Fun Things to Do While You’re Waiting is a lifestyle blog specializing in clever recipes, life-hacks and general wit. It’s lovely, charming and useful — basically the polar opposite of my site. I adore that my first official interview is right next to a dynamite recipe for Avocado and Chicken Salad.
It’s also the first interview not conducted by the cat who lives with me, Aragorn.
Leigh asks some great questions, and actually manages to get me to give a description of the book that I’m satisfied with. In response to the question:
6. If you had to describe spell/sword as a meal, how would that go?
You take a sip of your cherry limeade. The condensation slides down the side of the Mason jar, drops falling unnoticed on your favorite pair of slacks.
You know the ones. The ones that make you look good. The ones that are always comfortable. The ones that you wear when you feel like the Main Character of your world.
An extremely attractive person brings you a sandwich. Not just any sandwich. The Sandwich. It glistens with all the promise that Dagwood ever salivated over in four color glory. It looks like a TV Sandwich, like a fever dream of a Sandwich, like a Sandwich crafted in the Kitchen of Hephaestus then stolen by Zeus to stuff in his brown paper bag for a big day of philandering.
You take a bite. It’s not what you expect. It doesn’t have your favorite condiment, it’s some weird European thing. You consider putting the Sandwich down, but the lettuce is so crisp, the cheese so tart. You take another nibble, and realize that the bottom slice of bread is a little burnt.
Another bite. There’s really too much meat in this sandwich. Unless you’re a vegetarian, then there’s too much avocado. And why is the tomato slice blue? Who ever heard of a blue tomato?
You set the Sandwich down. Wait, holy shit. There are hot peppers on the Sandwich, tart and alive. And someone put your favorite chips on the plate. You smile and cram them under the top slice of bread for some extra crunch. You take another bite, another, another.
One bite left. You are sweating. Not with exertion, with emotion. This Sandwich means something, it means something to you. To your life, to the mistakes, the that song you keep trying to remember the second verse to, to the combination on your bike lock. You take a long swallow of cherry limeade and try to collect yourself.
The attractive person returns. They want to hang out later. But you know, only if you’re not busy. They have an old VHS of the ‘Deadly Mantis’ episode of MST3K and they think they can get their player to work if they jiggle the cable just right.
You smile, and go to take the last bite.
But it’s gone. You ate it and don’t remember. It’s gone and you don’t remember finishing.
It’s gone. You eat the last chip and sprout wings. Feathered wings, dragon wings, wings of steel and guitar wire. The attractive person is really impressed and immediately begins to paint your portrait on the side of a 1978 Chevy Astro Van.
Here’s the link to the rest of the interview. Thanks so much to Leigh for the signal boost! Please wander over to their site, leave some comments, share their links — just generally make a mess. Please reward them attempting a serious discussion about a silly book.
My left arm is moving. Every time I blink, it inches forward. I do not have the strength to kill this evil.
I must speak faster.
Days passed, and weeks. I slept and ate and healed and learned to speak the strange tongue of Jalyx
and his people. He was my savior, my first friend on Aufero – and I swore that his kindness would be repaid tenfold.
My left hand…it moves.
So much that happened, so many years. Must speak faster. We found the survivors of the crash and the wreckage. Both my parents were dead. I found myself made Captain of a shattered craft.
Must speak faster.
With time and skill we repaired the music hall in our ship, and called the fleet to the planet. We faced many dangers and complications, but I was determined to make Jalyx’s home a paradise — a place where we could share our knowledge with any who desired it. I should have guarded our knowledge more carefully, there were many who sought to abuse it. But the years were golden, and the songs we sang knew nothing of doubt.
Inside me the flower of evil slowly bloomed.
That was the curse, the horror of it all. I can see it now. The shining cities, the bridges of purest white, the towers of glass rose again — but everything we built, everything I built had in it a flaw. A shadow. Twisted lines carefully placed by my left hand. Note by note we sang, but each verse hid a darker chord.
And then my greatest achievement. The Machine. My left hand’s glory.
As I grew in power and fame, my people began to look to me for wisdom. In their grief the Lost could find no satisfaction in the things we built here, nor in the friends we gained. I tried to show them the wonder of our new home, but they would not listen. Their hearts grew hollow and sere — and they begged me. My own people begged me. ‘Oh, Teon – First Singer! Use your skill to take us back Home.”
