Size: 3.00 x 8.00 in
Do you know what your problem is?
Celestine, the fifth of seven sisters, is tired of hearing about hers. Father thinks she’s frivolous because she likes pretty clothes and caters to the crowds in the taverns who adore her music. Mother thinks that because she’s the most social daughter in the family, she can’t keep quiet about anything.
They’re both wrong. Celestine hides a secret she has kept for most of her life.
As the family beauty and a talented musician with a lyrical voice, she has the best prospects for marriage to a prince. When such a liaison never happens, people assume Celestine is too choosy. But even in somewhat tolerant Ilari, a daughter hates to disappoint her family. How can she tell them she’s in love with a princess instead?
Lucky for Celestine, all her sisters are obsessed with an invading army headed to their realm. Celestine would rather ignore the threat and enjoy the freedom their lack of attention gives her. But, her voice can unlock a power that may help save Ilari. And the woman she loves is determined to fight these invaders. And her family, for all their talents, seems clueless about how to motivate the masses.
Celestine knows she can inspire the citizens of Ilari to do what needs to be done. Is it time to put her inhibitions aside and use her voice to save those she cares about?
I knew music went down better when the audience was on your side. If they didn’t start that way, a good singer had to get them there.
“Hey!” I yelled after a few numbers. The last one had a been a popular jig, yet hardly a finger or toe had tapped while we performed. Most unusual.
“I’ve never seen soldiers so quiet. Did you all party so much last night that you’re still worn out?”
I got a few laughs, but not as many as I expected.
“Come on. Somebody tell us poor troubadours what’s going on. Is one of your commanding officers coming in to check on you?” I looked to my left, then to my right, then gave the crowd an exaggerated look of alarm. “Is he here now?”
Even fewer laughs. Maybe I’d lost my touch.
One young man spoke up. “You seem like a nice lady, so I’ll tell you. Stop trying to cheer us. We got horrible news today and nothing’s going to make us feel better.”READ MORE
“I’m sorry to hear that. Did someone tell you we’d run out of ale in our realm? No more until Kolada?”
I got more chuckles this time.
“No, Miss. The commander of the Mozdols told us that our lands are in the path of a huge marauding horde of thieves. They’ve been burning and pillaging their way towards us for years and now travelers say we ought to expect them this year or next. We’re to begin training tomorrow for this onslaught.”
For several heartbeats, I stood speechless. I’d never done that on a stage before. But how does one respond to such news? I thought it couldn’t be so dire or so certain. Yet, I sensed arguing with the soldier would hardly win over my audience. What would?
“Then, sir, you should know that the musicians of the realm are at your service.”
I stood tall, as if I were a soldier myself, awaiting a command. This earned me a few derisive laughs.
“No offense meant, but musicians can’t do much in a war.”
“What? Of course we can.” I knew where I was going now. “We can inspire you as you assemble to fight.” I began to tap a slow beat against my leg with my hand. Zamarran figured it out. He added his own strong drumbeat and then I thanked the Goddess I hadn’t misjudged Mirva. Her flute began to sound out a war march to match and I added my voice, choosing random phrases about honor and patriotism and weaving in bits of melodies from well-known songs about the beauty of Ilari. It was a mess, but it conveyed the general idea.
“And as you fight, if some do fall, as some may, we will be there to mourn with you,” I said as the other two moved into the saddest of melodies. I knew enough to only do this for a few breaths. No soldier wanted to dwell on the need for funeral music.
“And, when you’re victorious, and you will be victorious, we’ll be there with you, with a rousing song to celebrate your bravery and our freedom.” At that all three of us found an appropriate joyful noise to make and the room broke into applause. We bowed, we collected some tips, and we got ourselves the Heli off the stage and out of there before anyone had time to think too much about my logic.
As we walked back to campus, Zamarran looked at me in wonder.
“That was one of the best varmin improvisations I have ever seen, and I’ve seen some good ones.”
I shrugged. I’d been doing this sort of thing since I was in basic school. Not with soldiers, of course, but with classmates, teachers, and the parents of my friends, who’d all found themselves standing up and applauding for me and one of my causes over the years.
Zamarran stopped walking and he looked directly at me. Hard.
“This isn’t easy for me to say, but it’s better said now. This will be your trio, not ours.”
“No, we both agreed ….”
“It doesn’t matter what we agreed. You’ve become our voice, and the whole realm will consider it yours no matter what we decide.” He smiled. “I might as well learn to live with it.”COLLAPSE
The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.
How do they do it? Each sister offers surprise information on why this didn't go as anyone planned.