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 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: January 16, 2020      Views: 511
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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 31 of the book The Piper
"The Piper, part 31" 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 (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
Master Crescendo enjoyed watching the bees buzz around his flower garden. Even more, he considered their pleasant humming sound some of the sweetest music in nature. So, why were they all so still at the moment? He walked around to the front of the cottage and listened intently. Flute music resonated in the distance. A musician was pouring his soul into his instrument. A musician who was so talented even insects and leaves took notice. A musician so naturally gifted he was unaware of his influence. A young musician who was in need of understanding by the sounds of it.

Master Crescendo smiled knowingly, stepped inside his cottage to retrieve his cloak, then started down the path.

Chapter 31
A bird sat quietly in the trees with its head cocked, as if trying to capture an exquisite melody it wished to imitate. Master Crescendo noted several other birds sitting on nearby branches exhibiting the same expression. Butterflies were still. A line of ants had paused in its busy trek of duties. Even the blades of grass and leaves on the trees seemed to be listening. Just like the bees in my flower garden.

Master Crescendo found himself humming as he walked slowly down the sunlit path, enjoying each note and musical phrase that floated his way. At first the music was slow and melodious, even a touch mournful. Then it grew more lively. Trills and runs extended from the flute's lowest to its highest notes, as if testing the range and versatility of both the instrument and its musician. Master Crescendo nodded. Ah, Piper, music is an understanding companion, isn't it? Nothing else responds so completely.

When Master Crescendo came over the rise, Piper was prancing about, enjoying himself. The High Mage continued forward until he was a few paces from the young performer, who was so caught up in his music he was oblivious to everything else. Master Crescendo waited patiently, swaying in place to the rhythm as he enjoyed the performance.

Piper finished an especially elaborate set of musical phrases, and paused to laugh at his own cleverness. "Too bad I don't have parchment and ink to write the music down while I still remember it."

"I think I can arrange that."

Piper started and turned to look at the High Mage. "Master Crescendo, sir. I ... was resting for a moment. I guess I lost track of time."

Master Crescendo smiled. "It's alright, Piper. I've been lost in music plenty of times myself. It drives my wife crazy, and some of my pupils and assistants as well." He walked over and sat on a log. "Improvising?"

"Yes, sir."

"So you compose music as well as play it. Lord Summerstorm said you were talented. I thought he was just being a proud father. Last night, I wasn't certain how much was your talent and how much was the Mage Flute. At last I get a chance to hear what you can do. You have spoken through your music and it has told me a great deal."

"Master Crescendo, I--"

Master Crescendo put up a hand. "What I had intended to do in our first meeting was to have you play so I could assess your musical ability and training. I think you have given me a good sample just now." He pointed to Piper's flute. "You always carry your flute so I assume it is your preferred instrument, however, knowing Master Acker, he would have trained you on others. What else do you play?"

"Most everything he had around: various pipes or flutes, lutes, lyres, harps, percussion, horns."

Master Crescendo again put up his hand. "Good."

"Of course, I'm more proficient at some instruments than others."

"Of course. You can demonstrate your proficiency on them later. What about singing? Did you inherit your mother's marvelous vocal cords?"

Piper grimaced. "Well, I used to sing quite a lot, but I enjoy playing instruments so I've concentrated on learning how to play as many of them as possible. Grandfather played the lute and sang. I usually accompanied on one instrument or another."

Master Crescendo smiled. "There's nothing wrong with that, though, if I were to guess, I'd dare say you have a beautiful singing voice. We can test it later as well. Sounds like you have an abundance of talent." Master Crescendo leaned toward Piper. "But there is one thing I want you to remember above all else." Master Crescendo looked Piper directly in the eye. "Follow your heart when it comes to your music. As you've demonstrated, when passion and talent combine, they are powerful."

Piper smiled. "Thank you, sir."

A bird started trilling in the distance. Master Crescendo paused to listen. "Ah, nature is returning to its normal routines now it is free of your enchantment."

Piper's brow furrowed. "My enchantment?"

"Yes." Master Crescendo leaned forward. "Has anyone ever commented on the affect your music has on things around you?"

Piper thought for a moment. "Well, obviously the audiences at musical performances, and sometimes those who listen at our practices."

"Obviously. Anything else? Perhaps, something about how your music affects plants or animals?"

Piper shrugged. "Sometimes the gardeners at Castle Welf joke that the ivy nearest the musicians' practice chambers grows faster and thicker than anywhere else on the castle."

Master Crescendo waited as Piper reflected further.

"When Redd-Leif left me alone in the cave, he told me to play my flute to keep animals away. He told me I should play the piece I played at my grandfather's grave or the one I played at the celebration for Troubadour Braun when he was promoted to master. Redd-Leif said they had deeper magic."

"Yes. Your father has some understanding of the magic of music."

Piper looked over at Master Crescendo. "Sir, we often say music is magical, but Redd-Leif was the first person who ever made me think it was something more than just a saying." Piper shrugged. "I wondered what he meant, but the topic never came up again."

"I see." Master Crescendo placed his chin in his hand and thought for a moment. "What I'd like to do," he finally said, "is head to my cottage and have you demonstrate what you know about composition and transcription. Perhaps, as you mentioned, you could commit what you were playing just now to paper and transcribe it for several instruments."

Piper grinned. "I would like that, sir."

"Excellent. I like your eagerness." Master Crescendo stood and clapped Piper on the back. "Let's get going. I'd also like to introduce you to some winged friends of mine."

Piper's eyes grew wide. "Faeries?"

Master Crescendo chuckled. "Something even better. Bees."


The book continues with The Piper, part 32. 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
*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.
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