Dichotomy: Second Installment "Community"
After Temon finished sorting the threads for the days weaving, he headed for the house and readied himself for the meeting to be held in advance of the nights festivities. The town was located at a convenient hopping off point for hunters heading into the mountains for game and for sport. Consequently, the towns only inn was large and prosperous. A crowd, or at least what would be considered a crowd in Aberdale, had gathered outside the towns only inn, the Rams Head.
He had been skirting the edge of the crowd when he stopped dead in his tracks. There on the porch of the inn was the most attractive female he had ever seen. Strands of long, black hair curved around almond colored skin, framing a slender face of fine, elegant structure. The motion of her removing a cloak cut for travel is what had initially caught his eye: The figure revealed in the motion, also slender, finely structured, and wrapped in a silk riding outfit, held his attention.
Good people of Aberdale, her voice was clear as a stream and carried to each person like they were standing next to her, Today is a day of great hope. The last vestige of winters wrath has wasted its cold breath upon your stout frames, and the warmth of springtime sunshine blesses you with life. Tonight will bring in a fresh season when a new crop will be sown. A new king will arise, take his place on the throne of life, and will dance with the fresh legged maiden till the light of dawn.
Just as Temons jaw was dropping with the realization that she was to be the Mistress of the Spring Dance, he felt his lower teeth suddenly snap upward till they met with his upper teeth, painfully catching his wayward tongue betwixt them. Belatedly he turned away from the source. What moments before had been a blur seen out of the corner of his eye resolved itself, when he looked back, into a demure looking young woman.
Good day, Master Temon. I trust that you will be accompanying me to the dance this evening. I have so been looking forward to the pleasure of your company, she said while casting a sidelong glace towards the now closing inn door.
Trancy! What in the name of the One World was that for? he asked as he gingerly wiggled his tongue about trying to ascertain the extent of the damage.
That, Trancy stated, was to remind you that you are to be the Spring King, and kings dont go about gaping like a landed trout on a stream bank. They are, she paused, the epitome of collectedness, more regal. She affected the pose of someone who had just caught a whiff of something spoiled.
Jealous, Trance? Nocs asked as he sidled up to the pair. Looks like you have reason, too. That was the Mistress of the Spring Dance, as evidenced by her little speech. She will be sharing the festivities with your noble prince, here. And he didnt really look like he would mind sharing her festivities, he said with a wink. I think that a man would have to be dead and buried for a week not to want to share anything with that one.
Is your mind perpetually in the midden, Nocs? Trancy asked, I am sure that Temon is capable of not gawking at anything in a skirt. Arent you Temon? Temon, still in the midst of determining if there was any connection between the fore and aft sections of his tongue, wisely just nodded.
It was funny, how things went once peoples minds were set about something. After that one outing, where they had mistakenly been thought caught in a compromising situation, friends had started ribbing him, and he felt himself drawn to her in a way that he could not explain. He would be sorting through the threads for his fathers mill, or running the shuttles through the looms to create some pattern, and then she would be there, in an eerily familiar way.
Nights were the worst. Just as he was about to drift off, right as he was in that in-between state, a consciousness of her would ease into his head. The consciousness did not come suddenly, but gradually transitioning imperceptibly from not there, to there. It was like he was carrying a piece of her around in his head, and that piece of her could turn on at the most inopportune times.
He felt compelled to speak to her about the experience. There was nothing out of the ordinary in that, because she was quite comely. Whenever he approached her, the others around her started to melt away, come up with appointments that they had just remembered and the other young people, when they saw them together, started steering away, assuming that they wanted privacy. When he started speaking with her is when he began to suspect that she was feeling the same things in the same ways. With time and conversation came confirmation that the feelings he was having she was having too, and a bond grew between the pair when the most elusive of feelings, love, entered the scene.
Close on loves heels, lust followed, or maybe it was the other way around, these things being quite confused in the young. So it seemed to Temon that, in a way, the presumption of guilt laid on them by Nocs and the other teens had in fact pushed them in that direction, and now he found himself wishing that he had been doing what the others had presumed. Indeed, most of the time he played along with the good-natured winks and nudges that came his way, long since abandoning any hope of resurrecting his image. Trancys image was what worried him more.
