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Posted:|| December 19, 2019 Views: 386|
Chapter 29 of the book The Piper
The Mage Flute
"The Piper, part 29"
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 (Redd-Leif Summerstorm) 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 Redd-Leif Summerstorm who tells Piper he is half-elven and Piper's elven mother (Melodica) is alive and wants to see him. Redd-Leif then leads Piper into the faerie realm.
End of Previous Chapter
"I heard my friend Rupert is staying with you. Is he here?"
"No, I'm afraid not. We didn't know when to expect you. Rupert went with some of my students to provide entertainment for a celebration in the pixie village tonight. He will be back tomorrow."
"Oh." Piper smiled, trying to mask his disappointment.
Master Crescendo put a hand on Piper's shoulder. "The fact is, the timing works out perfectly. Much as I enjoy Rupert's company, it is good to have him away at present. You and I need to discuss some things that are meant for elemental ears only."
"May I see the flute?" Master Crescendo asked.
"My flute?" Piper reached to his side. "Of course, if you'd like."
Master Crescendo raised his hand like a conductor pausing an orchestra. "I'm sorry, Piper. I meant the Mage Flute."
Piper looked puzzled.
"Perhaps you know it by another name. Sometimes it's called the Black Forest Fife."
Piper shook his head. "I'm sorry, sir. I don't know what you mean."
"He does have it, Master Crescendo," Redd-Leif said. "I made certain he brought it with him when he left Castle Welf, but I felt it best not to tell him what it was." Redd-Leif turned to Piper. "It's the fife you brought as a back-up instrument."
"Oh." Piper nodded. "It's in my satchel. I'll go get it."
Lynx stood. "We took your things to your room. I can show you the way."
When they returned with the flute, Melodica met them at the door and led them back into the sitting room. Lynx went to sit next to Serein on a settee, a huge grin on his face. "Wow. This is so exciting."
Master Crescendo and his wife sat in chairs to the left of Lynx and Serein, and Redd-Leif was in a chair to their right. All of them watched Piper expectantly.
Melodica held out her hand. "May I?" Piper handed her the case and she opened it slowly. "The Mage Flute." Her tone had a hushed reverence to it. "I wasn't certain I'd ever see it again."
"Melodica," Master Crescendo asked, "may I see it?"
"Of course." She handed him the case and went to sit next to Redd-Leif.
Master Crescendo studied the flute for a moment before speaking. "Amazing. So amazing." He turned to Piper. "Has it spoken to you?"
Master Crescendo smiled. "I don't mean verbally. Have you sensed it communicate to your mind? Something that seemed like your own thoughts, perhaps, but somehow wasn't?"
"I've always felt drawn to it, but I don't think it's 'spoken' to me."
"I see." Master Crescendo looked disappointed.
Piper thought for a moment. "Wait. On the way here, I considered playing the fife. I thought it was my imagination, but the thought came to mind, 'Someday, Piper, but not today.' Is that the sort of thing you mean?"
A huge smile enveloped Master Crescendo's face. "Exactly what I mean, young man."
Melodica squeezed Redd-Leif's hand. "I told you he was the one. It's his birthright."
"Yes. It makes sense it would choose him." Master Crescendo looked at Piper. "Have you ever played it?"
"No, sir. Somehow, I felt it was too special."
Master Crescendo nodded. "Yes, it is very special. In fact, to protect it, we gave it to Master Acker to safeguard after the Human-Elemental Wars. Things were in such turmoil. So much was in ruins. We were afraid it might fall into the wrong hands and be lost or destroyed. As a master of music in the human realm, Raymond Acker seemed to be in the best position to protect it. Our enemies were unlikely to look for it in their own realm." Master Crescendo was silent for a moment as he gazed at the fife. "After he became Grand Master of the Music Guild, I believe he kept it hidden among the instruments at Castle Welf."
"Yes, sir. My grandfather, I mean Grand Master Acker, always handled this fife with great respect. As far as I know, he never played it. He showed it to me a few times when we were alone and I begged him to, but I don't believe he ever mentioned it to anyone else." Piper grew introspective. "I was never certain why, but I've always been curious about it."
"Understandable. We all hold the Mage Flute in great awe." Master Crescendo looked Piper in the eye. "Master Acker would not have been able to play the instrument. He was a good man, and he had some elven blood, but legend has it that only a worthy elf of the Glenn line can play this flute if chosen by it."
"The Glenn line?"
Master Crescendo nodded toward Melodica. "Your mother's line."
