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Nightshade and the moon festival (Prologue)

by dragonight9


Lupita and Nara laid back on the small strip of sand surrounding the lake at the foot of Nightshade’s tree with a sigh. The cool water was welcome in the heat of the jungle summer night.

Nightshade laid on her belly beside them with her hind legs in the water and her snout on the grass just above the sand. They had been swimming and playing in the water for most of the night.

“Hey Nightshade.” Nara commented.

“Hmmm?”

“Me and Lupita were wondering if you would like to join us for a festival. It’s a night of singing, dancing, and feasting while we celebrate another year of the blessings of the jungle. At the end of the night we look up to the moon or moons and howl. It reminds us of the animals we once were and allows us to connect to them for the night.” Nara said before chuckling. “It also means we can let loose and party like animals too.”

“Well, you convinced me to invite her.” Lupita corrected. “We were just nervous that one of the other villagers would find you and get so scared he’d convince the village to hunt you. Before that happens we want to show the other villagers that you are not our enemy. That you can be reasoned with and befriended. We want them to know you’re not some dangerous and mysterious beast.”

“Oh, I think I quite like being the mysterious dragon. And I am dangerous… to anyone who threatens my pets.” Nightshade said with a playfully evil smile.

“Besides, I don’t need little cubs running around and annoying me all the time. That’s why I asked you to keep me a secret in the first place. But if some beast men villagers drop by from time to time, especially a few cute little soft balls of fur like you two, then I think I wouldn’t mind.” Nightshade shrugged.

“As for this festival of yours… well, I don’t really enjoy them very much. Whenever I went to a tree wing party nobody wanted to dance with me. And if I tried singing, my beautiful voice would make the other girls jealous, so they’d drown me out. All in all, parties are not for me.”

“Don’t worry.” Nara encouraged as she rubbed Nightshade’s side. “The people of our village are nothing like the tree wings. And even if you don’t like the singing, dancing, or howling, there’s still the food.” Nara said with a sly grin. “As much as you want… All night.” She purred enticingly.

Nightshade growled begrudgingly, but her stomach growled louder. Nara chuckled. She and Lupita had both brought cooked food from their village before and Nightshade had taken quite a liking to it.

“Fiiiine. I’ll join you. But I’ve never been to your village before.” Nightshade said.

“Oh, the festival doesn’t happen in the village. We always find a spot where we can see the moons clearly. I don’t think the exact spot has been decided yet though.”

“Why not right here?” Nightshade asked, raising her head curiously. Nara and Lupita sat up as well.

“Well…” Lupita began as she looked around the small clearing at the base of Nightshade’s tree.

“I don’t see why not.” Nara agreed. “This should be enough space for us to set up our feast and the moon is very clear since there are no trees near the lake except for Nightshade’s.”

“I guess, but this place is quite a ways from the village, and I don’t know how the elders will feel about having a feast right beside the home of someone they’re meeting for the first time.” Lupita worried. Nightshade smiled.

“Don’t worry. So long as you bring me some tasty food, I won’t be tempted to even nibble on anyone from your village.” She joked. Lupita laughed nervously too.

She still wasn’t completely certain Nightshade wouldn’t eat anyone even though Nara had convinced her it would be fine inviting Nightshade to the feast. She still only came to visit Nightshade when she was with Nara because of how much she hated the helpless feeling of being under hypnosis, even though it also made her feel really good.

She just couldn’t feel completely comfortable around a predator who could make her walk happily to her death with a glance.

“Guess we should go talk to the elders then.” Nara said with a smile as she got up to go.

“Yeah… ok” Lupita replied.

Nightshade waved goodbye as the girls walked back to their village.

Nara was excited about the prospect of showing Nightshade to the rest of the village, but Lupita was still a bit worried.

“Are you absolutely sure it will be ok having Nightshade there during the full moon festival? I mean, the full moon festival is when we are most vulnerable since our animal instincts are at their peak. And I don’t know if this is the kind of first impression we want to show her. The last thing I want is for Nightshade to think we’re no better than the animals we hunt.”

“We already went over this. It will be fine Lupita,” Nara said, scratching Lupita behind the ears.

“Nightshade already knows what the villagers are like from playing with us. Besides, she may not see us as equals YET, but she definitely does not see us as prey. The worst she would do is hypnotise a few villagers and play with them for a while. It might slow the festival down a bit but it’s better than having her as a potential enemy. And even then I’m sure we could negotiate something with her, so she doesn’t use her hypnosis too much.”

