Black Moon (The Moonlight Trilogy)

BOOK: Black Moon (The Moonlight Trilogy)
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Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Copyright © 2014 by Teri Harman

First Paperback Edition: September 2014

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior return permission of the publisher.

For information on subsidiary rights, please contact the publisher at [email protected].

For general information, write us at Jolly Fish Press, PO Box 1773, Provo,
UT 84603-1773 or [email protected].

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Harman, Teri, 1981–

Black moon / Teri Harman. — First paperback edition.

pages cm. — (The moonlight trilogy ; 2)

Summary: “Two novice witches—Willa and Simon—struggle to acclimate to their new life as members of the Covenant, while dark forces secretly prepare to wipe them out”— Provided by publisher.

ISBN 978-1-939967-93-0 (paperback)

[1. Witches—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.H2268Bk 2014

[Fic]--dc23

2014020744

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To Mom and Dad.

For all the big, obvious reasons; but mostly for all the small, significant ones that make all the difference.

Also by Teri Harman:

Blood Moon, Book I of The Moonlight Trilogy

The Moonlight Witches

The New Light Covenant

Rowan
Gift of Earth, Luminary (leader), married to Wynter

Wynter
Gift of Earth

Willa
Gift of Dreams with the Power of Spirits

Simon
Gift of Mind and a True Healer

Elliot
Gift of Dreams

Charlotte
Gift of Mind

Darby
Gift of Fire, married to Cal

Cal
Gift of Fire

Rain
Gift of Water

Corbin
Gift of Water

Hazel
Gift of Air

Toby
Gift of Air

The Light Witches of Early Twelve Acres

Ruby Plate
Gift of Mind, founder of Twelve Acres, Luminary of the first American Light Covenant. Married to Charles Plate.

Amelia Plate
Gift of Water, granddaughter of Ruby and Charles. Married to Peter Wilson, daughter named Lilly. Luminary of the Covenant after Ruby

s death
.

Camille Krance
Gift of Air, also a founder of Twelve Acres and member of Ruby

s original Covenant. Married to Ronald Krance, mother of Solace.

Solace Krance
Gift of Mind, member of the Light Covenant under Amelia

s leadership. Daughter of Camille and Ronald. Ghost in Twelve Acres Museum.

The Dark Witches

Archard
Gift of Fire, leader of the Dark covens
.

Rachel
Gift of Fire, the only surviving member of the Dark covens.

Holmes
Gift of Mind, the witch who held Wynter hostage. Wynter killed him after she escaped.

Bartholomew the Dark
An infamous Dark witch during medieval times, the only Dark witch to ever form a Covenant. Married to Brigid.

Black Moon

The Moonlight Trilogy

II

Teri Harman

Provo, Utah

On the rare occasion that two new moons occur in one calendar month, the second new moon is known to witches as a black moon. It is a time of Darkness, when the evil of magic thrives with the gift of extra power awarded by the obsidian sky.

On this night, Dark witches rise.

Chapter 1

Waning Gibbous

January 500 A.D.

T
he bookmaker bent over his worktable, forehead pinched in concentration, eyes straining in the candlelight. In his calloused, ink-stained hand, he held a knife, small and sharp. One by one he lifted the dried goat hides onto the table. With practiced precision, he cut each exactly sixteen inches tall and thirty-two inches long. When folded over, each piece would make two pages. It was delicate work, but the thin, soft hides made the smoothest parchment. And only the best could be used for this book.

He paused for a moment to wipe the sweat from his corrugated brow and rub the exhaustion from his eyes. Through three days of nearly nonstop work, he’d barely dared to sleep or eat, even when the smell of lime wafting off the hides stung his eyes or he grew dizzy from lack of food. If his customer arrived and the book was not finished (and perfect), there would be far worse things to suffer than hunger and watery eyes.

Finally, he cut and stacked the last page.

Carefully, the craftsman mixed his special red ink and sharpened his quill to a deadly point. He pulled the top piece of parchment from the stack and, with his ruler in place, began to line the page. Line after line after line. This task was usually done by an apprentice scribe, but the customer had insisted that no other hands touch it.

Line after line after line after line after . . .

When dawn breathed light into the sky, the craftsman slumped over the last page, half asleep. When the cock crowed, he jerked awake in a moment of panic. A quick look around the room set his heart at ease.

