Devil's Dance: Revised by Shandria Katz

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SUMMARY: This story was recently rejected and from all my friends who've read it, they loved it. So here is the polished tale

I looked up to the clear star field above this bleak place as I have done for the past fortnight, searching for an answer or a sign. It was cold and unforgiving like the surroundings of this outcrop of rock the villagers called Devil's Hill. There was little to shelter any wanderer on this hilltop. Only a small alcove of rock encouraged the weary, the desperate, and the foolish to stay where the campfire could be sheltered from the winds but little space for anything more. Not even heather grew upon this unholy place.

Stars glittered above like diamonds on dark black satin on a mistress that eluded the burning eyes of the daystar. Another night of the countless that have passed since... Memories began to stir within me once more and threatened to overwhelm me. I needed my mind on the task to come that is if there really was a demon here. There had to be a demon here.

Shivering from the cold that crept through my worn drab tunic and leggings, I looked once more at the pitiful fire lost in the bleakness. Pulling my wool cloak about me, I waited with a patience I did not know I possessed. Beside me the rosewood case gleamed in the firelight that held the flute while shadows played upon the lambs' wool covering the drum. I felt so bare without my armour that had guarded my life through the Jarl's war campaigns. Naked without my shield displaying the Jarl's dragon or my love's finely wrought sword...

The fire of anger filled my belly and I spat out to the hill, "Curse this place!" My words were whipped back to me by the uncaring wind. I waited for a fortnight and not a single creature came to this unholy rock. This bleak fjall of cursed ground was once a holy place on the borders of the tarns of the Westermen. Their lakes drained became the fors, pouring water over rocks of the fjalls mourning forgotten times. Despair once more crept into my heart mixing with the cold fire of...

"It already is, foolish boy!" a voice gloated behind me dripping with eager hunger.

I turned about to see the voice and where my eyes fell left my stomach to churn. A creature clung to the rock ledge above the fire, its ominous orange eyes glittered with evil intent.



Cresting the ledge and displaying the hideous creature in his full glory, was the second full moon of this month. The moon was pale as milk and as bright as bone, wreathed by a ring of ghostly red.

A bad omen, whispered my thoughts remembering the old superstitions of my kin.

The creature hopped and danced his way down to me. His grotesque appearance was abhorrent to behold. A skeletal frame encased by a slimy skin that glistened in the eerie light. I forced myself to remain still and hold back my churning stomach. My eyes ached at the sight of him. It was if one looked into, smelt and tasted the foulest things of humanity born in one shape.

It looked at me, his face inches from my own. "Why do you seek me, boy? Fortune? Fame? Or maybe the powers of a god?"

"I seek no fortunes and I seek no fame and I seek no power from above or below. What I seek is revenge, demon.

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