Sibatti leads a forest ritual for Duiran to welcome the onset of autumn. Starring @Church @Aisling @Lin @Sekeres @Mahar
as well as a few onlookers.
Sib's ritual wear:
She is a resilient Azudim of Mhun heritage giving off an aura of inertia and rationed energy, her mannerisms plotted out and deliberate. Her dove grey skin is smooth and dewy, shifting into warmer ruddiness where the skin is naturally thinner and lending color to her otherwise muted appearance. Several tattoos adorn her visible flesh, her inner thighs bedecked with Teshen scripture, and parallel formations in pointillism decorating the inside of both forearms. A snakelike tail follows her at a great and trailing length, ending in a riot of colored quetzal feathers sweeping out in a dramatic fin shape. Small feet and fists end in wicked dark claws, and a black stain against her flesh travels inward to ankles and wrists before ghosting into ash. Slender and willowy, her height is supplemented by a pair of great charcoal horns, spiraling out from the crown of her head like an eland's and decorated with dangling fetishes and hallowed charms. Thick, loose waves of hair are woven together into a messy, unkempt side braid trailing down to her hip, dotted with mint green phosphorescent flowers. The blend of hues in her hair is reminiscent of skysilver, uniformly silver while being nuanced with traces of cool pastels. The same nuances are present in her exotic almond-shaped eyes, the color of a storm with slits of blue and green speckling them. They are made somewhat alien and hardened by the addition of black-inked tattoos, forming sweeping curlicues and jagged lines. A third eye, vertically slit, sits between her angled brows, pale and pupilless and suffused with otherworldly insight. (Duiran): You say, "Autumn is upon us, my siblings of the wood."
(casting a shadow over her face) : a female Yeleni skull with broken horns
(through her lower lip) : an aventurine labret
(hanging low near her breastbone) : a gruesome pendant
(flowy and unrestrictive) : a side slit, navel-plunging charcoal dress
(glowing softly amidst her braid) : a phosphorescent glow flower
(wrapped around her right hand) : a bandage with crushed cicada shells
(spilling over her shoulders) : a wild and messy crown of umbral flowers
(adding an additional foot of height) : horrific spiked high-heeled shoes
(perched on her braid) : a luminous firefly
(Duiran): You say, "I will be honoring his arrival in ritual in the Western Ithmia shortly, if anyone desires to partake in this time of renewal and burial."Deep in western Ithmia.
Only the occasional, fleeting star is visible past the dark clouds blanketing the sky above. You are now deep within the western Ithmia, surrounded by the oaks and elders which make up much of the body of the forest. Beneath the broad boughs of the trees you feel cosseted into the warm bosom of nature, for though the forest is a wild place untamed as yet by the hand of man, it feels as home to you here surrounded by the endless variegated green of the forest. Wilted flowers releasing their seeds, sprawling lupin blankets the area. An immense, three-eyed rojalli presides here, his musculature fitfully twitching. Knight Aisling is here. Lin the Rojalli is here. He wields a throwing axe in his left hand and a banded shield in his right.You see exits leading north, east, and south.
Mahar arrives from the north.
He is followed by a diminutive nightingale.(Duiran): You say, "If you wish to watch or partake, I am at the coordinates v945. All are welcome."Mahar comes to a sudden halt as he stops the group he was searching for.
Aisling keeps a few paces from Lin and you, keeping a careful watch of the surroundings.Apologetically, Lin the Rojalli says to Mahar, "Was following your mother across the continent."
Fisherman Darim smiles and says, "Hello."
Church arrives from the south.You have emoted: Sibatti breaks apart from the group to find a space in the forested area to prepare. She halves a coconut in two, forming a half-shell with its milk pooling in the bottom. In it go a few sprinkles of salt, a knotty-looking root, and nothing else for the time being. She busies herself with clearing out the remainder of the area, moving aside brush and bracken both.
Your pose is now set as:
Sibatti is hunched over the forest floor, preparing the grounds for ritual.
