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Askri Serpent Dance

"Come onnnnn!" Eila tugged on the wizard's robe. "It would be super cool!"   "I'm not an Askri. This seems a bit, I dunno, offensive?" Alistair turned in his chair and pointed at his face. "Etoilean. Joining an Askri dance, that honors ancient Askri custom and animal mythos, and then saying magic words and making said mythic animal shoot flame out of its eyes. Is that even part of the original mythology?"   "No, but it would still be super cool. You're the only wizard that would be up for it, Alistair, do me a favor." Eila twirled. "The dance is cool enough. You'll be happy you were a part of it."   "Until I accidentally set fire to something. Flame projection is pretty dangerous."


The Askri Serpent Dance is a ritual dance observed by the Askri to symbolize the receding of the annual floods. In Askri mythology, the changeover to each season is represented by an animal of some sort; the changeover from First to Second Seasons is represented by the Great Serpent. The symbology represents the serpentine flow of rivers, which during the flood stages of the late First Season can wash away floodplain towns and cause significant destruction. As the Principality of Etoile has built earthworks to mitigate the most destructive flooding, the dance itself is now mostly a celebrated ritual and no more.


The Serpent Dance requires a large costume of wood and canvas, carried by an Askri dance troupe team during the seasonal festival. The dance starts at sunset; the dancers will carry the costume and leap off a small platform, winding down the street, with the lead dancer controlling the mouth of the costume and snapping at festival goers. Additional dancers will be embedded in the crowd; the Serpent will approach them and 'eat' them, with the 'eaten' person joining the troupe under the costume.   At the end of the street, the dance troupe will enter a specially prepared 'cage' and the Serpent will visually 'fall asleep', symbolizing the end of the floods and the start of the Second Season.

Components and tools

The Great Serpent costume is a work of high craft and art, requiring woodworkers months to construct. Each town's Serpent is different, the result of individual Askri artists adding their own flair to the head of the Serpent. The weight of the costume requires the dancers to be fairly strong, despite the presence of handholds and cross beams.


The dance troupe is recruited from the most skilled Askri dancers of any given town or region, but the dance is part of a community festival that all the local Askri of a given community participate in.


The Serpent Dance is conducted during a festival that's observed within one week of the changeover from First to Second Seasons. The Dance itself is always done at sunset, with the Serpent 'falling asleep' under moonlight.
Related Ethnicities

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