Blairjay

Ritual for Nocht

Mar 19th, 2020
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  1. Wind whips around the top of the tower, adding a slight stinging edge to the cool air as morning's light casts long shadows within the Glomdoring Forest below.
  2.  
  3. You tilt your head curiously.
  4.  
  5. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  6.  
  7. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  8.  
  9. [People arrive!]
  10.  
  11. The shadows begin to lengthen as the sun dips ever closer to the world's edge - a cold, wet wind whipping around the tower.
  12.  
  13. [Pre-ritual chatting]
  14.  
  15. Standing upon Night's Needle.
  16. The shadowy outline of a twisted forest casts a dark gloom here. Large, heavy raindrops splash upon the ground. Crafted from red chitin, and perched on the top of the Black Tower in a manner eerily reminiscent of the crown of the King of Redcaps, this structure clearly dates from a different time to the building beneath. No walls enclose the space, which is unadorned except for a engraved circle in its centre divided into segments. Around its edge, eight pincers rise from the points where the chords which delineate the segments meet the circumference, their tips raised in wicked salute. A circular brass astrolabe stands here atop a pedestal, inscribed with a ring of degree markings.
  17.  
  18. Rancoura glides to the edge of the Needle with silent steps, her gaze sweeping the forest far below for a long while before she returns her attention to the gathering, hands clasped and shadow-feathered wings folded as she adopts a statuesque poise.
  19.  
  20. Gurashi finds an unassuming spot off to the side near Xenthos, still in clear view of you. He looks over the edge of the needle, tightening his grip on his cloak as the wind kicks up.
  21.  
  22. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  23.  
  24. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  25.  
  26. Clutching a blank canvas in their hands, you ask, "Could I have everyone's attention?"
  27.  
  28. As the sun passes below the horizon's edge, Mother Night unveils her terrible, shadowy beauty, spreading darkness across the land.
  29.  
  30. A tenebrous leopard turns her attention towards you as her ears perk up in interest.
  31.  
  32. Aandeg tilts his head and listens intently to you.
  33.  
  34. Gurashi glances at you appraisingly, antennae twitching in your direction as he turns his attention to you.
  35.  
  36. Trixaya tilts her head and listens intently to you.
  37.  
  38. Placing the canvas on the center of the Needle's space, you say, "Greetings, Glomdoring. I shall be performing a ritual in Lord Nocht's honor, not only revering Him, but the Wyrd itself."
  39.  
  40. The terrifying beauty of Mother Night lingers above, embracing the Black Tower in her shadows.
  41.  
  42. Looking to each of the gathered, you say, "I would ask you for silence during this time."
  43.  
  44. You have emoted: Esei makes a counter-clockwise circle, arraying paints of various hues. "Sacrifice, Beauty, Refinement, Twilight, Silence, Shadows, Amalgam," they list. "Each represented by a point on the star of this piece." They step into the center of the circle, closing their eyes and tasting the cold winter air before continuing, eyes still shut.
  45.  
  46. Your shroud trembles as you feel energy seep from it into you, a gift of power to work your magic.
  47.  
  48. A chilling breeze caresses your face as Mother Night's shadows swirl about the forest below the Black Tower.
  49.  
  50. You have emoted: Esei kneels on the ground before the canvas, which has already been painted in dark hues for a base. They place a pouch by their side, their eyes finally fluttering open, just the faintest smile playing across their face before their eyes unfocus to gaze on something beyond sight.
  51.  
  52. You have emoted: Esei's head lowers to gaze at the canvas, expression openly pensive as they contemplate it.
  53.  
  54. You think to yourself: I shall begin with Sacrifice. You must give in order to receive. I would give anything for Him, for the Glomdoring, the Wyrd.
  55.  
  56. You have emoted: Esei pulls a paintbrush from the pouch beside them, dipping into the red paint and making quick, sharp strokes. Green is dabbled onto the canvas, followed by purple to shape impressionistic, overflowing foliage and roses. Slowly, their eyes become utterly focused on the painting in front of them, as though the world around them has bled away. Their movements become almost trance-like, languid and easy.
  57.  
  58. You think to yourself: Next will be the Beauty, that both of Him and of Mother Night - for Mother Night is the most beautiful of all Great Spirits.
