B02EP1

> Chronicles > Book 2 – Epilogue

Epilogue – Yríadel and the Piper

  • Contents:
    • Chapter 1 – Lost Dreams Remembered
    • Chapter 2 – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn



Chapter 1 – Lost Dreams Remembered

Yríadel marched along mechanically through the lush forest trails, mindlessly following the lead of three of her companions. Dodge was point man, as usual, followed closely by Glen and Kyran. They were her three, loyal, life-long friends, and the four of them had become inseparable once again, since she returned to Darford last autumn. Dodge trod forward confidently and effortlessly along the path, plowing down weeds with his heavy boots. His massively muscled arms hoisted his battle-axe like a hatchet, knocking down the occasional stray limb or vine. Angry birds chirped a warning as he passed by. Glen followed along in Dodge’s wake, stepping lightly and quietly, much in contrast to Dodge, and deftly stayed out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Though he loved the morning, the sun didn’t love him, and its rays made his albino skin sting and his pink eyes water. Kyran kept his wary eyes wide, ever alert in all directions. His long, black hair was pulled neatly into a ponytail, as usual, which provided a clear view of the typical gloomy expression on his tanned face.

Though her mind drifted elsewhere today, in simpler times Yríadel fondly adored the colorful diversity of the three: the fair-skinned, red-haired, giant-like Dodge; the nimble, albino, half-elf Glen; and the dark, enigmatic Kyran. And though her fair skin implied a shared Nordheimer ancestry with Dodge, her light, golden hair and tiny stature was in striking contrast. Together they formed an odd prismatic chorus of red, white, black and gold. She held deep affection for them, and often imagined herself as a lover to any one of them, or perhaps all three in turn, and she knew they were equally attracted to her, but her instincts warned her those scenarios would lead to trouble for their group, so she endeavored to suppress her desires as long as possible.

Behind Yríadel followed the beautiful Breena, leading her pony Rohese; Arragwyn the Fair, (arguably even more beautiful), leading her white mare Bleiki; Grimble Gromble the green-haired gnome; then Arrioch, son of Arrion, brother to Arragwyn. She silently called him “Arrioch the Arrogant”, though her civility prevented her from sharing that epithet with anyone else just yet. Sidric and Lee were rear guard, their senses constantly on alert for unexpected danger, though Sidric had a tendency to chatter a little too much. Arnfast and Magna were scouting ahead quietly, nowhere to be seen by the party most of the time.

The forest was absolutely beautiful to behold, and seemed to lighten most everyone’s mood, despite the hardship of their travel. It was a pleasant spring day and new foliage sprouted everywhere, threatening to devour the sparse road which wound through the ancient beeches. But for Yríadel, it was not the sights of the trees and wildflowers that distracted her. It was not the enticing smell of blossoming flowers, nor the hypnotic sounds of bird songs and insect buzzes. No, her thoughts were preoccupied by an amazing dream that clung to her thoughts like the cleaver burrs that kept sticking to the hem of her skirt.

It was not the first time this particular dream had invaded her awareness. Starting the very day after that unsettling encounter with Tinnfang Warbel the satyr, the dream had repeatedly intruded upon her sleep and her waking thoughts, as if begging for attention – demanding to be remembered in full. A wellspring of mysteriously familiar images continuously flooded into her head.

In addition to the recurring dream, she also struggled to cope with the fantastic revelations that Tinnfang Warbel divulged about her heritage. Especially the news that her grandmother Gyldenfeax, whom Yríadel had never known, was still alive and well, living somewhere in the forest with a gnome named Feligan Finch.

~ ~ ~ ~

The incident with Tinnfang Warbel had occurred several days ago, during the group’s journey toward the Sunken Citadel. As Yríadel slept in the predawn morning, she heard music in her dreams. When she awoke, the sun was rising and there was no music. Her mind was distracted and she remained quiet, even more so than her usual reserved demeanor. Her friends Dodge, Glen and Kyran had experienced the same dream, but none thought to speak of it at the time. The others in their camp were too concerned with their morning chores to notice that the four were acting strange and distant.

