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Dance of Flamces
>go gate
A tall Elven man stops you as you prepare to go through the gate.  "The practice area for the Dance of the Flames is beyond there.  Be warned, it is only set up for use at nightfall, and if there's some sort of formal performance going on, you're better off heading down the path here to observe it," he says, jerking one thumb over his shoulder to the path running beside the fenced area.

"If you are set upon doing some actual practicing," he continues, "Then you had best remember that while you can add any sort of embellishments to your dance, it is the DANCE itself that matters.  Few finish it with true excellence, and those that do..." He stops and gives you a wink.  "Well, let's just say that the faire manager has something special in mind for them."

The tall Elven man bows to you as you pass through the wooden gate, murmuring "Welcome, Battle Chanter."

[Living Oak Forest, Shaded Clearing]
A dusty clearing lies amongst the tall oaks that spread armlike branches in a natural canopy high above.  The light scent of freshly cut wood draws your gaze to the roughly hewn benches scattered among the gaps in the trees, providing a place to watch the area's activities without disturbing those participating in them.  Lanterns, now quenched with the coming of day, are laid out with precision in the clearing's center to form a circular design.  You also see a low wooden gate.
Also in the room: Articus who is sitting.
Obvious exits: none.
>dance
You step up to the edge of a circular pattern of lanterns, feeling a sudden wave of warmth surround you.  As you take a steadying breath, you lean forward onto the balls of your feet and stretch your arms into the air, preparing to dance.
[You may LEAVE or STOP your dancing at any time.  Be advised that you shouldn't linger without moving amongst the flames for too long or you may get burned.]

>dance
You lightly leap over the first row of flames, landing onto the cool darkened ground between a pair of lit lanterns.  Pausing only a moment lest the heat overwhelm you, you quickly whirl away down one of the lines of the design, keeping just a hair's breadth between your feet and the flickering fire.
[Roundtime: 10 seconds.]


>dance

Displaying the confidence of a dancer born, you skip lightly over the outer curves of the pattern of flames, provoking only the barest flicker of light and heat as you silently pass.
[Roundtime: 11 seconds.]

>dance

With the swiftness of a hummingbird's wings, you easily traverse the distance from the pattern's edge to one of the wavering inner lines in a single bound.  Heady with success, you give an extra twirl that sets the flames about you flickering in the wake of your passage.
[Roundtime: 13 seconds.]
>dance

You pause in a small circle of flames, pirouetting with ease as you take a moment's respite from the constant movement from the dance.  Only a moment's grace is given to you though, for the beat of the drums reminds you that the task is as yet incomplete.  With a sigh lost in the warm wind of a thousand lanterns, you leap away from the circle to continue the dance.
[Roundtime: 15 seconds.]

>dance


>Sweat pours down your back and sides as you move on swift steps through the flames.
[Roundtime: 8 seconds.]

>dance
Dipping your head forward, you close your eyes and lean onto your hands, vaulting over a line of flames onto one that you have not yet crossed.  As you pull yourself to a standing position again, you blink the light spots from your eyes, letting your feet again find the familiar pattern of dance.
[Roundtime: 14 seconds.]

> dance

You feel your senses settle onto the beat of the drum and take hold, letting the rhythm of the song dictate the steps of the dance.  As you continue to move, you close your eyes, feeling almost as if your steps were guided by the music rather than any will of your own.
[Roundtime: 10 seconds.]

>dance

Throwing your head back, you laugh with sheer delight in the dance.  Your voice mingles with that of the steady beat of the drum to provide a musical cacophony that your feet flawlessly follow as they kiss the ground only briefly between the lit lanterns.
[Roundtime: 13 seconds.]

>dance

Exultant joy arises from the depths of your being as you traverse a twisting passage of lanterns, encouraging you to add an extra snap to your steps that easily displays the mastery of your craft.
[Roundtime: 14 seconds.]

>dance

You lean back on your hands as you near the center of the pyrotechnic display, tumbling into a flip that miraculously neither tips over lanterns or brings you close enough to the flames to feel more than a tickling warmth.  A smile quirks at your lips as you regain your feet and immediately return to pursuing the beat of the music with surefooted steps.
[Roundtime: 8 seconds.]

Gentle, silent music can be heard through the trees as an unseen musician plays a breathy harmony upon a mellow wind instrument that weaves through the drum beats with a calm dexterity of skill.  After a few moments, the sound fades away.

>dance

The beat of the music calls to the depths of your soul as you reach the inner lines of the pattern, and you find yourself immersed entirely into the music.  The heat causes your vision to waver, yet you still continue in the dance.
[Roundtime: 6 seconds.]

>dance

As you come to rest in the very center of the pattern a calm settles over you, stilling your tired muscles like the soothing touch of a skilled bard's lilt.  Triumph instilled with the knowledge that you have completed this performance with the excellence few have lends a spring to your step that cannot be mistaken as you take the last few steps to leave the dance circle.

You glance back at the pattern of flames, blinking as you see a small shadow slink among them.  A cool breeze causes the flames to flicker and the shadow to vanish, leaving you to wonder what you saw.

The faire manager approaches you, applauding wildly.  "Perfect!" he says with much gusto.  "You are a born dancer, and skilled at your craft.  Don't suppose I could talk you into touring with us, can I?" he asks with a wink.

"You've truly earned your prize, so here you are, four platinum Dokoras," he continues as he hands you a few coins.  "Don't spend it all in one place!"  Shaking your hand, the faire manager then hurries off.
[Roundtime: 7 seconds.]