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Day of Roses

Blooming of the Hills of Lazarus

Written by RiverFang

The flowers of the Hills of Lazarus are our charge and our salvation, but none more so than the beauty of the White Lazarus.
Sera Whiteclaw, Flowered Hill Coven Leader
  The sun rises on an open hill, one of the only hilltops that can be seen through the canopy of the Fairy King's Wood. White flowers begin to flutter open, their petals those of soft roses. A closer inspection of the sea of white shows delicate white roses, their stems adorned with dark stripes and black thorns. Hands laden with shears reach out to cut the stem close to the ground, careful to avoid the prick of the thorns. This marks the Witches' Day of Roses. This marks a celebration of careful and unwavering hands.   In the early days of Summer's Morning, the sun rises on the Hills of Lazarus, the home to a part of the Coven of the Yellow Rose. The small homes of Serebi ring with the sounds of preparations for this multiple-day festival. As the morning dawns on the Day of Unfurling Buds, the Witches of the Flowered Hill Coven flock to the fields of the Hills of Lazarus, ready to gather the materials of their trade.


The need to gather the white petals of the White Lazarus has existed nearly as long as the Coven of the Yellow Rose. These Witches made it their calling to use the land of Isekai for good, often finding the best properties of the most dangerous things. The White Lazarus is spoken of in myths, known for its power to decimate an entire warring party of Orcs or Giants with the single brush of its blackened thorns. The Witches of the Coven of the Yellow Rose saw the potential in the flower and the hills of the Fairy King's Wood that were graced with the beauty of the White Lazarus and so many other deadly flora. Their beliefs brought about the creation of the Flowered Hill Coven and the establishment of their home Serebi. It also brought about the method by which the deadly flower could be utilized.  
The witches need the White Lazarus to find meaning as much as the flower needs the witches to find its true potential. One without the other can be seen as beautiful and harmless or evil and deadly. Neither is really the truth, but our perceptions tend to trick us to believe one or the other.
— Unknown
  While the method of Flower Distilling would come decades after the coven was established, the blooming of the White Lazarus became a special time for the Witches, even before the plant could be fully utilized. The blooming of the flower marked a trend towards warmer weather and the sweet rains that would make the Hills of Lazarus flourish. This event became a well-celebrated festival, although it often tended towards the work of gathering the flowers themselves.


Hundreds of what look like white roses dot the Hills of Lazarus, slowly unfurling their petals. Only during the first week of Summer's Morning do these flowers bloom, and only then can their distinct power be harnessed. The task of harvesting these flowers is dangerous, a slip of the hand meaning death or at the least immense pain. But the need for these flowers outweighs the consequences, or so believes the Flowered Hill Coven.   The White Lazarus, while beautiful and seemingly harmless, is one of the most dangerous plants that makes it home on the Hills of Lazarus. Its stem and petals, if not handled correctly, are more deadly than the nightshade and hemlock that also grow on the hills. When worked correctly by the skilled Witches of the Flowered Hill Coven, the White Lazarus Petals become an important ingredient in powerful healing potions.   The week of blooming for these flowers is known as the Day of Roses, although three days during the week are celebrated. The celebrated days mark the potency of the flower's toxic properties, causing many of the Witches to stray away from the fields at the peak of their potency. Even so, across the other days of the week, hundreds of small lace bags of petals are gathered to be used in potion brewing throughout the year.  
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Culture of the Witches

The culture of Witches holds on to the lingering effects of persecution throughout the land of Isekai. These casters were only women, gathering in groups called covens, and practicing magic that often used their own life force to complete the spells. For these reasons, they faced nearly torturous persecution by other casters and those that were often feared by the magic that Witches could weave through harm or how they often turned harmful and dangerous things to be good and virtuous. Due to this, many Witch covens were forced to the Fairy King's Wood and the protection of the word of Festival Snix.   Here in the lands of the Fairies, the Witches are left to their magic, often serving in the Fairy King's court and throughout the woods as healers and other useful casters. Some dare travel into the Wandering Forest, using their connection to the lands of Isekai to turn the upside down world of the Ancient Fey to the aid of others. During the Eldritch War, the Witches and their creations were needed to aid those across Isekai, but history often repeats itself and their creations went unused by many.  


The Day of Roses is observed during Summer's Morning, the 4th month of the Seasons Calendar. During the first week of the month, the White Lazarus completes its cycle of blooms, making it a very rare phenomena. The Witches mark the week and the potency of the flower's lethality with three days, Unfurling Bud, Blooming Rose, and Petal Fall. The Day of Blooming Rose is the day where the lethality of the flower is at its highest, causing many to turn to the festivities of the week instead of the gathering of the flower itself.  


This festival is often strictly celebrated by the Witches of the Flowered Hill Coven, although various Fairies, Elves, Leaf Giants, and other Fey creatures have known to take part in the festivities as well. With the constant festivities in the Fairy King's Wood created by Festival Snix, the Day of Roses is a lesser event and is not widely celebrated. It is more of a mark of rebirth, renewal, and safety for the Witches who make the safety of the Fairy King's Wood their home.


Author's Notes

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