Dancing fingers


United States

I'm 17
I like to dream

Maybe a fool

and classical guitarist

Let us barter

Mountain girl
I like burl

River otter
Viking daughter

Wolfdog owner
Forest roamer

I'm no fighter
But I am a writer

Wraiths of the Moon: Chapter 10

December 9, 2018


Delera has Kistal.

Vanessa had never thought she’d be worried about a demon’s fate. A creature of darkness. But she gathered food and her satchel. She took the pouch which carried the moonlight and slung it around her neck. The two men watched her, but made no move to stop her.

Ren was waiting outside with the mottled brown and white owl on his shoulder. The owl was small, just barely bigger than her two fists combined. It’s amazing it was able to carry the moonlight at all.

“Where has Delera taken Kistal?” Alger asked. He carried only one of his bags, and judging by the shape, it was the one with the guns.

“The moon temple.”

Alger trotted down the steps of the porch and started heading down a small trail Vanessa hadn’t noticed the previous day. “We’d better get moving.”

“What’s the moon temple?” Vanessa asked, not sure if she wanted to know.

“Old myths say there used to be a moon god,” Ren said. “A powerful being who was protected by two guardians. The temple is supposed to be where you could communicate directly with the god without being overcome by their power.”

“It’s also said that that’s where Felina stole the moonlight,” Alger added. His long steps pounded over a thick wooden plank that crossed a wide creek. “There’s no proof of that, though.”

“Except for Kistal’s word,” Ren said.

“Why would she know that?” Vanessa crossed the bridge warily, pausing at the other side to watch Ren cross.

“She’s old,” Ren said. “She lived through that time. It’s hardly a detail someone would care about enough to write down when there was a war going on.” He made no sound as he crossed the bridge. His feet didn’t even make a soft tap or brush.

The hairs on her neck prickled. Not normal.

Ren squinted at her from over his scarf. “What?” he asked.

Not a human. Not a witch. “What are you?” she asked.

Ren’s looked away, toward the Mistwood. “I’m … not entirely sure.”

She eyed him for a moment. He looks like a human.

They crossed meadows and more destroyed houses. The Raven’s Gate seemed to be the only still-standing building for miles around. 

Rivers snaked between the hills. Thick copses of trees grew in patches across the plains. Clouds drifted across the sun and dappled the ground in gold and gray light.

“What does Delera plan to do with Kistal in the moon temple?” Vanessa asked. There was a long silence. She scowled first at Alger, then at Ren. “Don’t leave me in the dark, tell me what Delera’s doing there that she can’t do anywhere else.”

“I don’t know for certain,” Ren said, his gaze focused in the distance, “but I think Delera plans to sacrifice her to the moon god.”

A shudder wound through her body. “Why?” she said, her voice weak.

Alger looked down. Ren’s hands fidgeted on his unstrung bow. “I don’t know,” Ren said. Alger remained silent.

Vanessa scowled. “Is it because she and Delera have some history?”

“That’s a part of it.”

Alger barked a laugh. “Kistal has a history with everybody. Delera just happens to know more of it.”

They fell silent.

~ ~ ~

The temple of the moon god lay hidden in a spurt of the Mistwood. It was ancient, far more ancient than anyone could ever know.

It sat at the top of a tall hill. Stone steps partially buried beneath grass wound up the hill and led to the first of many giant stone columns. The temple was surrounded by trees so old and so tall the temple nearly disappeared.

The temple itself wasn’t what the people of nowadays thought of when they thought “temple.” When they heard the word “temple”, they thought of something with a roof, and maybe something with walls. The Måne’s Temple, the Luna Temple, or the Lua Temple; it had many different names--it didn’t have a roof. Each name was inscribed on the columns that pointed into the open sky. Every so often, when someone came up with a new name, it would appear on the columns. The columns and the marble floor, colored and patterned so that it made a moon and the surrounding constellations, were overgrown with moss, adding to its camouflage. It made sitting on it far more comfortable than when it had been scrubbed clean.

Kistal had always enjoyed the open air, and now, it made it rather easy to sneak messages to the owls when Delera’s back
was turned.

She was tied to the center of the floor, each limb--including her wings--tied to one of the columns. The sun was painfully bright on her skin, burning her pale-gray colors into ash. As a cruel punishment, Delera had forced Kistal to take off her cloak so that her bare arms, feet, and face were open to the sunlight.

A small screech owl floated down to Kistal. They’re coming, he whispered, his fluting voice quiet and tired.

“Good,” she murmured. “Thank you for getting up so early. You can sleep now.” The owl lifted his wings and disappeared into the treetops.

Poor thing. She would’ve chosen one of the more day-inclined owls, but screech owls were the best for communicating messages to deaf people in this region.

Delera’s ruddy, tattooed face appeared. Her horns glinted in the harsh light. She stood at the edge of the oval floor, watching Kistal expectantly. Then she turned and left.

She probably thought Kistal should have burned up already, burned up enough Delera would have to return the cloak so that Kistal could heal, and then take it off again.