  59.  
  60. You have emoted: Esei cleans the brush in measured, practiced movements, then moves for the black paint, which is evidently gritty and sticky as it is applied to the painting. Reds, blues, and purples are smeared across green with delicate fingers, giving the appearance of gems and blood against bushes and leaves. With a critical, distant eye, the elfen draws a handful of blackthorn petals from the pouch.
  61.  
  62. You have emoted: Hunched over the painting, Esei carefully melds the petals into the base of the point with white paint.
  63. You have recovered balance on all limbs.
  64.  
  65. You think to yourself: I turn next to Refinement& no other shroud can be contemplated without it. Shed your weaknesses in order to grow.
  66.  
  67. You have emoted: Esei straightens, observing the painting, nodding firmly as they move on, shaping the next point with their brush. It begins as a simple black triangle, blended carefully in one direction. A handful of thorns appear from the pouch. Esei observes the triangle carefully, beginning to place the thorns on the canvas, then punching through and even ripping the cloth. They cast a careful eye over the piece, as though assuring its quality, before moving on.
  68.  
  69. You think to yourself: The Twilight, my favored Shroud, that of teaching, manipulation, beginnings. A time for pivotal change.
  70.  
  71. You have emoted: Esei begins the next point with swirling purple, dark and pale, paint onto the canvas, dotting on other hues of dusk - soft pink and sharp orange, dabs of red blood - which all blend into a beautiful sunset scene. Black and silver join them in bands and soft, blotting streaks.
  72.  
  73. You have emoted: Esei exhales softly, turning the canvas to move on to the next point. They pause in contemplation, lids lowering so their dark lashes brush across their cheeks briefly as they observe the half-finished piece.
  74.  
  75. You think to yourself: Silence. His most known Shroud, if at least by name. Knowing what to say and when to say it. To know oneself; not fully, not labelling, as that stops the chance for change...
  76.  
  77. You have emoted: Esei's pace slows, gentle strokes crafting a harsh, utilitarian shape that is juxtapositioned by the almost gentle, demure expression of their face. Thin, dark lines are brushed to mar the pale gray, rippling like a visualization of an echo.
  78.  
  79. You think to yourself: Shadows... infinite strength lies within them if one is part of them, a cloak in which I - we - are covered. Do not doubt yourself.
  80.  
  81. You have emoted: Esei moves on to the next piece, eyes slightly bleary with the intensity of their effort and focus. Dark paint spreads across the canvas to form the sixth point, blotting yet neat. They pluck an orb of shadow essence from the pouch next to them, whispering a few, near inaudible words to it, before crushing it into the canvas. The shadowy orb turns into mist, bonding with the paint. Shadowy tendrils radiate outward, spilling out from the edges, writhing and barely contained.
  82.  
  83. You think to yourself: Finally, the Amalgam... the final Shroud. The whole, yet a part of the Glomdoring. A complex subject... but I think I am understanding it now.
  84.  
  85. You have emoted: Esei inhales and exhales slowly, refocusing before moving on to the final point. It begins as a soft mauve at the center of the piece before darkening to gray and eventually pitch black towards the tip. A swirl of blue is added to the canvas, blended with paler shades of the same hue to make the evidence of painted flame clear.
  86.  
  87. Gurashi cants his head, otherwise motionless, silent as he watches you paint with a transfixed expression.
  88.  
  89. You have emoted: Esei pauses, adding the final touches to the center of the piece to form a whirlpool, each point extending inward to meet in a gentle swirl.
  90.  
  91. You have emoted: Squaring their shoulders, Esei grabs the still-wet painting, rising to their feet. Their eyes refocus, though no less intense as they gaze toward the gathering.
  92.  
  93. You begin to wield a painting of Seven-Fold in your left hand.
  94.  
  95. Gurashi glances up briefly.
  96.  
  97. Softly, you whisper, "I offer this to the Glomdoring and the Wyrd, as a piece dedicated to them. Not merely the Forest itself, but the people living in it."
  98.  
  99. Softly, you whisper, "I offer this to Lord Nocht, as it is a representation of His Shrouds as best as I know them, in the Beauty I perceive them."
  100.  
  101. Gurashi's gaze softens as he smiles at you.
  102.  
