As always, the player sat invisible in one corner of the studio, its face hidden by an androgynous porcelain mask that fitted so close it could really only be skin. A wide-brimmed, black hat cast a crescent shadow across most of its bone-white features except for the mouth, a painted-on slash that either curled up or down at the edges depending on what Natty was painting. Its body was wrapped in a shawl of a thousand patchwork colors that looked part Romany, part Tibetan, all Faerie. The instrument, a battered old friend from the foothills of Spain, was cradled across its lap like a child, and the hands that caressed it were ghost-pale and wrinkle-free. Ageless.
I think I'm getting very unforgiving in my old age; I put this aside after fifty pages of Celtic muddle, with an emotional setup for the two protagonists (fairy king and mortal woman) that did not make sense to me and bordered on some potentially abusive territory (he is wooing her by bonking her in her dreams). At the point I gave up, the narrative was about to switch to Australia with potential for hilarious culture-shock japes. Not for me, sorry.