I am excited to share this continuing adventure with you all! Gillian Bronte Adams is celebrating a book anniversary with an awesome book tour where each day we learn a bit more about the world of the Songkeeper Chronicles and there’s a giveaway!
So without further ado, please welcome Ms. Adams!
Explore Leira Blog Tour: S is for Songkeepers, Songlings, and the Shantren
Thanks, Jennette, for hosting me here and helping me celebrate the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world. If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles (follow the tour at gillianbronteadams.com and find a list of all the stops at #exploreleira tour). And we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below!
Today, we’re looking at the letter …
S is for Songkeepers, Songlings, and the Shantren
I am feverishly excited about this post because I get to tell you all a little more about the “magical” system in the world of the Songkeeper Chronicles. Whether it was reading the creation of the worlds in Tolkien’s Silmarillion and Lewis’s Magician’s Nephew, or reading spellbound about the contest between Felagund and Sauron, or listening to epic soundtracks from my favorite movies, the idea of powerful music has always intrigued me.
So much so that it bled into my writing. In the world of Leira, the Song of Emhran, the Master Singer, brought the world into existence at the beginning of time. Afterwards, the Song flowed through a river than ran throughout the entire land. It was tended by Keepers who granted access to those who wished to immerse themselves in the presence of the Song. Within the waters of the river, Leirans found life and healing and lifted their voices in harmony with the master melody.
[Gundhrold’s] eyes closed and his voice assumed a rhythmic cadence until Birdie could scare tell if he were speaking or singing. “It is said that long ago, before the stars burned or the sun awakened, the Master Singer wove the fabric of the world through the threads of a Song and bound the melody within a river that flowed throughout the entire land of Leira. It became a source of life and of healing to all the people and creatures who lived here, and the music sang in every fiber of their being.”
But eventually the river was lost. The flow ceased. The Song fell silent.
And only five broken notes of the master melody remained, coursing through the hearts and individual voices of every living thing in Leira.
Soon after, the first Songkeepers appeared, tasked with keeping the memory of the Song alive.
Those who have received the full gifting of a Songkeeper are able to hear three different types of melody—the broken five-noted individual melodies, the grand sweeping Song of the Master Singer, and a discordant melody that marks those who have turned their backs upon the master melody.
In the Song of the Master Singer, Songkeepers hear the voice of Emhran calling to them, summoning them to himself. The Song is not controlled by the Songkeepers. They cannot unleash its power at will. Rather, when summoned by the Song, a Songkeeper yields to the prompting, and the power of the Master Singer pours through them.
The power of the Song manifests itself in different ways, depending on the Songkeeper, empowering him or her as Emhran deems fit. The melody brings healing. It is life-giving, and yet it rains terror upon the hearts of those bound to the cursed bloodstone of the Shantren. Because the Song once flowed through a river, water bears the strongest memory of the melody and responds in might to its summons.
The storm swallowed her voice, but the Song rose from the depths in answer. Strong. Rich. Powerful. It swept over her, and for once, it did not draw back. She raised her chained hands as the music welled within her chest and then burst from her open mouth.
The released melody swirled around her, and she felt its touch like that of a friend long missed. Thicker than amassing storm clouds, it gathered at her fingertips and grew. Building. Summoning force.
Ordinarily, only one with the full gifting of a Songkeeper is raised up at a time, and yet, there may be many who possess a partial gifting. In Songkeeper, we learn that the council of griffins was formed to protect the Songkeepers and determine between full and partial giftings. Those with partial giftings were called Songlings.
Gundhrold’s gaze flickered to the opposite wall, but one glance at his eyes told her that he was seeing something more than gray, splintered wood. “For centuries, my kind have served as Protectors for the Songkeepers and for anyone who showed promise of possessing their abilities—Songlings, we called them.”
Songlings may possess any number of hints of the full gifting. They might be gifted to hear the individual melodies or to discern the discordant melody. They might be gifted to understand the speech of animals and converse with all living creatures. A few might even be gifted with the skill of healing. But Songlings are rarely gifted to hear the voice of Emhran or grasp the full grandeur of the Song.
Oftentimes, one who seems to possess the gifting of a Songling will come into their full gifting in time to be trained by the previous Songkeeper before his or her passing. Birdie’s grandmother, Auna, came into the full gifting during the time of the Songkeeper Artair and was trained by him before he was taken by the Khelari at the massacre of Drengreth.
“Know this though, little Songkeeper, there are others with powers in this world, who are sworn to the Takhran’s service. It is his hand that bestows their powers, his hand that maneuvers them like playthings. They are called the Shantren … and they are dangerous.”
The order of the Shantren were formed to serve the Takhran and oppose the Songkeepers and Songlings. They wear the talav, or bloodstone, a necklace with a scarlet teardrop shaped crystal, through which they are gifted abilities that the Takhran twists to his own ends. He promises them freedom and control, and so they willingly accept the chain of their slavery. For once the talav is set in place, no knife or act of human will can remove it, save only the Songkeeper’s blade.
So there you have it, a little glimpse into the magical system of the world of Leira!
Can you picture a world where music is powerful?
About the Books
Her solo is a death sentence.
Deep within the world of Leira flows a melody that was sung at the beginning of time by Emhran, the Master Singer. Now it is broken, buried, forgotten. But in each generation, a Songkeeper arises to uphold the memory of the Song against those who want it silenced forever.
When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her own mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced to flee for her life, she must decide whom to trust—a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or a mysterious creature who claims to know her past.
With enemies at her heels and war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie soon discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on one orphan’s Song.
War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.
Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.
Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?
Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books.
And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit www.gillianbronteadams.com to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.