Suddenly all in the group heard the pleasing sound of musical pipes. Though Yríadel knew it was no coincidence, she could not resist the lure of the sweet, mesmerizing music. Together they pursued the source and discovered a marvelous green lawn, surrounded by crab-apple trees and weeping willows, whereupon lounged a magnificent satyr skillfully playing his pan-pipes. He was surrounded by a few small woodland animals, as if in audience. An abundance of birds flittered and hopped about in the branches above.

The handsome satyr proceeded to casually converse with them, as if he had been waiting for old friends, and was surprised when Yríadel admitted she did not know him. In response, he introduced himself: Tinnfang Warbel, he was called in Willowdale; Timpinen, among the elves and fey. He went on to explain that he had known Yríadel since the day she was born, and had retrieved her many times from wandering lost in the woods. During one particular instance, he expounded, he had even met with Dodge, Glen and Kyran, as they selflessly searched for her one long night. He inferred that perhaps they had forgotten him due to his enchantment – which causes forgetfulness upon children – and that their memories might be restored now that they were meeting him again as adults.

Throughout the remainder of that day Yríadel’s attention was caught up by thoughts of the satyr’s revelations, but luckily her wits returned promptly when she and her friends were ambushed by two squads of goblin raiders. In the following days, throughout the remainder of their quest, Yríadel remained vigilant and dedicated to her tasks, and had no time to ponder on the mysterious meeting. But since they ascended from the dark and dangerous confines of the Sunken Citadel, returned to the golden light of the sun and the grandeur of the starry night, memories of her childhood meeting with Tinnfang Warbel began to seep back into her dreams, then into her consciousness.

~ ~ ~ ~

At the end of the long day of travel, Yríadel and her friends reclined around a small cook fire. They were all very tired, so the conversations were short. One by one they ambled off towards their tents to retire for the night. Yríadel could stand the strain no longer. She had to talk to someone about her troublesome dreams. Kyran had the first watch for the evening, so she approached him. He sat outside the edge of their camp. His back was toward the fire, so its light would not adversely affect his ability to see into the night. She sat beside him and quietly confided her plight to him.

For a rare moment, their roles were reversed. As long as the two had known each other, it seemed that Yríadel was always the one to lend comfort to Kyran. And as far as she knew, she was the only one who could make him smile. They both had experienced feelings of alienation by their peers while growing up in Darford, but Yríadel’s presence consistently gave Kyran the strength and confidence to remain steadfast. Tonight it was Kyran who gave comfort to Yríadel. Mutually surprised, Kyran confessed that he had been having a similar dream, and he was equally relieved to be discussing it with her. Calmed by their dialog, Yríadel drowsily retired to her tent and slept soundly.

Over the next two days, as the group continued their journey back to Darford, Yríadel and Kyran included Dodge and Glen into their discussions. As they suspected, they were also experiencing the same mystifying ordeal. Eventually, between the four of them, they pieced together the full story of their propitious childhood meeting with Tinnfang Warbel, and henceforth many of their mysterious questions were answered.

Finally, they reached the safety of their home village. They each separated to rest their tired bodies for a few days and recuperate from their wounds. Yríadel slept for two whole days before she could muster the energy to rise from her cot. The enticing scent of her mother’s cooking motivated her to scrub her body clean and don fresh clothes.

On the appointed day, Yríadel joined Dodge, Glen and Kyran at the Darford Inn taproom for their weekly meal together. They were joined by Lee, Magna and their newest friend, Aiden. After their bellies were stuffed with delicious food, cooked with flavor by Trygil and served merrily by his daughter Alrica, and their heads were spinning pleasurably from the effects of the strong ale served by Drogo, Yríadel decided the time was right to tell their childhood story – now remembered.

Chapter 2 – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Note: The text for the following story was unapologetically borrowed and adapted from The Wind in the Willows, Chapter 7, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, by Kenneth Grahame. The events described therein transpired about 10 years previous, when Dodge, Glen and Kyran were all around ages 10 to 12; and shortly before the tragic death of Glen’s parents. The three were not yet friends with Yríadel, who was only about 8 years old. But after this experience the four were inexplicably drawn closer to each other, and their bond of friendship soon grew inseparably strong.

