Blood of the Moon
About the work:
This is book #4 of the Runespells series.
Nicola is stuck on an island after a shipwreck, and there's someone using a Runespell. She has to find the Runespell before the goddess of storms comes to take vengeance on the native peoples.
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The woman placed a lovely foot on the rock. Her blue-green seaweed gown, streaked with red and rust seaweed accents, drifted down over her ankles. She had black hair that was pulled back into a messy, thick braid. Her slender face seemed just a little too sharp to be human, with her nose and chin ending in delicate, narrow points. Her eyes were the dark deep blue-gray of the the ocean depths, a hint of green in them, as with her husband.
She reached out a hand, her bones too delicate for the sheer size of her body. The effect should have been gawky or anorexic, but she managed to appear liquid and lean, more serpentine than awkward.
Aegir reached forward and took her hand, guiding her back to where he'd perched on the rocks. I noticed there were two indents where the giants could recline against the surface.
The sea goddess greeted her husband, then turned to watch me as she settled against the rough stone. Her eyes were inhuman, devoid of compassion. It reminded me of the Norns. I swallowed and clutched the Runespells, knowning none of them would be able to help me so far under the surface of the water.
"You are she who holds the Runespells, then?" Ran spoke, her voice fluid and echoing oddly. I thought it was the underwater cave that caused the echo, but I quickly realized her voice naturally echoed like an underwater cave. It created a double reverberation that sent shivers down my spine.
"Well, mostly," I said, my voice cracking. I cleared my throat, hoping she would attribute the break as a physical effect of nearly drowning, not as a result of the fear she inspired.
"Mostly?" Her black brow rose against the sea-blue of her forehead. "Either you are or you aren't."
I shook my head to clear it. "I am collecting the Runespells," I said. "I don't have them all. I can't say I hold the Runespells, because I only have some of them. But I also can't say I don't, because I do hold some."
Ran's mouth tightened. "Is that so?"
I swallowed again and nodded. "Yeah."
The blue-green giantess leaned forward, a movement that might have been sensual if she had been human and I had been inclined to my own gender in that respect. Instead, it was simply intimidating. She stared into my face. As much as I wanted - needed - to look away, I couldn't tear my eyes away from those haunting depths.
Aegir reached over and laid a gentle hand on his wife's arm. "Beloved," he rumbled. "Allow me..."
Ran sat back, a small frown on her face. Her eyes never left mine, but I was able to blink and look away. I turned my gaze to Aegir.
"My dearest wife is the goddess of sea storms," he said. "It is her power and her right to cause the oceans to rise up in fierce anger and destroy those who dare to sail our waters. She has always held her power in moderation, seeking only to keep those who traverse our waves in the fear and awe that we deserve."
I frowned. "Well, that's one way of looking at it, I suppose." I felt a surge of anger that these jotun wanted to hurt people just to intimidate them.
Aegir smiled, as if reading my thoughts. "You don't approve. Tell me, then. How do you humans treat nature when you do not fear and respect it properly?"
I scowled. "We... well, I guess we abuse it."
Aegir nodded. "You have abused it. And, now, only the fear of super storms makes you think twice about continuing to abuse it. Only the destructive forces of what you have wraught keeps you even the smallest bit in check."
I sighed. He was right. Climate change was a non-starter for people and corporations, at least until the idea of Category 5 hurricanes and "snowmageddon" came into play. It was a frustrating thing that, too often, respect for the rest of the world had to be imposed with the threat of destruction of resources and those oh-so-precious material goods that the material, capitalist societies held dear.
"Fine," I conceded. "Sometimes you have to use the stick instead of the carrot on us."
Aegir smirked. "Only sometimes," he offered dryly.