Kistal was stronger than that.

A barn owl followed Delera down the steps and another came back to Kistal.

The cold demon is coming, she said, then left before Delera returned. From the owl, Kistal only caught a flash of a face with hard eyes with a blue spark. But the image was clear. She muttered a curse that made the moss around her wilt and die.

Jek would complicate things.

Delera appeared again and squatted in front of Kistal. “How are you enjoying your accommodations?”

“They’re on par with your smile,” Kistal responded sweetly. “It just brightens up my day.”

“I know demons have an affinity for lies, but don’t lie to me.”

“Oh, if you listened close, you would’ve heard that I wasn’t lying at all. But apparently those large ears of yours don’t hear very well.”

One of “those large ears” twitched at the comment. “Careful there, I have the horns.” She tapped her bright horns for emphasis.

Kistal tilted her head. “I’m not too worried, since I have the brains.” She smiled at Delera’s narrowed-eyed scowl. The smile peeled the skin on her lips, but it was worth it. “Mind telling me what we’re doing here?”

Delera gave Kistal a wide, doe-innocent stare. “And I was told you had the brains, Lady of the Dusk.” She stood.

One wing twitched. Kistal’s smile was as false as if it had been painted there. “My, it has been a long time since I heard that title. Aren’t you a little young to be using such archaic terms, angel?”

Fire danced on Delera’s fingertips, sending light into Kistal’s eyes. She winced.

“And you’re a little old to still be flying,” Delera said. “Because I’m sure the moon god would enjoy having you sacrificed to them, given everything you’ve done.”

“And what do you know about what I’ve done?” Her voice was smooth, easily hiding the truth of her quickening pulse.

“I know enough.” Delera’s smile was sharp and unyielding. “Enjoy your last day in the sun, Lady Dusk. I’m young and in my prime; you’re old and weak. You’re not leaving.”

Kistal sighed melodramatically. “Another young soul with too much power.” Silently, she added, And, apparently, a soul with too much knowledge. “Too bad all that potential is going to waste.”

Delera shook her head and left the temple.

Kistal straightened from her slouching sit and tried to move one wing. The rope tied around the wing pulled against the ligaments in her shoulders. She grimaced, and wondered how much Delera knew. She couldn’t know much, given she had said moon god. That god was long dead. 

But it didn’t really matter. It did matter if Delera knew just how much power she would unleash into the world if she succeeded in the sacrifice.

Because Kistal hadn’t told Vanessa the entire truth. Not about any of it. Not about the moonlight, not about Felina, not about the war, and certainly not about herself.

Because who could trust a Lunara?

Who could trust a demon?

Certainly not a Lunara.

And, apparently, Delera didn’t know Kistal nearly as well as she thought she did. Because, while Kistal was old, she was anything but weak.

Kistal adjusted her position and whispered into the ears of an owl. Her first words were a hum and a song, so soft no one but the owl could hear. And even if someone did hear, they wouldn’t want to. They were words of charm. They were eerie and full of eldritch power.

When the charm was set, her next words were clear, but still in song. “Shadow birds of feather and flight, bring and become the night. Shadow birds of darkened faiths, go and bring the wraiths.

Sorry I missed last week. I needed some time to think about these next few chapters.

Next chapter is the midpoint! Hehehe, ooh, I'm excited about this and the next chapter ...

Fun facts:
1.) I based the owl that first appeared in this chapter after a saw-whit owl. Any scientific resemblances is entirely by coincidence, though. (They are super cute owls that I didn't know existed until I did some research for north-west owls.)
2.) Western screech owls are one of the owls that live around my house. Despite their name, their voices are super sweet and soothing to listen to. When I was little, my elder sister and my dad found a young screech owl nearly frozen outside. Dad nursed it back to health. It used to sit on his finger.

    Chapter 9    
    Chapter 8     
    Chapter 7     
    Chapter 6       
    Chapter 5       
    Chapter 4     
    Chapter 3     
    Chapter 2     
    Chapter 1     

Questions for you:
Did you like the POV (point of view) switch?
What did you think?


See History
  • December 9, 2018 - 2:12pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Quille

    I do like the POV switch and think you did a good job writing Kistal's character :D
    I also love screech owls :)
    I can't wait for the next chapter :DD But I'm really late to this party :(

    9 months ago
  • Kahasai


    10 months ago
  • Luna Lemon

    I loved getting a POV switch! Kistal is absolutely awesome(showcased definitely in this chapter as she's literally tied down tortured and her sass hasn't diminished one bit). I'm loving the dynamic between Kistal and Delera. Some of my favorite bits of sass being, "“They’re on par with your smile,” Kistal responded sweetly. “It just brightens up my day.”", and “My, it has been a long time since I heard that title. Aren’t you a little young to be using such archaic terms, angel?”. And that ending... I can't wait to read the next chapter! I love the use of owls and the translated charm.
    Great job! I can't believe we're almost at the midpoint! This has been such a fun ride, I can't wait to see where it leads:)

    10 months ago