  103. Softly, you whisper, "Are there any here who would take this offering?"
  104.  
  105. Speaking at last from the edge of the Needle, her words echoing lightly within the ensconcing darkness, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "A gift best displayed to the commune as a whole, perhaps. Let it be exhibited for all to see."
  106.  
  107. You have emoted: Esei gives Rancoura a slow, understanding nod, eyes focusing on her. "Where would you imagine it to be, Lady Haruspex?"
  108.  
  109. Gurashi glances aside, towards the forest below, chittering softly.
  110.  
  111. Her gaze trained upon the painting with its mesmerising depiction of the Star, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers to you, "Within the Black Tower, or perhaps your newly-acquired shop, Devout. Alternatively, the hollow within the Ravenwood."
  112.  
  113. In smooth, silken tones, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers to you, "Perhaps our newly-constructed stage. The choices number many."
  114.  
  115. You nod your head at Rancoura.
  116.  
  117. Gurashi looks suddenly to you, face lighting up as he smiles brightly at you.
  118.  
  119. The melodious voice of Gurashi resonates in your mind, "**buzzing, gentle and encouraging over the aethers** You -did- it."
  120.  
  121. Rancoura tells you, "Now would be an excellent time to share the wisdoms of our Lord with our Wyrdenkin, as well."
  122.  
  123. With a quiet growl, Tau Shee-Slaugh, Enur Il'dal murmurs, "I like the idea of the shop, myself."
  124.  
  125. Tau nods her head sagely.
  126.  
  127. The ghost of a smile passes fleetingly across your lips.
  128.  
  129. Vespula Merilynn, One of Many says, "An aesthetic reminder of our Wyrden spirituality amidst the bustle of mundane commerce?"
  130.  
  131. You tell Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel, "I would have no qualms if you or Lady Tau wished to start, Lady Haruspex. That was quite... a rush, as it were. I am still getting my bearings and am unsure where to start."
  132.  
  133. (Order): Rancoura says, "Now would be an excellent time to share the wisdoms of our Lord with our Wyrdenkin. We three may take turns to speak on a Shroud, if you both are willing?"
  134.  
  135. Gurashi chirps happily at Merilynn.
  136.  
  137. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  138.  
  139. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  140.  
  141. (Order): You say, "I would be."
  142.  
  143. With a tilt of her head towards them, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers to you, "A decision which need not be made this moment."
  144.  
  145. You nod your head slowly in understanding.
  146.  
  147. (Order): Tau says, "Yes."
  148.  
  149. Gurashi closes his eyes and inhales deeply, absorbing the scent of his surroundings.
  150.  
  151. Cheerfully, Gurashi An'Ryshe, the Crescendo says, "Many thank yous, Jaspet. Weather has been perfect for this."
  152.  
  153. The terrifying beauty of Mother Night lingers above, embracing the Black Tower in her shadows.
  154.  
  155. As her gaze sweeps to each visage in turn now, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "For any who wish to linger to listen, the Lord's Childryn shall speak of His wisdoms. They are vast and they are many, worthy of a lifetime of study -- but we shall summarize the core of each Shroud."
  156.  
  157. Looking up, Gurashi An'Ryshe, the Crescendo says, "It is a beautiful night."
  158.  
  159. Jaspet says, "A fitting night."
  160.  
  161. Gurashi nods his head at Jaspet.
  162.  
  163. Gurashi tilts his head and listens intently to Rancoura.
  164.  
  165. Aandeg leaves to the down.
  166.  
  167. Ilistala, an enormous leopard tilts her head and listens intently to Rancoura.
  168.  
  169. A tenebrous leopard tilts her head curiously at Rancoura.
  170.  
  171. Rancoura drifts nearer to the gathering now, pausing at your side and contemplating the painting within your hands for a long moment.
  172.  
  173. Closing her eyes and drawing a long breath once shadows have fallen once more over the Needle, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "The first of the Silent One's Shrouds speaks to the refinement of the self. Weakness is a hindrance, and we of the Wyrd have no need of it within ourselves. Weakness itself does hold value, however..."
  174.  
  175. With a cool undertone to her quiet words, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "For we may find it within our enemies, and therefore exploit it. Find first that which hinders you, however, and shed it, for the Wyrd necessitates only the strong."
