“Sing for Me”
Mud and flies were two things Caríchio was not accustomed to. The village, as much of it as he could see from out his carriage door, had an abundance of both. He surveyed the scene with distaste and wondered if this trip was truly necessary.
No one was forcing him to be here. On the other hand, if lia Merelda’s report proved true, the potential gains were worth enduring a little squalor.
The title of this story is an allusion to The Phantom of the Opera, but the young lady Caríchio is searching for is not exactly an opera singer. This was one of the first Nine Lands stories I wrote, and the idea came from working out just how a particular aspect of the world would function.
I didn’t listen to any particular music while writing it, but at various points while revising it (which I did more than once), I put on The Cradle of the Renaissance, a CD of period Italian music by a group called Sirinu. I no longer think of that as the kind of music they play in Quilíbria, the setting of this story, but it worked at the time.
“Sing for Me” appeared in the second issue of Fictitious Force. It is now available in my short story collection The Nine Lands.