You have posed an oca root #102091 as:
Peeking out from inside a coconut cup is an oca root, slowly marinating in a pickled coconut brine.Lin stands not too far away, observing your ritual with respectful quiet, due deference. His face is dotted with deliberate-looking smears of blood, and the same coats his hands up to the wrists, as if he'd just gutted a sacrificial lamb with his own claws.(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Lin, "Will you bring me one of those shrieking birds, please."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Lin, "The annoying ones."Lin nods to you, a response to something unheard. "I won't be long," he says.
Lin glances briefly northwards and sprints off into the distance.
He is followed by an immense, three-eyed rojalli.
Lin enters from the south, riding an immense, three-eyed rojalli.Lin returns with the corpse of a shrieking bird gripped in his fist, upside down by the legs. With a nonchalance that seems quite unfitting of the ritual, he tosses it to you.
You have emoted: Finally, Sibatti dumps a pile of sand at the edge of the circle, closest to the gathered councilors. The bird lands next to her on the ground, which she ignores for now. She crouch-walks back into the center of the cleared ring and addresses everyone present.
Observing the proceedings with quiet interest from the edge of the clearing, Church lightly drums taloned fingertips against the opposite folded bicep.You say, "The long days of summer are behind us. We have built our gardens and enjoyed the energy of the sun on our skin. Prepare now for the harvest - reap what we sow."
Instructively, you say, "If you are partaking, now is the time to soothe your skin and make peace with the earth as she quiets down. Rub sand on your flesh and feel its coarseness, its cooling."
Lin gracefully hops off of an immense, three-eyed rojalli.You have emoted: Sibatti leads by example, taking a small fistful from the pile of rough sand and massaging it into both arms.
Lin lets himself down from an immense, three-eyed rojalli, taking a place on his knees near you. He relishes in the feeling of sand filtering through his fingers and long claws, before smearing it across his arms up to the elbows. It peppers his hands profusely, glued to the skin with not-quite-dried blood.
Mahar watches, then steps forward and lowers himself so he can collect a fistful of sand. As the sand slips through his fingers, he roughly rubs a sandy hand against his arms. With a quiet frown, he glances upwards, then returns to scrubbing his arms.
Aisling watches the two for a few moments, hesitant, before he reaches to remove his gloves and fold his sleeves up to his elbows, all as he approaches the forming group. He drops to his knees with a quiet huff, and reaches for a handful of sand, rubbing it over scarred, indigo skin.
Arching an eyebrow quizzically, Church nonetheless follows along in observance of the ritual -approaching to take a small handful of the sand and rub it briefly against each palm, the excess scattering over her forearms and garments.
Aisling removes some durable, black leather gloves.You have emoted: "Stomp your bones deep into the earthen floor," Sibatti urges in a quiet tone. "Listen to the moon as her cycle urges us into this new season. Appreciate the efforts of the summer's work, and prepare to dream in the dark soil of winter-earth just ahead." She takes several steps back and into the circle, opening up the clearing for her allies to join her.Lin just thought:
[Exultance and a light heart; he feels the bliss that only comes with a day devoted to holy matters.].Prophetically, you say, "The harvest has begun. He comes to feast."Though Darim doesn't participate, he does remain nearby, watching with his red eyes open and a curious tilt to his head.Church just thought:
"He?" Church's inner voice echoes, curious, apprehensive, undercut with agitation. "If this calls forth some westling daemon..."Lin observes you for just a moment, before following along as if improvising a dance. Springing to his feet, he places himself at a node of an as-of-yet undefined circle, ready, waiting.
Mahar rises back to his feet, taking a few steps back to where he stood before.
You have emoted: Lowering herself further, Sibatti presses her palms against the ground, digging clawed fingers into the soil and bringing up great clods veined by old roots. "In the autumn time, we cut back the dead brush within all of us. The plants have pulled their energy within, deep within the earth, and offered death in the parts that we see. But life is still here --- dormant, grounding. They know it is time for reflection and release."
