D. J. Scott D. J. Scott
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Chapter II: Nepenthean Eve

One sennight did the woodland age
since Serenity’s sorrow incited;
since Faith, the Dryads’ trusted sage,
her sister to Esbat invited.
And Serenity waited night after night
as the full Moon’s eve had near’d,
and gathered her hopes upon the rite
as she readied to meet her wyrd.

Copyright � 2002-2017 by Dustin Jon Scott
[Last Update: Decemberrd, 2017]

¶I. Swith upon the Emerald Forest came the sennight of the full Moon quarter; and in those first three nights, as the Moon waxed ever Her fullness nearer, Serenity’s thoughts were rested always upon her plight. For as the full Moon’s night drew evermore nigh, so too had raught itself evermore deeply into the hollow of her lonely soul the abysm that Serenity had so coldly felt aching within her. Until at last on that quarter’s fourth night, whenas the Moon rode nigh Her peak, Serenity, Harmony, and Faith stole away together into a dark corner of the wood, and found themselves a small and myrky pool by which Faith could work her seid.

¶II. There under the silvern light of Diana, Faith browsed the nearby bushes and trees, her shaman-staff in hand, gathering many a fruit and herb. And ever the while the Rhapsodess Harmony piped away on her crude reed flute, playing along to the chanting Faith sung as she quietly canted her shaman-song:

“Diana, O Diana, Blessed Mother of us all:
Thou That ridest at Thine height, this quarter of the Moon,
and art lovely hied, this time each Moon, Lalal,
That dost bright the sky each night; to Whom I cant this rune:
Unto me this sacred eve do I Thee humbly call,
to give Thy power to this rite, and lend to it Thy boon.

“Helios, O Helios, Great Father of us all:
Thou That bearest to us light, from Thy throne below,
and returnest as the Ram each Spring, eft slumbering sith the Fall;
Thou Who art of endless might, and love too great to know;
Who rebelled against the evil of the diresome Dark One’s thrall:
Thy splendor to me grant this night, and with Thy power, endow.

“Arady, O Arady, Holy Teacher of us all,
Daughter of the Day and Night: Inspire this, my spell
O Holy Pilgrimess, Whose love doth us befall;
that Thou might send Thy vim alight: this I Thee compel
and of Thee pray, an it doth not too greatly gall.
And humblely I Thee invite, to this ritual indwell.”

¶III. As Faith rowned her heart was come upborne on waft of moonlit air, and from the depths of her breast these lyrics she sang as if by the eldest of shamans sung, and accompanied by the stirring weep of Harmony’s reed flute her whispered words sailed softly aloft breaths of such deft and topless feat, that not even the finest of mortal voice could hope compare -- and would do naught but in their beauty pale. And thus were the night’s mysts riven by the refulgence of the Rhapsodist’s play, and the wake of them filled with magics by the very soul of Faith empowered.

¶IV. And ’cross her chest Faith wore a strap sewn of braided vine, whence at her hip a satchel hung. And all the while as she sang dropped into the purse each new fitting herb she’d found: apple blooms and cherry fruits, strawberries and redcurrants, petals of rose and rose-hip, trefoils and blossoms of clover, red berries of elder and bramble and rowan, young seed pods of red poppy, and a single granada bairn.

¶V. Serenity stood waiting by the pool in the warmth of the dark blue night, listing unto her sisters’ song as she stood amidst the rustling maple leaves that nightly gilded shone, as fireflies flitted about the wood to a quiring of crickets and toads. Yet Serenity could not be stilled. Her throat knotted and her heart quaked, kneeving hard against her breast as her shoulders slightly trembled; for never before had she been subject to the workings of a shaman’s Craft, nor witness to a rite’s first spelling, and kenned not precisely enough for her liking of what fate would soon betide her.

¶VI. Erelong and the Drayads Faith and Harmony returned unto the pool whereat its eastward end stood Faith opposite Serenity, as Harmony stayed in silence just behind her. And into the purse that at her right hip hung raught Faith, and cast a handful of her herbs upon the moonlit water. And as the herbs fell upon the pool the water’s subtle motion obscured the white moonglade, and by the full Moon’s brightness cast upon the dark and unstill pool were the Drayads bathed in dancing veins of brightly sallow moonlight.