  176.  
  177. Rancoura nods delicately to Tau.
  178.  
  179. With a quiet growl, Tau Shee-Slaugh, Enur Il'dal says, "Sacrifice is as much an important Shroud of the Silent Lord as any other, for there is nothing of value to be gained without it. It is present in every action we make, and it goes to core, even of what the Wyrd stands for. Truly, Nothing Matters But Glomdoring, and to truly live by this creed is to Sacrifice everything of your being for the growth of it's foliage."
  180.  
  181. Rancoura slowly nods, eyes closing once more as the words resound.
  182.  
  183. With a quiet growl, Tau Shee-Slaugh, Enur Il'dal says, "The enemies of the Wyrd will cling to what they have - and I suspect this will be quite relevant soon - and they will find that in the end they have nothing, for they are unwilling to give up a single sovereign to save the remainder."
  184.  
  185. Tau nods her head sagely at you.
  186.  
  187. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  188.  
  189. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  190.  
  191. Gurashi nods his head sagely.
  192.  
  193. Gurashi listens carefully, gaze occasionally drifting about the top of the needle to look at those gathered.
  194.  
  195. You say, "The Twilight is the harbinger of Mother Night, His daughter. It heralds a time of beginnings and change. Those who are young are such a beginning and should be trained to spread the glory of the Wyrd and of Night ever onward."
  196.  
  197. The shadows slowly start to dissipate.
  198. Dipping her hand into a shadow cauldron, Evette pulls out a long shadow and releases it into the air. The room darkens with the churning darkness.
  199.  
  200. You say, "Twilight is also the time when day and night mingle, creating an unclear picture - this teaches us of manipulation. Make your enemies see what is not there, make them believe what is not true. Those who do not embrace the truth of Mother Night deserve no truth at all, merely tools to fulfill your goals."
  201.  
  202. You nod your head at Rancoura.
  203.  
  204. Rancoura glances to Evette in gratitude with an incline of her head.
  205.  
  206. With a melodic cadence, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "And though the Shadows wax and wane, they never truly disperse; they adapt to the light which would seek to vanquish them, ever lingering out of reach. All is destined to be consumed in shadow."
  207.  
  208. In smooth, silken tones, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "Shadows are inscrutable, unknown to those who do not accept them, impenetrable to those whose eyes have become too accustomed to a world bathed in light. Those who do embrace Mother Night as She embraces them, however, shall be guarded within Her garb; those who shun the shadows shall be smote and smothered, for they are unwise, weak, and unworthy of the darkness' sublime gifts."
  209.  
  210. Whispers rise up from the dark forest below at the proclamation, murmurs of agreement that linger briefly in the air.
  211.  
  212. Aleyah's mouth turns up as her face breaks into a smile.
  213.  
  214. Rancoura nods to Tau once more, her hands spreading to her sides in welcome to the susurration.
  215.  
  216. With a quiet growl, Tau Shee-Slaugh, Enur Il'dal murmurs, "Thank you. On Silence, I speak only a little. It is not to be stagnant, to say nothing. It is a practiced art. To say only what is required in the moment. To be pointed, articulate, purposeful, and meaningful in one's speech. This is the true essence of Silence, for in any other endeavor, to be otherwise out of turn is to be wasteful, to be unnecessary, and is weakness."
  217.  
  218. You have emoted: Esei inhales softly, rubbing a thumb across the still-held painting's rim.
  219.  
  220. Gurashi glances askance, towards the forest below, antennae raised in interest.
  221.  
  222. With a quiet growl, Tau Shee-Slaugh, Enur Il'dal says, "Silence, as a Shroud, thus, is a teaching, to be a murmur among the trees, and fear in the hearts of one's enemies, without a word."
  223.  
  224. Tau nods her head at you.
  225.  
  226. You have emoted: Esei gazes at the painting in their hands, then begin to speak. "Beauty is found in all natural things, including the Serenwilde. The cities can only pale in comparison, with their vain attempts to achieve something they never can." They look back up, staring out over the dark forest below. "There is possibility for true beauty in the Serenwilde, aye, but without the inherent change and power in the Wyrd...?"
  227.  
