This is from chapter 9 and it's very, very rough, so please forgive the typos. Siouan is Sarah's (main character) sister who has had a rough time with it and is ready for some revenge...
It was like magic. The wood that she needed was not only waiting for her on the forest floor, but called to her as if its only purpose in life was to serve her needs. Siouan knew it was the unicorn hairs influencing both her and the wood – somehow everything was linked and the silver strands helped her recognize what was there. Now, in her room with the wood, she held the small carpenter’s knife she’d taken from the stables and poised it over the ash.
As she carved, she hummed a tune she’d never heard before, lowering her tone with the deeper cuts, and heightening it with the shallow ones. It was a dance of woods and a song of wood sprites. Trance-like, she whittled away, curving the wood as necessary as it bend and twisted to her will. She’d seen others use boiling water to bend and soften wood. They were fools. As the magic came to her, she began to understand it more fully. So too, did she understand her influence over the magic. They were melded together, for better or ill.
The wood was almost finished now, and she pulled the stands of unicorn hair out of her leather pocket and began to tie them in place. They snapped into position and hummed pleasantly as she finished and stood back to look at her creation. She’d never felt such pride or joy from anything before and for a fleeting moment, she wondered if this is what new mothers felt when they first held their babies.
‘But we will make beautiful music together,’ she hummed to the instrument. It answered her with a ripple effect on the strings.
She’d never known or expected her life to take such a beautiful turn. Heart light, she felt like celebrating. Yes, she thought, let The Oak hear my music for the first time and judge how my influence will work. She opened her wardrobe and looked at all her beautiful dresses. She must be correctly dressed in order to secure the right mood. The deep maroon dress with cream undershift caught her attention. With the polished ash and unicorn hair harp, it would look striking – especially with her dark hair fully down around her face and just enough face paint to make her appear more youthful.
She donned her costume and descended the stairs, trying with difficulty to not smile smugly.
‘Woa,’ said Robert from the shadows. ‘You look beautiful.’ He had a yearning in his voice that belied how little he cared that they were related.
The women were sitting to dinner in the kitchens and Siouan floated by. ‘Good evening ladies,’ she said sweetly. They looked up at her in suspicion, but as their eyes met with hers, their suspicion turned to admiration. She giggled and did a twirl. ‘Like it? I thought it would suit for my first performance.’
They looked confused, but nodded as puppets. Siouan could feel her influence over them and she’d not even started playing yet. ‘Come, put down your food and come listen to me play by the fire.’
She knew there were some patrons in tonight other than the wretched Barty and she almost danced out of the kitchen, the others following closely behind.
Uncle knocked his chair back as he stood up in anger. The women were only allowed to enter the drinking area to take orders and only a few at a time, but as he too saw Siouan, he sat back down again, muttering unintelligibly under his breath.
Siouan gracefully took a seat on one of the sheepskins by the fire and waited for her audience to sit around her. She saw, out of the corner of her eye, an older woman move curiously towards the procession. Siouan could tell she was not influenced by her magic.
Gently, she began to run her fingers over the instrument, humming lowly as she went. Concentrating on her mood and what she willed, the harp echoes chords of melancholy and lost love. She knew not what song poured from her lips, but she could sense the crowd’s desire to hear more and she played to them.
It seemed like seconds later that she finished, but the fire had died to low embers and the candles were mere stubs as she placed her harp in her lap.
As if the audience had just woken from a trance, the looked up and around before applauding loudly.
‘An I thought she made a good whore,’ muttered Matthew. ‘Just wait until she makes royal court.’
The older woman rushed to her side as Siouan gracefully stood. ‘You are truly magnificent,’ she said formally. ‘I am stopping here just on my way to the summer faire. You must play for the musician’s guild when they are there. I am sure they could use your talents.’
Siouan almost caught her breath. Things were moving faster than she’d hoped. The musician’s guild was the only group of players approved by the crown to enter the palace and play for royalty. They were filthy rich and very, very talented. Even with her new magic, she’d not expected to make it that far.’
‘Travel with me if you need a consort,’ she said quickly. Her sharp eyes took in Siouan’s and she chuckled. ‘Although it’s obvious to me you need no one. I leave on the morrow should you wish to come.’ She turned and left Siouan staring blankly behind her.