Worldbuilding – Session 1: The Ritual of Life

I mentioned most briefly on Twitter that I did something crazy and signed up for an online writing course through Writer’s Digest on Worldbuilding.  I had received several emails about the class, but was having trouble pulling the trigger because of all the things currently on my plate.  I finally decided to just do it, because I cannot express how long I have wanted to take a writing class specifically focused on fantasy.  Add to that the fact that this is a Worldbuilding course and I am very fond of the world of Dadreon I have been building for around two decades now (OMG, I’m old) and I don’t know why I even fought it!

The writing prompt for Week 1, in which we discussed the presence of magic or technology and the its implementations in your story:

Write a short scene of 500-1500 words that features aspects of your world’s magic (an artifact, spell, ritual, etc.) or advanced technology. Give that magic spell, technological gizmo, etc. a solid context in the story that conveys its reason for being and the limits to its power, so that no further explanation is necessary but what it adds to the story.

I hope you enjoy this first piece.  Trying to knock some rust off my creative writing, since I have been so focused on work-related writing lately.  And I’m very happy to touch on an aspect of Dadreon that I have not focused on much.

~ Effy

The Ritual of Life

Sunlight in Trees

The elderly elven woman came to a stop and leaned against the thick trunk of one of the many aspen trees. The cool, smooth bark helped refresh her. Her breath came labored, something that never gave her problems in her younger years, but those years were far behind her. Now, even the leisurely pace she had set for herself to get to the grove had exhausted her.

1036 years would do that to a body, even an elven one.

The coimeadai(1) prepared for the doitean ar soal(2), but she had some time.

“Today is the day – the day I rejoin the earth from which I came. I have no regrets. I have lived a long and full life. I have seen more than I ever expected in my time.

“I have seen the destruction of our forests, our sinsear(3). I have seen the shattering of our world. I have seen the rise of the humans – these eachtrannach(4) – and their conquering of this land which withers at their touch. I have seen many atrocities against the siofra(5). But we have endured and we shall endure.”

The elderly elven woman held her hand against the trunk of the aspen tree before her. She closed her eyes and opened her mind. “Sinsear, lend me your strength. I need it more right now than ever before.

Mhathair(6),” the elderly elven woman whispered. Her breath had returned to normal but she still felt tired. She wanted to sit down, but she knew that soon it would no longer matter. Soon, she would join her sinsear. “Mhathair, I go to join you today.”

And we will welcome you with open arms, my daughter. We are very proud. Your strength, your leadership, has helped lead the siofra through many trials. Because of this, today you become one of us. To live on and to spread your wisdom. The voice that came into her head soothed her and suffused her with a warmth that revitalized her.

One of the coimeadai, a young girl with ginger-colored hair, though not as brilliant as the old woman’s now-greying tresses had once been, touched her shoulder. “Seanmhathair(7), it is time.”

The old elven woman nodded. She leaned on the arm of the coimeadai and let herself be led to the circle of those who would begin the doitean ar soal and lead her to her second life.

Soon she would be free of this aging body. Soon she would be one of the sinsear. Soon her mind would be one with that of the forest. Soon she would lend her wisdom to future siofra.

The elderly elven woman could not help wondering if the transformation would be painful. She knew the sinsear would be with her throughout all of it, but her mind began to wander to such things. Things like how differently it would feel to be an aspen instead of an elf. How would it feel to have no arms or legs or eyes or mouth?

Seanmhathair Crishta,” the lead coimeadai called out, addressing the old elven woman by name. “Let us begin.”

The old elven woman walked slowly to the center of a circle of elves all wearing the airy, light brown robes of the coimeadai. They tightened the circle around her and took hands. She stood in a shaft of bright sunlight – the spot of the doitean ar soal chosen for that exact reason. Its warmth lit her face and she closed her eyes.

Chanting arose around her. It started slowly and seemed to waver around her as it grew in sound and pitch. Everything except the chanting and the sun on her face fell away.

All at once her fingers and toes began to tingle. They felt as though they were elongating – her fingers reaching for the sky until she thought she could almost touch it and her toes penetrating the earth beneath her and seeing how deep it ran.

Then, Crishta felt the sun’s warmth change. It suffused her in a way she never expected. Her arms reached for it. Her fingers drank in its energy. She felt it all through her, revitalizing her. It was an energy she had not felt in many years, a youthful feel she had almost forgotten.

She felt a need to look around her. A brief moment of panic went through her.

Fear not, daughter. Open your mind and you will realize the vast world your senses can still witness.

She saw, not with eyes, but with another sense entirely. The outline of every tree of the forest came to her, and she saw the lifeforce pulsing within each one, flowing slowly like great, individual rivers. Then, she realized she could also see the elves, the coimeadai, the keepers of the forest, still gathered in a circle around her. They did not flow like rivers, rather they pulsed with a self-contained lifeforce, and because they were so focused they shone like bright flames.

The epiphany that came to her at that moment changed her view of the world even more. Even her long life as an elf was merely a flash of flame compared to the slow and plodding of the existence of the sinsear.

Footnotes:

  1. coimeadao – keepers
  2. doitean ar soal – ritual of life
  3. sinsear – ancestors
  4. eachtrannach – foreigners
  5. siofra – elf, the elven people
  6. mhathair – mother
  7. seanmhathair – grandmother

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

One thought on “Worldbuilding – Session 1: The Ritual of Life

  1. Pingback: Author Up Challenge – Day 6 | Awaiting the Muse

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