We had tramped across the high moors, rested within an ancient ring of stones to watch the clouds race and then it was time. A bitter wind whipped the bronzed skeletons of last year’s heather as we travelled the empty moorland roads to a rendezvous in a secret location. We were to meet a shadowy figure whose identity is shrouded in secrecy. My companion knew the way, for he was once of that Verminous crew whose master we were to meet. I, I knew nothing. I held the wheel and drove, following the cryptic instructions to reach our goal, sworn to secrecy.
It is said that long, long ago in a time of drought a Book was found in mysterious circumstances… a Red Book that told of forgotten revelry, masked dancers, giants and flames. Legend tells how those dances were brought back into being once more, and how flames were kindled anew to leap beneath the moon to the beat of drums. Known only through the legends of his ancestor and the arcane movements of the fire dance I was to meet Mr Fox.
We waited in a secluded corner of the hostelry for Mr Fox to appear. My companion plied me with half a pint of shandy… hoping, perhaps, to dull my memory of the tortuous journey to this remote inn. Nor was it the first hostelry we had thus visited…
I waited in eager anticipation… the door opened, an icy blast of air heralding the arrival of the one we had come to meet. An unmistakable figure, a smile from clear eyes, a hand extended… introductions barely needed…
One by one the Foxes joined us in our corner. To others it must have looked like a simple gathering of friends… yet it was not so. Things were afoot. As stealthily as they had appeared, so they dispersed, one by one, and went to earth.
My companion and I disposed of the evidence… leaving plates now devoid of the remains of Sunday lunch stacked on the table. It was our turn to leave… we followed the Foxes into what appeared to be an ancient barn, its windows high and small, protecting the anonymity of dancers who do not speak and are never seen except by moonlight.
I witnessed the execution… Foxes prowling, bent low to the ground; executing the dance with precision of movement and music, absolute attention to detail, whirling firebrands, complex patterns woven as a template for those to be written in flame on the velvet blackness of night. Vixens, Dogs-foxes, Cubs and a Silver Fox joined in the dance of life itself… or so it seemed to me.
I may speak no names, other than that of the mysterious Charles James Fox; I may not reveal the location of their earth… but I can say that where they prowl the night there is a spectacle unlike any other. I have seen them write in fire on the darkness, watched the Crow tower above the green lawns and seen the drums beaten with flaming brands. I saw them beneath the full moon, we wrote of them in Giants Dance…. and I will not forget.