Filk Friday: Sun and Shadow

Friday, July 9, 2010

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For the Valdemar setting, Mercedes Lackey created the lifebond, a rare type of relationship where two souls become linked. It is not something that occurs by willpower, and no amount of magic can make it happen. Though many yearn for such a joining, the reality of it is much different than they realize. Poets and Bards make it sound like the epitomy of love, when it is about compatibility. Love nurtures the lifebond, but it is not part of the bond itself. Emotions resonate along the bond, so if one person is unhappy, the other will know it. It doesn't prevent misunderstandings and arguments, but the pair is forced to deal with issues promptly or suffer from reflected turmoil.

As one character in Winds of Fury notes about when a lifebond will happen, " is likelier that someone with an extremely powerful Gift of some kind and a tendency to deep depression will be lifebonded than someone who is not so burdened and hag-ridden. That's so the Gifted-and-suicidal half has someone outside of himself to keep him stable and give him external focus. But--all we know is that while it's rare, it isn't something to be yearned after."

Lifebonds are a frequent theme in the series. They occur at a higher rate among Heralds than the general populace. The Arrows trilogy has a couple pairings. Mage Winds and Mage Storms trilogies have characters yearning and/or actively seeking a pairing. Characters discuss how and when they occur. And there are legends about famous pairings.

One of the most famous lifebondings in Valdemaran lore is the story of Lythe Shadowdancer and Rothas Sunsinger. Fate rested heavily on these two lovers. Twilight was the only time they could be together. Lackey has specifically stated she has no plans to write their story in full, preferring to leave in legend, but there are a few songs about them, a whole CD now, called Sun and Shadow. But before that, I was tantalized by the mention of them in the Arrows books and a couple songs in the accompanying Arrows music collection, plus one in the Last Herald Mage music collection.

After they met, they faced many trials to gather the magic they needed to break the curses keeping them apart. But once they finally had the power, they faced the hardest trial yet: use the power for themselves or spend it to save two others. With pain in their hearts, they selflessly chose to free Windrider and Darshae from the clutches of a Dark magician. This act led to them being Chosen as Heralds, which later led to their eventual freedom and joy.

Here are the songs of their meeting and of the plight of Windrider and Darshae. The heartache grips me every time. Kristoph Klover (as Herald Kris) sings of their meeting, while Heather Alexander sings of their sacrifice.

If you enjoy these songs, I recommend picking up the CD.


Tahereh said...

thanks so much for the recommendation!

have a great weekend!

Jennifer said...

The Literary Soundtrack gave you an award. (Because your blog is just generally fantastic and we love it!) You can see it at

Jaleh D said...

I'm glad you both enjoyed this. And thanks so much for the award, Jennifer. You and Cannwin have a great looking blog yourselves. :D

Jai Joshi said...

I like this whole lifebond idea. It makes me think of true friendship and the love that inspires.


Jaleh D said...

What's funny about the lifebond is that it isn't love itself. Especially in Arrow's Fall, it is more like a powerful compulsion that can't be willed away. Two of the characters have a very powerful bond, but it isn't fully acknowledged by the two of them. The lady thinks that's what it might be and so does a couple of her friends, but the gentleman of the pair thinks he's just obsessed and feels guilty because he desperately wants to be with her but afraid his best friend is in love with her. Lots of conflicted emotions. So he keeps lurking near her, but if she tries to talk to him, he runs away. His confidence had been shattered by a previous experience. The whole situation made a fantastic source of conflict especially when mixed with kingdom politics and semi-personal issues with a few other characters in key positions.

When issues aren't taken care of promptly between a lifebond pair, there will be much suffering between them. And Lackey used that rule to great effect both directly in the plot and in story lore. Sunsinger and Shadowdancer couldn't help having their lifebond. It happened the moment they met before they had a chance to get to know each other. Without that lifebond, they would have simply met, maybe enjoyed each other's company during the time they had. Parting would have made them sad, but most people could have lived with it. They would have sought other people to be with instead. With the lifebond thrown in, they were forced to seek a way to end their curses, because they were compelled to need each other.

But even though the lifebond is not love, it does give love extra power. You know when your lifebond is in trouble. And when other Gifts come into play, there a things a lifebonded person can do for their partner that no one else can. Like pulling them back from the brink of death with just love and thoughts carried along the bond.

Brad said...

Sorry that it took me so long to get over here and check this out.
I'll admit that I really don't care much for the first one, but I can certainly feel the emotion.
I'm really liking this Heather Alexander one, though. Once again, the emotion comes through, and I find myself captivated by her voice.

Jaleh D said...

I don't expect everyone to enjoy everything. Some styles just aren't as appealing to one person as they are to another. Meetings is a long ballad that doesn't have a lot of melodic variety. Windrider Unchained is much more interesting from a musical standpoint.

But I keep trying to to study the anguish type songs to figure out a melodic/harmonic pattern I can use that will work for the one I wrote lyrics to for one of my backburner-story characters.

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