The Willow-Wren was twittering his thin little song, hidden himself in the dark selvedge of the river bank. Though it was past ten o’clock at night, the sky still clung to and retained some lingering skirts of light from the departed day; and the sullen heats of the torrid afternoon broke up and rolled away at the dispersing touch of the cool fingers of the short midsummer night. Glenlivet and Kyran lay stretched on the bank, still weary from the stress of the fierce day that had been cloudless from dawn to late sunset, and waited for their friend Dodge to return. They had been on the river, leaving Dodge to accompany his father Gedrik to keep an engagement of long standing with Yngvarr; and they had come back to find the house dark and deserted, and no sign of Dodge, nor Gedrik, who was doubtless keeping it up late with his old comrade. It was still too hot to think of staying indoors, so they lay on some cool dock-leaves, and thought over the past day and its doings, and how very good they all had been.

Dodge’s light footfall was presently heard approaching over the parched grass. “O, the blessed coolness!” he said, and sat down, gazing thoughtfully into the river, silent and preoccupied.

“You stayed to supper, of course?” said Glen presently.

“Simply had to,” said Dodge. “Father was visiting with Yngvarr and Thýri, and they wouldn’t hear of us going before. You know how kind they always are. And they made things as jolly for me as ever they could, right up to the moment we left. But I felt a brute all the time, as it was clear to me they were very unhappy, though they tried to hide it. Glen, I’m afraid they’re in trouble. Their daughter Yríadel is missing; and you know what a lot her father thinks of her, though he never says much about it.”

“What, that child?” said Kyran lightly. “Well, suppose she is; why worry about it? She’s always straying off and getting lost, and turning up again; she’s so adventurous. But no harm ever happens to her. Everybody hereabouts knows her and likes her, just as they do Yngvarr, and you may be sure someone or other will come across her and bring her back again all right. Why, we’ve found her ourselves, miles from home, and quite self-possessed and cheerful!”

“Yes; but this time it’s more serious,” said Dodge gravely. “She’s been missing for some days now, and Yngvarr and Thýri have hunted everywhere, high and low, without finding the slightest trace. And they’ve asked every person, too, for miles around, and no one knows anything about her. Yngvarr is evidently more anxious than he’ll admit. I got out of him that young Yríadel hasn’t learnt to swim very well yet, and I can see he’s thinking of the weir. There’s a lot of water coming down still, considering the time of the year, and the place always had a fascination for the child. And then there are — well, traps and things — you know. Yngvarr’s not the fellow to be nervous about any child of his before it’s time. And now he is nervous. When father and I left, he came out with us — said he wanted some air, and talked about stretching his legs. But I could see it wasn’t that, so father drew him out and got it all from him at last. He was going to spend the night watching by the ford. You know the place where the old ford used to be, in by-gone days before they built the bridge?”

“I know it well,” said Kyran. “But why should Yngvarr choose to watch there?”

“Well, it seems that it was there when he gave Yríadel her first swimming-lesson,” continued Dodge. “From that shallow, gravelly spit near the bank. And it was there he used to teach her fishing, and there young Yríadel caught her first fish, of which she was so very proud. The child loved the spot, and Yngvarr thinks that if she came wandering back from wherever she is — if she is anywhere by this time, poor little lass — she might make for the ford she was so fond of; or if she came across it she’d remember it well, and stop there and play, perhaps. So Yngvarr goes there every night and watches — on the chance, you know, just on the chance!”

They were silent for a time, all thinking of the same thing — the lonely, heart-sore father, crouched by the ford, watching and waiting, the long night through — on the chance.

“Well, well,” said Dodge presently, “I suppose we ought to be thinking about turning in.” But he never offered to move.

