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Disclaimer: Moribito doesn't belong to me.
I'm just borrowing the setting and characters for my and (I hope)
my readers' amusement only
have no intention of trying to make money off of them in any way, shape
Warnings: None to speak of.
Fandom: Seirei no Moribito
Author: The RCK
Last updated: 22 August 2011
Written for Zdenka in the 2011
Parallels Fic exchange.
Thanks to Olna Jenn for cheerleading and to Valerie, Adrian Turtle and
Hope of Dawn for beta reading.
I'm using the anime continuity, but I did use the novel as a resource
for spelling and terminology.
Tanda pulled one last weed before sitting back on his heels and wiping
the back of one hand across his forehead. He looked up at the sky. One
of the full moons was already visible. The other would rise in about
two hours, shortly after sunset.
He considered what to do next. Summer brought an endless round of tasks
to be done-- herbs to gather, medicines to make, preparations for the
winter. What he ought to do was lie down for a little bit so that he'd
be fresh after night fell and could venture out by moonlight to gather
herbs whose virtues were enhanced by being harvested under the double
moons. For medicinal applications, it generally didn't matter, but
there were herbs magic weavers used that required more care.
Madam Torogai will return soon, and
she will expect me to have her supplies. Tanda closed his eyes. Of course, she may have some explanation
for what's going on, some solution. When he opened his eyes, his
garden was still there, spread out before him. Not a given when the moons are full.
He stood up and stretched. His back and legs had stiffened from the
crouching and kneeling he'd been doing. He bent to one side and then
the other. He lunged forward and to the side, giving each leg a chance
"Looks like you've been watching Balsa."
Tanda just kept himself from spinning around. Instead, he turned
slowly. "Madam Torogai!" You would
arrive when I'm looking ridiculous. "I've been hoping you'd
come." He rubbed the back of his head. "I don't have all the herbs you
wanted." Picking the right herbs was hard when he couldn't be sure what
he was seeing was what was really there. More than once, he spotted a
plant new to him and reached for it only to find that it was purely in
"I'm more interested in dinner." She started toward his hut.
He followed. "There's stew left. I was planning to eat it after
tonight's herb gathering." He had some vegetables that were edible raw.
He could eat some of those in the middle of the night.
As he spooned stew into a bowl for her, she said, "The rains did come."
"Too late for the rice crop." He scraped the bottom of the pot, getting
as much out as he could. "I hear other crops are doing better."
"The Star Readers did some good when they ordered farmers to plant
other crops this year." Torogai accepted the bowl and began to eat.
"Not all crops need early rains, and the Nyunga Ro Im needed time to
mature." She ate without haste and without further words.
Tanda sat back on his heels and waited.
Torogai put down her bowl at last. "Now, what was it you wanted to talk
to me about?"
Tanda hesitated. He'd avoided speaking about the problem, as if that
made it less real. "I haven't been able to gather the herbs you asked
"You mentioned that."
He half expected her to rap him on the head as she'd done when he was
small and being-- in her opinion-- especially stupid. "Ever since the
Day of Feasting, ever since I drank the nectar of the shigu salua
flower, I've been seeing Nayug when the moons are full. Just seeing
without crossing over. I can still see Sagu, too. Both worlds at the
Her attention sharpened. "Unintentionally? You're not doing anything?"
"Just opening my eyes." He spread his hands to show himself empty of
intent. To be a magic weaver, he had to learn to look into Nayug, but
those interactions required deliberate action. What was happening now
was nothing like speaking to the water dwellers or sending his spirit
out from his body or anything else Torogai had taught him. "I keep
hoping it will fade. It's disorienting." It was deeply disorienting. In
Nayug, his house was inside a hill. Deliberately walking into the earth
the first time it happened had taken all of his courage, even though he
could still see the building.
"I'm afraid," he went on, "that it might be happening to Chagum and
Balsa as well." He wasn't going to worry about the King's warriors
who'd also drunk the nectar. Even if
we fought together in the end, they still nearly killed Balsa.
Tanda didn't feel particularly forgiving.
"Hmm." Torogai closed her eyes. "If the boy were having trouble, I'd
expect Shuga to seek me out. I haven't been that hard to find." She
opened her eyes again. "Next spring, I have to go to Aoike again. Some
property of the flowers on that particular night seems to give the
Tanda nodded. On their way back, Torogai had sent him wading into the
pond to retrieve a flower for her, but drinking the nectar had had no
apparent effect on her. "It might not be that specific night but just a
night when the moons are full and the flowers in bloom."
Torogai frowned. "I'll have to try both. The egg made use of the
flowers. It didn't grant them special potency."
