Eve of Elembivios

The Celebration of Lunas

The Village at the End of The Road

Adventure Log >> The Celebration of Lunas >> The Eve of Elembivios

Exterior The Commons of Granordhail Daylight
Edward Rolland , Squire
Kaelo ap Heather
Zachary ap Lee , Squire
Zepher ap Lee

Squires Edward and Zachary stroll along the feasting tables along the edges of the octagonal commons (the plot of ground the people of Granordhail own). Smoke from the common fire pits carries the scents of roasting the remainder of the winter meats. Aromas drift off of the platters of baked rolls and of candied-fruit pies and cobblers arriving from the bakery. Zachary’s father, one of the two Brew Masters, calls over volunteers to unload kegs of winter ale, the last of the stores.

We feast today and then fast until the first buds of spring appear, Edward reminds himself. His mouth waters at the food being laid out, and his stomach growls at the thought of fasting.

Zachary elbows him. “Who are you going to bond with?”

Edward stupidly shakes his head. Everything seems so very different on this edge of the world. “I’m betrothed.”

Zachary laughs with that dark, haunted grunt of his. "Nay. Not like that. It’s just for the year. You pick one this year. Pick one next year. And when Rolland, Father of Edward, sends for you, you need only wait a few months before doing your Family Duty and complete the arranged marriage. Besides, my sisters want to dance with you."

Edward fails to correct Zachary – his father’s name isn’t Rolland; just one more difference between the ends of the world. He feels his throat close up. “Which one?”

Zachary laughs again, “All of them.” He turns and leads up onto the green where the bards are beginning to play dancing music.

Edward quickly scans the gathering with men wearing tunics barely laced at the belt and women in bustiers showing far more than throat. This Celebration of Lunas held many similarities as the ones of his youth at home but tilted into the really strange. Four … five … six, he counts. Only the youngest of his sisters … Snow, who is three, isn’t here.

“Remember,” Zachary continues on oblivious to Edward’s discomfort, "The point of the dance is to determine who you want to bond with. You only have until the fullness of Lunas reaches His Zenith to decide. So, you need to get out there and start dancing."

And, then Edward finds himself propelled into Kaelo who is walking beside Zachary’s twin, Zeph. And true to form, Edward’s tongue twists itself into knots and attempts to stuff itself down his throat. Not for any of the reasons people would think.

There is something different about Kaelo, and by that, he means surrounds her. She carries something that is neither light nor law. Her aura whispers that she knows secrets. And in the end, it is this otherness that scatters his thoughts, garbles his tongue, and twines his limbs together.

Of course, Kaelo is the eldest sister to Zachary and Zeph. The one who inherits all the land and money of her wealthy family. And the worst kept secret in town is that their mother wants noble ties to go along with that money.

“Come, Edward, I know you can dance. I have seen it. Untangle your fingers and take my hands. You need not talk… just dance…" Kaelo smiles gently, placing her hand on Edward’s arm, and waits for him to lead her to the pavilion’s dance floor.

“I only dance with those that at worthy of my attention, and no one is worthy of my attention," Edward says in a tone of voice that is stating a fact. "You should find someone else to dance with."

“And there is no one here worthy of my attention either. You choose then, stand here and be accosted by many or dance with me, your friend, and not have to deal with those beneath you."

“That, my friend, is a good idea. Let’s Dance.” He leads her to the dance floor.

Rafferty

Rafferty finds himself at the edge of the Commons along with those who might advance to be little more than charlatans, con artists, and hucksters – or better known as his fellow apprentices. And as the group moves into the Commons, the first of the entertainment items they find has the bard students performing a romantic tragedy.

Celeste whimpers as the baby kicks. She rolls over in a vain attempt to find a comfortable position on the birthing mat that her mother and aunts had woven.She tries her side and stares into the fire. The kicking and other pain ease. It is not yet her turn to be chained to the statue of Chakras, the god of fertility. And that act will be the first binding for her child to follow the path of Chakras. She drifts asleep once more.

“It is thy time,” the priestess says as she shakes Celeste awake.

She shakes her head. "There must be another who is further along than I."

The priestess smiles. “Thou art the last.”

Celeste looks wildly about the temple cave. She is indeed alone with the priestess. Even the dozens of other mats have been taken away to be burned to send the family’s prayers to the setting Chakras. “But,” she whispers. "His father has not returned."

