Disclaimer: I do not own the Kiesha'ra series written by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes or any characters or situations pertaining thereunto. I am receiving no compensation for this fanwork.
Notes: This story is really just a sort of depository of all the little moments, fragments, and strange ideas that came into my head after I read these books. By this story's very nature spoilers abound, and if you have not read all five volumes of the series there will be vignettes in here that you will not understand.
The title is a random Latin word, because I couldn't think of anything better. It means "call upon."
I know that technically you cannot dance alternate past events in a sakkri, but I wanted to include a couple AR ideas I had. If it bothers you, you can imagine that it is Maeve who dances them through Hai somehow, since for Maeve they are not yet the past and so are still possibilities for the future.
She is feeling speculative. She places her foot. She crosses her arms. She takes her first step in the sakkri. She dances a past she has visited before.
Kiesha holds out her hand to Maeve and the other priestess takes it, coming toward her. They kiss, the feelings between them soft and tender, new. Their fingers twine together. Their eyes meet and speak without words. They dance.
Tears flow from her eyes as Kiesha turns away, betrayal written large on her face as her eyes beg, Why? Maeve is still, her face is still, and she cannot answer. She knows there are no words for what she has done, so she offers none. She is only who she is, and she had to do what she had to do, to protect her people. She had thought that if anyone would understand it would be Kiesha, and she is sorry that it is not so. Maeve dances alone, and if this rift cannot be mended in time it will not be by any fault of hers.
Maeve dances the future. She reaches out for those like her, those who have to choose- love or duty. Who have to choose whom they love more. She dances Andreios, thought crow, who loves and protects and honors, and wants only to be given the name for what he already does; she dances Rei, revealed falcon, who steps beyond the past and takes Kel's hand in love. She dances Adelina, her own child, passed over in love, who is so like Kiesha in what she will not allow herself to see. She dances Oliza, child of many worlds, who follows the wind of her heart even when she cannot tell where it will blow her next. Maeve dances.
She dances. She raises her hands and twists her hips. She dances things that will happen.
Betia meets the harsh gaze of the other wolf. He backs down first, bowing his head to his alpha. Some of the other wolves grumble, but Betia is strong so none of them challenge her outright. And Oliza stands behind her mate, arms folded, garnet eyes amused, so the grumbles fade. She is an alpha unlike any they can remember having, but her brother was the first to kneel to her, and the others reckon that she and her mate make a good pair; strong, wise, but thoughtful, something most of them have forgotten but remember again as the pack becomes a place where children are welcomed and dancing and laughter return.
She spreads her wings, she stamps her foot. She dances things that never were.
Diente Irene Cobriana walks the battlefield. She takes her mate in her arms and holds him close as the life bleeds out of him and death takes him, as it has taken her brothers, her sister, her parents, and she is filled with a sorrow that is numbing in its totality. She almost forgets that she is still surrounded by dancers who dance the final dance, the dance of death and the avoidance of death. It is not a dance she cares to practice, and she thinks now that she doesn't care anymore, at all. She stands and raises her eyes, meeting golden ones, and as Tuuli Thea Mara Shardae's poisoned blade cuts her flesh she bares her fangs. The Tuuli Thea has lost family as well- she also knows what it is be alone- but they are beyond that now. With the hawk's final cry the dance ends.
She stamps her foot again, hard, a shudder running through her. She dances things that could never be.
Darien holds the baby closer, looking down into garnet eyes, her own face filled with love. Anjay is beside her. His arm around her shoulders pulls her close and he laughs softly as he kisses her hair. He reaches out to the child as chubby hands reach for his fingers and wrap around them. He speaks words of love, and the soft silly words one speaks to a child, and it is Darien's turn now to laugh. She raises a tentative hand to touch his face and loves that he is here with her.
She shudders again. She spreads her wings wider, over her head. She spreads her arms wide, also, reaching out. She dances things that might have been.
The serpiente cheer wildly as their Diente kisses his Naga. The pair's love is easy to see on their faces as his hand raises to caress her face, lingering tenderly to brush back her pale hair. And as Zane and Adelina turn to their people, their hands clasped, a rift is healed. The most ancient of rifts, more ancient than their war, created in betrayal of love, is now healed by love.
She rises on the balls of her feet. She turns from things that have become impossible. She dances truth.
Danica feels the sunlight warm on her face as she sits under the tree; the wind through the leaves is the most beautifully peaceful thing she can imagine. Her hand rests on her stomach then shifts to the head of the man who lies beside her, fingers trailing through his hair. Zane is cool against her in the warm afternoon, and she thinks this might be what perfection is. His head is pillowed softly against her and his hand rests also against her stomach. The life within is not yet old enough to make its presence felt, but she feels it, and she knows he does too.
