Early to Sleep, by Charles Matthias

Story name: Early to Sleep
Author: Charles Matthias
Publication date: March 13, 1998 (on TSA-List)

Date: Easter Sunday, 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep

Overview

Matthias recites the winning story of the festival, and shares a dance with Kimberly.

Summary

The crowd is already gathering for the reading of the first-place story. Matthias seats Kimberly with his friends on the bleachers, and heads backstage. After the platform is set up, the performance begins. Matthias lets himself be taken up in the story he recites, while its author Tallis sits dumb-struck. The crowd cheers as Matthias presents him with the award.

As the storm finally hits and the rain falls, Matthias leads Kimberly to his room. From the very back of his drawer, he pulls out the music box and presents it to her. She weeps with joy as she beholds its dancing figures as the music plays. Matthias takes her in his paw, and together they dance.

When the music winds down, Matthias takes her back to her room, where she places the music box beside the wooden bust of her. Although it is early, he heads back to his room for some sleep, overjoyed by the near-perfect festival, looking forward to his many duties to attend to tomorrow.

Tallis's Story

Tallis's story is about an old woman who witnesses the sinking of the Dralanian navy's flagship in the Marakata seas. Among its cargo is a magical scepter that is coveted by the forces of darkness. Although the crown prince of Drala and his page survive this sinking, the prince is tortured to death for the scepter, while the page escapes and enlists the old woman's help.

They seek the aid of the water sprites to breathe underwater, and take a small ship to the site of the sinking as a fierce storm arises. (This is where Matthias notices the storm approaching.) When at last the darkness is conquered, and the old woman finally recovers the scepter, peace returns to the land once again.

Characters

Main Characters:

Supporting:

  • Magus: The Master of Ceremonies. He ensures that the sound-projection spell works properly.
  • Tallis: The winner of the writing contest.

Cameo:

Mentioned:

  • Father Hough: The man whom Matthias's friends had toasted earlier that evening.
  • Michael: A friend of Matthias's, who left the Mule with Habakkuk's trio, but did not attend the reading.
  • Copernicus: A friend of Matthias's, who stayed behind at the Mule when Matthias left.
  • Dr Channing: A headmaster of the Writer's Guild. Matthias thinks him better at public performance than he is.
  • Saroth: The Keep weather mage.

Points of Interest

  • The Lutin patrols are more active in the winter.
  • As the story goes on, a thunderstorm approaches the Keep, but ultimately does not hit. Matthias wishes it had hit, so as to have made this recital an unforgettable experience.
  • Everyone in the Writer's Guild attends the winning story recital.
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