August 19, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Saydrie and Taikie considered Gianci’s proclamation for a moment before each nodding in agreement.
“All right,” Taikie agreed. “We’re starting here because it’s safe, looking for any instance of this folk-song, ” Taikie showed Gianci her notepad, “or anything in this tune. Saydrie?”
Saydrie hummed a few bars of something Enrie didn’t recognize. “It’s the tune for that folk-song,” he explained, “but I realized it’s also the tune for a song called Green Summer so it might have migrated, with the meaning migrating too.”
Gianci hummed it back to him. “My mother called it Li nuthe pur liunga,” he offered in careful Bitrani.
“The longest night,” Saydrie commented. “Okay, that’s a good clue. Do you remember any lyrics?”
“Hrrm, it was all in Bitrani so it never meant much to me, but I think there was… um..” He rattled off a couple lines, hurried, more sounds than words, then tried again more slowly.
Enrie shared a look with Saydrie. He frowned in concentration.
“Something about… that is a pretty depressing lullaby. I think it’s about the end of things.”
Gianci frowned. “Like something coming to an end?”
He only looked Bitrani, Enrie reminded herself. “The end of everything,” she explained. “The Calenyen call it Another Valley, but the Bitrani call it The End of Things.”
“It sounds like… Can you sing it again?” Saydrie was frowning more deeply.
Gianci obliged him, going more slowly this time. Enrie nodded. Now she could pick out some more of the words as well.
“Sleep, little nation, sleep little child?” she hazarded. “Something about nightmares, then something about ending?”
“When you wake the End of Things will come; when you wake the Nightmare ends once more,” Saydrie offered.
“…What?” Gianci stared at the two of them. “You got that out of…” he gestured vaguely towards the shelves. “Out of a lullaby?”
“Well,” Enrie allowed, “that one word, are you sure it was liunga? Because if it’s laeiunga, that’s different — but not a lot different.”
“Then it turns into something about the language changing, but it’s still about nightmares ending, too,” Saydrie offered.
“That sounds… frightening,” Taikie offered.
Enrie pursed her lips. “It could, but it could be a really good lead.” She muttered the lines over again, trying to get them to stick in her head. “So, if we look for either that lullaby, or things about the Longest Night or The Night-time Language, either here or in the history section or maybe even the linguistics section. I’ll take this section with Saydrie…” She looked at her friends.
“I’ll take history with Gianci,” Taikie offered. “And then we can meet and take care of Linguistics together.”
“Smooth roads,” Enrie offered.
Saydrie nodded at Gianci. “Clear sailing.”
Gianci nodded slowly, as if he hadn’t been expecting that. He probably hadn’t; it was a Bitrani greeting, not a Calenyen. “Blue skies,” he offered. Seeming more awkward by the moment, he turned to Taikie and bowed. “Shall we?”
She giggled and bowed back to him. “Of course.”