(( This story goes back to the July 3rd prompt for a story that features a song or poem. I didn’t pick an actual song or poem, and I’m not confident enough with my poetry skills to start now, so I wrote a story that has music sorta featured in it. This is set in Naren, and happens after book 1 but before Isturon is featured in his own book. ))
Isturon Lightmist sighed as he sat down at the table in the inn. It was a long trip from Elal’s Fork to Hollowmont. He wasn’t even sure of the name of the town they had stopped at for the night. He was too old for this, but he wanted to get away. He couldn’t stay in Elal’s Fork anymore. Well, he could have, if Verisna had left, but no. She flaunted her new lover in front of everyone, taking walks through the center of town while holding his arm, and kissing him when he left her at the door to the home.
OUR home. No. It wasn’t his anymore. He had left, and he had mostly forgiven her, though he couldn’t shake his own feeling of shame. Things had been difficult for him ever since most of the family was held prisoner in Moressley.
A waitress approached his table and asked, “Anything I can get you? We have imported drinks from all over to satisfy the thirst of many travelers. We also have a varied menu if you’re hungry.” She pointed at the board where the drinks and dishes were listed.
“Just a glass of water and a bowl of vegetable soup, thank you.”
She quickly trotted off to the kitchen, leaving Isturon to his thoughts once more.
Up on the small stage set up in one corner, a girl started playing a song on a lute. Isturon listened as his thoughts wandered.
His son had offered him a room in his home until he was feeling better. He was grateful that his children didn’t harbor any ill-feelings towards him after their ordeal. His wife— No, his ex-wife, blamed him. It was true he could have fought back while they were held prisoner, but that would have also revealed him as being a mage to any who saw. Though his specialty was healing magic, he knew enough offensive spells that he could have used them. He still didn’t think it would be enough to fight off all the guards in the castle they had been kept in. He had managed to pass undetected throughout his entire life. Two of his children were mages, but no one ever questioned him. Getting caught while trying to escape would have just ended with him in more trouble than before, and possibly trouble for his children as well, even if they were trained at Thril Gandir.
The song was sad and slow, and Isturon found himself wishing that the girl would play something more lively. The waitress returned with the water and soup, leaving it on the table in front of him, as Isturon started listening to the lyrics. The girl had a heavy accent, but Isturon couldn’t place it. He understood most of the words anyway. The tune was, at it’s core, about missed opportunities and regret, but the refrain stated that there was always a brighter tomorrow. Isturon’s ear twitched. He’d lived long enough to not fall into that trap. The missed opportunities and regrets would always be there. Good times and bad times would both continue to happen. The next day was not always brighter.
He started eating his soup. Tomorrow was definitely not going to be brighter. Today’s leg of the journey had them passing under bright skies, but just as they stopped the wagon at the town, dark clouds started rolling in.
Tomorrow promised to be absolutely miserable.