The angel spoke an English dialect, “Mercia, is my name.”
Enchanted by her beauty, Jacob grinned and said, “My Lady, how can you speak to me, a dead soldier?”
“We are of a contrasting realm.” She passed her arms through the air.
“How can we warn the innocent?” Jacob looked among the unsuspecting faces.
“That is not your purpose, Jacob. Warning the people is not why you remain,” Mercia looked through Jacob’s eyes into tomorrow.
“What am I to do? Stand and watch the massacre?” Jacob shrugged, loosening his horn-pipes from his shoulder.
“Precisely, that is why I have arrived,” Mercia confessed; her eyes wild and her lips glistening, her glow just an illusion. Jacob stepped away.
“You know what is to happen.” Forcing his gaze upon her, Jacob folded his hands together as if to pray. “How can I warn these people?” He turned.
“You have much to learn, Jacob.” Mercia reached for his pipes, but he pulled away. ”Oh, you don’t want my help. Of course, it is always best to learn your own path.” Mercia left Jacob following her with his glare.
Jacob made his way to the edge of the city where the people could escape. He struggled to tell passersby to run. No one would hear his warning.
Jacob looked to the surrounding stone walls. The highest point located, he clambered there and rose to his calling. He could see the silhouette of ships moving through the coastal mist: one, two, three and more approached from the horizon. He fell to his knees. “What can I do, my God? I cannot sit and witness death’s consumption of these helpless souls.”
Jacob leaped to the task before him and took his pipes. He could yell no more. He cleared his throat and played. His chanter played the melody and the drone kept constant harmony. Jacob poured his heart through the horn with a ballad that all would recognize as the augur of impending doom. Urgency filled his every stanza. His tone came from the reaches of his being. He played a melody so real, a tone so alive, that it fell on the breadth of every whisper within its reach.
Witnesses stopped. They looked to the heavens and slowed their hurried progress. Voices asked of the doom that pricked their senses. One lad climbed the wall and stopped his incline a breath from Jacob’s shoulder, nearly knocking him backward. Alas, Jacob opened his eyes.
The commotion increased in a hurried and certain direction toward Jacob’s roost. The lad stood on top of the wall scanning the sea of now ten ships approaching. Jacob watched as the boy’s face turned a pale shade of stone, but his words could not penetrate his fear. Another citizen joined him on the ledge, scanning the seaward reach. He yelled a late warning to the masses. Jacob leaped down, put his pipes to his lips and walked toward freedom, playing liberty’s song; the music filled the people’s ears. They would follow.