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| Category: || Fantasy Fiction |
Posted:|| June 7, 2020 Views: 203|
Chapter 37 of the book The Piper
"The Piper, part 37"
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 where Piper begins to learn about his heritage and the magic in the music he wields.
End of Previous Chapter
Piper took a deep breath and blurted out, "What if I told you, I truly am half-Fae?"
"Yeah, sure you are." Rupert gradually stopped laughing and his smug expression slowly dissolved as Piper remained solemn. He whispered, "You're serious?"
Piper nodded. "I am."
"Redd-Leif Summerstorm is my father; his elven wife, Melodica, is my mother."
Rupert gaped at Piper for a full minute. "That means you're...you're an elemental."
"Yes, it does."
Piper held his breath as he watched the silver-blue light of Fae Grove flicker across Rupert's astonished face. Come on, Rupert. Give me a clue. What are you thinking?
Suddenly, an enormous grin enveloped Rupert's face and lit up his eyes. "You're an elemental! Piper, that's wonderful. Wait until they hear about this back at the castle."
Piper let out a huge sigh as the knot in his stomach dissipated. "Ah . . . could we keep it a secret between the two of us? Not everyone likes elementals. Fact is, I'm still getting used to the idea myself."
Rupert gave a sharp nod of his head. "You bet. Our secret." Rupert chortled with glee and nearly shouted, "My friend is an elemental." He gave a furtive look around. "It is alright to say that here, isn't it? We're surrounded by elementals. They know, don't they?"
"The ones I've met do."
"Who else knows?"
"You're the first person I've told." Piper shook his head. "It sounds so strange. I have a whole family I never knew about."
"But, I'm the first human to know?"
"Yes." Piper chuckled with relief. "You are the first."
Rupert did a little dance but stopped abruptly at the sound of someone coming up the path.
Three elven youths, a couple of years older than Piper, stepped out of the shadows. All three were dressed in hunting gear, with quivers and bows slung over their backs, knives and hatches at their waists.
"Hello, youngsters," the tallest elf said. "Having fun pretending to be Fae, I see." He looked at Piper, then at Rupert. "I don't believe I've met you two before, but then we have been away for a few weeks. My name is Falcon. These are my friends Robin and Blue Jay."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Piper and this is my friend Rupert."
"Rupert?" Falcon looked puzzled.
"They're musicians." Robin pointed at Piper. "See the flute he has hanging over his shoulder? And the other one was dancing when we walked up."
"That makes sense." Falcon kept his gaze fixed on Piper and Rupert. "The spring festival is coming up. You here to help with the entertainment?"
"No. We didn't know about the festival," Piper said.
"We were attacked by wolves. Redd-Leif Summerstorm saved us and brought us here," Rupert added.
"Lord Summerstorm?" Blue Jay looked amused. "He's known for being a wolf's worst enemy."
Falcon assessed Rupert. "I guess that explains the plaster mold on your arm. Broken?"
"Yes, in the attack. The elven healers say it can be removed next week."
"Elven healers?" Falcon frowned. "You're human?"
"Rupert's human, but Piper's my brother." Lynx stepped into the circle, a big smile on his face. "Hi, Piper."
"Lynx. How long have you been there?" Piper asked.
"I just got here. The game was over so I decided to come find you."
"I thought you had a familiar look to you." Falcon circled Piper and then stopped in front of him. "So, the changeling prince comes home at last."
"Changeling prince?" Piper asked.
Blue Jay stepped closer to Piper. "Word is you were switched for a human prince at birth and raised in a castle. That would make you a changeling, wouldn't it?"
"I did grow up in a castle, but I'm not a prince."
"No?" Falcon looked at his two friends. "I guess we are mistaken. Who are you?"
"My name is Piper Strauss."
"What?" Lynx looked shocked.
Falcon's next words were full of sarcasm. "So, you're not Summerstorm's lost son?" Falcon smirked. "I thought Lynx said you were his brother."
"Well . . . he did . . . I am . . . I . . ." Piper looked at Lynx, hoping for help.
"And your name is Piper Strauss." He turned to Robin and Blue Jay. "Did you hear that? He chose his human name over his elemental one." The three of them laughed. Falcon turned back to Piper. "What? Isn't being elemental good enough for you?"
