Maxim Archive

Blood Oaths-The Signing of The Covenant~ Open
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Author:  Dayun Raguru [ Tue Dec 03, 2002 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Blood Oaths-The Signing of The Covenant~ Open

The reed scratched quickly over the vellum, the pale ink gradually gaining in color as it dried.

This being a written record of those who take the Blood Oath and by so doing commit themselves to the Covenant, shall stand as proof of their taken vows.

It will be here upon the Plains of Imrath, where those individuals, tribes and kingdoms who believe in justice, liberty and balance, will gather to swear to live, fight and die for their beliefs.

Be it known that these peoples have the right to request of the Covenant certain terms in exchange for their allegiance to the Covenant, just as the Covenant has the right to request certain services from them. These will be negotiated, recorded by myself, then proclaimed before all present as witness.

Once proclaimed, the Oath will be cut. Be it known, that The Covenant, once cut is indissoluble and any who go back upon their word will feel the wrath of the Gods and the Keepers upon their heads.

All those who gather to observe these ceremonies, by their presence bear witness to this.

These proceedings will be recorded and witnessed by myself, Dayun Raguru, upon the Plains of Imrath, beginning in The Year of the Emergence. May I live to see many take the Covenant and to see order, freedom and balance restored to the world.

Isonia you have spoken. Let the triumph of liberty over power begin this day. Let the seeds be well planted, the roots spread strong and fast, the vine flourish and grow. Balance in all things and justice for everyone.

The elderly scribe signed his name. Then he took up a new piece of vellum with which to record negotiations.

Outside the tent he could hear voices, horses whickering, footfalls, oxen lowing, as all was made ready.

Author:  Cruella [ Tue Dec 03, 2002 5:08 pm ]
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They had arrived and set up camp the previous night, choosing a site in the middle of the plain, where approach could be seen for a good distance.

Now, in the early morning, the Seer stood where in a few hours, she would walk a path of blood. Her face was calm and impassive belying the unease within her. She wondered if those who were about to take the Covenant realized the seriousness of the ceremony and what they were about to commit to. This commitment could not be taken lightly or walked away from.

Still, there was time for them to leave. One could always plead the negotiations a failure, citing that acceptable terms of the Covenant could not be reached. She would strive to ensure that none did. She would win the doubters’ trust. She would listen and learn of that which they wanted and needed. It would be offered to them, their treasure, all they had to do was take the oath.

Some, if they could read her mind would think her calculating. Perhaps she was. But these people, by even considering the oath, had already committed. She had not coerced them into this, they had come of their own free will. They believed as she believed.

The Covenant would be taken.

Author:  Kile Ronnaly [ Wed Dec 04, 2002 5:47 pm ]
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The blood ceremony was not far off from begining, and Kile was shaking like a leaf. The name of it walong was anough to make him nervous not to mention he wasn't sure quite what he had gotten himself into or how, but he had, and there was something about the Covanent that seemed right, not to mention it may be able to help him find his brother, and for that he didn't care what he was getting himself into.
He was down, sitting on his haunches, staring at the ground, and hoping to thing of a way to delay what was to come, but there was no way. He stood up, glancing aound with his pale eyes at the crowd of people that had been gathering there to watch the ceremony. Their presence certainly didn't help him calm his nerves any. He began to walk slowly towards the tent. That was supposedly where the first part of the ceremony was to take place. He wasn't to sure as to what would happen, yet another factor to play havoc on his fragial nerves. All he could really do was hope things would start slowly simply and perhaps give him a chance to become aclimated to what was happening.
He was closer to the tent now, although to him it seemed like the tent was closer for surely he could not have been the one moving, there was no way he would have allowed himself move towards to some unknown destiny like that, would he.

Author:  Cruella [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 2:16 pm ]
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The tent flap parted and the Seer, the Tiarna of the Covenant emerged.

Once she had had a name. Once she had had memories. They were now gone. It had been her price to pay for becoming the leader of the Covenant. She did not consider herself the leader. She was the tool of Isonia only and under her, all who swore the Covenant were equal and as one.

