The Cycle of the Six Moons: The Last Winter Moon
Chapter Fourteen: The Manor in the Snow
I got a commission/art trade from artist YAMsgarden 😀 Incidentally, it’s also one of the excerpts for The Last Winter Moon.
A vast, electric lamp hanging above buzzes to life. Dusty cobwebs sway beneath it. To the left is a fireplace facing beautifully carved wooden lounge chairs, and on the right near the windows, something that looks like a grand piano. Several spiders have made a home beneath its open lid over the years. Behind the piano is a display case with crystal ornaments and small boxes, probably musical. In the far corner over another doorway is a swarming spider nest.
“Oh, ew,” I say. “I’m gonna clean up this place before I turn anything else on. I don’t want to breathe in burnt spider fumes.”
Jayse stands out of the way, and I make my way to the middle of the room. This should be like cleaning out the temples in Hiesan, but this time, no one’s barking orders at me. I close my eyes and let my power flow through my feet, extending into the wooden floor and up the walls, gathering dust, cobwebs, spiders, termites, moths, stretching over the ceiling and swirling into the hall and through other rooms, up the chimneys and back.
When I’m done, I don’t open my eyes, but I’m pretty sure a giant, nasty, grayish brown swarm of dust and bugs floats in the middle of the room. I send it hurling to the doors, and I realize too late that they’re still shut.
I spin around and see him brushing off the bugs that have crashed against the corner where he was waiting. The dust and cobwebs have splattered over the doors.
I feel bad for laughing. I yell, “Jayse, I’m sorry! Can you open the doors?”
He throws them open and dances his way to the outside stairs, still groaning in disgust at the bugs crawling over him.
Now that the doors are open, I try again. It’s easier now that the massive mess is concentrated in one area. This time, I keep my eyes open and make sure it lands outside, safely away from Jayse. Then I run outside and clean him off, giggling in shame.
“They didn’t bite you, did they?”
“They did. I healed myself, but…” He shudders.
I laugh, give him a quick apologetic hug, and pull him back inside.