Sunday, March 27, 2011
Master Devin Brightens the Great Hall
The Great Hall grew quiet as Master Devin rose to perform. I stood near the fire, leaning against the cold stone mantel. Our company of troubadours sat before him, along with children invited from the farms surrounding the castle. The light of many lamps flickered across the stage, bathing Devin in a warm yellow glow.
The children's voices fell silent as he stepped from behind the heavy wool curtains on the left of the stage. His unsteady walk and uncertain gaze revealed a hesitant resolve. His small thin frame reached center stage. He stopped and turned toward his anxious audience. His bony hands clutched his instrument, his legs quivered noticeably. I feared a sudden loss of consciousness and prepared to intercede if necessary. Such thoughts were unnecassary, for once he remembered to breath, oxygen was restored and color returned to his cheeks. His quivering slowed, he made eye contact with his fellow troubadours, and the children scattered on the stone floor before him gave their attention.
I motioned for the two younger members of our troupe selected to accompany him to step forward. Master Devin calmed with their appearance. He was no longer alone. I stood pleased that he was prepared and willing to accept his first on call performance. With the hall full of children and a missing troubadour, I had no choice but to call him out of the audience and tell him that, ready or not, he would be performing.
Devin cleared his throat, positioned his instrument, glanced at his chorus, nodded and then - with one foot braced forward and one back, broke into story and song. The tale was told with precision. One could tell he was classically trained by our best. I watched the faces of the village children - each mesmerized by his tale of heroism in the face of unimaginable evil. At times they screamed and at times the excitement of his words caused them to squirm in anticipation of what was to come.
The sand in the hour glass on the Noble's oak table was near its end all too soon. At one and one half hours Devin and his chorus finished to thunderous applause. Afterwords, I congratulated our new Troubadour with hand outstretched. Devin's firm grasp confirmed a confidence I was sure wasn't there before.
"You did well Master Devin," I spoke so those closest could hear.
"Well enough to collect coin?" he responded. I smiled - realizing he'd waited long for his opportunity to stand alone on our stage.
"Not quite," I answered. "There is the matter of finalizing your training on the largest stage. Spend time there, show us your talents with larger groups - and coin will be your reward."
He seemed pleased and turned to accept the continued warm acceptance from his new brothers and sisters in the troupe.