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| Category: || Fantasy Fiction |
Posted:|| April 24, 2016 Views: 524|
Chapter 7 of the book The Piper
"The Piper, part 7"
Piper, a young musician, risks leaving the protection of the castle and the city gates one evening, and spends the night playing his flute at his grandfather's grave. A Fae appears--a creature considered swift, strong and deadly--and compliments Piper's flute playing. As the Fae approaches Piper, a 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, then leaves. That evening, Piper goes with his friend Rupert to a concert in the grand hall. Before the concert begins, Troubadour Braun asks Piper to retrieve a lute for him from the guild's collection. As Piper leaves the grand hall, the Fae follows him. Whatever his intentions, the Fae is interrupted when Piper is visited by Captain Burkehart.
Ending of the previous chapter
The Fae nodded at Burkehart--a taunt. There would be no confrontation. No other guards were within earshot, and there were too many people around. Besides, Burkehart had to hurry to be at the city gates when the Duke arrived or risk losing his position.
Redd-Leif Summerstorm turned to merge into the crowd. His smile turned into a smirk. Well, Burkehart, you may have interrupted my plans, but I have certainly put a thorn in your side for the evening.
Rupert held up a tunic. "What about this one?"
"It should go in the trunk. I want to save it for when I get back." Piper selected an item of clothing from those arranged in front of him and placed it in his bag. Then he paused with a dreamy look on his face. "These past few days have been incredible."
"So, am I forgiven for not saving your seat?" Rupert taunted.
Piper smiled. "I admit I was upset when I returned to the grand hall with the lute for Braun and looked over to where you were sitting. There wasn't an inch to spare. I thought I was going to have to stand in the hall with the overflow crowd and just listen to the performance."
"Hey, I tried. You saw those guys, right? They were all bigger than me. What could I do? Besides, it worked out in your favor anyway."
"Yeah, it did." Piper's smile got even bigger. "When Troubadour Braun offered me a seat among the performers, I couldn't believe it."
"Good thing you always carry your flute or you would have been just a prop on the stage."
Piper patted the flute at his side. "Yeah, I was lucky."
"That duet you played with Braun was incredible." Rupert placed several items of clothing in the trunk then turned to look at Piper, a smirk on his face. "You sure you didn't practice with him beforehand."
"You know I didn't. I haven't seen Braun for years, not until he walked into the grand hall the other evening." Piper shrugged. "Besides, it is a common enough tune."
"Sure, everyone knows it. But to perform a duet the way you two did in front of a crowd? That was amazing. The Duke and Duchess loved it." Rupert got a mischievous twinkle in his eye. "And so did half the girls in the audience. Now they all giggle every time you walk past and say, 'Oh, Piper won't you play your flute for us?' And rumor has it that Lady Elise is sweet on you." Rupert increased the teasing in his tone. "Who knows, maybe you'll be the next duke."
Piper rolled his eyes. "You are crazy. I was as surprised as anyone that Troubadour Braun suggested I perform that duet with him. I followed his lead, put in a few flourishes, we connected musically, and it seemed to go from there."
"Don't we need to start calling him Master Braun?"
"You're right. After this morning that is his new title."
"Oh, I don't know," a voice said from the doorway. "The official ceremony isn't until this evening. Until then, I'm still technically a troubadour."
"Braun!" both boys called at once.
"Congratulations." Piper crossed the room to greet Braun. "They couldn't help but make you a master after your performance the other night. The crowd loved it."
Braun smiled. "It was a nice homecoming. I've been away far too long."
"Yeah," Rupert said, "you know how to put a show together."
"Thank you." Braun bowed, sweeping his hand with a flourish and stepping into the room. "How's the packing going?"
"Great. Hey, Troubadour ... I mean, Master Braun."
Braun laughed. "Yes, Piper?"
"Hey, I appreciate you taking me with you so I can get up north and see the estate my grandfather left me. I'd forgotten about it. He so seldom mentioned it."
"No problem. I'm excited to have you join me, and the visit to your estate should only take us a day or two out of the way. It will fit perfectly into our tour."
"I expect to learn a lot from you while we are traveling."
Braun beamed. "Thank you, Piper. You'll be the first apprentice to join me. Maybe the arrangement can become permanent when we return. I'll get an official residence then and can start building my school of performers. I can hardly wait."
"So, will you stop traveling?" Rupert asked.
"No, I want to keep traveling, just not as far or for as long. It will be nice to have a home base after all these years." Braun glanced over at the bags and clothes. "It looks like you are about finished packing."
Piper nodded. "I tried to follow your instructions. A change of traveling clothes, a couple of performance outfits, but keep it light. I'll take my flute and maybe a fife."
"Good lad. We'll have a few donkeys, but they'll carry our food and some of the bigger instruments. You'll have to carry most of what you need." Braun gave an approving nod to Piper. "I'll leave you to finish up and see you at the ceremony." Then he turned to Rupert. "Do you have time to assist me with some preparations?"
"Me?" Rupert beamed with surprise and delight at the request. "Yes, I do, Master Braun. See you later Piper."
Piper smirked at Rupert and nodded at Braun. "See you at the ceremony."
After Braun and Rupert left the room, Piper picked up his new satchel and sat on the bed. He ran his finger over a grey fringe poking out of a pocket he hadn't noticed before. Piper pulled at it and an object emerged from the pocket. The missing quill from the Grand Master's chambers? Strange. How did it get in my satchel? Who could have put it here? Out of curiosity, he put his hand into the mysterious pocket and retrieved a piece of folded parchment. Carefully, he unfolded it. Elegant script proclaimed,
The Black Forest Fife is yours by birthright
Secure its song
"The Black Forest Fife is mine? What Black Forest Fife? And secure its song?" Piper shook his head. "What does that mean?"
"I can explain if you would like," a soft friendly voice said.
Piper looked up to see a figure leaning against the door jamb, arms folded across his chest. The tunic he wore was colorful, hitting him mid-thigh, and was accented with a gold belt. His breeches, leggings and slippers matched the tunic. The overcoat was a deep russet-brown and flowed down to mid-calf. A large hat fit down over his ears. He could pass as a troubadour already dressed for the evening, but the pale blue eyes that seemed to search into Piper's soul revealed exactly who it was.
"Good evening, Piper." The Fae grinned. "It's difficult to catch you alone, my boy. If you have a few minutes to spare, we need to talk."
Piper rose to his feet. "May I ask why, sir? Sorry, I don't know your name."
"You can call me Redd-Leif." The Fae uncrossed his arms and stepped into the room. "And we need to talk because your grandfather was to impart certain information to you on your fifteenth birthday. I am afraid that task now falls to me."
Piper sighed. "My birthday isn't until Friday."
"And you will be on the road, traveling to Hanover City." Redd-Leif stepped closer. "A few days early shouldn't hurt anything. But if you insist on being official, I suppose we could wait until midnight on Thursday."
A movement in the doorway caught Piper's attention. He leaned to the left so he could see past Redd-Leif.
"Good evening, Captain Burkehart." Piper noted that the Captain was fully armed, a hand resting on the hilt of his sword. From the corner of his eye, Piper saw Redd-Leif stiffen.
"Good evening, Piper, and to you as well, Troubadour."
|The book continues with The Piper, part 8. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
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