The group stayed in the Seventh Heaven for a few more days. During the evening, Amon would play old Allagan tunes to delight the folks who passed through. He never filled the house or anything, but there was a curiosity for new songs from these people that made it worth his while (not to mention meals and board).
During the day, Ajir would head off to look at other job prospects, since they knew they couldn’t stay there indefinitely. The warlike Au Ra was getting antsy from being in one place too long, anyway. Mocho would look into recruiting a healer, an ongoing situation that never panned out. Sometimes he’d spend his time training.
Amon felt a little sorry for him. The Lalafell really did try so very hard.
And then, there was Zuri.
After Amon’s first performance, she approached him all starry-eyed, absolutely convinced he was some sort of master Bard. He didn’t have the heart to tell her the songs he played were basic Allagan folk melodies, sometimes nothing more than children’s songs and nursery rhymes.
His hands weren’t cooperative and coordinated enough to play his people’s more masterful works… not that he really knew them off the top of his head. He was a passing dabbler in the ways of music – enough to impress the unwashed masses, but hardly incredible to the trained and professional ear.
Still, Zuri’s inspiration was a bit catchy, so he found himself offering her advice where he could. How to better tune the rough harp she had. How to tighten the strings without breaking them. In fact, how to change the strings – they’d seen more than their fair share of travel grime and practice.
In return, the Au Ra gifted Amon with the songs of her people – a place called Yanxia. These were completely unknown to him, with tunes that almost seemed to come from a different world.
Her performance was rudimentary in his eyes, though her voice was pleasant enough – with some training it could improve. Yet, just the stark contrast of cultures was something to spark an interest within Amon. To make him wonder what else was out there.
By accident, he let that remark slip, and Zuri laughed, “I’ll take you there sometime. I think you’d like it.”
“Oh?” Amon tilted his head at her.
“I mean, compared to places like Ul’dah or Kugane, I suppose our mountains are fairly boring.” She mused. Then, she glanced back up at him. “But I think you’re someone who would appreciate my homeland.”
“And why’s that?”
Zuri squinted at him. “You see things in a way other people don’t. I think you’re from somewhere else far away, too… aren’t you?”
The words made Amon shiver. She was hitting so close to home, though he’d never told her anything about himself.
He tried to laugh it off. “You’ll make a good Bard yet, Zuri.”
“Huh? Why?” It was her turn to ask the questions.
“You’ve got a nose for story,” Amon grinned a little. “To get your story, sometimes you have to sense it, deep within you. And then follow it until you see it through.”
Zuri shot him a coy smile in return. Her tone turned teasing, “Oh, I plan to, Mister Storyteller.”
He threw up his hands playfully, exclaiming, “Not me! I’m not story material!”
“My nose tells me differently.” The Au Ra turned from him, plucking her harp idly.
That’s the moment Amon started to worry… just a little. Though, he had to admit, the worry was edged out a bit by flattery.
He wondered if his past life was one of old stories in this new world. He wondered what they said about him. Nothing good, for certain. His people, Xande in particular, were often looked upon with a mixture of wonder and disgust, it seemed.
Sitting there, talking Bardic Things with Zuri, he wondered if there was a chance to write a new story. About himself.
She seemed to think so. And there was something about Zuri’s unwavering trust in him that made him… not want to disappoint her.
I’m getting too deep in this.
Before Amon could change his mind, Ajir strode into the room. His sharp green eyes took in the sight of the Elezen and the Au Ra, sitting closely together in a bond of music and story.
Those eyes slitted in warning, telling Amon without words all the terrible things that Ajir planned to do to him should anything happen to Zuri. Subconsciously, Amon leaned away from the girl, straightening to frown at the Samurai.
“I believe I’ve found us a job,” Ajir told them, his tone slightly accusing, indicating that at least one of them had done something worthwhile that day.
“Really?” Zuri was oblivious in her excitement.
“One that didn’t mind having two bards.” The Samurai gave Amon that usual eat-choco-dung look.
That being said, Amon was surprised he was part of the job offer at all. He thought that once Zuri’s group had found their next gig, they’d probably all part ways.
“Oh… well… I…”
“That’s wonderful!” Zuri hopped off the stool and rushed up to Ajir. “Thank you!”
Just for that passing moment, the Samurai’s face softened. Then, Amon knew exactly why he was included in this job. For all of Ajir’s outward disgruntlement, the Samurai truly wanted Zuri to be happy.
Deep down, Amon had to respect that.
“I’ll go tell Mocho,” Zuri beamed. “When do we start?”
“Tomorrow,” Ajir told her. “But I’d like to brief us all tonight before we leave.”
“Great!” The girl rushed off, looking for their wayward companion.
Left alone, the two exchanged knowing glances. Neither of them said a thing. But, the Samurai was the first to turn away.