In my fantasy worlds, the Lover’s Moon ushers in the ripeness of summer. Fiddleheads unfurl on the mountain paths and the high meadow blooms with fireweed, toadflax, and pearl everlasting. In the villages, the lanes bake and the heat rises in liquid ribbons. It’s a moon of full-bellies, bare feet and water warm enough for swimming, of golden hay and long lazy days. On the sea, it’s a time of genial winds, promises of love, and sails billowing with sunshine.
For anyone romantic at heart, the full Lover’s Moon smiles tonight.
Jan Steen Revelry at an Inn – en.wikimedia.org
Excerpt from the Lover’s Moon, Eye of Sun
(Percy is going to create a little diversion)
The Crow’s Nest bustled with seamen, yardsmen, and scurrying serving maids. Caron crowded them into a corner, sharing a long table with men from the Gale Breaker and Seabourne. A few crewmen hoisted their tankards in a boisterous greeting. Edin had never patronized such a chaotic and raucous place. Seamen sloshed well beyond their cups, and he couldn’t tell whether they were getting along or apt to throw punches. Caron suggested the mash for supper, and he took the recommendation, barely able to think straight with all the noise.
The food hearty, he ate like a starved man. One of the crewmen sharing the long table leaned toward him. The skinny seaman sported a crooked nose and hair that might have been trimmed by a blind man in a stiff wind. “How’s yer mash? Good ain’t it?”
Edin pushed away his empty plate. “We’ve been living on old bread and watered oats, complements of your governors.”
“It weren’t fish, anyway,” the young man said.
“Percy got fish nigh up his gills,” a flaxen-haired man explained. “Name’s Hywel and that’s me brother, Malven.” He pointed to the beardless version of himself sitting across the table.
“Fish mornin’, noon, and evenin’,” Percy muttered. “Can’t tolerate it no more.”
“Quit cookin’ fish then,” Malven said. “Yer the blame cook.”
“Pull up somethin’ aside fish and I will.”
“Mutton would be good,” the bearded older brother said. “Hook us a good shank of sheep off Ramsey.”
Percy thought that worth a laugh and ordered more ale.
“Don’t mind the fish stew,” Hywel said. “Like it with potatoes. Good when they come in again.”
“Still fish,” Percy muttered.
“Good crab off Ross and Whitnee,” Hywel said. “Crab’s worth the work.”
“Crab’s not fish,” Malven said. “It’s crab.”
“It’s a sort of fish,” the skinny cook insisted.
“It don’t got fins, Perce.”
“Neither do a clam, ya idiot.”
“A clam ain’t a fish neither.”
Eyeing Malven, Percy downed his ale. “If it’s from the sea, it’s fish.”
“Lot’s from the sea that ain’t fish,” Hywel said. “Rocks and weed. Sand.”
“We’re talkin’ about fish, not sand!” Percy shouted with a grin.
“Just sayin’ not everything in the sea is fish,” Hywel said.
“If it come from the sea, looks like fish, tastes like fish, is fish.” Percy pushed back his chair, thumping into a bald warrior at the next table who growled and gave him a shove. Percy bolted up and faced the shiny-headed hulk. “Now, that weren’t necessary. We was just talkin’ about what’s fish.”
“And I’ve heard enough,” the man snarled. “Fish have gills. That’s how you know they’re fish.”
Percy’s face turned scarlet. He lifted the edge of the warriors’ table and spilled every tankard the length of it. Before Malven could stop him, he took an off-balance swing at the warrior who popped him in his crooked nose. Percy howled, grabbed a tankard, and smashed it into a bearded warrior’s cheek. The man shoved Percy so hard he flew off his feet, landing on the suppers of the Gale Breaker’s crew.
“He pushed me on ya!” Percy shouted, his arms protecting his face. “Blame warriors, wreckin’ yer supper.” The Gale Breaker’s crew tossed Percy back toward the warriors, but Hywel caught his arm and yanked him out of the path of a right hook that would have lopped off his head. A man from the Gale Breaker spun around and thundered a punch into the bald warrior’s belly and head-butted him in the face, breaking his nose. Another warrior with a puckered scar on his chin picked up a chair and hurled it at the Gale Breaker’s crew. The seamen erupted, climbing over tables and throwing fists at any warrior in range. The proprietor roared from the end of the room, but he was far too late.
(Coming in August!)