Shadow and Light

“Some believe stories are little more than words vomited forth by an unrefined mouth — but any fool can spew imaginings for the ear to hear. It is the taleweaver who enraptures the heart, entices the mind, and wraps the soul of a listener in the gentle dew of truth, lore, and adventure through the craft of story. As such, few attain the title of master amidst the sea of fools.”
— - Terrin
  For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, few excite the mind equal to the storytelling excellence of a Taleweaver–the elite bards of the world, eagerly sought throughout society. If one seeks the unending praise of mankind, and to be counted among the greatest of storytellers, they must partake of Shadow and Light.    

A well guarded secret

Only members of the Order know the full recipe of Shadow and Light. Along with the components provided by the Taleweaver, specific ingredients are required from the recipient:  
  • Two palms of flour from a grain;
  • One mouthful of stagnant water;
  • Fresh blood of a snake;
  • Three pinches of pepper, freshly ground.
  The first concoction is mixed and set out in direct sunlight to ferment for three days. This will turn the mixture dark, its scent pungent and foul. The second mixture is prepared immediately before the ceremony. From the additional list, only one palm of flour from a grain will be added. This concoction will remain white as the flour uses, its scent sharp and sour.    

By Their Own Hand

There are no judges or gate keepers to bar one from membership. To be a Taleweaver is to understand the mysteries of the mind and heart, learning to perceive what others do not. Taleweavers imagine the impossible, revealing the invisible. It is a path one must choose alone.   The room of ritual envelops both skin and lung in the thick smoke of Balmwood–pulling at a fevered mind. Tables at either end of the path hold a small plate, representing the darkness of the mind and its deliverance into light.   By their own hand the participant partakes of the darkness, consuming it to unlock the deepest recesses of their mind. Once the fever takes hold, the walls of pride, arrogance, and all mental defenses melt away, leaving the consciousness naked to the wild fancy and ravenous appetite of imagination. When the hand trembles and sweat rolls from the brow, the path opens.   Definitions and beliefs rear their heads, ideologies and misconceptions voice opinions, pulling at fears and phobias long forgotten to distract and confuse. To conquer this path is to walk through chaos, not ignoring, but collecting. Discerning truth from fiction, one crafts their own version of order, disciplining their mind to control the constant variables to form a new reality. Fire and brimstone may rage, nature may scream in agony, but the path must be traveled before the darkness consumes.   At the end of the path–not more than seven steps away–is the light,...and salvation. One bite of the paste from the platter will cure the blood and save the mind from itself. Though many collapse in exhaustion, those who reach the light and partake will recover.   No one may assist a participant once the ritual begins.   Few survive.

Comments

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14 Jul, 2022 11:23

So great to see you are writing for summer camp! Keep spinning tales :-)

14 Jul, 2022 17:46

I'm on it!

JAIME BUCKLEY
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