Aria sipped the remainder of the wine provided with the dinner that had appeared on the table. Three more days, hundreds or forever to remain in this amber cage. The competition for the chance to turn discord into melody would end and she dreaded the moment. What if whoever won the chance failed? Worse, what if a man she detested won?
Her thoughts turned toward the basso. Odon’s attitude reeked of arrogance and frightened her. Her eyes widened. The barrel-chested man strutted across the lawn.
“How fare thee, fair Aria.”
His deep vocalized greeting brought images of operas where the villain strove to capture the heroine and carry her to his lair. She sought words to respond but none appeared.
He was handsome enough if she liked men with granite carved features, massive shoulders and a permanent sneer. His physique aided the production of notes so deep they sent chills riding her spine.
“I am fine.” The waver in her notes belied her answer.
“I hear eagerness in your voice. You will be pleased to hear I added a second in voice to my first in instruments.” He grasped the bars with meaty fists. “Soon you will be mine. You will be mine, mine, mine.”
If the Goddess Euphonia would hear her prayers he would fail. “I will be yours only if the pipes answer to your touch.”
“How can they not? I am a master extraordinaire of all musical instruments. Under my touch discord will become melody. Harmony is my kingdom. The riches of the land will be mine, mine, mine.”
The last of his low notes wavered in the air. He turned and strolled away.
Tears burned Aria’s eyes. What would she do if he won? One thing became clear. Odon was not a man to take failure well.