|“Hunk” by Carnivora88
… secret societies. From the squeeze of costumed bodies, it looked as though every dancer in the Labyrinth was in attendance. All were masked. Many of the masks sprouted huge fans of woven cane, feather tufts, or carved wooden animal faces. Others sported horns, manes, or false beards. Still others displayed abstract shapes, ovals or diamonds, or a cascade of beaded fringes. It wasn’t easy for so many masked dancers to fit in the tiers. Feathered and beaded shoulder blankets, necklaces coiled as thick as snakes, and full corn- husk skirts took up space.
Only his mother, indifferent as ever to convention, wore no mask, just a simple white beaded dress. She sat stiffly on the lowest tier, face-to-face with Kavio. Even at her age, she was the most beautiful woman in the room. She was also the only one in the tiers who had no closely-pressed neighbors. No one quite dared sit next to her.
Opposite her, behind Kavio, rose an adobe platform taller than any of the tiered seats. He had to twist his head to look up the seven steps to the top of the platform to see the man who stood there in full regalia, holding a rain stick. Paint divided the man’s already severe features into an interlocked pattern of sharp edges and boxes. Colorful matching mazes were woven into his shoulder blanket and outlined in beads of obsidian and pearl. His massive headdress con- sisted of numerous coiled cords, horned and feathered and shelled. Beaded hoops rested around his neck, as did a gold coiled torque. The pin that held his shoulder blanket in place had also been beaten from gold, into the shape of a stylized wild horse.
|“Chief” by Chris Rosewarne
The man pounded his rain stick on the platform. He had a voice of gravel and stone.
“Let it be remembered on the Memory Stick, that in This Year, yet to be named, I, the War Chief of the Rainbow Labyrinth and head of the Society of Societies in the absence of a Vaedi, have called all of the secret dancing societies together to sit in judgment at the trial of Kavio . . .”
He paused to make the ponderous trip down the seven steps to the floor of the assembly room. Even so, because Kavio had been forced to his knees, the other man had to look down to glower at him.
“. . . Kavio, my own son.” Even though he’d expected it, his father’s contempt stung. “Who will cast the first stone?” asked Father.
The men and women in the tiers shuffled, whispered. Most of them removed their masks from their sweat-drenched heads, and a few went so far as to fan themselves.
A woman in amber necklaces removed an orange eagle-feathered mask before she rose to her feet. She was an elder from Father’s gen- eration, his brother’s wife and Father’s bitterest political rival. As a child, Kavio had nicknamed her “Auntie Ugly.”
“I will cast the first stone…