Book Title: The Twelve Dancing Princesses*
Author: Marianna Mayer
Prompt from Charis Cotter (so, it’s the line she gave me, not corresponding to the date!)
Warm, fragrant breezes scented with jasmine filled the air, and under the moonlight pure silver leaves sparkled and danced like musical chimes.
Shargeza felt her skin rise to meet the falling dust that the pure silver leaves sprinkled as she gently put her hand on the belly of the tree trunk before her. It was three o’clock in the deep of night, and she was waiting for a message from the moon. Waning toward the tender tops of the Heartsong mountain range, the moon was most chatty in the deeps of the night, and when the silver leaves dusted, shedding their magical essence on those below, the Magdalenes knew the message would be poignant and necessary.
“Shar, look!” Grenanta pointed to a moving light in the blackness to the left of the moon. “Is that?”
Shargeza kept her hand on the trunk, feeling its throbbing life beneath her palm. Her favourite part of the forest was the tree bellies. They spoke to her with their lively rumbles each time she put a hand to them. She giggled at this particular tree’s sound. It was pulsing to the beat of the dripping silver leaves. The forest was a symphony of magic. But what was that in the sky?
“It can’t be!” Grenanta whispered. “It’s too soon for the Dew Dancer to return to Magdalena.”
A twisting braid of tricoloured white brilliance drew a line across the black sky. The moon blinked slowly as if the light was hurting her eyes. The closer the braid moved to the mountain range, the more its shape began to unfold. Dew Dancer’s wingspan was twice the length of the tallest trees in the forest. As his wings expanded and flapped, the silver leaves huddled into each other, their beautiful dust stopping so that the scent in the air shifted from jasmine to burning wood. Dew Dancer’s essence was fire though his body was moist with the morning’s tears. He was paradox manifested, and his power was meant for great healing and great destruction.
“It is,” Shargeza said, pulling her hand off the tree, for it had begun to heave in fear. Fire was not a friend in the forest most of the time. The Burn had come and gone in the previous season, and the trees did not want to participate until
*I believe The Twelve Dancing Princesses is originally a Grimm Fairytale, however, the version that Charis gave me the excerpt from is the version in the link by Marianna Mayer. I gifted Charis this book for inspiration for the new novel she’s writing. Thank you for the prompt, Charis!
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