The following is an excerpt from
Song of Existence
Chantien played his harp quietly as he spoke. “And so it is throughout the world even now, where petty strife, ignorance and greed make a bad end for all, when all any of us really desires is for our love to be requited.
“Such is the state of the world. Everywhere there is envy and jealousy. Yet there is also a great deal of good will and compassion, and it is my experience that while the envious have a more strident tongue, compassion has the stronger impetus.”
This was met with approbation from many, though the Chief Constable and the Mayor set their faces darkly.
“Humankind is a creature of infinite creativity, and on my travels throughout the world, I have seen the endless variety of human expression. From the Kingdom of Katai behind its great walls of granite, to the isle of the birdmen, where people live in trees and every sentence spoken is uttered in a warble of birdsong. From the vales of Doomar, where everyone works together to create great crystal hives abuzz with energy and light, to the deserts of Acrotis, where slaves toil to erect tremendous monuments to their masters. Everywhere, all anyone wants is to have their love acknowledged and returned.
“Even here, in the pastoral lands of Ur, from the tiniest village to the greatest metropolis, where people bargain with their own power and claim for their own the riches of the Earth, all anyone really wants is love.”
The Chief Constable gave the Harper a stern look, which Chantien ignored.
“I bring you news from the far reaches of your own land, where the mysterious Gloriosi, who have long held their secret ways even in the midst of your society, have opened the doors to their nomadic temples and stepped out to share with the world the secret truths they have so long protected—secrets I am not allowed to share with you.” This last was said with a curt nod to the Mayor and the Chief Constable, who were now sitting stiff and straight.
“It is said that the secret knowledge of the Gloriosi has stirred dissent among the people of your capital city, Coriolas, where workers have laid down their tools and demand the fruit of their own labors.”
This report stirred the audience. This idea, that each person is entitled to the product of their own work, was novel to the townspeople, and none knew what to make of it.
The Chief Constable made a motion of his hand to the guards on either side of the dais, who both made a step toward the Harper.
Chantien held up a hand for silence. “Remember, the long line of Harpers of whom I have descended stand here with me, and ill will come to any who interrupt the truth of my performance.”
You can watch a video version of this narrative here.
Song of Existence
United Kingdom (epub)
New Zealand (epub)
Australia should follow within a month (Angus and Robertson are slow to pick up new titles.)