Red King's Command
Llewelyn finishes up his morning routine (at 2 AM French time) and heads through the boarding house for a bit of a quiet stroll along the Rue d’auteuil.
From underneath Ellie’s door, variously-colored lights flicker and waver… and then all at once vanish, replaced by the regular room light. A very quiet, but very distressed huff follows, along with a creak of the bed, sounding like someone falling back to sit on it.
Llewelyn pauses outside Ellie’s door, noting the lights under the door. He frowns and raps gently on the door.
Another creak of the bed indicates someone quickly standing, and Ellie’s rather strained voice quietly asks, “Who is it?”
“Llewelyn. Is anything wrong?”
“I… um… no. No, not really,” regardless of her words, she’s sounding flustered and somewhat upset. Her voice also now sounds like it’s coming from very close to the other side of the door. She adds more quietly, “Just… couldn’t fall asleep is all.”
Llewelyn pauses for a few moments. “Are you ‘drilling’ and having setbacks?”
“Well, yes. I was… hoping to wear myself out. And maybe clear my mind a little. I went to bed when everyone else did, but I just… wasn’t tired, and my mind wouldn’t stop going, and I couldn’t settle. I thought maybe working with my lightbending would help, but… it’s been giving me fits, and I’ve been up and down…” A tired but restless sigh follows the words from the other side of the door.
Llewelyn ponders this a few moments. “It sounds like you’ve worn yourself out, but become too agitated to sleep.” A pause. “May I come in?”
“Um… yeah, just a minute.” A few steps sound across the room and back, and then the door opens, with Ellie standing to the side of it. She’s wrapped in a blanket, from under which the bottoms of pajama pants and ends of pajama shirt sleeves peek out. Her face does indeed look worn, with red-rimmed eyes… possibly from tears, or from strain, or both. “So… what were /you/ up to?” she asks with a sheepish attempt at a smile.
Llewelyn is wearing a light coat. “Well, I just woke up. I was heading out to take my morning walk.”
“Aaah, I see. Heh, already done sleeping, I take it. …I know I said I wouldn’t like that, but at the moment, I’m kinda jealous…”
Llewelyn: “It sometimes becomes wearying to always be awake when most people are asleep. But I find it gives me time to rest and reflect on the coming day – to seek God’s peace before the world harries me with its worries.”
Llewelyn: “Do you need something to help you sleep?”
Ellie is still standing by the end of the open door. She leans and rests her head against it. “Heh… I’ve never thought of it that way before. I’ve always hated not being able to fall asleep…” she closes her eyes… perhaps to press back a tear or two. “Feels so lonely.” She pauses, then adds, “I’m not sure what would help, though.”
Llewelyn: “Perhaps some soft music? The head of your bed is right next to that vent – I can sit in the living room on the other side of the wall and play some harp music. From the way the dragons are snoring upstairs, I’d have to hire a drum and bagpipe band to wake them.”
Ellie chuckles a very little bit at the latter comment. “Hmmm… I dunno, I’ve… never tried music before. It /might/ help. You sure you wouldn’t mind, though? After all, you said you were going for a walk. I don’t want to be a bother…”
Llewelyn: “I’ll still have plenty of time for my walk. And music makes for a good way to prepare myself to seek God.”
“Heh, well, if you’re sure…. Um… thank you, Llewelyn.” She turns a weary and slightly embarrassed smile to him to finish off the words.
Llewelyn: “Don’t think a thing of it. Now turn off the light and tuck yourself in while I fetch my harp.”
Ellie nods and waits for Llewelyn to walk away before closing the door, turning off the light, and climbing into bed. As she does so, she thinks, /Why do you have to be so nice, Llewelyn? Lord, it’s only been a week-and-a-half, but… at this rate, I’m never going to kill this stupid crush…/ She gives a half-sob, half-laugh into her pillow as she settles herself in bed and pulls the blankets around her. Then she once again tries to still her thoughts and relax as she waits to hear music begin…
Llewelyn returns after a few moments, and quickly tunes his harp. Then he considers what to play first. He decides to start with “Ciúin, Oíche bhFál.” 1 It is a very subdued harp piece which nevertheless has a lot of very intricate chords, played very softly.
Back in Ellie’s room, the opening notes drift quietly but clearly through the intervening wall. Gradually but surely, Ellie calms and finally drifts to sleep.
Llewelyn shifts to playing a song called “Mae’r Mynydd Mewn Pa wyf Ymddiriedolaeth”, 2 humming the contra-point harmony to accompany the tune. He then plays a playful song called “Y Draenog a’r Wiwer”. 3 In her sleep, Ellie begins dreaming of Cinnamon Sugar watching a hedgehog and a squirrel dancing together on a well-cut lawn.
Llewelyn pauses at the end of the song and listens, hearing Ellie’s soft breathing through the vent. Satisfied, he nearly rises, but then pauses, a thought occurring to him.
Llewelyn plays a very soft unnamed lullaby, associated in Iverindor with young men who seek to woo a lady. He knows none of the rest of the group will recognize it.
From the the other side of the wall, Ellie shifts in her sleep, but only to fall more deeply in.
Llewelyn finishes playing, then quietly packs his harp and heads out for a walk.