The man that hath not music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affection dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
This story is set in the first season, shortly after they find Cally.
The music shop might have been there for eternity gathering dust upon its leaded panes. Small and stooped, it huddled between its larger neighbours, hiding in its forgotten past. In this city of tall glass and concrete buildings it was an impossible anachronism; yet there it stood, windows so dirty that it was all but impossible to deduce what secrets lay within.
Above Blake's head, the wind gently swayed the sign, a fretwork carving of an ancient musical instrument, a violin. He hadn't noticed the shop, his business on this world did not concern it, but it was waiting for him. The music of the pied piper called him and he responded unknowing, turning without realising to the door that bore the word "Open" in a faded Gothic script. Ducking to avoid the low lintel, Blake entered another world. Strange creations of wood and metal, curved and carved, stringed and bowed, surrounded him on every side. Picking up an instrument he examined it, unable to fathom either its function or its mode of operation, understanding only that it had been crafted with great skill and love.
The shopkeeper laid down his flute and smiled. He was ageless, as old and as bent as his abode, yet the twinkle in his eye belied all suggestion of decrepitude. Blake looked up as the music stopped and indicated the contraption that he had replaced on the table. "What is it?"
Blake held out his hands helplessly. "But what does it do?"
The shopkeeper cleared a rush seated chair of a pile of ancient yellowed sheets of music, and sat down, placing the melodeon on his lap, its strap over his shoulder. Pushing and pulling the bellows to provide the air pressure, he simultaneously danced his fingers over the keys. Blake listened as the music began, firstly a slow waltz, then faster and faster, the tune changing to a jig that set the feet tapping and itching to dance.
"There's a drum beside you," said the musician without slowing the pace of his music.
Blake looked around and saw a cylindrical drum with what looked like a genuine animal skin stretched across the top. Cautiously he tapped it with his fingers, then gaining confidence in the rhythm, he joined in, the tune swirling around him, becoming part of him, and he part of it. As the melody whirled to its conclusion, Blake laughed out loud for the sheer pleasure of it. "I would love to have a recording of that."
Eyes that had seen centuries looked into his. "Is that really what you want, Blake?"
He should have been surprised by the use of his name, yet he was not. This was somehow a place beyond time, and beyond the Federation. "I want to share it with the others."
The old man shook his head. "No, to share in music one must become a player. To listen is to be one person alone; to participate is to become part of a greater whole."
He looked knowingly at Blake, a half smile on his old, yet young face. "They are still a group of individuals. If they are to work together, they must become a part of that whole."
Blake was sceptical. "You think music is the key?"
"Not the whole answer, but a part of it. If musicians are not aware of what their fellows are doing, the result is chaos. If they all work together, the result is greater than any could have achieved individually. Besides," he added with a twinkle in his eye, "it's fun. Shared enjoyment draws people closer and knits them together."
Outside, improbably, snow began to fall, masking the sounds of the busy city and catching on the edge of the each of the tiny window panes. Blake tapped his fingers on the drum, picking out a simple beat. "They certainly aren't drawn together by a desire to fight the Federation," he said wryly. "Perhaps something else is worth a try."
Continued in Star One
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