The Xylophonist

The letter X! Surprisingly, this was not the most difficult letter of the alphabet to use for the A to Z Challenge. That honour goes to the letter Y.

Before you begin reading this part of the story, I just want to remind you of the calendar system used on Ariadne.  There are twelve standard months of twenty-nine days each. But at the beginning of the year, there’s a Celebration month that is three days long, unless it’s a leap year. Then it’s four days long. The leap year comes every ten years. You can read all about it here.

Now, enjoy the magic!

The Xylophonist


New Athens

First day, Celebration month, eleventh year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (0/01/11 AE)

Twelve thousand people stood before him. Konrad Fleischer occupied the stage with the Governor of the Ariadne colony, Paolo Fernandes. He had never been at such a large event. Half of New Athens must have been there. It was the first day of the new year, the tenth anniversary of landing at this site. This very site, now called Landing Square. This was also the first leap year. The Celebration month this year was four days long. He expected a big party. But here he was, standing on stage with the most famous man on the planet ready to play the xylophone.

Konrad looked around at the audience. Many familiar faces. He noticed that the Governor had been speaking, but had no idea what he was saying. He forced himself to pay attention.

“The first ten years of our colony have been an incredible success. There have been some disappointments, but most of all, amazing surprises. Tonight, we have one of those surprises. I’ve invited Solona Knight to the stage to demonstrate something for you. I’m sure you all know what it is, as some of you with children have seen this with your own eyes.” Paolo Fernandes looked back at Konrad and nodded. “Solona, please join us on stage.”

The young girl, wearing a green dress and her long brown hair tied back in a ponytail, climbed the steps to the stage. She must have been around nine years old, if Konrad’s math was correct. She was the first to display the magical ability of energy control. It wasn’t really magic, but everyone kept calling it that. Some form of telekinesis, or something like that. He didn’t know the terms. He was a musician, not a scientist.

Solona stood next to the Governor. “I’d like to thank Governor Fernandes for inviting me up here today on this great anniversary. I’m sure you know my story, but I’m not so sure if you’ve seen what I can do. I’ve heard some of you may be scared of what I can do. But please don’t be scared. I think this is an amazing gift from Ariadne, and I want to use what I can do for the good of everyone.”

Such poise and confidence, Konrad mused. She was a celebrity, and she knew it.

“Let me show you a little of what I can do,” she said.

Konrad readied his mallets. He struck the fiberglass bars, beginning his own composition, Ariadne Landing Movement Number One. Then he heard the gasp of the audience. He smiled as he saw the fire above Solona form into a dragon.

8 thoughts on “The Xylophonist”

  1. Interesting snippet. I’m glad we’re continuing to see more of Solana.

    “It wasn’t really magic, but everyone kept calling it that. Some form of telekinesis, or something like that.”

    Hmm. Could be telekinesis on a molecular scale — change the temperature by changing the speed at which the molecules move (that was my first impression) — or possibly actual energy manipulation (pyrokinesis is the preferred term if it’s specifically the generation/control of fire). Dunno. I’m interested in seeing how the colonists deal with this trait popping up as this new society grows and develops.

    Is it REALLY a xylophone, though, if the bars are made of fiberglass? 🙂

    (As a teenager, I used to play the xylophone, plus other, closely related instruments. Technically, only the ones with wooden bars are xylophones, and not all of those are called that. It depends on the range as well as the material the bars are made of.)

    On the other hand, maybe by the time this story takes place, the terms have all been blended into one, and every percussion instrument with bars arranged like the keys of a piano is a xylophone. I can imagine that happening.

    1. It’s basically going to be a manipulation of energy and matter (some true telekinesis is a possibility). But the major focus is on energy control early on. The stronger users are able to control more than just energy.

      Wikipedia said that fiberglass is used on xylophones mainly because they’re louder. Could be newer ones, but I’m not an expert.

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