‘But I cannot. The Dark One waits there, covering an entire galaxy with his malice.’
‘Then build us a weapon. A weapon of Light that can strike him down!’
I knew it was folly, but my hand itched to build it. A colossus, a pure warrior of light. I could not see…
I fell asleep. How long have I been asleep? My hand.
What can I tell you about Home? I have tried many times to describe it to the people of this world, but something is always lost in the telling. Home is a feeling, a knowledge — and no matter how many times I described the towers of glass, the river bank where I learned to swim, the smell of my grandmother’s library — I could not catch it.
It was a place not much different than this world. The sun rose, the wind blew. We only had one moon instead of the three that dance in this world’s sky. Such a greedy world, this Aufero, how could it have less than three moons?
I wander. It is what I do, in speech as well as deed. Even now, even as I wait for the end. There is something to that. Something mundane and comforting.
Our world shone. That is all I can say. It gleamed more brightly in the heavens than any other star, every one of the Lost can point to it in their sleep — even though it shines no more. It was our Home, and we knew as we left it that we would never return. And we knew that we would never stop grieving the loss of it.
The Dark swallowed it whole, and we fled. The entirety of my race crammed on half-a-hundred silver ships, flung into the sea of stars. But that is not the true beginning of my story.
My story begins with falling.
The fastest ships were chosen, to seek out a place to land – a place to begin again. My father was the captain and he slept not at all as our ship plunged ever forward into the dark. The far-singers hummed as we approached barren planets and balls of molten fire — every one was discordant. Ugly noise and static.
We flew on and on, day after day. Hoping to find a place that the Dark had not touched. A whole universe of empty rock and death. In desperation we returned to the fleet and found the same answer in the weary faces of the other captains.
I remember how my father took my mother’s hands and laid his forehead on hers. They looked into each other’s eyes and she nodded. They knew what must be done, and the risks. The other ships would wait, and ours would risk Beyond.
My mother sang the Song of Away.
The universe grew thin and we slipped through the walls as she sang. I stood next to my father and listened hard for the tune of another place, any place that we could go.
I think I heard it before my father, but maybe a heartbeat before. I still remember the joy in his eyes when he heard the faint melody.
And then the melody was a march — Aufero, the greedy – Aufero, the thief — reached out and pulled us in.
We erupted into that universe like a comet being born. The silver ship bucked and spun, the songs of my people becoming screams. Through the windows I caught my first glimpse of the planet.
It was blue. I fell in love.
Then the glass shattered, and I fell towards the greedy planet.
There was a time, and there was a place where and when that name meant something. A bright name, a fell name. East of the Sun, and West of the Moon in the place we once called home. A place that is lost, a time that will never come again.
Now my name is rubble. My name is a relic. Here in the shattered foundations of Kythera it echoes and lingers, the voices
of my people scream out my name in pain and despair. I want to tell them that it wasn’t me, that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t bring the Machine.
It was my left hand.
It lies quiet now, folded on my stomach. Black blood whimpers out of a dozen small wounds, inflicted by the sharp instrument I hold in my right hand. It is a delicate instrument, best suited for aligning tiny wires or adjusting the fine components on a word-board. It served this purpose ably, plunging again and again into my skin. There was pain, but distant — not my pain. My left hand mimics true feeling but it is always false, the pain is no different.
I will die soon. At least, that is my hope. I fear that if I fall unconscious before my heart ceases to beat, that my left hand will rise and repair my wounds. I must stay awake until the Dark One comes. I have fled him all my life, running further and faster than any others of my kin. But now I welcome him as my boon companion.
To stay awake, I will tell my story. This sound crystal is fully powered, it shall last longer than I will. I will speak the story of my name. How we, who the people of this world call the Lost, came here trying to escape the dark, on our silver ships made of song and steel.
Druid-born and wild-blood meet
In roots of stone beneath the feet
of Six-Branch tree and seal the pact
made in love at Eld World wrack.
Last of all, a true-hearted knight
Breaks sword of green, ends winter’s blight.
Now weep and wail, and keep the Word
Sorrow-song forgotten, but always heard.
[ Some flavor-text from my current Pathfinder campaign, Titan’s Wake. I’ll try to do some more substantive blogging soon — but, I’m editing, intrinsically lazy, and tearing my way through Homestuck…so….yeah…. and it’s National Poetry Day!]
