Na’an came to me in a dream this night. It was early. I had not been in bed long and the night was newly dark.
“It is time,” she said, “time to fix The MoonQuest on parchment.”
I was gladdened to see her after so many seasons, but I was not cheered by the message she bore. I tried to engage her in other discourse, but she was single-minded as only a Tikkan dreamwalker can be.
“It is not for me to boast of my exploits,” I argued. “Others have sung them. Let them continue.”
“No,” she said, and her silver tresses shimmered as she shook her head. “It is your story to tell. It is for you to fix it in ink, to set the truth down for all to read.”
I tried to resist, to shut Na’an’s words from my heart, to return to the dreamless sleep that preceded her appearance. But Tikkan speak only what we know in our hearts to be true, and my heart would not close to her even as my mind longed to. Only by forcing my eyes open and my body to this table was I able to banish her milk-white face from my mind’s eye. Only by letting my quill rasp across the blank parchment have I stilled her voice.
But my quill hovers over oceans of emptiness. I don’t know what to write, where to begin. The story has so many beginnings and no clear ending. As a bard, as Elderbard, I am trained to know how to weave disparate elements into a tapestry of word and song that brings light and meaning to life. When recounting others’ stories, I have no difficulty. The tales unfurl from my tongue as if by magic, as if M’nor herself were singing through me.
Na’an says it is my story. Perhaps she is right. Is that why the words come so reluctantly? So many seasons of storytelling and still I hesitate. Of all the stories to stick in my throat, how ironic that it should be The MoonQuest, a tale of the freeing of story itself.
You see how confused I am? I have not even introduced myself. My truth name is Toshar and I am old, so old that most who knew me by that name have passed on to other worlds.
Toshar… Even I have forgotten the boy who was Toshar, the youth who embarked on The MoonQuest all those seasons ago.
They call me Ko’lar now, the ancient word for Elderbard. It is a sign of honor and respect, but it separates me from the youth I was.
Perhaps Na’an is right. Perhaps it is time to bring back Toshar, to allow the boy I was to touch the man I have become, the man I will soon cease to be. Soon it will be time to release the ageless spirit from this aged body and move on to other realms, set off on other journeys. I have seen it and I welcome it. But it cannot be mine until I have told this story. Na’an insists.
She speaks, even as I sit here in full wakefulness, staring at the shadows cast by my flickering taper. Now, they loom, large and menacing. Now, they flit and flutter in delicate dance. I see it all now, in the leap of light against dark. The shadows will tell me the story and I will write what I see. I will write until my fingers and beard are black with ink. I will write until the story is told.
Only then will I be free to continue my journey. Only then will my daughter, Q’nta, be free to continue hers. She is nearly ready. Ryolan Ò Garan taught her well, taught her the lessons of The MoonQuest. Soon she will live them through my words and will be free to assume the mantle of her birthright, according to the ancient orders of succession:
From father to daughter, mother to son
The mantle passes, the Balance is done
I was an exception to the Law of Balance, a law as old as the land itself. But those were exceptional times, the darkest of ages, in a land where “once upon a time” was a forbidden phrase and fact the only legal tender.
That was the land I was born into, a land of slaughtered bards, a land dulled and divided by fear. That was Q’ntana, and this is its story, and mine…a story that begins once upon a time.
© 2007 Mark David Gerson
• Additional excerpts at http://www.markdavidgerson.com/mqexcerpt.html
AN AWARD-WINNING NOVEL
• 2008 Gold Medal IPPY Award Winner (Independent Publishers Book Awards)
• 2008 New Mexico Book Award
• 2007 USA Book News “Best Books Award” Finalist
• 2007 Reader Views Semi-Finalist
• 2006 New Mexico Discovery Award Winner
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE MOONQUEST
An exceptional, timeless novel. ~ Mindquest Review of Books
Empowering, enchanting, breathtaking! ~ Kathleen Messmer, San Francisco, California
A heart-pounding, heart-wrenching, heart-touching tale. ~ Karen Joyce Weaver, Sedona, Arizona
When you find yourself relating events in your life to the character in a book and coming to a deeper understanding, well that’s literary magic. That’s just what happened for me with The MoonQuest, and what continues to happen.” ~ Susan M. Cross, Sacramento, California
ABOUT MARK DAVID GERSON & THE MOONQUEST
MARK DAVID GERSON has taught and coached writing as a creative and spiritual pursuit for nearly 20 years in the U.S. and Canada. Through workshops, online classes, coaching and consulting, Mark David has guided writers and non-writers alike to connect with their innate wisdom, open to their creative power and express themselves with ease.
The MoonQuest, his first book, has won five awards and is on track for feature-film production.
“I didn’t set out to write The MoonQuest,” Mark David Gerson explains of his novel’s genesis. “The MoonQuest found me.”
More precisely, an odd-looking man in an even odder-looking coach pulled by two odd-colored horses found him.
It was March 1994 and Mark David was teaching a creative writing workshop in Toronto. As participants settled into writing, these characters — who would later become the mysterious O’ric and his mystical mares, Rykka and Ta’ar — rode onto Mark David’s blank page.
Their tale would become the opening scene of the first draft of a novel that would reveal neither its story nor title to him for many months.
When it finally did, Mark David was living in rural Nova Scotia on Canada’s Atlantic seabord, where The MoonQuest‘s initial drafts took form.
It took more than a dozen years of revisions, each penned in a different part of Canada or the United States, before The MoonQuest won its first award. It has since won four more, And his screenplay adaptation is in active development toward feature-film production.
Throughout that time, Mark David has continued to guide groups and individuals through the same blocks to creative power, personal empowerment and spiritual growth experienced by Toshar and his fellow Q’ntanans in The MoonQuest.
Mark David is also the author of The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, also an award-winner, and has recorded The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers.
A writing/creativity coach, editor, project consultant and script analyst, Mark David is a popular speaker on topics related to creativity and spirituality. He is host of The Muse & You, a radio show about writers and writing, and is a regular featured guest on Unity.fm’s Spiritual Coaching radio program
For more information on both books and on Mark David, visit his web site at www.markdavidgerson.com.