The Enmity of Scolrys, Part XVII: Faith and Fecundity

For weeks, the Hammer of Dawn anxiously prepared for an unorthodox rite to honour the great Gereghond, God of Fertility and Plenty across myriad Albedi cultures. To ensure the security of the city’s aims, the Heralds restricted all knowledge of the ritual until just days prior, with several citizens questioning the legitimacy of such an approach once the council presented the plan in its entirety. Despite individual misgivings, Enorian dutifully divided their responsibilities and prepared for the moment to arrive. Though the city initially thought to handle interpretation of the ritual steps themselves, the Heralds ultimately turned to their Duirani allies for assistance. Sibatti and Aolin were foremost among them, helping to ensure the ritual’s sanctity and potency while also nurturing the blossoming of new ties and common ground between the two cities.

When the city assembled in the scoured Mamashi, Vanguard Inthirath led Enorian in ritual bloodletting – an activity not foreign to the Hammer, for their own Akkari Host engaged in such ritualism in observance of the latent spirit in all blood. After outlining the once-plain’s borders in their precious sanguine, the city assembled within what was once a lion’s den and spoke aloud devout prayers to the Bull and their other Gods. Offerings of wheat and perfume were given freely, filling the cavernous dwelling with the musk of earthen fragrances meant to please the Bull and attract His attention.

As the Hammer of Dawn engaged in boisterous, hopeful song and ritual war-dance to observe this foreign deity born of Dejaani’s eternal enmity for Ohlsana, villagers from near and far began to stream in and join with the festivities. The devout sang of hope, joy, duty, faith and love to satisfy the specification of a priest’s teachings, the music of their devotion spilling out into the plains at large. Stirred to greater heights of faith and oneness by this display, the villagers began to engage in more physical and carnal methods of worship – an activity that several citizens of the Hammer threw themselves into with full faith that it was necessary for true reverence of Gereghond.

As the ritual reached its climax, a shimmering haze of dusty turquoise manifested upon the eastern horizon, a billowing cloud of mystic smoke within which feral impressions lurk.

Like unto a second sunrise, the lush anomaly elevated like an impassable wall, its manifestation setting the entire wild world to deafening song. Symphonic in its natural union, the animal kingdom banded together to unleash fierce ululations, snarling rejoicements, bellowed praise, hissed deferrals, and twittering celebrations. Zebras let loose equine whinnies that mingled with prideful lion roars. Together, predator and prey bound across empty, scoured land, united in purpose for one glorious moment instrumented by ritual power. Cracks sundered the earth in the wake of this stampede, shattering the lifeless plane of once-plains into destitute dust and rocky chunks begging for the touch of a virile lifebringer. Sensing the impending emergence of a fecund force, avians, mammals and reptiles one and all set the earth to a tremble and the air to a quiver…

The living breathed – and the world breathed with them. Each inhalation suffused their bodies with the land’s bone-deep vitality, each exhalation a sacrifice given unto its bountiful reaches. Held to synchrony and unity with the burgeoning herd of life, their heartbeats shifted to match the thudding rumble of tectonic activity and the groaned roar of ancient mountains. Those who had rejected life instead felt their chest heave as if labouring to join the land’s sudden unification. An emptiness flooded through them like a gulp of gelid water, leaving behind a cold longing for what once was, what could be, what must be passed down and propagated for generations to come.

It was then that a colossal silhouette began to breach the haze. A pair of tusks thrust forth from the turquoise fog, carving through the spiritual mists as if they were untamed fields in dire need of ploughing and tilling.

Penned by my hand on Tisday, the 22nd of Slyphian, in the year 3 AC.