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The Moon Needs Her Night Chapter 12

by inktopus


Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

As they walked, Asha kept her eyes firmly fixed at Yuni’s feet, recalling the personal servants in Merdon. Yuni guided them onto a road paved with cobblestones. Buildings popped up quickly, but Asha didn’t allow herself to look around. She had too much to lose to be caught.

“Look for the other part of town,” Asha whispered, hoping that Yuni would understand what she meant. It almost hurt to think of her own people living in - she shuddered- slums.

Gradually, the pavement began to crack and the streets weren’t swept so clean. Then, the streets weren't paved at all, and the buildings mixed in with the traditional huts that were so familiar to Asha wore a dingy brown color.

Asha allowed herself glances away from Yuni’s heels, figuring that it was less risky. The streets were empty, so different from what Asha had known when she was young. As they walked through the streets, Asha realized that she had no idea what to do next. Knock on people’s doors?

Abruptly, Yuni stopped. Asha almost ran into her. “What is it?” Asha hissed.

“Do you know what we are doing? I fear that we are running out of time,” Yuni murmured softly, but even her woolen accent couldn’t hide the worry in her voice. When Asha said nothing, she gestured down the street. A cart with iron bars for sides, pulled by a large draft horse had stopped at the end of the street. The driver was nowhere to be seen.

Asha clenched and unclenched her fists, her mind going everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There had to be some way to get a message out to everyone. Wildly glancing around like a prey animal, Asha’s head stopped whirling. She had it.

Grasping Yuni’s hand, she dragged the woman behind her. “What are you doing?” Yuni asked in a low voice. “You are going to make them notice us!”

Asha had no time for secrecy. “I have a plan,” she whispered.

Yuni allowed herself to be towed across the town by Asha, while Asha frantically inspected every building. Finally, she saw the mark.

It was imbued with energy: the mark of the mtuwachi. She jerked Yuni by the wrist, turning into the front yard of the building and barging in the front door. A mage would understand. A mtuwachi would understand more. This was urgent.

A woman screamed.

“Quiet,” Asha whisper shouted. Then, in her own language, she added. “I have to warn you.”

The woman narrowed coffee bean eyes at her. “Of what?” She asked.

“Slavers.”

“What do you mean?” the mtuwachi asked. “Who are you?”

“I am Asha Balewa. A mage, like you.”

The woman still squinted suspiciously at her. “Why should I trust you?”

“Why should you-” Asha muttered. “Maybe because I hold your life in my hands?” Asha all but roared.

A hand swiftly caught the back of Asha’s head. “Do not speak that way. We do not have the luxury of anger, Asha. You know this.”

Asha let out a slow measured breath. How had she let her anger get away from her like that? She hadn’t known that Yuni could act that way.

She opened her mouth to apologize, but the village mage interrupted her. “I believe you. Now explain.”

“I don’t have much time, but mages from Malland want to take the Kuwhan people to be their familiars. They’re here, in this town, and they need to be stopped. We need your help to warn everyone.”

The mtuwachi nodded. “Of course. We have a signal for trouble. I’ll make it, and everyone will be ready for a fight, in one way or another.”

Asha nodded. “Perfect.”

She hummed in acknowledgment and her eyes went glassy and vacant.

“What is the matter?” Yuni whispered in Asha’s ear.

“She’s doing magic,” Asha whispered back. “Not everyone closes their eyes.”

Yuni nodded and fell silent. Asha had almost forgotten the intimate silence that hung between someone performing magic and someone who wasn’t. Anxiously, Asha scratched at her palm while she waited.

The film disappeared from the woman’s eyes and she smiled rather grimly. “It’s done.”

Asha nodded. “I think we should stay inside for the moment. It’s better that we aren’t seen.”

“What have you said?” Yuni asked, her breath tickling the insides of Asha’s ear. Asha suppressed her shiver. She was almost surprised that Yuni had asked, having forgotten that she couldn’t understand the words between Asha and the other mage.

“She’s sent out a signal to her people,” Asha murmured. “They’re ready for a fight. You should be ready too.”

Yuni nodded.

A cold chill ran down Asha’s back. “Can you fight?” Asha asked, almost anticipating Yuni’s negative answer.

“I was trained in hand to hand combat and weapons,” Yuni replied. “I am more than prepared for the melee.”

“I believe I haven’t introduced myself properly,” the woman interjected. “I am Durra.”

Asha dipped her head. “I am sorry we couldn’t have met under better circumstances, Durra.”

“Likewise,” Durra replied. Just after she spoke, a high pitched scream shattered the quiet, piercing Asha’s heart and spreading terror through her veins like poison. All but knocking over Yuni in her rush to get to the door, she flung it open, scanning the street.