A man squatted in the shade of some rocks. His skin was nutbrown and weathered from years of living and working outside. He was the chosen representative of the Celidah clan. They were known amongst the tribes of the southern plains, for breeding the swiftest horses in that part of the world. Today he would sign the Covenant.

The Seer saw another approaching. His name and plight was familiar to her, although he was not aware of this. His nervousness was apparent. She smiled warmly at him, then gestured to the Celidish man to follow her within the tent.

The flap closed behind them.

The Seer bade the man sit. The scribe began to write as The Seer spoke.

"You wish to sign the Covenant. Know that in so doing our peoples will become as one. We shall place our life on the line for each other. Once cut, this oath cannot be dissolved. Any who seek to break the Covenant will suffer the curse of Isonia and the wrath of the Keepers."

"Do you still wish to negotiate your signing?"

The man nodded.

"Begin then."

Then man spoke slowly, his voice filled with sorrow.

"The armies of the zealots approach my homelands. All about our borders there are skirmishes between the devout of Darden, Foret and Isonia."

"They have laid waste to fertile pasture with noxious spells. Our water supply flows through these now barren wastes and it has been poisoned. Our people and our horses will die. Already many have fallen ill from drinking this tainted water."

"The armies do not care what harm they do us. The Foretians and Dardenites would either see us annihilated or, the more merciful would claim us as conquered, steal our women and our horses, eat our food, force us into slavery."

"The Isonians are not much better. We worship the same can we think so differently? They will enscript us as they have done our neighbours, into 'holy' armies. Then, they will claim what we own as their own by virtue of a shared religion."

"Soon there will be nothing left of our clan, but a memory which will be swept from the minds of Tonan, like dust upon the wind."

"We seek the help of The Keepers of the Covenant against these armies. And...We need clean water. Please, we beg you help us."

"In return, we vow to do whatever is asked of us. We will pledge as one of the Keepers of the Covenant, to aid Covenant in their mission to help others, as ourselves. This, in addition to a delivery of two score of our finest horses every spring."

The man's impassioned voice faded. The scribe continued to write. The woman sat quietly for a moment, then nodded.

"It is agreed."

"When you leave here this day as a member of the Covenant , you shall take with you five donkeys laden with water skins and an enchanted stone. Do not drink of this water, nor give it to those parched souls who rush to greet you upon your homecoming. Instead, bid them to dig a new well. Do not dig so deep as to break into the poisoned water table. Into this well place the stone. Pour the water from the skins into the well to cover the stone. Once it is covered, the water will start to rise and the well will fill. The well will always be full, not matter how much you draw from it, so long as the stone remains within it and the Covenant remains unbroken."

"As you have offered, in return, you shall deliver to the Covenant, two score horses each spring. "By so doing, we become as one family and vow to protect one another."

"Know that should you break the Covenant, Isonia will unleash her curse upon you. Your well will run dry and your mares will be barren."

"Once it is cut, it will be so."

The man rose and bowed. "It will be so."

"Go now then, and prepare."

The Seer rose, following the man as he left the tent. She held the flap open, seeking the nervous man she had seen earlier.

Author:  Cruella [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 3:59 pm ]
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The oxen were being led into position. Twenty of them, all in a line, head to tail, two handlers to each.

A priest in purple robes walked to the head of each one in turn, blessing them in the name of Isonia. One lowed, a mournful sound.

The priest finished. He stood by the tail of the last ox and signalled to twenty men, dressed in black. They carried huge dwarven forged axes. At the priests signal, they each moved to stand by the head of an ox.

The priest raised his hands to the heavens.

"Let the river flow!"

The twenty men raised their axes as one and cleaved the heads of the oxen. The blood began to fall to the ground. Again they raised their axes and brought them down upon the great beasts' spines, splitting them. The blood flowed, staining the ground. Once more the axes fell and the oxen were divided into two. The handlers, mightily strong men, to support half an ox, each held upright one side, until the blood letting slowed to a trickle. Then, they stepped back, letting the oxen fall outwards, away from the spilt blood which ran between the fallen beasts' feet.

The path of blood was in readiness.

