Several hours later Drake found himself impressed with the celebration. The food was excellent and the booze flowed freely. Kratia knew how to serve the very best when she wanted to. The roast boar had been marinated in a sauce of some local herbs and spices that gave it a unique exotic flavor that Drake found delicious. But then, after several glasses of rather potent wine, and the unexpected heady feeling brought on by the drifting smoke that rose from several crucibles of smoldering incense, Drake would have thought a baloney sandwich was a delicacy.
He smiled as Kratia introduced a man just now coming up to a small stage at the front of the banquet hall.
“Nick is my special friend.” Kratia’s smile seemed broad and genuine. “He has been studying some of very exotic and exciting alien music, and will demonstrate his knowledge and his skill by providing us with a small recital. Nick.”
Nick took a seat behind a music synthesizer and placed his hands on the keyboard. The lights in the room dimmed as the first chords rang out to reverberate against the stone walls.
Drake frowned. The music was loud and overpowering; too much like the acid rock shit back home. It would be rude to leave, so he’d try to endure at least a few minutes. Gratefully, the music seemed to soften a bit and the melody actually started to make some sense after the rather aimless beginning. Drake took a glance around and saw that most of the people were relaxing with the music; many were tapping fingers or feet. Only Kratia and Sarral seemed unaffected.
Kratia seemed to study the music with a trance-like intensity. Sarral seemed more interested in the people listening than to the music itself.
Drake and Sarral locked stares for a moment; then nodded to one another and looked away.
The music changed. New melody, key, lyrics. And it was change for the better, Drake thought. Especially the lyrics. Nick was singing that life wasn’t easy; you had to go out and tackle problems everyday just to stay alive. And if you wanted something more – well, maybe you’d just have to kill for it.
Drake smiled. The kid seemed to understand just what life was all about. It was tough out there and a mercenary had to be tougher than any of the problems life threw at him. It was good to find that someone else knew the feelings; he had wanted to share them with someone for a long time, but had never found anyone that he felt would understand.
In another minute Drake was fully captivated. His conscious mind followed the lyrics while his subconscious listened closely to soundless voice that lurked within the music.