Finally, life was starting to go well for Gillian Songspynner. She had just won the regional bard title and was on her way to compete at The Castle for the king. But on her way down the stairs, she tripped and crushed her mandolin. Jencir, an elvish bard, begs her to take his lute, a beautifully crafted instrument with a gorgeous tone to the Elf Queen at The Castle. She cannot refuse. However, she later rethinks the elf's largess and goes in search of him. She finds Jencir, only to witness his brutal murder by a dark creature. She flees to her family, but finds that they suffered the same fate. She feels that she has no choice but to take up the dead elf's quest and to try and avenge her family's death. On her way to the Elf Queen, she will be stalked by a demon, sold into slavery, helped by kindly priests, attacked by hideous man-sized rodents and that is just the beginning...
This report prepared by Debbie
A young woman is given a lute by a poisoned stranger on the condition that she deliver it to a royal character elsewhere in the country (where she must travel for a musical competition anyway) and she later wittnesses him being devoured by a fierce shape-shifter. When she returns home, her entire family has also been murdered in the same fasion and she is blamed as the killer and runs, with only her lute and trick pony, under the pursuit of the law and the shapeshifter who apparently wants the lute and wants her as a meal. The lute becomes special to her because she can communicate with it. Along the way, she is helped by an alcoholic ex-soldier. A mysterious elf had hired the soldier to protect the lute and ensure that it was delivered at any cost. The young woman is kidnapped, and the lute and the soldier force the elf (who does not want to be directly involved) to help them save her instead of leaving her behind to deliver the instrument. She is rescued, but has been raped (by the same people who had once raped the soldier; hence the drinking problem).
This report prepared by C.M.B.