As the overture of evocation came to an end complete darkness invaded the auditorium. No one stirred or made a sound. Silence pervaded. Then, after what felt like an eternity, a light appeared centre stage, opaque and fragile to begin with, but gradually growing stronger. Encased in this shimmering light was the figure of a man. It was of extraordinary beauty, of divine and angelic proportions; it was Limbardin. Omigali gasped as her hands went to her face. She was elated, never had she seen such beauty. Rapturous applause now swept the hall in recognition of this great dancer. He began to move, slowly building speed, sweeping from one side of the stage to the other, entwined and complimented by other performers who little by little entered the arena.
The story, played out against a backdrop of stunning, astronomical scenery, was a simple one of love found, lost and found again, although with sadness. An explorer ship had landed on an undeveloped planet somewhere in one of the dwarf satellite galaxies. The second in command, which was the lead male role danced by Limbardin, falls in love with a female being from this planet and the seemingly insurmountable odds against this working form the basis of the story. But the real story was the Dance, the skill of the performers and the breathtaking choreography.
Omigali was spell bound throughout the first half of the performance. Sitting on the edge of her seat, never once did her eyes leave the wondrous form of Limbardin.
When the interval came, she was ready for refreshment and social interaction. Leaving her parents to their own social devices, she grabbed a drink from a passing Marleeseen waitress and made her way down to Monomay and Voreesh.
Monomay came to greet her and gave her a hug. Isn't he gorgeous?
'Thank you very much,' Voreesh said ironically, coming along side.
'Not you, silly,' Monomay told him. Then to Omigali, 'he gets so jealous!'
'Oh, I don't blame him. Limbardin is divine!' Omigali raised her eyes to the heavens as if in prayer. Voreesh was obviously tempted to walk away in disgust at this girl hysteria over the male lead, but managed not to out of courtesy for their new friend.
'Let me introduce you,' Monomay led Omigali to meet her little group. 'Hey you lot, this is Omigali! She is a new friend and - guess what? - it's her birthday!
Monomay's friends, with the exception of one of the girls, came up and crowded round Omigali, wishing her a happy birthday.
'This creature here with the hair is Harmony. This is Pol, the million to one chancer. That is Rakku Pol's dream girl from Rayneard's Globular Cluster; and that is Scarleen from one of the satellite galaxies; and he is a shape shifter.
'We can hear all this whispering you know,' Rakku said, from her seat a few metres away. 'Hi Omigali, I'm Rakku and I'm nobody's dream.'
'But I am a shape shifter, Omigali,' Scarleen kissed Omigali's hand. 'As a birthday present, would you like me to shift to the flavour of the day: Limbardin?'
'Behave Scarleen,' Monomay said. 'Omigali is not used to your peculiar ways.'
'But I am offering a dream come true.'
'He has a strange sense of humour, or whatever,' Monomay said. 'Don't let it put you off. He is harmless.'
'Harmless! What an insult. I would have you know, I am a very dangerous person. People fall in my comet tail.'
Omigali laughed. She was enjoying herself.
Harmony and Pol drew near to Omigali. 'Omi,' Harmony said. 'Will you be at Rahhoon's party after the performance?'
'Yes,' Omigali said. 'My parents and I have been invited.'
They all knew that Omigali was the daughter of His Holiness Hakinadouus, but equally recognized that she wanted people to regard her as a person in her own right. They had heard tales of her spiritual and academic abilities and it was obvious she did not want to show these off in front of them.
'It would be great if you could join us at the party. We plan to have lots of fun and we plan to escape from the adults, maybe visit friends the Zanasareen.'
'Who are the Zanasareen?' Omigali asked.
'Actually...they are an alien species from a distant galaxy that Rahhoon hosts.' Harmony said, importantly. 'I have a special friend amongst them called Wop. She can walk through people. It's awesome. She is very strange but amazing fun, And walkthrough is just for starters. I have special permission of course as an ambassador for Salvationkind to introduce my friends.'
'She took me there two years ago, without permission and got into terrible trouble.' Pol said.
'But it's different now that I'm older,' Harmony lied.
Rakku came and stood beside Pol. Omigali cast an admiring eye over her exotic loveliness. 'Happy birthday, Omigali,' Rakku said.
Of all the youngsters, Rakku was the least likely to be impressed by Omigali. The people from her planet tended to be unimpressed by spiritual matters, and she regarded other girls, as a potential threat to her claim on Pol, not that Omigali with her enormous eyes and her hair in bunches was a threat. Then Rakku regarded the geeky, horse loving Evangeline with suspicion.
To be continued...