This Grey Oerth

Richfest Moot

Initiation and Dark Tidings

L’wyndll

Game day: 7/21/13

578 CY

Starday, 1 Richfest (Midsummer)
The first day of the Richfest Moot is given to introductions, socializing and merriment. Druids from all over the area have come to connect with old friends and to make new ones. You find yourself a little overwhelmed by it all.

You have two goals here. One is to be officially initiated as a druid. You find out that this will happen on Midsummers Day, which is in three more days. So that will have to wait.

Your second goal is to find Drenthea, the shapeshifter druid that Khorel requested you speak with. So you ask around about her whereabouts.

Pelan shadows you as you wander about, seeming to enjoy your bewilderment at the festivities. But he speaks very little, only pointing things out now and then, primarily people he recognizes and thinks are important for you to know. He urges you to socialize.

When asking a young freckle-faced druid if he knows Drenthea and where she might be, another young man overhears. He is a handsome human with long dark hair and eyes so brown they are nearly black. He has a broad smile and seems thrilled to have overheard the name.

He bounds over to you and asks if he heard you right. “Did you say you were looking for Drenthea?”

You answer yes and he smiles again and says,” Well, you’re in luck! I happen to know where she is. If you follow me, I’ll take you to her!”

“Wait,” you say. “Who are you, exactly?”

“I’m Tre’mh Skyre,” he grins. “At your service.”

Although he appears as happy-go-lucky as a little boy, there is a sense of danger about him. “Will you follow?” He leans on his staff, waiting for your reply, a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

Pelan seems suspicious of him, and you aren’t without doubt of his intentions.

“Where exactly is she?” you ask.

“Oh, just about four days west of here,” he laughs, “in Verbobonc.”

You grimace, frustrated at this turn of events and wondering if he is telling the truth. He claims she has gone on some secret official business, but that he’s not supposed to know that.

You explain to him that you can’t leave the moot, as you are to be initiated. So Tre’mh volunteers himself to be your guide during your first moot, much to the chagrin of Pelan.

You find a moment later on in the day to approach the Archdruid, Mara Liessa. With Pelan’s and Tre’mh’s competing guidance of how to greet her. You succeed and find that she is friendly enough. She confirms Tre’mh’s claim that Drenthea has indeed gone to Verbobonc on some official druidic business, much to your disappointment.

In the evening, there is a dance and big feast, as well as the burning of a wicker man as a sacrifice.

Sunday, 2 Richfest (Midsummer)
Today there is more merriment. There are divination games to determine the identity of future marriage partners. Tre’mh urges you to participate, but you have no desire for such things. Pelan seems happy you don’t listen to Tre’mh.

Tre’mh comments that there’s generally a minor baby boom about nine months from these games.

Moonday, 3 Richfest (Midsummer)
Today there are two marriages and what is called the Blessing of the Flames, in which livestock is driven between two purifying bonfires. Animal sacrifices are made to honor the marriages, to bless the livestock, and to honor and placate the fey folk (fairies and the like).

Tre’mh tells you that the boundaries between this world and the fey realms are very close during Richfest, which is also known as Beltaine (BEL-tain-yuh).

Godsday, 4 Richfest (Midsummer’s Day)
Today the initiation ceremonies are held and, much to your relief, nothing is sacrificed. Instead, seeds are planted about the forest to represent the beginning of your new life. You say vows, in Thari, to uphold the sanctity of the forest and are blessed by the Archdruid. You and each of the Aspirants there receive a badge woven of mistletoe to represent your new allegiance.

After the evening feast, there is a firefly catching competition.

Waterday, 5 Richfest (Midsummer)
This day there is a ceremony to honor the Divine Marriage between the Dying/Rising God and the Goddess. The God represents the temporal world and the Goddess the spiritual. There is a dramatic and elaborate ceremony, in which the roles of these gods are played by two high ranking druids.

Another animal sacrifice is made during this ceremony.

Earthday, 6 Richfest (Midsummer)
Today, after a grand brunch and a tree-climbing competition in the afternoon, the mood becomes somewhat somber when a hateful-looking man in chains is brought out into the clearing. The circle druids ready a cauldron and hand the sacrificial knife to the Archdruid, Mara Liessa. You realize that they are planning to sacrifice the man.

Tre’mh tells you that it is a somewhat common occurrence, particularly at moots. He says it is not cruel, it is just the way of things. He sounds like he’s repeating something he’s been told when he says it.

“The men sacrificed are usually condemned criminals,” he says. “But now and then, someone actually volunteers. I suspect this one is of the former group.”

Mara Liessa slits the man’s throat and lets the blood drain into the cauldron. After staring intently into the blood gathered there, she looks up with a dire expression and addresses the gathering.

She explains that she has seen an ill omen in the blood. There is a terrible evil infecting the world, very near and toward the west.

While the Archdruid and circle druids discuss amongst themselves, another man, with a beard streaked with grey, approaches them and joins their conversation. He is clearly of the Old Faith as well and looks like he has brought them more bad news.

As you watch them from a distance, this man seems to stare directly at you for a long moment. Although it is unnerving, you shake it off and forget about it.

Freeday, 7 Richfest (Midsummer)
The last day of the festival has come and you are relieved, because you will finally be able to go look for Drenthea.

The mood of the moot has been dampened, partially from the ominous reading of the blood yesterday and partially due to exhaustion from the festivities. It is clear that it is winding down.

Midday sacrifices today consist only of carved wooden totems thrown into the fire.

After which, the High Council heads into a tight knit copse of trees to hold a closed meeting. When they emerge, their faces are full of concern.

The Archdruid then addresses the entire moot, answers questions and takes advice from any who wish to offer it. She gives her final blessings and the moot is ended.

Tre’mh Skyre tells you to head to Oakham to catch a ride to Verbobonc. He says there are merchant caravans going through there all the time. He tells you to say hi to Drenthea for him. He says he would accompany you, but he has found an adventure elsewhere.

Pelan says he will go with you to Oakham, but then will head back to let Khorel know what has happened and where you are headed.

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