I have written The Singing!! Here is the first chapter.

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ONE

I saw in my dream one of my own,

In her the seed of Fate has been sewn.

In the mountains she does dwell

Enduring only a slave's hell.

The joy of the Speech yet to escape her mouth

Its powers so lately lay not couth.

She is unSchooled – A Gift sits waiting

For a time will come of despair and hating.

Seek her then, when that morn doth come

When you see the rebirth of the Nameless One.

Set free the White Fire that dwells within,

When the battle for peace doth begin.

Behold, then, the Firelily doth sing,

The purity of the Treesong soaring on Elednor's wing.

Lanorgrim of Pellinor

CHAPTER ONE

Maerad and Cadvan sat quietly in the cold square in Pellinor. It was dusk, and they both wore their overcoats, as it was raining.

Maerad still couldn't believe she was here. It had been her home for the first 4 years of her life, and yet she barely remembered it. It was hardly surprising, as a lot of the walls had been razed almost to the ground, the once-great towers now stood ceiling-less and empty, its beautiful stone blackened and crumbling, but she still felt she should remember something.

"Tell me about Pellinor," Maerad said to Cadvan, who glanced at her and nodded.

"I only came here once or twice," he began. "But it was a beautiful place. It had a magnificent glass tower." Cadvan's eyes glazed over, as though he now saw Pellinor as it had been. "It was in the same layout as all the Schools; the circular shape. The people of Pellinor, or Pellinorites, prided themselves on their skills with mosaics; every house had a spectacular picture or pattern outside it. And I think the Pellinorites had more traditions than all the other Schools – put together!"

"Tell me a few," Maerad prompted, when Cadvan lapsed into silence.

"When a baby was born, the family would throw a huge party for it, with all their family and friends there, and they would name the baby." Maerad thought about this for a moment.

"What other traditions did they have?" she asked.

"Let me think…" he said slowly. "They had a midwinter festival each year, it was famous. People from all over Edil-Amarandh came. There was singing and dancing, a riddle competition, a competition for the most beautiful mosaic and one for sculptures. The musicians were excellent; it was a great honour to play at the Pellinor Midwinter Festival. Time was, all a young musician wanted was to play there." Cadvan paused, and Maerad pictured what the festival must have looked like. "It started in the Great Hall in the centre of Pellinor," Cadvan continued, "where the dancing was. And outside, there were stalls selling every kind of sweet and treasure imaginable. The riddle competition was at the beginning of the evening, usually around two hours after sunset. And the winning mosaic in the competition had it displayed on the central tower. And there was dancing all night."

"Did you ever go to one?" Maerad asked.

"Only the once. And I was never asked to play," he replied, smiling wryly.

Maerad smiled too: "It sounds amazing," she said. "I wish I could remember it."

Cadvan squeezed her shoulder in sympathy and asked: "Do you want to hear some more?" Maerad nodded. "Another tradition…" he said thoughtfully, "well, a lot of Pellinorites, when they wanted to propose, the man would take a horse – called a bride price - round to his sweetheart's house, and if she accepted it, she was accepting his love and they were engaged."

"Aww, that's really sweet!" Maerad said. "But what happened if she refused the horse?"

Cadvan shrugged, "At least he got to keep his horse!" he replied, laughing.

They were silent for a time, each engrossed in their own thoughts. Maerad imagined the Midwinter Festival. She saw people dancing in a blur, colours whirling, children outside at the stalls, someone in a robe walking in front of a magnificent wall of colour.

"Cadvan," she said after a while. "Do you know where the tower was that they put the mosaics on?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Could we have a look?"

"I suppose so. Let's go then - don't forget your pack," he told her, standing up.

Cadvan led them through the abandoned streets, muttering to himself occasionally, sometimes rushing forwards quickly and sometimes walking very slowly, as he tried to remember the way. Finally, they arrived at a tower of medium height, with the charred remains of brightly coloured mosaic pieces. If she looked very carefully, Maerad could just about make out a horse there, or a house, or a person. She saw a bright red piece, which was covered in soot but otherwise undamaged, in the rubble on the ground, and picked it up. Wiping the dust off it, she placed it in her pocket.

