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5-7-5 Poetry
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 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: November 28, 2015      Views: 553
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Favorite saying by Albert Einstein, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

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Chapter 4 of the book The Piper
Market Day
"The Piper, part 4" by w.j.debi

At sunset, Piper, a young musician, leaves the protection of the city just before the city gates are about to close for the night. As he heads out of the gates, a city guard warns Piper of dangerous things in the darkness and offers to wait by the city gates to let him in when he returns. Piper spends the night at his grandfather's grave, mourning and playing his flute. A Fae appears--a creature considered swift, strong and deadly--and compliments Piper's flute playing. As the Fae approaches Piper, the city guard comes to the rescue. The Fae disappears into the forest at the appearance of the guard.

Ending of the previous chapter
Patchy moonlight filtered through the trees. An owl hooted somewhere in the distance. Piper held his breath and strained to hear or see something out of the ordinary. He glanced at Burkehart and noted the tense and wary stance of the warrior prepared to deal with any threat he might encounter. Otherwise, the graveyard and the neighboring forest were silent.

Without looking at Piper, Burkehart said in a low voice, "We'd better get moving. That Fae isn't the only dangerous thing out here, and who knows if he is lying in wait to greet us somewhere along the way. Keep up and stay close."

Burkehart took a few steps, then looked back at Piper. "Come on, lad. Move it."

"Yes, sir." Piper took one last look at his grandfather's grave, glanced toward the nearby forest, then trudged after the guard.

Chapter 4

"Tell me again," Rupert begged as he and PIper made their way through the booths of market square.

"Shush! Not so loud," Piper warned. He glanced around at the merchants calling out to advertise their wares, the entertainers performing their tricks, and the shoppers milling about the various booths. The smells and sounds of people, animals, produce and merchandise filled the air. Although it was unlikely that anyone was paying much attention to two young apprentices above the hustle and din, Piper wasn't eager to attract undue attention.

"But you saw a Fae. And Burkehart? You were really rescued by Captain Burkehart? Burkehart, the Captain of the Guard, Burkehart?"

"Yes." Piper said in a low voice, the color rising slightly in his cheeks. "I was really rescued by Captain Burkehart."

"Wow." Rupert was so giddy with excitement that he nearly knocked into a woman walking past with her husband.

"Hey!" the man yelled.

"Sorry. Beg your pardon, ma'am." Rupert bowed slightly, but otherwise didn't break stride. "So Burkehart just appeared out of nowhere? And when he brought you back, you entered through the dignitaries' gate. And you got to see his office and his weapons. What were they like? What kind of swords did he have? How many blades did he carry?"

Piper rolled his eyes. "Honestly, it was nothing. He brought me back to the city, took me to his office, and scolded me for wandering off on my own in the dark." At this point, Piper scrunched his face into a scowl, shook his finger and tried his best to sound like Burkehart. "Do you have any idea what that Fae could have done to you, young man? Or what other dangers lurk in the dark? No, I am certain you have no idea. Wolves. Bears. Thieves. Wild boars. Unspeakable dark things."

Rupert and Piper burst out laughing.

"And the Fae," Rupert asked between laughs, "did he have pointy teeth?"

"Sharp, jagged, razor-sharp spikes." Piper raised his hands, his fingers curved in a threatening manner.

They laughed again, but were immediately distracted by the aroma of food cooking a few rows over. It tickled their noses and tempted their taste buds with the promise of delicious delicacies.

"Oh," Rupert moaned, "I'm hungry."

"I know. You always are." Piper grinned at his skinny friend. "Say, why don't you go ahead. I need to purchase a new satchel. It will only take a few minutes and I can meet you at the food booths. We can eat as we walk back to the guild."

"If you're sure?" Rupert was already stepping in the direction of the food booths, licking his lips in anticipation.

"Yeah, I'm sure." Piper waved him off. "Go on."

A leather goods merchant was hawking his wares nearby so Piper went over to inspect the bags, pouches and satchels on display. The shoppers of the midday market were bumping and squeezing past each other in order to get to the next booth, or stopping to check over the leather goods merchandise before they made a purchase or just moved on. Bags were displayed on a table. Some hung from hooks on a display stand. Piper picked up a satchel and gave it a brief look, then set it down and admired a beaded bag hanging from a hook.

"If that is the size you are looking for, then I recommend this bag. The tanning of the leather is superior to that one and the stitching is finely done. It will last for years."

A plain satchel of soft leather was handed to him.

Piper looked up at the person standing next to him and froze. Those pale blue eyes studied him just as they had a week ago. The individual wore a cowl, a wise move since Piper knew the shape of the ears underneath that hood would attract unwanted attention. The Fae was taller than Piper remembered, and his obvious physical prowess intimidating.

"So, Fae have sharp, jagged, razor-sharp spikes for teeth do they?" The Fae flashed a smile that confirmed his smooth, white teeth were not unlike Piper's own.

The bag he was holding was suddenly interesting, and Piper concentrated on the stitching. He tested the handle and the flap.

"Cat got your tongue, my boy?"

"It's a good bag." Piper glanced at the Fae's hands and then at his face, the only skin the Fae presently exposed to the elements. There was no evidence of the silver-blue tinge. He looked like any other villager on market day. But then again, it was daylight. Legend had it that a Fae's skin only took on a silver-blue hue in direct moonlight.

The Fae's eyes twinkled. He raised an eyebrow. "Well?"

"What do you want with me?" Piper whispered.

There was a pause as the Fae discretely surveyed the area. The leather goods merchant was helping another customer. The merchants on either side were busy enticing potential buyers. Nearby shoppers were intent on examining the wares. Apparently satisfied that they would not be overheard, the Fae leaned closer to Piper and said in a low voice, "I'll honor you by being direct. We need to meet. Alone. There are things your grandfather planned to share with you on your fifteenth birthday; things meant for your ears only. Unfortunately, his unexpected death means he will not have the opportunity to do as he planned." The Fae paused as a man passed by them.

"What sorts of things?"

"Not here. Not now. Meet me at your grandfather's grave at midnight on your birthday."

Piper hesitated. "Why would I do that? You might be luring me to my death."

The Fae shook his head. "If I wanted to kill you, my boy, you would have been dead long ago." A gentleness entered his voice. "I mean you no harm, Piper."

Piper studied the Fae's face. "How can I be certain of that?"

"I admit, you cannot, especially since you know so little about me." The Fae fixed his pale blue eyes on Piper's. "Look into your heart for the answer. It will guide you far better than your eyes or ears if you trust it."

Piper looked down and pretended to study the bag in his hands. He took a breath and exhaled. "I ..."

"Hello, young man. Can I help you?"

Looking up, Piper saw the smiling face of the merchant of the leather goods booth. A quick glance around confirmed the Fae had disappeared into the crowds. A sigh of relief escaped Piper's lips, but a twist in his stomach was growing.

"Are you interested in purchasing that satchel?" the merchant asked.

"Ah, yes. Yes, sir, I am." Piper took a breath to steady himself. "I'll give you three coins for it."

The merchant shook his head. "Come, now. It's worth four times that amount. I can't take less than ten."



The book continues with The Piper, part 5. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Thank you to Angelheart for the loan of her artwork, "Cosmic Celebration"
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