Feast of Welding Tradition / Ritual in Shadowfire | World Anvil

Feast of Welding

The Feast that marks the graduation of Disciples of The Flaming Brand to active status as a Bearer of the Mark is a brutal rite of passage, hidden beneath the veneer of a formal dinner and polite conversation between the Disciple and their Lord.   Despite the pleasantries, it is a transfiguration, and critics would say mutilation, of the Disciple's body and mind, and many do not survive.   To be eligible for the Feast, a Disciple must have first demonstrated mastery of the kinetic movements and magic control required. The senior Keepers of the Flame will identify the worthy, and initiate the Welding, which runs through three distinct phases that can last many hours: the Tempering, the Sharpening and the Devotion.   But it all begins with an invitation to dinner.  

Temper the Bones

The Tempering begins with the hopeful Disciple arriving at the table, seated across from their Lord. The correct pleasantries are observed, passion is contained, and subservience is noted.   At the commencement, the Lord will serve the disciple a small plate of writhing Klomerati Tendrils which they must consume before the feast proper commences.   The meal therafter is brought out in waves and is sumptuous, almost gluttonous, with both Lord and Disciple eating beyond their fill over the course of several hours. The most rare and luxurious food and drink from across all of Shadowfire is served, from Firewine from the Shimmerlands, Coral polyps from Uferbrech, Fungal blooms from Glimmertown and frozen treats from the Under-ice are all brought forth.   During this time, the living crystals begin the parasitic draining of the Disciple's magical reserves as they expand throughout the host's intestines and blood stream. This process can kill within minutes if the Disciple is not strong enough to resist.   While this taxing process is occurring, the disciple must keep their suffering hidden while making pleasantries with their Lord and continuing to eat the food that continuously arrives. To fail in the polite participation of the meal, to regurgitate, or refuse to eat, is as much a failure as being devoured by the Klomerati, and brings a swift death from the Lord of Fire themself.   The aim for the Disciple is to reach a symbiotic balance with the invading crystal network, and to guide its growth through the subtle manipulation of the Blood magics within the Disciple's own body. They must overcome much fear and pain, to retain the focus required to do the work while entertaining their Lord.   Successful tempering results in the Disciple becoming a Klomerati Symbiote, with the network of crystals threaded throughout their body. The symbiosis allows them to store far more than the usual amount of magic within their bodies, but comes at a price. The Disciple is forever after a slave to the consumption of uhd, for without it the symbiosis becomes unbalanced and they risk being devoured from within by the Klomerati.  

Sharpen the Mind

The second stage to the Welding, occurs at the end of the Feast. it involves the Lord himself magically slicing the Disciple's brain through the most subtle arts of Blood magic. It will happen in an instant, without warning, from across the table.   This act can easily kill, but if successful, will have removed the Disciples ability to feel any emotion forever more. This is done to remove the ego and the irrationality of personal fears and desires. The Disciple is thereafter far more focussed on the needs and demands of their Lord, Dek Keeper and fellow Dek Bearers, and the magics they supply are far more stable and aligned to the will of their masters.   This is the part of the ritual that outsiders find so abhorant. Critics of the technique point to the clinical detachment and lack of empathy employed by The Flaming Brand as they exercise their authority over the Sunside lands as signs that the cultural impact of this tradition is not worth the benefits it provides.   Many do not survive the procedure, as it can easily leave the Disciple braind dead. When this occurs, their bodies are on sold to the Usokufa to be transformed into Bodyservants.  

Devote the Will

At the conclusion of the feast the newely transformed Disciple is accepted into a Dek and asigned their duties as a fulle Bearer of the Flame. Their will becomes subservient to the heirarchy and needs of their master and the leadership of the Flaming Brand.
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Cover image: by Monstera

Comments

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Aug 1, 2022 14:27 by Cassandra Sojourn

This is a brutal ritual and I love it. I especially like the dichotomy between the pleasant dinner and the pain of the crystal network’s invasion.

Choose your poison:   Phasmatum: An Afro-Solar-Fantasy world created for my epic novels.
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Aug 3, 2022 17:20 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

This is a great ritual, I love that they have to survive the establishment of a symbiotic relationship with the tendrils, all the while having a pleasant conversation with their lord XD And that final brain mutilation is brutal but fascinating for all of its implications upon the Fire Brand! It's amazing that anyone would want to go through this if they fully understand what is going to happen to them. Is it because of their faith in the Fire Lords that they want to? And did Impetine also go through that brain mutilation or just the tendrils? How does the tendrils affect her now that she is a Fire Lord too compared to other Fire Lords?   And I just want to say that I'm really enjoying all of your SC articles :D I think you said that you didn't focus on that part of the world before SC, which one did you cover before? The one not exposed to sunlight?

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Aug 3, 2022 22:25 by Ononomad

Amelie! I woke up this morning to a lot of likes from you... I'm a bit blown away... did you really read it all? I'm so glad you're enjoying it.   And you have some very good questions.   I think on the whole, most Disciples of the Flame go through this willingly because of their faith in the Lords, and the Lord's mission. But a LOT of that is also a lifetime of indoctrination. And, yes, Impetine went through this ritual, but because of her own goals to save her people during the Stonesky Riots. A sacrifice of sorts. She also went through the God Tethering as well, so is a fully fledged Lord of Fire now. I suspect their apparent immortality has some dark secrets behind it I may explore some more :-)   There is one who has managed to reverse the worst of the Feast of Welding ritual... which would be Tasido Diamond... the Disciple who betrayed and murdered the Fire Lord Kholkosi. He went on to a life of piracy and now leads the rabble at Camp Thrifty.   Which leads me to your last question... previously i've been focussed on the Lands of Twilight, and mostly around the conflict of the Uferbrech Archipelago between the Motu and the Protectorates...   If you're up for some more exploration: https://www.worldanvil.com/community/challenge/worldember-2021/homepage/Ononomad, or https://www.worldanvil.com/community/challenge/summercamp-2021/homepage/Ononomad might be good places... I'm ashamed to say I haven't done a great 'primer' yet... its on the cards one day :)   thanks again Amelie :-)