Veyrines is a small village of only about a hundred inhabitants, not far from Castelnaud in the Dordogne. It is unremarkable in nearly every respect, save for a regular occurrence every Spring. Over several days, a woman’s voice can be heard in the village square at around midnight, singing ascending and descending scales as though practicing for a performance. Once verified, messengers are sent to all of the valley’s towns and castles in order to announce an impending event: the appearance of a beautiful woman, a ghostly apparition, who will sing a lengthy elegy before disappearing again until the following year.
She is known as The Lady of Veyrines, and the annual event has become both the boon and bane of the small village. Typically, an audience of a thousand or more will descend there, packing itself into within ten feet of the place where she appears at night. The crowd spills out into adjacent streets and alleys, and the shops and houses which border the square become filled with spectators watching from every window. Scaffolding is hastily erected to support even more viewers.
Though the local inhabitants benefit economically from this short lived tourism, they also suffer the next day from the waste of these spectators, and from the petty crime that surges before The Lady’s performance. When the ghost sings, however, all are silently united in respect and astonishment, even those who can only hear and not see the apparition - such is the exquisite beauty of her voice. She never seems to notice her large audience, and once she and her song have faded away, the great throng departs peacefully and thoughtfully.
Her existence is as great a mystery as her lyrics. All agree that her song is one of lament for a lost lover, but though everyone who hears her is completely enthralled by them, her words themselves seem to fade from memory as swiftly as her beautiful form… and faster than any pen can record.
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