In the Ducdom of Airizay lives the greatest guitar maker of the Kingdom of Gaulance, Penoit Seysounné: Luthier Extraordinaire.
Today the flowers outside his home are blossoming in bright and cheerful rainbows of colors. The air is fresh and breezy while it picks up the scent of the sparkling Sehtohn River as it meanders around a gentle bend.
Also riding the lazy breezes are the morning melodies of birds as they feed, flutter, and soar in small and large circles.
Answering these cheerful melodies in harmony comes the warm sound of a twelve string guitar. The octaves of the strings are well pronounced. The low register sound of the 12 string is deep and mellowing. As the notes climbed up the register they became bright, clear, chiming, and strong. The twelve string guitar resonates almost half a mile away from the river outside the window of Penoit’s home.
The cottage style home of Penoit is surrounded by lush emerald green grass with hundreds of sprouting flowers. Outside stand nine large, (but not huge) Mehtair trees. The Mehtairs dappled the landscape with long, deep green shadows.
Due to the fear of fire most of the homes of the region are of stone. Most of wooden structures of Airizay are now gone due to fires and good taste. The remaining dwelling and edifices are an embarrassment to the refine discernment of the Airizayans and are doomed.
Penoit’s home is a creation of various woods. Penoit’s home gleams with modest beauty. Its wood is smoothed, sanded, and blended into gentle shapes and then are varnished to amplify the warm, orange glow of the natural grain of the Mehtair wood. The home is an artistic achievement of long patience, practicality, nuance, and finesse. The only concessions to stone are three chimneys.
The cottage is over 432 years old.
In the kitchen of the cottage (adorned with paintings) sat two men each sitting on red cushioned chairs. The magnificent music of this majestic guitar came not from the hands and heart of Penoit, but from his dear friend Vair Rohnonay (an ancient and gifted troubadour)
“Ah Penoit, you have done it again,” whispered Rohnonay. “The guitar is a perfect reflection of me: sad but happy, serious but carefree, earthly and heavenly and all at the same time.”
Sitting next to an opened window with the guitar the afternoon sunlight made Vair’s blond-white hair gleam causing a sparkling effect on his satin green ztire. Vair Rohnonay has one of those physiques that is tall and slender without being bony, starved, or awkward in movement which was rather remarkable considering how old Vair Rohnonay is (how old he is none can say). His generous locks dangled over his blue-green eyes and danced around his equally generous nose. Around his eyes and his long mouth are hair thin lines. Unlike most men of his day he was clean shaven. Vair Rohnonay has the look of one that has seen much of the world and its woes, but still finds joy in its beauty and variety.
The guitar gracefully resonates into silence.
The other man reclining is the opposite of Rohnonay. Penoit is short and round (too round many profess) with thick curly black hair and a thin mustache. He opens his blue-ebony eyes. “As usual that was beautiful, Vair. I especially enjoyed the interlude of the third movement. Most guitarists play it more robustly, but your delicate pianissimos are much better.”
“Thank you, Penoit. Those ears of yours don’t miss much. I wish that you would become one of my students. You would become a great guitarist.”
“No, no mon ami,” smiled Penoit, “I am forty-seven years old. I am too old to learn anything new. I have not the temperament for it. And besides that,” he adds waving his arms, “in order to gain patrons I would have to do a lot of traveling and I don’t enjoy a lot of traveling. I like it here in Airizay, my home, my luthiery, the birds, my church, the occasional visitor of culture such as you and my wine. I have need of nothing else. I am content.”
“I have heard all that before, mon ami. I think the real truth is that you are not too old, but too lazy to apply yourself. You are too comfortable and too content. You are denying yourself your true glory.”
“Glory! Bah! What good is glory? Will it feed me? Will it keep me warm?” growled Penoit. Then laughing he said, ‘If you weren’t mon ami I would hit you.”
“No you wouldn’t,” retorted the old man in the same jest. “Your faith forbids you from doing that. You have your faults, but being unfaithful is not one them and above all you are a man of peace.
