Three women dance. Their dresses spin and twirl. They move around the room, and their beauty cuts. Every eye in the dance hall is upon them.
One by one, partners leap out to join the women, sharing a moment of the dance. The women seem to be
sisters, dark of eye and light of hair.
Suddenly, the music stops.
The dancers stumble and cease. Their partners leave the dance floor, turning their backs to the sisters.
A gleaming knight strides forward with three veils. One by one, he covers the face of each dancer. The sisters stand, heads bowed and do not move.
The knight claps his iron hands, and it is the peal of a bell.
The other people move across the dance floor, carefully stepping around the veiled sisters. The knight nods in satisfaction, then strides away.
The old gnome dashes through the throng of people, and pulls the veil from the first sister.
Ananda smiles down at him, her spectacles shining. The white ribbons threaded through the piercings along her brow — shining like silk worms in her long dark hair.
“Ah, at last you’ve reached out to me — what took you so long, Carbunkle?”
She looks at the gnome, waiting for his reply.