The first light of dawn is filtering through drawn curtains. The rays fall through air thick
with incense before landing on the foot of a bed. The light illuminates the room just enough to
make out dark shapes against the lightly painted brick walls. A bed takes up the center of the
room with its head against the wall and a large trunk at its foot. A desk cluttered with colorful
bottles of various shapes and sizes sits on one side of the bed, next to the window. On the
opposite side of the bed there sits an armor stand, dressed with mismatched leather pieces and
a small weapons rack holding a staff and a single-edged sword. On the bed, the pile of blankets
stirs and one of the lumps moves to the foot of the bed, seemingly searching for the morning.
The chamber’s door creaks open to the large trunk at the foot of the bed. A hooded and
cloaked figure moves quietly over the threshold, stepping lightly across the wood floor, and
makes its way towards the far side of the bed. A black and brown snout appears from under the
blankets at the foot of the bed, followed by the dark face of a dog with perked ears and brown
eyes, watching the figure moving through the room. A groggy female voice emerges from the
pile of blankets, “Wylder, go back to sleep”. When the figure holds up a finger to where its lips
should be, Wylder rests his head on the bed and allows one ear to flop down.
The figure reaches the head of the bed and leans over the bed, bringing its hooded head
just inches from a knot of blonde hair flowing out from under the blankets. The figure whispers
to the bed, “Come on Sapphira, wake up!”.
With a groan, Sapphira snaps back, “It’s too damn early, Faolan!”
In response, Faolan heads to the window and pulls back the curtains, allowing the full blinding
agony of the morning light into their bedroom. By this point the Sun has risen so that the direct
beams of light now land on the head of the bed. Without the curtains providing the first line of
defense against the morning light, Sapphira retreats further under the blankets, but with the
continued rising of the Sun comes the further strengthening of the rays. Within moments,
Sapphira concedes that the blankets are no longer enough to stop the morning from coming.
In somewhat of a tantrum, Sapphira throws the blankets off of herself, revealing her pure
white nightgown, and moves to get out of bed. As her feet touch the wooden floor, she looks up
and sees Faolan rummaging through the bottles on her desk.
“Faolan, what are you looking for?”
“The components for today’s ritual.”
“Today’s ritual? Wait, it’s today?!”
“Yeah, I watched The Twins rise last night from the observatory, and the Sun rose over
the Vernal Peaks this morning.”
With that, Sapphira jumps to her feet and moves to her desk, pushing Faolan out of the
way. Without a moment’s hesitation, she purposefully grabs one of the colored glass bottles,
hands it to Faolan, and tells him, “These are what we need from up here. I’ll have to get the rest
after I get dressed.” Faolan takes the bottle from Sapphira and turns to head for the door.
“Hey, take Wylder with you too.”
“Alright. Wylder, come here boy. Let’s go.” Wylder jumps off the bed, pauses to stretch,
then trots to the door ahead of Faolan.
“And make sure you find a field that hasn’t been planted yet.”
“Yeah, I know Sapphira.” Wylder then leads Faolan out the door. Sapphira can hear the
echo of their descent down the staircase for several moments while she gets dressed for this
As Faolan and Wylder walk through the dusty streets towards the hot springs at the
center of town, they can hear the rest of the settlement coming to life for another day of activity.
At the hot springs, Faolan sits on one of the benches and looks through the steam coming off
the water. Later tonight these springs will be a bustle with people washing off the dirt from the
fields and soaking away the aches of the day. Now, Faolan and Wylder wait for the workers to
gather before heading out. After several moments, most of the workers have gathered in the
town. Faolan steps through the crowd, leaving Wylder sitting next to the bench, looking for three
individuals: the Ulven priestess Rosil Manaweaver, the human Gerald Manaweaver who seems
to be a natural leader and has taken a role on the town council, and the Syndar magis Zyga
Mae. He finds all three of them at the head of the road leading out of town, apart from the main
crowd, talking together over the plans for the day. Faolan hangs backs just on the edge of the
crowd, listening to their conversation, picking up small details of their plans, and waiting for a
break in their discussion before inserting himself. He sees the window he is looking for just as
they are about to finalize their plans, and so steps from the crowd into their group.
Rosil is the first to greet him, “Good day Faolan”. “Good day Rosil”
Faolan and Zyga exchange slight nods. Gerald offers his hand, “Are you coming out to
help again today?”
“In a way. Sapphira has a ritual that needs to be performed this noon. An offering for a
good growing season.” Interested, Rosil asks, “What do you need from us?”
“Not too much, really. It sounded like you won’t be to the upper fields until this afternoon.
I would just ask that you make sure one of those fields are left until Sapphira has finished. I
would expect her ritual to be complete by the early afternoon, so I hope this would not interfere
with today’s schedule too much.” Rosil replies, “For an offering to Gaia, it is no trouble at all.”
Gerald also chimes in “If nothing else, we can just have a longer break for lunch.”
Zyga also approved, “I do not foresee any problem with this.”
“Thank you, all.” Faolan offers his hand to Gerald and bows to Rosil and Zyga as he
steps back into the crowd. He calls for Wylder and then turns to head out towards the fields. As
he does, Gerald sets to work directing the crowd into their teams and explains what’s in store for
each. Faolan reaches the edge of the settlement just as Wylder catches up to him. Together,
they journey down the road to find a place that Sapphira would find perfect.
