Syrinx listened to the harpers playing as she waited, bobbing from one foot to the other as she waited her cue. A rattle against the drum... a second... Syrinx took a deep breath. As the third drumroll began, she somersaulted out onto the stage again. Concentrating so intently on her routine, Syrinx never saw the dragonriders slip into the back of the room.
The long satin ribbons trailed behind her as she rolled out to midstage. The final tumble laid her out on her back and the music ceased abruptly, just as she'd practiced. Smiling softly to herself, Syrinx arched her back, and rose into an arch as a single note swelled on a harper's flute. Ever so slowly, the other instruments joined back in as Syrinx flipped back onto her feet. Two other dancers entered from the wings, and the three began a highly complex routine of tumbles, leaps, spins and practiced falls that matched perfectly with the music.
Syrinx began to take long graceful leaps as that lone flute played brilliant cascades, and the final leap took her offstage. Unfortunately, a puddle of water lay right where she needed to land, and the graceful dancer made a very graceless fall to the floor as she twisted her ankle.
An agitated white firelizard dropped down from the rafters, chittering worriedly. "Shh.." Syrinx hissed at her white flit. Evli was not to be hushed so easily, and tried to land on the floor next to her human, but ended up skidding across the floor, thanks to the rather large puddle of water.
One of the other dancers bounced up to her. "Syrinx! They loved it!" she said excitedly, and sure enough, the croud chanted: "Encore! Encore!"
Syrinx frowned. "I can't!" she hissed, holding her ankle with both hands.
"They love you, Syrinx! You have to go!" the dancer insisted. "The show must go on!"
Syrinx's frown deepened. Injured, and yet she must still perform. This showcase was her ticket to Journeyman Status... She sighed deeply. "Get me the white robe with the blue rampant dragon on the back, and the two fans." She tugged off the ribbons, then shrugged off the brocade jacket, leaving it in a heap just offstage. One of the white ribbons quickly served as a wrap for her ankle, and the other went around the other, so she'd match. The dancer came back with the robe, and the fans. "Are you sure they're ready?" she whispered.
"I hope they are. Or I'm sunk!" Syrinx said, rising carefully, and slipping into the robe, tying the sash snugly about her waist before tucking the two fans into the belt.
Syrinx looked toward the stage. "Break a leg." the other dancer said. Syrinx snorted.
At 19, the dark-haired Syrinx was well into her fourth year of harper training, and choreographed dancing was her specialty. She could play flute ad gitar with the best of them, but this was her life. She'd been born and raised at Bynor hold, but had come to Kielac to train when the hold's harper insisted he couldn't do very much for her.
Syrinx shuffled out to the center of the dance floor, trying to make it look intentional, rather than look like she was favoring her left ankle. She knelt in the center of the stage, and bowed her head to the floor. She could feel the ties on her long hair slipping lose, but there was nothing to do about that. The drummer who she'd been working with picked up his sticks, and began the sequence.
Syrinx slowly lifted her torso from being parallel with the floor to being vertical, then slowly brought her hands together at her stomach, and pressing the palms together, raised them above her head. The drumbeats sped up, and turning her head abruptly to face right, she swooped her hands down to where the fans were tucked on the left and right side of her sash.
Deftly, she flipped them open; one blue with white flowers, the other white with blue flowers, a matched set. A frenzied dance of the fans followed, Syrinx still kneeling on the stage. Each fan went sailing up above her head while the other hid her face, all except her stormy gray eyes. After the fourth toss, she caught the fan, and with a snap of her wrists, used both to cover her face, then drew them slowly out away from her. The drumbeats grew faster and faster. Syrinx threw both the fans above her as the drummer beat once, loudly on the drum. The fans sailed up, nearly closed with the force of her throw. Syrinx rose, trying to keep her face expressionless as she stood swiftly, shifting her weight to her uninjured ankle as soon as she could. Bowing her head, she closed her eyes tight, waiting for the fans to hit the floor.
The crash never came, but a gasp from the audience did, as Evli, the white firelizard, and Aeb, a blue winked in from Between, snatched the closed fans in their tiny talons, and winked away again.
Heartbeats later, they reappeared, and swooped below Syrinx's upraised arms, the breeze their wings made her cue, and she flipped backward as the drummer began again. The routine called for a simple backflip, but Syrinx knew landing on her feet would send her sprawling, so she threw in a bit more effort and made it a flip-and-a-half, and landed on her hands, facing backstage. Right away, she tumbled towards the front of the stage a turn-and-a-half, landing on all fours a mere handspan from the edge, her hair falling loose about her shoulders. Bowing her head, the dance ended.
The audience went wild, clapping and cheering. Syrinx sat back, and Aeb and Evli swooped in, chittering excitedly as they tried to land on her. Four of the other dancers ran in from the wings, and carried her offstage, as if it were planned.
Half a candlemark later, Syrinx sat at a table, with her left leg up on a chair, her ankle wrapped in ice. Evli snuggled in her lap, and Aeb lay on the table, next to the crummy remains of the bubbly pie that was the treat for him and for Evli for their good performance.
Tylar, a greenrider from Ryslen, pulled up a chair and sat down by Syrinx. Her green flit, Infy, winged in and perched on her shoulder. "How, in the name of the Great Fertile Queen, did you get your f'lizards to do that?" she inquired, eyes sparkling with laughter.
Syrinx laughed. "Lots of practice, and dozens of bubbly pies!" she said, as the white raised her tiny head and chirpled. "The white is Evli, and the blue is Aeb." she said, stroking Evli's tiny eyeridges lovingly. "My mentor gifted me with Aeb's egg after she returned from a performance at Falas Weyr, and my father gave me Evli's egg the same day as a congratulatory gift for making Senior Apprentice almost two turns ago. He made a special trip to White River Weyr to get it. Wasn't that sweet?"
Tylar grinned. "Yeah..." she said, looking up as R'lan, her betrothed strode up to the table and put his arm around her.
"So," said R'lan. "When are you going to perform at Ryslen?"
Syrinx shook her head. "Not until my ankle heals, R'lan."
"Oh, that's too bad." R'lan said, his tone entirely joking, and not disapointed at all.
Tylar daggers at him from her eyes, and he cringed.
"I suppose you'll just have to take a Vacation from dancing for a while, Journeywoman." her mentor said, walking up to join the threesome. "Congratulations, Syrinx. You did it." she said, handing the astonished girl her very own Journeyman badge.
Tylar smiled. "That's a nice surprise."
R'lan grinned. "I've one better. Syrinx... how would you like to spend your well-earned 'vacation' at White River Weyr? They're looking for candidates, and a girl of your Talents is definitely qualified."
Syrinx gaped until Aeb chirruped at at her. "I'd love to!" she said excitedly.
"Great!" R'lan said. "When can you go?"
"Whenever she likes." Syrinx's mentor said. "I'll have someone pack her things."
White River Weyr
Evli (the white) is from White River Weyr.
Background from Boogie Jack's Web Depot.