This bit has been bouncing around in my head since I came up with the idea for the storyline I’m plucking bits out of for the project. Please enjoy!

The royal child enjoyed quite the royal living arrangements, complete with shelves full of toys and trinkets, a private balcony facing the rising sun, and various furniture to climb over and hide under. Lynn and Adam found the boy almost completely hidden in a beanbag-type chair, tossing a ball up in the air and catching it, over and over. He set the ball aside and extricated himself from the chair as the two adults approached. A pair of guards stood just inside of the doorway.

Adam asked, “Are you having a pleasant morning, young sir?” The boy nodded. “Good. Now, I’m certain you’ve heard this before,” Adam said with a wry smile, “but we’re here to help. I’m going to ask a few questions, and I will try to make them yes-or-no questions. At some point, however, we will need to witness the effect of what’s been done to you, and I apologize for that right here and now.”

While Adam quizzed the boy, Lynn started to walk around the room, taking in the furnishings and trappings while checking to see if any of the objects or locations cast any weird energies that might be to blame for the situation. Eventually she came to the small array of musical instruments. Here, she turned to face the others and waited.

“Now for the unpleasant part, I’m afraid.” Adam knelt before the child. “I need you to try to speak. I know it hurts your very soul to do so, I know it makes you want to scream and rage, but this is the only way we can find out what is behind this problem. And it is just a problem, a problem we can solve. Not a curse. Just a problem. Can you do this for us?”

After a long moment, the boy nodded again, slowly.

“Good. So, tell me about your day. Everything from when you woke up until now, as best you can. Focus on what you want to say, ignore what comes out of your mouth as best you can. Okay… go!”

Tears welling up in his eyes, the boy begun trying to speak. What sounds emerged were absolutely unintelligible. He kept at it, however, for several complete minutes, until: “And that’s when…” and then he doubled over in pain, clutching his head, but in total silence.

“Easy, easy, you did marvelously my boy, absolutely wonderful.” Adam looked over to Lynn, who nodded. “It was splendid, and you helped us immensely.” He made no move to physically comfort the child, however, so as not to panic the watching guards.

Lynn waited until the boy had righted himself again, then said, “In return for your bravery, I offer this.” She turned to one of the musical instruments, for all intents and purposes a glockenspiel, and took up its mallets. She struck a bar and listened intently to its tone. Seemingly at random she struck several other bars with the mallets, eyes half-closed as she focused on the sounds. Then she ran through the entire array of notes. Before the sound had fully faded she started holding her hand above certain of the metal bars. Once she’d made her adjustments to the bars, she ran through the scales again, nodding in satisfaction. “Young lord, if you please?”

The boy looked at her, confusion plain on his face.

Lynn struck a note on the instrument. Once it faded from hearing, she sang out the same note. Then, she nodded to the child. “Now, you.”

He shook his head, terror replacing confusion.

“There is nothing to fear from this. I am certain. You are not trying to convey meaning, you are only repeating a sound. The sound has no structure of its own. You are not going to assemble these sounds into information. Thus, this problem which has been inflicted upon you shall not interfere.” Lynn struck the note on the glockenspeil again, and sang out the same note again, and looked pointedly at the boy. And waited.

The child took a tentative breath, opened his mouth, and sang the note. Clear and sweet as birdsong.

Lynn smiled in approval and appreciation. “Very good, young lord. Very good indeed. Now, let’s work on your breathing…”