"It's typical of a changeling," Robin said.
"Yeah, you never can be sure what side a changeling is on," Blue Jay chimed in.
Lynx stepped between Piper and the tall elven youth. "Falcon Grove, you leave my brother alone."
"Oh, look. The changeling prince had a bodyguard. Probably had guards to protect him at the castle too." Falcon turned to Piper. "Were the guards at the castle more than ten years old? Or did you hire the great hunter here because he's your brother? But, if your only weapon is a flute, I guess anyone who can . . ."
Falcon choked on that last word as Lynx punched the older boy in the stomach so hard it doubled him over. Falcon glared at Lynx. "You little . . ."
"Is there a problem here, boys?" a mature voice sounded behind them.
They all turned to look at the newcomer.
"Master Raven." Lynx nodded in welcome to the hunting master.
"Well?" Master Raven folded his arms across his chest, a stern look on his face. "Falcon, you honoring your code by watching out for the younger elementals?"
Falcon straightened up. "Of course, Master Raven. We, ah . . . were just welcoming Piper and his friend to Elfhaven."
"That is good of you. I believe Piper entered our realm yesterday afternoon. There will be a lot he'll want to see. Thank you for your kindness."
"It is our privilege, sir."
"I'm glad you think so, but I hope you won't mind if I take over and show Piper around myself. I met him yesterday, but we didn't get much time to chat. I've anticipated his arrival for a long time and I'd like to get to know him better."
"We defer to you, Master Raven," Falcon said. "Piper, Rupert, I hope you enjoy your stay in Elfhaven." He turned so Raven couldn't see the sneer on his face. "See you around, Lynx."
"Before you go, may I ask how the hunting went?" Raven asked.
"It went well, Master Raven. We brought back more than we anticipated."
"Good. I look forward to a full report tomorrow."
"You shall have it, sir." Falcon inclined his head toward Raven. "If you will excuse us, we will be on our way." Falcon motioned to his friends. "Robin, Blue Jay, come. We have things to do."
Lynx glared at the three departing youths as they strode away, then turned to the master hunter. "Master Raven, I . . . "
"I saw." Raven raised an eyebrow. "Your reaction was a bit excessive, wasn't it, Lynx?"
Lynx shrugged. "They were teasing Piper."
Raven chuckled and reached over to rumple Lynx's hair. "Why is it you always go for the biggest prey you can, little hunter? We need to work on your strategy so you grow up to be a big hunter." He nodded to Piper and Rupert. "If you want to catch the moonrise and the appearance of the moonbows, we'd better head to the falls."
Lynx stepped forward. "Master Raven, could I talk to Piper for a minute? We won't be long."
"Of course. Come on, Rupert. You can catch me up on your story while we wait for them."
Piper watched Rupert follow Master Raven from the grove and turned to his brother. "What's up, Lynx?"
"Shush. I want to make sure they are far enough away that they can't hear us."
"Alright." Piper waited as Lynx listened for the others to be out of range.
With a defiant frown, Lynx turned on him. "Why did you tell them your name was Piper Strauss?"
Piper took a step back. "It's my name."
Lynx balled up his fists. "Maybe in the human world, but not here. You're a Summerstorm and you should be proud of it. We are the last of the Fae, and people respect us for it. Brownies insist on cleaning our house for free. People visit to pay respect to Papa and honor him because most of the Fae died protecting them in the Human-Elemental War. We are descended from the oldest elemental race and we have a responsibility to honor the Fae and the Summerstorm name."
Piper was quiet for a moment. "I didn't know. No one ever told me."
"Well, I'm telling you now. You may be my older brother, but you have a lot to learn."
Piper nodded, a sheepish look on his face. "I guess I do."
Lynx's jaw tightened in a manner that reminded Piper of Redd-Leif. "And your name is Piper Summerstorm, you hear? If Mama hears you say anything else, it will make her cry." With that, Lynx stalked away.
Piper stood stunned as Lynx receded into the night. Piper Summerstorm? I hadn't even considered . . . Piper took a big gulp of air and called out, "Lynx, wait!" and ran to catch up.
|The book continues with The Piper, part 38. 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
* Lady Spring = Wife of Master Crescendo
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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