Lodestar is finished. Preposterously, absurdly finished.
The idle seed of a bored work-day two years ago, now grown into a titanic million word wunder-tree.
[That is not hyperbole. That is a low estimate of the amount that me and the gang have written.]
I’m still more than a little shell-shocked. Not only from the bizarre notion that I actually finished something — but just the pangs of psychic vacuum as several areas of my brain whir to a halt. I’ve had Lodestar running in the background [and foreground] of my mind for two years – what am I going to do with all these system resources?
I told a lot of stories, and hopefully helped the players tell theirs. There’s literally so much, that there are sections I can barely remember.
You’ll notice that I’m posting the epilogue for Lodestar in bits and pieces over the next week or so, just a little buffer while I grieve, and GEAR THE FUCK UP.
For what, you ask.
Time to start editing the book, the Spell/Sword for Beta Draft reading! I’m making a Blog Promise that my Beta Draft will be ready before Halloween. This may be over-bold, but hey — I just helped write a million-word internet epic, nothing is impossible.
Once the Lodestar stuff peters out, the plan is to do more regular blogging and short stories for here — I clearly are going to have some energy to redirect.
Also expect some navel-gazing — WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, MAN????
So, I know I’ve been pretty lazy on the blog — well, I’m going to DragonCon this weekend — so you can safely expect that to continue.
I’m going to be taking pictures of my adventures and posting them up on my Tumblr –feel free to check in on the shenanigans. I won’t get to the ‘Con until late Friday evening [EST] so don’t expect much before then, unless you’re into Chrono Trigger fanart.
1. I’ve been working on my very first novel. [QUIVER. CLENCH. ANXIETY-NINJAS IN MY STOMACH.] I started working in September, and completed the very, very rough draft in April.
2. I’m coming around the bend on my first round of editing. Soon I will let a few Alpha Readers take a long look, before they solemnly set fire to my manuscript and without breaking eye contact — dial the authorities.
3. While I try to stay focused on the craft itself of working on the book, I have noodled around a bit on The Next Step. The world of traditional publishing is contracting, and it’s never been known for being an easy assault for new talent — so, most of my thoughts have been centered around Self-Publishing. With resources like CreateSpace via Amazon it’s childishly simple to do, and I could have the most basic unit of my goals with a modicum of time and effort — i.e. a paper book that I slap in my mom’s hands.
4. I heart Pat Rothfuss. Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear are excellent books. Wise Man’s Fear is one of the only books I can ever recall finishing …then immediately starting to read again. Slowly, languorously. I went on to read other things, but I would circle back like a honey-drunk bee to take another sip. I read that cat’s blog religious — and all of this novel nonsense is so I can send him a copy [right after my mom] and then he’ll read it and think I”m awesome and that we should be best friends and then he’ll come to my birthday party. THIS WOULD CLEARLY BE HIS REACTION TO MY WORK.
Today I read an interview he gave, linked into his own blog.
I was chuckling at his wry humor, and stroking my chin at the interesting bits — when I came to this section:
PR: Not really. Because, as I mentioned, I wanted people to read my books.
I know there’s a lot of talk about self-publishing right now. Everyone’s giddy with the possibilities. And I’ll admit that it looks good on paper: sell your books directly and keep a bigger chunk of the profit for yourself. No rejection letters. No hassle with agents. Sounds good, right?
Except nobody knows who you are. And nobody really cares. And your book is mostly crap because you haven’t had a substance-level editor give you feedback and make you revise it a couple of times. And your book is full of typos because you didn’t have a copy-editor read it. And the layout is ugly because you don’t know anything about layout…I’m sure you get the picture.
It’s like the query letter problem that I just mentioned, magnified a hundredfold. You might be good at telling a story, but that doesn’t mean you know anything about marketing. Or layout. Or editing. Or publicity. Or selling your books for foreign markets.
Even if you’re surprisingly good at one of those things, you’re still not going to be as good as a professional. You don’t know the tricks of the trade. You don’t know the right people to call. You don’t know what mistakes to avoid….
Everyone can point to a few examples of people that have done very well for themselves self-publishing. But honestly, those folks are lucky as lottery winners. They’re statistical anomalies. You want to publish with a publisher because a publisher knows how to publish a book. And you don’t. You really don’t.
