Apsalar by Enaglio

Apsalar performing the Shadow dance by Enaglio

The Shadow Dance was a dance exercised by followers of the Cult of Rashan. It was an expression of the martial art of assassination, although the connection was lost in some places where the dance was practised.[1]

In Seven Cities, it was known only as a secretive act of worship exercised by male and female followers of the cult. Dancers were trained from childhood in the dance's elaborate and intricate movements. Training involved limb-stretching, joint loosening, and the drawing out of the spine to allow 'Casters' to flow with seamless movement. Dances were performed for priests who observed not the dancers themselves but the casts of their shadows. In effect, the shadow was the true dancer.[2]

When engaged in the dance, the Shadow Dancer became so infused with shadows that they were barely visible and barely seemed to be in the Malazan world at all. Their motions were strangely blurred and the dancer turned and twisted with grace. If armed, blades slashed out drawing blood while feet delivered devastating kicks.[3]

One version of the dance was known as the Song of the Reeds.[4] Some sequences in the Shadow Dance occasionally evoked the Warren of Rashan.[5]

After the Malazan conquest of Seven Cities its practise had been forbidden.[6]

Shadow Dancers Edit

In House of ChainsEdit

Lostara Yil recalled her youthful indoctrination into the Shadow Dance and the final performance that preceded the destruction of the Cult of Rashan in Ehrlitan.[7]

In The BonehuntersEdit

Apsalar used the Shadow Dance to almost singlehandedly stop the Hounds of Shadow in their tracks. In addition to delivering a series of deep slashes, she managed to kick one of the Hounds up into the air and through a brick wall.[8]

Cotillion saved the life of Lostara Yil during the Last Siege of Y'Ghatan. He asked the Red Blade to consider the deed a repayment for having once watched her Shadow Dance.[9]

Notes and referencesEdit

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