Blog special: The Halls of Music

Just a little something special for readers of the blog. This won’t be going anywhere else, but it is canon for the story ;)

First, your music. Start this playing before you read:

The Halls of Music

“So you got me all dressed up in tails and dragged me into the Veil, now are you going to tell me what we’re—woah!”

Valois chuckled as Gunther stopped in his tracks, his fingers tightening involuntarily around Valois’s palm.

“What is this place?” Gunther whispered, staring around him at the tall pillars and arches, the yards of voile curtains, and the delicate lanterns.

“These, my darling boy,” Valois said, as he led Gunther across the floor to where a grand piano stood in one corner, “are the Halls of Music. Perfect acoustics, and whichever instruments one wishes to play are always here.”

“My god, that’s a beautiful piano,” Gunther whispered, and Valois could almost feel him yearning towards it.

“Would you like to play something, mon cœur?”

“Oh hell yes.” Gunther took one step towards the piano, then hesitated. He turned to glance back at Valois. “Uh, there’s a violin here, too?”

“Correct. There is, indeed, a violin here. An exquisite one, I might add. It is a Stradivarius that I purchased from Antonio Stradivari’s workshop myself, back in…”—he pursed his lips and thought for a moment—”oh, around 1714 or so.”

Gunther’s eyes widened a little. “You met Stradivari?! Oh god, of course you met him. Why am I even doubting that?” He stared down at the beautiful instrument, his fingertips lightly brushing over the deep golden wood before he turned back to look at Valois.

“You’re going to tell me you can play this thing like a bloody virtuoso, aren’t you?” he teased.

With an apologetic smile, Valois shrugged one shoulder and reached into the case to take up the violin. Tucking it beneath his chin, he plucked the bow out and turned an expectant look onto his husband.

Gunther was frozen to the spot for a moment, then he laughed. “And there I thought I was joking,” he said, with a shake of his head as he sat down at the piano, giving the sheet music a quick once-over.

Valois watched with amusement as Gunther’s eyebrows raised. “Right then,” his husband muttered. “You’re steaming right in with Tartini’s Il Trillo del Diavolo?! Bloody show-off!” He cracked his knuckles and rested his fingertips gently on the keys.

“On my cue,” Valois murmured, raising the bow.

The pernambucco wood swept down in an elegant arc, gut touching string, and Valois lost himself in the music he’d always loved, secure in the knowledge that his accompanist could easily keep up.

He didn’t tell Gunther that the music would draw supernaturals from all corners of the Veil, but he could sense them drifting into the shadows behind the grand arches and listening; fae and witch and vampire, elf and nymph and dryad.

It had been too long. Far too long since he had felt this comfortable and able to let this hidden part of himself fly again.

6 responses

    • Aww xx

      The Stradivari were one of the premier families of luthiers in Cremonese between the 16th and 18th centuries, along with Amati and Guarneri. Today, violins (and other stringed instruments) by all three families – but especially the Stradivari – are considered some of the finest in the world. Valois purchased his violin during the period known as Antonio Stradivari’s “Golden Period” where instruments that he made had a matchless tonal quality, and they’re much sought-after these days.

      He was one year out on the date, though (which is excusable, given how many years he has to remember!) because – in my canon for the story – he owns the beautiful Stradivarius made in 1715, known as Il Cremonese (click that for a video of the very same violin being played, so you can hear its exquisite tone).

    • It’s a sign of how much he loves and trusts Gunther, to let him see that part of him. Previously, his musical side has been a very private part of his life. I suspect that, of all his past lovers, only his beloved Marquis ever got to experience it.

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