Author:  Aura [ Thu Dec 05, 2002 7:32 pm ]
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The sun rose to its greatest height in the sky. The woman closed her eyes and rode momentarily, admiring the soothing calm of the quiet around her. With a methodic sway, the limp heels of her boots tapped against her gentle steed.

Stretching her neck to one side, she opened her eyes again and smiled at the sight above. A black bird swooped in a graceful arc around her and hovered at a distance as if keeping watch. Pulling off one of the black leather gloves, she withdrew the old sword from its sheath at her hip. The crossed hilt, replaced many times still bore the everlasting signet of their first union. A golden crescent of the crow reflected back at her in the light of the sun. With pride she traced the smooth piece to it’s length with her fingertips and admired the beauty of the piece. Untarnished, as if new, the intricately detailed colada whispered years of memories that would forever be held sacredly within its folds.

Returning it to its place, she looked ahead at the camp she was approaching and savored these moments of freedom as she rode in. It was evident in her soft brown eyes that her mind was still carefully weighing on her negotiations. Long ago she had ridden into a similar position with the same caliper of promise, as she would offer today. She remembered back to that day when she turned her life over to the better of the many and would from then on refuse her own wealth and stakes, but instead offer everything that she had – everything that she was to the people who became her family.

She now struggled with her heart, for it belonged to only one. Would pledging to the Covenant mean turning from the Rage? A smile shown for a moment on her strong, yet beautiful face after she whispered the name. Chaotic Rage of War. Yes, truly she was proud of who she had been, from where she had come and of those she had known and fought with along the way. She reminded herself of the meaning of this oath she would be taking today. She believed fully that she, and the history of the Rage shared the beliefs of the Covenant.

With this decision and every reason sound before her, she slowed to a halt and dismounted the steed. Removing the second glove and setting it inside the sack strapped to the horse, she stepped forward toward the position that a man now walked from. She watched him as he moved toward the tent and as she stood in the place he was, she absorbed the warmth of him. The space around his form radiated of a soft, green-yellow glow. On more than presumption, she saw that the man was courageous, thoughtful and strong in mind and soul. He was not opposed to a good hard fight but if it could be settled fairly and honorably, he would choose that path. His nervousness seemed to be settling, as the light around him paled into soft green.

He entered the tent in silence and her musings on him turned now to the attention of the ceremonial river which was now being readied. She watched the pale shallow water fade as it was overcome with the crimson blood and gave a silent prayer to the oxen that gave their lives. Their blood was not spilled in vain, but rather to unite those who came to give of themselves, give up their sole purpose and now stand as brethren among the land of Tonan, to live together, fight together and if it was the will of the gods, die together.

Dressed informally, she wore a dark cloth tabard tied loosely at the sides, a pair of hide chausses and worn boots. Her raven hair was pulled back in a long braid though the timely ride had managed to work stray strands from their binding.

She stood straight, the air pulling into her lungs and being pushed back out again as she cleansed her mind and assured her heart she was doing the right thing. She gave silent prayer for those here today, both here to take part in the ceremony and to those who bore witness. This was not a matter to be taken lightly nor was it one to be considered ‘easy’. For eternity there will remain unwritten rules amongst brethren. However, today bindings are written and oaths are taken and the scribes record all. Any conscious person guided through life by success and misfortune alike would understand the weight of the tribute as a whole.

She was grateful for the seemingly slow movement of time as she waited. For it brought her a chance to recall years of memories of friends and comrades. She spoke softly, her prayers to each for healthy lives, satisfied hearts, strong minds, plentiful nourishment and boundless miracles.

Author:  Kile Ronnaly [ Fri Dec 06, 2002 4:48 pm ]
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Kile's attention had been grasped by the line of oxen which had recently shown up, and he watched them with interest, that is until he axes came down upon them. He quickly turned away, that was no way to calm his nerves.
"Oh dear."
It was then that he saw the woman step out of the flap of the tent. She looked a bit younger than he, although most likely wasn't for she was elven. She was looked towards him in a way that gave him the impression he was to be next. The tremulous little man nervously glanced over his shoulder in hopes to see someone else standing there whom her gaze could have been instead directed towards but little to his surprise, and much to his dismay there was no one there. He turned his soft green eyes back towards the waiting woman and her also green gaze.
Kile took in a deep breath, reminding himself it was for his brother that he did this, and he began to walk forward towards the tent.

