Heat and Excitement
As the dancer finds her way
Through the flames
Of yet another day
Never she hesitates
Forever singing she glides
Like there is nothing else
Than the orange tides
Shinayda found her way to the large
crowd. Like always her moves were very elegant and focused. She seemed to
follow a rhythm only she could hear between the loud noises of the
marketplace. And in a way she was.
Everywhere she went, people stopped and looked at the small, slender red
haired girl. In a land where red hair was considered a lucky charm she could
be called doubly blessed as her hair was the colour of the sunset. When the
crowd looked down from her hair they could see a white skin, freckled from
the summer sun. Lower were her two brown eyes, her straight nose and her
Oblivious of the people around her, Shinayda walked on. Inside she was
already thinking about her next performance. What moves would she use in her
next dance? What song would she sing? Would she herald the stories of the
Gods or sing praise to the lord she was dancing for?
Shinayda was 21, she had been a fire dancer for as long as she could
remember. Girls and boys with red hair were recruited very young to dance
for the Gods and the royals. But even so, she had started at the very young
age of 3, not afraid of the fire, unlike the others. She had never gotten
badly scorched, a thing she should be grateful for. No-one trusted a
scorched dancer, it was a sign of a lack of Faith in the Gods.
Suddenly a song emerged in her head. She had heard it before, but she
couldn't remember where or when. The song wasn't exactly words or music. It
was a strange melody that got louder and softer with an hypnotic beat.
Without hesitation, Shinayda started singing it. She had found her song for
Shinayda took the broad road to the temple where she and the other fire
dancers resided. She had never fully understood why some of the dancers were
unhappy. She loved the fire. It was her closest friend. Outside the heated
temple she often got cold, her heart frozen like she had left someone she
cared for. Quickly she opened the door and let the warmth soak into her
The inside of the temple was a deep orange with accents
of gold. Fires burned in every corner and there were always people present.
People praying, or asking advice. The priests and priestesses made sure
everyone got an answer. There were also girls dancing. Not the best girls of
course, the ones like Shinayda were kept for special occasions.
Shinayda could see at least two burns on the arms of the girl on the left.
Her moves were too slow, but her hair was the colour of liquid metal and so
she had gotten a place in the temple. Shinayda shook her head. Once only the
best had gotten in, but now there weren't enough dancers to fill the spaces
of the ones that became priests due to old age. There were more than enough
Shinayda looked up at the big torch hanging from the ceiling. She bent to
one knee and started praying. There was a whole scalar of prayers and things
to say to the Gods, but Shinayda had always felt a more personal approach
"Gods." she said, "I thank you for my life, my luck and my
gifts. I've been blessed beyond understanding and still I come and ask. I
ask to stay safe and unharmed to once become priestess." Shinayda made
the ritual smoke-sign in front of her face, but stopped before she could
finish it. In a spontaneous moment she suddenly asked: "And I ask to
find someone who needs me."
Shinayda looked up and wondered what those words had meant. The Gods
sometimes gave visions to the dancers, but she had never gotten them before.
She was sure those words hadn't been hers however. Who
would she need to find?
Shinayda left the temple and went to the rooms at the back. She shivered a
moment when she got out in the summer sun and ran as fast as she could to
her own small room. Shinayda found her room as she had left it. her bed
neatly made, her clothes folded and the scrolls of rituals on her desk.
Shinayda entered and looked at the scroll. She didn't need it anymore, she
had her own song to sing tonight. She took out her ceremonial clothes and
softly stroked the precious material. There was a long dark red dress
without sleeves. Then there was the large orange transparent skirt that
would flow around her and a transparent yellow shirt with golden bells on
the end of the wide sleeves that tingled when Shinayda rearranged the
A soft tap on the door alerted her that she was to get ready. She had two
hours left. Two hours in which she would be cleansed and bathed. Shinayda
liked the cleaning ritual. All alone in the hot springs beneath the temple
she really could get relaxed. A state of mind that would only help her when
she needed to dance through the flames.
Later that night, cleaned and dressed
properly, Shinayda stood at the door of the ballroom. Inside she heard
people talking and laughing. Soon they would become silent and then she'd
enter, dancing on the rhythm of her song, into the fire.
Shinayda took one last deep breath and entered. The heat of the flames
calmed her down immediately. She was home. She was alone.
In her mind, Shinayda was always alone when she danced. Alone with the
flames and the Gods. The silence was surreal, even in her mind she could
hear the faint sounds of the crowd as she entered, but not today. With her
eyes still focused on the fire Shinayda started her song.
Somewhere in the middle of her dance she woke up out of her trance and
noticed the crowds were so silent it wasn't possible anymore. Carefully she
looked sideways and saw people standing. So she wasn't alone.
Only a few seconds later did she notice that the people were standing still
like statues. As oblivious of her as she had been of them. Not one of them
moved, breathed or made even the smallest sound. Shinayda stopped. The fire
was burning. She could feel the heat, but not the burning. Carefully she
touched one of the flames with her fingers. It felt like sticking a hand
into warm running water.
Shinayda was still trying to figure out what had happened when she suddenly
saw movement in the middle of the flames. Carefully she went through the
flames to the movement. The moving stopped so abruptly Shinayda gasped for air, as if she had been
thrown against a brick wall. The frame was darker now. Like early morning.
The person she had seen was sitting at a desk. He was singing. Suddenly
Shinayda recognised the song. It was the song she had sung tonight. Looking
closer, it wasn't the person singing, it was whatever was in the basket she
was looking at.
