Dichotomy: Third Installment "The Preparation"
On the day before, the decorations for the Spring Dance had been arranged by the oldest members of the council. Fresh cut spring flowers, the first to poke their green stems out from the still snowy ground had been gathered ceremoniously along with green bows of spruce and hemlock and arranged in special patterns and bouquets. The windows that ran along the tops of the walls had been un-shuttered and opened, giving the air of the room the fresh scent and light of a springtime forest glade.
The members of the Town Board were present, as were the people who were coming of age. Temon was glad to see that he was not the last of those to enter. Upon noticing his entry, the Board members immediately ushered him to the front of the room, earning him dirty looks from those who thought that he should not be the Spring King. When they were all assembled and the last few nearly adults took their seats, Bial Northman, the head of the village council, stood, and swinging both hands from his sides to meet in a clap straight out in front of his body, motioned for silence.
I am sure you are all very excited to be here on this auspicious occasion. I am glad to be here, also, on this day when you will take your first steps as an adult, and I am glad to be the first to welcome you, the Fresh Legs, to the Spring Dance. This is no mere dance, where you are allowed to run and play as children. The tradition of the Spring Dance has its roots deep in the past, when the One World, Gaea, was still young itself and danced on fresh legs.
Gaea is the One World. Gaea is alive. Gaea is not just the Source for all Life, but all Life is Gaea and Gaea is Life. In the Spring, new life walks on the One World, flushing the ground and skies with tints of green and pink. Summer comes and the One World turns a deeper green. Pinks turn to fleshes and browns. In Autumn, the verdant growth of summer turns to the reds, oranges and tans of the ripe fruits and nuts, the bright leaves celebrating their departure. Then all fades to white and grey as Winter sets in again till with spring the cycle starts over again.
Temon groaned inwardly, as he was sure that most of the others were doing, too. And here I thought I was going to get some answers, and we have to listen to this tired old man run through a speech that is second nature to everyone who ever lived in Aberdale.
and I am sure that you are wondering why I am standing here, reciting what you have known an understood since you were five years old: telling you this old malarkey about esoteric matters that does not, to your present knowledge, have any effect on your day to day lives. I will tell you. Tonight. Today right now I am going to teach you some basic dance steps that are slightly different than the ones you have been familiar with up until now. These are old, and very important for you to learn. This first dance is called Home. You will learn a great many more, I am sure, but for you, right now, this is the most important dance that you can learn. There are some subtleties to it, but I am sure that you will be able to catch on pretty quickly.
I will tell you. Tonight. The phrase spoken by the old Board Member seemed to reverberate through Temons skull almost as if the words themselves had held some secret power. Into the room came the adult parents or other close kin of the, what was it Bial had called them?, the Fresh Legs?.
These will be your instructors. Pay them close heed, I am quite sure they know where you live and eat. Temon looked startled. His father had raised him since his mother had left six years prior. Not that Temon minded, she had been loud and drunk most of the time, always picking fights with his father and sometimes with Temon. He wasnt all that sure what she had been so angry about anyway. She was better gone somewhere else, but who was supposed to be
Temon Wber? My name is Marivon deCeste. It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. Temon hesitated before turning towards the speaker. He knew the voice, he had heard it addressing the crowd in front of the Rams Head Inn, but she couldnt be his instructor. Right then he felt a tingle start at the back of his head and extend down his spine, irresistibly causing him to turn in her direction. It was as if he had frozen stiff as a winter fish. He knew he couldnt move. How could he act intelligibly around this woman and not come off the country bumpkin that he knew he was? It was hopeless. But why was he so uptight. He talked to girls all the time. But this was no girl, this was one hundred percent female, womanhood at its finest, the most gorgeous creature he had ever laid his eyes upon
His brain was still babbling these thoughts at him when their eyes met. Silence warped all around him. He realized then that he was having one of his fits. Terror started to surge upward, then was quelled almost as fast. She was there, too; in his fit, with him. She looked amused. No, there was a certain amount of amusement, but it was mixed with something else. Just then, he realized she was talking... to him.
You are the most powerful ground who I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, far and away the most powerful. I would not doubt that you are THE most powerful ground in all the One World, untrained and undifferentiated at that. Look where you have dragged me.
Temon snapped out of his shocked stupor to look around. They were standing on the same rock where he and Trancy had been supposedly caught in the act. Trancy. Oh. What had he been about to do? What was he thinking? His conscience knew both of those answers. I am really sorry. If we start hiking now we may be able to get back to town in time for the main festival dance. I have got to get back, there is no telling how much time we may have lost. What exactly is so funny? Frustration had freed his tongue, maybe a little too much. At least he could talk to her now since the situation had altered so drastically in the past few seconds.
She held up her hand as if to ward off his words. It is I who am sorry for coming up to you like that. I had no idea you were so powerful. I might have anchored myself a little better, but I am not sure that would have helped. Luckily I know the where and when that we were at so I can get us back into the pattern with no perceptible gap. But while we are here, I may as well take the time to teach you enough to keep you from killing yourself or someone else.
I am Gaemel. You are Gaemel, after a fashion. It really is more proper to say that you have the potential to become Gaemel. The potential that you possess is why I am here. If you so desire, you can come with me to the city of Ceston, where the best and brightest of the Gaemel from the whole One World come to study the patterns and paths. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Trancy, I cant leave Trancy, Temon interjected.
Ah, yes. The female who punched you today? I had thought as much. She will make a great walker one day, perhaps. Would that she could go with you, but she is not of age. In the cities, children who show the first signs of ability are sent to academy to train. Your local custom, however, deems that she cannot make the decision until she has come of age. That will not be until the fall. You have a choice to make: To stay and wait for Trancy, or to come to Ceston and start your studies straight away.
Now for the training to keep you alive.
Our Walkers and Grounds tread the patterns differently than your Dancers do, but I am familiar with both methods, so pay close attention. When you brought me here, however accidentally, we worked as a walker-ground pair. The way that the dancers would have done the same thing is by a series of ritualized motions performed together with one developing the pattern and the other following along and dancing on the patterns. The method of the dancers is pretty to watch, very erotic for the participants, and altogether a very strenuous activity, with much energy expended on the physical motions.
The dance that Bial was about to teach you was called home for the very reason that one might expect. It takes you back to Aberdale, to the hall that we were standing in. It is specifically choreographed to take you to the place, at the time immediately adjacent to and chronologically after the last time that you left it. Down there they will be practicing this dance, but they wont be going anywhere, because they are already there. Now follow my footwork. I will have gloves on, and dont look in my eyes. Just watch my feet. We can practice a bit first. That way you can look more regal and proficient by appearing to learn the dance more quickly.
With a wink, she grabbed his hands in her gloves and barked, Follow my lead. After a couple of turns she changed up and had Temon lead. He was a quick study and agile as well, so after another couple of sequences through the patterns, she just took off her glove so there was contact between their hands. One second he was dancing on a giant boulder atop a mountain, the next he was back at the meeting hall. To the folks there it must have appeared that he had just leapt forward, caught Marivon up and began the dance right then and there.
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