Author: Weird Girl 14 PM
Chrysolitus, a young Gemmian woman, wishes to become a Dancer of Anima. Such a silly dream among the villagers of Gemma. To be Anima's dancers, one must be unmarried & pure. As she starts her life as Anima's dancers, she will adjust to her new life. But is being a Dancer of Anima be as she dreamed and hoped of or would it be nothing but "False Luxury"? World: Terris MundiRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 13 - Words: 21,402 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 03-31-13 - Published: 07-29-12 - id: 3046086
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The palace was filled with talk of war, that's was all we had ever heard when gossiping. We talk of the blood-hair Fonsians who drink from bloody rivers, we talk of how the ships were being built and we talk of how the farmers of the land had to work extra hard to provide food for the men who will go and fight. I worry for my brother and father, hoping they will have enough food to eat during the time of war. I heard most of the crops that will be provided to the men were wheat-rice, which is one of the Gemmians staple diets, but that's just about all the main food they'll have. They'll be given little fruits on their way, not too much since fruit rots unlike wheat-rice—same about meat, the meat must be dried and salted. But wheat-rice is one of the farmers' main crops, so the farmers will be working very hard this time—it'll especially be difficult due to the summer season. Priestmen and Priestwomen are giving offerings to Anima every day to keep our soldiers in good health and keep our land prosperous during this difficult time.
The guards that are left to protect us Dancers have been few—and even the few have grown quite distracted. I would have thought that the Dancers would be very excited and pleased about this, but that is wrong. They're a bit troubled instead of excited and pleased. They have told me stories that there have been women who had been taken advantage of and were put to death even though it may not have been her fault. Both Dancer and supposed partner will be put to death if ever caught—or accused. I suppose that's why the Council had been even more worried when the few guards they have seem distracted. I would have never thought that summer was a very dangerous season.
Even so, we still continued on with the game as we still talked of war. Iolite and I were down in the bathing house to swim in the pool. Everyone who was down in the bathing house were playing games and relaxing. There weren't many guards around, but there were just enough people around to make sure we all watch each other—even some of the Council members were there, watching over us. After done playing wrestling game with a few other dancers where one partner sits upon another's shoulders, Iolite and I sat out of the water.
"Iolite, look!" I patted my stomach a little, "My belly is finally growing—though…it's still small, but I'm ever so slowly gaining weight!"
"That is good! I'm jealous!" Iolite smiled, "After all the seasons I have been a dancer here, I have yet gained any weight at all! I suppose I was a decedent of one of Anima's unfavorable wives who had starved themselves."
"Maybe you're not eating enough?" I suggested.
"Now, make sure you don't eat too much or else you'll be like cattle! Not at all like a beautiful, plump woman! I have seen many dancers go overboard and looked hideously ugly because they over ate past the desired plumpness!"
"I won't, I won't!"
"Hmph! That is all the weight you'll ever receive from our food!" Succinum declared as she crossed her arms, walking up to us. "With the food you were given and you had yet gain weight until now—why, that must be all you'll get!"
"Why must you come and talk to us if you do not like us?" Iolite asked, "Is it that you truly are fond of us?"
"Of course not!"
"Oh! So you must be jealous of our dancer, Chrysolitus!" Iolite began smirking.
"In dreams that will never occur!" Succinum quickly stuck her nose up in the air.
"Oh! But she earned as much jewelry as you—but in such a shorter time than you!" Iolite crossed her arms and raised her head, smiling.
It was true. If one goes by looks, it would appear that Succinum and I share the same amount of jewelry—earrings, necklaces, bracelets, different types of nose diamonds, brow jewelry all appear to be the same amount. I had not realized how well at dancing I was until Iolite had pointed out with the jewelry.
"Hmph! So? She does not have the tattoos of an honored and most prized dancer! Must I remind you?" Succinum began posing, showing off her blue, tattooed arms.
"Who knows? She may receive such wonderful imprints on her skin some day!" Iolite declared.
"Such things will never happen!" Succinum quickly stomped away.
"Do you really think such things will happen?" I asked.
"Of course! A Councilman may come to you ask offer such honor! It may cost some jewelry or so, but it would be worth it! But, you must practice a lot if you wish for such honor."
