Heart Dance cut
CUT SCENE FROM HEART DANCE: DUFLEUR THYME (HEROINE) AND THE WINTERBERRY HOUSEHEART
"Oh, for the Lord's and Lady's sakes, I don't care about the secrecy of the ritual. Just say the spell to open the HouseHeart."
"I can't," whispered D'Winterberry through dry lips.
Dufleur glared at her Mother. "You do it, WinterberryHeir."
"I . . . I . . ."
Taking more and more of D'Winterberry's weight, Dufleur said. "I don't want the fliggering Winterberrry title. I don't want this– " she stopped in time. No need to tell the Residence she didn't want it. She didn't know what sort of feelings it had, whether any rejection would crush it. As calmly as she could with fear fluttering in her chest, she said. "I am ThymeHeir," of a lost Residence. "I will not stand by and see another Residence die!" She only realized she was screaming when D'Winterberry whimpered and put her hands over her ears. Dufleur shoved her against the wall, saw a bench form from it as D'Winterberry slid down.
Retreating to the stairs, Dufleur crossed her arms over her chest. "This issue is not about power, it's about saving a life. If. You. Do. Not. Open. That. Door. In. Thirty. Seconds. I. Will. Call. Meyar. I have no doubt he would minister to the Residence." Flipping through her mind regarding the instructions she'd had about T'Thyme Residence, she added. "If it needs blood, you bleed." She turned her gaze on D'Winterberry. "You, too."
It wouldn't do her any harm to bleed a little for the Residence, too. Her mother took a shaky breath then mumbled a chant to measured beats in mathematical sequence.
The door cracked open.
Casting Dufleur a fearful look, Dringal hauled D'Winterberry from the stone seat and into the HouseHeart, closed the door in Dufleur's face.
Then she hurried up to her rooms, locked the door behind her and plunged into the secret room. How could she have been so stupid? Relying on housekeeping spells to open and close the secret door to her laboratory. If the Residence died the door to her laboratory would probably become part of the all too solid stone wall. Inside the chamber she looked around. Then strove to settle her senses.
She'd only done a brief scan when she'd discovered the room, to check the vibrations and see if there were any echoes of dark deeds that might have tainted the space and affected her experiments. Time was a tricky thing.
Now she raised her arms and expanded her Flair to discover anything unusual. She'd lived in the Residence for a year and a half**, writhed through the Time Flows of her Third Passage here four months ago, freeing her Flair. So she was stronger than she'd been when she moved in. She scoured the room for information.
There was something. Wisps of Time floated through the chamber. She half-smiled, results of her experiments. Probing further, she found the far right corner of the room had once, centuries before, been used as an altar. That was an appropriate place.
With a less hurried step, she returned to her bedroom, to the deep closet/storage area along one wall, and pulled out her own sacred tools. She coughed pain and hurt from her throat as she touched the flannel wrapped instruments. None of the Thyme Family tools had survived. She'd combed the ruins.
Sighing, she set the packet on her bedsponge, then cleared off a small table. Since it was here when she came, it belonged to the Family and the Residence and would serve well for an altar. Guilt crept through her like a rash that she hadn't performed more than a couple of rituals here, that she hadn't thanked the Residence more often for its shelter and its help. Its privacy and its ** in keeping her secrets.
She took the table and her tools into the corner and began her own ritual to send all the energy she could afford to the faltering entity. Fairyfoot came in when she was just about to slit a vein and add her own, diluted Winterberry blood to her mother's and D'Winterberry's efforts in the HouseHeart.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING? The cat's ears flicked as she sat just outside the small pentacle that Dufleur had drawn, watching.
"I thank Winterberry Residence for its gracious hospitality, for the shelter of its strong walls to keep me and mine safe against the elements of nature." She cut her vein, dripped three drops in each cardinal direction marking the limits of her Circle on the foor, in the salt on her altar that she would spread in the corner when she was done. "I thank Winterberry Residence for its strong spells to keep me and mine safe from the harm of humans. I thank Winterberry Residence for its strong personality to keep me and mine company in the heat of summer and dark of winter."
ME, TOO, Fairyfoot said and held out a paw.
Dufleur flinched. They stared at each other, remembering the dreadful time when they'd been toys of murderers, lying on a black altar, Fairyfoot's paw slit open and bleeding for the awful ritual.
They held each other's minds for a minute or two, then Fairyfoot withdrew and Dufleur sighed. The hard kernel of hurt she'd carried inside at Fairyfoot's blackmail had desolved. They had survived a hideous ordeal together, and that had forged bonds between them that would never be broken.
"Come into the Circle," Dufleur said, opening the sacred space so Fairyfoot could enter.
The small cat did, with great dignity. Dufleur closed the Circle. Fairyfoot bobbed at each corner of the room...