Side A – Nia
Nia didn’t know where to begin so she started with the least likely, and least contentious thing she could think to offer.
“I want to play the Shatter drums again,” she said, surprising herself as much as Yasgrid with the declaration. It had seemed like a wild thing to say but as Nia heard herself saying the words she knew they were true.
“Are you sure?” Yasgrid asked. “I thought that would be the last part of my life you’d want to have to deal with?”
“I know. It’s weird. Just touching one was terrifying. I felt like it tore me apart and I think if you weren’t there I would have been the first one to explode into dust.”
“But you want to try again?” Yasgrid asked, a gentle understanding in her tone.
“I’m broken aren’t I?” Nia said, shaking her head ruefully.
“We all are,” Yasgrid stroked the top of Nia’s head and gazed inward, remembering the thrill she’d had the first few times she’d played well. And the disappointment of not playing well enough.
“I can’t really do that though, can I?” Nia asked. “I mean I have no training at all. I’d be a danger to everyone else in the band.”
“I don’t know about that,” Yasgrid said. “I mean, sure, there’s plenty of things you’ll need to learn to be a top notch drummer, but you’ve got the talent for it. More than I ever had form the looks of it.”
“But Belhelen, and your mother, and Margrada, they’ll all know that I’m a fake as soon as we have to play anything beyond the simple rhythms we did at the Calling,” Nia said. She could picture how that scene would play out.
Belhelen would be confused and would wonder why her friend was playing a prank like that. Yasgrid didn’t seem like the type to do something in as poor taste as pretending to perform poorly when people had just died from mistakes during a concert, but there it would be, eroding Belhelen’s trust in a her friend.
Yasgrid’s mother would be similarly perplexed, but then the confusion would turn to disappointment and Nia would see the same expression in Osdora’s eyes as her mother Naosha so often wore.
In a sense Margrada would be the worst though. Where the other two would be disappointed, Margrada would be livid. Nia’s inability to play properly would cement Margrada’s opinion that Yasgrid had earned her spot in the Shatter band through nepotism. Nia wasn’t even sure Margrada would be wrong about that.
“I don’t know if that’s going to be a problem,” Yasgrid said. “You don’t play like I did.”
“Uh, won’t that make it worse?” Nia asked, turning to glance at Yasgrid in confusion.
“It might if you hadn’t managed to do what you did at the Calling,” Yasgrid said.
“I barely survived that though,” Nia said.
“But you did survive,” Yasgrid said. “And you played to the end of the piece. Even with a broken drum, you managed to hang in there. With how I normally play, I couldn’t have done that.”
“Doesn’t that make me seem like even more of a fake though?” Nia asked.
“I don’t think that’s how people are going to read it,” Yasgrid said. “Shatter drumming changes the drummer as much as it changes the world. You’ve seen that. Part of being successful at it is being able to hang on to who you are as you play. When people make breakthroughs though, they change not only their playing style but their expression of themselves as well.”
“So if I seem different than you, people will chalk it up to making a breakthrough in drumming?” Nia asked. “I guess that’s what your mother was thinking.”
“Wait,” Yasgrid said, stiffening, “what did my mother say?”
Side B – Yasgrid
Yasgrid couldn’t imagine how Osdora would have treated Nia. For a moment, she felt a spark of the Kaersbean family rage kindle in her breast, but it cooled just as quickly when she considered the lack of concern in Nia’s voice. Her mother hadn’t blamed Nia for what had happened. Osdora Kaersbean had been proud of her daughter, maybe for the first time. All it had taken was for her daughter to be someone else.
“That’s probably the first thing I should have told you about,” Nia said. “Your mother stopped by to let you know that you’ve got a spot in the Shatter Band!”
Yasgrid laughed a quick, mirthless chuckle.
“Right after I said I was going to let that idea go.”
“I can back out of it,” Nia said. “Or you can, depending on what we come up with, or what happens tonight.”
“That would shock people more than you telling them that you’re really an elf who’s pretending to be me,” Yasgrid said.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to mess up your life,” Nia said.
“If you’re honestly interested in drumming again, I think you would do more for my life if you seized the opportunity that’s there rather than screwing it up like I would. If I need to walk away from it, I can do that at any time, but this is our only chance to move forward with it.”
“Are you sure?” Nia asked. “I feel like I dropped in and stole something precious from you by taking this.”
“No, no, no, none of that for now,” Yasgrid said. “And I’m sorry for getting us off track by asking about my mother. This is supposed to just be about what you want.”
“I want to be fair to you,” Nia said. “And I want to feel like I’m doing the right thing. But I can’t deny that being in your shoes has been pretty awesome. So I’d also like to keep doing this. I want to see how far I can go with Shatter drumming. I want to learn more about your home, and I want to get to know these amazing people in your life, though I kinda feel bad about that the last bit since they won’t really be getting to know me.”
“I think I’ve got an idea on how to help with that,” Yasgrid said as a smile stole across her face.