Her feet move swiftly. She follows the cycle. She dances the future.
Oliza balances her adopted son on her hip as Salem leans closer, smiling. The wolf boy regards him with solemn eyes as the cobra holds out his hand to give the child a carved toy. Sive watches, amused through her weariness, from the chair where she sits, her new daughter in her arms, her proud alistair hovering. Rosalind speaks to the new mother, offering knowledge gained by experience; her own son is older, he stands, holding her hand, but releases it, bored, and goes to his father, where he stares back at the wolf child. They regard each other, garnet eyes on brown, and something beyond words passes between them as the wolf holds out the toy recently given to him. The young Arami takes it, beckoning to his new friend, because toys cannot be enjoyed alone. They claim a corner of the room and set about the serious game of play, Rosalind's young twins already on the floor with Betia, tying bows in their aunt's hair as she teaches them a child's song of her pack.
It is a warm place and she rocks back on her heels as she moves on. She dances things that are not important.
Veylo whirls to face his opponent, teeth bared. Fear rises in him. There are several of them suddenly, circling around him and his opponent; like any predator sensing possibility, they circle. He knows he will find no mercy here, though for the first time he looks for something he was never able to give.
Her lips quirk in amusement. She dances stories that should be told.
Eleanor Lyssia pulls the thread tight; she ties it off. She shakes out the dress and she examines the pattern. She makes dresses with patterns like delicate, saw edged feathers; she makes dresses with patterns in strong, sinuous and scaly lines. Sometimes, she makes both in the same dress. She travels to places far and near- she spreads the word of peace. Her assistant travels with her; it takes her awhile to see past his natural serpiente lack of reserve and apply the truth of the peace she preaches to her own life. It takes her awhile to see the way his hand lingers on her own, the extra effort he puts in to the garments he helps make for her to wear, the way he always listens to her ideas no matter how crazy they are. But she does see, before too long, and their hands clasp in joy. They clasp again many times, in excitement at a commission, in pleasure as they touch in the still of the night, in sorrow as she reveals the knowledge she has had since she was young that she will have no children, in healing as they find comfort in each other. All her life, Eleanor dances, in her own way; through her fingers she dances.
Her hands clasp over her heart. Her feet move. She dances what is.
Marus takes the dais. He swallows nervously, but raises his eyes, raises his chin. The drum starts and he dances, there, before the nest, before the whole world. He shivers with fear and exposure, but he dances. He dances. When he is done, the nest is quiet for a moment, then they breathe. Urban stands and goes to the raven. The serpiente smiles, clasps a shoulder, but his gestures are small, muted, out of respect. He says words of admiration, and then the entire nest erupts with movement, with praise, because they can only stop themselves for so long. Marus grins, tired, but he is comfortable here, now, with the noise and the admiration and the offers they shout because only Urban and Salem crowd close to him, Salem's arm around his shoulders as he turns to the others grinning. Before they gave him space because he was strange, but they do so now out of respect.
Her feathers quiver as she stretches her wings, black and red wings. She dances for others.
Sive stands on the dais in the middle of Wyvern's Court and she sings. She sings in the avian tradition, but it is a song that is new, slightly different, and as she sings Salem dances around her; her cousin dances, in the serpiente tradition, but it is a dance that is new, slightly different. Their people gather around them. Many are struck by beauty, others are affronted, and some don't know what to think. Salem pauses in his dance, and suddenly the players switch places: now it is Salem whose voice rises above the crowd and Sive crosses her arms before her, rising on the balls of her feet, asking for guidance and blessing. Rosalind joins her mate- her voice is stronger, and they blend together in a soft harmony. Sive's alistair steps out and he dances beside her- though she knows the steps better, he is relaxed and open to the movement of the dance. They hold their hands out to their people, asking them to try something new- showing them that they can do so without losing themselves.
Her eyes are closed, she is lost to the rhythm. Finally, she dances for herself.
Nicias holds her in his arms, pulls her against him, and she sighs in soft bliss. She is home here, she has known no other. His lips are warm as they press against her temple and she raises her face to him, their lips meet. It is soft and warm, and hard and hot, and everything. Everything is here, and she takes pleasure in the fact that she can share it with someone. It is a triumph that she never though she would feel, and she thinks distantly of the two women who gave her life and she can only pity them that they do not have this. This warm, beating heart that is the Wyvern's Court, and the way it opens to her and folds her in its wings. She has fought for this world and she will fight for it again, if need comes. She will not lose herself again, because now she has something to tie her; she has found love.
Hai dances. She controls the dance of the sakkri when it used to control her, and this dance is one she knows she can stop, should she choose.
But the dance that is life, that never ends.