Joraah, Merissa and Joren


Jorah and Joren dutifully took on their new tasks with their old, tending to the unicorns. Unicorns were beautiful and magical beasts but a bit unruly. They were content to graze sweet clover and the more tender wildflowers. But they had a tendency to overgraze. And so, Jorah and Joren would move each herd from one meadow to another. There were many herds, and each had its share of unruly Unicorns. The brothers would tether the stubborn ones. Sometimes Jorah’s daughter helped. The unicorns were partial to pretty maddens. And Merissa was among the fairest of all.
The woodland fairies had woven thin but strong tethers for Merissa to use when she had to lead a more stubborn beast. Joren was watching his niece, admiring her skill. Suddenly he realized she was making music. The Unicorn pulled against the tether, trying to chomp a daffodil he’d missed. As Merissa pulled, the tether vibrated, humming a note. The harder either girl or silver creature pulled, the higher the pitch rose.
When her uncle leapt to his feet and danced a private jig, Merissa shook her head and rolled her eyes. She’d seen her uncle’s overexcitement many times. She knew that next he’d abandon the work to her as he danced off to work on some silly dream.
She led two of the Unicorns with tethers and nodded at her own cleverness. She knew the rest of the small herd would follow. Her father waited in the next meadow, not far from the first. Jorah had used some ropes, woven from the inner bark of mighty oaks, to construct a small section of fence. It was temporary, its use only needed until the herd settled into its new pasture. Jorah and his daughter sat atop a smooth boulder, enjoying the worm spring air and breeze sweetened by the flowers. Tiny birds perched on the five lines of the fence and flitted to the ground and back as Merissa tossed seeds near them. 
Jorah brought out the flute his brother had carved him. For instruments of course, there was the drum; a hollow chunk of log and a stout broken branch to beat with. The flute was new; one of the few instruments of music made to play different notes.
“Play the song the birds show.” Merissa teased her father. “I bet you can’t. Top fence line sounds high and bottom low. Each bird marks a note.
“Oh, you think I can’t?” Jorah said. “Just watch.”
Jorah tooted high, then low, the mid and low again. Merissa threw more seeds to make the birds move too fast for her father to play. She stared at him when he stopped suddenly. 
“Joren,” Jorah shouted at his brother who came running, holding a turtle shell over his head. “Joren,” Jorah yelled again and stood. “I’ve found a way!”
“Me too,” said Joren who skidded when he tried to stop, falling next to Merissa, nearly hitting her with his shell. “Look,” he said and held it out.
“So, you have an empty turtle shell? Jorah said.
“No. Not turtle! Tortoise. See the strings?  Watch and listen.” Joren cradled the tether wrapped shell in the crook of his arm and plucked at the strings. Each string played a different sound.  “The sound changes with the tension of the string. Just like you pulling on a Unicorn tether,” Joren said and gave Merissa his broadest grin.
“Brother,” Jorah said and pointed at the birds that patently waited for more seed. “Merissa gave me my idea too. The birds are notes. They’re not birds sitting on a fence. They’re dots drawn on lines on a parchment.”
“You can invent other music notations too,” Joren said.
“And you, more instruments,” Jorah added.
“I know,” Joren said. I already tried drawing a Unicorn tail across the string of my shell. I call it tortellini . It makes a different sound.
Merissa smiled, glancing first at her uncle and then her father. She knew she would need to speak with Meret, her grandmother. Merissa would need new sprites to help with the Unicorns.