Nox Vael Tradition / Ritual in Koria | World Anvil

Nox Vael



Predating even the Dragon Sun Empire the festival of Nox Vael is a tradition mostly practiced by Druids and wise women, the Vael. Men are also allowed, but there are few wise men and a rare sight. Sometimes a wise Garladan attends, but they are even rarer as men. In the light of this being said, the name "Vael" was originally aimed at females, so the etymology was "wise woman". Over the years it changed a bit and means now "wise being/person".
The Nox Vael is a ritual of freedom, prosperity and - most important - fertility. Not only for humans, but for every race and Koria itself.

History & Etymology

The beginning of the Nox Vael is rather unclear and only told from mouth to mouth by bards and the Vael themselves. Only thing to be sure of is that the festival is an old festival, an old gathering even predating the creation of the Dragonborn.
What we do know is that the original Nox Vael began with an agreement between human and elven Vaels and the Druids of the Emerald Planes. The Vaels searched for a place where they can hold their peaceful gatherings and the Druids were searching for a way to enhance their might and to re-vitalise the Emerald Planes and - in the process - the entire continent. It is a cycle between nature, the Druids and the Vaels.
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Unknown to the Vaels and subconscious known by the Druids they have a gathering with the Eternal Life since she is life in every aspect of it. Sometimes she shows herself in a more human form.
The word "Nox" means "Night". It originates from an old language used by one of the tribes assimilated into the Dragon Sun Empire and even for them it was an archaic language to speak. Since the entire festival was about to begin in the first light of a star and ends with the first light of the last night, it was very suitable to call it "the festival of the wise women during the night", short "Nox Vael".


The purpose of the entire festivity is to enhance power, to re-vitalise the continent and bring out fertility and prosperity to nature.
Originally the wise women of the tribes & nations - not that any of those had allegiances to nations or tribes or would admit it at least - met every year for a small gathering in their close proximity, but after a specific amount of time they had enough and wanted to meet each other. In the way of logistics it was rather difficult, especially for the wise women of the desert and the frostmaidens. Sometimes it was rather unfair in terms of travel time, so they needed a location where they could meet without much hinderance.
At the same time the Druids of the Emerald Planes - not only them but they needed it the most - searched for a way to enhance their own power and to re-vitalise the planes and so the continent. It was an urgent need since the continent and the planes were losing vitality over the years and the spring was not as powerful as it used to be.
Fernala the First by Midjourney
It was Fernala, the First who stumbled into a Druid meeting, overhearing their conversation and proposing a cooperation between the Vael and the Druids.
It was also Fernala who described the ways of the Vael and crafted with other Vaels the rules of the society, the rules of the Nox Vael, length and execution and the tribunal. Local Vael authorities are derived from that.


The Nox Vael is taking place at the Ithmothi river in the Green Meadows in the bend of said river. Its trees, meadows and small springs are the perfect place to have this gathering, to have smaller meetings, dances and corporeal activities. All you need is a small space and maybe a blanket.


The entire Nox Vael is a gathering of eleven (11) days. Or twelve days and eleven nights. Preparations are made beforehand by the Druids and when the festival is done, the Vael help them to clean up. Sometimes not all Vael, it is not a duty, but you can say, it has some honour to it when you help the Druids.

How to


Preparations (Day 1)

Depending on your plan during the Nox Vael the participants are meant to prepare in a way they see fit for the duration of the festival.
Tribunal members
If one is a member of the tribunal, you have to be sober and not hungry so you don't make any rash decisions in addition to your normal preparations. Besides that you are asked to help with setting up the festivity which means you help the Druids to decorate the Green Meadows which means you care for the plants & trees. You decorate them with garlands and lights filled with fireflies and you decide with the Druids what meals are prepared.
In the end you take a look over the news gathered by fellow Vaels, written on leafs and paper and parchment, sometimes bark. You order and discuss them with the other tribunal members in which way they are read to the Vael during the days of news. After this is done - and you have welcomed the bards - you prepare for the days to come after the sixth day.
Vael (non-tribunal)
For the most Vael there is no real preparations to do. You set up your small camp where you have your own space, make sure your fire - if you need/want one - doesn't burn the Meadows to the ground and have some chat with the neigbours.
If you are a person who can give birth and you want to get pregnant during the upcoming fertility ritual, you might enhance your possibility to recieve a child with herbs, potions or magic. If you don't want to get pregnant you do it the other way round. And if you don't want to participate in the ritual - which is not recommended, but understandable - than you should avoid the large ritual place.
But you can still participate on your own terms: get yourself a Druid and give him energy or ask him for advice how to do it. It works both ways. This is to do best during the Koria ritual. You should prepare for this as well with nourishment and enough sleep.

News (Day 1 & 2)

During the first two days the Tribunal members and/or the oldest and wisest Vael give a speech before starting the official part of the Nox Vael, mostly during the afternoon. At this time most of the Vaels have settled in, nourishments are prepared, people have already connected to long distance friends and the welcome-chatter has vanished.
The main Tribunal member - every Nox Vael someone different - reads the news or just retell them if they have memorised them. The more important ones at the beginning like plagues, war, famine, important births or a shift of power in different states.
The first day ends two hours before midnight, when everyone is starting to get hungry and tired. The second day is reserved for new methods, shift in healing practices, experiences in their magic or way of doing. Plants, rituals, potions for general use, everything what matters is being told.
The second day ends when the last news is being told. At this point the bards are starting to play, the first people have searched - and mostly found - a mate for the fertility ritual, some enjoy the free time with food and drinks and catching up with friends they haven't found before.

