New beginnings of old traditions.

Date: 07/26/2013 at 21:25
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: New beginnings of old traditions.

As dawn threatened to break over the city of Targossas on the 1st of Daedalan, 630 AF, the citizens gathered before the Heart of Dawn, their bodies wearied, taxed by the long war with Mhaldor. Still they came in their droves, joined by friends and allies from distant Cyrene and Eleusis, ready to witness the opening ceremony of the inaugural Festival of the Dawn.

A solitary figure kept the crowd organised, the city's Minister of Culture, Tesha al Ashtad, mingling with guests and citymates around the towering pile of lumber erected only the month before by Targossian hands under the supervision of the city's architect. Soon enough, the voices quietened. The time was drawing near.

Under the first few tendrils of the rising sun, a distressed bleating carried through the square, causing scores of heads to turn west. Through the pre-dawn mists came Sothantos de l'Evanoir and Antonius Agarwaen, tugging between them a struggling antelope. Alerted by the animal's snorting, Dawnlord Silas Maynard descended from his chambers high on the Terrace of the Faithful to join the crowd, and the ritual sacrifice to mark the opening ceremony commenced.

The city's Patrons manifested in all Their splendour: Lord Deucalion, the Righteous Fire, and Lady Aurora, the Lightbringer. It was to Them that the Dawnlord made his declarations, beseeching Them for strength, for wisdom, for clarity for all who would compete in the festival's games, and in the first Daybreak Championship.

Amidst the prayers of the citizens there was the flash of a knife, and the antelope's throat was slit, an offering of blood made to the Light. Its body was then lifted and laid on the pyre, drenched in oil as an offering to the fire.

A torch was lifted, kindled from the sacred Flames of the Dawn, and a small ivory taper was lit; within moments, thick plumes of smoke rose into the firmament, joined by the cheers of the citizens and their honoured guests. Shouts split the silence, hailing the Bloodsworn Gods, and as the Dawnspear was bathed in an aurulent glow, the Festival of the Dawn began.

The 13th day of Daedalan in the year 631 AF dawned a bright one. As the dust was just beginning to settle on the final match-up of the Daybreak Championship, the sounds of battle were still fading from The Gauntlet. A little over a year had passed since the opening ceremony, and once again Targossians young and old gathered in Silverbright Square as the Festival of the Dawn drew to a close.

Strutting youths proudly compared fine battle wounds while, in quieter corners, bards and poets recited tales and swapped stories of the prose shared during the festival's open squares. The city was still abuzz, but there was an air of finality as Tesha al Ashtad stepped forth, overseeing the proceedings for the closing ceremony.

The avid crowd quietened, their attention rapt as Tesha spoke of the way Sothantos de l'Evanoir, champion of the Year 600 Games, had been bested in a series of three duels by the jester Terra. The two Caefir soldiers had battled throughout the city to the adulation of the crowd, first blood struck by Terra before Sothantos levelled the score.

Though the final fight was a hard fought contest, the day belonged to Terra. Her jack-in-the-box brought her victory, winning her the distinction of being the city's first Daybreak Exemplar as well as a million gold sovereigns in prize money from the city coffers.

Many more prizes were given out to all those who had triumphed in the festival's games: to Lachlan Del-Amroth, who triumphed in the design contest; to Davio Op'Shae, victor of the jousting tournament; and many more besides. As the sun began to set over the festivities, the prizegiving finally ended and the stage was given over to the esteemed Dawnlord Silas Maynard.

A short speech was given, thanks offered to the citizens for their growing unity, their participation: to the Bloodsworn for Their guidance and Their blessings. As the day and the festival edged closer to their end, it was to the future that Silas bade his citizens look, before handing over to Tesha for a final time.

With a final prayer, the Festival of the Dawn concluded. The raging bonfire that had marked its opening blazed once more in a furious crescendo of light and fire, visible throughout the land, before consuming itself in an instant, leaving nothing behind but ash.

Penned by My hand on the 10th of Ero, in the year 631 AF.