Tuesday, 5 May 2009

spring festivals

As Friday was May 1st, it seems apt to create a 4E version of a spring festival. The presence of the Feywild and Shadowfell also needs some consideration. So, here's three versions of the same festival - one for each plane.

Spring Festival - A pastoral festival, with dressing of trees in ribbons, rags and kerchiefs, weaving of covers for wells out of supple twigs and ribbon and the raising of a dancing pole with ribbons, bells and tipped with a wreath of spring blossom. Sweet wine and strong ale are shared between participants and quiet groves are set aside for merry-making and trysts.

Songs and prayers to Corellon, Melora, Pelor and Sehanine are offered in ceremonies to foster beauty, harmony with nature, fertility and love. At ports, this is reproduced around a ship's mast with coloured ropes and ribbons. Rum and ale are circulated freely, bawdy songs are sung on the docks and beaches as taverns offer all kinds of entertainments.

The Ribbon Tree - In the Feywild, observance of seasonal rituals is serious and in the courts of the Green, Gloaming and Summer fey, a living tree is adorned with bells, ribbons and rags for a spiral dance. Musicians play a lively reel, wine and ale are shared and quiet groves do not stay that way. Oaths are not obliged or asked, they must be given freely.

The fomorians and goblins will sometimes raid at the time of the Ribbon Tree to carry off guests as a declaration of war. A version of the Ribbon Tree is also performed in Brokenstone Vale; as the lycanthropes dance with humans to hunt them down in the groves before trysting with each other in bloody revelry. Not all spring ceremonies are pretty affairs or end in love and harmony.

Chaining The Gallows - Even in the Shadowfell, life is celebrated. A former gallows is torn down and the pole has several slender chains and dark ribbons nailed to it's head before being crowned in a wreath of dark blooms and thorns. It is then raised up for a dance which starts slow like a gavotte but which grows more frenzied until the participants are face-to-face.

The shadar-kai find the rite exhilarating and often seek to ensnare one another in the chains (in homage to the Raven Queen's admonition that none escape the chains of fate) - for in the Shadowfell, this ceremony acknowledges the limits of the Raven Queen's power for a time yet winter will come again - such a thing is inevitable.

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