(514-09-14) Dhani's Lament
Summary: Heaving bosoms undo the opponent. Or, rather, singing happens.
Date: 514-09-14
Related: N/A

NPC rolled/played by

arngeir heulwen 

Wherever the performances for the Sarumite tournament happen, they will be down one courtly woman and gain themselves a tanned woman dressed in leathers. The notion of actually showing up in fine attire and belting out a nightingale warble would probably give Dhani a case of hives. She has at least washed up since the joust and retired to simpler clothing, exchanging chain for supple leather, and a tunic bearing Woodborough colours for a bandolier suspending at least two or three daggers. The very thing someone brings to a singing competition, no? A bewildered marshal confirms this painted thing is actually a performer and not here to chew on the scenery, and directs her to the cleared out area serving for a stage and all who might like to hear the musicians and minstrels ply their tunes. Certainly she might be among the strangest, her face dotted and painted in pale, faint lines. But as she stalks in, unaccompanied, the strangest thing happens. She takes a stool and settles as though she actually belongs there, folding her hands against her torso and awaiting the sign to start.

Dhani’s opponent is a younger man done up to the nines in his House colors - the shades that ring of House Stoford known for their musical prodigies; or, rather, they would be known for their musical prodigies if everyone wasn’t already swept up in actual work. As it is, the young boy is clearly nervous about his vocal debut, and he watches the Woodborough with some degree of barely pubescent longing mixed with fear. The poor kid is green about the gills and shifting uncomfortably in his newly mended tunic; he tugs at the collar and clears his throat several times while stealing surreptitious glances toward the lady with whom is paired for competition. He settles his small harp on his lap, obviously having opted for something more classical in nature, and awaits his turn for the competition. His fingers drum nervously on his legs, and a few times he has to make a hasty catch of his instrument before it slides onto the floor.

Dhani checked her Singing of 10, she rolled 14.
Arngeir makes a check for Young Singer Singer at 13, he rolled 12.

She stays seated on that stool as the marshal announces the topic of the performance to be free-form and "Something about the summer." The poor Stoford might be more alarmed to know he faces a woman who likes tossing men off their horses with a lance or running through the Irish gleefully, but he might be spared that. She runs her hand over her lime-stiff braids, their brindled hue in part due to the heavy paste added to them to keep from being a nuisance. Waiting for the boy to start playing his harp, she starts to hum a little and find her place within a song composed on the fly:

"For a time I was a smiling maiden,
And now a scarred, sorrowful widow,
My lord plying a clash of steel strongly,
O'er the hills and far away."

Her voice starts off rather softly as she finds her groove out of the notes, building up in a melancholic melody. Hers is not a ribald song, but a traditional tune altered to fit her purposes, swaying and somewhat slow.

"He is my hero, my dashing knight,
He is my Vortigern, dashing knight,
I've had no rest from foreboding,
Since he went far away, my knight."

The young Stoford doesn’t make quite the presentation that Dhani does, watching her rather wide-eyed as she begins without much preamble. Her voice, her eerie appearance, and the doleful tune are enough to cause him to sway on the spot with sheer nerves. He swallows visibly and clutches tightly to his harp, plucking idly at the strings to be sure it is in tune but trying to do so unobrustively. His fingers glide over the strings, and for a moment it seems that the sound of them humming beneath his masterful touch will soothe his nerves. It does so, too, for the most part, for when he opens his mouth to sing, he manages to avoid outright croaking. His song is not for the faint of heart, but neither is it a longing tale of romance.

“Summer has come in,
Loudly sing, ‘Cuckoo!’
The seed grows and the meadow
and the wood springs anew.
Sing, ‘Cuckoo!’”

It is a simple song of the field sung by farmers and shepherds alike, the agrarian masters who keep time with music and entertain themselves in the middle of the lonely fields.

Dhani checked her Singing of 10, she rolled 8.
Arngeir makes a check for Young Singer Singer at 13, he rolled 8.

After the initial jitters, Dhani kicks the stool away and finally stands, the leathers creaking as she moves. She stalks around the stage area, circling the other singer like nothing so much as a tawny lioness sizing up her prey.

"The lark sings not sweetly at high sun,
And the bays of hounds are not heard in dappled woods,
Nor summer morning in jade fields,
Since he went far away, my knight."

She repeats the chorus, rounding another circuit to look out at the far horizon, stormy eyes dark in longing.

"Noble, valorous knight of mine,
Warrior undefeated, grave of countenance,
A swift-moving sword drawn quick in the fight,
Slaying the Saxons and smiting the wrong."

The young Stoford does his best to try and avoid looking at Dhani as he squeezes his eyes shut. His fingers dance nimbly over the strings of his harp, coaxing a lively jig from its strings to accompany the rather silly song that is a staple of the plainsfolk. He cracks open his eyes occasionally, mostly to check that he hasn’t put to sleep his audience, but he dutifully keeps his gaze bent forward and away from the competition. The mere thought of the dazzling woman nearby is enough to turn his cheeks bright red, but he tries to play it off by prolonging a note unnecessarily.

“The ewe bleats after the lamb,
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the stag farts.
Merrily sing, ‘Cuckoo!’”

The first verse is repeated with an emphasis on ‘Cuckoo, cuckoo!’ much to the amusement of some of the audience participants. The use of the word ‘fart’ in a song is enough to elicit titters from the younger portions of the crowd, although they are quickly shushed by the more mature members of the audience; these, of course, are few and far between. Faint hiccups of laughter are audible even as the boy continues with his song.

Dhani checked her Singing of 10, she rolled 3.

Arngeir makes a check for Young Singer Singer at 13, he rolled 16.

She stands unmoving, though slanting a look towards her opponent. The intense control preventing her voice from wavering so too keeps it in the key of pain and heartache, a fierce pride resolved behind it. Again she renews the chorus, and proceeds towards the inevitable denouement.

"Let a chord be struck upon the silent harps,
And let many kegs be pierced
With high spirits without fault or fail,
For life and health to toast my lion.

"Dashing knight, for a while under sorrow
And all Salisbury under grey smoke,
Rest or pleasure i shall not get
Since he went far away, my knight."

But alas, poor Stoford boy, glory of the performance is not to be his. If it weren’t for the damnable word ‘fart’, he might have made it straight through the final recitation without any further interruptions. But when he repeats the verse, his fingers slip from the strings with a discordant twang, and his voice trembles as he carries the high note overlong: “Faaaaart!” It is, of course, enough to cause the onlookers to dissolve in laughter that can no longer be restrained behind bunched up handkerchiefs and sweaty palms.

His face turns a brilliant shade of crimson, and he looks over toward Dhani only to catch her eye. His gaze shifts downward to break the contact, but fall instead upon the singer’s heaving bosom. It is all too much for him, and he fumbles through the remainder of the chorus with a voice that has cracked thanks to the ill-timed efforts of puberty. His performance is concluded with whoops of laughter and some cheers, well-meaning truly, but a blow to his ego nonetheless. Poor kid.

Dhani de Woodborough's heaving bosom saves the day, and entrances the singer as much as the crowd apparently rather shocked by her performance. By his. She turns to the boy and says, in a low, flat tone, "Flatulence? Really?" And upon that note, she stalks off the stage. It shouldn't be taken personally; she moves this way in nearly every act in life.

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