Her vision caught on the caged wagon she had seen at the end of the street. It was parked in the middle of the street, the horse it was hitched to whinnying and pawing at the ground as a young girl, perhaps twelve, struggled in the arms of a burly Mallander man.

Asha couldn’t make herself move, it seemed like the ground was pulling at her feet, keeping her rooted in place. Helplessly, she watched as the girl attempted to twist free of the man’s meaty paws. From behind her, Yuni leapt into action, knocking Asha into the side of the doorway as she pushed her way past. She flew across the street. The girl had bitten the man on the arm: bloody teeth marks in two red dotted arcs. The man quickly thrust her away and looked up only to get a swift jab to the face, Yuni’s hair still streaming behind her, as if gravity kindly allowed her to suspend in the air for as long as she pleased.

The man fell back, clutching his nose. After a moment, he removed his hand; blood flowed from his nose and down his upper lip. With an arm like a battering ram, he took a swing at tall, willowy Yuni. Fluidly, she dropped into a crouch, avoiding the clumsy attempt. Before he could wind up for another swing, she swept his feet out from under him.

He fell on the ground with a grunt, and the ground released its hold on Asha’s feet. She flew from the threshold of the door, skirts pulled up to her knees. “Yuni!”

She turned around, wearing an expression Asha had never seen before. Quiet, dreamy Yuni looked exhilarated and dangerous. Her lips still wore that quirked up half smile, but Asha could see the power behind it; a wild look glinted in her dark eyes.

Before Asha knew what was happening, was on his feet again, restraining Yuni with a club-like arm. All of her options had been exhausted. The man had wised up since the young girl had bitten him, and he covered Yuni’s mouth with his other hand.

Yuni met Asha’s eyes, her expression somewhere between furious and pleading. Gathering all of the energy she could from the small amount of grass nearby, she forced the man’s arms open, freeing Yuni. “Let her go!” she roared as he staggered back.

Unrestricted, Yuni struck the man across the face with her elbow and bounded to Asha’s side. Before Asha could begin to speak, Yuni said, “I am well. He could not hurt me.”

A strange mix of feelings boiled in Asha’s stomach; she had no idea how to express them, so she crushed them down and offered a breathless nod.

In the split second that Asha’s attention was fully on Yuni, it seemed that scores of similarly burly slavers had filled the streets. Asha broke her gaze and whipped her head around. She could feel her heart thudding in her chest like the footsteps of a thousand marching soldiers.

Durra placed a hand on Asha’s shoulder from behind. “My people are strong. We can fight this.”

Asha nodded stiffly, not taking her eyes off of the threat. Not a moment later, the doors to the houses were flung open, and scores of Kuwhan men and women flooded out into the streets, armed with scythes, hoes, even mops and brooms, rushing at the walls of slavers.

Yuni was gone, flying toward the fray, and Asha took a deep shuddering breath. Yuni would be okay. Everyone would be okay. She closed her eyes, commanding energy, she could feel Durra beside her, doing the same. There wasn’t much life left for potential energy, especially when sharing with Durra, but Asha made do with what she had.

Recalling the combat magic she had practiced in school, she focused the energy on the malignant bodies in the clash. She wrapped them in the energy, freezing their bodies in place. She could only focus on a few at a time, feeding the energy into her body, like spinning cotton into thread and wrapping the thread around the slavers.

Soon, the energy that she could reach was exhausted, and she began pulling from inside of herself. She took shaky, measured breaths as she slowly pulled threads of energy from below her heart; she could feel herself swaying on her feet.

Finally, she could give no more. She widened her stance a bit as to not lose balance. Opening her eyes, she caught a flash of the scene on the street, but for no more than a second before she felt a sharp blow to her head, and everything went dark and silent.


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737 Reviews


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Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:28 pm
CaptainJack wrote a review...



So this was fun.

This is mainly comprised of convincing the old hag mage lady to work with them and loose fight scenes, eventually leading up to that scene we see in every adventure novel. You get the group of rebels together and they prepare to beat down these government people who are luckily alone and it's not an army on your doorstep. It's kinda shaky here but we'll assume that they win the fight, drive the henchmen away, then they go and report it to the king who may or may not kill them.
Fights like these are always a determining point because if you defeat these people, leave some loyalist witnesses, they will most definitely report you to some higher power. And that gets the characters on the radar of the king, so if this was the point you were ready for, it has been done.

Of course this does leave open the question of were you ready for this much of an advancement? The two main characters still aren't comfortable working together, they're still stiff when talking and relating information back and forth. You've got some of the misfit army and the helpful old wisewoman, but I'm questioning if there still needs to be one of those backup characters. Where's the guy who got kicked out of the military for going against the king but is the epic war hero? I assume he's going to exist in some capacity or maybe this magician will be the equivalent of it.

And once again there's the twist to the ending so maybe they don't win the fight like I expected. Well there's always next week.




