The Girl With The Bow
Book One in the Nyla Series
(C) 2013, 2016 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
But as the instrument came into the light, she saw that it was not the instrument she kept in her imagination. This one was in far worse condition. The wood was tarnished, dull, and looked brittle. The four strings were black, with only a little silver showing through.
“This,” said the Clef, “is the Vee A’La, an ancestor of the Vee A’Lyn. It was created first of the four stringed instruments and served as a model to its more powerful cousin. It was beautiful once, but time has taken its toll and it can no longer be restored or even restrung.” The Clef put the instrument into Nyla’s hands.
Nyla held the Vee A’La to her chest. It was cool to touch, but it still felt somewhat soft in her hands. And besides feeling soft, it also felt…right…somehow. Like it belonged there. As though she had held such an instrument before, long ago. Gently, she placed it under her chin.
“There is something else,” said the Clef. He looked over his shoulder.
Antheppe came out of the shadows holding something close to her chest. She smiled at Nyla and brought the object out into view. It was a beautiful bow constructed of a rich brown wood with ebony at the heel.
“This is the best of our bows,” whispered the Clef, looking at it admiringly, “the Reign Bow, fashioned by our greatest archetier over four hundred years ago. It was intended for the Vee A’Lyn, but it will most certainly serve you here.”
Gingerly, Nyla took the Reign Bow from the voicelessAntheppe and looked it over. Antheppe smiled and backed away. With a practiced motion, Nyla brought it to the highest of the four rickety strings.
“No!” cried the Clef, forestalling her with his hands. Paused in mid-motion, Nyla looked at the Clef. “Why can’t I play it?”
“The Vee A’La still has power,” the Clef whispered timorously. “It can only be played once, maybe twice more. This opportunity must not be wasted.”
“What can the Vee A’La do?” asked Chere, gazing intently at the instrument.
“It can invoke life!” exclaimed the Clef. “All our stringed instruments were named after a word in our ancient language meaning ‘life.’ It is my belief that, if this instrument is played again, it will bring forth enough power to challenge death.”
“Will it destroy the Lich King?” asked Chere.
“No,” admitted the Clef. “It does not have enough power for that. But it will remind him that he is dead, and that the world of the living is no place for him…if it is played correctly.”
“Why don’t you play it?” Nyla asked.
The Clef shook his head, as if she had asked him a painful question. “It is not my role,” he said. “The Clef is the keeper of the instruments. We must never play them. We can only enable others to do so.”
The Clef paused as if considering. At last, he said, “Nyla, I believe that you can bring forth its power.”
Without knowing why, Nyla suddenly felt dizzy. “How do I do that?”
“I must show you how to play the instrument so that it says its name.” The Clef took the Vee A’La gently from Nyla’s hands. Carefully he placed it under his chin and delicately fingered the rusty strings. “If you place your finger upon the string just here, you will sound the note La, the note of longing, of striving towards life. This was the ultimate idea that the instrument was created to express.”
The Clef gingerly tried several patterns on the fingerboard, being careful not to make any sound with the instrument. “I can teach you a way to approach the note so that it has maximum effect. We must pray that the Vee A’La can still stand the strain. You must not play it until you are in front of the Lich King.”
“Well, then, there’s hope,” remarked Chere.
“I also found one thing more,” said the Clef. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small flask. “There were many potions in the alchemist’s shop. Many have been lost. Broken glass is everywhere in that place. Other potions that remained have lost their potency or cannot be safely identified. But a few remain.” He handed the potion to Chere.
“What…what is this?” Chere stammered, taking the potion.
“It is my belief that this will freeze you in your present form. You will no longer be able to change into the other.”
Chere swallowed, holding the flask at arm’s length. “You mean Sherluck…”
“Yes,” the Clef nodded somberly.
Chere grew very quiet, turning the flask this way and that, watching the potion move.
“What will happen to him?” Nyla finally asked.
“Nothing,” Chere said quietly. “He wouldn’t feel a thing. He just wouldn’t ever come back.”
After that, no one felt much like talking.
More about The Girl With The Bow
When Vival, Knight of the Fittest, risked his life to rescue the princess from Veer Isle, he never thought he’d be the one who needed to be rescued. And to make matters worse, the girl he was helping didn’t want to leave! The first book in the Nyla series introduces Vival, Knight of the Fittest, Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, two mysterious island dwellers named Cher and Sherluck, and Nyla, the mysterious girl with the bow.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Speed of Darkness and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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