Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Character Encounters: Reuthellen

I slip out of my chair, manage to squeeze between my cousin and the wall, and head down the hallway. The laughter of the people behind me tickles my ears, a lasting remembrance of  the meal still happening in the large fellowship hall. It has become our church's custom to gather for a meal together every first Sunday of the month, and everyone looks forward to the fellowship time. Not to mention that we have several excellent cooks in our midst, so the edibles are always tasty. Today I particularly enjoyed the carrot cake that my sister Jessa Bri brought.

But I must leave the gathering behind for the moment. Easter is coming quickly, and I wish to prepare special music for the service my father is planning. I have a few different offertories picked out, but I have yet to run through them all to see which one I should play. 

As I near the auditorium, a delicate sound stills my feet and tickles my curiosity. Is that my flute? 

The sound certainly sounds like a flute, and as I am the only one that I know of who brings that silver instrument to church, it must be mine. But who is playing it?

I press my back against the wall near the doors and just listen. By now I've placed the song: O Love Divine. My mother asked me to bring that music with me today to run through it with her as a possible solo for Easter Sunday. I usually don't play flute solos in church, as I don't consider my flute skills worthy of such attention.

It's one of my favorite songs, and yet, played as it is now, it doesn't sound the same. Somehow, it doesn't seem to be the same song I played. This one is delicate, yet powerful, meaningful and sorrowful, beautiful and humbling all at the same time, each high note soaring clearly, echoing across the immense space of empty pews. It's almost as if I can hear the lyrics themselves coming out of the silver end of the instrument. 

O love divine, amazing love
That brought to earth from heav'n above
The Son of God for us to die,
That we might dwell on high.

For us a crown of thorns He wore,
For us a cross of scorn He bore.
He conquered death and rent the grave,
And lives again, our souls to save.

O wand'rer come, on Him believe,
His grace by faith receive.
Awake, arise and hear His call
The feast is spread for all.

He died for you, He died for me,
And shed His blood to make us free.
Upon the Cross of Cavalry,
The Savior died for me.

As the last note dies away, I take a deep breath and open the door softly. Near the piano, I see an older girl carefully placing my flute down, gently running her fingers over the nickel finish as her hands draw back from laying the instrument in its case. Although I've never seen her before, I am positive I know her. I can't explain why.

When she turns around, she catches sight of me looking through the doorway. A bashful smile creeps over her face, lending a rosy hue to her beautiful, yet pale, features. 

"I am sorry that I took such a liberty without asking for your permission, but it is a beautiful instrument, and I couldn't help myself."

"No, no," I wave my hand at her. "I don't mind. I very much enjoyed listening to you. Where did you learn to play like that?"

"I had many musical tutors in my father's house. Although I detested most of my lessons due to the cruel dedication of my masters, the music itself captured my soul."

"Your father's house?" My brow wrinkles. Her words puzzle me, yet I don't know why I am feeling this confusion. Her father doesn't have a house... does he?

"Indeed." She replies, seeming to sense my bewilderment. "While it is a shelter for my sisters and me, I do not believe that many people would think of it as a house. In reality, the term palace would probably be better suited to the dwelling."

"A palace? You're not..."

"Princess Reuthellen Fierté." She gives me a little curtsy. "And I believe you are my author, Kiri Liz."

Why is it that I'm now just getting used to meeting my characters in person, yet whenever they arrive, I am at a loss to place them? I could blame it by knowing them only by words and phrases and not physical features.

Reuthellen is everything I've ever imagined her to be, and yet, seeing her in the flesh, she seems to be more than just my plain imaginings. Elegance and kindness are things that are easy to pen, but I never thought them things you could actually see.

Princess Reuthellen shifts uneasily. I hastily drop my scrutinizing gaze, and wrack my brain for a suitable conversation starter. I know all about Reuth; she is my character, after all, but my heart goes into rapid mode when I demand a wonderful, oral sentence of myself, even in the face of those that I count kin. 

However, Reuthellen saves me from blurting out something I would later look back upon and label dense. "Are you planning on playing this piece for one of your services?" She reaches back and holds up the sheet music for  O Love Divine

"My mom wanted me to play that for Easter." I answer truthfully.

"And will you? It's a lovely song." 

"I don't know." Now it's my turn to shift uneasily. "I'm not that good, and I think I'm going to need a lot more practice before I play that in public."

"Would you play it for me?" Reuthellen sets the music back on the stand and picks up my flute. With an expectant smile, she stretches her hands out to give it to me.

I hesitate. Reuthellen is a musical genius. She has spent years under the tutelage of several of the best music minds in all of the Twelve Kingdoms. She can play nearly any instrument she sets her hand to. My rendition of the same song she played minutes before will sound nothing like the powerful delicateness that she gave it. I consider myself a poor musician compared to her, and I feel rather ashamed of that fact.

But Reuth won't hear any refusal on my part. After a little coaxing, she has me standing before the stand with my flute raised to my lips. With a beating heart, I play the first verse of the song, and I know even before I play the first note that I sound terrible. The flute squeaks at the high notes and sounds sketchy at the low ones. 

Reuthellen stops me before I go on to the second verse. 

"I'm sorry. That was bad."

"No, you have the right approach, Kiri. You have the knowledge how to play your instrument correctly, and yet you simply play it. You do not play it with your heart."

"My heart?"

Reuthellen nods. "You are playing this song knowing that other people will be listening to you, and you fear that they will judge you according to what you sound like." She pauses and looks at me. "Do not play for them. Your song is part of worship. What they think shouldn't matter. Play for Him who loves you so."

She gestures again to my flute, and I comply and lift it to my lips. This time, I try to block out all knowledge that I am playing in front of spectators. I let the song flow freely through the instrument. I can see the words of the different verses running through my mind, and instead of focusing on the black and white notes of the song, I play with my mind on the words. I do as Reuth suggests and play for Him who loves me so. 

O love divine, amazing love
That brought to earth from heav'n above
The Son of God for us to die,
That we might dwell on high.

God bless! 


  1. Yet another intriguing character of yours! Yes, you'd think you'd figure out that it's your characters appearing, wouldn't you?

    Although, I have to admit, your posting about your twelve princess is making me jealous, since I'm still twenty books away from when I get to the pointe where I can reveal mine.

    This was splendid, though, and very well done.

  2. Hey Kiri Liz,
    I 'tagged' you for a 'blog hop' over at my blog. It's for writers and there are ten questions about your WIP. I hope you do it!
    (Here are the questions:

    1: What is the working title of your book?
    2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
    3: What genre does your book come under?
    4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
    7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
    8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?)

    1. Thanks, Aidyl! I shall be delighted to do it!! :D