TITLE: The Corn Maiden
Kavio glimpsed a solitary dancer, graceful and pale as new maize. She danced in honeyed light filtered though sequoias soaring up from languorous, bear-sized roots. Who was she, and why did she dance secluded and all alone, far from the kiva and tor? Never had he seen a style quite like hers. She wore no ritual costume – neither wooden mask, nor cornhusk cape – only white doeskin hemmed with a maze of rainbow beads. Her hair waved about her, unbraided and wild. Though her aura showed no light, he had the odd sense she sparkled, shimmered, with some power deep, some power bright, which warmed the cool December wood with hint of hidden Mays.
She circled a fir tree stump, as if it were her partner in a fertility dance. Kavio debated himself briefly. His mischief won. He crept up behind her. Then, in rhythm with her sways, he placed his hands about her waist and lifted her into a spin, above his head and down again. She responded as if she had expected him, and followed his lead into the next exultant sequence, toss and twirl, shimmy and turn. Fancy foot work followed on, sweetly easy. They flowed together like partners who had practiced days in each other’s arms. She amazed him.
He dipped her back, and only then saw her face.
“Dindi!” He choked on his dismay.
She had been tested during Initiation, he knew, and proven without magic. For her to dance was taboo – so decreed the ancient ways. The law left him no choice.
He must kill her.