Being a Green Mother (Incarnations of Immortality #5)

Being a Green Mother (Incarnations of Immortality #5)

by Piers Anthony

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Orb had a rare gift--the magic which manifested whenever she sang or played her harp. No one could resist her music. But she knew that greater magic lay in the Llano, the mystic music that controlled all things. The quest for the Llano occupied Orb's life. Until she met Natasha, handsome and charming, and an even finer musician. But her mother Niobe came as an Aspect of Fire, with the news that Orb had been chosen for the role of Incarnation of Nature--The Green Mother. But she also warned of a prophecy that Orb was to marry Evil. Could she be sure that Natasha was not really Satan, the Master of Illusion, laying a trap for her...?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345322234
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/12/1988
Series: Incarnations of Immortality Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 104,492
Product dimensions: 4.23(w) x 6.89(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Piers Anthony, sometimes called Pier Xanthony, is the pseudonym of a Mundane character who was born in England in 1934, came to America in 1940, was naturalized in 1958, and moved to Xanth in 1977. His first story was published in 1963, and his first novel, Chthon, in 1967. His first Xanth novel, A Spell for Chameleon, won the August Derleth Fantasy Award as the best novel for 1977, and his fantasy novels began placing on the New York Times bestseller list with Ogre, Ogre. He shifted from writing in pencil to writing on the computer, and Golem in the Gears was his first novel created on the machine; naturally, the computer found its way into Xanth.

