The Verdant Moon

Claude Monet

Claude Monet

In my fantasy worlds, the Verdant Moon heralds the high heat of summer. On the sea, winter’s iron clouds have long blown west and the island’s white bluffs are alive with nesting fishers and heckling gulls. The village shores idle, embraced by calmer waters, and small single-masted fishing boats rest on the beach, keels cutting long grooves in the sand.

No one lingers inside their narrow harbor homes when the markets brim with crabs’ legs and smoked redfish, squid with coiling tentacles, and the slimy innards of crusty shells. Summer brings more familiar fare from the dark-loamed farms: honeyed cakes and salty bread, ripe fruits, and bouquets of greens. Few go hungry during the Verdant Moon.

The Verdant Moon shines on the world tomorrow night, July 19th.

Vernal Moon

Excerpt from the Vernal Moon, Eye of Sun
The Dragon Soul Quartet

Treasach made the decision to sail the Seabourne onto the rocky shore of Anghard, and Morgen didn’t question the choice. The Rogue would impale her or drive her into the Narrows. The beautiful Seabourne would be lost regardless, so Treasach saved her crew.

He roared his orders with such force even Percy shut his gaping mouth and listened. In mere seconds, the men lashed themselves to the ship. Morgen swung a line around himself and the captain, tying them loosely to the helm. Arful stood at the bow, barking inanely at the gulls, and Morgen was helpless to save him.

Treasach spun the wheel and Morgen held on. The Seabourne plunged through the waves, her sails taut with wind when she slammed into the rocks that littered the shallows. The deafening impact ripped Morgen from the wheel and flung him under the line against the gunwales. Wood splintered and shrieked as the ship broke free and spun, the maw of the Narrows yawning open.

“Make for shore!” Treasach bellowed over the crush of fracturing wood, wind, and waves. The crew scrambled out of their bindings, and Morgen attempted to stand. The Seabourne smashed into the underwater shelf that would mark its grave, and the ship lurched, sending him sliding across the deck toward the sea. He caught a standing line and held on. Arful yelped and slipped over the edge as the ship groaned, cracked, and began to list.

“To shore,” Treasach yelled. For a heartbeat, the Seabourne stuttered, wedged on the rocks, but their chance of escape narrowed as she started to spin back into the current. Men scuttled down the slanted deck and dropped into the sea.

“Watch for rocks,” Morgen shouted. The water between the ship and Anghard’s shore wasn’t deep but treacherous, and the Seabourne offered small protection from the tide’s pull. He caught sight of Arful sweeping toward the Narrows and paddling for shore.

As men scrambled to safety Morgen counted them, and when satisfied, he slid from the ship into waist deep water. “Now, Captain!” he yelled for Treasach. The captain climbed over the gunwale, and before Morgen could shout a warning, he let go, falling onto a slick black rock. Treasach nearly drowned before Morgen grabbed him and hauled him ashore.

(Coming in August)

**Images from pixabay.

The Lover’s Moon

Lover's Moon

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

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.”

“Still fish.”

“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!)

The Child’s Moon

pixabay image

Pixabay image by Mysticartdesign

In my fantasy tales, the Child’s Moon ushers in a warm world. The land reawakens and whirls into bloom, spattering its treasure of color with an untamed brush. Promises of summer ripeness push through the soil, and markets open on the cobbled squares with honeyed milk and leafy hope. Those who survived the hungry moons molt their winter skins and bare their faces to the sun.

It’s a moon of roses, of bare feet, of rooting for wild strawberries, and newborn lambs bleating on unsteady legs.  The Child’s Moon is the eternal reminder that all of life travels in cycles, that death and birth go hand in hand, that every winter finally rolls to an end.

The full face of the Child’s Moon rises tomorrow night on May 21.

pixabay

pixabay

Excerpt from the Child’s Moon, Eye of Sun, Dragon Soul Saga.

Branwen slipped to the bench. The grove spun, consciousness sliding from her skin. She fell from Yula’s white cliffs, terror overtaking her as she clung to her body, losing control. Let go, surrender, the world whispered in her ear, and she let go, unable to stop her fall, unable to sustain her struggle to know the unknowable, to understand the indecipherable mysteries of her life.

There in the garden, her body filled with light and broke apart, sifting into the colors and textures of the grove. She felt intact, her soul complete but without definition and form, merged into sap and soil, wind and water, fire and gold. The world abided, not virtuous or wicked, careful or neglectful. It bore no intent, no desire, no plan. A void, it reflected her infinite possibilities; the massive, unfolding power hers to do with as she willed. She heard the dragons’ calls above Eydis, Morgen’s echo inside her heart, Ena humming herself to sleep, Aedan whispering, soft lips against her cheek.

Alive with wonder, she gazed at her son, the light of him flowing through her and illuminating the grove. Her first love soared there with him, and she gathered him too in her heart, the soft drumbeat she’d lost to a winter gale. Darkness descended and yet the air flared, bright with flameless fire. The faces of love held her son and his father aloft, embraced them, their song filling her.

Little fire, starry light, guide me on my path tonight
On waves of dreams, as you sleep, ‘cross the seas, calm and deep
Farewell to troubles, lay them low, sing the seamaids, soft and slow
Little star, flame above, sail away the night, my love

Boundless and unfettered by fear, she expanded, flowing down the thousand steps like water to the sea, swaying across the waves. On the horizon where sea and sky merged, she beheld a wondrous world, smiled, and returned to find herself.