¶VII. Then holding firmly the treen shaft in her right hand Faith raised her staff above her, with her face then skyward-turned, and with her eyen shut she sweetly rowned:

“Hail Orient of the Grigories,
Watcher of the Eastern Gate,
Guardian of the Spring and Air,
and the Sacred Circle’s fate;
to thy Watchtower I call thee,
to keep this Circle’s verge,
from all malice protect it,
and from it, all evil purge.”

¶VIII. As Faith spake these words there crept a breeze through all the nearby wood and ’tween the trees around them, and all about the leaves and branches swayed in the night air’s currents. And Faith’s whispers were carried throughout the shades on back of the eve’s idyllic winds, as the toads and crickets ceased their song, for those whispers purged the darks themselves of all the wold about them, and rebellowed quietly everywhere, inspiring the eventide ether.

¶IX. And a few steps ’round the Moon-sprent pool went Faith deosil to its southward end. And there Faith cast over the dark water another handful of her herbs, and turned her face to the sky above as with staff held high she closed her eyen and rowned:

“Hail Meridy of the Grigories,
Watcher of the Southern Gate,
Guardian of Summer and Fire,
and the Sacred Circle’s fate;
to thy Watchtower I call thee,
to keep this Circle’s verge,
from all malice protect it,
and from it, all evil purge.”

¶X. As these words were spake the clouds above the southern Silvern Hills, hid partly by the treetops, lit up in violent fulgor, as from ’yond the distant mountain peaks there roared a crashing thunder. And the sky above them darkled as in the distance rain-fraught clouds came rolling slowly over.

¶XI. Then deosil went Faith ’round whither stood Serenity, and there at the pool’s westward end she cast another handful of her herbs upon the water, and with her eyen closed and face up-vised she held high her staff and rowned:

“Hail Occident of the Grigories,
Watcher of the Western Gate,
Guardian of Autumn and Water,
and the Sacred Circle’s fate;
to thy Watchtower I call thee,
to keep this Circle’s verge,
from all malice protect it,
and from it, all evil purge.”

¶XII. And a myst began to fill again that dark corner of the wood, and a soft and tepid rain fell lightly adown on them. And Faith walked deosil ’round unto the circle’s northward end, whereat she stood and cast her herbs upon the hissing water. And unto the sky she faced with eyen held closed as the heavy dew deflowed her face; and with her staff held high above she began again to rown:

“Hail Septentry of the Grigories,
Watcher of the Northern Gate,
Guardian of Winter and Earth,
and the Sacred Circle’s fate;
to thy Watchtower I call thee,
to keep this Circle’s verge,
from all malice protect it,
and from it, all evil purge.”

¶XIII. Under the Drayads’ feet the earth began to slowly warm with a gentle, silent hum. And smiling to each of her sisters, Faith stepped deosil back unto the circle’s eastward end, ere she kirked once more her lidded eyen up to the darken sky above, and held high again her staff as she began once more to rown:

“Hail Spirity of the Grigories,
Watcher of the Inner Gate,
Guardian of Light and Ether,
and the Sacred Circle’s fate;
to thy Watchtower I call thee,
to keep this Circle’s verge,
from all malice protect it,
and from it, all evil purge.”

¶XIV. A sudden and the rains had ceased as the earth and air were calmed. And the last remaining thunders from the clouds above waned away into nihility, as the clouds themselves receded, and with them took the rain. And all within that corner of the Emerald Forest was silent and still, save for those enduring whispers of Faith’s reverbing rune above the quiet hum of the fireflies flying abound. Thus was laved all the woodland near in unseen magics descending from the Moon and stars and sky above, and uprising also from the earth below; and thus also were the Drayads warmly rapt in those viewless ethers unto them becked by hest of Faith.

¶XV. Eft a few moments’ silence, Faith glanced and smiled at her sisters twain, and again raised up her staff, and with her eyen wide open looked up unto the sky and galed:

“In the name of the Light-bearer,
Helios, of the All-seeing Eye;
in the name of the Great Mother,
Diana, of the midnight sky;
in the name of the Pilgrimess,
Arady, Traveler On High;
that properly cast be this Circle,
do now proclaim I!”

¶XVI. And as Faith outcried these last few words, they rebellowed throughout the wood and began to fade slowly away, taking with them also unto silent end the evermore quietly repeating runes that had preceded from her. And all in that corner of the forestland was even quieter than before; for naught but the gentle hum of the fireflies’ flight could be heard in all the nearby woods, and naught but those swarming creatures in that moment seemed to move. Thus remained though only briefly, and eft passed a moment more the crickets and toads resumed their quire as all the wood returned to life.