Read an Excerpt

1 –
She was just a child, but in the dream she was a woman, beautiful, in a bridal gown, walking down a long aisle on the arm of a man she couldn’t quite see.
But the dream was split-screen, and the other part showed the great globe of the world. That was her, too, in the strange way the dream had of making it seem real. But the world was mostly dead; no human beings remained on it.
Somehow she knew that these were two aspects of her future, and that one of them would come to pass. Marriage—or destruction. But which one? Why? It wasn’t frightening, just mysterious.
Then music swelled. It was a lovely, mysterious melody. She woke, afraid it would fade away along with the rest of the dream, but it remained, coming from outside.
She scrambled out of bed, leaving her sister Luna sleeping. Well, Luna wasn’t exactly her sister, but it was complicated to fathom, so that was good enough. Let her sleep for the moment; this shouldn’t take long.
She shoved her toes into her slippers and scurried across the floor in her nightie. Lured by the melody, she scrambled down the stairs, along the hall, and reached the door. She put both hands up on the solid knob and turned it, and after a brief struggle got the door open.
The summer dawn was cool but not cold. Orb hurried out, intent on the melody, not caring what time or temperature it was. The landscape seemed preternaturally bright, better than real life; this was fun!
She paused before the house, reorienting on the sound. The farm backed onto a forest, and the sound was from the forest. She ran across the field, scattering chickens, and reached the edge of the wood, panting. She was four years old, and this was a good-sized trek for her to accomplish alone. She wasn’t supposed to come here without an adult, and that gave her a bad twinge of unease, but the music was fading, and she knew she had to catch it right away.
The forest loomed thick and dark, and it was girt with monstrous spider webs and mean brambles and other awful things, so she scouted along the edge, hoping for a way through. The music was becoming quite faint, making her desperate.
She found a path! She ran down it, into the depths of the wood. But the music was now fading out entirely, to her horror. She stopped to listen for it, but it was gone.
Except—there was another sound, not the same, but possessed of its own melody. Maybe that would do. It was ahead and, as she continued along the path, it grew louder.
The path debouched at the river. Orb had encountered the river before, but not at this spot. Here it was trippling merrily over rocks, making its music. She strained to hear the tune of it behind the rushing noise of water, and it came clearer, but imperfect.
She made her way along its irregular bank, guided more by her ears than her eyes. Now she heard another sound, neither the first melody nor the second, but a kind of tittering laughter. It was coming from a swirling pool a little downstream.
Then she spied the source of the mirth. Girls were playing in the pool! Lovely, lithe, bare girls with long tresses. They were swimming and splashing and diving and having a terrific amount of fun, and their trilling laughter made the last melody she had heard.
One of the nymphs spied Orb and called out to her. “Hello, child of man! Come join us!” The others laughed anew at this.
Orb pondered briefly, then decided to do it. She drew off her nightie and stepped out of her slippers. Naked, she went down to the pool.
“She heard me!” the nymph exclaimed, astonished.
Orb paused. “Did I do something wrong?”
The nymphs looked at each other. “You see us, child of man?”
“Yes. Don’t you want me to splash with you?”
Again they exchanged glances. “Of course we do!” the first nymph said. “But do you know how to swim?”
“But then you might drown!”
Orb hadn’t thought of that. She was sure that drowning would be very uncomfortable. “Then why did you ask me to join you?”
“We didn’t think you would hear us,” the nymph explained.
“Or see us,” another added. “We were only teasing, the way we do.”
“Because we are water sprites,” a third said. “The children of men aren’t usually aware of us.”
Orb was perplexed. “Why?”
Several sprites shrugged. “We don’t exactly know. It just is so.”
There was an instant flowering of laughter. “Oh, you rhymed!” another cried.
The others splashed wildly at the one who had rhymed, giggling. Orb really wanted to join in, but she realized that she would have to learn to swim first.
“Why didn’t I hear you or see you when I saw the river before?” she asked.
The sprites looked at each other, perplexed. “Why didn’t she?” one repeated. “We have seen her before, and she was oblivious.”
Orb didn’t know what the big word meant, but judged that it meant what it was supposed to. “Yes, why?”
“Maybe she changed,” one suggested. “Did you change recently, little girl?”
“This morning I heard a song I never heard before. It woke me up. I was looking for it.”
Again the sprites exchanged glances. “She changed,” they agreed. “Now she can join us.”
“How?” Orb asked, eager to participate.
“There’s an inner tube someone’s forgotten,” one of the sprites informed her, perceiving her dilemma.
“Oh, I can float in that!” Orb agreed. “Bring it to me!”
The nymph shook her head. “Alas, we can not,” she said sadly.
“We can not touch the things of the children of man. At least, not to affect them. Only mortal creatures can do that.”
Orb accepted that. “Then tell me where it is, and I’ll fetch it myself.”
“Gladly!” The sprite led her downstream a short distance. There, hung up on a dead branch, was an inflated inner tube.
Orb waded into the shallow water, her legs tingling with the chill of it, and hauled on the tube. “Oh, it’s heavy,” she complained. “Can’t you help me?”
“I don’t think so,” the sprite said sadly. “I really can’t touch you or it.” She demonstrated by reaching out to touch Orb, and her hand passed through Orb’s arm without sensation.
“Oh, you’re a ghost!” Orb exclaimed, not certain whether to be pleased or frightened.
“No, just a sprite. I can touch natural things like water, but not unnatural things like the children of man.”
Orb decided it was time for introductions. “I’m Orb,” she announced. “Who are you?”
“I’m—” The sprite paused, concentrating. “Oh, I don’t think I have a name! I never realized.”
“Oh, that’s very sad!” Orb said. “I must give you a name.”
“Oh, would you?” the sprite asked, pleased.
Orb concentrated, trying to think of a name. Beads of water trailed down the tube as she continued to tug at it. “Waterbead!” she exclaimed.
The sprite clapped her little hands. She was not much larger than Orb, though formed as an adult or nearly adult woman. “Oh, thank you!” Then, focusing on the tube: “Maybe if you lifted it a little, instead of just pulling …”
Orb lifted—and abruptly the tube came free. She clambered into it, and in a moment was floating.
“If you paddle with your hands …” Waterbead suggested.
Orb paddled, and the tube began to move. Soon she was out in the pool, moving splashily. The sprites laughed and splashed back at her. The droplets of water did touch her; they were natural. This was indeed fun, despite the cold.
Waterbead swam out ahead, making little whirlpools in the water. Then the other sprites joined in, fashioning a larger whirlpool. Orb’s tube spun around in it, making her laugh giddily. Oh, yes, this was fun!
They were now at the lower side of the pool, and the current was picking up, carrying Orb on down the river. “Maybe you should paddle upstream,” Waterbead said.
“Why?” Orb was enjoying the ride.
The sprites suffered one of their little pauses. “We can’t go too far that way,” one explained. “The water goes bad.”
Orb didn’t like bad water, so she paddled. But now the current was too strong for her. She made no headway, and soon her arms were tired, and the tube picked up speed downstream.
“We can’t follow!” a sprite cried. One by one they dropped back, returning to the quieter pool, until only Waterbead remained.
“Maybe you should go to shore,” Waterbead suggested.
“Because the bad sprites are downstream. If you go to the shore, you can stop before you reach them.”
Orb tried to paddle for shore, but the current fought her, and she could not reach it.