Now, first and foremost, this isn’t about how Pat Rothfuss broke my heart, or what a big meanie-face he is, etc. etc. His beard is made of laughter and moonbeams, people. From my EXTENSIVE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE [aka reading his blog.] he is clearly not a malicious person in any way. He was speaking from his own experience, trying to give helpful and clear advice.
It was a bit stern, and absolutist — but then, I remembered — Nerd/DM High Speech. Nerds speak in absolutes, with unwavering knowledge about whatever topic is in our demesne. It probably comes from being the smartest kid in the class, or years with our finger pointing at the small print in the Player’s Handbook. We all delight in pronouncing This is how it is. This is how it works. No, you cannot gain access to 6th level spells, just because you have a magical ability that increases your effective caster level, Carbunkle.
No, this post is about my reaction. I felt foolish.
Here is a writer and person that I respect telling me that I’m functionally wasting my time. I will self-publish my novel and it will be garbage. It will not be discovered, it will not be read. I am doing a disservice to myself and to the work itself by going this route. Pat Rothfuss told me I was an idiot.
This is not how my fanfiction plays out AT ALL.
I don’t think he’s wrong. I don’t think he’s right either.
For the vast majority of people self-publishing, he’s absolutely right. We all need to hear the stark truth like that. A wake-up call that if your goal is financial success then you are setting yourself up for failure. You are not some maverick Hemingway blazing across the firmament while thumbing your nose at traditional publishing. If you got into this gig to be the next 50 Shades of BLAHBLAHBLAH, then you are in it for the wrong reasons. Take a glance at the amount of self-published drivel on the Amazon Kindle alone. His metaphor of winning the lottery is apt. Every writer can benefit tangibly from a trained editor, copy-editor — and the inarguable expertise in marketing and layout that a publishing house can bring to bear.
But, I’m special. SCREAMED THE SPECK OF DUST IN A TRANSPARENT ALLUSION TO THAT CALVIN AND HOBBES STRIP.
And beyond that, I do believe that traditional paper publishing is in its dotage. We’re caught in the weird wilderness between traditional and digital publishing, and all the old dinosaurs are late to the game. The tools are all laying around [editing, design, computers with blinky buttons] — what’s to stop us from selling and promoting our own work digitally direct to our audience? John Scalzi almost pioneered this concept, releasing his work chapter by chapter on the web, then backed into traditional publishing after he had already built a readership. And he’s the president of the freaking Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, now!
There are more options now then ever, so more people than ever are going to chase the dream their own way. So, yeah, me too basically.
I have taken his thoughts to heart. I’ve always considered self-publishing the book as a first step, a tool to one day get picked up by a publishing house. The first book is a resume for the new job I want to have.
I hear you, Pat. I really do. But I am mercurial at best — I just can’t stay motivated with the idea of finishing the book THEN enduring two years or more of frustrating query letters, and standing like a beggar outside the big publishing houses wearing an adorable Dickensian top hat.
Well, maybe the top hat.
So, I’m sticking to my guns. Alpha Readers in July. More and more editing after that, and then when I say done I will use this fancy InterWebamaphone to put my book into people’s hands and on their fancy e-readers.
And I’m still sending you a copy, Pat. I’ll save you some cake, and a brightly colored hat.
A small village, directly in the center of Riddlewood. Human settlers were first drawn to the ancient forest
by an accidental discovery. A traveler was camping underneath one of the ancient elms, boiling some water for soup when an acorn fell into the open pot. The traveler didn’t notice right away, and by the time he did the water had turned a brilliant shade of green. History does not tell us much about this traveler but one thing is clear – – he either had an overgrown sense of adventure, or a serious deathwish. For no apparent reason he decided to give the concoction a taste. He poured off a tiny draught of the green liquid into a dented tin tankard, and tossed it back.
He woke up several hours later, his teeth stained the color of the leaves.
This unknown traveler had just discovered the remarkable soporific effects of the Riddlewood Elm. Folk tradition contends that he spent the next several weeks finishing the emerald concoction, one sip at a time — but regardless, at some point he stumbled back to civilization and somehow convinced one of the larger merchant families to invest in his new scheme. A team of brewers, apothecaries, and loggers would make their way into the heart of Riddlewood. They would harvest the amazing acorns, determine the best way to render them safely potable and marketable, and the other, lesser trees could be cut down to make casks and barrels for the new concoction. A troop of soldiers were also included to protect against the mysterious and sly wood elves that lived in the forest.
