Dancing for the Gods… I think I must have missed that, since leaving School, because it went deep, when Prithi and I danced together. It’s more than dancing or praying taken apart, or even added up, it’s unreserved surrender — if surrender is the right word. Maybe not! Because the dance is a willing gift, and what one gives, dancing, is all of oneself. It’s also a gift to oneself; giving oneself the chance to be there, and well, be. I allow myself to be Anshen’s, without any quibble. Or any of the other Gods we dance for, and this time we went from Creation to Death, and since Anshen and the Nameless are the same in Iss-Peran, we skipped nobody, in a very real way.
But dancing is also good to look at, not just for for the Gods but also for the people around. But I doubt a well-executed Iss-Peranian divine dance would make people really think of the Gods, rather than, say, my tits or Prithi’s buttocks. Or even how they jiggle. So we’d made a semi-circle of children and women, and asked the men to sit further up-hill, with the children and women as a kind of barrier. Because you never know what would happen. And doctor Prithi is very beautiful, and I am very supple.
We ended the dance with the movements for Naha: forming the Final Gate by each slowly raising a leg in the air, soles of our feet touching, opening the Gate drumbeat by drumbeat. I’ve never managed to do this properly yet! It’s extremely hard if the dancers aren’t perfectly matched, and it’s very hard, full stop. One leg firmly on the earth, the first step is moving the inside legs to the front; then turning the feet towards each other, then slowly moving the legs up until one’s toes are higher than one’s head, and then holding the position.
Of course, we had to guess, since there was nobody who could beat the drums, but still, it worked out!
I had shown Arni a bit of dancing earlier, and we met dancing, and had been dancing all evening, but this really amazed her, and if I’m honest, I’ll just have to admit that I loved showing off for her. We had a big cuddle afterwards, and then some serious talk about the Gods with some of the people from the Leper Village. Some have decided for Anshen already, and others, others are not sure, because Mother Jerna is with the Nameless. We did our best, Arni and I, to make clear that where there is honesty, both can live together.
The morning after the party, everyone was slow and quiet, and we used the opportunity to sneak away from the village. We found a nice little clearing near the river, and played truant; we made love, we played in the creek, we made garlands of late summer flowers, weaved flowers in each other’s hair, kissed some more. And discovered little Leva gazing at us adoringly. The child really is missing years of development! And she seems to be gifted as well, she saw Arni’s ryst flint. So we set her to guard us, looking out, instead of in! Even though I care as little as Doctor Cora whether people see me with or without clothes, or with my hand between my lover’s breasts or legs, or not, we wanted to be alone! Leva grabbed a big stick, and stood guard.
Arni told me the sweetest thing that afternoon… She really wants me to come with her to Rizenay; she wants to introduce me to her parents! If the witch, I mean, Raith, would be in Valdyas, we’d go and get married, I think! And we’ve only been together for five or six weeks! But if she wants me to meet her parents, she’s as serious as I am, and then! All of her family is with the Nameless! But she’s got brothers and sisters — and I’ve always been really sad about not having brothers or sisters. Even one would’ve been enough!
The next day we left for Three Hills. I could already see our little house getting filled up like a barrel of herrings; two doctors, five journeymen, four nurses, Mother Jerna coming with us to buy oxen, pigs, a cart and cloth, Halla coming with us to look for a place as a journeyman carpenter, Jeran coming with us to the tell the Queen about Lord Faran raping his mother and crippling him. I was sort of sad to leave Leva in the village, but she’s living with her granddad.