The Blood Dawn
Let even the Brothers be reconciled... A conjunction of the Twin Suns Thuruk 1 and 2, nearly every sapient planet in the system witnesses at some point or another. For Thunthen it occurs in increments of one hundred Earth-Years. For Thanged it is once every fifty to sixty years. The dragon-men view it as a omen of conquest while the warrior-folk honor their departed dead. The Kikua and Fendahu are very private when it comes to their customs, and the lost Bangukians may have celebrated it differently. The sky turns deep red for a full day, and the occasion is marked by much festivity, ceremony, feasting, and meditation. Thangiens familiar with the story behind the Dread Winter believe the Celestial Brothers Thangor and Thuruk set aside their ancient grudge and come together for this rare occasion.
The sanguine sunlight seems to permeate every crevice, abating only once the Twin Suns set. To an Oldworlder or anyone too young to have seen a previous Blood Dawn, the atmosphere comes off as almost nightmarish. Even under shelter, residual sunlight seeps in giving the interior a subtle reddish hue. Unlike a solar eclipse, the conjunction does not have a harmful effect on the eyes thanks in part to Thanged's atmosphere and Thunthen's distance from either sun.
“Shouldn’t we be wearing special sunglasses for this?” Kento asked worriedly. “Nah, we’ll be fine. Thanged’s atmosphere shields it from harmful radiation. They’ve been doing this ceremony for hundreds of years,” Rowen insisted.
Events of Cataclysm WarNot long after the Ronin's victory at the Tower of Fire, it is announced that a Blood Dawn is due to take place and all ten Ronin, close friends and family, allies, and even civilian associates are invited to Bainshaebo. The pre-dawn hours are dedicated to preparations, allowing guests ample time to arrive. The festival proper is preceded by the Dawn-Walk where each member family of the Council of Houses enters the city in order, starting with House Taurit then the House of St'lur. Following tradition laid down by Queen Alahaedra millennia prior, King Torke ritualistically slits his wrists and sheds significant amounts of blood moments before the first rays of light appear.
“I wonder what’s with all the tents in the distance. Look at them! There must be thousands of them!” Roxi remarked as she glanced over her shoulder at the outer edge of the Pavilion. “They’re communion tents. A person goes in, lights some candles and utters a prayer and tries to call forth the spirit of a departed loved one,” Rowen explained.With the festival officially underway, feasting and entertainment break out city-wide. llaudauns are a frequent sight and food is laid out for the living and dead. The conjunction does have a very real power by which a departed soul can be summoned or visit someone on their own power, but even with the appropriate rite, not everyone sees something nor does the requested spirit appear, sometimes a different spirit manifests instead.
“Gage Wendell, hear my plea and pierce the veil. Traverse the gap through the Vault of Stars…” Dais recited. He opened his eye when he heard the whoosh of air as the candles flickered. He saw a dark-haired man standing infront of the altar. Na Na Kulk, Rolinilo tilted his head up to stare at dais. “WHOA! Uh...totally not who I was expecting!” Dais exclaimed and jumped to his feet.
- Mia attempts to call her grandfather but does not see him. However little Ryu apparently responded to a presence.
- Ryo attempts to call Runa, who perished at the climax of Original Animated Series Gaiden. Ryu is able to see her, playing with her. She remains unseen, apparently happy that Ryo's made a life outside of combat.
- Dais attempts to call his biological father Gage Wendell only to summon Na Na Kulk, Rolinilo instead. Instead of being contrite or imparting wisdom, Rolinilo taunts Dais in German that "my father hunts your wife!" before vanishing.
- Danae attempts to call Ki Ki Crol Rona, who perished fighting the Menagerie. Roland Ekrich appears instead, planning to steal the lifeforce of Danae's unborn son for himself. The conjunction renders Kayura powerless to stop him and they are forced to flee. Only timely intervention from Ander at the site of the Silver Archangel puts an end to Roland's plot.
- Tanya tries to call Mardrena Lockehart, her predecessor as Lady Ronin, but has no success after several hours of praying. Mardrena eventually appears, implying that there was "quite a line to get in". She attempts to warn Tanya about the true nature of the Four Queens but is promptly banished by Roth before she can divulge too much.