“Dodge,” said Glen, “I simply can’t go and turn in, and go to sleep, and do nothing, even though there doesn’t seem to be anything to be done. We’ll get the boat out, and paddle up stream. The moon will be up in an hour or so, and then we will search as well as we can — anyhow, it will be better than going to bed and doing nothing.”

“Just what I was thinking myself,” said Dodge. “It’s not the sort of night for bed anyhow; and daybreak is not so very far off, and then we may pick up some news of her from early risers as we go along.”

They got the boat out, Kyran in the bow, Glen in the stern, and Dodge took the sculls, paddling with caution. Out in midstream, there was a clear, narrow track that faintly reflected the sky; but wherever shadows fell on the water from bank, bush, or tree, they were as solid to all appearance as the banks themselves, and Glen had to steer with judgment accordingly. Dark and deserted as it was, the night was full of small noises, song and chatter and rustling, telling of the busy little population who were up and about, plying their trades and vocations through the night till sunshine should fall on them at last and send them off to their well-earned repose. The water’s own noises, too, were more apparent than by day, its gurglings and “cloops” more unexpected and near at hand; and constantly they started at what seemed a sudden clear call from an actual articulate voice.

The line of the horizon was clear and hard against the sky, and in one particular quarter it showed black against a silvery climbing phosphorescence that grew and grew. At last, over the rim of the waiting earth the moon lifted with slow majesty till it swung clear of the horizon and rode off, free of moorings; and once more they began to see surfaces — meadows wide-spread, and quiet gardens, and the river itself from bank to bank, all softly disclosed, all washed clean of mystery and terror, all radiant again as by day, but with a difference that was tremendous. Their old haunts greeted them again in other raiment, as if they had slipped away and put on this pure new apparel and come quietly back, smiling as they shyly waited to see if they would be recognized again under it.

Fastening their boat to a willow, the friends landed in this silent, silver kingdom, and patiently explored the hedges, the hollow trees, the runnels and their little culverts, the ditches and dry water-ways. Embarking again and crossing over, they worked their way up the stream in this manner, while the moon, serene and detached in a cloudless sky, did what she could, though so far off, to help them in their quest; till her hour came and she sank earthwards reluctantly, and left them, and mystery once more held field and river.

~ ~ ~ ~

Then a change began slowly to declare itself. The horizon became clearer, field and tree came more into sight, and somehow with a different look; the mystery began to drop away from them. A bird piped suddenly, and was still; and a light breeze sprang up and set the reeds and bulrushes rustling. Kyran, who was in the prow of the boat, sat up suddenly and listened with a passionate intentness. Dodge, who with gentle strokes was just keeping the boat moving while he scanned the banks with care, looked at him with curiosity.

“It’s gone!” sighed Kyran, sinking back in his seat again. “So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worthwhile but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it forever. No! There it is again!” he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound.

“Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,” he said presently. “O! The beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Dodge, row! For the music and the call must be for us.”

Dodge, greatly wondering, obeyed. “I hear nothing myself,” he said, “but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers.”

Kyran never answered, if indeed he heard. Rapt, transported, trembling, he was possessed in all his senses by this new divine thing that caught up his helpless soul and swung and dandled it, a powerless but happy infant in a strong sustaining grasp.

~ ~ ~ ~

In silence Dodge rowed steadily, while Glen controlled their direction with the rudder-lines, and soon they came to a point where the river divided, a long backwater branching off to one side. With a slight movement of his head Kyran directed his friends to take the backwater. The creeping tide of light gained and gained, and now they could see the color of the flowers that gemmed the water’s edge.

“Clearer and nearer still,” cried Kyran joyously. “Now you must surely hear it! Ah — at last — I see you do!”

Breathless and transfixed Dodge stopped rowing and Glen dropped the rudder-line as the liquid run of that glad piping broke on them like a wave, caught them up, and possessed them utterly. They saw the tears on their comrade’s cheeks, and bowed their heads and understood. For a space they hung there, brushed by the purple loose-strife that fringed the bank; then the clear imperious summons that marched hand-in-hand with the intoxicating melody imposed its will on Dodge, and mechanically he bent to his oars again. And the light grew steadily stronger, but no birds sang as they were wont to do at the approach of dawn; and but for the heavenly music all was marvelously still.