Lupita sighed. “You’re right. I just don’t know how we’re going to convince the village elders. We’ve kept her a secret all this time and…”

“Don’t worry about that.” Nara interrupted excitedly. “I can’t wait to tell them about Nightshade! It’s been so hard to keep her a secret, but now I finally get to share her with the rest of the village. I can’t wait to see their faces when they hear that I befriended a dragon! He he!” She giggled with excitement.

“More like she forced us to be her friends,” Lupita muttered, but she was happy Nara was so excited.

She knew that her best friend hated keeping secrets from the other villagers and wanted everyone to live together happily. But she also knew that Nara’s passion and straightforwardness would often cause her to jump into a situation without considering the consequences first. Which was why, as her best friend, Lupita had to look out for her so she didn’t end up loosing her tail when she inevitably got into a situation she couldn’t get out of.

Meanwhile in Nightshade’s tree house

Nightshade lay down on her favorite panther skin pillow and stretched out. She didn’t feel like hunting tonight, and now her head was full of thoughts about the party she’d been invited to.

At first she hadn’t wanted anyone else to know about her unless she had given them a quick dose of hypnosis to ensure they wouldn’t try to attack her. Even now she was a little uncertain about meeting so many new people at once, but she couldn’t let anyone (especially Nara) think she was afraid of creatures as weak as beast men.

Still, she was cautious and even a little nervous to be around a group of intelligent beings again. She had grown a lot recently thanks to Nara and maybe Lupita a bit, but she still didn’t know how to act at a party or what would make the villagers upset.

Nightshade shrugged and rolled over an her pillow. If they didn’t like her that was their problem. She was just going to act like herself as usual. If any of them didn’t like it their judging looks and remarks would simply bounce off her scales just like the snobby comments of the other tree wings.

She didn’t have to care what they thought. Nightshade told herself... at first. Then she sighed.

Meeting Nara really had really changed her. She didn’t feel like she could just ignore those same hurtful words like she used to. Her heart, hardened by years of verbal abuse from the other tree wings, had started to soften after spending so much time around friends who actually cared about her.

She could still put on the air of confidence and deviousness that used to be a mask she wore constantly. And she still did enjoy being a beautiful enchantress. Holding the minds of her friends and prey like clay in her talons. But slowly it was becoming harder to be that way all the time.

Recently she had started to grow tired of staying in that mindset day after day, and had started taking long flights in the night sky just to be alone and let her emotions rise to the surface. Thankfully she rarely had company, so she didn’t have to be worried about anyone seeing her like that.

Even so it bothered her. Maybe something would happen at the party that would help put her mind at ease…

But she doubted it.

In the beast man village

Lupita shook her head as she emerged from the meeting with the village elders. Nara certainly talked about Nightshade as though she had been bottling up her need to share all this time. The elders could hardly see her as an enemy with how amazingly (and affectionately) Nara had described her.

They had been a bit wary about holding the festival in a new area of the jungle next to the home of someone they didn’t know, and even more wary of that person being a dragon able to control minds, but eventually Nara convinced them to visit the place at least.

Lupita hadn’t even helped very much other than supporting Nara and answering any questions the elders had for her. She looked back as Nara emerged from the small hut where the elders gathered for meetings. She seemed energized and had a big smile on her face as she walked over.

“They said we can head over this evening to see Nightshade. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they see her!”

“Yeah. I just hope she doesn’t try to use her powers on them. I don’t think the elders would take too kindly to that. Just don’t get too excited and try to force this to work. It might end up being better if we take this slowly. Just… ‘sigh’ don’t get yourself into too much trouble ok? I don’t want you or the elders getting hurt.”

“What about Nightshade? Aren’t you worried about her?” 

Lupita laughed.

“If anyone does get hurt, I doubt it’ll be that dragon. She’s a lot stronger than us you know.”

“Yes, but you can be hurt in more ways than just physically, you know.” Nara replied somberly. Lupita quieted down and placed a hand on Nara’s shoulder.

“You know, you’re probably the silliest panther girl in the whole village. But you’re also the kindest and most stubborn girl I’ve ever met. I’m sure your friend will be ok. And the party will be fine. I just don’t want you thinking this is the only way to help Nightshade. Just be there for her and help the elders understand her. That’s the best thing you can do.” Lupita said comfortingly. Nara smiled at her and gave her a big hug.