Speaking to the group, you say, "Consider what within you needs to be cut back. What no longer serves you. Make kindling from your dead feelings - all that has died is feeding the new."Lin just thought:
"My love for them. My ties to them. My need for them. The debts I owe them - and those they owe -me-."You have emoted: "Earth, exhale as we dig with our nails. This is your medicine, our roots receive nourishment." Sibatti releases the clods of earth held within her fists, turning to the oca root softening in the cup of salted coconut milk.Lin just thought:
"I have to forgive them. I have to move on. They have left their marks and I am made as beautiful by them as I am twisted. My worship is as far from here as early morning stars."
You pick up an oca root.Lin observes in graven solemnity, the lightness stolen from his mood, replaced with some sense of utmost piety.
You have emoted: Sibatti breaks a piece of the tuber, revealing soft and pale yellow flesh beneath its mottled exterior. She pops the piece into her mouth, tucking it into a cheek, before passing it around.
You give an oca root to Lin.
Raodiana arrives from the south.Aisling just thought:
[Apprehension, and stiffness that starts in his thoughts and spreads through his muscles].You have emoted: Sibatti will continue speaking as the tuber is passed around. "All that has died is feeding new life to come. Reflect on what you can give death - what gift can you give him, to beget more life when springtime is near?"Aisling watches on, patting away the sand from his hands and arms, shoulders hunched in a vain attempt at making himself smaller as he stands with the circle.
You have emoted: Sibatti falls silent, watching carefully each face: Lin, Aisling, Mahar, Church. Her two grey eyes are lidded as if tired, while her thirdeye is aglow. She crouches in the dirt, poised, listening.
Lin rips a hunk from an oca root, tossing it into his mouth, passing it wordlessly to Mahar to take.
Lin gives an oca root to Mahar.Church absently traces fingertips across the shapes inked onto her arms, stirring lines into new angles as she watches the passing of the root about the circle.
Mahar takes an oca root, turning it once in his hands before he snaps a piece off the end. He goes to hand the broken piece to Aisling, before realising his mistake and passing the root instead. The piece that remains goes into his mouth.
Mahar gives an oca root to Aisling.In soothing tones, you say, "Quiet the airy mind. Calm the nerves."Aisling inclines his head towards Mahar, mouthing a quiet 'thank you' as he gingerly breaks a piece. He passes the remnants of the root to Church, sparing the woman a glance, before popping the piece he took into his mouth, swallowing quickly.
You have emoted: "Ground down," Sibatti urges, her voice barely audible.Aisling just thought:
[Discomfort, that trails from his mouth, down his throat, and into his stomach, a sharp, unpleasant feeling, like chewing on metal].
Traice enters from the north, riding a ferocious icewyrm.Eyes solemnly shut, Lin takes his time chewing on the oca, quite still save for the unceasing dancing of his tail. That autumnal air gusts about his mohawk, blowing his hair like flexing grass.
Sekeres enters from the south, riding a grey-furred direwolf.Carving a thin slice from the root with a nail, Church sniffs at the remaining vegetable for a moment before placing the slice carefully beneath her tongue. Turning to Darim, she offers the remainder towards him with a too-pleasant, expectant smile.
Traice shuffles over to a tree he can lean in, planting his staff in the ground lightly while he watches.Speaking ritualistically, you say, "You have sprouted life, now you feed the winter-death of the world as she begins to take her slumber. This waning moon is the fall of the cycle, the time for her to prepare for winter bleeding."You have emoted: Pulling a dagger from the folds of her charcoal dress, Sibatti mentions quietly, "Do what you are comfortable with. Bleed only if you can spare."
You start to wield a lavishly embellished dagger of curved bronze in your left hand.Sekeres slips quietly in to the hollow, past the jutting nature of an elder tree as she watches through some boughs upon the ceremony. Then dismounting a grey-furred direwolf, she strides closer with a brief glance of turquoise eyes towards the canopy.
This appears to be a portion of the ritual Lin understands very well. He extends a fist; he is ready. Employing a throwing axe, he carves a stout line into his palm, closing his fist around the wellspring of blood that ensues. Once it begins to dribble from his hand, he turns it over and lets it spill freely on Ithmian soil.Lin just thought:
"This used to hurt."Aisling reaches up to rub at his throat, lips forming a thin line. He watches you, then Lin, bleed, the fur about his neck and chest bristling - and instead of following along, he joins his hands, resting them on his lap, looking on.