"Then if it so, I shall practice more than before!" I began to think of something else. "How long have you and Succinum known one another?"
"For such a long time." Iolite answered. "We arrived as dancers just about the same time. I think she was your age and I a four season term younger. We never got along! She always thought herself better and no one better than her! So don't mind her jealous words!"
We continued to play in the water until just before we were called to be used as entertainment. I have noticed that I have grown in my dancing abilities than how I first started out. I could stand on the very tips of my toes, my legs have grown stronger and I've grown more flexible—I am now able to do more tricks than before. I am now able to move my hips to the pace of any fast drum while gently moving my arms carefully to the placid sistrums and harps. I have also learned how to sing smoothly along with the musicians as I dance. Now that I've see, I truly have gotten better—but I am not as good as the experienced dancers. I must continue practicing if I wash to be bestowed the honorable tattoos.
During the time my group and I danced for the Royalty's entertainment, we've learned that when the warriors go to Fons, they shall order them to cover their blood-red hair with a covering or soot, if not they shall be punished by death. It is strange how these people are so proud of their blood-red hair! Do they not understand the shame of their hair being died in the color of blood? They shall understand their sin towards Anima when we Gemmians show the error of their ways!
When Anima carried the golden disk to the east to set it down below the horizon and the bright dots of lights appeared in the sky, we all ate our evening meal. Once finished and cleaned up, we all went to lie in our beds. As usual—like most dancers—we sleep with our jewels on so that nobody would steal our earnings. I tucked my hand under my head rest and held onto my bell my brother had given me as I slept. I had only dreamed of black, so I suppose I was not in a deep sleep. I had awoken not too long after I had thought I had fallen asleep, for the other dancers were still asleep and the moons were still out.
I couldn't go back to sleep, and I didn't know why but I decided to leave the room. I had never left the Dancer's room at night and I wasn't even sure if it was allowed. But despite this, I walked out of the room. It was strange how there was no guard standing beside the door as usual. We usually have two, but the guard by our door was cut down to one and now not even that one was standing on guard. I continued my walk and soon I began to hear a woman's and a man's voice whispering to each other. I decided to follow the sounds of the voices, wondering who could be up this late. Everyone—even servants—should be asleep unless given a specific order not to. Sleep is one of the many blessings Anima had given us, so who would abuse such a gift? Well…I suppose I shouldn't point out the wrongs if I abuse the gift myself, since I had trouble sleeping for a strange reason. Could it be that they were having trouble sleeping, too? But their voices sounded not of that reason.
I walked down a short hall and peered around the corner and found Succinum and the guard that stands by the door—fooling around with each other! It may have been dark but I could perfectly see well since the window allowed just enough moonlight to enter! They were pressing their lips together and holding each other dangerously close! I did not hear what they were saying, but it was best that I did not know! I felt my cheeks burning red and quickly turned away. What was I to do? I quickly clasped my hands over my mouth as I ran in the dark to make my way back to the Dancer's room. What was Succinum thinking?! Throwing everything she worked hard for—throwing her life away! Does she not know what she had done is punishable by death?! A crime against Anima!
I had been running blindly in the dark that I had run into someone—a woman. When she yelped I quickly slapped my hand across her mouth to keep her quiet. Once I realized she was quite, I removed my hand and tried to see through the dark.
"Who is this—it is too dark!"
"Iolite, is that your voice? I can recognize your voice."
"Chrysolitus? Why are you up so late?"
"Shh! Keep your voice low—and I should be asking you the same thing!"
"Iolite need to use the waste-room. And you?"
I did not want to tell her what I had seen. I did not know what I wanted to do just yet. "I just came back from the waste-room."
"Why were you running?"
"Chr-Chrysolitus is…terrified of the dark."
"Is that so?"
"And I really don't know if I should be out here, but I couldn't hold it any longer."
"If you needed to go as bad, I'm sure you won't be punished for it. I'm doing the same thing as you've done."
"I shall return to sleep."
"Yes. Oh, Chrysolitus, where is our guard?"
"I don't know." I lied.
"Well, I should hurry then—and make sure no strange people enter the room. It is dangerous without a guard. We shall inform Matercula about this in the morn."
"Yes. Now, off to bed I must go!"