The conventional moral view espoused locally was that such goings on should be confined until after the couple had been formally partnered and inducted into the community. Some of the more sanctimonious of the teens had even suggested that they should be kept under strict supervision and be censured for their actions. Others in the village had been in similar situations had been punished, and they saw it as preferential treatment based on the standing of their parents in the community. When it was announced that Temon was to be Spring King, these teens attitudes had turned from merely cold to outright hostile. They had even petitioned the Village Board to remove him from the position, stating that the honor of the post should be held by one of higher moral values.
Temon had in fact expected the treatment that the younger people of Aberdale showed to extend throughout the community. Paradoxically, the older people of the village did not seem to share the attitude among the teens that he or she had been sullied in some way. Temon had begun to think they knew something that the teens did not. At least he did not feel persecuted when he was around the adults, but he did feel as if there was something they werent telling him. He had been over these thoughts many times when his hands were involved in activities that were mundane and repetitive in nature and required little in the way of concentrated attention from his brain, and they kept leading him to the conclusion that something happened on the Night of the Spring Dance that the adults of the village just werent telling anyone.
He attempted to broach the subject with one or two adults with whom he had an unusually excellent rapport, only to find himself facing a stony wall of silence. While this served to lend credence to the theory that they were hiding something, it did little to enlighten him as to what that something was. The only people with whom he could discuss this theory were Trancy and Nocs. Nocs was inclined to believe that there were secrets kept by the adults merely because he was always on the watch for a grand conspiracy, and Trancy believed him because the experience they had shared was just too odd. Most of the other teens discredited the theory, marking it up to an overactive imagination. After all, to come up with a story trying to explain away what had been plainly visible to them had to require a fevered imagination, especially since he had clearly expected people to believe it.
That was just it. The young people thought that he was subversive while the adults were acting like it was no big deal, just the opposite of what Temon would have expected. He had been relieved at first to learn that punishment would be token, but the more he thought the more sure he had become that the adults were hiding something. Thinking that what they were hiding must have something to do with the fits seemed to be a viable option, until others tried a version of the same story and were not believed! Could Trancy and he really have been given preferential treatment because of their parents position in the local society? His theory hung on the fact that his father had been so willing to believe him right from the start. He knew his father pretty well, and for the elder Wber to not to punish him when the evidence was pretty incriminating Well, out of character would be a mild way of putting it. It just didnt make sense unless there was some well kept secret by the adults.
Temon, are you thinking about that theory of yours? Nocs asked as they neared the Hall where the dance was held, Cause if you are, you should have your answer soon enough. You achieved eighteen years last month, so as well as being the Monarch of the Spring Dance, you will be an adult after tonight. Feels good, dont it?
I cant say that it feels any certain way, Nocs. I do not feel any different inside of myself. It seems to me to be an arbitrary definition. Look at Trance there. She isnt turning adult tonight, though I wish that she were. She seems more adult-like than I do, most of the time. At least when shes not trying to sever my tongue. At the clear reference to her reaction just a few minutes before, Trancy started to go red in the face, partly from anger, partly from embarrassment.
I wasnt trying to sever your tongue, I was trying to keep you from swallowing flies with that gaping maw of yours. Besides, smiles are more attractive than leers, it is possible to distinguish between the two, and I would not want you making the wrong impression on the Mistress of the Spring Dance. She looked pointedly at Nocs, trying to goad him into embarrassment.
It didnt work. With a flourish and mock smile, he bowed to Trancy. Turning to Temon, he said in an affected voice, My Liege. Your audience awaits you inside. If you please, Miss Ardon, we must part here.
Well, I dontplease, but I havent much of a choice, numbering only seventeen years until the Equal Suns of Autumn. Dont cause any trouble! That goes for both of you! Then, smiling, Till tonight, dearest one. It was Temons turn to blush.
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