You have emoted: Straightening up in her spine to display her bare arms, still coated with granules of sand, Sibatti brings her curved dagger to the outside of her forearm - away from any important veins. "For we all rest when we bleed, we stay warm, we nourish. We approach death as her midwife, hand in hand. In this, we heal our relationship, our struggles, with him. We meditate on why nature does not fear him - death is a sweet return into the wholeness from which new life emerges."Sekeres looses a wide-bladed hunting dagger from the sheath strapped to her left thigh, drawing it overhand as she stands aside Lin. The blade cuts in a crescent shape as she guides it over her palm, the crimson of her blood appearing before she wraps her fingers tight in a fist. Through her knuckles and the webs of her hands, her lifeblood drips to the earth.Repeating her earlier chant, you say, "The harvest has begun. He comes to feast."Church just thought:
"Perhaps not westling," muses, thoughts pooling around the notion in a vortex of crushing curiosity. "Perhaps not at all."Chin shifting slightly as she clicks her tongue, Church seems on the edge of words before she instead lifts a hand, shaking her head in a polite gesture of declination.
Mahar watches Lin, before deciding to copy his father. Pressing the obsidian tip of his dhurive into his hand, he leaves a heavy cut across the palm, unable to hide that this is clearly more painful than he expected. The blood starts trickling and he lets it drip, holding his hand palm-down.
You have emoted: Sibatti draws her dagger over her forearm, slitting a clean, long cut into flesh. Her blood begins to run, to drip.
Silver light from the moon above filters through the branches of the trees.Fist held aloft like a priest holding a censer, Lin gives profuse blood to the oncoming winter. His eyes venture first to Sekeres, then Mahar, and the sights bring utmost pride to his face.
Traice remained stationary where he initially took post, seeming content to simply watch the ritual as it continued.
You have emoted: Sibatti's head moves slowly, two sets of spiraling horns - one pair broken - casting spindly shadows from silver moonlight above. She addresses all present: "You have sprouted life, and you have fed death. Now we go down.... we slow down... we go deep........"
Hushed, you say, ".... we release."You have emoted: Slowly, taking great pains not too sink too quickly, Sibatti lowers herself back down to the earth, to press her palm against soil intermingling with her blood. "Release," she says again.
Lin eases himself back down onto his knees. His arm is a riot of blood and sand, difficult to tell where one substance begins and the other ends. He thrusts his hand into the earth, sighing quietly to himself in contentment.
Aisling leans forward, hands easing apart. He reaches, lowers, resting his palm against the ground, claws digging into the dirt. His fingers spread, splayed, upsetting the earth below.
Watching, you with wide and shifting emerald eyes, Sekeres folds her knees forward with calves bending as descends to the earth. Her palm brushes lightly over the foliage underneath her bloodied fingertips as her eyes flutter closed with a deep inhale.
Blood, soil, and sand combine as Mahar lowers himself into a crouch so he can press his hand to the ground. He rubs his hand across it for good measure, ensuring the outstretched hand is covered in dirt.Aisling just thought:
[A tightening in his gut, similar to nausea, but not quite].The ghost of a smirk playing across her lips, Church crouches carefully to touch her fingertips against the ground. A light wiggle of the digits, a flex of the forearm, some of the sand dusting her limb falls away to mingle with the earth below.
You have emoted: "The garden where the seeds sprout and life blossoms is also the one carrying death and decay," Sibatti says quietly from her post, spoken like sacred prayer. "Descend into the fertile darkness of the soil, and speak now what words you must to the earth - be it the dead brush you will cut away within yourself, the things you will release and let go, or simply tell her your excitement for her great period of renewal."
With a thoughtful click of her tongue, you say, "One does not need to speak aloud to speak to her. She listens to the heart."You have emoted: At this, Sibatti dips her head in her own silent prayer, nearly bringing her brow to the earth.
Lin remains right where he is, on his knees, much of his weight supported in a steely forearm, jutting into the earth like a thick tent pole. He simply stares down directly into the grass, opting too for the quiet treatment.