I quickly ran into the room, trying to be as quiet as I could and make sure I do not step on anyone woman in the room as I made my way to the bed. I lay, terrified as I clutched my bell under my pillow. What was I to do? Succinum had committed a crime against Anima! Those who committed such crime must be punished by death, to help beg forgiveness to Anima—to receive forgiveness for our sister's crime and so he may not smite us with hate! But with opening my mouth, it is I who ends Succinum's life. I do not like her; she is a jealous woman full of arrogance…but not enough to end her life! But if I keep my mouth closed, then I would be betraying Anima. I must make a decision.
Forgive me, Anima, I'm nothing but a weak mortal.
Anima carried the morning desk to the west and everyone had awaked. We ate our morning's meal and danced to entertain noblemen and their families and the Royal Family. Once it came to resting time for the dancers, Matercula called for an announcement. We formed a circle around her after removing our sleeping beds, wondering what could be news. Was it about the war?
"There's been a dancer here that had ruined themselves and became a disgrace to Anima!"
Matercula yanked Succinum from the crowd—a very strong old woman she was—and threw her to the ground in the center. "Is it true that you've fooled around with a man who was not your God?"
"No! I would do no such thing!" Succinum lied.
"If we were to take you to the Priestmen to have you checked, would they agree with you? Because I will if you wish for it."
She gave no answer.
"So it is true." Matercula looked over to the entry of the room, "Bring him in."
Guardsmen entered as they held down the one that was with Succinum.
"Is this the man?" Matercula asked with a booming voice.
Succinum looked at him and began to cry, giving a nod.
"Take him away." And the guards did so.
One of the dancers handed Matercula a long, golden staff. The staff was covered in the most gorgeous jewels—but these jewels were cut strangely, cut to have a long, sharp, deadly point. These jewels and gems that were cut strangely were place everywhere on the staff except a spot for gripping. How beautiful and frightening the staff was as it glimmered in the light. I knew that Dancers were put to death for what Succinum did…but was this the way?! A public execution by this staff?!
"You must pay for your sins, Succinum. Everyone! Watch and hope you may not repeat the same mistakes!"
Matercula raised the staff above her head and began to bring it down on Succinum over, and over, and over again. Succinum released blood curdling screams as blood spilled from her body. But Matercula did not stop. She kept a strong, focus eye on the prosecuted victim. She did not waver and kept her beating fierce and steady. Soon, two other Council of Dance and Music entered, carrying the same staffs as Matercula and began to give her aid to torturing Succinum. Every time they would bring the staffs down, she would scream. Succinum screamed, cried, she would even tried to shield herself one of her beaters would use the staff with extra force. Blood covered the golden staffs and its gems and jewels. Blood covered the golden floor and the gems that were embedded in the floor. Blood flew when the staffs would leave her body to return to the air.
I saw some of the women in the audience holding each other at the horrific sight, some simply kept a steady stare as they would flinch when the staff was brought down, and others clasped their hands over the mouths or bite their nails with wide eyes. I noticed a few would simply give cold stares and appear as though this was not a horrific scene.
It felt like forever before Succinum stopped moving, but even when her movement stopped, they continued to use the staffs. A puddle of Succinum's blood grew and leaked, those who the blood approached stepped back, including me. The three superiors did not stop until her body was unrecognizable because it was completely covered in red liquid and so were their staffs. I stared at Succinum's empty body until I began to feel sick and dizzy. I quickly ran to the corner of the room and vomited, oh how sickening the entire thing was.
When I turned around, I saw Matercula removing every single bit of jewelry from the soulless figure with the help of the other Council members. I did not understand why, but Iolite began to step forward, not carrying of her small, strong feet touched the blood or not. She held her hands and arms open to them.
They placed every bit of bloody jewelry that once belong to Succinum into her hands and hung them on her arms. I did not understand at all. How could this be? Why? Was it Iolite who told? She must have heard the noise the two were making when she was on her way to the waste-room! She must have seen and told—and unlike me, had the courage to tell Matercula. But how could Iolite end a life? She always appeared so gentle!
I couldn't help but stare at Iolite with wide eyes. In her hands was beautiful gems, gold, and other jewels…all dressed in someone's blood. Iolite looked intensely and deeply into my eyes as she grabbed one of the blood covered necklaces and placed it around her own neck.