On either side of them, as they glided onwards, the rich meadow-grass seemed that morning of a freshness and a greenness unsurpassable. Never had they noticed the roses so vivid, the willow-herb so riotous, the meadow-sweet so odorous and pervading. Then the murmur of the approaching weir began to hold the air, and they felt a consciousness that they were nearing the end, whatever it might be, that surely awaited their expedition.

A wide half-circle of foam and glinting lights and shining shoulders of green water, the great weir closed the backwater from bank to bank, troubled all the quiet surface with twirling eddies and floating foam-streaks, and deadened all other sounds with its solemn and soothing rumble. In midmost of the stream, embraced in the weir’s shimmering arm-spread, a small island lay anchored, fringed close with willow and silver birch and alder. Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen.

Slowly, but with no doubt or hesitation whatever, and in something of a solemn expectancy, the three comrades passed through the broken tumultuous water and moored their boat at the flowery margin of the island. In silence they landed, and pushed through the blossom and scented herbage and undergrowth that led up to the level ground, till they stood on a little lawn of a marvelous green, set round with Nature’s own orchard-trees — crab-apple, wild cherry, and sloe.

“This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me,” whispered Kyran, as if in a trance. “Here, in this sacred place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find a Celestial Being!”

Then suddenly Dodge felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror — indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy — but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friends, and saw them at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.

Perhaps they would never have dared to raise their eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. They might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike them instantly, once they had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling they obeyed, and raised their humble heads; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible color, seemed to hold her breath for the event, they looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humorously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, innocent, childish form of young Yríadel. All this they saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as they looked, they lived; and still, as they lived, they wondered.

“Dodge! Glen!” Kyran found breath to whisper, shaking. “Are you afraid?”

“Afraid?” murmured Glen, his eyes shining with unutterable love. “Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet — and yet — O, Kyran, I am afraid!”

Then the three friends, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.

Sudden and magnificent, the sun’s broad golden disc showed itself over the horizon facing them; and the first rays, shooting across the level water-meadows, took the boys full in the eyes and dazzled them. When they were able to look once more, the Vision had vanished, and the air was full of the carol of birds that hailed the dawn.

~ ~ ~ ~

As they stared blankly, in dumb misery deepening as they slowly realized all they had seen and all they had lost, a capricious little breeze, dancing up from the surface of the water, tossed the aspens, shook the dewy roses and blew lightly and caressingly in their faces; and with its soft touch came instant oblivion. For this is the last best gift that the kindly demi-god is careful to bestow on those to whom he has revealed himself in their helping: the gift of forgetfulness. Lest the awful remembrance should remain and grow, and overshadow mirth and pleasure, and the great haunting memory should spoil all the after-lives of little people helped out of difficulties, in order that they should be happy and lighthearted as before.

Glen rubbed his eyes and stared at Kyran, who was looking about him in a puzzled sort of way. “I beg your pardon; what did you say, Kyran?” he asked.

“I think I was only remarking,” said Kyran slowly, “that this was the right sort of place, and that here, if anywhere, we should find her. And look! Why, there she is, the little lass!” And with a cry of delight both Dodge and Glen ran towards the slumbering Yríadel.

But Kyran stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, and can re-capture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty of it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties; so Kyran, after struggling with his memory for a brief space, shook his head sadly and followed his friends.

Yríadel woke up with a joyous squeak, and smiled with pleasure at the sight of her friends, who had played with her so often in past days. In a moment, however, her face grew blank, and she fell to looking round in a circle. As a child that has fallen happily asleep in its nurse’s arms, and wakes to find itself alone and laid in a strange place, and searches corners and cupboards, and runs from room to room, despair growing silently in its heart, even so Yríadel searched the island and searched, dogged and unwearying, till at last the black moment came for giving it up, and sitting down and crying bitterly.

Dodge and Glen ran quickly to comfort her; but Kyran, lingering, looked long and doubtfully at certain hoof-marks deep in the sward.

