Blacksong (Enchanted Lyra):
The girl’s hair was the color of dirty dishwater and not particularly attractive either. Her clothes were travel worn and darned in multiple places. Everything showed a not particularly wealthy minstrel, one who’s dreams never quite met reality.
Minstrels were common sights in the Dancing Goblin. As such, the girl was not an usual sight. Often, they would play for their supper and a bit of floor space in the common room. Of course, they were expected to give half of the coins that they earned to the tavern keeper. There was a quite a large crowd in the tavern so perhaps she could find herself at the end of the night with a handful of coins.
She sat down in a corner next to the fine and unwrapped her instrument. Unlike her, the instrument was spectacular piece of workmanship. It was a Lyra of polished black wood where the dim light of the fire and torches reflected in the wood. It looked to be in absolutely perfect condition. Some in the crowd in the tavern wondered how a “down on your heels” minstrel got such a spectacular instrument. As well, some likely considered stealing the instrument from her because it was likely worth a fortune.
It was obvious from the first notes out of the instrument that she was skilled, much more skilled than one might expect from her shabby attire. Still, there was something subtly wrong with her playing. Somehow there was something jarring about her playing although hard to put one’s fingers on it. Maybe one could describe the music as somehow rubbing against one’s nerves.
As she continued playing, two of the bar wenches began arguing with each other, one accusing the other of stealing the best clients. Even though they were yelling and screaming at each other, the music seemed to cut over the fight. They began pushing at each other as the argument got more heated. Suddenly, one of the tavern wenches slapped the other one.
In another part of the bar, two farmers started arguing about their crops. One farmer accused the other of moving posts in order to claim parts of the other. Eventually, fists began to fly. The two farmers began pummeling each other. Other arguments were breaking out, more fist fights. Throughout all of this, the minstrel seemed to be ignored. All of the fighting seemed to avoid her.
The tavern keeper and his wife began arguing and the man punched his wife’s eye with all of his might. She fell down but he just continued to beat her. One could see that her jaw was shattered and had broken arms and ribs. Without a healer, she would soon die. Still, he continued to pound on her, mindless rage still on his face.
There had been a card game between several figures. Difficult to say exactly what their professions were. Several had scars on their arms and faces. They were punching at each other just as the others all over the tavern. The argument had started with one accusing the others of cheating and it had quickly escalated. Suddenly, one of them drew a long knife. Stabbed the closest playing. He pulled out the blade and continued stabbing over and over again.
Still, the girl continued to play, a slight malign smile on her face.
There is a musical instrument called “Blacksong.” It is also sometimes called “Discord”. Where it came from, nobody knows. A popular tale is that the instrument was made by the Demon Lord Murmur. Nobody knows for sure but it was not him that created it or had it created, it does appear to have been created by a malign force.
It is difficult to really say if this instrument is cursed or not. It does attract a certain kind of possessor. One who enjoys the suffering of others especially caused by their own fellows. Not really for an individual who likes a more direct hand, one who likes to fight with their own hands. Some of the most common possessors includes evil bards, dark priests, and demon thralls.
There have been a few cases where the instrument has either accidently or on purpose found its way into the hands of an innocent. There have been cases where the forces of the dark have wanted to use the hands of somebody not corrupt as their tools. In most cases, these mistrals have become horrified although there have also been cases where they have become corrupted, feeding on the destruction and pain.
A Lyra is a string instrument with a pear shaped body with two opens on each side of the strings and a reverberation chamber. They might be considered the ancestor of violins and are played by a bow as well although is played upright. Blacksong is five stringed. The instrument is believe to be many hundreds, of not thousands, of years old. Still, it shows no signs of wear and looks like it did when it was new. The instrument appears to be indestructible. The instrument is made of some sort of polished black wood. The strings can be tuned although do not need to ever be replaced and are permanently part of the instrument.
What is not usual about this instrument is that if anybody tried to play the instrument, they will have some basic ability to play the Lyra. As well, anybody who has a scrap of skill will find themselves playing the instrument as if they are a professional. No matter how it is played though, the music will seem jarring somehow as if it gets on the edge of the listeners nerves. .
What is usual about the instrument is what the song does. There are instruments that are enchanted to persuade. This one is not. Instead, the music played feeds tensions. This enchantment seems to be always active whenever the instrument is played.
It starts usually kind of small with some arguments. These arguments are usually minor dislikes and hatred. The instrument does not create tensions and anger, just feeds them. This will slowly feed. Might start with grabbing and pushing. This will then be followed by slapping or clawing at others. Just a little later, this will be followed by becoming more violent. Punching and kicking is usually this next step. Finally, the violence will reach a crescendo. Weapons will be drawn and / or people will get beat to death. Often many will die when this instrument gets played.
Something about the enchantment seems to protect the player, nobody seems to attack the minstrel playing the instrument. It si almost like the minstrel is actually invisible once the instrument is played for a few minutes. People seem to forget the person playing the Lyra.
Enhanced Music Playing: Gives base 70% “Play Musical Instrument” skill roll or +20% to those who have the skill to play a harp. Those with the skill to play the instrument are also considered to play at professional level.
Discord: As the instrument is played, tension and violence will increase. Unlike some magical abilities, this enchantment is always active when played. Does not actually create the hatred and anger but feels on already existing situations. For every five minutes the instrument is played, everybody needs to save vs magic or be effected by the magic. Each time the saving throw is failed, the discord goes up a step. Somebody who is particularly violent may skip steps as well. Bonuses to mind control do apply and those immune to mind control are unaffected.
Minstrel Invisibility: This is not true invisibility but while playing there is an enchantment that makes the player almost imperceptible. One might normally think that the player is the most likely be the cause of the violence but few under the music will think that way. One must be suspicious already and has to make a perception roll of 18 or greater. Secondary way is for a spell caster / psychic to track the magic to the instrument. Only other cases are those who are immune to mind control.
First Step - Arguments: Arguments will break out between people under the effects of the spell.
Second Step - Grabbing / Pushing: Targets under the effect of the spell will begin pushing and shoving at each other. Possible some minor injures from falling down
Third Stage - Slapping / Clawing / Pulled Punches: At this stage, victims will begin to get slightly more violent. Such attacks may inflict 1D2 points of damage.
Fourth Stage - Punching / Kicking: Full out fighting breaks out at this stage. Punches will no longer be restrained and will inflict full damage. Still, they will try to avoid killing those who are down and those who are unconscious.
Fifth Stage - Full Fighting: This is no holds barred fighting. People under the thralls of the enchantment will pull weapons and / or begin beating each other to death.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.