"That's for next spring." Tanda suspected that he'd be dragged along to
do the actual wading. Torogai wasn't above getting wet and dirty when
it was necessary, but she said that, at her age, she'd earned the right
to have her apprentice perform the unpleasant tasks. At least those within my ability.
"For now, how do I stop seeing Nayug?"
"Very likely, you don't." Torogai nodded for emphasis. "Fully entering
Nayug, however temporarily, probably shifted your balance. If you
weren't a magic weaver, it probably wouldn't matter, but the barriers
between you and Nayug were thinner to begin with. Performing magic,
particularly a shifting magic, right after returning to Sagu, probably
set the changes."
"That's a lot of probablies," Tanda said mildly.
Torogai reached over and cuffed him on the side of his head.
Tanda blinked, more startled than hurt. I'm not being stupid! It really is
"You think I've run into another case like yours?" Torogai demanded.
"I'm guessing. I've never heard a story about anything quite like this.
There's only the story of Hago the Mad-- He always saw Nayug. He
couldn't tell what was Nayug and what was Sagu. The story says he did a
great weaving, something never attempted before, and it broke his mind.
I don't think the cases are similar."
Tanda shuddered. He remembered the story. He had very carefully avoided
connecting it to his current situation. It's been months, and nothing disastrous
has happened, just a little... difficulty when the moons are full.
"I can tell the difference." Most of
the time. "At least, when I'm in places I know well, I can tell
the difference. I haven't dared range too far on these nights." The
first night of full moons, the second moon rising had caught him far
from home, seeking to gather yinsu flowers. He'd gotten the flowers,
but getting home again had proven challenging. He'd needed to test the
ground with a stick to know where to put his feet.
"It's a great advantage for a magic weaver." Torogai didn't sound
"It's a disadvantage for an herbalist who supplies magic weavers,"
Tanda retorted. "I have to gather nisum tonight, or you won't have
any." He stood up. "I should get to where they're growing. If I do it
before the second moon rises, I'll be fine." He took hold of the stick
he'd chosen to help him get home.
Torogai rose and followed him out of the hut. "I'll come with you and
make sure you don't fall into any ravines." She muttered something else
that Tanda couldn't quite catch.
"You're welcome, of course, but aren't you tired? I assume you've been
on the road all day."
She snorted. "The day I can't manage a day's travel and a night's--"
She waved a hand to indicate everything around them. "--whatever is the
day I retire. Probably move in with you. That's what apprentices are
for, after all, to look after the master in her last days."
Tanda gave her a little bow and started walking. The nisum grew in
rocky crevices in the hills near his home. He and Torogai could reach a
good place to start looking in no more than fifteen minutes' walk.
"That's your answer," Torogai said a few minutes later as they walked
along. "Take an apprentice. An apprentice herbalist. You're scarcely
skilled enough with magic weaving to be left alone while I travel, but
your skill with herbs is more than enough to teach."
Tanda thought about having someone with him, someone who saw only Sagu.
He gave an uncomfortable shrug. "I might get someone who's frightened
by what I see. Or someone who's more interested in magic weaving than
in herbs." His protests sounded weak to his own ears. What I really want to say is that I ought
to be married before I take an apprentice, and I don't want to marry
anyone but Balsa, and she... I don't think she's ready to marry at all.
Maybe she never will be.
Torogai waved all of that away. "We'll find you the right child. I
suppose I can teach, too, when I'm around, and I want you traveling
with me more now. We'll simply be careful of the full moons. Yes, an
apprentice is what you need."
Tanda sighed. He recognized signs of the inevitable. If Torogai wanted
him to have an apprentice, what he wanted wouldn't matter in the least.
"At least let me choose my own apprentice." He hoped it didn't sound
"Of course. I'll just help you by suggesting candidates."
Tanda could hear the smile in Torogai's voice. She knows perfectly well that she's
pushing me into this. "How about one of my nieces or nephews?
I'm sure one of them would be suitable."
"We'll go visiting your family tomorrow." Torogai sounded determined,
and Tanda knew no amount of stalling or reluctance was going to get him
out of it. "If not one of them, maybe a cousin's child or a friend of
the family. We want to be quick, so we might as well start with what's
close at hand."
"You really do intend to take me traveling then?"
"I do." Torogai fell silent for a minute as they crossed rough ground.
"Your weaving with Chagum," she said at last, "showed that you've been
paying attention. If you can pull that off, you're obviously ready for
more complicated things, and I'm not going to stay in one place to
No, she wouldn't. Tanda felt a
little homesickness for his hut even though he hadn't really left it
yet. Still, if Madam Torogai wants
me to travel, I'll travel. It will be good to learn more. I sometimes
forget that I'm a magic weaver. As long as I'm home when Balsa comes
back from Kanbal.
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