In my series, Scar of the Downers, the inhabitants live in a land they call the Northern Reaches. As most lands, the people have formed their own customs, habits, languages, and songs. It is what makes each land unique. So, as I’ve concentrated on the series, I wanted to create the same sort of feeling in this world. I wanted readers to feel the that land has a real history, a real people.
So, in this blog post, I’ve compiled all the songs that have been sung in the two books that I’ve written thus far: Scar of the Downers and Rise of the Branded. I’ve also included one new song that is in the third and final book. The working title of the book is called War of the Reaches. Again, that is just the working title.
Crik comes across this first song as it was sung in an inn called Briars and Thickets. As you can see by the lyrics, the citizens of Ungstah have, in their past, faced starvation as well. Not just the Downers.
My wine skin is empty
My loaf of bread is gone
A man of my size can't linger on and on
My stomach's been a-rumbling
My tongue is parched and sore
Just give me one crumb that has fallen on your floor
The dog, he doesn't like it
He growls and bares his teeth
To me it's but a drop; to him a royal feast
We fight and bite, and bark
Use claws to scrape and scratch
And while we weren't a-looking it was eaten by a rat
This next song is a song of history and a lost hope. Downers have known about this song by the tale it tells - a city that once welcomed them.
Long ago in the Glooming East
Lay a city of old where oppression ceased
Freedom burned in that mountain's realm
In hope of shattering slavery's helm
But the sword forged in steel and war
Was lifted high 'gainst Ahminnon's door
That city burned; the smoke now reigned
The hope of the Downers began to wane
And in the blackest night of the darkest age,
The fires of war continued to rage
Swallowing the night; veiling the dawn
When the day had come, the city was gone
This next song was taken from Rise of the Branded. It is a nursery rhyme sung to the youngest Downer of the group, Jak. Now most Downers wouldn't know what a nursery rhyme is. But Chaser does. This song was sung by her.
Seven little birds hatched from their eggs
The first one tried to fly but broke its leg
The second little bird perched in a tree
Sung a little song that went tweet, tweet, tweet
The third little bird lived in a hat
Laid a dozen eggs that were eaten by a cat
The fourth little bird flew to the sea
Caught a little fish and brought it back to me
The fifth little bird broke its wing
Cried for help but found it couldn't sing
The sixth little bird flew away from home
Lost its way and died all alone
So the seventh little bird puffed its chest
Mourned for its brothers and stayed in its nest
The last song I'm including has been written for my third and final book following the Downers. All I'm going to say about it is that it is a song sung for the dead.
The north winds bore you away
To where mortal man cannot follow
The sons of dust mourn their fate
Toiling upon this darkly hollow
To where you go, we cannot
So our tears and sorrows rise to thee
The young man’s life, the grave has bought
But it swallowed death, and set him free
So fly, fly to where old men dine
Away from time and bone and earthly groan
The dead will toast and cheer, and drink their wine
And cry, “Our son, alas, you’ve come home.”
So, if you haven't read the stories that these songs are found within, I would urge you to do so. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed writing them!
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.