Poetic License [Darkover series]
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by Mercedes Lackey
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: Tayksa n'ha Elayna though being King Varzil's personal guard at court was boring, until a petitioner arrived with a truly unusual problem and she became part of the solution.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1994 Snows of Darkover
eBookwise Release Date: September 2006
64 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [25 KB]
Reading time: 13-19 min.
"My lord King, I come to you with a problem that could cost me more than my life," the musician Anndra said unhappily. "It could cost me my reputation, which means far more to me than my life does."
Zandru's Hells, no wonder he looks bad. Both the king and Tayksa nodded understanding, although Anndra paid scant attention to her. His whole focus was on Varzil. "The problem lies with Lord Ridenow's youngest," Anndra continued. "The Lord entrusted him to my hands for instruction in music, to be taught with my three apprentices. The boy has ... average talent, or a little less, but he and my Lord both seem to believe he is truly gifted." The man shrugged. "I saw no harm in letting my Lord continue in his fond belief--but the boy was impossible to teach, for he refused to believe that he needed to learn anything."
"Well, Anndra, I cannot see how Lord Ridenow can fault you for that," Varzil began, but Anndra shook his head.
"That is not the problem, lord King. The problem is that the boy is--is a thief. Not of things, but of ideas."
Varzil frowned. "One cannot put a name tag upon an idea, Anndra," he said, his tone gently chiding. "You of all people, must know that."
"I know that, my lord King, and you know that but try to tell this to Lord Ridenow!" the musician said in despair, although his voice still did not rise above a controlled whisper. "My lord, listen to me, before you make a judgment that ideas cannot be stolen. This is how the trouble begins. I, or one of my apprentices will begin a new ballad. Jehan will overhear it, and immediately go and make a botched and mangled version of his own. Then he will run to play it to his father--and once he has done that, we dare not perform our own songs, lest we be accused of stealing the boy's ideas! Perhaps he is not stealing ideas, precisely, but he is rendering them unusable by the rest of us!"
"Surely Lord Ridenow has more sense than to accuse you of that," Varzil said dubiously.
Anndra's expression of desperation deepened. "My lord King, it has already happened, and all that saved my apprentice was my declaration that I had set the other boy to making a variation on Jehan's theme. I do not know what to do. Already Lord Ridenow asks why I have no new songs for him. How can I explain that his son has stolen and mined the ones I had been preparing?"