Chapter 1 Mid-autumn, Moon Shines Bright
across the night sky, its pale light dancing
over waves of golden wheat swaying.
in the dark, locked away, a prisoner
in the heart of this tall grain tower,
in the heart of my own
windowless, lightless room,
with only my weaving loom
to help me pass the hours.
and my last candle
to tie the final knot
on the silk wedding sheet
that I had been weaving.
the sheet with a light hand
and let fly the loose threads
of red and gold, gleaming.
as I feel a faint heat rise
from the silk-patterned flight
of the phoenix and the dragon,
and I put my hand over my mouth,
for even thunder must suppress its voice
tonight if I am to change
my wardens' minds.
the heavy wooden beam
that bars my door
as I spill my threads all over the floor.
"No, child. It is only I."
came Second Mother’s firm reply.
beautiful Second Mother
with her jet black hair
held up by a bright jade comb
and her dark eyes shining
like wet jet stones.
an emerald brocade with pearl roundels
drapes softly against her ivory skin,
cinched only at the waist by a golden sash
from which a silk jewelry bag swings.
in my heart. My stomach
flutters with excitement.
as I smooth my silver bangs away from my face.
"Will she let me go to the wedding ceremony?"
I ask, my eyes wide, my voice even more sprightly.
I run to fetch the silk wedding sheet from my loom.
“Look what I made for Little Sister!
Now, she will have something from her own family
to bring to her new husband's home.”
who runs her deft weaver's hands
over the delicate threads
when suddenly, she flinchesas if she had been burned
by the filaments of flames.
sealing both of us in, the way burrowing beetles
wall up their doors with earth.
"You know you cannot go."
as boldly as I dare to an elder,
even though we both know
I already know the answer.
They call me Moonsilk.
It is a good-luck name for an ill-luck child.