“Penoit you have a number of friends that love you dearly including me. We like to see you better yourself. We believe that there is greatness in you waiting to come forth.”
What pretended anger Penoit has disappeared. “Merci mon ami. But, I am not ready for a change. I am content being a great luthier. As I have said I have no need of anything else.”
“Oui, I know,” answered Rohnonay with a sigh.
“Before you go would you care to join me in another glass of Shatohn?” asked Penoit. “While you sip I can easily loosen the strings of your guitar and put it back into the case. When you are ready to leave for your engagement you may do so at leisure.”
“No thank you mon ami.”
“What! You do not want another glass of wine? That is not like you.”
“No no. I mean I do not want the guitar.”
“You do want the guitar? But you said, the guitar was perfect did you not?”
“Oui, indeed I did. And it is indeed perfect but....”
“You do not have the money!” interrupted Penoit.
“Come, come Penoit! I am Vair Loudohn Verro Rohnonay the greatest troubadour on all three continents! I am paid in the purest gold. Silver never lines my purses. Here is my purse.” With that he tossed the purse unto the table spilling some of the gold. Penoit glance at the lumpiness and spillage of the purse and knew that Rohnonay spoke the truth. “Notice, there is ten times the amount you ask for. You have hurt my feelings.”
“Then what is the problem?”
“The guitar is not good enough. It’s not perfect enough. It’s not perfect enough for the coronation of Prince Roolaunne de Quetoc.”
“Now, you have hurt my feelings. Am I not the greatest luthier in all of Gaulance?”
“Oui, oui, Penoit. In fact, you are the greatest luthier of all the civilized continents. That is why I come to you regularly.”
The black eyebrows of Penoit’s plump face arched a question, “I don’t understand mon ami. Why is my latest not perfect enough?”
“The coronation will be my last public appearance for I am retiring. After eighty-nine years I am finally become too old to travel. My limbs become stiff and sore when traveling so much. They burn too often when it is cold. The last time I had a cold it me three months to shake it off.
“The coronation of Prince Roolaunne will be the most august event of the century. It will be beyond perfection. My last performance must also be beyond perfection. My performance must be something spoken of in awe and admiration and with longing centuries long after I am dead and gone. I desire this not just for my glory and the glory of my family, but for the greater glory of Prince Roolaunne de Quetoc and the land of Gaulance. My performance and art must be beyond perfection _______ and so mon ami, Penoit so must my instrument, my guitar, your guitar, your creation, also must be beyond perfection.
“The other problem, Penoit,” added Rohnonay gently, “is that you have created a number of beautiful wooden gems that will compete with this one’s aesthetics and greatness. And while my trained ears know that this one is prince of your creations, it is not king. Others with less discerning ears and taste than mine may and will question its perfection. I am Rohnonay. I cannot permit only perfection.
“I am sorry, Penoit. I am truly sorry, but I cannot accept the perfect guitar. I need a guitar beyond perfection. There never ever must be the question: ‘Is there a greater guitar?’”
Penoit sits dazed and sapped of vitality.
In the stunned quiet came a rap at the open kitchen door. A very animated man covered with sawdust and the smell of wood comes bustling in, give a short bow. “Pardon, mon ami, Penoit, I have a lot of wood for your fireplaces and of course, wood for your creations.”
He then scurries over to the kitchen fireplace, and with a loud clatter drops the wood. He then brushes the dust off himself doing so he noticez Penoit’s dejected expression.
“Hey, hey mon ami, Butterball, what is with the long mouth on the round face?”
Fire came to Penoit’s coal blue-black eyes. He stood and straightened his pale yellow shirt around his pudgy body and then his small mustache, “Cairto, you should show me more respect. I am not a common perspirer, but a craftsman. If you will an artist. An artist extraordinaire.” he said with a hand flourish.
Then with a stiff arm he shot out a finger pointing at Rohnonay and said with disdain curling from his lips, “This man, Cairto, this man, this man of culture claims that my perfect guitar is not good enough for the coronation of Prince Roolaunne de Quetoc.” Then with another sneer he added, “He says the quality will be questioned.”
