Lys: The Lord's Song In A Foreign Land

Cu whined pitifully and nosed Druce's plate. He was polite enough to beg, not steal, but it was clear to anyone with eyes that he found the duff fascinating. His big eyes looked back at Druce, and he waited for the verdict.


Aithne looked up from her playing to find almost every eye on her, and she shrank a moment. But a second look showed them to be at least polite, if not approving, and it gave her courage to sing her song. For this was her song; not her words- she had drawn them from the Holy Scriptures- but her song nonetheless. It was her story to share, her tale to tell, her song to sing. And that was something not done lightly. She had not done something like this in ten years.

She took a steadying breath, and began. Once more, the words gained strength as they came, this song coming more easily to her toungue, it being in Latin, which she spoke daily...

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the LORD’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
The LORD is a man of war;
The LORD is His name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them;
They sank to the bottom like a stone.
“Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces.
And in the greatness of Your excellence
You have overthrown those who rose against You;
You sent forth Your wrath;
It consumed them like stubble.
And with the blast of Your nostrils
The waters were gathered together;
The floods stood upright like a heap;
The depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue,
I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword,
My hand shall destroy them.’
You blew with Your wind,
The sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
“Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
You stretched out Your right hand;
The earth swallowed them.
You in Your mercy have led forth
The people whom You have redeemed;
You have guided them in Your strength
To Your holy habitation.

“The LORD shall reign forever and ever.”

Once more her fingers plucked the strings long after the words were gone. She played them quietly, looking up towards the head of the table. She had a clear view of he who sat there, and despite the imposing brow, she summoned the courage to speak to him. "Hail Ambrosius, Lord of Britain. This day the LORD moved your hand and the hand of my master to free me, that I may sing once more. How true are the scriptures- 'And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee'." She broadened her gaze to take in the whole gathering. "Therefore I bless you in the name of the LORD God. May He keep you in the time of battle to come. May He shield and uphold you. May He overturn your enemies as he overturned the armies of Pharaoh, and may He give you peace forever."

Then she bowed her head over the harp, suddenly uncertain as to whether she had done well to speak so...

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