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The Lark and The Wren (Book 1 of Bardic Voices)
The Lark and The Wren - Book 1 of Bardic Voices Author:Mercedes Lackey Her skin crawled, as if there were something watching her from the center of the wind that had suddenly blown up around her with a howl and a rush. Malignant; that was what it felt like. As if this wind was a living thing, and it hated every creature it saw. A voice, an icy, whispering voice, came out of the darkness from all around her; from ev... more »erywhere. It could have been born of her imagination, yet Rune knew the voice was the Ghost's, and that to run was to die.
"Why have you come here, stupid child?" It murmured, as fear urged her to run anyway. "Why were you waiting here? For me? Foolish child, do you know what I am? What I could do to you?"
I've come to fiddle for you," Rune managed to gasp out...
Music was what Rune lived for, and, self-taught though she was, any with an ear to hear it could tell that she had the Gift. But, born out of wedlock and forced to slave as a tavern drudge from the time she was old enough to hold a broom, Rune knew her chances of ever achieving the dream of becoming a Bard were slim indeed.
Perhaps that was what drove her to take the dare--to play her fiddle at midnight for the legendary Skull Hill Ghost. Despite the Ghost's Reputation, despite the many corpses that had been found on the hill with looks of terror frozen on their faces, despite the fact that even the priest sent to exorcise the Ghost had died, Rune would not go back on her word.
And so she had come to the hill in the dark of night, and she had made her bargain with the Ghost. If she could play till dawn and hold the Ghost's interest with her music, she would live. If not, she would pay with her life.
But even if she survived this fearsome private concert, Rune's troubles would be just beginning. For in a world controlled by the Guilds and the Church--a male-dominated world in which no woman had ever been permitted to become a Guild Bard's apprentice--what chance was there for a young woman with no lineage and no powerful backers to plead her case?« less