Tribunal (Day 2 & 3)

The Days of the Tribunal are an important and serious matter. During the third day every sin is brought before the gathered Vaels.
"Renata, come forth. You stand before us because you have performed dark magic to summon something behind the veil. Is that correct?"
"Incorrect, I would say. Yes, I used dark magic, but I didn't summon something on purpose. I tried to save the child, it suffered from severe brain goblins."
"Ah, they eat your brain away... I see. And you haven't had no other choice?"
"I could let it die or exhaust me to the point of dying. Both options were unacceptable."
"I see. You may sit now, you will get the decision tomorrow."
"Vael Insir, who is now absent, has performed actions and rituals and is reported to be a corrupted witch."
someone boos
"Yes. We decide that we do not engage in tradings, help, conversation in written or spoken form with her until she departs from her path. This includes letters in all form, copulation, energy-transfer, runic inscriptions or communications via the Mycel network."
crowd nods, a few people cheer
At the end of the third day every Vael gets a small scroll with names and their actions with the possible outcomes for them. You have until the midday of the fourth day to decide your vote. You give it to one of the tribunal members and they collect each vote. During the evening the main Tribunal member delivers the judgement on each case. Food and drinks are provided, but your decisions are your own.

Protection ritual (Day 4 & 5)

The protection ritual serves one purpose: to strengthen the barrier, the border between worlds, the veil, whatever you may call it (see Arcana Basics a.k.a. how to avoid spontaneous combustion). The oldest and wisest Vael knows the runes and the incantations for this ritual and only teaches them her successor.
It begins right after breakfast and takes a heavy toll on every Vael. It is their duty to perform this ritual, bound by agreements old as trees. The Druids are helping with power as good as they can, but their abilities are way different. They nourish the Vaels with energy, provide drinks and much needed food.
The ritual ends when the incantation is complete, mostly during the late afternoon/early evening, depending on the start of the ritual. The stronger Vaels help the other ones to regain their strength, massaging numb limbs, help getting behind bushes, tending to overly exhausted ones.

Koria ritual (Day 6 & 7)

The Koria ritual is nearly the same as the protection ritual, just the other way round. The Vaels strengthen themselves and pull energy from behind the Veil to provide energy and strength to the continent, the world itself. Give the much needed energy back the world has consumed and now can't regain it on own powers. The reason behind this is overpopulation and larger resource consumption than anyone has anticipated. Since Life & Death hadn't had much to do with the creation of the world, they only can work around that and so do the Vaels and Druids.
The ritual ends normally in the late afternoon, so that the Vaels can regain their strength, eat, sleep or do whatever they want. In most times the Vael can pull enough energy to Koria for the next years.

Fertility ritual (Day 8 to 11 (including nights))

The four days of the fertility ritual are the most joysome for many Vaels. Since the Vaels aren't only women anymore, there are men or men-like persons as well. The only exception are the three Garladan (to this time).
The eight day is reserved for the last group-ritual where the Druids are the main part. They convert the incoming energy from the Vaels into lifeforce which they redirect into the earth, giving the energy to the world and to the Eternal Life. This ritual only lasts for a few hours because the amount of energy the Vael can pull is nothing compared to the capacity a Druid can channel and redirect. It helps the nature to be fertile for the years to come, sprout and regain their strength.
The eight day ends usually in the early evening with food, drinks, music and dances. This is the last chance to get a partner for the days and nights to come (besides getting one during activities). Bards are playing - mostly two or three -, fires are burning and some people sing. At this point alcohol comes into play and more and more clothes vanish, even in the dancing circles.
During the next three days and nights there is a lot of uncovered skin, joyous moments, laughter and the sound of love. For those who are not attending some Vaels have prepared a few tents with books, pillows, blankets and other things they might find useful. Some might venture home, which is not so unusual.
There are a few rules during these days. The most important one is: Consent, even for groups. The second-important one is to speak with each other. Be it practices, goals, changing partners etc.
Naturally because of the history of the Nox Vael the female Vaels outnumber the male ones. Even when one considers the sex-fluid elves. So changing partners is not a rare occurance. Agreements have to be made.

Ending, Cleaning, Departing (Day 12)

The last day of the Nox Vael is for cleaning, preparing the journey home, making last arragements or give last kisses. Some found new friends and a few speak of times and dates when they meet again. Strangers with benefits becoming friends and maybe more, so to speak.
But do not be mistaken: the Nox Vael is no place to find love. Being a Vael is in most cases a lonely task. That you as a Vael wants to get pregnant is just pragmatism: there are not enough apprentices who find it intruiging to live in the woods, learning about herbs and old magic. It is a lonely life, so you want to have a child who inherets your wisdom, knowledge and hopefully power. If they don't want to become a Vael, then you can't do anything about it, but most childs are worthy heirs.
On this last day the Tribunal makes sure everything is in order. The Meadows are cleaned up, the fires are out, the Druids are satisfied and return to their daily business to take care of the woods and animals. Than the last Vael start their journey home.
Until the next Nox Vael.
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Cover image: Article Header Koria by CrazyEddie via Midjourney


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