The Terrible Failures of Our People

POSTED: Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:34 pm

Alright, so this is a free posting order; first come first serve, no waiting. No double posting, though (no posts from the same charrie twice in a row). If a specific action requires another player's action, request pp permission from said player or be patient for their reply post. This thread has been changed to a read-only. Please do not post in it. THIS IS FORWARD DATED TO FEB. 9TH!

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The snowstorm had been absolutely horrific. Four days without food--water had been sufficient, since all Ralla had to do was grab some snow from outside one of her windows--and without communication. Visibility had been scarce--barely any at all--throughout the ordeal, and Ralla had somehow kept herself entertained with redecorating some of her knick-knacks, reciting the lore, praying for the tribe, and repeating her general knowledge. A few times she sang, but they always turned into the songs of prayer, so worried was she. And she had been so cold, even through the layers of blankets and insulated clay hut.

On the fourth day of the storm, all was strangely quiet. Picking her head up from its resting spot in her hammock, Ralla padded down and lifted one of the blankets on the windows to see outside. It had ceased blustering, even though snow still fell like like slowed tears. She let the blanket go and tried to exit through her front door, but found it barricaded by a heavy wall of snow outside. Of course it would be, she reasoned with herself. Instead she took her hand-axe, a blanket, and a satchel before wiggling out through a window, the opening having been large enough to do so, and found herself belly-down on snow from the moment she stepped out, it had piled so high. It was dangerous to stand, so she army-crawled until she found steady purchase on a branch, crouching on it like a monkey would. The snow beneath would hurt if she fell straight--as would any hard surface--but its potentially icy surface threatened for her to slip if she tried. Instead threw her axe, satchel, and blanket down beneath the tree and dropped to hang by her arms, finding, surprisingly, that the snow was closer than it had seemed. It was a short drop that Ralla rolled into, going back to pick up her dropped items. The snow was not icy as she had feared, but instead seemed to swallow her feet with every step she took.

Tramping through the snow, Ralla made her way to the center of the village, looking up to try and see the tell-tale beacon of light that would guide her there. But... Where is it...? Where was that flame that had given her such hope? That had guided her so often? Her steady plodding turned into a run, although it looked silly as she stumbled once or twice in the snow. She arrived shortly thereafter, a little out of breath, and was greeted with a devastating sight; while it appeared that the Town Hall had once been snowed in and was now free of its own barricade--some of her tribes members exiting the building--the Great Fire was extinguished. Worry was etched deep into her face as she first went to check out the Town Hall, making sure--if not verbally, then by sight--that everyone was alright. After that evaluation, she went to where the Great Fire had once been. It was their guardian. Did it go out trying to protect us? Or...? Was this punishment? Was the moon so displeased that Ralla had failed to tell the tribe beforehand about the storm that it snuffed out the flame? She howled desperatly to the wind--not considering the distance or how broken her howl was--for the Gata Hineyus; their assistance was needed. But really, everyone was needed; this fire was their heart and responsibility, too. This was more than just a fire going out; this was their deity, protection, guide, history, tradition. And it had been humbled by the blizzard to nothing. She paced as she waited for a reply--even a howl to let her know that help was coming--as she despaired in her mind, scrambling for the proper ceremonies and prayers. If this was punishment from the moon, only her apologies to it would remedy the situation. If it was the fire's valiant effort to protect its people--which it obviously succeeded in doing--then only the combined faith in it from those who cared for it and those who it protected would bring it back.

She just hoped they could do it.

Moon walks. "Moon talks." Moon thinks.

Table by Meghann!


Last. Hover over the Cherokee words for translation. (Note: Ralla's speech is slightly broken because her native language and that of AniWaya's, while similar, still have their differences.)

Finally remembering the ceremonies, Ralla began to dig the fire's remains from underneath the snow, her arms tiring with the effort of it. She couldn't afford to wait much longer for even a reply to her call; every second the fire was out was a second that a soul may still be lost and without a waypoint back to the tribe; every second was a second that their tribe went without the protection afforded them by the Great Spirits. Beneath the icy freeze were the stiff twigs and logs that had once fed the ever-hungry tongues of the Great Fire, its ashes few and scattered beneath the logs, the rest having soaked into a slush with the snow. Taking the drier logs that had not absorbed any water due to lack of heat, Ralla stacked them and took the ashes to rest upon their surface; the last remains of the Great Fire.

As she went about preparing the ceremonial necessities, she thought how ill-prepared she was for such an occurance; especially because of the snowstorm event. According to the stories, the seven original families had each contributed and ember to create the Great Fire, a representation of their union. Ralla had no seven embers, but she had seven colors of string and feathers. She had no tinder but the few twigs and flint kept in the Town Hall. She had no direct connection to the seven original families. But she had her faith and tribe. Family is not born in blood nor borne by title. She rushed to her hut once more for her supplies that she would need, and lo and behold; when she returned, she saw Liliana dropping off a pile of dry wood. Gratitude filled Ralla's heart as she saw her tribe mate go to attend her own duties as Ralla waved at her, shouting out a thank you. She answered my call...! From then on, even though worry still nested in her heart, Ralla worked with a smile on her face, her spirit uplifted by the act of kindness.

