The Sky Galleria is the location where the cursed ones congregate and attempt to earn favor through prayer in the hopes of having their curse lifted for a time. Since the inception of the curse, it has spread through blood and family lines, so that the number of those inflicted had steadily grown. Until it no longer became a solitary effort of devotion, but a group one. The Sky Galleria is set up such that it entirely exposes the occupants to the elements, both symbolically making themselves vulnerable and setting themselves up as a display of devotion. They spend the entire day, from just before the first rays of light in the morning, until the last rays of the sun have disappeared on the horizon, in deep concentration and prayer. All with no breaks and no interrupts. As time had progressed, and the strangeness of the curse had become a bit more known, a few cities and groups had actually started to embrace it. In some areas it’s the center piece of a yearly festival. Where the Sky Galleria is set up in the center of the town, built explicitly for the ceremony, and, after the ceremony is complete, the rest of the townspeople not participating welcome the cursed back to the land of the living. Where everyone around parties and celebrates all night long. And, after the event is over, the Sky Galleria is taken down until next year, having served its purpose.
Purpose / Function
The purpose of the Sky Galleria is to give the cursed a place to congregate, once a year, to perform the ritual that will lift their curse for a night. It is erected for only a single day of usage each year. The cursed spend the entire day of the summer Solstice attempting to atone for what had caused the curse in the first place, and placate the offended parties [deities or otherwise] enough that they would receive a single night of reprieve from the curse.
The exact form the Sky Galleria takes changes based on the local population and expected numbers of cursed that will be in attendance. For a period of time this was factoring in increasing numbers of cursed. And, similarly, the sharp decline in their numbers up to the modern era.
The Sky Galleria is set up in a sectioned off area of open space, typically either a glade, town square, or other space open to the sky and elements. For some of the ones where they are welcomed to the city by regular townsfolk, modifications have been made so the proceedings don’t cause issues for neither the cursed, nor those that have come to support them. Such modifications include surrounding the entire Sky Galleria with temporary arches that encircle the entire area. From the arch, semitransparent cloth is hung that can be closed when the time is appropriate. Typically this happens around midday when the sun is at its brightest and the shine coming from the collective bodies of the cursed is strong enough to cause temporary blindness from the reflected sunlight. Such curtains are maintained by non-cursed attendants who walk around with special head-wear to tone down the brightness as they check on the cursed and make sure they are okay during the entire process. And, the curtains remain closed until the end of the ceremony, to cause as little disturbance as possible.
The first Sky Galleria was a simple glade in the forest. An open area with no trees where a few of the cursed had gathered together to go through the ceremony together in shame-induced seclusion. As the number of cursed increased, and their ‘shameful secret’ became more well known, others helped them by encouraging them to not be ashamed of their burden. As time progressed, the Sky Gallerias became more pronounced and something to be built and used once a year. This continued until the cursed populations began dwindling until only a few remained, and then they had returned full circle, to doing the ritual in secret, among themselves, and with only a few trusted individuals knowing about it. Some actually chose to no longer participate in the ritual, which rapidly exacerbated the dwindling population. Because without the ritual, there was no procreation.
Sky Galleria, Ceremonial Chamber, Galleria Chamber
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