“You’re the best friend ever Lupita! Thanks so much.”

“That’s what best friends are for aren’t they?” Lupita said returning the hug. “Now, we’d better start getting ready for this evening. We want to look our best right?”

“Yes. Of course.”

They both waved goodbye and went back to their homes to prepare for the meeting with Nightshade.

Later that evening in Nightshade’s treehouse

Nightshade yawned and stretched out on her pillow as she woke up. The sun was already well below the horizon, but it didn’t really matter. She enjoyed being able to sleep in as much as she liked. Prey wasn’t hard to come by in this part of the forest so there was no need to hunt every night.

Speaking of which, she could hear a small pack of somethings approaching her tree even now. Most of the animals around this area had grown wary of her tree and steered clear, but there were still a few groups, either by ignorance or by her hypnotism of their pack leader, that came to the lake to drink at night.

Nightshade wasn’t about to pass up on such an easy meal and crept to the edge of her treehouse so she could look down through the leaves to the small clearing below. There she saw an interesting little group emerging from the jungle trees.

The first few looked like Nara in that they walked like humans but looked more like other jungle creatures. There were a few foxes, a wolf, and a panther. One of the foxes looked female but the rest were male and all of them held wooden spears. Nightshade narrowed her eyes. She had worried that, upon hearing about her, Nara’s friends in the village would try to get rid of her.

Before she could think about it any further, Nara and Lupita emerged along with some very different looking people. There were about five of them and they were the same half-beast half-human as the rest of the group except for one who had faded yellow, black and white stripes like a tiger. The other four also had faded fur, looked a bit more frail and had a few had large wrinkles in their skin. Only one wolf and one fox out the five were female.

Nightshade smiled. She guessed that these were the elders Nara had talked about. They must have come to talk with her before holding their festival beneath her tree. This was going to be an interesting conversation.

Almost everyone in their party was looking around cautiously except for Nara and Lupita. Nightshade smiled mischievously. She loved sneaking up on prey while they were on their guard. They had the most hilarious expressions when they were scared. Nara pointed to the tree and whispered to the elders who nodded.

“Nightshade! I have some visitors for you!”

“So it would seem,” Nightshade growled back, lighting up the patterns on her wings as she opened them in the shadow of her tree. The elders gasped and the guards pointed their sticks at her.

“I’ll be right down.” Nightshade called in a sing-song voice. She walked down the spiral staircase facing towards them and keeping her wings lit until she passed behind the trunk and out of sight. Then she turned off the glow and leapt down to the forest.

Landing quietly, she quickly made her way around the clearing as silent as a cat creeping up on its prey until she was right behind the group. All of them were facing the tree waiting for her to appear around the other side. Nightshade smiled evilly and spread her wings letting her whole body light up.

“Hello, my sweet little guests. Welcome to my home.” She chuckled menacingly just as they turned to see what was making the light. Their eyes widened in fear and a few of the elders yelped.

Before the guards could even point their spears at Nightshade she had fallen back, letting the glow from her scales fade and began rolling with laughter.

“Oh, you should have seen your faces! Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh, that was just perfect. He, he, he.”

The elders looked at each other in confusion as they slowly started to relax once more.

“Nightshade! You should know better than to scare someone you just met! Especially if that someone is going to be deciding if you are an enemy or not!” Nara scolded her.

Nightshade took a deep breath and barely kept her giggles from overwhelming her again.

“Of course, Nara. My mistake,” She said with a small bow. But when she raised her head she still had a big grin that said she didn’t regret what she had done one bit.

“This… is Nightshade?” One of the elders asked. Nightshade composed herself a bit and sat with her wings folded neatly behind her. Then she bowed like she’d seen the old dragons in the tree wing village do.

“Yes, I am Nightshade. It is a pleasure to meet you, elder of Nara and Lupita’s village. May the moon light your path brightly and the sun spare you its scorching heat.”

Nightshade remembered hearing that greeting in one of the books her mother had gotten her. She’d always thought it sounded formal and fancy. The elders also composed themselves a bit and bowed in return.