Aisling's gaze shifts, to focus on the ground, on the earth. His throat bobs in a swallow, lips parting, then closing once more. He chooses to breathe in deep, instead, shoulders rising, then falling, as he stares on.You think:
We too can be dormant and ugly, and emerge beautiful on the other side. I walk hand in hand with you, and learn from your silence, and listen to the death of the world.Mahar continues to run his fingers through the dirt, as if patting the earth. This, and his thoughts, consume his attention, bringing a distant look to his eyes. He remains like this for a few moments, before a nearly inaudible whisper of, "I am looking forward to your renewal," leaves his lips. He falls silent again, still patting the dirt.Church just thought:
"The autumn is long, spilt free of nameless bonds, yet we remember the revelations of a spring to come - be patient, my friend."Releasing a held breath, Church absently lifts the hand not connected to the ground to alight upon a painted vernal coyote mask, eyes drifting shut for but the smallest moment.
Traice shifts to let his staff lean back against his shoulder, one arm moving to loosely drape over it in its new position. He continued to watch on in silence.
Sekeres's head dips with a fall of tangled dreadlocks, her face angled to the earth. With another inhale, her lips fall as she murmurs under her breath.Sekeres just thought:
"I remember you, your renewal will be mine too. And I shall grieve no more."
Aisling just thought:
[The sound of metal against metal, the feeling of a lack of air, and an odd ache to his gums, all are things that go through his head].
Lin just thought:
[He's envisioning a strange and foreign war.].You have emoted: Several minutes pass as each participant makes their own silent prayer to the earth. Patient and unhurried, Sibatti begins to rise from her prostrated position, one leg and then the next stepping up until she is at her full height once more. She folds her hands in front of the deep slit of her gown's neck, waiting quietly for everyone to finish.Lin just thought:
"One day the snow's going to fall, and the earth beneath won't have a flag to own it."Lin signals he is done by shaking out his hair, tossing the rioutous mane back and forth. A crack of various key vertebrae in his neck, a popping of his knuckles, and he is through with it, pushing his way to his feet unhurriedly.
Aisling rises, his own movement rather abrupt, up to his feet, patting the dirt away from his palm on his trousers. He takes his time, next, to unfold his sleeves, adjust them around his wrists, and reach for his gloves in his pocket once more, practiced ease in every motion.
You wrap your tail around a coconut shell cup and retrieve it.Sekeres lifts her head to the sound of the dawn-birds and the finch's wing as she smiles towards the sun.
The sun has awakened from its long slumber. It is dawn.
Aisling puts on some durable, black leather gloves.As movement begins to appear around him, Mahar looks up from the ground and follows suit, rising to his feet. He unconsciously wipes his hand against his leg, leaving a smearing of blood and dirt.
As the other participants begin to rise, so does Church, returning to her previous posture and position.
You have emoted: Sibatti nods once before smiling, head tilted upward to view the early sun's rays piercing the canopy. "Good morning," she says out loud, breaking the somberness of the ritual with a crack of humor.
Raodiana's eyes sparkle with amusement.
Lin chuckles aloud, clapping his hands and forearms together, erupting in his own personal cloud of fine sand. He's well in need of a bath. "This is going to be a fine autumn," he declares, "Cool, golden, and pure."Aisling bows his head in a brief sign of respect, "Good morning." He mutters, a tad unsure, and steps back, out of the circle.
Sekeres plants one knee, only to rise up and lift her arms towards the dappled sun and canopy. Silt drifts down along her calves as she takes a few experimental steps to stretch, she casts a smile over to those still getting to their feet. "The beauty of the changing leaves shall be magnificent," she states with a happy, trilling laugh.
Aisling glances skyward for a moment, then back at you, attention lingering there. He says nothing, for now.
Mahar places his hand against his dhurive, before releasing it almost as quickly as he grasped it. Adjusting the dhurive so it rests precariously in one hand again, he drops his other to the side, squeezing it into a fist then relaxing.
You have emoted: Sibatti dips her chin in a brief nod to the gathered, excusing herself. "See you all in the woods, my siblings."