Ballet of the Abyss Knights
reviewed by Microship

I witnessed an amazing event in the Abyss Hall of Victors tonight… a rare performance of the complete Velvet Vanguard ballet, including the erotic “Silken Steel” pas de deux that was banned for decades under the repressive Asmodeus 3 regime.

At precisely 8:00, the oil lamps dimmed and Sir Raymond of Gurb, clad in embroidered scarlet gambeson and luxurious padded surcoat, introduced the piece — his powerful voice ringing off the stone walls of the ancient hall:

“In the heat of battle, when we are defending our Lord in the glory of blood and carnage, there is also great beauty. It thus falls upon all knights to don the silken undergarments of our true loves, touching both skin and armor with softness that doth speed the axe and embolden the thrust. Let the battle begin!”

The ensuing 90-minute ballet was every bit as exquisite as expected, and I barely managed to escape with my copy of the program notes during the frenzy of swordplay that followed the performance. There were seven acts:

Opening Stance – The knights begin back to back, shields raised, as if surrounded by unseen human foes firing basic arrows. They move in unison, turning slowly to scan the horizon.

Advance and Retreat – With swords drawn, they advance in a synchronized pattern, each step a measured dance move, demonstrating the trust and coordination required in battle.

Shield and Sword Ballet – A sequence where the knights use their shields not just defensively but as extensions of their arms in a powerful display, parrying and thrusting in rhythm.

Hatchet Interlude – A dramatic moment where throwing axes are incorporated into the dance, simulating actual combat, highlighting the skill and precision required in battle.

Silken Caress – A pause in the combat where the knights slowly don the Silken Undergarment, a gesture symbolizing human softness amidst the carnage… touching subsequent performance with poignant fluidity.

Climactic Confrontation – The dance escalates to a flurry of action, where the movements become more aggressive, symbolizing the chaos of battle, yet always controlled and never clashing. Waves of human archers in VR headsets are defeated, dying with cries of agony.

Finale – The knights at last come together in a final powerful tableau, their shields and swords forming a single emblematic structure that represents unity and strength.

If you ever have a chance to catch a performance of Velvet Vanguard while in the Abyss, I highly recommend it… but be prepared to run for your life the moment the curtain closes! The audience gets very wound up, and is looking for humans to slay.

This is part of the In Death: Unchained literature collection by Steven K. Roberts.