Table of Contents

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Being a Green Mother 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all Antony's Incarnations of Imortality books and how the characters are tied together in their lives as well as in their fight(s) against Satin. I just wish the publishers would get around to publishing "For Love of Evil" (Satin's story) and "And Eternity" (God's story) in ebook form!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. I have never been jerked around in a book or got upset over a book but there's a first time for eveything. The Entirer Book is outstanding!! THe End is something you'd never Suspect. i THink any person in or outside the Piers Anothony fan bases would love this book
JechtShot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being a Green Mother has the distinct honor of being the worst of the five Incarnations of Immortality Books thus far. In the fifth book, Piers Anthony tackles the incarnation of Nature, the supposed most powerful of the earthly incarnations. However, I take issue with several points in this book: (1) Orb Kaftan begins manipulating the powers of nature well before she takes office. In previous stories, the Incarnations have stepped in to correct the situation when this occurs and (2) 98% of the book is spent on Orb the mortal and her taking on the role of nature has very little impact on the storyline.My advice for those contemplating reading this series. Stop at book three and read something else. That said, I am about to start book six: For Love of Evil. I am prepared for disappointment.
Scoshie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
# 5 of the Incarnations of Immortality-- Great ReadIt is discovered that young Orb, the Aunt of Luna, has the gift of conjuring natural music that emanates from things in nature. She sets off on a quest for a magical song known as the Llano, a song supposed to be the most beautiful imaginable. During the beginning of her search, she meets and helps a young Gypsy girl who was blind, teaching her song and dance as such most men never see. She also joins up with a circus for a short time, meeting there the man that would later become War, and realizing after his unwanted departure that she is pregnant with his child. Upon having his child, she takes the baby, the young Orlene, to her Gypsy friend with the understanding that the woman would find her daughter the best possible home. Later on, she joins up with a rock and roll band. Her magical singing allows them to lose their drug addictions, and they quest together until she is approached by her mother, Niobe (who had left her office to have her with Pacian, thus effectively making Orb the aunt of Luna as well as her cousin through their fathers), in the guise of Fate. She is told that she has been selected to fill the role of Nature (Gaea), but that a prophecy foretells that she may one day marry Satan, and then the problems start.
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Plot: The usual for the series. Coming-of-age and coming-into-power, with magical and supernatural interferences and trouble from known sides. The plot dragged considerably in the middle. The ending isn't too bad. Characters: They don't feel like real beings. Odd dialogue, strange relationships that are never quite comprehensible. Motives for actions are occasionally lacking. There's no development going on; the characters feel the same at the end of the book as they do at the beginning. Style: Godawful dialogue. It's been bad throughout the series, but here it sometimes seems the characters are reading off a script rather than acting naturally. Nice descriptions. Plus: Some interesting ideas and little plot twists. A potential conclusion to the series. Minus: The characters are forgettable. Summary: A brief rally in the series, but it's not enough.
kamuningangels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seriously? Natasha? Couldn't Piers have come up with something more imaginative than that? Sigh. Not counting, that, though. I thought this story was only surpassed in excellence by For The Love of Evil.
arouse77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
fifth in the "incarnations of immortality" series. concerning Nature, and at least initially intended to be the climax of the series. with strong themes of music as magic and the incredible power of the force of nature i found this book particularly appealing personally. the main character is a little prissy for my tastes, but ultimately sympathetic nevertheless. among my favorites in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love tnis
AVoraciousReadr More than 1 year ago
My favorite of the series. *Book source ~ Home library. Orb Kaftan is born into a special family. Her father can make magical music and her mother was once an aspect of Fate. Her half-brother is a powerful magician and her niece can see auras and paint them. Orb herself has an incredible amount of music magic. As she grows her talent grows with her and when she becomes an adult she sets out to find the ultimate music of all, the Llano. Traveling all over Europe to various gypsy camps, she seeks the elusive music. In India she falls in love, but he’s taken from her. Continuing her quest in the United States has her meeting several new people who become important to her including Natasha, a handsome man who teaches her more about the Llano. But is everything the way it seems? Her mother has taken up the mantle of Fate again and comes to warn Orb about the prophecy that she will marry Evil and to offer her the job of the Green Mother. Orb has some big decisions to make and having lost one man she loved will she lose another? I know I’ve said that I love this series, but if I had to pick a favorite inside it I’d say this one was it. Of course, it’s been many years since I read books 6 & 7, so I’ll need to reread those to be sure, but for now, this book is the one. Starting when Orb is four and following her into adulthood I love reading about all she has experienced. Though she is a tad obsessive about the Llano, at least she’s a decent person. My favorite part of the whole book is at the end. I’ve cried each time I’ve read it and I can’t remember what happens in the next book. So, I’m really looking forward to reading For Love of Evil. Of course, neither library system near me has it and I have no idea where I’ve stored my copy. Gah! 
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