View Full Version : [FESTIVAL] The hour of Shadows

2004-12-07, 11:07 PM
This is an old and quite common festivall for the servants of the shadow in my world/campaign setting (see 4 powers post for diety story):
*As the young paladin of the light entered the small village at dusk he was surprised to see a gathering of people assembled before the village cemetery. "Is this a funeral?" he asked what seemed as a passing priest dressed in black. The 'priest' replied: "You are not from around here are you? I guess I can spare some time explaining what happens here. You must be a young paladin of the light, are you not?" "Yes I am" replied the young man. "Then you might misunderstand the meaning of my words. It is better to watch first and ask questions later". Thus the young paladin proceeded towards the cemetery just in time for the festival to commence. Along with the priests at the graves and the commoners there was a figure that looked like a wizard under his black robes and hooded cloak, bearing a simple black staff....

Backstory: The servants of Sellana, queen of shadows in my campaign setting have learned not to fear death. They have learned death is not painful, is not permanent and is reversible if the situation calls and there is life after death in better places. For this knowledge, they all gather in the last hours of the last day of they year to thank their goddess for this gift and celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new-the eternal circle of death and rebirth. They worship in that way death as an equally natural and essential part of the world as life. the festival commences at dusk, There are 3 rituals, the dusk ritual, the midnight ritual and the morning ritual...

... "As the light vanishes from the earth and the activities of the day give way to the silence of the night the power of our mistress always protects us" said the old priest. "Behold, here commences the Dusk rutial. We have gathered in this place of passage to honor the circle of life and death. As light and life wive way to night and death we shall not know fear and we shall not know sorrow for we know it is not the end. As day serves the purpose of development, joy, work and all kind of activity, night serves the purpose of reunion and rest. There is no evil here fior the shadow of our mistress protects us"
After this short speech the commoners, priests and strangers gathered sit in tables set at the graveyard gates and ate and drunk in silence to honor the gift of knowledge, reunion and to honor those who have pased beyond the veil. This continued for some time and the young paladin was asking himself what festival was that with no music and no speech. Then, around midnight, the old priest rose again:
"We have thanked our mistress for what she has given. Our task completed now we must use what we have gained. Behold the Midnight ritual begins:"
All stood up and chanted some forgotten melody for about a minute. Then the old priest continued: " We are both servants of light and servants of darkness. We shall not fear the unknown for there is nothing to be afraid of even in the darkest night. Those who employ the night to cause chaos and terror, those who employ the dead to cause pain will be smitten by our protector. We have to do our part as well: we will vanquish the primal fear of the dark enjoying what we have gained during the day". At these words the assembled crowd sprung into motion carrying woods in pits and setting them ablaze. Bards played joyful tunes and young people started dancing around the flames. It was not long before the young paladin was asked to dance and joined the fray....
Several hours later-early in the morning, just before dawn-the old priest spoke one last time:
"We have completed our duties towards our guide and protector. Now we will receive her gifts anew. Behold, here commences the dawn ritual". The old priest started chanting:
As the darkness fell on the earth
and life was ended in force
as the shadows fell in this world
and the past away was washed
Just the same the light returns
and from ashes life is reborn
and the dark retreats from our fields
and the new year and day are born
The priest ending said: "Those of you who are tired and need sleep we will borrow this day from the lords of dawn for our rest. Those of you who are troubled in mind and heart come to me"
Most of the peasants returned to their homes. Some of them-many of them older than 50-gathered around the old priest and the wizard dressed in black who has remained silent during the entire festival. Closing, the young paladin was asked by the old priest: "Now young man, did you understand what we were doing here?" The paladin replied: "You were celebrating in the name of the Black queen and the other dark lords. But why?" The priest softly replied: "Light and dark, day and night, life and death are equally important and essential to the world. The dark is not evil unless we use it to evil ends. As most people celebrate the light we find it our duty to celebrate the night" he explained and continued: "Now, do you have any questions young man?" "Yes" the paladin said, "I would like to knwo what this man is doing there, the one dressed in black". "Oh, that. Well, he is a necromancer in the service of the Black Queen. After we eat, drink and enjoy ourselves in her name we get our reward. Once a year we are given an audience with whomever of the dead related to us we want. This servant of the shadow-a silent one-is the bridge through which we talk" "Is this restricted only to natives?" the young paladin asked. "No it is not. You may go as well"...

Two hours later the young paladin was returning to his homeland to find the temple he was trained, full of questions and doubts about his faith.

Modifications: The day before the Hour of shadows is spent preparing the festival. The day after is spent resting or talking with the dead. No other work is done during those two days.
Followers of the shadow always work during the day and rest during the night if they can. This and the Day of Shadows festival is all their religion demands. But if they HAVE to work during the night they do so and have to spend the next day available resting.
Silent ones are necromancers and Shadow adepts or Mystic Theurges in the service of the shadow. They don't speak save among themselves and among spirits but communicate with other humans and intelligent beings using a form of telepathy. Their spells have to do with death, shadow and illusion and they are (obviously) always silenced.

I do hope this is not too much. Feel free to post comments.

2004-12-08, 03:49 PM
I like the idea of a clergy including necromancers as important members, necromancers whose job is to preserve the order of life and death, not disrupt it. That fits wonderfuly with an LN deity called Lord Deth in my game, who adamanantly opposes undead and disruption to the cycle. Though in Deth's case, they consider Raise Dead and Resurrection to be a "disruption" not to be tolerated. From time to time, more zealous members have been known to attempt to return the artificially risen to their proper graves... which is why they're LN instead of LG.

2005-01-05, 02:20 PM
Just a bump. My entry had fallen behind along with the pantheon contest. That's what I get for entering early :P