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Dervish

Words and Music © 2007 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike license
One of the central images of the ad campaign for Nightfall, the expansion for the MMORPG Guild Wars, is a fantastic illustration (this one might be a little clearer) for a character class known as the Dervish, inspired by the historical Dervish of the Sufi Muslims. The beauty of that image haunted me for weeks, and when the song came together I tried to keep that sensation intact.

I remember her eyes, as dark as the skies
In the desert an hour before dawn.
Her throat would hum like the skin of a drum
With a battle coming on.

She never would speak, she'd be thought of as weak
if a word of endearment was said.
And we swore on our lives not to take off our knives
Even as we made love in her bed.

But she would not dance for me.
Never for romance, you see.
She was raised in an ancient land,
With ancient ways I did not understand.
Her eyes would glaze with blood at hand...
But she would not dance for me.

I was entranced when I first saw her dance --
Such beauty, grace and gore!
With her curving swords she struck down lords
Who thought they knew of war.

But I thought of sin and the sheen of her skin
And the smoulder of her glance,
And it burned my soul beyond all control
That she still refused to dance.

But she would not dance for me,
Even though I begged to see.
She gave me all else that she had,
But that one exception drove me mad.
She danced for scum while armor-clad...
But she would not dance for me.

As we cut a swath through an empire,
As she danced 'cross a continent,
Each day it grew harder and harder
To not have her dance in our tent.

To see her whirling in saffron, in desire,
To see her sink to her knee,
To see her eyes filled with ardor,
To see her focus her passion on me.

Then a battle came, left a city in flame
And separated us two.
And a sweet young maid whose life I'd saved
Whispered "I shall dance for you".

I was tired and weak, and the rose in her cheek
And her scent of tamarind
Set my blood on fire, I forgot my desire
For a whirling desert wind.

The dawn was fine with figs and wine
And that harlot by my side.
She'd begun again to dance for me when
The tent flap was flung wide.

My desert flower had her scimitar
And a new glint in her eye.
She slew the slut with a single cut
Then turned and whispered, "why?"

You would not dance for me.
It's consumed me, can't you see?
And you do not shed a single tear,
And I don't know why but I feel no fear
As for one last time, you draw near...
And at last you dance for me.

She stretched her arms and revealed her charms,
Robes fell in a silken splash.
With heavenly grace and death on her face
Her blades began to flash.

She was sand and dust and heat and lust
And wind and will and war.
She was pliant and warm, defiant, a storm,
She was all men want and more.

She was love and life and the flash of a knife
And the dance of blood on steel,
But she'd sought escape in a mortal shape...
And found me... and begun to feel.

In her burning eyes and the thundering skies,
I knew what she'd kept from me,
What she'd tried to prevent, but I would not relent....
And now she let me see.

And that is all that I can recall,
I've seen nothing since that night.
But though I'm blind, she fills my mind
And I cannot quench the sight.

Everything I was is a long-lost cause,
Every dream a might-have-been,
Yet had I one chance for one last glance...
I'd watch her dance again.

She would not dance for me,
And I should have let that be.
There are forces far beyond the ken
Of foolish, selfish mortal men.
I can't look past the moment when
At last she danced for me.

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