  228. Shaking their head, you say, "They shall always be lost and ugly in comparison. It is in our duty to see that the Wyrd and its beauty is spread outward."
  229.  
  230. Gurashi laces both sets of hands together as he looks away from the forest and back to those speaking, left antennae sagging.
  231.  
  232. You nod your head at Rancoura.
  233.  
  234. Rancoura draws her hands in with a slow, deliberate movement, a gathering gesture that ends with hands lain across one another and pressed to the centre of her chest. She gazes first to you, then to Tau, then to you, and your neighbour, and their neighbour. "These Shrouds, these wisdoms, are assembled within the Amalgam. The whole of many fragments, stronger than a single piece," she breathes.
  235.  
  236. A flare of chilled winterfire in her eyes accentuating her speech, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "We may be proud, Wyrdenkin -- not in ourselves, but in what we accomplish together. The glory which our tah'vrai to the Wyrd has facilitated. We are but individuals within the great commune that is this, but our efforts joined strengthen not only this forest, but the community which stands behind it."
  237.  
  238. The sounds of scurrying animals fill your ears, emanating from the Wyrden foliage below.
  239.  
  240. Gurashi's gaze softens as he smiles at Rancoura.
  241.  
  242. You think to yourself: Pride, if left unchecked, may turn to arrogance...
  243.  
  244. Her head lowering, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "As individuals, we are naught. As a commune, we are unparalleled. For we act not only with the wisdoms of the Hallowed Ones to bolster us, but the wisdoms of our Divine, and of the many ages, triumphs, and challenges this Heart of Darkness has experienced throughout its many long years."
  245.  
  246. Arms spreading once more as shadows spiral about her slender form, Lady Haruspex Rancoura So'hthae, Ole'noc Caihel whispers, "Remember the Amalgam, Wyrdenkin. Remember the strength of the whole we create. Have no mercy, and revel in this forest's beautiful glory. Nothing, truly, ever matters, save the Glomdoring."
  247.  
  248. You murmur, "Glory be to Glomdoring."
  249.  
  250. Faintly buzzing, Gurashi An'Ryshe, the Crescendo whispers, "Glory be to the Glomdoring."
  251.  
  252. With a quiet growl, Tau Shee-Slaugh, Enur Il'dal says, "Glory be to Glomdoring."
  253.  
  254. Rancoura once again presses a palm to her breast, wings fanning outward as she bows her head low in gratitude.
  255.  
  256. Vespula Merilynn, One of Many says, "Glory be to Glomdoring!"
  257.  
  258. The swirling shadows heal your body and mind.
  259.  
  260. Rancoura tells you, "I shall leave the farewell and words of gratitude to you, Master Esei."
  261.  
  262. Evette closes her eyes and inhales deeply, absorbing the scent of her surroundings.
  263.  
  264. Spirit Warden Xenthos An'Ryshe, the Ebon Strategist says, "Glory be to the Glomdoring."
  265.  
  266. Gurashi smiles a little, wringing his hands together as he looks about again at those gathered, mandibles clicking.
  267.  
  268. You say, "Thank you, Wyrdenkin, for attending this ritual and witnessing it. I extend my gratitude to both Lady Rancoura and Lady Tau, especially, for their additions. Should you have any questions, I will be available."
  269.  
  270. Jaspet says to you, "Nicely done, thank you for the invitation."
  271.  
  272. Gurashi's smile brightens as he looks to you. "Thank you so much for having us!"
  273.  
  274. Nocht, the Silent has bestowed His divine truefavour upon you. It will last for 3 months.
  275.  
  276. Tau pats herself on the back.
  277.  
  278. The swirling shadows heal your body and mind.
  279.  
  280. Tau coughs softly.
  281.  
  282. Tau pats you in a friendly manner.
  283.  
  284. Tau wrinkles her nose and sniffs.
  285.  
  286. [Stuff and stuff]
  287.  
  288. You think to yourself: And a special thanks to You, my Lord, for watching.
  289.  
  290. A voice intrudes upon your thoughts in response, faint and strained, "You will weave even more powerful rituals in the future, little one. I will be watching."
  291.  
  292. The pointed tips of your ears twitch to hear an errant sound.
  293.  
  294. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  295.  
  296. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
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