Kya closed her eyes and saw the moon’s country in all its unfettered glory. There was beauty and order, but as her mind’s eye rooted deeper, she saw a wildness hiding just below the surface. It was hungry as all great magicks are, but had the civility to use cutlery where it had it, and long, tapered fingers—slender, but strong—where it had none.
As she turned her mind’s eye to the gate, the silver leaves and star flowers swirled together into a long face with star fire eyes and slender teeth that jutted out of a too-wide mouth. It managed, somehow, to eye both her hand and herself with a hungry gleam, waiting patiently while it considered whether she was prey or hunter.
Kya gasped and opened her eyes. The gate stood with silver elegance, silent and toothless, but her gasp had been enough to turn a small key in the lock she hadn’t noticed before. The key chimed against the lock, and the gate swung open on well-greased hinges.
Originally Published in Curiosities of the Moon
The world had been dark before her coming, or so the sky said.
Mortals lived in darkness, eased only by hungry fire that devoured everything it touched and was never satisfied no matter how much it consumed.
Then the sun came, and for half the day, mortals could blink up at the light and see things clearly for the first time. But the world wasn’t complete until she came to light the night with her presence and a scattering of stars.
The sun walked in truth, but she spoke in stories and traveled by wisdom’s path.
So why was she stalking a witch—three witches to be exact?
The moon very rarely involved herself in the affairs of mortals, not that the witches were mortal by any means. But still.
To the average Underwherian, gillyhoppers were more myth than legend, which might be on account of how shy they were.
Fortunately, Wednesday’s family were the curious sort that were always wondering about the next hill over. They’d found a tribe of gillyhoppers in a forgotten spring in the center of a forgotten forest of stone. They went and visited the gillyhoppers every so often, but never let on they were doing anything more than casual adventuring in the name of curiosity.
That was the other thing Wednesday’s family was very good at: keeping secrets.
He stood next to the child and grinned at him in the most welcoming way he knew how. That is, to say, he bared his teeth so the child could see that he came from a good, if not particularly extraordinary family of a little less than average means. The stories were carved there on his teeth for all the world to see, and the child seemed to be studying them with interest.
One Letter Delivered Via Sparrow
Greetings, Moira dear.
I hope this letter finds you well and in good keeping.
As you know, the Autumn is fast approaching, and our annual gathering is nearly upon us once more. We all look forward to seeing Mira again. It is amazing how quickly mortal children grow. One moment they’re little more than a sprout with a bright light and heads bursting full of questions, and the next they’re growing up and coming into their own.
And speaking of coming into their own, as this is Mira’s eleventh year, this visit will be a special one. She truly stands between the thresholds of worlds, and while the binding has not yet been activated, let’s just say that eleven is a tricky year. As this is the case, you may expect all of us this afternoon instead of just me. I apologize for the short notice, but it couldn’t be helped.
The pebble was, on its own, quite unremarkable. It was a smooth, anonymous dun color. The same shade the soil went when the sun and wind and rain had bleached the color from it. It was soft and smooth as sand, but for the tiny markings she’d carved into its surface.
A beautiful word. A quiet word. A word the flowers feared more than anything else. More than the gardner with his silver-bright shears. More than winter with her frost and chills. But not quite as much as they feared a queen with poppy-red skirts and a temper to match.
“Indeed?” The head daisy raised a brow, politely incredulous. “All in the Garden may speak their minds—”
Robin stepped forward, “I’ve a mind—”
Gwyn put a hand on his arm, her eyes on the daisy who was the grand duchess of this particular flower bed.
“—And when laws are broken,” the queen’s pet gave them a look so full of disdain that Gwyn could almost taste it, “the right authorities must be alerted.”
She shook her head. The stone burned cold and hot in her hand, aching to be used. That was the way of runes—invoke a power, even if only by scratching out the name of it, and it’s going to want to do what it was made to do.
A lesson she’d learned early on.