Side A – Yasgrid
Resting in seemed like a luxury but it was a luxury Yasgrid decided she needed.
So of course she spent the rest of the day working.
The work she’d done to “heal” Denar (if it could be called healing at all) had taken more out of her than she’d imagined it could. That was on top of a sleepless night, a near fatal knife wound, days of worry and planning, and so much time spent running from the Troubles. Her spirit was willing to battle on – maybe even needed to keep fighting so that the world would have a semblance of sense to it – but Nia’s body had decided it was done with being abused even if Yasgrid had done the best she could for it.
Well, done for a while at least.
The body wasn’t even asking for twenty four hours.
Just a single afternoon of rest, followed by a decent night’s sleep.
With what they’d managed to accomplish, Yasgrid found she couldn’t begrudge her body that.
Especially not when her original body was in even rougher shape and Nia needed help too.
“You’re supposed to be sleeping, aren’t you?” Yasgrid asked, shifting her attention to the inn room where Nia was tucked into a decent bed though one that was far less comfy from the elven masterpiece Yasgrid was resting on.
“The sedative Prash gave seems to be wearing off,” Nia said, tapping her bandage wrapped hands on the blankets over her lap.
“Is the pain bothering you?” Yasgrid asked. Her own bed ridden state was more a product of exhaustion, the stab wound she’d taken having been entirely erased by whatever it was Kyra had done afterwards.
“I’m trying to see,” Nia said. “If I bounce them gently like this, it’s not too bad.”
Yasgrid watched Nia tapping the fluffy covers with enough force to part whipped cream. Maybe. If the whipped cream wasn’t too cold.
“And what might you be planning to do where you would be ‘bouncing your hands gently?” Yasgrid asked, already knowing what the answer was. Nia may have been born to Naosha M’Kellin but she was by too many measures the daughter Osdora Kaersbean should have had.
“If the whole Shatter Band is playing, I was thinking I wouldn’t need to play all that loudly,” Nia said. “I can keep a beat like this, it’ll just be a really quiet one.”
Yasgrid sat on the bed and turned to face Nia, taking Nia’s hands in her own. She didn’t say anything though. She didn’t need to.
“With the first few beats I could fix the stuff that’s broken right?” Nia asked. Her hands were throbbing but the tremble in them wasn’t from physical pain. “Then I could play again, like normal. I’d be all better.”
“Have you talked to my Mom yet?” Yasgrid asked.
She knew what Osdora’s response would be. Nia did too. It wasn’t the wrong response either.
A Battle of the Bands wasn’t like the Calling. At the Calling, the Band had been working together. Even when things went catastrophic and drummers were lost, the people behind the beat were all fighting for the same cause. From their prison, the gods had pushed back, but they were a constant, and very limited force.
At a Battle of the Bands, Nia wouldn’t be able to show any weakness.
If she did, the people she was playing against would destroy her.
Side B – Nia
Nia needed to play. Despite the consequences, she needed to play. She would have said she could feel it in her bones, but her bones were busy feeling other, much less pleasant, things.
“Osdora’s not back yet. She stopped some people from chasing us,” Nia said, meeting Yasgrid’s gaze and hoping that part of the story would have a happier outcome than her own had.
“Will you talk to her when she gets in?” Yasgrid asked, and Nia could see that her only concern was for Nia’s wellbeing. There wasn’t disapproval in Yasgrid’s eyes, or an insistence that she knew what Nia should be doing. She was just there, in Nia’s corner, believing in her like no one else in her life ever had.
Nia loved Margrada, she had to admit that to herself, even if she’d only tried to show Margrada the truth of it so far without saying the words.
Yasgrid though, she loved too.
It wasn’t the same. Nia might have called it a “sisterly” love, except she’d never felt the same emotional connection with Kayelle that she did with Yasgrid.
It wasn’t a romantic love, or a familial one, but it was just as real, and it buoyed her up just as much.
“I don’t want to,” Nia said, rising to the bravery Yasgrid inspired in her. “But I will. I mean, we both know she’s going to shoot the idea down.”
“Probably,” Yasgrid said. “But this is my Mom we’re talking about. She doesn’t have the same sensibility as other people. To her the drums are something the rest of us don’t see. Or maybe most of the rest of us. I think you’ve worked in some of the same spaces she has.”
“What? I’m nowhere near the drummer she is,” Nia said. “I’m not even a competent one. Not even before all of this happened.” She gestured in explanation, throwing up her bandaged hands and wincing at the pain the motion caused.
“Skill is one thing,” Yasgrid said. “And it is important, don’t get me wrong, but what my Mom does, and what you do? There’s something apart from skill in your drumming.”
“How could I be ‘naturally talented’ with the Shatter Drums though?” Nia said. “I’d never even heard of them until we switched.”
“It’s not talent, or if it is then talent isn’t an inborn quality,” Yasgrid said. “Drumming calls to you, it fits in with who you are and who you want to be. I wanted to be a drummer too, but I wanted it because it was what my Mom did. You want to drum for the sake of drumming itself. I mean, look at you? Your hands are broken and they’re still trying to play. That’s something special, and my Mom, of all people, will know how to help you keep it.”