For the first few weeks, the newly christened “Barreltown” hummed with activity. Acorns were gathered, brewed and tested. Hundreds of trees were felled to make barracks, fences, and a multitude of barrels — the saw mill ran day and night. The soldiers quickly grew bored as the wildlife of Riddlewood gave the new town a wide berth, and the wood elves were nowhere to be seen. With nothing else to do, they joined in the construction of the town, their first project a suitable saloon.
Reports vary on the events that followed, but the central theme is agreed upon by most accounts. A young soldier took to wandering the green halls of Riddlewood out of sheer boredom and restlessness. She was the youngest member of the troop, though well-trained in the ways of sword and shield.
The soldier came upon a clearing where a large red tiger lay dying, caught underneath the trunk of an oak tree that a careless logger had felled, then abandoned. Without stopping to consider the danger, she ran over to the creature and with a great cry flung herself under the tree. Arms and legs straining she pushed the felled oak up far enough that the red tiger could just barely wriggle out.
She dropped the tree in exhaustion – only then realizing that she had dropped her weapon at the clearing’s edge, and stood completely defenseless against the wounded animal.
To her surprise, the red tiger rose wearily to its feet and made no move to attack. It looked at her curiously, then padded off into the forest.
The soldier returned to Barreltown and told all who would listen about her amazing experience. A few believed her, but she was met with more than a few mocking japes. She became obsessed with proving her story, and spent much of the next few days prowling through the forest looking for tiger tracks.
Tigers, like most cats, appear when they please.
The young soldier was keeping the late watch one night, when she felt her eyes beginning to droop. She stomped her feet, and put pebbles in her shoe, but weariness stole over her. With a start, she awoke at moonfall, a bare hour before dawn, to find the red tiger sitting quite calmly on a felled tree trunk in front of her.
The red tiger stood, and walked a few paces before turning back to look at her. The intention clear, the soldier gripped the hilt of her sword closely and followed.
Through quiet clearing, and silent tree, through moon and leaf-rustle night. The guttering torchlight of Barreltown vanished behind the young soldier, and yet she continued on.
At last, the tiger stopped and turned to face her. The wind blew, and the tiger changed. A beautiful young wood elf, with hair as red as the tiger’s.
Without speaking a word, he knelt before a ragged stump of a tree and placed both hands upon it. He sang quietly, and the soldier was surprised to find tears running down her face.
Between the palms of the wood elf, and guided by his song the tree trunk began to grow. Forming and changing, shaped by his will as a potter turns the clay. A tiny barrel formed, sound and true — then with a sharp twist he broke it free and pushed it into her hands. The soldier held it up to the rising sun, and saw how well it was crafted. Sound and true, with nary a crack — better than any one in Barreltown could hope of making.
“Why would you take, what the forest would happily give?” the wood elf asked.
The soldier had no answer.
Time passed. The soldier and the wood elf spent much time in each other’s company. Love was given and returned, and the two hatched a plan.
Early one morning, the soldier and the wood elf walked into Barreltown hand in hand. They marched directly into the mess hall where all the loggers, apothecaries, brewmasters, tradesmen and soldiers ate their meals. The soldier cleared off a table and called everyone’s attention, and the wood elf plead most eloquently for the forest of Riddlewood. He finished his speech, then showed the gathered crowed how wood could be shaped and sung from the living trees, without harm.
And the people listened. They understood. And they agreed.
To the vast shock of historians throughout the world, the people of Barreltown agreed that it was a great
idea. This incident is hotly contested in many scholarly circles, as it goes counter to entire schools of socio-political thought. Some even go so far as to claim the story is completely fabricated, a convenient fiction crafted by the wildly successful Riddlewood Brewing Guild.
Regardless, two hundred years later the village still remains. Barton is a reasonably prosperous hamlet, most of the residents splitting their time between farming and the seasonal work on the factory floor, brewing and bottling the various ales and liquors distilled from the trees of the forest — great casks filled to brim, tight and sound made from living wood. Only the very oldest buildings in the town show the sign of an axe or saw, the rest are all formed carefully and beautifully by the druids of Barton.
