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She grew up in a cirus. The nauseating smell of sweat and animal, the weight of combined excitement from the stands, corrugated matadors and lionsmen, beautiful women and mystical magicians were not new to her. She remembered one such magician, who was able to enter a lion cage, and right in front of the unbelieving crowd of spectators, he threw a giant satin yellow cloth that glowed a pale moon shadowy glow and lo behold! When the cloth came whisking down, it was just the magician and the lion.

There was no cage, and the lion look unperturbed. His name was Conquisto and he did not dress in the attire that most magicians wore, he was not jovial and she found him some what strange. He had a long drawn beard, that followed the folds of his forlorn lips, and as the line of hair dragged his chin longer, at the very tip of the beard, he had sown a few beads into the hairline. His narrow drawn eyes, lined with kohl, never showed life. When you looked into them, there shone no light, and looking into them long enough gave her the feeling of entering a dark cave with no light at the end.

He ate with no fuss and very rarely conversed with the other circus staff. In the evenings when everyone gathered round a common fire, with gypsy like bonds, the magician sat on the last seat of his caravan, looking at nothing but the fire while the musicians on the side entertained the crowd with the sound of their fidels and ouds. There was dancing, and merriment on most days, except for the days when certain members of the acrobat troupe invariable had too much drink, and found themselves battling out their frustrations, in the open dining court. The rest of the circus formed that oval, and watched the joust, knowing not to interfere, and maintaining an objective distance.

On one such night, there was conversation between Lolo the front line acrobat & Gola. They were in love with one of the beauties that ushered the crowd in and were sent into the town to advertise for the circus. The beauty was herself not present, spending the night out on the town, dining with the mayor to gain favor for the travelling circus. Lolo had asked her to join him in the final bow at the end of the show the previous week, and Gola who had some form of a relationship was brimming with morbid jealousy at the audacity of Lolo to steal not only his position within the acrobat troupe but his woman as well.

He knew in his heart, that beauties never settled for circus folk, often disappearing from the circus with strange men in strange cities, to whom their hearts and bodies had been lent to briefly. They often tricked themselves into believing that a life of travel was beneath them, and it was not uncommon when the circus returned to these same cities & towns, for the beauties to return and shed tears when everyone laughed. Quietly they'd weep amidst the jovial crowd, yearning for what they had lost. And yet his pride was hurt, and his sword felt insulted at the walking traitor that beamed with delight, at the beauty's acceptance of her position next to him.

He challenged Lolo, when drunk and Lolo, also under the influence, gladly accepted, bragging ceremoniously that they would make official what was only known to everyone. Gola was no man, no good at keeping his woman to himself and most importantly, his acrobatic limbs were prone to disobey him, which meant it was only a matter of time before he lost his position within the chain of the acrobats.

Blood pumped ten fold in Gola, and he drew out his sword.


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