Calathea - The Start of the Dance

Calathea's dress blew up and twisted in a rainbow of soft colours that melted into one another until it became just the one omni-colour or true magikal colour. Her hair flowed long and golden in plaits over her pale shoulders and ended with white ribbons that seemed to float along with her.

"Hold on to my hand toghtly Daedeia or we're likely to fall on the ground."

Daedeia looked at the child who was no longer a child with whom she'd been entrusted. One day she would know about the Sages and the great untapped power that destiny had bestowed upon her.

Daedeia let of of her slender jingling hands, "I need a drink my child, I'll be back momentarily, Carry on dancing, the moon is still high."

Calathea  continued to move to the music with a rhythm that seemed ageless and innate. Her arms were in the air clutching at invisible ropes and the bangles and beads on her arms knocked and clanged with the music.

The air was hot and humid for night and the sky was dark and clear. The moon was a bright as any sun and but still the clearing where they celebrated was bathed in half light, turning the colour grey in all places but the glow of wooden torches.

The music stopped and the priest stepped up to the altar where the band played.

"The setting of the sun on the summer solstice  every twenty seasons is a glorious day here in the eight kingdom, it is the day of death and the eve of fruitfulness. Why you ask are these two linked? Because without the cycle, new life would never flourish. From death springs new life and with life comes the decay of death."

He held a bright red feather on the altar table and dropped it to the centre. Then he reached to a small sack which was suspended from his belt. He scattered the thick black powder in the air and it sank down over the feather. He scattered some fresh leaves from the elder tree that stood to the west of the clearing in the centre of the pile.

"Chant with me fellow worshippers of life, guardians of the cycle. Today is historic, as it was before, and shall be, and is presently." He took the wooden torch from a priestess in a long ornate dress and burnt the offering. The flame rose high and bright and was gone in an instant.

Where the ash smouldered Calathea watched and believed in the intricate cycle of life.

The clearing fell silent with all eyes on the cooling dust.

From the edge a small green root creeped out and Calathea smiled, unknowning of what she'd done. the root suddenly burst into leaves and twisted bark and ripe red fruits, growing into the very stone of the altar.

The priest cut a fruit for each of the coven and as soon as the band regrouped they bit into the soft flesh at the opening strains of the new life song.

Daedeia grabbed Calathea's arm mid spin and pulled her to the quiet of the shadow. Her bare foot brushed a diseased tree root and it grew strong. She didn't notice.

"I think it is time you knew who you are Calathea." Daedeia's friendly face was etched with a subtle mixture of sadness, worry and duty.

The End

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