The sky was black. There was no moon. The stars glinted bright in the sky but the fire burned brighter. People moved around the fire, half cast in light, half hidden in dark. Mead flowed freely. Children moved around the fire to, but not for much longer, soon they would leave with the oldsters and only adults would remain.
Tonight the God and Goddess would be made anew by the actions of those here. The fire beat back the dark and balance was in all. Celebration of all was the way. Pretty girls danced around the handsome lads. Tonight no ties held between people and all were free to express themselves as the God and Goddess drew them. In truth those who had been bound together celebrated together but not always. Tonight was a night when a new love may or may not be revealed, some for a day, some for a year, some for life and others for more. Those undrawn to someone would continue to sing and drink by the fire.
Mallory wore her becharmed dress and danced around the fire. She drank mead and ate roast pork. She danced some more, determined to lose herself and forget her grief, if only for this one night. The other dancers began to take on an eerie cast as if they were half drawn flames dancing around the fire, half bright, half dark, turning and burning in the night.
She brushed her hair out of her eyes and swayed as she suddenly stopped dancing. Sweat burned on her forehead and dizziness threatened to drag her down. She squinted through the fire at a figure, most magnificent, eyes aflame. She felt an answering fire in her eyes and her body was released from dizziness and she stood tall.
They moved around the fire within the spiral dance and then they danced together. The night burned with light and her body burned with fire and where his arms held her to him she burned hottest. Taken by the powers that be they drew away from the fire and the mysteries of the universe were shown to them and made anew. And then they slept, he cradling her gently with his cloak thrown over them both.
The first thing Mallory was aware of as she came too was that her head hurt, the second was that it was too bright and the third was that she was not alone. She tentatively opened her eyes the merest of cracks to see who had been chosen for her. A large chap, tall and broad and strong with bronzed skin and golden hair which never did quite what it should. Jack she thought and then closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
Later they were found by Maria who left water and bread by their side. Maria smiled knowingly to herself, pleased at the happiness on the lips of those that slept. Always a good sign that a happy bond had been bestowed.