Sitting in front of the large mirror, I listened to the applause of the previous acts through the curtain separating back stage from the ring.I pulled my hair out of its braid, letting the strawberry-blond locks sweep the seat of my chair. I pulled it up into a high ponytail with a red ribbon.
"Aivah, don't stray too far!" A willowy blond woman stood at the door to a small farmhouse. My mother waved at my retreating form as I launched over the paddock fence to reach my horse, Emberra"Of course not!" I shouted, waving back casually. I did not know that would be the last time I would see my mother.
Looking closer at my face, I swept dark color over my eyes, making the golden irises stand out. I stood and walked to the curtain to see the end of the daredevil act,
The ground crew smoothed out the stage and reset the ring for my team,
I smoothed out my skirt, gold agains burgundy leggings and looked at the golden tips of my riding boots, following the scrollwork with my eyes. Even after 9 years and the knowledge that the crowd would adore me, I got nervous every night.
Emberra carried me through the woods and fields around my home, I led her to the river, downstream from my house to let her rest. I took in the scenery. The sunset blazed like fire agains the purple hills, a column of smoke came from upriver, it's edges tinted red with the last light of the setting sun. The smokestack was too large to be a chimney, I wondered where it could be coming from.Alarmed, I sprang into action, vaulting back into my horse and steering her towards the smoke. She shied and tried to get away from me as the smell reached us but I drove her on.The little farmhouse of my childhood was smoldering in the dying light of the sun. With no thought to my own safety I jumped towards the embers, digging through the coals with my hands and feet to find my mother.
It must have been hours later, or maybe mere moments when I collapsed from fear, pain and exhaustion, just outside of the ring of smoking wood and stone that had been my home. There was no sign of my mother. Emberra was gone, having run away into the night away from the destruction. My eyes felt dry and my sight was blurred from the smoke and my lungs ached for fresh air. I knelt in the grass for an eternity before I heard a soft voice."My child," it said, deep and comforting. I looked up to see a man with long black hair and dark eyes, in the dying light of the fire they seemed almost red."I can't find her" I said, my voice raw. "She..." The strain caught up to me and I collapsed into darkness"
The man had brought me here, and healed my wounds. As a price for my salvation he took my eyes, green as summer grass, and replaced them with the flame gold ones I now possessed. I signed a contract with his circus, as a favor and for protection. My time was running out though, I knew. Sinestro, the ringmaster knew as well, and he was afraid.
The ground crew led my horses out of their stables, two black and one white, and they pranced around the ring. While the audience was distracted by the horses I ran to the center of the ring under cover of darkness. I struck my starting pose and waited for my cue.It came with a crescendo in the music and a whoosh of flames as torches lit around the tent, a red spotlight was trained on me, the horses came closer, still wheeling in a circle.I lept up into the rear horse's back, Ebony, for his color. I rode around, standing on his saddle for a moment before vaulting into a handstand on Aura's back, I raised one hand and waved to a family in the front row, their faces blank with awe.
I proceeded to leap from horse to horse as they continued to walk, another cue in the music led 9 more horses into the ring along with my 11 counterpoints, As a team we rode the horses and wowed the crowd with acrobatics until, with a blast of smoke, the torches went out and darkness reigned
We ran out of the ring in the dark and listened as the lights came back up to thunderous applause.