Part of the excitement of the Songmakers Festival was the fact that everything happened so quickly.
Vinnia had only a week before she had to choose which three Singers would compete in the Festival. Of course, she had her preferences - the trio of Casady, Rune, and Morgance. But she couldn't make her preferences known.
At the most, Vinnia could only allow herself to choose two of the trio.
Casady would, of course, be one of them. He was the most levelheaded of the three. Not to mention that his voice was absolutely captivating...Vinnia shivered. Casady reminded her so much of herself several years ago...
But those days are gone. Over. Done with. Focus on the present, Vinnia. That's the only way to survive.
Why did survival have to be so rough?
Much to Vinnia's anger, the Head Trainers always had to present a well-worded, well-choreographed song at the beginning of the Festival. Vinnia, who had long since given up trying to get on the Force's good side, had always simply gone along with the others' ideas, purposefully and selectively Singing so as to make her voice sound as unimpressive as possible.
The next seven days flew by, and as Vinnia listened to her students and decided which ones would progress to the competition, she knew it was only a matter of time before the winds of rebellion picked up. If she guessed correctly, there were others who were wearying, too.
Eventually, the fateful morning in which Vinnia chose her three students came. Trace, who had been acting abnormally quiet and aloof lately, was late. He'd been late quite frequently in the recent days.
Finally, the door swung open, and Trace entered.
"There you are," Vinnia said, trying to put cheer in her voice.
Trace nodded, face blank. "Hello," he said. Then, he shook his head. "I'm sorry. The past few days have been...rough." He kissed Vinnia's cheek, ignoring the fact that all the students were watching. "You look lovely. Are you nervous?"
Perplexed by Trace's mood swing but trying not to show it, Vinnia sighed. "You bet I am."
The students waited patiently. Vinnia did not meet their eyes. Instead, she stared at the wall behind them all. Making eye contact in the present situation was difficult.
"Before I choose the three, I want you all to know that your progress is astounding. One of you hadn't even Sung until a week ago." There. Morgance was already looking irritated. Good. "But I want you to know that only three of you are good enough for the Festival. This choice was not a hard one to make."
Morgance looked as though she was about to kill Vinnia, right then and there.
"The three students who will progress are Lisha, Casady, and..."