The night of the Ice Moon proved to be as cold as a witch’s … nose. Were it not for the warm brew sipped earlier by the hearth, there would be no chance of a moon dance. But there was something in the air tonight. It was as crisp as an autumn apple, and as warm as mulled cider and as ephemeral as a whisper. More experienced witches knew that it was only love, but Mystique had never known this feeling and it frightened her. If she hadn’t danced under the full moon a dozen times already, she could swear she detected the essence of human male here in the clearing. Men never participated in these rituals, so Mystique was confused by the fear she was experiencing. The discomfort made her pull her hood further forward on her head.
The moon was calling for the dancers to gather, and as always the nearness of womanly flesh and the beating of drums led to the removal of cloaks. This was not the sort of dance performed with cymbals and veils. Coats of every color simply dropped off the shoulders of their wearers, freeing limbs to find the choreography best suited to honoring the goddess. Without a man to impress, the glorious nature of divine womanhood spoke through the movements.
On the edge of the clearing near a tree stood an onlooker. He was as pale as any human could be, having been deprived of many days worth of sunshine. His neck was a dark pink, as if a noose had recently rested around it. The man was watching Mystique with eyes alternately squinting and popping out of their sockets.
In this moment Mystique stood still. Something passed from her even as it filled her. Eyes met, and she knew now that the bubble riders had arrived, and she would never be afraid again.