Ritual of the Stars in The Great Tree | World Anvil

Ritual of the Stars

Ritual using the Keystones of the Cairns of the long departed Goblins

I had wanted to pick someone who hasn't been outside in many years. Picking through the old stones lining the back of the cavern wall, ancient names, familiar ones, ones that hurt to remember. Their etched and weathered surfaces, their hands to caress again in the Family's loving embrace. Having been at it for over two hours, I had garnered a certain amount of attention from the others. Asking me if I planned on going all the way to the bottom, when that particular bit had struck my ears I thought Why not? Someone who hasn't seen the stars in a great many years.
I told Knoll to come over and help me pick through the stones, commanding him to gently put them back down. "Don't you dare damage their names, son. To them, it's all they have left." At my order to the hulking raider, a few of the others jumped in and began moving the stones until we started seeing truly ancient names from quite near the Dawn. One of them standing out to me in particular.
It was a name I had only seen in our holy books. While I knew them all to be real, our history as the Clan started with the Dawn of Truths. Seeing their names on the keystones felt surreal to me. Awythi, one of the first High Priestesses of the clan. Supposedly she was one of the greatest users of magic that we had ever written about. Her voice holding as much power as the Blessing of Bhal itself. I told everyone to stop, gingerly picking up the keystone and setting it on the soft velvet cushion we used for the ritual. "Please lay our family back to rest, Children. Please be careful with them, they are old and frail!" I chuckled out.
The keystone was made of an unfamiliar stone, grainy, soft pink in hue. Not quite sandstone, but something that had fused the grains together. Placing my whitewood staff in my lap I began. The routine baked into the daily lives of all the Family. The soft humming in my throat cleared the dust from the cave, in lue of not having a braid to do on this long departed priestess. I dusted off her keystone, washing it gently in warm water, checking to see if the stone was beginning to crack. Clearing the etching of her name to become more visible once more.
"Oh dear Mother, the light in which you cast to our world still gazes in time past to witness your smile once more. Oh Great Father, Grant us yet another day." The prayer rehearsed to such a degree to become second nature. My lips twitching up as the prayer reached this family member.
Rising to my feet, swaddling the cushion and stone in my arms, I lit the end of my staff in a low amber glow. Walking out of the caves to the gloriously clear night sky. The ever constant sound of the waves against the shore calming my mind as I walked the Priestess out to view the stars once more as she had in life. I had already set up the resting place before I picked which keystone to visit, two sets of chairs. A bottle of strong spirits we used exclusively for visiting the dead, an extinguished fire pit at our feet.
"Time echoes forward as we wade through our battles, each day regaining a renewed sense of purpose. Oh Sister of old, have you rested well? Has the Great Father in his graciousness treated you kindly? Please tell me about your mind." While only the titles changed, it was the same words for all the members of the Family to view the sky again. Something I had done which such repetition that I didn't even hear the words anymore.
I set her down in the seat next to mine, and poured her a drink from the bottle. Setting it in front of her stone, not often, but sometimes the prayers would reach far beyond the distant shores of life that they would speak to us. I wasn't expecting much tonight, merely to speak to a priestess of old, to chat with the long departed and offer them the same sense of belonging we tried to offer all. I asked her how she was doing, how she felt these days as the stars slowly wandered the sky. Telling her about my trials in life, the trivial mundane activities of the day. Enjoying myself, even if it was a quiet audience.
I jumped as a warm hand set theirs on mine. Whipping my head to the stone, a shade was sitting where the stone sat. No, shade was the wrong word, the night sky given an ephemeral form. I saw the stars twinkle in her body, the nebulas where her eyes should have been swirling peacefully. Sister of times far off, pray tell me your name? You have been kind to let me see the glory of her night skies again. I have enjoyed hearing about your life. Her voice was far off, distant. Sonorous and pleasant to hear.
"Awythi, I didn't expect..." I started, seeing her eyes narrow in a sweet smile. She was comforting me, we never saw spirits these days. Then again, we didn't usually dig so far down for the ancient stones either. "My name is Kari! I am pleased that I am able to offer you a little peace!"
Old stars die and new ones burn. She turned her gaze back to the sky, still speaking. These are not the skies I remember, the constellations are different. The planet has moved through the cosmos quite a bit from my time indeed. Long has it been since the Dawn. Tell me Kari, is the Family happy? The stars in her fingertips moved closer together, picking up the glass in front of her. Nursing the drink she turned back to me.
"Yes they seem to be, The New Chief Yorm has done well so far! He has kept the family together in this time of the New Father. He respects his raiders, he likes to speak with me on spiritual matters. I like that, Roland wasn't one for long sermons or listening to the stories." I chirped at her happily, overjoyed to experience such a rare event like this.
Child lost, husband lost. Folt was sad to lose you, Sister. Though he is happy to be by the Great Father's side, much glory he has earned. Creatures slain by his hand as he fights alongside us. Are you happy, Kari? Her voice seemed farther off now. As if she were in many places at once speaking through water.
I wasn't expecting that. I didn't know how to answer, staring at my feet. She wrapped an arm around me, though she was spirit, she felt warm. Let not the fallen overtake your mind. Fore there is still life before you to enjoy. Oh Great Father, Grant my dear sister yet another day. This wasn't how this was supposed to go. I was supposed to be the Priestess here, yet here Awythi was. Doing the same Ritual to me as I would to her.
  Shhh, dear Sister. My shoulders began to shake, I hadn't realized I missed him so much. Tell me, tell me about your life. I want to hear about all your sorrows, all your happiness, all your misgivings. The wind played a soft tune as we spoke through the night. Of her life, of mine. Of her victories, of mine. Of her faith, of ours. The skies she knew as they were now.  
I feel like I know this place, to feel a part of the family once more! Kari, you have brought me a gift that I cannot return to you in such fervor. Thank you for taking me back out to see the stars once more, we must do this again one day. While she smiled, there was a sadness on her face. I don't want to wake from this dream.
The red glow of the sun beginning to rise over the seas, slowly brightening the skies. The stars slowly winking out as the light increased. Echoing her fading form, her own stars fading with the dawn. "Awythi, why do you appear as so? Why do the spirits become rarer with time. Only when we picked you, an ancient, to we see a spirit of our family. We only ever hear their voices if we are lucky."
The wind plays a haunting tone. The Further away you get from the source, the further you travel from the truth. The softer her song becomes. If only you knew the wicked truth. She turned to me, setting her hand on mine. Before I could even open my mouth to ask what she meant, she vanished in the mourning light.


Please Login in order to comment!