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Pen Your Pride

The Moon Coin: Harvest (Part 2)

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Chapter Thirteen

Harvest (Part 2)


"What's wrong with him?" Lily whispered, horrified.

"There is nothing wrong . . . with him. It's the sword he bears. It's cursed. And when we're out of here, out of these wastes, he'll be the better for it. I don't know exactly why, but while we're out here, it feeds on him, and as Curse's strength grows, Tavin's fades."

"Why doesn't he just throw it away?"

"He is unable to do that willingly. And if it is removed by force, he will sink into madness. But please, tell us about your time on Barreth and how you escaped that horror."

"It wasn't a horror at all," said Lily defensively.

Tavin looked up at Lily as if this were the first time she had said anything about Barreth.

"You were on Barreth?" he said, sounding genuinely concerned. "And the Rinn brought you here?"

"No."

"Then how did you get here?" asked Tavin.

Lily looked nervously at Dubb.

"Go ahead." Dubb nodded. "Show him."

Lily opened her riding cloak, pulling loose the gold chain from her garments. Tavin leaned forward as Lily revealed the pendant.

"By the moons!" he hissed. "Lord Autumn's moon coin!"

"Lord Autumn?" said Lily. "Lord?"

"Wait," interrupted Dubb. "One thing at a time. Lily, put that away again, and do not let anyone else see it. I trust everyone here, but tongues do wag."

Lily tucked the moon coin back beneath her shirt.

"Please, tell us more about Barreth," resumed Dubb.

Lily recounted much of what had happened on Barreth. But there were a few things she did not tell. She said nothing of the Tomb of the Fallen, nor what she had taken from there. She made no mention of Earth, Tanglemane, or anything about the strange dream she experienced during her approach to the Blight Marsh. But she gave a good account of the battle, the wirtles, the wyflings, Roan, and the meeting in the Great Hall before Greydor. Tavin expressed astonishment from beginning to end while Dubb seemed more subdued. The only exception was when Lily mentioned the name Ember—at that point Tavin grew subdued. They rarely interrupted and when they did, it was always for clarification of some small point, which Lily easily managed.

By the middle of the story, Tavin had finished with his cursed sword and sheathed it. His eyes seemed clearer after that, and he appeared to have less trouble following the story. Near the very end, Quib arrived, bearing three steaming bowls: two of his dragon chili and one, which he handed to Lily, of just beans. He took much pleasure in the presentation, and would not leave until the meal had been tasted and commented on. When he departed, he did so with a strange shuffling dance. He even sang a little song, though Lily could not make out the words. After Quib left, she concluded her story with the arrival of Aleron.

After a long silence, Dubb said, "Ember will be able to read those markings on the coin. She may even be able tell you something more about how it works."

Lily's heart lightened. And she marveled, not for the last time, at finding friendly people waiting where the moon coin sent her. "I'd like that very much," she said. "Maybe now you can answer some of my questions. Like, where exactly are we, and why did you have to kill that dragon, and why didn't it have any wings, and when can we meet Ember, and—"

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