A little after midmorning, Faolan has finally found a field perfect for Sapphira’s ritual
today. It’s about an acre in size and almost square, with the East-West slightly longer than the
North-South. The air is crisp and smells a bit of rain. Song birds grace the world with their
chorus. The tree tops sway in a soft breeze. With Wylder chasing field mice up and down the
rows of dirt, Faolan is just finishing lashing together an altar made of the winter’s dead fall from
the surrounding tree line. Faolan carries the finished altar to the center of the field just as
Sapphira steps through the tree line, onto the field.
“You could have sent Wylder to show me where you were setting up at. Instead, I had to
ask a half dozen people where you were before I found someone who knew for sure.”
Sapphira walks towards the altar.
“It’s good that you are talking to more people. These are our people now, our clan.”
With a huff, Sapphira drops her knapsack next to their altar. Wylder runs over to her
excitedly and jumps on her to greet her, licking her hands and trying to lick her face. She sets
him back down onto all fours, and kneels down to his level to tell him hello. Wylder shoves his
nose into Sapphira’s bag looking, unsuccessfully, for any treats she might have brought for
him. Sapphira pulls his nose out of her bag so that she can retrieve the items she will need.
Faolan kneels down to hold Wylder back from Sapphira’s bag. From her bag, Sapphira pulls a
pale green cloth with blue and purple ribbon, and places it on their altar. Faolan calls Wylder to
sit. Then he begins to unfold the cloth and uncovers three eggs safely hidden within. He drapes
the cloth over their altar, then sets each egg on the cloth in a nest of colored ribbon so that they
create a triangle pointing South. Sapphira turns back to her bag and pulls out a bundle each of
forsythia, lilacs, lilies, and herbs. She arranges the herbs around each nest and the flowers in
between. Sapphira returns back to her bag one last time and retrieves a wooden chalice. She
turns to Faolan, “Where is that bottle I gave you this morning?” Faolan fetches the bottle from
his belt pouch and hands it to Sapphira. Sapphira pulls the cork stopper from the bottle with her
mouth and pours the contents into the chalice. A viscous golden liquid flows slowly from the
bottle, and the faint scent of honey floats on the air. Once the bottle is empty, she replaces the
cork back in the bottle and hands the bottle back to Faolan. Sapphira then fetches a bottle about
twice as big from her belt pouch, removes its stopper, and pours its contents into the chalice.
The liquid from this bottle is white in color and flows like water. Once that bottle is empty, she
replaces the cork and hands the bottle to Faolan to store in his belt pouch with the other bottle.
Next, Sapphira retrieves a wooden spoon from her belt pouch and begins stirring what are now
the contents of the chalice together. Once the contents are thoroughly mixed, she hands the
chalice to Faolan. He quietly mutters “makeaoshu” and the chalice begins to glow with a faint
blue hue. Faolan then hands the chalice back to Sapphira and she moves to the South side of
their altar as he sits on the North side to meditate. Wylder lays down just next to Faolan, and
peers under the altar to keep a watchful eye on Sapphira. Sapphira takes five steps away from
their altar and pours a portion of chalice contents on to the ground. After she is done pouring,
she recites her first prayer: “I make this offering to Gaia,
As thanks for the many blessings I have received, And those I shall someday receive.”
Sapphira then turns, and walks counterclockwise around their altar. She takes slow, deliberate
steps, making sure to stay five paces from their altar. A quarter of the way around her circle she
stops, pours a bit more from the chalice, and recites her second prayer: “The Wheel of the Year
turns once more, and Omeria arrives. Sol and Luna are equals,
and the soil begins to change. Gaia awakes from her slumber,
new life springs forth once more.”
Sapphira continues along her path, stopping after she has traversed another quarter of the
circle. A thought invades Faolan’s meditation ‘ Gaia is waking from her slumber, the world
around us is coming back from the death of winter, death is just another slumber, it is a natural
thing to wake from that slumber. ‘
Sapphira pours yet more from the chalice and recites her third prayer:
“Sol draws ever closer to us, greeting Gaia with his welcoming rays. Luna and Sol are equals,
and the sky fills with light and warmth. Sol warms the land beneath our feet,
Sapphira continues along her path again, stopping after she has traversed yet another quarter
of the circle. She pours a little more from the chalice and recites her fourth prayer:
“Spring has come! For this, we are thankful! The Divine is present all around,
in the cool fall of a rain storm, in the tiny buds of a flower, in the down of a newborn chick,
in the fertile fields waiting to be planted, in the sky above us, and in the earth below us.
We thank the universe for all it has to offer us, and are so blessed to be alive on this day.
Welcome, life! Welcome, light! Welcome, spring!”
Sapphira completes her path around their altar. She stops where she recited her first prayer.
She pours out the rest of the contents of the chalice while repeating her first prayer:
“I make this offering to Gaia, As thanks for the many blessings I have received,
And those I shall someday receive.”
With that, the energy that Faolan put into the chalice is gone and Sapphira then returns to their
altar and begins returning items to her pack.
Faolan disassembles the altar, gathers up the pieces, and walks to the north edge of the
field. He walks clockwise around the field, placing a piece of the altar evenly around the field
so the pieces encompass the perimeter of the field. He reaches the road where Sapphira and
Wylder are waiting for him. Together they walk back towards the Spire with Wylder leading the
way, watching him run back and forth from one side of the road to the other, sniffing and looking
for some unknown.
The first light of dawn is filtering through drawn curtains. The rays fall through air thick