Unlike the traditional ceremony where the fire was purposefully put out, rekindling its rigor in such a situation required prayer to the Great Spirits, for they were the ones who kept the power, who gave the power, and who took it. The fire had gone out without ceremony, and so it had been slighted; appeasal was necessary. She laid the seven feathers in a perfect circle around a small mound of twigs and branches--the beginnings of the fire, since no large portion could be set aflame so easily--and tied the seven colored string in a braid, placing it in the center with the last ashes. An eigth feather she left off to the side. Kneeling in the frost she struck the flint together, hard, five times, each time praying that it would light the fire. Six times a small burning started on the very fine tinder, and on the seventh try she set the flint aside to carefully blow on the creation of light and heat that emerged as if by magic. The minute embers glowed with each breath, brightening as if to say "Here I am," as her breath misted in the chilled air. In her mind she chanted the necessary words to the hymn for the ceremony, seeing as her mouth was otherwise occupied. I give life to the flames that have gone; may the breath of the tribe flow as its strength. As the life grows may it take the seven souls with it--earth, fire, water, wind, light, darkness, and spirit--to become the Atsila Galvkawetiyu's heart. So saying the embers took to the seven colored string and consumed it, grasping onto its threads and not letting go until the colors faded to the ashen grey.

Sitting up, resting on the backs of her legs, Ralla put her hands together in the position of prayer, chanting in hushed tones. To anyone looking on at her, they might've thought she was a fool for caring about a fire before the rest of the tribe's reconstruction. But the fire was so much more; it was the strength and spirit of the tribe--the heartbeat. She attempted its rekindling not just for the sake of it being done, but because it was as much their deity as the Great Spirits and moon and all other entities; because it was a part of them. All around Ralla and the newly awakened fire was destruction and sadness, but she continued on in beliefs of awakening the hope of her people. The ceremony was far from over.

Taking some salt from a small bag at her right--which was among the items of her newly-crafted fire staff, the tinder kit, and the eighth feather--Ralla threw some of it into the fire along with the first feather, that of a raven. Near the bottom of the flame the feather's color reflected off the fire and salt, making the fire go black for a moment, before being consumed. "Anigisdi Nidvlenvda hia ulisigi vhnai svnoyi," she said before adding the green feather of a phaesant, "navi hia itse vhnai ama ganugogv." In succession she added the blue feather of a jay, the silver feather of a falcon, the red feather of a cardinal, and the golden feather of a goldfinch, each with the salt, each coloring the fire an element. "Anigisdi Nidvlenvda hia sagonige vhnai ama navi hia adelvunegv unule. Anigisdi Nidvlenvda hia adanata vhnai gata hia adeyoha gesvi kaliwohi." And last but not least was the last feather; the feather of all. She threw the eagle's feather to the fire with a scattering of salt, making the small flames reach higher as the water was dried from its mooring, a while veil settling and then disappearing. "Galiquogi nigwasdv gesvi adanedi otlvna hia adanata. Ilisgo lvtanv hia gata agisdi adanvdo ale adasehede gvdodi. Na sgi gesvi anilasdalv Atsilagalvkawetiyu." Waving her hands over the rising heat of the embers and raising them slowly, as if pulling the fire up, Ralla prayed to the Great Spirits to allow their fire to be just as powerful as before.

Although she had not noticed, hours had already gone by in her efforts. Hastily she had put together a pyre of more dry wood that she had found--some more stocked by itself, by whom she could only guess--and she was beginning to transfer the fire to the larger area with her fire staff, being careful to not let any more of its red tongues be smothered by snow or wind. With careful precision she did so, continuing her chant and hand motions. Such things were important because they invoked the powers of the Great Spirits, and so she wove their energy into the fire. She would need the blessing of Chief Dawali to make the ceremony complete, but he was out of sorts for the moment, and so her skills alone would have to suffice. The nervous anxiety of her own insufficience had long died away, and she began to take heart in her tast midway through. The embers had taken well, and the fire rose higher and higher on the stack of logs. Once more Ralla could smell the dried wood burning, hear its cracking rings as the fire drove its power deeper within. From the ashes of the old she had revived it; the Great Spirits had granted AniWaya their protection back.

As she stood vigil next to the flames--fanning, feeding, praying--Ralla continued her chanting until her voice was hoarse, reaching within herself to try and pull the energy of her tribe mates into the fire. She knew that not everyone may've believed as strongly as she did in other forces--of any sort, even--and that not all the tribe may've believed even in the Great Fire's power. But she did, and she would not falter in her conviction. Soon a blaze roared in its place--melting the surrounding snow, if even a fraction in the harsh cold--and yet, when the night became illuminated as the sky turned black as the raven's feather, she remained. Just as it has.

"Aniwaya ega nanah."

Moon walks. "Moon talks." Moon thinks.

Table by Meghann!

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