15 Kislev 5781 / Tuesday, December 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayishlach
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The Storm Dance    

The Storm Dance

The Master of Transcendence used this dance to protect free men. For years his warriors had been secretly training young men, teaching them the storm dance…


Warriors of Transcendence, Part 14

"An experienced warrior would not tread on soil of this kind. Footprints on such soft soil would leave a long-lasting impression, clearly visible to all."
Ulu had begun training his son immediately after making his final decision to take him along. Sage was still young and inexperienced and Ulu was intent on training him so that he could protect himself from danger. He would have to be as familiar as his father was with the secrets of the forests and fields, the sky and the earth. The two of them walked alongside a narrow stream, flowing down the broad yellow hills. A few days had passed since they had departed from their home at Fisherman's Village, located farthest east, closest to the great river.
They neared Potter’s Village now, though they still had a long way ahead of them before they would reach the Land of the Northern Forests and its eastern slopes.     They were headed towards King's Valley and the Green Lowlands. Sage refrained from questioning his father about this vigorous training program and regarded his studies and exercises as an exciting game. But Ulu’s serious demeanor and exacting presentation caused Sage to devote himself to the work and to appreciate his father’s every word.
There were fourteen villages located along the Shore of King’s Sea, the easternmost being their native Fisherman's Village which was located closest to the shore.
Potter’s Village was a three -day’s walk from there. The village was built upon heavy red clay earth, easy to work with and useful in creating pottery for the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. Like all the villages, Potter’s Village was surrounded by heavy, high, unpainted wooden fences.
A guard always stood at the village entrance, but in light of the threats facing the Ancient Progeny, his presence could be compared to a piece of straw in the path of a beast. He functioned as a greeter, fulfilling a village tradition, welcoming people entering the gates and helping them to find their way through the winding paths and hidden cabins in the village hills.    
A faint scent of smoke carried by a delightful warm breeze reached Ulu and his son as they made their way around the last hill on the outskirts of Potter’s Village. The high wooden fence was visible and the sounds of voices could be heard... Several more steps led Ulu and Sage to the gate, which was arched and large enough for loaded carts to pass through it. As they neared the red clay gate, they noticed that   the torches located on all sides revealed etched images of potters at work. The amiable guard wore a white linen turban around his head and a trim grey beard adorned his face.
He warmly welcomed the father and son with the traditional blessing, "A clear sky instills tranquility in the hearts of all."
He then proceeded to direct them to the visitor’s cabin. The proverb spoken by the guard was such a part of the villagers' dialect that even Ulu was unaware that it had originated with the Transparent Ones.
Potter’s Village was buzzing with excitement on the night of their arrival. Once a year, the Memory Master of each and every village set out on a trek to the Northern Mountains, into the depths of the tangled forest. Few people knew that the purpose of the journey was to lead the Storm Dancers to join their brothers who were engaged in battles in the north.
Ulu felt that participation in the annual departure ceremony would strengthen his son’s understanding of current events, in a non-threatening way. They had enjoyed a great feast at one of the local guest cabins and then rested, following their exhausting journey.   Sage fell into a deep sleep until midnight. Now they left their place of rest and walked towards the cabin of the village elders. There, in the large sandy square, dozens of men sat in silence. Their light blue capes were clean and pure. Small wooden branches crackled in the campfire in their midst, its light revealing faces filled with anticipation. Everyone's eyes were focused on the arched entrance to the village elders’ cabin.
"Father," whispered Sage, without removing his gaze from the arched entrance, "what will happen now?"
Softly, Ulu whispered into his son's ear, "Every village has a Memory Master who possesses secret knowledge hidden to others. Today, the Memory Master of Potter’s Village is leaving on an important mission".
The pleasant sound of a flute playing broke the silence as the cabin door opened. Ulu turned his attention back towards the cabin just as two tall men emerged from the human circle. They wore black clothes and held sharpened swords, tinted orange by the light of the fire.
