Ledia Runnels' "World of Fantasy Fiction"











{November 18, 2012}   Prologue: Moon Magic

Cool and velvety soft,

she pressed the last of her tiny flowers

into the open palm of his hand.…

–Legend of the Cherry Jewel

A small shrine on the grounds of the temple, w...

A small shrine on the grounds of the temple, with cherry blossoms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Year of the Dog 1503

 

On the summit of Moon Mountain, the last fire-shards of sunlight glistened against the remnants of spring snow. Dusting the ground and the upturned roof of the shelter whereHinata Jintori stepped beneath, into the narrow space.

A frozen wind blew the hem and sleeves of his robe as he broke the skin of ice that covered the stone basin. Scooping the chilled water, he drew his cupped hands toward his lips where he sipped and then rinsed his mouth of impurities. He spat the warmed water onto the ground and then shook loose the freezing droplets from his fingertips. Having completed the purifying ritual, he turned and made his way toward Sakura Jinja, a smallish shelter, enclosed by four walls that stood a few short steps away.

Into the narrow entryway of the Cherry Shine, the outer sanctum, he crossed. A few steps beyond, he moved into the heart of the holy place. Only the rasping shuffle of his sandals against the wooden floor and the sound of his breathing broke the silence of approaching twilight.

Illuminated by the soft glow from a lantern, a silver platform occupied the direct center of the room. On the platform sat a wooden cutout, carved from the sacred Sakai tree into the shape of five cherry blossoms.

Five tiny bells dangled, one each, from the five petals, “Shards of the Sakura Hooseki”–the “Cherry Jewel.” Multihued lights flickered between the shards, accompanied by a soothing drone–like the whir of hummingbird wings.

From the topmost petal the blue-sapphire bell hovered over the jade-green bell on one side with the ruby-red bell on the opposite petal. In turn, the green bell swayed above its golden sister while the pulsating ruby-red bell bled into the brooding bone-white shard beneath it.

As he entered the room, Jintori lifted an incense burner from its place on the wall and lit the brass bowl that hung from the end of an ornately carved cherry tree branch. Standing beside the silver pedestal, he waved the bowl over the breathing Shards, sending tendrils of scented smoke that filled the room with pungent sweetness.

His warm breath formed a cloud in the frozen air as he chanted, “The Spirit Shard for the renewal of inner Chi.” At his words, the blue shard beamed with an azure glow.

He continued the chant, “The Shaman Shard for physical healing.” The jade bell shone with a verdant light, while the sapphire bell grew dim.

“The Dominion Shard, for power over the enemy.” The light from the jade bell faded as the next bell radiated a bloody aura

“The Death Shard ripped from the land of Yomi.” The ruby bell dimmed while the bone-white bell glowered like a skinless skull.

“The Eternity Shard with the power of life over death.” The glaring light from the white bell dimmed as the golden bell shimmered like a star point…

(Continued…)

 



et cetera