~*AUTHOR PRONUNCIATION GUIDE*~
One vow. One curse. One thousand moons.
One vow. One curse. One thousand moons.
Princess Aowyn's six brothers are favored by their father, but Aowyn is the jewel in her mother's crown. When the Queen dies, Aowyn takes a vow to protect her brothers and father from the hungry eyes of the queen's handmaiden, Ciatlllait - who is more than she seems.
In order to save her family, Aowyn risks a dangerous deal with the dark creature Sylas Mortas. But magic comes with a price: and Aowyn soon realizes the one she has paid is too steep.
Only true love can reverse the spell...but it will take one thousand moons.
Set in a Celtic world, "Moonlight" is the story of faith and true love woven through a breathtaking retelling of the classic folktale "The Swan Princess" (The Children of Lir)
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A trumpeter swan circled behind two black ones. Aohearn’s voice entered Aowyn’s mind. Tell us again the story of Aobh’s sons.
Aowyn thought back to the summer afternoon she had spent here with her mother and human brothers, splashing and playing and soaking in delicious sunlight, unmarred by curses or sorrow.
“A long time ago, Aobh, wife to Lir, died while in her childbed. And that weighed so heavily on Lir that he nearly died of grief. News of it came to Bodb Dearg, king elect of the Tuatha de Dannan, and he gave Lir to wife Aoife, sister of Aobh. And there was honor and affection with Aoife for her sister's children, and indeed no person at all could see those four children without giving them their heart's love.” Aowyn began to pace. “But a thorn of jealousy grew in Aoife, for Lir loved his children more than anything in the world. The thorn festered inside her until she could stand it no longer, and she did a deed of cruel treachery against the children of Lir.”
Aowyn paused and looked out across An Cuan Áille. A shiver ran down her spine at the way history was repeating itself.
Go on! her swan brothers urged.
“Lir’s daughter, Fionnuala, had no mind for Aoife, for she knew the woman had some plan for their destruction. She had seen in a dream that there was treachery in Aoife’s mind. All the same, Fionnuala was not able to escape what lie before them. Aoife urged her servants to slay the children, for whose sake their father had stolen his love from Aoife. And when the servants refused, Aoife took a sword and raised it against the children. But she was a coward and weak, and so she took them to Loch Dairbhreach, the Lake of the Oaks, and turned them into swans.”
Like us, Aonwys peeped.
She nodded with a pang in her heart. “Like us.”
Aowyn heard Aogán’s voice. Continue.
Aowyn took a deep breath. “‘Out with you,’ Aoife cried, ‘children of the king, your luck is taken away from you forever.’ And Fionnuala turned to her and said, ‘It is a bad deed you have done, to destroy us without cause. We know what your true name is, witch. You have struck us down with no relief, and you fall in satisfaction for it. Your power for our destruction is not greater than our love for each other.’ Fionnuala’s words angered Aoife, and the witch cursed them to remain swans for a thousand years.”
The swan brothers were quiet. They circled the calm waters in thought. The spring sun warmed them. Aowyn wondered if there was any hope of ever going back to the way things were before Ciatlllait had come to court.
We can break the spell, said Aohearn.
“How?” Aowyn asked. “Tell me how and I will do it!”
Love, honked Aodh.
“Love?” Aowyn’s mouth hung open. “Your idea of love is what got us into trouble! The only love you sing of now is a swan’s song.”
Áodhán shook his black head. Our love was misplaced. Our love was no love at all.
Your love… Aogán suggested
Your love is enough! Aonwys peeped.
“If it is enough, why do you not change back?” Aowyn cried.
The swans were quiet again.
Aowyn ran her fingers through her red curls. “There has to be more.”
The servants would not help Aoife, Aonwys peeped.
The servants! The brothers gurgled.
Maeb? Aonwys suggested.
Maeb! the older brothers echoed.
Aowyn’s eyebrow arched. “Maeb.” She folded her arms. Aowyn knew Maeb loved them, so why had that love not saved them? How could the nursemaid help?
Aogán rubbed his beak gently against Aowyn’s shoe. You must try, Sister.
For the love you bear us, Aohearn added.