Duties and Festivals of the Basanic Tao
Day to Day Activities by Altar
The Altar of the Twelve Trees has held the role of elected government of the Basanic Tao for many decades and as such its members are expected to act as dignitaries and ambassadors for the people of that community. When not in council in its their duty to travel the lands of the Royal Basin and to gather the thoughts, needs and direction of their constituents: The Ulmargarn is as much a listener as they are a talker and are expected to be able to fairly represent the views of the those that support them. They are able to perform ritual and have a duty to do so when called upon, many outsiders would consider them to be leaders or rulers but they are in fact mediators and servants of their people. However they are canny and hold the interests of their people and their spirits above all else, often providing skilled and active debate.
The Altar of the Creeping Vine has hovered on the outskirts of Tao politics for a very long time; their hard-line policies only seem to be accepted when war is close by and even then they are only allowed to look in through the window rather than come in through the front door. The Altar spend their days in the wake of the Twelve Trees, following their trail of peace and unity and ensuring that the people of the Tao understand the other options that are available to them. When the Trees make agreement to allow cities to spring up in the Wyld it is the duty of the Vine to undermine those foundations and strike back at those that would rape Kethlan of its resource and deprive Ravage and the Gillieabad of their habitat. If Kethlan falls, if the Gillieabad lose their homes then the world will fall and on that day we all lose. The rise of civilisation must be stopped. No matter the cost.
The Altar of the Gorgon and Emerald Willow survive as two of the Melkarr traditions with a firm duty to pass on the stories of the Spirits and to interpret their visions for the benefit of those people that follow the rites and rigours of the Tao. Such a duty sees them as very much servants to the people often travelling great distances to be present at harvest festivals or to address the issues of poor crop or mineral yield from farms or mines that are supporting a Tao based community. In times of danger they are called into the field to support Vormearn and Elestrom with ritual and the sacred knowledge that is passed down from Senior Foster to Foster. Without them the Ulmargarn would have no council and the spirits no voice; in short they are the heart and the soul of the Tao and all that are supported by it.
Within the Altar of the Broken Lady The Elestrom exist to serve Justice; they have no other function. When they are not active travelling to and from places of judgement they are pouring over or listening to reports of the Vormearn regarding the activities of various supposed nefarious folk. When they are called forward they serve to inspire fear as well and to serve as a reminder to all what an Elestrom truly is as their Vormearn restrain those to whom they dispense that Justice.
Vormearn of the Stone Circle are the most often seen by the standard or common all garden follower of the Tao of Kethlan. Whilst the Ulmargarn sit in their vaulted halls and wax on regarding the running of the Tao, the Melkarr chant in their forgotten groves of wisdom and tradition and the Elestrom consider the punishments of the transgressors of the Tao; the Vormearn walk. From township to township, patrolling the edges and the darkened holes of Tao society, checking in on the welfare of those that rely on the power of Kethlan to protect them. They act as militia for the people, army for the land, monster hunter and warrior but they also stop to help repair a damaged well, restore a ruined barn and to offer passing advice on the nature of a fallow field or the finer points of hunting. Vormearn are the ultimate protectors of tradition, the people, the Tao and its Ritualists and of course, each other.
Major Festivals within the Basanic Tao
The Twelve Trees celebrates every festival that the city of their Altar celebrates and works towards learning them all and also towards making those festivals as much a part of the Basanic celebrations as they are the Tao of Kethlan. More importantly the Trees also works long and hard to pinpoint the exact date of the founding of the townships that they inhabit. Specifically they examine the time when the spirits first gave sponsorship to a place of civilisation and dedicate a day or sometimes up to a week in reverence to that spirit or spirits. These are the most important days in the calendar for the altar when the spirits come forth and join in the celebrations, giving guidance for the coming year and assisting with the growth of the cityscape in a way most compatible with the Tao’s guidance.
The Altar of the Creeping Vine wisely chooses to follow the guidance of the Melkarr that owe it fealty. This is not through a want to avoid the need to observe their own ceremonies but through the dint that the traditions demand that the Melkarr are the Lords of ceremony and ritual, tradition is the way forwards. Throughout the calendar there are festivals to celebrate the power of Avvannah and Ravage but there are only three major ones that occur throughout the year. The guidance of the Spirits takes place in Frostmelt although no specific date is set. During the ritual specific Melkarr are sent into the world of the Spirits and here seek out Beyla who instructs the Melkarr as to certain targets that have broken oath or faith with the Altar and who must face the displeasure of the Lord Ravage.
The Altar of the Gorgon celebrates the major harvest and planting times, calling upon Avvannah and Quinrath to bless the endeavours of those that follow the Tao. During Earthnew the First of the festivals to celebrate sowing occur all the way through to Blossom wake. The months of Sunrise through to Sunsdusk are reserved for monthly harvest festivals as different crops are returned to the silos ready for the winter months and to feed livestock. Meanwhile The Ele Strom of the Broken Lady consider every passing of judgement as a festival of sorts and hold to no specific festivals of the natural world. It is for others; Melkarr and Ulmargarn to mark passing of seasons and moments of old glory. It is for the Ele Strom to pass their judgements in the here and in the now.
The dates for every major ending of a wartime, usually coinciding with the signing of a proclamation of peace are always a signal that a yearly festival will be held by the Altar. These Festivals gain more importance should the war have directly involved the Wild in some way even if this could lead to some denigration of the Kethlanic way. Example Festivals in this vein are the 17th of Frostmelt (The end of the first Gabrak Wars), the 24th of Leavesdown (The End of the 2nd Codex Wars) and the 23rd of Sunsdusk (The end of the Rhygahrean Wars).
Throughout the Willows calendar there are festivals to celebrate the power of Avvannah and Ravage but there are only three major ones that occur throughout the year. The guidance of the Spirits takes place in Frostmelt although no specific date is set. During the ritual specific Melkarr are sent into the world of the Spirits and here seek out Beyla who instructs the Melkarr as to certain targets that have broken oath or faith with the Altar and who must face the displeasure of the Lord Ravage.
The Second is the Summons of Ing Skuld, whereby during the months of Sunrise and Sunspeak, the Melkarr of the Altar are given a criminal to the Tao of Kethlan who has been condemned to death by the Altar of the Broken Lady. This individual is then hunted down and punished after being given the freedom to survive should they escape the hunt. The final festival is the festival of all Ancestors which takes place in the deeps of Frostfall. During this festival the Melkarr give thanks and honour to all of the spirits that the grove worships and respects. In return they are blessed with three nights of revelry with those spirits during which time great secrets and wisdom is revealed.
Only one festival is observed by the Altar of the Stone Circle directly each year although many Vormearn end up observing the festivals that are taken up by the Altar to which they are allocated. However the Memorial Festival is held each year in the original Altar of the Stone Circle during which as many Vormearn as possible attempt to reach this hallowed location. During mid Sunsdusk they converge here and together speak the names of all those that have died in service to the Circle and of their deeds in prior years. Then the names of those that have died since the last memorial was held are added to that list and the great story recommitted to memory. At this time the ceremony takes over three days to complete during which time the Vormearn involved fast, relying on their abilities to sustain them through any hardship.