Moon’s Slumber

Happy Moon Day

Happy Moon Day! When discovered this holiday, I knew I had to celebrate our nearest neighbor with a special holiday flash fiction! I hope you’ll enjoy this tale under the dark sky.

The dusky blue tones of the sky told Cere Aebeorth time was running out. Leaning forward she rubbed Scratch’s neck as her leather armor creaked. The horse raised his head slightly flicked an ear back as if asking if they could stop, before lowering and swinging to the side as if searching for weeds growing among the rocks. They’d left the tree line behind an hour ago.

Scratch ambled forward gaining a burst of speed as the ground leveled out at the summit. The ground dropped into a shallow valley, with a pool in the center. The water lapping against the rock shore was audible, even here. Scratch kept going as Cere pulled back. The last brook had been a ways back.

Yanking the horse to a halt she slid off his back. She took a step forward and stopped. Across the valley she could make out the temple hidden again the mountainside in the gloom. The brick blended easily where it had been taken from the mountain. Cere needed to go faster. She took a second step, wobbling on loose scree in the dark.

Scratch nudged her shoulder, urging her to keep moving. Two thousand pounds was enough to push her stumbling forward. With his nose bumping against her shoulder, Cere reached up and rubbed his cheek absently.

Pale light silhouetted the mountain’s crest behind the temple. Cere swore under her breath rushing forward. The horses clomp clomp echoing across the valley. Reaching the temple Cere threw the reigns over a stone beam beside the door and rushed in.

Cere stopped beyond the sill, drawing in a breath. Clamping her fist, she pressed it against her chest to slow her heart which had run ahead without her. Moonlight slanted across the floor from the barred windows high above, creating a maze of light and shadow across the floor. The open circle at the center was advancing across the floor, to a stone slab in the center of the chamber.

In the soft light she saw him laid out and chocked back a sob. His skin looked washed of color in the light, and the brown of his hair was darkened to black, but his face was the same. The hard angles softened by sleep. Once she had loved to watch him sleep. Now she just wanted to see him awake.

“Greyny,” she whispered the name knowing he still would not hear her. How many long years had it been? More years than she cared to number had slipped away since then, but she was back. The first sliver of moonlight struck him. And just in time.

Cere pulled the helm from her head as she moved forward. Casting her helm to the side she stopped at the slab and pressed her hands upon it. Above the moon glided across the sky, aligning perfectly with the window.

Wolne had failed.

She was here despite the long years of him preventing her, trying to persuade her, and for those she’d spent in his dungeon, trying to woe her. But Cere had never forgotten, never taken his bait.
She pushed and climbed onto the slab.

A roar screamed in the distance and she heard Scratch claw at the ground outside. Closing her eyes, she drew a breath. She wanted to see him awake more than anything, but that would have to wait.

Cere pressed a note into his right hand, and drawing her blade placed the hilt in his right. She climbed around him, stretching out on the other side of the slab. Above the moon had reached the center of the disc. Wings hid the moon for a moment but passed by quickly.

Twisting, Cere kissed him. Moonlight rose from his skin, unbinding him from the spell. The light danced before her eyes and the magic rushed over her, binding her. She stared at his face hoping for a flutter of his eyes, a drawn breath, anything. Her mind was shoved away knowing she’d see nothing and praying the note would be enough to set him on the path to free her as well. Preferably, before the dragon attacked.

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