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The Blackheart

The Blackheart is the traditional dance of the Arcane Ball. It is danced by two young warriors, chosen by the Chieftain, who have distinguished themselves to deserve the honor.

History

Dancing the Blackheart is a high honor in Arcanese tradition. Many years ago, two young Arcanes met on a field of battle. The couple, cursed with an uncertain future as warriors, danced around each other for years, taunting and teasing but never truly coming together. They devoted the symphony of their lives to protecting the people, waiting to come together themselves until they were truly safe. One day, one of the couple was sent on a mission themselves. Their fire burned brightly until it was nearly extinguished. Hearing they were alone, the other rushed to their aid in time to pull them into a last deadly dance of a battle. The injured finally fell on the battlefield, leaving their other half to fight alone in their grief. They and the enemy circled each other, the last two standing, before launching back into a furious fight. Both dealt fatal blows to each other but remained standing until the enemy was felled. The last standing, the true Blackheart, then fell beside their love. They remained inseparable in death, never to be parted as they had been in life. The Blackheart was first danced under the stars by the niece and nephew of the original Blackheart. They told the tale to a group of children who demanded that it be more dynamic if it was a love story. The children, being Arcanes themselves, were training to be warriors, and that training included their current dance lessons. They did not object to the sad storyline of sacrifice and ending of death, but suggested that they perform it as a dance to augment their lessons. The two instructors choreographed the epic into a dance which they then performed for the Chieftain at the Arcane Ball.  Falling in love with the tragic depiction of his child's tale, the Chieftain wished the story to be remembered every year he presided over the Ball. Initially, the dancers chose the next year's performers; however, as the tradition became more established, it became a prestigious honor to perform The Blackheart at the Ball. When the Chieftain died, his successor, one of the original choreographers, chose the dancers as the previous couple died before naming the next performers. Thereafter the Chieftain chose the dancers. The slaying of the Holublair family and disappearance of Damaris and her children meant there was no Chieftain nor (known) heir. The tradition passed into the responsibility of the hosts of the Arcane Ball, the Grey family, until the next Chieftain took their position. Cierra Greye (Aanjaye) made the selection for fifteen years. Her last selection was the pairing of Greyson Aanjay and Aife Llewellyn. Llewellyn, heir to the throne of Northal and the Chieftain of the Arcanes, took the duty following her participation making her the first dancer to choose their successor since the original choreographer ended the tradition.

Participants

There are two dancers in the Blackheart. It fell out of memory whether the original Blackheart was male or female; therefore, the dancers may be of any gender. One dances the part of the Injured and one of the Standing. It is traditionally performed at the Arcane Ball before the seat of the Chieftain.  The music is flexible to instrument changes, reflecting the ability of the Grey Estate to acquire musicians. The dance is best suited to strings, a cello and a violin, but can be performed with a piano, flute, or ideally a full orchestra.

Observance

Performed annually at the Arcane Ball on Winter Solstice.


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