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 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: February 13, 2016      Views: 549
Chapters:
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 ABOUT
W.J.DEBI 

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."

She is a top ranked author at the #92 position.

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Chapter 5 of the book The Piper
Braun
"The Piper, part 5" by w.j.debi



Previously
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. A week later, Piper is approached by the Fae while he is at the open market shopping for a satchel. The Fae says he has some secrets he needs to share and invites Piper to meet him alone.


Ending of the previous chapter
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 that 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."



Chapter 5

"This is perfect," Rupert said as he and Piper settled themselves in an out-of-the-way corner of the castle's grand hall.

"Yes, it's my favorite spot. We can see everything from here. The entertainment should be good tonight, too. We haven't had a visiting troubadour in months." Piper waved to other guild apprentices that were taking seats across the room. "Good thing we got here early. The hall is filling up fast."

Piper scanned the hall and the entrances, taking in the sounds and sights of an audience anticipating a delightful evening. Would people be this excited to see him perform someday? If only. The odors of melting wax from the candles mixed with those of the burning coal in the fire pots that lit the room. Wood in the fireplaces popped and crackled and added their own scent. In addition to the thick tapestries that normally draped the walls, colorful banners on poles had been added to elevate the sense of festivity expected for the evening. People kept flowing through the doors. Only the center area where the entertainers would perform and the dais where the Duke and Duchess and their party would sit, remained open.

"They say Troubadour Braun has some great stories to share, and wonderful music, too," Rupert said.

"And news from other provinces. That's what I find most exciting." Piper continued to scan the doorways to see who was entering.

Rupert jabbed Piper with his elbow. "I can't wait until we are journeyman troubadours and we can see all those far away places for ourselves."

Piper beamed. "It will be exciting. Hey, look. Here comes the traveling troupe, and there's Troubadour Braun."

"You know him?" Rupert grinned with admiration.

"Yes. He was an apprentice when I first came here. I doubt he remembers me though. He's been gone for four or five years."

The chatter increased and a few people started clapping as the musicians entered. When Braun entered, some even rose to their feet.

Troubadour Braun raised a hand. "Thank you, folks. We are happy to be here, but we are just setting up at the moment. The performance doesn't start until Duke and Duchess Welf arrive. Rumor has it that will be sometime within the hour. In the meantime, we will be warming up the instruments and running in and out as we get ready, so please relax and ignore us for the moment."

The audience settled back and conversations returned to a dull murmur throughout the hall. Piper tried to relax, but found that no matter what he and Rupert talked about, his attention remained on the musicians, especially Braun.

Troubadour Braun spent several minutes testing instruments and then paused with a lute in his hands. He raised his eyes and looked around the hall as if searching for something. Then his eyes came to rest on a particular corner of the room and his face broadened into a wide smile. "Piper!"

Piper smiled back and waved. "Hi, Braun!"

"Hey, Piper, can you join me over here?"

Without hesitating, Piper turned to his friend. "Save my seat, will you, Rupert?"

"Of course." Rupert gave him a playful punch on the arm as he rose to go. "See you soon."

Those seated in front of Piper parted the way so he could reach the performance area, and he was soon standing next to Troubadour Braun.

"It's good to see you again, Piper," Braun said in a low voice meant only for Piper to hear in the noisy hall.

"Hi, Braun. I am surprised you remember me." Piper attempted to match the private tone that the troubadour had set.

"What? Grand Master Raymond Acker's grandson and the child prodigy of our guild? Come now, how could I forget? We even played a few duets together as I recall. I admit you've grown a foot or two, but I'd recognize you anywhere. In fact, I have a proposal for you later. Right now, though, I need a favor."

"How can I help, Troubadour Braun?" Piper could hardly contain his excitement, but put on his best performance face since he knew so many eyes were on him as he talked to Braun.

Braun laughed. "You know, I've been called that for going on five years now, but somehow it seems odd coming from your lips. As I recall you used to follow me around and call, 'Braun, Braun, will you sing a song?'"

"I guess I was a bit of a pest. How did you put up with me?"

"Oh, I didn't mind. You were so talented yourself." Braun paused a moment to take a quick look around. "Say, I don't know where all the guild masters are hiding at the moment, or I'd ask one of them. You see, I've broken a string on my lute so I was wondering if I could borrow a lute from the guild. Do you still have a key to grandfather's chambers?"

"Yes."

"Could you run and get a replacement for me, just for tonight? I'll make it right with the masters later, but I don't have time to restring my own instrument before the performance."

"Of course. I'll be back as quickly as I can, Troubadour Braun."

Braun chuckled and shook his head. "Good, lad. I appreciate it, Piper."

With that, Piper set off toward the chambers of the Master of the Music Guild, his focus on the task at hand, and getting back to the grand hall as quickly as possible so he wouldn't miss anything.



A tall figure in a dark, hooded cloak had been watching Piper the entire evening and slipped out of the room to trail a short distance behind the young apprentice. He was careful to stay far enough behind Piper to avoid arousing suspicion from castle guards or other astute observers. Traveling in the same direction as someone else would not seem odd if done in a casual manner. After all, there were only so many paths one could take through the castle corridors.

As he passed an open window, moonlight flashed across his bare hand revealing a slight silver-blue hue to his flesh. The figure instinctively adjusted his cloak so that his hands were not visible and kept his face turned toward the inner wall. It was unlikely in all the hustle and bustle that anyone would notice the revelation made by the moonlight, but there was no sense raising questions if it could be avoided. Not tonight at least.

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The book continues with The Piper, part 6. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.
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