Turning his thin red hair head to Rohnonay he asked, “Is that so, mon ami?”
Turning his slender palms outward and hunching his wide shoulders he replied, “It is so, mon ami.”
Penoit folded his arms across his puffed out chest, Rohnonay just sat with a tired and sad expression on his long face and Cairto put his hands into his stained pockets and rocked on his heels. There was silence.
Finally Cairto spoke, “Do you really question his craftsmanship?”
A shocked expression came to Vair Rohnonay’s face, “Of course not! I have bought three other guitars from him paying a kings’ ransom for each. But I have never regretted doing so. He is the best. In the continent of Y’ooray the greatest of all. That is why I came to him again.”
Again Cairto paused and rocked on his heels. “Then if it is not the craftsmanship, then perhaps, it is the quality of the wood that is in question.”
“The quality of the wood?” roared Penoit. “My instruments are made of the finest of noirnay, ebony, spruce, rosewood, maple, cedar, cypress, and mehtair. I pay my agents princely to search out the finest woods from Gwatan, Eilay, Sheeneercon and other places where no man should go, but does, for that is where quality is found. Then they purchase the wood for me, then they charge me a high fee for shipping it. Finally, when it arrives in Airizay I have to pay a wagoneer to bring it to my doorstep. I am not getting rich! Even here, in Airizay, in the duke’s forest grows the finest wood of all, Mehtair. I am privileged and honored to be the only one allowed to buy mehtair from the duke. He guards it like the father of a virgin and I pay dearly for the privilege. I am not rich despite my policy of demanding higher commissions for my creations. There is no finer wood than mehtair.
“You want proof? Listen to the Mother Wren. My great-great- grandfather Guitin Seysounné made the Mother Wren in 1147 and it still sounds as bright as the day he put the last coat of varnish on. The only thing that has changed is the degree of mellowness and that any musician, will tell you is for the better. I repeat there is no better wood than mehtair and I know woods.”
“What about,” asked Cairto, “Elvenwood?”
“Elvenwood? There is no such wood and I know woods. Elvenwood is just another myth.” said Penoit gruffly.
“Elvenwood. I remember hearing of it in my travels. Tell us about it, Cairto.” said Rohnonay moving his head forward with eager curiosity.
“My grand-mama told me about Elvenwood many a night around the fireplace when I was a little pisser.” replied Cairto with a nostalgic grin. "She said that the Elventrees have magic and that is why Elvenwood is so wonderful. An instrument made of it would give the player power over Ords and Trodds.”
“Power? What kind of power and how does the player gain this power?” asked Rohnonay seriously.
Cairto answered eagerly. Penoit sat back and rolled his eyes upward in disgust. “She said that the music from it would melt the stone heart of a Ords. The Orde would be so enchanted by it that he would give you gold from his own private horde. Now, concerning the Trodds, she said, if a Trodd heard just one song or an instrumental played that they would cry with remorse and release you from any imprisonment or bondage, even if it was against their own masters desires.”
“Fascinating.” intoned Rohnonay.
“Oui, fascinating.” repeated Penoit with zero emotion. “Ords and Trodds. More fairy tales.”
Rohnonay turned and scowled at Penoit. Penoit scowled back. “Pay no attention to the old lemon sucker, Cairto.” said Rohnonay. “You mentioned that the player has power with the Elvenwood. Does just having the instrument of Elvenwood give the player the power? If not, how then does the player obtain this magical force?”
Cairto paused a moment and thought. “According to Grandmama the musician only can receive the magic if he cuts down the tree himself and also makes the instrument.”
“Otherwise, there is no magic?” asked the bard.
“That is correct mon monsieur.” answered Cairto with seriousness that almost made Penoit laugh, but not quite.
“Magic! Bah!” said Penoit. “The prattling of senile and drug fed old women with nothing better to do than count the warts on their dried up old bodies.”
“Magic!” exclaimed Rohnonay, “That is exactly what I need. Magic! An instrument of enchantment.” A gleam came to Rohnonay’s eyes. “Magic. Penoit, my old ami, you must create a guitar for me made of this Elvenwood.”