Author:  Cruella [ Sat Dec 07, 2002 12:53 pm ]
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The Seer kept her eyes upon the man as he approached. When he would go past her into the tent, she backed within, bowing her head before him. Softly, she said while gesturing towards the table where the scribe sat writing, "It is an honor to meet a man of such great courage."

She crossed the rugs, which had been thrown down upon the ground to keep out insects and the dampness of the earth, to a simple wooden chair and sat.

"Please, sit. Tell me what it is you wish from the Covenant." Her voice was gentle and soothing, honeyed and melodic. She turned her eyes upon him, green like his, they held his and seemed to pierce through to his soul.

"Your eyes tell me you doubt your courage? Do not. You have shown much courage in coming here, knowing that by signing the Covenant you shall shall place your life on the line for the Keepers and we for you. You know that once cut, this oath cannot be dissolved and that any who seek to break the Covenant will suffer the curse of Isonia and the wrath of the Keepers. Yet still you came. I repeat. It is an honor to meet a man of such courage."

"Come, let us discuss that which you came here to do. Tell me..."

Author:  Kile Ronnaly [ Sat Dec 07, 2002 2:19 pm ]
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The remark about bravery made the little man think that perhaps he had been confused with someone else, but woman went on and it was clear she did mean him. Perhaps she just said it to help calm him. Everything about woman, save here intense stare, was calming, especially her soothing voice. Kile sat at the seer's instruction, his eyes deverted towards the ground with a meek smile on his face and after taking in a couple of deep breaths he built the nerve to speek. His soft voice wavering slightly.
"I'm Kile Ronnaly, and thur's little I 'ave ta ask. All I request is 'elp in finding my brother Lithe. 'e was stolen from my fam'ly when I was but a boy. An' I've been searchin' fer 'im since then. I'll do anythin' ya ask in return fer 'elp in this matter."
Kile nervously sat, waiting for an answer, with his hands clasped him his lap, his left hand trying to keep his right from shaking.

Author:  Cruella [ Tue Dec 10, 2002 12:18 pm ]
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"Many years have passed since your brother was stolen. Anything could have happened to him. He could be dead...or worse... Are you certain you would wish to know the truth of what has befallen him since you last set eyes upon him? If so, then The Keepers will do all in our power to help you find him." The Seer's liquid voice replied.

She gazed deep into the man's eyes, then smiled.

"I see you will not waiver on this. It is the force which drives you. Very well, it shall be done. The Keepers will aid you in your quest. In exchange, I would ask you to chronicle the work of the Covenant as it happens. In addition, I would ask you in your travels to act as our emissary and learn the art of the diplomat. A simple request."

She knew he would regard this as no simple task. How difficult these terms will be for a man who presented himself with such timidity, she knew. She also knew the potential within. Looking past the trembling hands, the nervous watchfulness she saw strength and knew what he could become.

"Will you accept these terms knowing that should you break the Covenant, Isonia will unleash her curse upon you. Your brother will never be found, blight and famine will be cast upon your homeland and the sight taken from your eyes."

Her eyes grew serious and cold.

"Once it is cut, it will be so."

"Will you accept?"

Author:  Kile Ronnaly [ Wed Dec 11, 2002 2:19 pm ]
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The small man, who, despite his tanned skin had a certain pallor about him, though about the requests placed on him. It would be no easy task to record the doings of the Keepers of the Covenant, although it would not be incredibally difficult either. Kile had learned to read an write on his own during his wanderings in search of his brother, and had infact grown quite proficient at it. The other request was another matter entirely. To be the diplomat would require dealing with people, and on very important matters as well, matters of life and death. He had enough trouble ordering a drink at a tavern, how would he handle diplomatic affairs.
Reminding himself of his personal vow to do anything he could to find his brother he opened his mouth to reply. Nothing came out for a moment, and when the words finnally came they were as soft as ever.
"I understand the terms, and I do accept them."
There was no turning back now.

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