art by Shothot Designs
Maker of the Twenty-first Moon
by Sean Patrick Hannifin
"We might kill the wizard tonight," Jonlen whispered.
"Or be killed," Slip whispered back.
"If he makes a moon, he'll be completely out of energy. It will be easy. He'll be just like any ordinary man."
Jonlen slowly led Slip around the trees to the edge of the forest.
"Is that the house?" Slip asked, peering through the branches.
"That's the house. He's got a wife and a kid, seven years old. Puts the kid to bed an hour after sunset, then he and his wife stay up for two-and-a-half hours or so, talking and reading. Planning things, I'm sure."
"Dear gods, how long have you been watching him?"
"Long time," Jonlen said. And he was proud of it. And tonight it would all be made worthwhile.
"Huh," Slip said, "looks like the kid gets to stay up late tonight."
Jonlen squinted. Slip was right, the man was leading his son outside.
"Ha!" Jonlen smiled. "He's definitely making a moon tonight, letting his son stay up for the show. Watch them carefully. And watch the sky. There'll be more than stars up there before this hour's done."
Jonlen watched with excitement. Long had he daydreamed of this moment. A Wizard King was born only once every thousand years. They'd create a new moon in the sky to let the world know of their coming. They'd gather countless followers, and their power was so grand, so unstoppable, that they'd rule all who saw the moon, overthrowing every king, overturning every economy, reorganizing and shifting the powers of the planet. The twenty moons already in the sky were the tombstones of the Wizard Kings of the past, each marking a life that had thrown the world into a new era.
But not this time, Jonlen thought, not this millennia.
There was one way to defeat a Wizard King, and that was to kill him right after the making of a new moon. Making a moon would temporarily drain their power, creating a short window of opportunity to stop them before it was too late.
I am here and I am watching and I will not let you change the world.
Jonlen watched the man talking enthusiastically to his son and pointing to the sky.
Go on. Make a moon.