Instruments: Deck of Cards
You are an oracle reader who has lost all faith in your practice, or maybe you have always been a fraud. You must lie and convince the leader of your village to the changes in their tradition in order to save your own skin.
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Word Count: 1,255 Played: Nov 11, 2020
Spring: Cut down the new Log
Each year in spring a tree is selected by the oracle and felled. The tree is hollowed out and blessed. The log will stand in the center of the village until the winter ceremony.
Summer: A week of endless song
Around the log an entire week must be filled with song--singing, instruments, whistling, anything works. The song must continue without stop. Villagers take turns in shifts to maintain the song.
Fall: Berry picking and jam making
The entire village participates in the yearly harvest of berries. Everyone gathers together in the village center and participates in making a jar of jam.
Winter: Burning of the log
The log is set aflame from the inside. The longer the fire burns the shorter and gentler the winter will be.
Spring: 6 of Hearts vs 5 of clubs: Failure
The only tree that matched the criteria for the log was covered in a thick black fungus that smelled like death.
Failure: The families of those who felled the tree fell ill. Three of them died.
I convinced the chief that one log must not be enough, we must create a stand with three, to represent a divine number. I knew in my heart that it was because having three logs would support one another greater than other numbers and having them fall would cause more doubt upon my talents.
Summer: 4 of Diamonds vs 2 of Clubs: Failure
Three of the participants fainted when performing their song. The song, however, did not cease.
Failure: The rains came late and the saplings started to wither and die.
I noticed that all the people who had fainted were those who sang or played flutes. I told the chief that I had read in the skies that we could only use drums and strings for the rest of our songs.
Fall: 7 of Clubs vs 5 of Diamonds: Failure
Seven crows flew over the festival and landed upon the log. They were silent as they watched the jam making.
Failure: Lightning struck the forest and created a large fire. We lost 3 houses that year.
I do not know if birds can smell but I knew there must be something done to keep them away from the village. I told the chief that we needed more ash than the left overs of the berries. We would need to scrape away the bark from the logs and burn it as well.
Winter: Seven of Spades vs Seven of Diamonds: Success
The smoke cleared the air of any birds in the village. This is a good sign
In a 3 foot radius around the logs the earth is scorched after it is felled. All the plants and grass within are reduced to blackened ash.
Every villager must perform a song. People are assigned a time. Some perform with others and some alone. No one may be exempt from this.
The leftover remains of the jam are burned and the ash is spread on the logs. The village cannot have more than one jar per villager and the rest is burned.
The bones of those who died in winter are placed into the log to be burned and reduced to ash. Those who die in winter are cursed to haunt the woods unless their bones are cleansed in the fire.
Spring: 6 of Hearts vs 6 of Diamonds: Success
The same black fungus was upon the trees we felled this year but none of the families fell ill.
Summer: 4 of Diamonds vs 3 of Diamonds: Failure
More people fainted this year and the gaps between the song were longer.
Failure: The rains never stopped and our fields were flooded.
I told the chief there were too many performing at a time. Our village had never been so large (I had no true way of knowing this) and too many people confused the spirits. People now had to perform in solo acts. This also significantly shortened the amount of time someone had to perform and I hoped this would lead to no more faintings.
Fall: 2 of Spades vs 3 of Hearts: Success
In the forest rings of mushrooms grew around the edges of the burnt circles.
Winter: 7 of Clubs vs 2 of Diamonds: Failure
As we burned the tree seven flocks of birds flew over the village.
Failure: Rats had moved into the storage spaces and ate half of the village food. We lost a dozen to famine.
I told the chief the birds were the spirits of those who died the rest of the year. They were unhappy and sought the cleansing rituals of those who died in the winter. We will now save the bones of all our dead to burn.
Spring: The Deep Woods
Deep in the forest, far from any light we must venture. I take with me the pendulum my predecessor gave to me and it guides me towards the right tree. I must only take 5 people with me to carry the felled log. I hope that no one notices that I’m swinging widely with the stone with no clear rhyme or reason.
Summer: In the Village
In the heart of the Village, upon the ashes of the trees that came before, the new logs are erected. I take the ash from before and spread it behind me in a spiral until I have no more ash. From there I draw a circle around the logs which no one may enter. We perform outside this circle.
Fall: The Forest’s Edge
We gather the berries around the edges of the forest, knowing that we must not enter it. People always test one another by trying to get them to go as far as they can before they are afraid. No one makes it very far.
Winter: The Log
Only I may carry the bones. There are so many more this year and I hope that they catch alight. No one can see but I have brought with me extra tinder and fuel. People believe it’s the spirits that light the logs.
Spring: 6 of Hearts vs 4 of Clubs: Failure
The fungus has spread to the hands of those who felled the trees this year. They didn’t notice but it has spread to all the trees in the deep forest. I cannot pick one that hasn't been infected.
Failure: The fungus started to grow on the bodies of the woodcutters. They are unable to work.
I tell the chief this is a sign that we must not take from the deep woods anymore. We take the berries from the edges and so we must take the trees from there as well.
Summer: 4 of Diamonds vs 5 of Hearts: Success
People participated one by one for short sessions. All were able to participate and none fell ill to fainting.
Fall: 2 of Spades vs 2 of Diamonds: Success
There are new plants growing in the burnt circles. Life is returning to the deep woods. The people believe that we have taken too much from it and it is now healing.
Winter: 4 of Spades vs 5 of Spades: Success
The smoke from the bones and logs is enough to ward away the birds. I see none of them in the skies above.