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She is the youngest of twelve. Every night of her life she has danced.

At first she was held in her sisters' arms, passed between them in the whirling patterns, fed milk from embroidered handkerchiefs dipped into jewelled goblets. Then her partners leaned down to her laughing face, teaching her the steps before she could yet walk unaided.

Now the passage is locked and the silver gleaming world lost, now suitors speak of her grace while moving like stumbling automata. Now, sixteen, she dances alone at night, holding herself, music only in her head.

Some nights, her sisters join her.