The priestess nods with sadness and caresses the bulging belly. “Thou canst wait no longer. Thy child is ripe. We must act now lest he begin to rot within you."

“But, without a father….”

“He must find his own path to honor Chakras.”

“But, what if he rejects Chakras?”

The priestess remains silent for a time. She turns and faces the fire. "Some must be banished. Some have found homes among the humans and the other lesser races. A rare few have even fallen in with the dwarves and now be bound to serve the giants." Then she turns back to Celeste. "We will do everything we can to keep that from happening." She kneels to aid Celeste up. “Come. It is thy time.”

Rafferty turns away as “Celeste” screams during the play’s portrayal of childbirth. Like all elven children, he has the hundred official variations of The Day the Giants Fell memorized. While it is too early to determine which version is being performed, the local bard students are likely to pick a version which is uncontroversial, and plays well to the races huddled about Granordhail. They will probably follow this play up with a dwarven play about “The Escape.” As if two plays will explain why the two eldest cultures failed to get along for vast tracks of history: "Oh! Initially they were on opposite sides of the war" really failed to cover their differences.

Fortunately things have changed since Chakras died, he thinks of the play. Even if we have kept the birthing caves and pits.

“Will you dance with me?” Sierra asks as she blinks rapidly at him as if she has something in her eye while exposing the reason for her name, a long jagged chain of sharp, uneven, and chipped teeth. Hiding behind her dumpy exterior which more often than not is surprisingly clumsy, she keeps a keen mind for magic. While not graceful nor no more subtle than a bolt of lightning in the middle of a clear night, she enjoys all of the arts practiced by Chakras: War, Torture, Suffering, and Fertility. She holds out her hand to him.

He smiles thinly as he remembers that Chakras rises in the Planting House – the peak of the dying ember’s gift of fertility – upon the eve. Lunas, the Angel of Moon and Fertility, rises full and ripe with its promises. And, the new eve is the Spring Equinox which is better known as the Celebration of Lunas, and during which time creatures all around the world find a partner and work to invoke Lunas’ blessings. In all, the most fertile night in centuries.

Rafferty ponders her hand for a moment, and nods. "I will dance a dance with you, Sierra." He takes her hand and moves toward the pavilion with the bards and music.

As Rafferty sets off across the Commons with Sierra, he realizes how grave an error he made in acquiescing to her request.

The bard on drums lays out a strong dance beat while the bard on the mandolin strums one of the sickly tunes that passes for a love ballad. As the unfortunate lyrics spill forth, Rafferty recognizes them as a horrifying translation of an ancient elven battle march. While the original poem speaks of loving thy weapons, the song moans more like an orgy of rutting orcs. Mercifully, the song staggers to an abrupt ending – like a drunkard walking along the edge of a cliff. Thankfully, it cut short the hours of stanzas describing the thrusting of swords, the rhythmic rising and falling of shields, and the shifting of spear formations for better penetration.

The dwarves, for whom dancing is not about grace and lines but instead is about athletic prowess, hoot loudly in approval of the song as they swing their dance partners once more to finally land upon the pavilion’s floor. Of course the next stanza of the ill-advised poem celebrates all the dwarves that will be punctured with the elven arrows. The not-particularly-bright bard probably realized the lyrical meaning just before inciting the dwarves to demonstrate their physical prowess on him.

As Rafferty and Sierra arrive at the pavilion, a new mandolin playing bard comes out to replace the other. The drummer pounds out a strange counter beat as the lyrics call upon a poem which Rafferty doesn’t know. It speaks of a troubled love affair, and the cords actually stir some emotion.

“That’s the Squire’s brother, Zepher,” Sierra whispers in his ear as he takes her hand and places his other upon the small of her back.

“Am I a pawn in a Greater dance Sierra?” Rafferty asks, as he tries to keep a space between them during the dance.

She arches an eyebrow at him. "Oh, please. There are requirements for playing ‘hard to get.’" Her face becomes thoughtful and the gears of unpleasant thoughts begin to spin. “Although… if you take an interest in him, I know how you can get his attention." A bone chilling smile flirts across her lips. “That might be exceptionally entertaining to watch.”

Eve of Elembivios

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