The village is roughly split between human and elven populaces, with intermarriage common. The sigil of Barton is a red tiger with a green acorn in his jaws. The village is led by Count Pel Marlowe, his family owns controlling interest in the Riddlewood Brewing Guild.
Some sheep pens, a general store, well-wrought houses and a good deep well. It was Victor’s home, and he loved it fiercely.
The blacksmith stood next to the stockade, a few paces into the dark so the torch would not rob his eyes of sight. The wood was still green, hastily hewn from the nearby pines. It was ramshackle, quickly slapped together — it made Victor’s hands ache to see such shoddy workmanship, but they’d had little time, and the crude fence had helped them turn the first dozen assaults. As if the green pines had kept a little of the love of the land in their bark, and were just as determined as Victor and the people of Starmhill to weather the vicious assault that came once, twice …sometimes three times a night.
“Vic. Vic!” The portly shepherd Kanley called from behind the stockade. “You see anything?”
“No. Nothing.” the blacksmith switched his two-handed sledge to the other shoulder but did not move.
“Maybe they’ll give us a night off. Three hours til dawn and nothing tonight.” Kanley said. Victor heard the sound of scratching. The boy was still worrying at that vicious rash on his neck, the creature’s hands had left blisters and boils even as it died. Kanley’s friend Jak had taken the beast in the back with a spear, a relieved grin on his long-jawed face. That was three nights ago, Jak had been dead for nearly twenty hours now.
Victor took a long look down the stockade. Tired men and women moved their patrols with the half-stutter shamble of sleepwalkers. He had tried to enforce strict sleeping schedules during the daytime, but with the constant grieving and the endless fear — he himself had found sleep an elusive phantom.
We can’t last much longer. Two days, three — four at the outside?
At the barest edge of the torch’s light, he could just make out the slow turn of the giant floating obelisk — Starmhill’s one claim to fame. It moved in and out of shadow, as careless as a leaf floating in a stream.
“Vic, you need to get some sleep.” A different voice, a younger voice — an irritating voice. Della Akson. The blacksmith turned in anger, to see her young face approaching through the narrow opening in the stockade. She wore a crude black-iron sword on her shoulder.
“Girl, I told you to guard the church.”
“There’s plenty of people to stand guard. That crazy old wizard, and the book-girl — they’re driving me plain witless with their rambling talk.” Della sqauared her shoulders and put her hands on her hips. Victor noticed that her left hand was inflamed and red, still swollen from the loss of her last three fingers. “And you need sleep most of any of us.”
“Della …you are too young to be on the front lines, you can be most helpful where I told-”
“I’m the best sword-swinger you got, Boss. Sad as it may be…I think it’s time you stop pretending otherwise.” the young girl’s face was stern and sure.
How old is Della now? Is the thirteen? Fourteen? Victor tried to think. Lord of the Crook, I’m so tired.
The blacksmith ran a weary hand down his face. He made himself smile at the girl. What a man can do, he should do …as Victor’s father always taught. “All right, Captain Akson – I guess you’re right about that. Why don’t you walk the stockade and make sure no one is nodding off. Splash a little -”
Victor’s words died in his throat. A snapping branch whipped his head into the darkness, and he saw it.
A tiny green flame, just a pinprick the size of a wyrefly. It was about to begin. Victor took his sledge in both hands and called down the lines.
“All right people — here we go, you know your jobs well, you’ve had plenty of practice these nights. We are Starmhill. We will hold them. WE ARE STARMHILL.”
The cry went up, ragged but strong down the green pine fence. Fewer voices than their had been, but enough. Victor prayed that there would be enough for tonight, tomorrow would have to wait.
The blacksmith’s cry died out and the defenders looked out into the darkness. The first prick of green light had become a field of green stars. Bright and shining and drawing closer.
For the first time this night, he heard it. Every night when they attacked, again and again ripping and tearing at the flesh and wood of his home — every time as they came, they sang. They sang the same song, merry and bright like a knife-cut.
“King of Glass, hear our prayer — King of Glass, take our gift — King of Glass, sing our song — King of Glass, blood and fire! Blood and Fire! Blood and Fire!”
The blacksmith went to work, and prayed with a sick heart. To hear this song again was agony, but he prayed to keep hearing it, for as many nights as his strength could stand to protect his home.