As if driven by Shinayda's mind, the picture moved to the basket. Small
creatures lay in the basket... Shinayda knew without a doubt that the red
one was singing her song.
The song became louder and Shinayda started dancing again. The voice sang
the song a lot better than she had done, sometimes weaving a melody with
more than one voice. Maybe that were the other creatures. Shinayda didn't stop to
think. She reached in with her arms and head and suddenly she was in the
room, the flames of the ballroom still flickering on the ceiling.
Alerted by the bang of Shinayda's not very elegant fall, the man turned
around and looked at her.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"Shinayda. Who are you?"
"My name is Eyo."
"Where am I?" she asked.
"You are on Elementia... and contrary to what you may think your entry
wasn't very abnormal." Eyo smiled.
Shinayda looked wanting at the little critters in the basket.
"I see you are interested in the kajis." Eyo said, taking the
basket and placing it on the table. One small little red/brown female opened
one eye and yawned.
"I see this one has taken a liking to you. What would you like to name
Shinayda absentmindedly stroked Fyr
on her head. This of course wasn't much to the liking of the small kaji
creature. Fyr as most of the reds was moody and easy to anger. She had felt
a sudden drop in attention and wanted to correct that unwanted behaviour by
hissing at her owner.
Shinayda, not even noticing much of the hiss, just stood up and started
walking around in circles. The little kaji didn't like that even more.
Irritated she got up and started scratching in the couch where she was
sitting. Her small, but sharp claws rasping the cover good. Pleased with her
little act of destruction Fyr yawned and went to sleep. Let her owner work
out whatever was troubling her.
What was troubling Fyr's owner
was her sudden halt of purpose. Shinayda, still pacing up and down in her
small room, had lost meaning. On Gremyne her purpose had been to watch over
the fire and though Fyr sure wasn't easy to be around and keep entertained
the pet didn't need the same amount of devotion as the fire.
Shinayda had thought about devoting her life to the kajis but that seemed
pathetic. She loved the little creatures, but there was something like a
life... and she had had one. If not for Fyr she would have gravely been
regretting her decision to come to Zyon-D5. But Fyr complicated things.
Could she just take off? Go wherever Fate brought her? Shinayda still felt
some ties binding her to the isle. Gratitude and debt for the kaji were the
But also she didn't know what to do next. On Gremyne she would just go back
to the temple and take her new pet with her. A creature like Fyr would be
valuable beyond imagining at the dancing for the fire. But... and here was
what troubled her, Shinayda really didn't want to go back to Gremyne. In the
temple she would be cooped up, dancing yes, but she could dance
But not here. There was not enough fire for Shinayda to launch into a large exuberant
dance, the type she so liked. A silent tap at her door alerted Shinayda that
someone wanted in.
"Yes Raelle?" Shinayda asked when the girl entered her room.
"I was just saying I'm leaving."
"You're leaving!" Shinayda nearly yelled.
Raelle was almost the only one around here she actually knew. They had
become friends over the few weeks Shinayda had been here. And now she was
apparently leaving. Zyon-D5 suddenly seemed a lot drearier of a place to be.
"I have to go back home."
"But you don't even have a Kaji!" Shinayda exclaimed.
"I know... but I may return here after the hatching."
"Dragons, Shinayda! Hathians to be more precise. I came here because
they denied me the last time I applied. But now there is a shortage of
candidates and they have accepted my apply!"
"Doesn't that make you feel second choice?" Shinayda asked.
"There's no being picky in dragons, friend." Raelle answered.
"I've talked it over and there's a hathian picking me up this evening.
Maybe, if I get lucky there'll be another litter born on Zyon. I really hope
so. It would save me another trip, though with a hathian you don't need to
worry about travelling anymore."
Raelle most likely saw the look of hope on Shinayda's face. The prospect of
a dragon, a hathian, anything was so exhilerating that Shinayda could break
out in dance. But she didn't dare ask. Maybe it was good that Raelle was
more practical than her friend.
"You are free to come of you please... There is still more than one
"Oh..." Shinayda said. "Thank you. Can I really?"
"Why stop you when they need people?" Raelle said.
And so it was that Shinayda was
waiting with her friend for the evening transport. Time crawled forward,
inching like a snail. But finally the hathian appeared. The dragon was
beautiful, blue with transparent gliders and a strange outcropping against
it's eyeridge. Though Raelle told her blues were among the most common
hathians. To Shinayda the blue was the most beautiful creature in the entire
universe -safe Fyr becayse she knew her pet would scream fire and murder if
she knew her owner admired the dragon. But happily for her the little kaji
was already sleeping, being worn out from her playdate with Raelle's kaji.
It was night at the Warren when the bugles of hatching came. Most of the
candidates were slow in getting to the sands only appearing there after two
hathians had hatched already. Bondings were made, though not always
peacefully, and the hatching continued.
Shinayda did her best not to fidget, keeping herself graceful and still as
the silver-drenched trees that surrounded them. She felt deeply
uncomfortable, nonetheless; there was no fire to warm her, no flickering
flames to comfort her. A slight shudder went through the girl and she
clenched her hands together in an attempt to warm them.
The yellow, meanwhile, was hesitant, aware of the fact that she was alone on
the sands, if only for a moment. And in that moment, she strode with
remarkable grace to the side of Shinayda, her young voice warbling in
a faintly melodic way. The woman knelt, her lips pulled in a wide smile.
"You'll be quite the singer, Melfaris.", she stated, stroking the
yellow's forehead and brushing off a bit of stuck on shell.
Shinayda, Melfaris and Fyr returned to