We’re nearing the end of the #My30DayWorld challenge, and though we’re many days behind we are still going to finish. Today, well, today I’m posting a little story about a city called Sharkspawn and a night called the Sovess Moon. The Legacy of Ash began as a role-playing setting for us, slowly evolving into fantasy fiction as the characters and cultures we created began to take on lives of their own. We hope you’ll follow us over the next few weeks as we reveal a little more about our world and the characters who bring it to life.
This post will cover day 27. We’re doing them all on our Legacy of Ash Facebook page as well, so head over and give us a like.
4/15: Do Any People in Your World Revere Nature? How Deeply?
People have traditions the world over. Different cultures celebrate different things, different gods, revering nature and the primordial places between the safety of the cities and their brilliant radiants. In the city of Sharkspawn, an island city in the Sule Basin Strait off the southern shores of Alrend’ris, there has long been a deep respect of the sea and the life it gives. A city built on hundreds of small islands, the streets composed of bridges between, Sharkspawn has recently been freed from the rule of the Gorgon Court. Now a haven for pirates, the city is reverting to the old traditions. The city is home to shark priests called the Followers of the Crescent Eye, and once a year they gather to give thanks to the waters of the Sule Basin in a celebration called the Sovess Moon.
The Sovess Moon had come.
A night of ritual and faith, a night to honour the seas and give thanks to the bounty they provide. A night that, until recently, had been outlawed in Sharkspawn. The previous ruler of the island city, Senator Haures of the Gorgon Court, had made most of the old traditions illegal, hoping to break the islanders’ traditions and instil more modern ideals.
But the Gorgon Court had been removed, this one city liberated by the pirate captain known as the Mad Thatch. Released from the hold of their oppressors, the people of Sharkspawn revelled in their old traditions, celebrating publicly for the first time in nearly ten years. Now, the twin moons above seemingly bathed in deep crimson, the islanders released years of pent up frustration, giving thanks to the seas an the great waters of the Sule Basin Strait.
Standing on a platform overlooking the southern shores of the city, Captain Thatch watched as his people gathered to witness the arrival of the thresher sharks. The pirate captain was a striking figure, massive and bestial, with half his body swimming in tattoos. A gift received in the distant lands of the Scorpion League, the tattoos seemed to move across his skin as the torchlight danced around him. The platform overlooked the beaches, but to either side rose small islands, the connecting bridges built just above the waves. Captain Thatch stood watching the growing crowds, a smile on his battered face, but he knew that tonight was not about him.
The night of the Sovess Moon was not about any one person, man, woman, or child.
Tonight was a night to give thanks, a night to respect the might of the seas. Everything they provided. And everything they took away.
People danced and sang. Faces were painted, splashes of deep azure and cerulean. Others wore masks carved to bear likeness of the creatures of the deep. There were all manner of fish, eels, and sharks. There were whales also, crabs, squids, octopi, and the ancient kraken. Masks of coral and dried seaweed. Masks of the gods. Ripos, Lord of Darkest Storms, and Cestryn, the great blood shark who oversaw all the seas. Tirani the turtle goddess and Qu’iann the god of manta rays.
But above all, on this night only, people gave thanks to Sovess.
A night to give thanks to the seas, to honour the gods, the beasts, and above all the tide. The people of the island city knew, as did Captain Thatch and his pirates, that without the seas there would be nothing.
Along with the people, interspersed without he crowd, were the Followers of the Crescent Eye. Priests and priestesses who worshipped all the shark gods, the Followers of the Crescent Eye gave thanks to Cestryn and her consort Javen, Pe’cal, and of course, Sovess. Bare-chested and painted in blood, their waists wrapped in faded blue sarongs, the priests directed the events of the night. Eager to bring back this old tradition, they brought out buckets of fish heads, bones, and blood. Chanting and singing as they walked through the crowd, across the bridges, and down to the beaches, they threw the chum into the water.
The Mad Thatch watched from his platform, several of his pirates at his side, as the night truly began. Wine and rum was given freely, one cup per person, provided from Thatch’s personal stores. Torches blazed across the beaches and bridges, but as the last traces of the sun faded from the sky the people lit paper lanterns. Soon the beaches were awash in light.
It was then that the sharks arrived.
Thatch watched in awe as fins crested the waves, tails cutting through the waters as the great threshers approached. It had been years since he had witnessed the Sovess Moon. Not since Thatch was a child had he seen the sharks arrive in such numbers. Thresher sharks did not usually come so close to the shore, preffergin the deep waters of the strait, but tonight was different. At first, only a few sharks came. A dozen, and then one hundred. Soon, the threshers filled the beaches around the city. Hundreds of them, long tails sweeping through the waters below the bridges, teeth snapping up the chum as the Followers of the Crescent Eye continued to throw handfuls into the waves.
And through it all the people sang. They danced. Some threw fish of their own, offerings caught specifically for this night, a gift of thanks to the sea.
The Mad Thatch watched it all with a joyous grin on his half-tattooed face. He drank with his crew and danced with the people of his city. And still the sharks came.
At the peak of the celebration, the true sacrifice was brought forward. Once the beaches were teeming with fins, teeth, and terror, two bare-chested Followers of the Crescent Eye dragged out the bound child already painted in blood. Fear etched on the child’s face. He knew what was to come. Dragged out to the beach before Captain Thatch and the zealous crowds, two priests stood with the child as they entered the frothing waves.
“There is nothing without the sea,” one of the priests called out as they stepped into the water. “We are nothing without the deep. Sovess, hear us! Sovess, we are yours! Willing believers, and gracious servants! This offering is given to you. The night belongs not to us, but to you, to the sea, and the waters of the deep!”
Captain Thatch cheered with the crowds, their voices rising up, a maddened fever as the sharks took the offered child. Protected by their god, guarded by their faith, the two priests stood amidst the terror and blood. When it was done, the two priests stood unharmed and alone. Captain Thatch realized that he had not even heard the child’s screams. The frenzy continued. People now fell from the bridges. Some leapt, other were pushed, and those without faith, those without a true respect of the sea were taken by the sharks.
Through it all the people continued to dance, to sing, to revel in the will of the sea. Thatch watched, singing and dancing along with his people. Along with his city. Rejoicing in the old traditions, rejoicing in the blood and giving thanks to the deep realm, the first realm, and the heart of the world.
The Sovess Moon had come. And it was good.
The Challenge Will Continue…
Thanks for reading about the world Æsc and I have built. We’ve fallen a bit behind in the questions, but we will answer them all and we’ll post more about the Legacy of Ash and the continents that make up the world of Celduras. This has been day 27, but look out for our next set of questions.