"Maerad, I think I hear something," Cadvan suddenly said. "Do you?

Maerad sent out her hearing. "Yes…" she said. All at once, something flew out of the sky and clipped Cadvan's head. A moment later, the air was full of wers. They dived and swooped, and Maerad and Cadvan both drew their swords and tried to hold them off. Cadvan blasted one, but it got up straight away, shaking its head. It took to the sky again and seemed to attack with renewed vigour.

Maerad and Cadvan both blasted as many wers as they could, racing through the streets, until they turned a corner and found themselves face-to-face with a Hull. It raised a withered hand threateningly, and as they turned to go the other way the Hull sent a bolt of black lightning after them. The rain quickly worsened as they ran, and more than once there was a clap of thunder. Just as a wer swooped directly down on Maerad, a flash of lightning seemed to freeze the scene, fixing it in her mind's eye. She brandished her sword inexpertly at it, and it flew on.

Maerad, ignoring the rising panic inside her, tried to summon her Elemental powers; she was sure she could blast all of the wers in one go if she wanted, and that Hull.

Except it turned out that there was more than one Hull. Wherever they turned, it seemed, a Hull was waiting for them, sending bolts of lightning at them.

"I can't hold them off!" Cadvan yelled over the sound of the storm and the wers screeching. "Maerad, you have to use your Elidhu powers!"

"I can't," she shouted back. "They just aren't coming to me! I think there's something stopping them!" Cadvan glanced at her, alarm written all over his face.

Maerad met his eye for a moment and then screamed, "Look out!" A wer was diving on him again, out of the rain, where it couldn't be seen. Cadvan thrashed with his sword, the raindrops strewn aside by the gleaming edge of the blade.

Maerad wondered how long they could keep this up; her back was beginning to ache from her pack, and Cadvan's was even heavier. As it was, Cadvan had killed three wers, and Maerad a further two, but neither of them could last much longer and there were still so many left. Maerad followed Cadvan through the streets of Pellinor, chased by wers, forced into their paths by the Hulls' twisted magecraft. It was just sport to them.

Suddenly, a wer flew out of the sky right behind Maerad, and slashed at her thigh with its long claws. Maerad screamed and fell to the ground, as Cadvan turned on his heels and cut the thing's head right off in one long movement. Cadvan checked Maerad's leg quickly; bad, but not fatal, he judged.

"We have to keep going; I don't have time to heal it," he told Maerad, who nodded reluctantly and heaved herself up. They had not gone much further over the cobbled outer streets when Cadvan grabbed Maerad's hand and pulled her into a covered, deserted alleyway.

"If we follow this alley and turn right," he whispered rapidly, sheathing his sword and not letting go her hand as he strode briskly forwards. "We will eventually get to a secret gate in the wall. We should be able to escape through there. I think few know of its existence. We may be lucky." Maerad nodded, too tired to argue, and concentrated on getting one foot in front of the other. She thought of nothing but the agony in her leg. Without warning, it gave way, and she hurtled onto the hard cobbles.

"I can't, Cadvan." She forced out the words as she clutched her leg.

"You can!" Cadvan insisted. "Walk!" He held out an arm to help her up, and when she was standing again he put her arm around his shoulders so she could lean on him.

When they reached the outer wall, Cadvan pulled back the ivy to reveal a door. As Cadvan turned the handle, with difficulty, Maerad suddenly realised.

"Mother!" she screamed. "No!"

"It's alright Maerad," Cadvan soothed, almost dragging her through. "I'll get you out."

As he spoke, no fewer than 8 Hulls rode out of the shadows on black horses, followed by at least 30 more wers, and, lastly, Enkir.

"Where are you going, Maerad of Pellinor?" Enkir sneered.

Maerad was suddenly a young child again, watching Enkir fight her mother, break her. She slumped against Cadvan in a dead faint. Cadvan lowered Maerad gently to the ground and drew his sword. At this, Enkir smiled nastily and said, "Don't think that any blade will wound me." He raised his hands and clapped once, and all at once Cadvan felt the combined wills of 8 Hulls and Enkir pushing against him, causing him to gasp, drop his sword and stagger backwards. The last thing he saw was Enkir smiling triumphantly down at him. His last thought was of Maerad.