Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prompt: Practice Makes Perfect

Bleyan pounded out the last of the complicated pattern and rested his aching hands on the warm skins that covered the drums, silencing the fading echo of his final beats.

“Again,” his Master said sharply, with no acknowledgement of Bleyan’s accomplishment.

“But, Master,” Bleyan began without thinking. He bent his head, blinking back tears. The swish of robes was all the warning he had. All he needed. He leaped from his chair as the Master swept the legs out, tumbling the chair back. Bleyan stood before him, fists clenched as tightly as his jaw, eyes blazing. The Master stood watching him for a long moment, then reached down to pick up the chair, replacing it in precisely the same position.

“Well done, Bleyan,” he said quietly, though to the last pattern or the leap to safety, Bleyan could not tell. “Now, again.”

Bleyan sighed and rolled his shoulders, wanting nothing more than to run down the stone stairs to his small room and hard bed. He sat under his Master’s stern gaze and closed his eyes, hands over the drums. He began again.


“Here’s the latest,” the novice stretched out a scrap of parchment, bowing before Bleyan and Krasdeph. Krasdeph snatched it from his hand without a word, but Bleyan smiled warmly to the young boy, who lifted his head, then spun on his heel and ran back down the stairs.

“Well, how bad is it?” he asked Krasdeph.

His comrade looked up, shaking his head. “It’s going to take both of us, and I’m not even sure about this part,” he pointed to a section of scratchings on the parchment. Bleyan glanced down, then grabbed the scrap and looked more closely. He looked up at Krasdeph with a fierce grin. “It’s okay, I’ve got this.”

He sat down in front of the giant drums overlooking the empty fields and rested his hands on the cool skins. He would warm them soon enough, sending vital messages from the Central Keep across the land. As the first phrases of the pattern emerged, he swore he could feel his old Master at his back, looking down with his habitual stern gaze.

Bleyan played and played, heating the drums until the skins burned his fingers with every beat. He played until his back ached, his arms felt like rubber. Krasdeph held water to his lips, and he sipped without missing a beat. Bleyan played the entire message, three times through, as was the custom, until he could no longer feel his hands against the drums’ heat. He played the final passage and stopped, his hands dropping onto the drum skins, his head dropping down to his chest in sheer exhaustion.

It was Krasdeph’s hand on his shoulder, but his Master’s voice in his head. “Well done, Bleyan. Well done.”

Dogs in house
Mischak (at Daughter’s piano tutor)

Scraps of “Memory” and other piano lessons

Time writing:
~20 minutes

August word count:

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