Welcome to the fifth stop in the #exploreleira blog tour where we’re celebrating the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world.
If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles … and we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below! You can find a list of the stops and dates here: #exploreleira tour. (Links will be updated once each post becomes live.)
Today, we’re looking at the letter …
E is for Emhran, the Master Singer …
Emhran is the Master Singer. At the beginning of time, his Song brought the entire world of Leira into existence. A remnant of that Song flowed through a river that ran through the entire land. But when the river failed, the melody was lost save for a few broken notes that formed the life-breath of every living thing. That is when the first Songkeepers appeared, tasked with keeping the memory of the Song of the Master Singer alive.
[Gundhrold’s] eyes closed and his voice assumed a rhythmic cadence until Birdie could scare tell if he were speaking or singing. “It is said that long ago, before the stars burned or the sun awakened, the Master Singer wove the fabric of the world through the threads of a Song and bound the melody within a river that flowed throughout the entire land of Leira. It became a source of life and of healing to all the people and creatures who lived here, and the music sang in every fiber of their being.”
When it came time to settle on the Master Singer’s name, I knew that I wanted it to sound Gaelic. After a fruitless scan of Gaelic names, I decided to run a search on the Irish Gaelic word for “music” and then “Creator” and eventually settled on “Song.” Amhran. I liked the look and sound of it, and yet, I wanted to make it my own. Put my own spin on it. Make it Leiran.
I also realized that many of the names in my world already began with the letter A. Amos McElhenny. Artair. Auna. The list kept expanding. And as trivial as it seems, it is actually something that authors have to consider. Names are important, right? And too many names that start with the same letter can become confusing! (It’s such a struggle!)
So Amhran became Emhran instead. Close enough to the original to please my inner-lover-of-all-things-Irish-self and yet different enough to be Leiran.
Somehow she found herself muttering words she never meant to admit out loud. “I don’t know how to do this … any of it.”
The griffin’s gaze slammed into her. “You have a gift that no one else can even fathom. Emhran, the Master Singer Himself, speaks to you through the Song.” There was awe and wonder in his voice. “You must listen, little one.”
It should come as no surprise that there are Christian themes woven into the Songkeeper Chronicles, and yet whatever allegory there may be is not intended to be either precise or direct. Allegory is an imperfect tool. It is meant to serve only as a reflection, as in a woodland pool, with the purpose of drawing the reader to that which is reflected. For that reason, Emhran, the Master Singer, is not a perfect image of God. Nor is he meant to be.
And yet, the way that he works through the Song, speaks through the Song, and prompts Birdie to respond through the Song draws somewhat upon the workings of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, where the Spirit would come upon someone in power for a specific time and a specific purpose and yet it was not a permanent indwelling such as believers have through the new covenant in Christ.
She stood, blinking in the red glow of the fire-lit cavern, striving to understand what had just happened. For she had heard a voice speaking to her out of the melody, out of the light. A whisper, not even words, a distinct melody that she somehow understood, forming thoughts out of the notes, grasping the Singer’s intent.
The voice had called her Songkeeper. Child. Beloved.
Birdie’s growth in her understanding of the Song and of the Master Singer has been a beautiful thing to write, for it is a story of discovery, of hope, and of belonging. It is a journey that continues throughout Orphan’s Song and Songkeeper and into book three as well.
The notes crept toward her and around her, visible now, like specks of fire, of light, of power untold. They swept over and through her, gentle but fierce. Tearing but rebuilding anew. Behind them, the vast melody rose in all its glorious splendor to surround her, and she felt herself pulled into the warmth of that embrace.
Listen, little Songkeeper, the voice whispered, and I will sing you a Song.
Want to find out more about Emhran? Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books:
And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Open to international entries. Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.