He gathered the lined pages and his binding materials. His stomach twisted with hunger, but with a sigh the craftsman set back to work. He folded the first few pages and nestled them into gatherings, or sections of pages. Once the gatherings were prepared, he skillfully sewed them onto the cords of leather that would support the pages.

Near midday he finally paused for a quick meal of stale bread and hard cheese. With the last bite still in his mouth, he returned to his workbench. When he finished the sewing, the craftsman prepared to form the book. From a high shelf he pulled two thin wooden planks. Carefully, he laced the ends of the leather supports though channels carved into the cover planks.

The bookmaker worked hard to keep his mind on his task, forbidding himself to wonder what this book might be meant for; but it was nearly impossible—considering the man who would own it. He’d heard the rumors, the hushed speculations about the mysterious man known as Bartholomew. Some said he had burned an entire town to the ground with the townspeople trapped inside, unable to escape. Others said he never aged. And some even whispered the word
witch
in fearful tones.

When the tall man with shadows in his face had walked into the shop, the craftsman’s bones had turned to ice; and he knew instantly who stood before him. Bartholomew was everything and nothing like what he’d expected. But his voice—like foul whispers from hell spun into silk—had haunted the craftsman every moment since that day.

Another rumor flew around in whispers: Bartholomew was gathering others like him, forming some sort of terrible coven. The bookmaker loved and cherished every book he made; he longed to protect his art, but feared this book would be put to unspeakable uses. He knew, deep inside, that this one book would forever taint his legacy.

Yet refusal was not an option. He’d known that, looking at Bartholomew’s intense, otherworldly eyes.

The old craftsman, his back aching, stretched a thick piece of high quality black leather over the cover planks and secured it with several small tacks. Next, he placed the metal corner pieces, meant to protect the soft leather but also to serve as ornamentation. Bartholomew himself had provided these pieces, and the bookmaker tried hard to ignore how each one felt warm to the touch.

He secured two large metal clasps to the back of the book, each with a thick leather strap attached which wrapped around the fore edge and slid into clasps on the cover to keep the book closed. The final detail, a round metal medallion for the center of the front cover, was also warm, almost hot. Several unsettling symbols were etched into the metal. On the outside of the circle, arrayed around the middle, were six odd triangles. In the center were two more symbols: a sun with curved rays spiraling outward, and three ovals stacked on top of each other, progressively larger in size, with a single line running down through the center of them all.

The craftsman let his hands drop.

Finished.

The impressive but sadistic book was complete. As the bookmaker stood up from his chair and stretched, his body felt brittle and hard, like dried wax. Looking down at his work—some of his finest—he felt like crying. A chill moved through him as he ran a stiff hand over the cover. Normally, he would brand his mark on the back to claim his work, but not on this book. He pulled a cloth from a drawer and covered the tome.

The sun had nearly set. The craftsman, exhausted but unable to sleep with the perverse book in his home, collapsed into the chair by the fire. He watched the flames, his eyes blurry and heart heavy.

The door of the shop burst open.

The old man jumped in his chair, but did not turn to see his visitor; he knew. Bartholomew had returned to collect his book.

“Is it finished?” asked a voice like burning velvet.

The craftsman couldn’t speak but merely gestured to where the tome sat beneath its cloth, like the dead. The stranger’s footfalls were barely audible on the wooden floor, but the craftsman heard every little noise—the whisper of the cloth falling to the floor, the
brush
of Bartholomew’s gloves as he lifted the book, and his deep
hum
of pleasure as he stroked the cover.

The craftsman cringed, his heart aching.

Then the tall, shadowy figure stood next to his chair. He dared a glance at Bartholomew’s face. The eyes were like small moons, nearly silver and luminous like marsh lights. The skin was pale, almost the same color as the parchment in the book, but flushed with a healthy vigor. Bartholomew’s long hair, dark blond, like wheat at harvest time, was pulled back from his face and his neatly-trimmed beard. If not for the air of evil that pulsed from him, Bartholomew might have been handsome.

The craftsman looked back at the flames.

“Fine work, bookmaker,” Bartholomew whispered in his velvet voice.

The craftsman didn’t respond. All he could think about was sleep; beautiful, restful sleep.

“You deserve to sleep, old man. Your work is finished.” Bartholomew removed one of his black gloves and placed his hand on the craftsman’s chest.

The old man felt his heart thump once, then stop.

His soul drifted off to sleep.

BOOK: Black Moon (The Moonlight Trilogy)
9.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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