“Magic! Bah!” said Penoit once again.
Ignoring Penoit’ snideness Rohnonay asked Cairto, “Where is this Elvenwood?”
“I don’t know.” replied Cairto sadly at first then he brightened, “But, I do have a cousin that knows a hunter that some think is an Elf who does or is reported to know the location.”
With seriousness on his face Rohnonay turned to Penoit. “Penoit, I think we have stumbled onto something!”
“What?” asked Penoit incredulously.
“I think we should investigate this Elvenwood. No stone should be left unturned for the glory of the coronation. The glory of Airizay. The glory of Gaulance. We need to journey to Elvenwood to cut down a tree to make me a guitar of glory.”
“We? What do you mean by ‘we’?” asked Penoit sourly.
“I want to go with you,” said the old man beaming. “It will be a chance to learn new songs, new poems, new and old stories. New civilizations to learn from: exotic people, exotic women. Just thinking about it makes me feel like uncorked wine. This is an achievement of a life time. I need to go. You need to go. Penoit, this is your chance to become more than a luthier. Your chance for greatness and glory!”
“What?” answered Penoit horrified? “And go only where god only knows where. To cut down a tree like a common laborer. I think not. Rohnonay, you can’t be serious,” answered Penoit with concern. “mon ami, Rohnonay you are a man of culture. How can you believe such fairy tales? Such rubbish? Cairto, I can understand. He is common. But, you? You’re educated”
“Yes, that is correct, mon ami, I am educated. Well educated, which also includes being: A Soul of the Sphere. In my many, many, travels of many, many, decades I have heard numerous stories and many of them strange. Stories: defying all reason and logic. I believe some myths have an element of truth to them.”
“It is a waste of time and I don’t believe it for a minute. You’re both nuts.” answered Penoit with a growing passion.
“But, mon ami, it may be true.” joined in Cairto.
“It has been said, ‘there are grains of truth in all legends,” added Rohnonay waving a pointed finger.
“They say a lot of things and next to zero of them are true. Which is one of the reasons I don’t believe in them.” snapped Penoit. “Now, gentlemen pardon me for it is time for my nap. Rohnonay, please take your guitar and your change of the purchase and leave. Cairto, would you please, be so kind and help my old friend out the door. I am tired.”
Rohnonay glare in disbelief. “I will take the guitar...merely for practice. You can keep the gold. I will give you another bag when you have made the Elvenwood Guitar.” With that he quickly and carefully packed the guitar and stormed out (without Cairto’s assistance). Cairto merely shrugged his shoulders and followed the old bard to his horse and carriage.
Penoit quietly closed the door behind them and said, “What nonsense.”
Welcome one and all to Gaulay.com! This is my first web site and I am excited by it. Of course, it is still in the experimental stages which means mistakes will be made. I also will be doing some stupid stuff (mainly for the fun of it and not to be mean or offensive).
So please, stick around
JOOMLA! may or may not be easy and/or require much knowledge of HTML, but I do know it is challenging. As time moves forward Joomla and I will become more creative and fun and this means much to me at this juncture. Putting aside my cynicism, I am looking forward to creating web sites for those out there that desire and need class and quality as well as user-friendly functionality, so please stick around.
I like a number of things.
One: is having a relationship with God.
Two: my wife. She has put up with me for eighteen years and is my number one fan and cheer leader.
Three: my friends, some of whom who have made it possible for this exciting new adventure into web designing for me.
Four: art (I especially like pen and ink and water color).
Five: books (fantasy, science fiction, history, the Bible and sometimes a biography).
Six: guitars. I like Martins, Gibsons, and vintage Stella Harmonies. And, I really love twelve strings guitars.
Seven: harmonicas, (my favorites are Suzukis).
Eight: music (flamenco, bluegrass, blues, sixties rock, and recently a rediscovery of an old fondness for classical music).
Nine: surfing the internet, reading commentaries and participating in on-line forums.
And ten: food, especially Mexican.