Fera had been looking forward to the Spring Fair since the end of the Winter Market. Beneath clear blue skies, the sun shone bright and strong, making it feel unseasonably warm for this time of year, but who was going to complain that the weather was better than it should have been?
As Fera moved in and around the crowd, she couldn’t help but smile; she was mesmerised by the noise and bustle of activity wherever she looked. Then, above the calls of traders and the chattering of gossips, she heard it, soft and distant at first, but as she pushed her way through the throng, it became louder and louder until suddenly she found herself at the front of semi circle of people. Before her a man a few years older than herself was strumming on a harp.
It was as if the world had stopped. There was nothing except the music, nothing except the musician’s fingers strumming the harp strings. Time faded away, lost all importance.
Was this magic? she wondered, before the very thought disappeared, chased away by the enchanting melody.
When the music finally stopped, she realised she was the only one still there with the musician. The market traders had packed away and gone, the crowd too, though they would no doubt return for the evening entertain. But just as that thought crossed her mind, she noticed that it was dark, day having given way to night many hours before.
Naturally, the young woman began to feel self-conscious. Why should she remain when others had not? Instead, all she could ask was, ‘Why did you stop playing?’
The musician smiled. ‘Because the spell is at an end. The charm is cast. There is no more music left to play.’