79 years ago...

Fires blazed through the massive market square. The young people danced and betrothed themselves to one another while the wiser in the village watched with amusement and reminiscence. They too were once caught up in the festivities of Charil. The only reason they did not dance was that they could not. Some were too old, others had infants or the infirm to look after. One other still, the Caller of the Dance, could only Call the dance into existence--he could never take part. The seventh month of the seventh year was special and filled with the cycle’s strongest omens. This Charil’s omens were great, indeed.

At the center of the dances and bonfires sat a family in seats of honor. The seventh child of the seventh child of a seventh son had been born on the first moon of Charil after seven hours of labour. The child was born exactly seven inches... and male. The boy, swaddled and sleeping fitfully, was the greatest luck the village could hope to receive.

The Speakers had Seen visions of great pain and loss--of great weakness within even the fabric of the world. They could not say when their haunted visions would come to pass, but often mentioned a Saviour.

Conjoined with the Saviour, they spoke of a four-head curse: a woman shrouded in flames, a man surrounded in black fog so thick it might have been tree’s bark, a boy with a shrewd wisdom and timelessness far beyond his body’s age, and last another woman--possibly more dangerous than the first--suspended in a pool of blood with a cool smile on her face.

This boy, their heralded Saviour, seemed ever weak and brittle in his infancy... but the village always knew he was destined for great strength and well-earned glory. After all, his blue-silver eyes already swam with magic and knowledge.

A kind, weathered old man gazed upon the antics of the village youth from his esteemed place. As Caller of the Dance, he would always be one of the most respected elders in the village... but he would never again take part in the dance. The Festival of Charil had been his to call since he was  a boy. The most fiercely celebrated festival... for it came only once every seven years. Charil represented all of the good things of magic--pureness, luck, and inner strength. In a time of magical oppression, Charil was all the more important; and, to some, it was the only hope left in the world.

Knowing what the festival brought to so many, the old man’s irises swam. On a regular night, he could pass it off as a trick of the light; but, tonight, the silver and blue moved together in such a perfect motion--white caps in the sea. So much would be set into motion this Festival.

So much had already begun.

The End

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