Mountain’s Shadow

The sun started to set behind the cliff, causing the small city of Mountain’s Shadow to be engulfed in early darkness. Candles slowly started to line the carved out red rock windows of the apartments, the residents slowly leaving them, each of them grasping their own candle to their person.

They were clad in robes made of silk and lace. The colors were rich in reds, blues, golds, deep with purples. The masculine bodies moved behind the feminine bodies.
The masculine people had the hoods of their robes pulled up, the light from their candles showing that their faces were still obscured by a mask that matched the color of their robe. The masks were just as beautiful and as graceful as the robe their body adorned. Shapes, symbols, numbers, drawings, verses, all painted onto the masks in shimmer. They whispered hymns and chants, sang deeply and cried.
The femme people wore their hoods down, showing off the intricate and delicate paints of yellow and orange shimmer that lined their black and brown faces. Their hair stood tall, wasn’t there at all, was there in patches, in braids, swayed like a lazy river, adorned with beads, feathers, precious gems. Their faces shined from the glow of their candle. They sang quietly, sadly, some letting out a yell, full of frustration yet determination.

As the hundreds of figures made their way down the stairs of the stone apartments, the light glow candles gave off could be seen a few miles away. The Couple that spotted the line clasped their hands together and started to pray.
The moon slowly started to rise as the sun continued to set.
As the folk from Mountain’s Shadow made their way to the Couple, their songs and hymns were now as one, their voices in harmony of happiness, of joy. They started to dance. As they crossed the field of bright blue and bright purple flowers, their song got louder and they started to dance together.

The Couple started to cry as they prayed, hearing the song of their neighbors, their family members coming closer to them. They could feel the stomping in the dirt. The mask started to stain. The shimmer started to run. They smiled, their own praying turning into screams and yells of joy and happiness.

The moon and sun were almost even on the horizon by the time the Couple and the folk were finally together. The folks dancing turned into jumping and twists and turns and twirls. The Couple held their hands even tighter, feeling the love and blessing from the folk.

The Couple made their way to a platform made out of wood and clay. The folk followed. The Couple was silent now, watching the hundreds of people in front of them place their candles below them. The folk circled around the platform in dance and song, the wood in the platform catching fire.

The moon and sun were even now and the fire was roaring beneath the Couple, their robes now aflame. The folk was yelling now, stomping their feet in the dirt, clapping their hands together. The Couple was silent, their hands still clasped together, the fire licking at their skin.

At that moment, lightning cracked across the dark orange sky, a loud roar of thunder accompanying it.

The folk screamed and immediately fell to their hands and knees in a bow, silent.

The fire engulfed the Couple in a sudden swift wind. The flames burned away their garments but adorned their bodies like shimmer. Another swift wind pushed through and the fire went out.

The folk slowly raised their heads.

The Couple stood on the platform, naked and bald, their skin glowing from the Kiss of Love.

The folk howled in unison, masks coming off, shimmer running down faces, running up to the platform to praise the joining of their loved ones. The Couple jumped into the arms of the folk, who carried them home, back to Mountain’s Shadow, back to the red rock apartments.

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