Ghost and bard...
With the proper schooling young Rune would be one of the greatest bards her world has ever seen. Even if only she knows it. Unfortunately, the daughter of a tavern wench at the Hungry Bear, no matter how talented, doesn't get much in the way of formal training. What she does get is frusrated.
One night, to back up a brag she probably wouldn't have made if she weren't so mad, she went up to play her fiddle for the Ghost of Skull Hill. Everyone knows that no one who has ever gone up Skull Hill at night has come down again. Not alive, anyway.
But when the ghost appears Rune strikes a bargain: if the ghost tires of her playing before morning her life is his; if he is still listening when the sun glints over yonder hill she will have earned both life and a sack of silver. Let the music begin.
Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born 1950) is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.
Her other main world is one much like our own, but it includes clandestine populations of elves, mages, vampires, and other mythical beings. The Bedlam's Bard books describe a young man with the power to work magic through music; the SERRAted Edge books are about racecar driving elves; and the Diana Tregarde thrillers center on a Wiccan who combats evil.
She has also ... (more)