What secrets do you hold
Where is your healing treasure
Your crystals and your gold
I've forgotten on these beaches
Forgotten in the clouds
I might forget my own name
If I don't say it out loud
The ocean sings a love song
The breeze lifts me away
I'm happy far away from home
And I think I could stay
First were the days of dreaming, where Tally forgot herself and simply wandered, enjoying all the West had to offer, the warm beaches, the lush gardens, and long boat rides. She kept close to the beaches all the while, for she'd heard a great deal of rumors of danger in the West. The jungles held healing magic, certainly, but also deadly plants and horrible beasts.
As time passed, she regained her focus, and gathered her courage. She would have to enter the jungles eventually. She began by visiting nearby towns, and gathering books to study. She learned where the safest paths were, and studied protective magic, for when she did venture of the known paths. She learned more with every word she read, and her resolve strengthened.
"You're a healer, Tally, and a strong one," she told herself. "If anything happens to you, well, you'll just fix it!"
Into the jungles she went, locating the herbs she knew well, and finding more she had only read about. Her knowledge protected her from touching any dangerous plants she came across, but every now and then she did hear the grows and loud footsteps of beasts. When she did, she abandoned her work and fled. It became a routine.
It was another day of exploring when everything changed. She was gathering herbs whens he heard footsteps coming toward her. She sprang alert, prepared to run, but these weren't the loud, stomping footsteps of a monster. These were the light steps of a human, and as he walked, he began to sing. He sang no particular song, just out loud to himself, whatever words came to mind:
Where is the path?
I'm chasing daydreams
Where is my mind?
I'll never come back this time
Who is that behind the tree?
Lady, what is your name?
She laughed, and answered in the same style.
Shall I sing back at you?
For I'm a singer too.
My name is Tally
You're voice is beautiful.
He bowed. "I'm Walter, my lady."
Walter was a young Western man, with dark skin and smiling eyes. His most prominent feature to Tally was his voice. She wanted him to sing again. "I must say your voice is beautiful too," he said. "What's a singer doing with healing herbs?"
"Oh. I'm a healer."
"Are you? Perhaps you could help me. You see I've been out traveling for weeks now, trying to find a way to get my brother's acapella group off the ground. We need some way to make money, and this new healing business is on the rise right now. If you could spare a few moments, that'd be a great help."
"I have books on the subject, if you'd like. And I could show you what I've found out here so far."
"Thank you, lady Tally. You're a kind soul."
A long, low growl made them both freeze. Tally was ready to run, but Walter grasped her hand and whispered, "Don't move!"
"We have to run!"
"No! Fire or water, Tally?"
"Pick one and shoot!"
Tally followed her instincts, and shot a stream of water into the tall grass. Walter raced ahead, shooting fire toward the beast.
There was a horrible shrieking sound, and the creature fled. Tally still kept up her magic until she couldn't hear it anymore.
"Are we safe, Walter?"
"We should be. That was a fine display of magic, Tally. Most of the beasts in this jungle aren't effected by a single current of magic. Two or more will work, particularly if they conflict with each other. Are you alright?"
"Yes," she nodded. "That was the first real adventure I've had!"
"I hope you aren't put off on having more. If you do spare a few moments with me in these jungles, you take that risk."
She smiled. "I hope to."
A few moments she did spare, and when those few moments were over, she spared a few more. After she taught him what she knew of plants, he showed her what he knew of the West, from the best food and cozy places to stay to how to defend herself against dangerous creatures, and navigate the jungles.
They parted in the evening, but met the next day to explore again, finding each other in the jungle by listening for the other's song.
They passed another day of work, exploring the jungles.
Another week, exploring the beaches.
Another month exploring the caves.
It didn't take long for Tally to realize she loved him. They'd fallen in love within the first few notes sang to each other.
"Love at first sight," Walter said.
"Don't be a fool," Tally said, "I don't believe in love at first sight, but I do believe in love at first song. That's what it was, dearest."
He smiled, nodding. "That it was."
Homesickness was still distant in Tally's heart. She knew it was coming, but for now, every day was joy. Walter, however, was beginning to feel it. He was a traveler, but was quite accustomed to staying with his family.
"I think it's time you met them," he said, "My brothers, the Wanderers."
"We're a travelling acapella group. Your sisters are the same, right?"
"Not the traveling part," she said.
Walter had eight brothers. He said all of them were gifted singers too, but Tally wasn't sure if she believed him.
"Want to take a trip to the East? That's where they are, last I've heard."
"That would be wonderful," she said, "Then I'll know if you're telling the truth."
Tally was eager to take another trip. She had learned much, and gathered a great deal of supplies. It would be nice to settle down in a safer area to begin making and selling her healing products.
The brothers lived in an apartment complex in Kherington. They ran out to greet Walter and Tally. Shouts, cheers, and song erupted within moments.
"Who is the lady?" one of them asked.
"Brothers! This is Tally, the love of my life. She'll be staying here for a while."
The brothers all came to greet her. Sebastian and Russel were the oldest, followed by Evan, Richard, and Eliot. Derek, Nicholas and Andrew were the youngest, aside of course, from Walter. As Tally listened to all of their voices, there was no longer doubt in her mind. All of Walters brothers were gifted singers.
The brothers are all described as dark-haired as well, and full of lighthearted energy. They are generally thought of as a Southern acapella group, despite their Western origins. There's also some debate about that, as well as where and when they met Tally. The details of it are insignificant. All we must know is Tally loved Walter, and Walter loved Tally.
Every day was full of joy. She woke every morning to the sound of singing, and the song lasted all through the day. But as time went by, an ache began to grow in her. She loved Walter, and she was happy with him, but watching him and his brothers together, her heart longed to be back among her sisters.
"If you need to be home, you should go," Walter said. "We'll miss you, but you've helped us enough. I think we've sold enough to get our group off the ground."
"You could come with me," she said, "I don't want to leave you."
"Our families need us," he said, "I have faith we'll find each other again." They embraced, holding each other close. "I'll be listening for your voice."
"And I for yours," she whispered.
When I think of home, I'm never alone
You're always there by my side
So come along and listen to my song
Sweet little lost girl of mine
We could go anywhere, I'd pick any choice
I'll be home just as long as I can hear your voice
My home is true, right here with you
So please won't you stay by my side
My home is true right here with you
Sweet little lost girl of mine
They made promises Tally was sure they would keep. She tried to smile even as she left him, for she had found so much more than she was looking for, more than healing herbs and adventure.
But she did weep, she did long for the touch of his hand, the sound of his voice. She was pulled in two directions, and there was both pain and joy in it.
To be continued!