Originally posted 2016-06-10 17:00:20.
The dance begins with a whoosh of flame to the sound of drums.
My soul awakens with the heat, with the gasp from the small crowd that gather like gnats to a lantern. It is warm tonight. For the first time in awhile I dance in little more than the necessary covering, my skin relishing the night air as it fights my fire. The wind that sometimes comes to release my flames died with the setting sun. I am free to dance. My feet beating the ground to Cabbot’s beat, my fire painting the melody from Ostello’s pipes. There were once more of us, now there were just five. Alabaster circulated the crowd, drawing more to watch, more to adore. They always adore me. Some just gape at me, others do more. It doesn’t matter. I love them all. Their touch, their kisses, their coin.
I catch Lance’s eyes in the shadows and for a fraction of a second flash him my true smile. I let my eyes depart from him lest they draw attention. We all have our roles to play.
Entrance them as only you can, Scin.
The beat picks up as I prepare for the second movement, bolstering the flames. Now instead of one flaming baton in each hand, I wield two. The crowd claps and dances, throwing coins at my feet. Their generosity must always be met with grace. A lesson my partner never learned. She couldn’t handle being second best and sold herself to a comfortable life.
I was better than her with her dumb green flame gimmick.
I would have chosen blue anyway.
Don’t stop smiling!
The music reaches a peak, I close my eyes to the crowd and move my body in line with the music.
Make them forget the hell of this world and see its beauty.
The routine so methodically ingrained in my muscles breaks down as I let the music take over. There is no crowd now, there is nothing but stars and fire. One with the flames. One with the pipes. One with the beat. One with the kiss that Lance seared on my lips. A dervish of joy erupts, taking my spirit and flying. Distant applause and cheers barely reach my ears. Lost. Lost in my art. Lost in my passion. Free.
Dance as if your life hangs in the balance of light and dark, of the flame and the shadows.
The beat slows as my fire threatens to burn out. Finale. Lance is gone in the crowd but I know he’s not far. I shout, punctuating the music with banshee screams. This night is one for howls. Sometimes I choose a more seductive route. Not tonight. Not with the beat in my blood and fire in my veins. I spin the fire-sticks around me, shrouding myself in amber glow and shadows. Sending sparks to warm the blood of the onlookers. Freeing them of their fears, their pain. Freeing them from the darkness surrounding the square.
Do not neglect the shadows you create for darkness only creates more darkness. You must be a light.
The dance ends with a hiss and silence as my flames die, impaling a bucket of sand with a final thrust. With a quiet thud and a few sparks, the fire departs. Much less violent than the hissing and boiling of water. Water does nothing but quench the blaze of life. Some might argue it is a healer, but I know better. It took my sister and would come back for me. I catch my breath as the batons stand out as tombstones, marking the triumph of light over dark, if only for a few moments. The sound of silence fills the air before eruptions of cheers flavor the night with joy. Real smiles spread across my face. Alabaster is addressing the crowd. I bow. Oil lanterns replace my fiery paintbrushes and light the night with their stagnant amber glow. The shadows no longer dance, but I sense them and pick up the next tune.
I lose myself in another song. In another moment.
I am here. I am free.