Melodica had a look of wonder in her eyes. "Its return is a great event for our family."
"For your family and for all elementals." Master Crescendo leaned forward in his chair. "Let me tell you a little about the Mage Flute, Piper. It is made from a special tree called a Mage Tree. The last tree was destroyed during the wars with the humans."
"Master Crescendo, would you mind if I told him?" Melodica asked.
"Please do, my dear. It is, after all, your family's story."
"Thank you." She turned to Piper. "You see, the mage trees were able to communicate with elves."
"The trees spoke?"
"In a way. We could hear their thoughts and they could hear ours. During the wars, the humans stripped and burned the forest. They especially liked the wood of the mage trees because it was so good for building. My ancestors did their best to save the trees, but it was no use. As the last mage tree was dying, she asked my great-grandfather to make three instruments out of her heart. She loved elves, especially our music. Though my great-grandfather and the other elves protested and said they would do all they could to save her, she insisted. There were no more mage seeds to plant, no mage saplings to grow to maturity. She wanted to leave something special behind so mage trees would not be forgotten.
"She requested the instruments to be a drum, a lute and a flute. Each instrument was endowed with magical properties because it came from her heart. The flute was the smallest of the three because it was made last, and there was only enough wood left to make a small fife. This wood came from the very center of the mage tree's heart. The instrument became known as the Mage Flute. Because the mage tree grew in the Black Forest, and because the flute was small, it is sometimes called the Black Forest Fife.
"It will only allow itself to be played by the best and most worthy of musicians. My father played it. He gave it to me shortly before he died and asked me to protect it. It never made a sound for me when I tried to play it, but then, my musical talent is with my voice, not so much with instruments." She put a hand on Piper's shoulder. "It is your inheritance, Piper. I would like to hear you play it if you can. Will you try?"
Melodica held the open case in front of Piper.
It is time.
Piper felt a prickling sensation on the back of his neck. That was my own thought. Right? Everyone watching me is making me nervous, that's all. He took the instrument in his hands. "It's so beautiful."
"Yes, it is." Melodica smiled encouragingly.
Piper put the fife to his lips, licking the wood of the mouthpiece with his tongue in preparation to play it. He took a breath and blew into the flute. One note, sweeter than he'd ever heard, floated on the air. He paused for a moment to savor the sound. With a second breath, he played a trill. A tingling sensation moved from his fingertips, up his arms and throughout his body. Then the tune he played at his grandfather's grave filled the cottage. Did I choose the music, or did the fife?
With each note, the tingling sensation increased. By the end of the tune Piper felt lightheaded. He removed the fife from his lips and stared at it. What are you? He swallowed, took a deep breath, then looked around the room.
Melodica was crying. "I knew it. You can play it. It has chosen you."
Everyone else was silent, but smiling.
Enough for now.
A shiver shot up Piper's spine. He stared at Melodica. "I ..."
Melodica returned an understanding smile. "A bit overwhelming?"
"Father always said playing the Mage Flute was intense. Perhaps we should put it away for now. When you are ready, you can play it again." She held the case in front of him.
Piper placed the fife back in its case, his fingers lingering a moment as if unable to release the connection. Even as he took a hesitant step back, he found it difficult to take his eyes off the instrument. Once Melodica closed the case, Piper's trembling fingers reached to clutch the flute hanging at his side.
|The book continues with The Piper, part 30. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
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
*Melodica = an Elven female
*Master Raven = Elf; master hunter
*Lynx = Ten-year-old son of Redd-Leif and Melodica Summerstorm
*Serein = Six-year-old daughter of Redd-Leif and Melodica Summerstorm
*Master Crescendo = Elven High Mage, First Sage of Music and Song
Elementals, also called Fair Folk by humans
*Fae = Oldest of the elemental races. Known as strong, swift and deadly by their enemies. Characterized by white hair and skin that shimmers silver-blue in direct moonlight. Usually taller than humans and muscular.
*Elf = Most numerous of the elementals. Often slightly taller and more slender than humans.
*Pixie = In their normal form they are six inches tall with wings, but they can change size to as large as humans or as small as a faerie.
*Faerie = Vary in height from one to three inches. Wings vary and can appear to be like those of dragonflies or butterflies.
Fair Folk = Name given to faerie races by humans. Refers to elves, Fae, faeries, brownies, sprites, gnomes, dwarfs, etc.
Thank you to jgrace for the use of the artwork "Golden Nostalgia"
and 2 member cents.
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