- Shainie calls the spirit of her brother who passed away from terminal illness years ago. Much to her shock, he appears and comforts her. This changes her entire outlook on life and she decides to marry Azuro and settle on Thanged to start a family of her own.
- Cye doesn't go into a tent to pray but unexpectedly runs into Suzunagi in her child form. She warns him about Phitdaitiarona but has to duck out before he can ask any further questions.
- Ander is able to manifest in his shrine and spend some time with Danae. He thanks Kayura for her aid and promises to reunite with his daughter at the End Tide before vanishing as the suns set.
“I thought it was a novelty, like Ouija boards or Bloody Mary! Turn around three times and say the name! But he was there! I saw him! He was really there!” Shainie burst out from a tent weeping profusely, her cheeks flushed red and streaked with tears. She almost seemed to be hyperventilating as she waved her hands close to her neck. “I could see him! I saw him! Not how he went, but how he used to be!!” Shainie looked completely distraught, her face contorted with grief. Azuro walked over to her and tried to comfort her, apparently at a loss at what to say. At first, Shannon thought he might’ve said something rude to her, but Azuro seemed genuinely concerned and pulled Shainie close, patting her on the back reassuringly and glancing around uneasily. Shannon frowned, not sure what to make of the scene.
Tar Uhnin of Bak's crew witnessed a Blood Dawn on the homeworld not long after his hatching. Yainae witnessed one occur some time before Ander's arrival. Disruptions caused by solar particles are not recorded as being specific to a Blood Dawn, but it seems to have a deleterious effect on lesser psychokinetics.
“Normally a simple chant would banish that spirit, but I can’t even call the Ronin for aid. Tar once spoke of how ‘low-level radiation’ can interfere with the abilities of mystics, or ‘psychokinetics’ as he calls us. Something about the solar conjunction allows this spirit to not only drain power from the Staff but suppress my own powers."-Lady Kayura
“It’s called the Blood Dawn. It’s a rare conjunction of the Twin Suns that happens roughly once every fifty-to-sixty years. The Thangiens believe the solar overlap opens the door to the Afterworld and allows them to commune with deceased loved ones. Think of it as All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Day of the Dead all rolled into one,” Rowen explained as he and Roxi disembarked behind them. Sure enough the city populace appeared all decked out in colorful pageantry and smaller bands and troupes performed with all the thunder and flair of a halftime show.
“Everyone who’s anyone’s been invited,” Shannon added and looked over her shoulder. “And I do mean anyone…” she saw her cousin Shainie babbling as she accompanied Danae’s older brother Azuro as a special guest of his. She introduced herself to the other members of the House of St’lur and shook old Yainae’s hand excitedly. Yainae nodded patiently and smiled in reply. Shainie clung to Azuro like a date, but Azuro himself seemed to merely treat her company as a courtesy. Cale made a big show of being Jackie’s beau. “I’m gonna have the weirdest set of in-laws at this rate…”
Little Ryu gazed at the red sunrise in awe, no longer crying angrily or fussing sullenly. The light of the Twin Suns reached far and wide, permeating every corner and crevice, every shadow and shelter. It looked like a scene straight out of a nightmare, like the end of the world, and Ryo felt a dread not felt in many years. Mia squeezed his arm and leaned close. Tanya dared to open her eyes when she felt the warmth of light on her face and reached out blindly at her side. Kento took her hand and gently clasped it. The overlapping coronas had the effect of giving everything a reddish tint, and for all the horror expressed by some in the crowd, most Thangiens-who celebrated death as much as life- watched the spectacular sunrise in awe.
“As the Blood Dawn sets, let us return home with the hope that we will see our departed dead yet again in the coming of the End Tide; the Day of Doom when Witheren throws open the doors to the Afterworld and calls forth honored souls at the turning of the tide!” King Torke bellowed as he, Bak, Almethea, and the Silver-Haired Maiden stood on the sage facing the sunset. Instead of spilling blood again, the four bowed towards the sun. Hundreds of Pegasi stood on the road leading to the main gate and uttered echoing moans like a massive choir of monks as the last vestiges of reddish light faded below the horizon.