursula, what of you?”

Ursula as realized by the mega-talented Yana Naumova.

“Witches,” she says, eyes gleaming with feral glee. “A purge of all the world’s anarchwitches and their sympathizers. Here’s magic in the monarchy’s favor, for a change!”

“When you say ‘purge’,” Edgwyn Wyle says cautiously, “what sort of method do you have in mind? Elimination of their powers? Exile? Not execution, I hope?”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Ursula shrugs in irritation. “Turn them all into butterflies, for all I care. I just want the rebellion put down.”

“Mm. Well, I suppose there are worse things to be than a butterfly.”

Edgwyn as realized by my dream-Wilderhark artist, Yana Naumova.

“Well I know it,” Ursula rumbles.

“Since you’re in the conversation, now,” says Lute to Edgwyn, “what would you do with the magic flute’s power?”

“Oh! Well. Let me see…” His fingers tap lips pursed in thought. “I would… I would bring a bit of rain to the too-dry places, a bit of warmth to the places too cold, fill the lakes and rivers with easy-caught fish, and make the land burst— well, not literally burst, but the point is, there would be food absolutely everywhere, and no one need ever go hungry again. And it would be a happy tune, putting everyone in a fine, friendly mood, so there’d be next to no quarrels between people. And babies! Babies for everyone who wants a baby! And people can run like horses, and OH, the things we could do with cloth!…”

“Yes, brilliant, thank you, Edgwyn,” Lute speaks through his cascade of laughter. “Can you top that, Rosalba?”

Rosalba as realized by my incredible Wilderhark artist, Yana Naumova.

Denebdeor’s Crown Princess smiles. “Add in Father’s melody that makes everyone sensible,” she says, “and it sounds a most ideal sort of world.”

“So much for the humanitarians. Now, Prince Benedeck – my tale’s secondary star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning.”

Benedeck bookmark, cropped

Benedeck’s lips twitch with amusement. “There’s a title even a Crown Prince doesn’t hear every day. How would I use the flute? Well.” He ducks his head. “Horrid as it might sound, I suppose the first thing I’d play is something to control my mother.”

“Only fair,” Lute remarks. “She’s had a thirty-some-year run of controlling you. About time the will bent the other way. What of you, Emmelea?” He turns to the new girl on the block. “Your first action would be…?”

Emmelea bookmark, cropped

“I expect,” she says, voice soft and serene, “I would quietly transform every government in the Great Land and the Far Eastern Isles into my private puppet regime. Little would the world know, I’ve become its empress.”

“Oh, my,” Lute says mildly. “But why not inform the world?”

Emmelea’s shoulders perform a graceful shrug. “Not everyone shares your desire for fame, Lute. I’d find it more interesting to pull the strings from the shadows. Or, if nothing else, more comfortable. I’m accustomed to being underestimated.”

“A feeling I know,” Lute mutters. “And now, my love saved for last. Viralei, dear.” He smiles upon Carillon’s Crown Princess. “My musical match. What would you do with the flute?”

Viralei bookmark, cropped

Her voice like the sweetest of songs, Viralei replies, “I would rule Carillon from afar, the flute’s tune connecting us whither I went. I could travel the world without leaving my people, and travel I would – with my chosen king.”

Lute blinks, lest the emotion in his eyes condense into moisture. “You would give me kingship and a life of vagabond adventure both?”

“With my very first breath.”

“Ah, Viralei…” The sigh blows from the depths of the minstrel’s soul. “Would that you had been made mistress of the flute, as well as of my heart. As it is… well, as of Tuesday, there’s a brand new book out in the world that relates exactly how it is. So, before we all disperse to our various realities, I leave you with this, readers o’ the blog: Suppose the magic flute came to you. What then? Share below, and as a bonus, your comment shall count toward an entry in that aforementioned giveaway. Be creative, be generous, be positively villainous…” He raises his brows. “You might be surprised what urges come to the fore when there’s limitless power involved.”

Edit: Almost forgot to announce the Day 1 and 2 winners of the “Song Caster” Launch Week Giveaway! Congratulations to…

Joanne Kershaw and Kimberly Kay!

You’ve each won a pair of postcards featuring lyrics to original Gant-o’-the-Lute songs – “The Life of a Tree” for Joanne, and for Kimberly, “Let’s Race the Sky”. Congratulations to you two, and to both you and everyone else, remember you’ve still got plenty of time and opportunities to rack up the raffle points. (Full entry details here.) I’ll have two more names drawn at random and announced at the end of Saturday’s post. (Will & Allyn, don’t let me forget!) See you then. ;D

6 thoughts on “A Question of Power (“Song Caster” Launch Week)

  1. Oh dear, what would I do with the flute… I’d probably save it for a rainy day. That, and maybe play a bit of compassion and empathy into the world.

    • “A song of softheartedness, mm?” says Lute. “I daresay there are hearts that could use it. Best not to play it with Edgwyn ’round, though; one more drop of compassion might burst him.”

  2. I’d make everybody in the world go out and buy all of Danielle’s books! If reading them doesn’t make the world a better place then I don’t know what will.

    • Lute’s brows arch in surprise. “Did I indeed? Captain Picard… He’s the Patrick Stewart-portrayed space traveler, yes? Which quote of mine did he chance to say before me?”

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