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 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: October 4, 2019      Views: 540
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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 25 of the book The Piper
"The Piper, part 25" by w.j.debi

Piper is a young musician whose grandfather has passed away, leaving Piper an orphan to be raised by the music guild where he is an apprentice. After the funeral, Piper returns alone to play his flute at his grandfather's grave, and a Fae appears--a creature considered swift, strong and deadly--and compliments Piper's flute playing. Captain Burkehart comes to the rescue and escorts Piper back to the castle. During the next few weeks the Fae approaches Piper on several occasions and says he has some secrets he needs to share, but each time they are interrupted by a vigilant Captain Burkehart. Meanwhile, Piper continues his musical education under the direction of the popular performer Master Braun, including traveling with a performing troupe. A wolf attack leaves Piper separated from the musicians and in the hands of the Fae, Redd-Leif Summerstorm who tells Piper he is half-Elven and Piper's Elven mother (Melodica) is alive and wants to see him.

End of previous chapter
Captain Burkehart selected a trail and followed it into the forest. It might not be Piper's trail, but it could eventually lead to the entrance of the faerie realm. The trail switched back on itself several times and finally disappeared. Burkehart returned to the clearing and tried following another trail with similar results.They know I'm here. How can I hope to trick the tricksters? He tried tracking a third trail which ended at a stream with no footprints on the opposite bank. After searching both banks for nearly a mile upstream and then downstream, Burkehart slumped to the ground and leaned his back against a tree. There has to be some way into the faerie realm. How do I find it?

Chapter 25

Piper didn't break stride as he stepped over the fallen tree crossing their path. Lynx, however, jumped on the trunk, bounced off and hopped for several steps. Though they walked side-by-side, Lynx's lively antics made his pace seem hurried and excited compared to Piper's leisurely gait.

". . . and Papa is right, you do look like Mama, tall and lean like an elf, but her hair is so dark green it looks like it's black unless she is in the right light. Your eyes are shaped like hers too, only her eyes are emerald green. Me and Serein have dark hair, but not as dark as Mama's, of course. I'm more like a Fae except for the hair color, but I guess you can see that, huh, Piper? It's hard to tell about Serein though. Mama says when Serein goes through growth spurts sometimes she seems more Elven and other times more Fae."

"I see." Piper reached up to brush aside a low-hanging limb so it wouldn't hit him in the face. As he did so, he glanced over his shoulder. Redd-Leif was still following several feet behind them. Piper felt the knot in his stomach tighten. If I believe what Lynx says, not only do I have an Elven mother and a Fae father, I also have a ten-year-old brother and a six-year-old sister I never knew existed.

"Your eyes are blue like Papa's and your hair is light, but more yellow than white, so not really like Papa's. Serein's eyes are blue too, only really bright blue. Mine are hazel, although people say they change color depending on my mood. See?" Lynx turned around and blocked the way, staring at Piper with his eyes as wide-open as possible.

"Yes, I see what you mean. They look kind of golden at the moment."

"Golden, really?" Lynx grinned, then turned and pointed to something up ahead. "Hey, look." Lynx bound away to investigate whatever it was.

Piper watched Lynx disappear into the forest and sighed. I'm not human at all. How can that be? I was raised human. I feel human. He turned and looked at Redd-Leif who had stepped up next to him. "Does he chatter like this all the time?"

Redd-Leif smiled. "When he is excited he can't seem to contain himself, much like the lynx he is named for. Those cats can make a real racket when they want to. And just like a lynx, the one time he is quiet is when he is on the hunt." Redd-Leif chuckled and raised an eyebrow. "You really need to watch out for him then."

Up ahead Lynx called, "Come on, Piper. Hurry. You have to see the pixies."

"Pixies?" Piper's brow furrowed. "Have we entered the faerie realm already? I thought there'd be some kind of magical entrance."

Redd-Leif shook his head. "No, we're not quite there yet, but we are close. Many elementals travel between realms so we will probably run into a few of them as we get nearer to the entrance. It won't be long now, my boy."

Piper inwardly cringed at "my boy." Redd-Leif meant the words literally. If Redd-Leif really is my father then why didn't he tell me sooner? Maybe, Captain Burkehart was right about the Fair Folk all along. Maybe, it is all a lie, a trick to get me to join them. But why? Oh, Rupert, if only I knew you were alright. . . But I don't know what's happened to you and I have to be sure.

Lynx called out, "Hey, Piper, what's taking you so long?"

"I'm coming." Piper turned and trotted in the direction of Lynx's continued chattering.

Once Lynx was in sight, Piper slowed to a walk. A group of pixies were talking with the young Fae. The pixies looked like perfectly formed miniature humans with wings, standing between four and six inches tall. If the legends were true, they could change size from being barely visible to as large as humans. Piper hesitated. What is the proper way to approach a group of pixies?

"Hey, Piper, I was just telling the pixies what a great musician you are and they want you to play something for them."

Piper smiled. That's right, pixies are supposed to love music. He reached for the flute at his side and began playing a tune as he walked toward them.

Lynx looked puzzled. "No, not like that, Piper. Master Crescendo says the pixies like lively tunes. They love to dance. Play something spirited, something they can really flit and zip around to. Play, "Midsummer," everyone loves that song."

Redd-Leif caught-up to them and placed a hand on Lynx's shoulder. "Remember, my boy, Piper hasn't met the Elven musicians yet. He doesn't know the tunes you know."

Piper smiled. "Let's try this instead." A jaunty, syncopated rhythm punctuated the air and the pixies went wild, yelping and shouting with excitement. Some remained on the ground, prancing and clapping with the beat. Others began flitting and darting through the air to the sprightly refrain. Lynx jumped up-and-down with glee, and Piper joined in by dancing about as he played.

Redd-Leif watched the two boys frolicking with the pixies. He felt a sense of . . . what? Pride? Relief? Fulfillment? Redemption for having left Piper behind fifteen years ago? Whatever it was, he was thankful Lynx had asked to join them on the journey home, and relieved Piper had agreed. Perhaps, Piper wanted another person around to act as a buffer between the two of them, or perhaps he found Lynx an eager font of information and was learning all he could. Whatever the reason, it warmed Redd-Leif's heart to see them together. Soon, his family would be complete. A wave of emotion welled in his breast and climbed into his throat. Redd-Leif reached to daub the moisture from the corner of his eye, then started clapping in time with the music.



The book continues with The Piper, part 26. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Cast of Characters

Piper = A musical apprentice, just turned age 15.

Rupert = A musical apprentice. Piper's friend, age 14.

Grand Master Raymond Acker = Head of the music guild. Piper's grandfather. Recently deceased leaving Piper an orphan under the care of the music guild.

Captain Burkehart = Captain of the Guard at Castle Welf

Redd-Leif Summerstorm = A Fae

Master Braun = Troubadour recently promoted to the rank of Master in the music guild at Castle Welf

Sheba = an enchanted creature in wolf form

Blue-Gale = Redd-Leif's brother

Melodica = an Elven female

Raven = Elven; master hunter

Lynx = Ten-year-old son of Redd-Leif and Melodica Summerstorm

Fair Folk = Refers to non-human races sometimes considered magic such as elves, Fae, brownies, sprites, gnomes, dwarfs, etc. Also called elementals.

Thank you to GaliaG for use of the artwork

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