¶XVII. Faith then laid her staff and satchel on the ground beside her feet, and lowered herself adown into the myrky pool wherein its limous dreg she sat with each leg folded into the other. Once comfortable there she raught her hand out to Serenity, who then took the out-stretched hand of Faith in hers and sat with her sister in the shallow water, nobbut about four inches deep. And over the twain stood Harmony, preparing to pipe on her flute.

¶XVIII. Sitting there together in that dark and myrky pool, Serenity and Faith were like Harmony bathed in the soft lutescence on them from every angle cast, by the fireflies hoving about and by starry glow of the pomes that spangled the fire-fruit trees, as the shimmering light of the white moonglade upon the water in which they sat brindled their skin in sparkling threads of paly, bright moonlight. Without word then raught Faith over unto her satchel that on the dry ground lay beside her, and laid it widely open for all its contents to be seen. And there upon the open weaved-hemp bag sat all the fruits she’d gathered, and what remained of all her herbs.

¶XIX. “What now?” asked Serenity, staring quizzically at her Faith, who with her head adown-turned busily sorted each fruit and herb she’d kept. And whenas Faith’s gaze arose to meet Serenity’s she at first said naught in reply, instead only smiling at her sister as she took up six cherries from upon the open bag. Then, as Harmony began to play with her flute a new tune, Faith fed the cherries one by one to Serenity, all the while saying:

“With these six cherries
do I thee bless,
so what against thee
doth now transgress,
shall na’y an eve more
thy soul distress!”

¶XX. Faith then took up into her hands the three strawberries that lay upon her bag, and fed to Serenity each after the other, saying, to the rhythm of Harmony’s playing:

“With these strawberries
do I thee bless.
Let what woe that doth
thee so depress
no longer thine heart
in woe possess!”

¶XXI. As Harmony continued to pipe on her flute and Serenity finished her strawberries, Faith gathered from amidst her heap of berries and herbs two dozens of redcurrants. And she fed them twain-meal unto Serenity, saying:

“With these redcurrants
do I thee bless.
The pain that doth so
thine heart impress --
that again thy spright
doth dare aggress,
and assay’th thy joy
to dispossess --
shall be here allow’d
no more progress,
nor more thy spirit
shall it oppress!
For the woe to us
thou didst confess
should na’y ’ave plagued thee,
O trewardess,
so greatly that thou
hast need repress
this woe within thee;
such dolefulness !
An this rite’s spelling
be a success,
freely ’gain thine heart
couldst thou express --
for reborn should be
thy sereneness!”

¶XXII. Then the Shamaness gathered in her hands nine red brambleberries, and with the Rhapsodist’s flute still playing, Faith began feeding them to Serenity, saying:

“With these raspberries
do I thee bless,
to purge of thee all
thy forlornness;
for this night, this hour,
do I profess
that aught which plague thee
doth evanesce,
and restore to thee
thy blissfulness!”

¶XXIII. Serenity smiled brightly as she mashed the raspberries between her tongue and her cheek, and still chewing them, told her Faith: “Thou’st written a very delicious rite!”

¶XXIV. “My Serenity,” said Harmony, having ceased for the moment her play.

¶XXV. “Yes, my Harmony?” answered Serenity, the lids of her awesome, jazel eyen fluttering as she turned to Harmony her unwitting, innocent vise.

¶XXVI. “Thou art not supposed to speak,” replied Harmony.

¶XXVII. Serenity smiled embarrassedly and said, “I prithee pardon,” ere blushing as she glutted adown swith her bramble-fruit.

¶XXVIII. A wide grin overtook Faith’s face as if she were silently laughing, and as Harmony resumed piping upon her crude reed flute, Faith just shook her head slightly, and gathered up from the heap upon her bag twelve red elderberries. She then waited a moment for the appropriate point in Harmony’s play to chime in, and beginning to feed the berries unto her sister, two-by-two, she said:

“With elderberries
do I thee bless.
And henceforth shall wane
thy soul’s illness,
an’ this hour begin
to swith regress!
Na’y an day other
be thou actless,
nor mired in thine
For this thing I pray:
Thy woe’s redress!”

