His Imperial Countenance, Lord Thaddeus VII the Imperfect, got to hold the candle. Lord Thaddeus always got to hold the candle. That's what separates royalty from us rubes. It was true back on the Old Sod, it was true on Saturnine, with its flute trees and its Endless Migration.
The candle stirred the chalk-white quickmoss on the nearest of the flute trees, the great blue beast of the tree changing its sighing pitch ever so slightly. Legend had it the first settlers went quite mad camped next to the Singing Forest. Me, I'd been recording the sounds off and on (in my leisure time, obviously, not on Lord The Imperfect's time, oh, no, no sir) learning every hum and whistle of the Singing Forest.
There were nine of us in Lord Thaddeus' retinue, not counting His Imperial Countenance Himself. Rocket weavers, pikemen, myself the bard, and the birders, the ones who'd spent their lives studying the birds of the Endless Migration.
Saturnine's air density is much greater than that of the Old Sod. The birds here never land but once in their lives, to lay eggs and then to die. They don't even have proper feet anymore, just long tails where their feet once were, useful for scooping up prey.
Pinktailed slimwings dodged around each other in the clearing. I wanted to take out my recorder; the birds were having some kind of effect on the trees. I knew better, though. I had dreams of performing the symphony, but that's all they were. I couldn't let them metastasize into hopes, into plans. Sometimes dreams are too precious for that.
It's only the royalty that create art. They're bred for it. The best and the brightest, the most intelligent, the most beautiful. A commoner's dalliance, no one's going to sit through that. One by one the slimwings circle the nearest tree, their tongues reaching to the quickmoss furtively. The candle has done its job, drawn out something—who knows—in the moss that attracted the birds. They responded to something deep and true and unknowable within themselves. Governed, as with their unceasing flight, by instinct.
We hold these truths to be self evident.