"They are in costume," whispered Ulu to his frightened son who gripped his father’s hand, seeking reassurance.
A third person emerged from the cabin, adorned in a blue cape with thin, white, glimmering stripes. His face displayed deep insight. On his head he wore a white turban, and his weaponless hands were outstretched. His arms moved, as if questioningly.
As the men in dark garb approached the Memory Master, they became shorter in stature. They walked slowly and hesitantly. Their swords lay uselessly in their hands. When the three of them were arms length away from the campfire, the Memory Master whispered, "Water will extinguish the fire.”
Water will extinguish the fire," echoed the spectators.
Their whispers sounded like a soaring, rising wave.
"Water will extinguish the fire," their whisper became a melodious song, gaining momentum. And then there was silence, as the Memory Master began to transcend. At first his dance was slow and gentle. As he continued, his movements became increasingly spherical, until he was dancing around himself with the force of a storm.
The spectators were bursting with excitement and filled the silence with hushed whispers, "The storm dance!"
Ulu knew all about the storm dance. The Master of Transcendence used this dance to protect free men. For years his warriors had been circling the villages, secretly training young men, teaching them the storm dance. To untrained eyes, even in the eyes of the Tower Inviewers, the dance seemed to be nothing more than a ceremonial ritual. The highly trained warriors were sent by the Master of Transcendence to the Northern Forests where their powers stalled the armies of the Tower, preventing them from expanding their conquests. The dancers were also sent to fight the Descendents of the Emperors near their Tower. No one who encountered the circle of dancers ever lived to tell about it.
None of the villagers understood the true significance of the dance, though they all knew that it was of great importance. The two sword-wielding men in black neared the dancer and pretended to attack him. Just then the song of the spectators intensified, "Water will extinguish the fire!"
It seemed as if the words hung in the air, threatening the 'attackers'. The dancer, on the other hand, obtained strength and intensity from them. He continued circling gracefully and neared the 'attackers'. The air around him filled with dust, kicked up by the speed of his spinning. As the dust entered the eyes of the aggressors, they covered their eyes and reeled around like drunkards. The dust intensified and became a dark cloud which enveloped the two 'attackers', as if it had a mind of its own. It was unnecessary for the dancer to even touch them. Terrified, they fell to their knees, tossing their 'swords' into the fire, which consumed them. They proceeded to remove their capes and throw them, too, into the fire. The ceremony had come to an end. The Memory Master completed his transcendence appearing even taller than before.
Under the threatening capes of the 'attackers' appeared two villagers in simple pale blue garb. They knelt in front of the Memory Master. Only when he reached out his hand permitting them to rise, did they get up; their heads still lowered. On their lips was a blessing. The recitation of these words influenced the spectators deeply. It seemed as if the success of the Memory Master's journey was dependent upon this blessing.
"Be attentive to every moment. Your heart will guide the way. Have patience and the Light of the Transcendor shall protect you," the blessing was pronounced in a festive tone. The flute, playing a simple amiable tune, reminded Sage of the waves that rolled in from the sea on quiet nights. The excitement in the air made way for pure joy.
The Memory Master returned to his cabin, the fire was extinguished and the villagers prepared for a celebratory feast served on red clay dishes, the best the village had to offer. Ulu and Sage sampled the food, then left the cheerful villagers and returned to the homey guest cabin. Across from it were several beautifully carved benches, wide and comfortable. Ulu and his son sat down and watched the moon make its way through the darkened sky.
"Father, please explain", began Sage.
Ulu's hand caressed his son’s arm as if to say: "slow down".
But Sage persisted. "Where is the Memory Master going? Who attacked him and later surrendered? And what is the Light of the Transcendor that defends him?"
Sage began to cry uncontrollably, a cry full of fear of the unknown and yet filled with a childish anticipation of the discovery of a new world. The knowledge his father had passed on to him and the experiences he had witnessed that night served as clues to him. These clues were coming together in his mind, and when connected formed the picture of a world war. What part did his father have in this? And why is he sharing his secret with his son? 
"Why did we leave our home?" wept Sage.
To be continued.
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