The Unfinished Song: Initiate
(Start at the Beginning of the Novel)
… by their movements, tracing out incandescent symbols with their bodies. The dancers themselves glowed too, in the same color as whichever costume they wore. Even now that Dindi knew what to look for, she couldn’t see it all the time, only if she concentrated.
The human dancers encircled the last of the Aelfae dancers, who fell into an artful pile of corpses.
“The Aelfae are no more, the Aelfae are no more,” victors and corpses droned in a mournful dirge.
The chant hit her with a wave of melancholy. The interlocking patterns of light the dancers had created rippled outward like disturbed water, and when the light hit her, vertigo robbed Dindi of her balance. She stumbled, nearly fell.
For a moment, instead of the Aelfae dancers, she saw beautiful beings with wings like swans, and instead of stylized flips and leaps, she witnessed atrocities she could barely comprehend. Aelfae men forced to eat their own intestines, Aelfae women with bloody thighs pinned down under grunting human males, Aelfae babes clutched by their tiny wings and smashed face-first into walls…. Underlying it all, she sensed not one battle, but decades of skirmish and ambush, truce and betrayal, wearing the Aelfae down, driving them to their final extinction, not just in the Corn Hills, but across all of Faearth.
She blinked, and the double vision cleared. Tears streaked her cheeks. It was not just a dance. Though the events reenacted had happened long ago, they were real. Her people had done this, wiped out the most beautiful and powerful faeries in the world, pushed them all to extinction save one. In all the world, except for the White Lady, who was the last of her kind, the Aelfae were no more.
On stage, the triumphant humans split into three groups. One carried a full basket, another a basket split into two halves, and a third a swan feather. They represented the three clans who now lived in the Corn Hills—the victors in the war with the Aelfae. That was the end of the dance. The Tavaedies formed a line and snaked back down into their hole, to their kiva beneath the square.
“Ooooh, look, it’s the goose from Lost Swan,” said a catty voice. Dindi whirled around.
Kemla and a few of her cousins stood there, young women from Full Basket clan who were always harassing Dindi.
“Crying because when Initiation comes, you won’t be invited to become a Tavaedi like me?” Kemla taunted. She always wore as much scarlet as a non-Tavaedi could get away with, and had arranged cardinal feathers in her breast bands to show off her cleavage.
Hastily, Dindi wiped her face. “You don’t know that.”
“It’ll never happen, goat-legs,” snickered Kemla. “No one in your scraggly clan has ever been chosen as a Tavaedi. The closest Lost Swan clanholders come to dancing magic is to go mad and run off with the fae.”
The Full Basket girls laughed. Dindi flushed.
“Goat-legs! Goat-legs!” The girls…
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The art is by Xan-04 on deviant-Art.