Happy Winter Solstice, Everyone!
To accompany your midnight meditations, here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes in Eolyn; a glimpse into the revelry of Winter Solstice, as traditionally celebrated by the mages and magas of Eolyn’s world:
AS MIDNIGHT APPROACHED, the musicians quieted their instruments. Mage Corey’s guests convened in a circle at the center of the hall. This was the most sacred moment of the year’s longest night, marking the farthest reach of the sun into the great void of the Underworld. All across Moisehén, from the hearths of its peasants to the King’s great hall, the sun’s descent would be received with reverent silence.
Moving his hand in a slow arc, Mage Corey dimmed the candles until only the flickering flame of the Yule log illuminated the room, casting such shadows that Eolyn imagined the Guendes slipping out of the woodwork to join them.
Closing her eyes, she caught sight of the sun, a dim star in a cold black sea, a hesitant glimmer almost lost to the night. The vision ignited a deep ache in her heart, an irresistible desire to sing as she always had with Ghemena. So she lifted her voice in an ancient melody that once belonged to the magas of Moisehén, a poem of love composed for a single purpose, to bring the sun back to the world of the living.
Adiana was the first to join her. She took Eolyn’s hand and graced the melody with the weave of her fine voice. Within moments, the other women of Moisehén accompanied them. Even Renate tried to enter the chorus, though some unseen power choked her back into quiet tears. The verse ended in resonating silence.
When Eolyn opened her eyes, Mage Corey was watching her, his expression unreadable amidst the shadows.
He raised the lights of the bayberry candles and turned his attention to the musicians. At his bidding the music resumed, but the circle did not break. This new melody, though unfamiliar to Eolyn, evoked a sense of deep memory.
Rishona and Mage Corey moved to the center of the floor, where they danced around each other, giving dimension to the space between them with elegant movements of their hands. The exchange was subtle yet sensual. The air became so charged Eolyn felt her skin tingle. They repeated the pattern three times before bringing the movement to a breathless finish.
Rishona withdrew, and Mage Corey extended his hand to Eolyn.
Instinct compelled Eolyn to step away, but Adiana reversed her momentum with a firm hand against the small of Eolyn’s back.
“Mage Corey, I don’t know this dance,” Eolyn said as she stumbled forward. “I can’t do it.”
He took her hand and drew her close. His voice was low and infused with such confidence it sent a shiver through her. “This dance is in your blood, Eolyn. It is as old as the land to which we were born. All you need do is follow the music with your heart.”
Just as Mage Corey promised, Eolyn remembered. The steps returned to her, carried somehow on the fluid waves of rich music, on the slow heartbeat of the cold winter earth, on the sharp fire of Corey’s essence, on the whispering spirit of the dead magas.
Eolyn’s interpretation of the rite, though not nearly as skilled as Rishona’s, carried a natural expression of their faith. The movement settled comfortably about her, like a favored old cloak with soft, warm folds.
In another age, Corey and Eolyn might have engaged in similar rites on countless occasions, he as Mage and she as Maga. Now everyone who watched thought magas no longer danced in Moisehén. Yet Eolyn sensed she had finally, completely exposed herself to Mage Corey, and she discovered she did not care. It seemed a small price to pay in exchange for this moment, for the sense of shared magic at her fingertips, for the steady heat of his silver-green gaze, for the fleeting vision of how he might respond to her caress…
Learn more about EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB.