The Ritual Sacrifice to Myrkvior in Cylus 721

The untamed wilderness of Melrath is vast and encompasses frigid mountain ranges, glacial fields, deep alpine lakes, dark ancient forests as well as the expansive shoreline of the nation. Here creatures and spirits dwell together in the remote places of the world, far from the hustle and bustle of civilization.
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14h Cylus 721 in Myrkvior Forest

Ashling attended the ritual sacrifices to Myrkvior this arc. It had been the Vynmur ritual the previous arc and she had been there with Tristan. A dear memory. But, Myrkvior, the great spirit of the forest with the same name, was the spirit she worshipped the most.

It was different every time. You could never know in advance what to expect.

The Aesir were in charge and they carried out the rituals the way they decided was right. They spoke to the spirits and found out how to go about it. The worshippers followed the directions of the shamans without questioning anything. It wasn’t done.

So also this time.

The procession moved forward at a slow but determined pace. The Aesir led it. The crowd marched in their wake. Many were carrying burning torches as they moved through the night and cold of Cylus. The cold was almost unbearable but Ashling endured it without whining. Melrathi people didn’t whine. Period. They walked in silence, set on following through, no matter what. That was all.

“You weren’t here the last arc.” The voice was only too familiar. Nathon, or Owl as his fellow storm-touched called him. Ashling hadn’t seen him since she had patched him up after a fight half an arc ago or so. Nathon was influenced by the mentality of an Eagle-owl and tended to seek solitude.

“Nathon?” she said without turning her gaze from the Aesir.

“Yeah. It’s me.”

What could she say? Nice to see you? It would be partly true. It was good to see that her former patient wasn’t dead yet. But, it was never nice to be with Nathon. It could be many things. Sad. Scary. Irritating. Exasperating. Tragical. Enigmatic. Intriguing. Unpredictable. Dangerous. The man was as incomprehensible as a dream, sometimes melancholic like a fairy tale, at other times bordering on a nightmare and always weird.

“I thought the storm-touched had taken to worship Svariella and moved to the village by the lake.” Ashling hadn’t been there. She had been so busy in Fensalir and then in Raelia.

“Not all of us. I’ve never wanted to settle there.”


“Rainbows, parties and happy dancing. It’s for herdies.”

“Herdies?” It was a new word to her.

“You know. People with herd animal traits. And farmies, with traits of sheep, cows, chicken.”

“Herdies and farmies. I didn’t know there are subgroups among the storm-touched. I thought you were like one big happy family united by the fate you share, living together at Lake Svariella.”

“No. Only herdies and farmies. The others prefer the wilds.”

“The others? And they are?

“The killers.”

Nathon delivered the answer in a matter of fact tone like it was natural. She guessed it was...the predators of the wilds were natural-born killers so the storm-touched influenced by those...could maybe be called the killers. She didn’t like the label though.

“You are people. Storm-touched people.”

“Your usual stance. I’m not that sure. I was different ... before.”

Ashling almost turned her gaze from the Aesir to Nathon. “What? Has your memory returned?”

She had spent so much time and effort on attempting to heal no only his long ago gone head injury but also his lost memory that it was impossible to not feel interested.

“I recall more these days. Fragments. My time in the Ydalir. The storm. Violet lightning, cobalt rain. You, in the house of the healers. I think it already was too late when you advised me to not return outdoors. I must already have been out in the storm for a too long time.”

They were on their way to a sacred ceremony. This wasn’t the time to investigate if Nathon’s memory had improved. She would have to wait until they were back in Fensalir. If he planned to head back there? She had to ensure that he wouldn’t disappear after the spiritual sacrifice. The man had a track record of taking off to the wilds like an owl flying away like a silent shadow among the trees.

“I want to speak to you afterwards,” she said.


“I want to test your memory. Find out more about your condition.”


It was like trying to get a grip on a fish that was specialized in escaping from your hands and into the dark water where you couldn’t see it anymore. Impossible to get hold of. Ashling recalled all the previous fruitless conversations between herself and Nathon about his storm-touched condition. He had sounded reasonable for a while but now he didn’t. Not anymore. A thought struck her. Was it only like this when she tried to speak about his memory problems and the changes the storm had imposed upon him? Was he just fending off attempts to speak about it? Would it work better to take another approach? Could she start from another angle and work around this? It might be better to not ask questions. Just make him speak and listen to him.

She got an idea.

“I recall when we were out walking and had a beer in the park. And then you captured the Fenmoor crooks and handed them over to the Ydalir. It’s been a long time Nathon. We should have a beer after the ritual. Speak a bit about how the ceremony was. It seems so unusually dark this arc. I hope it won’t give me nightmares. ”

For a moment she thought he was going to ask why. It wouldn’t surprise her if he suspected her of trying to trick him. Nathon was strange and might seem deluded but he wasn’t a fool. Hopefully, he would feel like having a beer though. He used to like beer.

“Where?” he said.

“Some tavern. If you still have the dark glasses.”

“I’m wearing them now. You would know if you would look at me.”

“Good. I’m looking at the Aesir...I don’t want to miss out on anything...or do mistakes...”

“Don’t worry. They won’t sacrifice you. If they try to volunteer you, I’ll kill them.”

Killing an Aesir during the ritual sacrifices to Myrkvior? The idea of Nathon going natural-born killer owl and taking down an Aesir for her was outrageous. She had to mitigate this and make sure that it wouldn’t come true on a whim.

“Eh, thanks, but ...” Her thoughts were grappling for a way to avert it.

“Just stick with me. I’m a Ydalir, remember? On a leave. But still on duty.”

Ashling remembered very well that the Ydalir had refused to tell her much about Nathon and his role in their organization. They had also not kicked him as far as she knew. At least not officially. It had seemed like they had allowed him to believe that he still was one of them. It was hardly so, as Nathon was a red-eyed being roaming around in the forest killing rats and beating up cats. In between, he used to grant Fensalir a visit to make trouble there too. It was maybe easier for them to handle him as a would-be Ydalir and so, on their side? That was a thought. A would-be Ydalir seemed better than a natural-born killer owl-stormie.

She would play along.

“Thanks. It’s good to know that I’m with the Ydalir.”

“You’re in safe hands.”

The procession stopped in a dark grove. Why the Aesir had chosen this place was secret and nobody in the crowd of worshippers asked about it. Crowd and crowd. They weren’t that many. She had heard that last arc’s sacrifices to Myrkvior had been impressive but also a horror. A big group of members of Myrkvior’s Kin had volunteered as human sacrifices. If it hadn’t been a holy ceremony it would have been a mass suicide. The memories and tales about it might have scared people from attending this arc. Or, could it be that Svariella had gained followers at the expense of Myrkvior?

There was one more thing. Rumour had it former members of Myrkvior’s Kin had joined the Aesir. It was possible that it only was made up stories. Still, it might have unnerved some citizens.

Meaningless speculations, because the ceremony was already beginning.

They did the sacrifice in a swift, almost rushed manner, very unlike the long rituals she had witnessed the last arc, with Tristan. The sacrifice to Vynmur had possessed a kind of beauty despite the ritual killings. The current sacrifice was ugly. As much as Ashling feared and hated the Grendel’s, seeing an innocent little Grendel baby be slaughtered, its blood spilling out on the ground, made nausea flood her. She wanted to avert her gaze but it wasn’t the way to behave at the sacrifices. She had to endure the sight, stay focused and behave as she should. It took effort, but she forced herself to do it.

Then, it turned worse.

Several of the Aesir stepped forth and sacrificed themselves. The crowd’s reaction mirrored the shock and dismay on the faces of the other Aesir in attendance. They all stared at the heap of dead bodies gathered in the middle of the grove. And then, while they watched, the earth seemed to open up and swallow the sacrifice. Only a large pit in the middle of the grove spoke of what had happened. It looked almost bottomless...

Ashling was dizzy, her legs unsteady. She suppressed a need to vomit. What she had witnessed had been so gross and so hard to take in that her mind was reeling. She wanted to leave. She wanted to flee like an animal in fear, hide in a safe place and forget. Just one thing. She seemed to be frozen and glued to the ground, like in a nightmare. Her feet wouldn’t move.

“Come on. Let’s get the Hel out of here.”

The sound of Nathon’s voice pulled her out of the stupor. Ashling was clinging to his arm like a drowning woman holding on to a bit of driftwood. She couldn’t recall grabbing it... Now, Nathon made her turn around and pulled at her to make her walk.

“Wait. This ...”

Whatever had accepted the sacrifices it couldn’t be the Myrkvior she revered. The forest was a source of life, a green and bountiful treasure, not dark a pit of death and blood. At least to Ashling, it was so. It must be so ... it must. Although other people already were walking away, she wasn’t going to leave the grove without a prayer. It would have to be brief, but pray she would.

Green mother of the trees and plants,
forest meadows, singing birds.
Remember your name.


She didn’t know where she got the words from and she didn’t care, but she felt Kyrie flutter inside her. It might have been the familiar speaking, using Ashling as a channel for something she wasn’t able to understand, only experience. For good or for bad she had done it and it was fulfilled.

Nathon put his arm around her. “Let’s go and have that beer now Ashling. And a shot or two of Forest Star.”

Yes, Forest Star, the foremost liquor of Fensalir. That was what she needed. Lots of it.

They walked back to Fensalir.

word count: 1931
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Re: Requiem

Experience: +10 xp


Endurance x3
Psychology x3


Skillplay: Appropriate to level

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Venturing into the strange world of Melrath is always an interesting journey; there was a lot for me to learn in this thread, things I wasn’t previously familiar with, such as the storm-touched and Myrkvior’s Kin.

Fortunately, you do an excellent job of setting the scene, and hinting at just enough context that one can work out a general picture of what is going on even without a lot of remedial background reading: Ashling values tradition, even when it isn’t pretty; Nathon had a traumatic experience that left him profoundly changed, physically as well as psychically; Ashling has tried to help him, with mixed results; the Aesir keep the old ways, but have been infiltrated by an even more fanatical and bloodthirsty faction known as Myrkvior’s Kin, with horrific effects. That’s what I was able to get *without* doing a lot of background reading, and it works.

Of course, I did also read up a bit on Nathon, the Aesir, etc., to get a better understanding. But the point is, as someone writing fantasy, you had one job: to make a strange, fantastic setting and the strange, fantastic characers populating it feel real and come alive, and you did. Well done!

I wonder how Ashling will react to this experience. Will she have a crisis of faith, if not in her religious beliefs then perhaps in the leadership of the Aesir? If not, how will she resolve/process her experiences?

Let me know if you have any questions/feedback. Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 283
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