“Some — great — animal — has been here,” Kyran murmured slowly and thoughtfully; and stood musing, musing; his mind strangely stirred.

“Come along, Kyran!” called Dodge. “Think of poor Yngvarr, waiting up there by the ford!”

Yríadel had soon been comforted by the promise of a jaunt on the river in Glen’s real boat; and the three friends conducted her to the water’s side, placed her securely between them in the bottom of the boat, and paddled off down the backwater. The sun was fully up by now, and hot on them, birds sang lustily and without restraint, and flowers smiled and nodded from either bank, but somehow — so thought the friends — with less of richness and blaze of colour than they seemed to remember seeing quite recently somewhere — they wondered where.

~ ~ ~ ~

The main river reached again, they turned the boat’s head upstream, towards the point where they knew their friend’s father was keeping his lonely vigil. As they drew near the familiar ford, Dodge took the boat in to the bank, and they lifted Yríadel out and set her on the tow-path, gave her marching orders and a friendly farewell pat on the back, and shoved out into mid-stream. They watched the little girl as she skipped along the path contentedly and with importance; watched her till they saw her face suddenly lift and her skipping break into a clumsy amble as she quickened her pace with shrill sobs and cries of recognition. Looking up the river, they could see Yngvarr start up, tense and rigid, from out of the shallows where he crouched in dumb patience, and could hear his amazed and joyous shout as he bounded up through the osiers on to the path. Then Dodge, with a strong pull on one oar, swung the boat round and let the full stream bear them down again whither it would, their quest now happily ended.

~ ~ ~ ~

“I feel strangely tired,” said Dodge, leaning wearily over his oars as the boat drifted. “It’s being up all night, you’ll say, perhaps; but that’s nothing. We do as much half the nights of the week, at this time of the year. No; I feel as if I had been through something very exciting and rather terrible, and it was just over; and yet nothing particular has happened.”

“Or something very surprising and splendid and beautiful,” murmured Kyran, leaning back and closing his eyes. “I feel just as you do, Dodge; simply dead tired, though not body tired. It’s lucky we’ve got the stream with us, to take us home. Isn’t it jolly to feel the sun again, soaking into one’s bones! And hark to the wind playing in the reeds!”

“It’s like music — far away music,” said Glen nodding drowsily.

“So I was thinking,” murmured Kyran, dreamful and languid. “Dance-music — the lilting sort that runs on without a stop — but with words in it, too — it passes into words and out of them again — I catch them at intervals — then it is dance-music once more, and then nothing but the reeds’ soft thin whispering.”

“You hear better than I,” said Glen sadly. “I cannot catch the words.”

“Let me try and give you them,” said Kyran softly, his eyes still closed. “Now it is turning into words again – faint but clear – Lest the awe should dwell – And turn your frolic to fret – You shall look on my power at the helping hour – But then you shall forget! Now the reeds take it up – forget, forget, they sigh, and it dies away in a rustle and a whisper. Then the voice returns -

“Lest limbs be reddened and rent — I spring the trap that is set — As I loose the snare you may glimpse me there — For surely you shall forget! Row nearer, Dodge, nearer to the reeds! It is hard to catch, and grows each minute fainter.

“Helper and healer, I cheer — Small waifs in the woodland wet — Strays I find in it, wounds I bind in it — Bidding them all forget! Nearer, Dodge, nearer! No, it is no good; the song has died away into reed-talk.”

“But what do the words mean?” asked the wondering Glen.

“That I do not know,” said Kyran simply. “I passed them on to you as they reached me. Ah! Now they return again, and this time full and clear! This time, at last, it is the real, the unmistakable thing, simple — passionate — perfect - -

“Well, let’s have it, then,” said Glen, after he had waited patiently for a few minutes, half-dozing in the hot sun.

But no answer came. He looked, and understood the silence. With a smile of much happiness on his face, and something of a listening look still lingering there, the weary Kyran was fast asleep.

B02EP1

By-Tor Brigade Legacy VykingValor