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Pet Name: Korethia
“Korethia, be careful!” Mam shouted as the her daughter slipped out of the house. She stood by the door with Da, the worried look on her face painted orange by the light of the setting sun.
Korethia laughed, the sound of the young Blumaroo’s voice filling the warm summer air. “Don’t worry Mam,” she promised, blowing her mother a kiss. “I’ll be safe.”
“You be sure to listen to Caelin and Ea,” Da added nervously, squeezing the doorway with his hand. “They’ve more sense than you, at least.” Flakes of paint broke free from where he clutched the door, decorating his feet with soft white powder. It clashed with both his and Mam’s silver skin, making the two Aishas look even paler than usual.
“I shall,” Korethia assured her parents one last time, eager to be going. “They’ll keep me in check.”
“Well be off then,” Da said with a sigh, shaking his head. “We can’t keep you back any longer.”
Korethia smiled at his resigned tone, waving at them both with one hand. Then she was off, running out the gate with all the energy her body could muster.
The twinge of guilt she felt at leaving Mam and Da behind so worried quickly faded as she headed down the empty road. Even with the sun setting, it was beautiful, the night warm and the stars beginning to twinkle in the sky. Wind rippled through Korethia’s hair, filling her with a desire to be out singing, running, and dancing. That was the power of the coming spring, and for once she was determined to spend the evening at the village, not holed up in her family’s farm.
Halfway through her journey to the village, when Korethia had slowed to a more reasonable walk, she heard noise and grinned as Caelin and Ea jogged up behind her.
“Excited?” Ea asked Korethia as she caught up with her, her eyes glimmering like two blue stars.
“I am,” Korethia answered, her curls whipping behind her head as she greeted her friends. She shot Ea a smile, knowing she must look wild and fierce. “Tonight, we are free.”
“I still think this is a bad idea,” Caelin blurted out, biting her lip from beside Korethia. She looked more tame than both Ea and Korethia, her blonde hair somehow neat despite the evening breeze. Her nervous words cut through the air. “We’ve never been so far from home at night before. What if we get lost?”
“Lost? We’ve lived here our whole lives,” Ea answered dismissively. “I could walk from my farm to the village with my eyes closed. It being night makes no difference. You just stick to the road; there’s no need to be afraid.”
“We cannot spend all our lives not taking risks,” Korethia agreed. “We are young, Caelin! And spring has just begun.” A mischievous thought came to mind and she shot Caelin a grin. “Besides, getting lost might even be fun.”
“Kore!” Caelin chastised, looking scandalized at her words. “What would we do then?”
“Have an adventure, I suppose,” Ea responded dryly.
“The very idea is preposterous,” Caelin argued fiercely. “I can’t bear the thought of it.”
“I never said we’d actually do it,” Korethia assured Caelin, rolling her eyes in good humor. “We’ll stay on the road, as you know we will. It was just an idea. Imagine the adventures we could have, out lost in the wide world.”
Korethia stared dreamily at the sky and Caelin shook her head. “This is why I had to come tonight, against my better will,” she sighed. “To watch over you and Ea.”
“And we’ll make sure you have a little fun doing it,” Ea added cheerily. “You’ll be a changed person yet. Imagine the three of us out there together: a Blumaroo, Kacheek, and Aisha. There couldn’t be a more adventurous thought.”
Caelin shuddered at the idea and Korethia smiled. “It’s too late to turn back now,” she told her friend, pointing up ahead. Lanterns sprouted up behind her fingers, flickering before their eyes. “There’s the village. The inn awaits us, and with it, singing and dancing. So you might as well enjoy yourself with us.”
Caelin shot Korethia a dark look but still did not turn back, much to her pleasure. It wouldn’t be the same without Caelin and Ea both by her side, and Korethia was determined this be the most memorable night of her life. It had taken weeks of pleading with Mam and Da to let her do this, and if they and Caelin had their way, she’d never get the chance to have any adventures on her own. This was to be her first taste of freedom with her friends.
The inn’s volume was at full throttle when Ea, Caelin, and Korethia finally walked up to it. The rest of the little village was silent, like her farm, which only heightened Korethia’s excitement. She’d never been far from home at night before, and certainly not on such an energetic night. She only know about the village’s spring parties from Da’s tales of when he was young, and it sounded as if everyone in the village had gathered in the inn already.
She could hear fiddles playing from inside, along with the sounds of laughter and stomping feet. It made her blood sing with pleasure. Enthusiastically, she ran up to the door, eager to enter. Ea quickly followed suit and Caelin--though she glanced around the village hesitantly--did the same.
The moment the three girls swung the inn door open and entered, lively music filled their ears. Korethia drank in the sounds and sights before her eagerly, like someone who had never seen the rains before. All around the large room, laughing people danced, their singing spilling over her skin in a bubbling shower.
It filled her soul with a strange, prickling anticipation to stare at everyone. They seemed to set the very air on fire, and a quick glance told her that Caelin and Ea could feel the same, amazing energy.
Caelin was the first to make to speak. “We should dance,” she said breathlessly, her eyes wide with wonder. Korethia and Ea turned towards her and grinned.
“I knew you would change your mind about this!” Ea crowed, clapping her hands together.
Korethia did the same. “I agree, we must dance. But with who?” she asked, looking at her two friends.
As if fate had heard her words and was determined to make her night perfect, a young Gelert suddenly appeared in front of Korethia.
“Hullo,” he said with a smile, bowing before her. “I don’t think I’ve ever met you before.” Korethia smiled back at him, and he continued his introduction awkwardly, stumbling over a few words. “I’m Riven, and I’m visiting family at the village tonight. They told me I just had to come to this party tonight, and so my first time at one of these things. I have to admit though, I’m not quite sure how to act.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Korethia answered energetically, shaking his hand. “This is my first time here, too, so we’re in the same position! You can call me Kore.”
“Kore? That’s a pretty name,” Riven responded happily. “I can only guess that we’re supposed to dance then, since that’s what everyone else is doing. Would you care to be my partner?”
“I would love to,” Korethia responded, and Riven beamed. He grabbed her hand and led her into the crowd just as another song was starting up.
“So tell me about yourself,” he prodded, as the fiddles picked up their pace and the two of them began to dance. “I would love to get to know you better and become friends.”
Korethia chimed an answer as she started spinning to the music, chuckling as Riven listened with interest. The jig was fast and as they moved, her skirts whirled in the air around her. She could almost taste the energy in the inn, and watched with a smile as Ea and Caelin were both pulled into the swirling crowd as well.
The night passed quickly as Korethia twirled with Riven. He was a wonderfully interesting person, and they stayed together throughout the night, sharing words and laughter. The night became a blur of pleasure as she danced and sang. Everything was as Korethia dreamed it would be in her first night at the village: outside the moon was glowing, the starlight shining, and inside, the fire gold and dancing on the hearth.
With the enchantment of the night, nothing shook her out of her fun. The worries of Mam and Da seemed laughable in comparison to how kind everyone was at the inn. Together the villagers reeled, sharing endless laughter and stories. Even when Korethia finally had to tear herself and slip away home with her friends, she could feel happiness bubbling up in her chest.
As she, Ea, and Caelin all agreed on the mild walk home, the dance was truly a night to be remembered. And the best part was that spring had only just begun. As the warm air continued to spread in the coming months, the village dances would continue to grow in number.
And Korethia intended to go to all of those, with Caelin and Ea by her side to share the excitement and fun with her.
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