Muse and Music – vision and inspiration

This link is to a YouTube video from 2 Steps From Hell. I do not own this, and if this is not permitted I will remove the link immediately.

2 Steps From Hell – Rise Above

Music is inextricably linked in my mind to writing. In fact, to every aspect of my creative endeavors. This piece has embedded itself in my mind, because in every part it mirrors Damien’s desperate ride back to Bonne Terre to warn his Queen of the impending attack. The images came of themselves; when I heard the piece for the first time I was just listening to 2 Steps From Hell, not even thinking of Spymaster.

It begins with Damien riding down out of the Breiche mountains, wearing a sheepskin coat and hat, then crossing the plains. The music changes, and he is making his way through the crowded streets of Brekkestad. He meets with his friend and contact, Marczyn, who hands him a pack of papers. Damien leafs through them, and stops on one.

Damien took the handful of papers from his contact and scanned through them. His hands froze on one, and he read it again, his breath caught in his throat. “You’re sure this is genuine, Marczyn?” he asked hoarsely.

The other man looked, and nodded. “I copied it myself. Is it important?”

“Yes—desperately…” Damien said in a fading whisper, then took a sharp breath. “I need a fresh horse.”

“Take mine,” Marczyn said, and gestured across the way to where a horse was tethered.

Damien was already crossing the allée, shoving the papers into his scrip. He mounted up and turned the horse, then tossed a purse to his friend, speaking urgently. “Marczyn, don’t go back there. Take your family and go somewhere safe.”


Damien reined back, and Marczyn saw his eyes were wide and dark with horror. Then he put heels to the horse, and it leaped away. But his answer burned in Marczyn’s mind long after— “They are going to start a war!”

You hear the slash of the reins as Damien charges away, and then his mad race across the plains and into the mountains, Gloriane’s voice and memory foremost in his mind.

He reaches the Palais du Monde at Bonne Terre, throws the horse’s reins to the groom standing there, and dashes for the stairs, scrambling desperate and breathless up level after level to get to his Queen.

He arrives at the Grande Concours and calls to her; she turns, sees the desperate horror on his face, and turns back for an instant and realizes what is about to happen. She turns back, points down the stairs, and screams her daughter’s name—and the Brekken ships fire.

It’s all there. All of it. It fits. And it gives me chills every time I hear it, because I SEE it, clear and vivid.