“We are pleased to meet you as well, Nightshade. I am Noroan, and these are my fellow elders, Martan, Wolof, Scrag and Tameron. We have come to you this evening to talk with you about our upcoming festival. I’m sure Nara and Lupita have told you about it already, but we’d like to discuss it at length. And even though Nara has given us quite the glorious description of you, we’d like to see for ourselves who you are.”

Nightshade smiled. She knew Nara would give them a good first impression of her. Now all she had to do was meet their expectations.

“Of course. Please follow me into my tree house. Much safer and more comfortable to have our conversation there,” She said as she led the way to her tree. She lowered the last part of the walkway to allow easy access to the path going around the tree and lead the way.

The elders, their guards, Lupita and Nara all followed Nightshade up into the small house at the top of the tree. By the time they got there, the elders were starting to breathe hard from the climb. Nightshade walked in and laid down on her pillow as the rest of them entered. Nara joined Nightshade on the pillow while Lupita sat nearby. The rest were busy gazing around the house which, to them, looked gigantic.

“Just let me know whenever you’re ready,” Nightshade said in a bored voice after a few minutes had passed.

“Oh. Ahem, yes, right. Let us all get seated and we can begin talking,” Noroan agreed awkwardly.

The rest of the night went by quickly.

It didn’t take much to convince the elders that Nightshade was no threat to them, and after that they requested the use of the clearing underneath Nightshade’s tree. She allowed it in return for food and their promise to clean the space afterward.

The elders described the party, which entailed all the different events of the night and the kinds of food and drink that would be available, none of which Nightshade knew but she couldn’t wait to try them all. Then they explained how the event would be set up and set some guidelines for Nightshade.

These included: No hypnotising anyone while they were alone, no keeping any villagers as pets, no pranks, and of course, no harming any of the villagers in any way. The elders then agreed to allow Nightshade to attend the festival in the hopes that she would become a friend of their village and as a way of introducing her to the other villagers.

Noroan rose from his seat and bowed slightly to Nightshade.

“We thank you for your generosity in inviting us to your home Nightshade. We will be happy to have you join our festival. Unfortunately, we must return to our village soon lest they worry about our safety.”

“Of course. May your path home be swift, safe and well lit.” Nightshade replied (again using the lines from the book she'd read).

The elders bowed one more time and turned to go but one of them, the female wolf elder Noroan had referred to as Tameron, hesitated.

“What is it?” Nightshade asked. Tameron went to speak but hesitated again for a moment.

“You have the power of hypnosis correct?” She asked shyly.

“Yes. Why do you ask?” Nightshade asked, suddenly becoming more interested than she had all night as a sly smile began forming on her face.

“Well, Nara mentioned that it felt pleasant.” Tameron continued awkwardly.

“Yeeeees?” Nightshade asked encouragingly. She knew exactly what the elder was going to ask, but she wanted her to say the words herself.

“Um… could you show me a little bit? I… I simply want to see what it’s like for myself.”

The other elders looked at each other with concern, but whether it was for Tameron’s safety or her sanity for asking Nightshade to hypnotise her Nightshade wasn't sure.

“Sssss-Certainly. It would be my pleasure.” Nightshade hissed in delight. She glanced at the other elders and their guards, but none tried to intervene.

“Simply step closer and I will show you a taste of the wonderous bliss my powers can offer you." 

Tameron drew closer until she was close enough to touch Nightshade's chest. Nightshade nodded.

"Now we will begin. But first, I wouldn’t want anyone else accidentally falling under my spell,” Nightshade said as she wrapped her wings around Tameron. Tameron hesitated before taking a deep breath and standing her ground.

“Oh, no need to be so tense. In fact, I want you to relax, and the best way to do that…” She said as she closed her eyes. “...is to look into my eyes,” Nightshade whispered as her eyes opened with spirals flowing through them at a leisurely pace. Tameron’s eyes widened as her jaw dropped.

“I’ve never… I’ve never seen… so beautiful before,” She muttered as her whole body started to relax. Nightshade’s tail curled around her legs and waist to support her in case she couldn’t stand up anymore.

“That’s it. Just relax and let all your worries and thoughts float away as you stare deeply into the pretty colors. Let every muscle in your body relax. Let everything in your mind and body relax into the colors as they carry you into blissful trance. That’s it. Just like that,” Nightshade cooed as colors blossomed in Tameron’s eyes and a pleasant, relaxed smile swept over her face.

