Welcome to the eighth 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 …
H is for the Hollow Cave
“There are places in this world where the echoes of the master melody run truer than in others.”
After the world of Leira was created through the Song of the Master Singer, Emhran, he bound the Song in a river that flowed throughout the entire land. When the river failed, the Song fell silent, until only five broken notes beat in the hearts of every living creature. At that time, the Songlings and Songkeepers were born, each gifted with a blessing of the Song to keep the memory alive, although Songkeepers alone can hear the full melody.
Hidden throughout the land of Leira were several hallowed places. Caves, wells, vales—places where the memory of the Song burned brighter, where echoes of the melody could still be awakened, and where the Songkeepers could more clearly hear the voice of the Master Singer.
The Hollow Cave is one such place.
Located an hour’s ride south of Nar-Kog (capitol of the Vituain Desert), the Hollow Cave is regarded by the desert tribes as a sacred place. It is used for the testing and confirming of Songlings and Songkeepers, for the hum of melody that fills the Hollow Cave cannot be heard by others. And yet, even those who cannot hear the melody and yet dare to step across the threshold, are filled with a sense of awe and wonder.
But for a Songkeeper …
The humming radiated until it filled the entire cave, until it seeped beneath her skin and reached inside her bones and lodged somewhere in her chest … It blazed through her like a raging fire. It shook the earth beneath her feet until the very stones seemed to crumble. It gusted around her like the winds of the gale that had beleaguered the Langorian ship.
A voice thundered in her ears, and in her mind, words materialized from the melody and became images painted across her closed eyelids.
I don’t think there is any one thing that inspired the Hollow Cave and other such hallowed places in Leira. But there are two things that I can point to that definitely provided some inspiration. During the original development of the series, years ago, I took a senior trip to Scotland with my dad. We visited Fingal’s Cave on Staffa Island and the Mealt Falls at Kilt Rock on the Isle of Skye.
At Fingal’s Cave, the wash of the waves into the hollow at the back creates a melodic roar that sounds like a giant sleeping within. At Mealt Falls, the builders of the overlook installed pipes as a part of the railing with strategically placed holes so that the wind would whistle through the pipes and create a sort of fairy music. Blended with the roar of the falls and the crash of the waves beneath, it was truly magical.
Neither of these in and of themselves inspired the hallowed places in Leira, but they certainly inspired me to expand the magic of the world and explore it further.
Inali halted beneath the shaft and turned to face her. Caught between light and shadow, his bronze skin appeared pale. “This is the Hollow Cave.” He spoke in a whisper, but his voice magnified off the walls so Birdie could hear it even over the humming. “This is your testing, little Songkeeper.”
She turned in a slow circle, taking in her surroundings. “But what do I do?”
Don’t you love stumbling across places like Fingal’s Cave and Mealt Falls? Places where imagination and inspiration suffuse the air that you breathe. Glades where you can imagine fairies dancing. Woods where it is not difficult to picture Robin Hood and his Merry Men running from the Sheriff’s guards. Shimmering pools where you expect to see Excalibur raised aloft in the hand of the Lady of the Lake.
What places make your imagination run wild?
Want to find out more about the Hollow Cave? Check out the links below 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.