Water Moon

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In my fantasy world, the winter rains blend the sea and sky into billowing hues of blue and gray. They paint the islands with a steady brush of storms, drum cold fingers on diamond panes, and drip through the draped boughs of evergreen. The last mottled colors of autumn skitter away with the wind.

Villagers venture down puddled lanes, hooded cloaks clutched against the sheeting rain. In the gray twilit mists, roadside bramble twists black, brittle and forlorn, and the smoke of wood fires scents the air with memories of home. Inside, a warm hearth awaits them, a welcoming blaze of vermillion in the deepening dusk of the year.

The full Water Moon shows her face in tonight’s night sky. This will be a supermoon, larger than usual because it’s orbit is closer to Earth. If you have a clear sky, I hope you catch a glimpse of her magic.

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Excerpt from Eye of Fire, Dragon Soul Quartet

Her skirt in her fists, Meriel rushed up the stairs to the gallery that stretched across the cliff’s face in the Compassionates’ Hall, connecting the public and private quarters. Long ago craftsmen had carved the gallery into the ivory rock and framed thirteen stained glass windows with a view of the sea, one for each moon. The windows weren’t only exquisite in themselves, the glass perfectly cut in a myriad of colors, but when sunlight shone through them, the gallery’s back wall came alive, mottled in soft hues, subtly edged and blending like pebbles under water. The sun promised to peek from behind the cloud cover, and she wanted to see it.

When she opened the door, the display dazzled her as it filled the air. Stepping into the color, her body became both a palette for the sun’s brush and a silhouetted shadow on the rock wall. She glided along the corridor, stopping at each window, noting the moon, the change of seasons in the hues, wondering at the artist whose work so sincerely and boldly reflected the complexity of creation.

“I never get tired of it,” Caron said.

As she turned, Meriel sought out his form in the liquid color. Her focus returned to the windows, and she continued down the gallery.

The tall man fell into step with her. “I especially like it during winter moons when the skies are brushed with gray.”

“Do you have time to talk?” Meriel touched his arm.

“I thought I already was.” He smiled.

“Yes, you were.” She let her hand drop. “Caron, I want to ask you about the dragons. Can we sit?” They moved to a stone bench bordering the rock wall.

“I don’t know very much about them, Meriel. In fact, you probably know more than I.”

“I told Gallard I would ask if anyone in the islands knows their nature, if anyone cares about what’s happening to them.”

The sun winked out behind scudding clouds, and the color vanished from the gallery, its windows still beautiful but flat and static. He rested his back on the wall and closed his eyes. With his hair newly shorn and beard tightly trimmed, the angles of his face lent him an appearance of weariness. “It seems I should know more than I do—a natural concern for the Compassionates, understanding and preventing cruelty. Why do I always feel I’m plodding uphill?”

Meriel knew the sensation. “I’m not blaming you for anything, Caron. I’m only asking questions.”

“The dragons live above us in the hills of Eydis. They abound in Anghard and fly deep in the mountains of Halle. Other than in Yula, we rarely see them, and that’s a good thing—for the dragons.”

***

This is my last moon post. A year of 13 full moons began last December, all marking time in the Dragon Soul series. Thank you for reading along and celebrating nature’s timekeeper with me. ❤

Freeing the Dragons of the Lair

The cell’s iron door swung open, heavy and groaning on tired hinges. Adaryn paused in the broad aisle, blood racing, hands slick with sweat. The reek of foul hung thick in the heat, burning his nose. At the aisle’s end, chains clanked as the winch turned. Massive stable doors rumbled open, welcoming the remaining rays of day and hot breath of summer wind. The hooded dragon swung its tufted head toward the sunlight spearing the stale air. It pulled against battered shackles, swaying with the low thrum and hum of the song that echoed in Adaryn’s chest.

Across the aisle, Hedd and his grandson, Cadan, skyriders of the old Way, stood with eyes gazing inward, calling the dragon down in Belonging. They opened their souls, beckoning the creature into their blood, bones, and heart, their breath filling the dragon’s spaces.

This was Adaryn’s dragon; at least, in his mind it was. It towered over him, lustrous scales the emerald of dragonflies, onyx wings black as midnight. This dragon once brushed the sky with beauty and flew into myth, a copper ring clutched in its talons. A creature of the unfurling world, it arced with a swallow’s grace and hovered with falcons over wildflower meadows. As a rider of the lair, he had flown on this dragon’s back, harnessed its power, and mastered its will. And he would be the rider to finally set it free.

His opportunity arrived. Adaryn wiped the sweat from his forehead with a sleeve, and drawing a breath, released the tension gripping his chest. He took an irresistible, however unwise, risk and entered the cell.

Reaching up, he unclipped all but one of the braided tethers that strapped the hood to the dragon’s head, letting them slip to the stinking foul on the floor. Smooth scale shimmered before his eyes. Sinew flexed, muscle rippling with every sway, breath steaming above his head. The desire to touch it undeniable, his hand rose to the neck’s soft scale. Cautious fingers slid down to the base of the throat where a steel spine had carved its flesh, drawing blood and scarring, not so long ago.

At his touch, the dragon’s song silenced. Muscles tensed beneath his fingertips. Talons extended and curled, scraping the stone floor. Its long tail flicked, rattling the iron bars. The skyriders shifted, and Hedd’s eyes captured his in warning. Adaryn let his hand fall and knelt by the forelegs, unchaining one, then the other. Slowly and with care, he removed pins and slid the bolts free that held the manacles tightly bound.

His body pressed to the black bars, he sidled toward the rear of the cell. He yearned to slide his fingers along the webbed wing, touch the hollow bones, the sleekness of the skin that caught the air. Yet he resisted the impulse. With one rear leg unchained, he stepped carefully over the slender tail to release the second. He slipped back toward the cell’s door and there grasped the one loose tether left hanging from the dragon’s hood. As he stepped into the aisle, he pulled, and the hood fell free.

The dragon’s fiery eyes, splinters of gold, fell on the gaping doors as if the stream of light had harnessed all the sun’s brightness. Adaryn stumbled back against the bars, an arm raised to shield his face as the dragon reared. The giant body turned into the aisle, moving beyond the two skyriders who stood as still as the gray stone.

As the dragon spread its cramped wings, Adaryn felt his own heart swell, his body vibrating. Black webbing unfurled, filling the lair like a moonless night, stretching outward into the world with the dragon’s song. Thunderous wings drummed the air, fanning the heat as the creature rose from the stable floor, casting dust and dirt to the face of the man who embraced the freedom of its flight. The dragon soared through the gaping doors into the failing light.

***

Through a fluke of timing, this poor little trilogy entered the world the same week as The Sorcerer’s Garden and is feeling neglected.  It was time for a little tender loving care. Thanks for reading!

Available on Amazon: Eye of Fire, The Dragon Soul Trilogy, Book One

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