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Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:18 am
PastelSlushie wrote a review...



Hello again, Stormcloud, PastelSlushie here for review number 15 for #RevMo ! Let's get right into it, and let's get this out of the green room!

This chapter was really, really intense! I really felt something bad would happen to Yuni or Asha, which made me continue reading. The only REAL criticism I can give about the fighting scene is how suddenly the switch from Yuni being the sort of hero in the fight and then her suddenly having everything go wrong and then going back to being strong enough to fight. It was very sudden and my suggestion would be to maybe either slow the part where Yuni get attacked or to just remove it all in all.

As Biscuits said, the moments leading up to the fight confused me a bit. It was tense, which was interesting and was something I can enjoy, but the citizens of the town or village or whatever it's called immediately being ready to fight is weird. I mean, they're being told people are coming to make them human familiars, wouldn't they not believe it in some way? Wouldn't they be suspicious in the slightest? Maybe it's sort of instinct that they know something bad will happen when they get told?

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions of disagree with anything in my review. Best of luck in your future pieces,

Pastel




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Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:25 pm
ExOmelas wrote a review...



Woohoo! Caught it before it left the Green Room!

Nit-picks and nice moments:

It almost hurt to think of her own people living in - she shuddered- slums.

Maybe I'm imagining Asha as poorer than she is, but I actually got the impression that this wouldn't have been too far away from how people she knew lived, even if not her herself.

A cart with iron bars for sides, pulled by a large draft horse had stopped at the end of the street. The driver was nowhere to be seen.

This is a particularly good example but I just wanted to note how well you're building up the eerie atmosphere throughout this chapter's beginning. Nice work :)

Grasping Yuni’s hand, she dragged the woman behind her.

So I realise that this is probably to avoid saying "dragged her behind her" which would be rather confusing. Unfortunately I think this sentence is also confusing and for a split second I thought "the woman" was a second person. What do you think of "She dragged Yuni behind her by the hand"? Does "dragged by the hand" sound right?

The woman narrowed coffee bean eyes at her. “Of what?” she asked.

I actually highlighted this as a nice moment and only spotted the nit-pick as I was copying it. What I like about this is that in something I was reading recently (I think it was something on here but it may well have been an actual book) there was a character who just sort of bought into what the main character was telling them. The other way is also unhelpful, ie immediately raising the alarm against Asha. I think you've struck a really good balance here and people doing this kind of thing wrong is a pet peeve of mine so thank you.

She hadn’t known that Yuni could act that way.

I think you might want to be slightly more specific here. So assertively? She was certainly assertive when she busted Asha out of prison. So level-headedly? I would say she has been quite cool thus far. I'm unsure exactly what Asha means here.

The mtuwachi nodded. “Of course. We have a signal for trouble. I’ll make it, and everyone will be ready for a fight, in one way or another.”

Here, however, I think this person would be more shocked. Something along the lines of humAN FAMILIARS????!!!!111!!

tall, willowy Yuni

That was a lovely little bit of description slipped in.

Before Asha knew what was happening, he was on his feet again


A strange mix of feelings boiled in Asha’s stomach; she had no idea how to express them, so she crushed them down and offered a breathless nod.

I has feels O.O

She widened her stance a bit so as to not lose balance


Overall:

Before I get into this I want to apologise if I go incoherent almost immediately.

Hoooooly crap this was so tense! My eyes were literally wide and I had my hands up to my face the whole time. That's the second part of the chapter, I mean. That was a really, really good fight. I guess my only criticism of the fight was the suddenness of the flip where things go wrong for Yuni, after her just seeming like some sort of superhero. But the more important thing is the extent to which you weaved feels and characterisation into that fight. Very very well done on that. Most of the time I do combat it's as boring as a DnD battle, so seriously good job.

Right, now I have to remember what I was thinking for this chapter before that. I swear to god I had some balanced and measured criticisms and compliments.

Ah, that's what it was. I think the bits leading up to the fight might be just a bit too easy. It's really quiet and tense, which was very interesting, but I don't think it naturally showed that the citizens were ready for and expecting a fight. But then, you have the woman suddenly say she believes them and contact everyone with the warning. This is really weird and sudden and if the town was so tense I would imagine its citizens would be suspicious of some sort of setup. Not to mention, human familiars is utterly bonkers. There's no way anyone's going to do that, right? This must be some sort of plot...

Your description of the town was nice and eerie but I think you were right to keep it as short as you did. You've done a lot of describing of towns, and anything was bound to get repetitive. The atmosphere offset a lot of that, but I think much more and I would have been in danger of losing a bit of focus.

I am now off to find someone to force to review this so that you'll publish the next chapter.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)





Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris (Remember, man, that you are dust, and you will return to dust)
— Genesis 3:19