The elf wraps his hand around my waist and draws me close. He begins to move, to sway, pulling me into his rhythm. I don’t know this dance. I don’t know this music, have never heard anything like it in my life. But something primal about it works strangely on my senses and makes my body obey without thought. The elf’s silver eyes hold my gaze, hypnotic as a serpent’s. He still grips my fingers with one hand, but his other hand strays, exploring.
I gasp and pull away. With an effort, I break his gaze and wrench my hand free of his. His smile grows, and he reaches for me again. Quickly, I put several paces of distance between us and turn.
I find myself facing a broad bare chest. Dusky purple and draped in flowing gold and black.
Eyes widening, I tilt my head back, then back some more. For a dizzying moment I fear I’ll faint, that the darkness closing in on the edges of my vision will claim me. My knees begin to buckle.
Then a strong hand catches my waist, and another supports my elbow. My dress flashes and flares as the Sunfire King whirls me back into the dance, into that wild, dangerous rhythm. I stare up into his face covered by that elaborate mask, but I cannot see his eyes through the holes. I can see only that wry, dangerous smile. It doesn’t seem to belong to him, somehow.
The pulse of music drives into my head, down into my blood. My hand grips his upper arm for support, and I find myself drawing closer to him. Closer, closer, close enough that no space at all exists between us, that we are one and joined. Heat flares through my body, a need enflamed by the drums and pipes and the nearness of him—
“It isn’t safe, you know.”
I start, lose my footing, and nearly trip over my gown’s elaborate train. Shaking my head, I look up again, blinking into that masked face above me. “Wh-what did you say?”
“It isn’t safe.” The Sunfire King looks down at me, still smiling, yet distant somehow. “Humans ought not to dance at fae revels. Not without many layers of protections."