“There you go. Your mind now floating in a sea of colors. Swept away by the bliss filling your mind and body. Remember, this is but a taste. Now let your eyes close slowly and gently as you fall into a deep, peaceful sleep. Waking as soon as you are ready. No need to rush. A simple rest is all you need. Just a taste but all you need to have deep, peaceful sleep.” Nightshade finished as she opened her wings and blinked the colors out of her eyes.

Tameron was breathing deeply with a pleasant smile on her face, eyes closed and wrapped in Nightshade’s tail. Nightshade loosened her tail and presented the sleeping elder to the guards who gently picked Tameron up and laid her sleeping form over Lupita's back like one would a child.

The other elders were understandably shocked to see one of them put to sleep so quickly and with seemingly very little effort.

“Thank you for accepting the request of our fellow elder.” Noroan said bowing once more. “We will leave you now. I pray that the night of the full moon finds you well. We will see you then.”

“See you then,” Nightshade waved as the group left.

Nara waved goodbye as she departed with them. Lupita was carrying the sleeping elder and didn’t even glance at Nightshade as she departed so Nightshade couldn't see her reaction, but that didn't really matter anyway.

Nightshade smiled to herself. She wasn’t sure what the other elders thought of her, but now she knew at least one of them would be on her side. It was strange having someone who had never felt her hypnosis before ask for it. Even so, it had helped make her more comfortable and she could tell Tameron had enjoyed it as well. Soon the night of the full moon would arrive, and the festival would begin.

Nightshade smiled as she stared out into the night sky. She couldn’t wait.


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Sat Mar 11, 2023 11:55 pm
foxmaster wrote a review...



Hello! Foxmaster here for a review!
This was a really interesting chapter. (Prolouge?) I think it was so intersting about how Tameron actaully wanted to be hypnotized, because a lot of the characters in these don't want that to happen to them. Also, when Nightshade hypnotized the elders as a prank, I found myself thinking, "No! Don't do it! BAD idea!!!" I honestly can't wait to continue this but I found a few errors. (Mostly punctuation.)
Nightshade laid down on her favorite panther skin pillow and stretched out. She didn’t feel like hunting tonight, and now her head was full of thoughts about the party she’d been invited to.
Change that to "Nightshade lay down" because of the past tense.

There were a few foxes, a wolf, and a panther. One of the foxes looked female but the rest were male and all of them held wooden spears.
This is not an error, but: Ooh! Foxes!!! 🦊
“If anyone does get hurt I doubt it’ll be that dragon. She’s a lot stronger than us you know.”
put a comma after us and you know.
“Yes, but you can be hurt in more ways than just physically you know.” Nara replied somberly. Lupita quieted down and placed a hand on Nara’s shoulder.
comma afte physycally and you know.
These included: No hypnotising anyone while they were alone, no keeping any villagers as pets, no pranks, and of course, no harming any of the villagers in any way.
"Hypnotising" is misspelled. It is spelled: "Hypnotizing."

That is all! I am definately continuing this and I am wondering what will happen next! Also, do you know about how when you review something you put it in the box or "quote" it? Thank you! :)

-foxmaster




dragonight9 says...


First, thanks for the review!
Second, I think Lay and Laid are both past tense of Lie though, Laid is about a person Laid something down, whereas Lay is the person themselves lay down.
So you were right to correct me, just be aware of the difference.
And your correction of Hypnotizing was technically correct but the word can actually be spelled both ways depending on the site. (Word corrects it to an 's' but here it's corrected to a 'z')
The rest of your corrections were all spot on and I have corrected them.
Unfortunately I don't know how to "quote" stuff. And honestly for me 'quoting' it may actually decrease the word count and thus the points you get for the review. (not that I know or really care). For reviewing my stuff just putting the quote in "" like you did for this review is easy to tell. Thanks.



foxmaster says...


thank you! and yeah the quoting makes no sense but thanks for letting me know! :)



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Mon Mar 06, 2023 6:57 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...



Nightshade in a Moon Festival…this should be interesting. I wonder how the other villagers will feel about her. At least one of the elders likes her. Hopefully there isn’t any other kind of trouble. I like the cover art. It’s beautiful. I’ll read the other chapters soon to see how this goes. I think that everything will be okay, at least. I’ll have to see.

I wish you a lovely day/night.





Once you have people's attention, you have a greater responsibility to tell them something of value.
— Tobias Forge (Ghost B.C.)