¶XXIX. Faith waited as Serenity finished her elderberries, and then picked out from amidst her herbs thirteen red rowanberries, and at first opportune moment of Harmony’s piping set to feeding them twain-meal unto Serenity. And as before with each pair of berries she sang to her sister a verse:

“With rowanberries
do I thee bless.
What doom for thy soul
the Fates assess:
in facing it be
thou not pithless;
in courage shalt thou
thy fate address
without e’er a mote
of abjectness,
and from this path not
shalt thou digress,
lest thy malady
shall reviresce!

¶XXX. Next the Shamaness searched through her pile of herbs to find amongst them the young pods of poppy seeds, and gathered them up into one hand. She then began feeding the opy unto Serenity, and sang as she did, to the tune of Harmony’s playing:

“With these red poppies
do I thee bless,
and pray thee swithly
do convalesce!
Thy youth eternal,
thy form ageless,
and thy beauty, to
all, opposeless;
this night yet shall thy
splendidness cresce!”

¶XXXI. Serenity could not but brightly smile as these kindly words alit her ears, nor could her heart but merry at the prospect of being herself once more, and to boot, greater than ever in measure of what benefit her beautiful, loving sister saw within her being! But in that moment Serenity bade herself not show her Faith the affection she was wont, lest she disrupt her sister’s rite.

¶XXXII. And then as Harmony kept piping, Faith began to separate her remaining herbs into piles: one mostly of trefoils and flowers of clover, another of blossoms of apple, another of petals of rose; and from them removed the granada and rose hips, as Serenity did patiently wait there.

¶XXXIII. Faith gathered then into her hands most of the pile of clover, and tossed in turn three small handfuls up into the air above Serenity, and with them thus besprent her. And as she did she sang along to the tune of the piper’s play:

“With leaf and blossom
do I thee bless,
so with purgation
shalt thou concresce,
and excise thy sor-
-row from thy cess!

¶XXXIV. And as Harmony kept playing her flute, Faith took up the granade fruit into her hands and began unraveling it, collecting into her left hand the small rubescent seeds as she did. And having collected a handful of them, set adown the fruit and began feeding her sister the seeds, saying, to the rhythm of the Rhapsodist’s playing:

“With granada seed
do I thee bless;
to free of thee thy
spirit’s tristness,
whilst laying to rest
thy hopelessness!
Awake now thine heart
from listlessness!”

¶XXXV. Faith then took up the rose-hips from upon her open hemp bag, and she fed them each to Serenity in turn with Harmony’s play, singing:

“With these four rose-hips
do I thee bless,
for this spell to thee
is my largess:
to mend of thee thy
I pray this for thee,
O trewardess!”

¶XXXVI. And the Shamaness drew up into her hands the heap of apple blooms, and cast them over her sister; and as she did, she spake, singing along with the piping of Harmony’s flute:

“With blooms of apple
do I thee bless,
’midst maples that night-
-ly luminesce,
and fireflies swarm-
-ing, bright no less;
as radiant let
thine heart frondesce!”

¶XXXVII. Faith grabbed up three handfuls of rose petals from upon her open satchel, tossing each into the air above Serenity ere reaching for the next, and with each handful she cast she sang a verse to the tune that the piper played:

“With petal of rose
do I thee bless,
to free thee of these
longings, kindless!
Arise thou above
thy brokenness!”

Version 1
Version 2
Version 3

§αI: “Serenity’s Sorrow”
§αII: “Nepenthean Eve”
§αIII: “Embrocation”
§αIV: “Enchantment”
§αV: “Raven, Heroness, and Crow”
§αVI: “Of The Fairish Courts”
§αVII: “Tombestry”
§αVIII: “The Hallowkells”
§αIX: “Treacle and Tonic”
§αX: “Fearfullest Bliss”
§αXI: “Faith Besought”
§αXII: “Departing Paradise”
⚑ = You Are Here.

The Descent of the Dryad
Επυλλιον Αλφα: Antegesis
Επυλλιον Βητα: Imegesis
Επυλλιον Γαμμα: Diegesis
Επυλλιον Δηλτα: Exegesis
⚑ = You Are Here.

The Sovereignty Cycle
The Descent of the Drayad
The Phantasmata
The Book of Rowans
Chaos & Virtue
⚑ = You Are Here.

The Palæoboreanica
The Geneticon
The Sovereignty Cycle
⚑ = You Are Here.

Ancient Borea
The Borean World
The Palæoboreanica
People & Races
⚑ = You Are Here.

Ancient Borea
Red the Blue Devil
The Nocturnals
The Spacebunnies
Solar Civil War
⚑ = You Are Here.

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