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|The Xanthous Moon|
The Xanthous Moon is a Sunless Skies Story Event.
Frequency: Always (100%)
|Dock at the Moon's Sill
The rock's surface is barren and flat. There's plenty of room to land.
|Only the caretakers
There are no lamps lighting your path. The only others here are unspeaking caretakers, who sweep up the refuse of previous ceremonies. They nod at you, then return to their work. You will have to come back later, when the Empyreals prepare for the next rite.
|Advanced query needs investigation
|Dock at the Moon's Sill
Several Empyrean engines have landed already. There's room for plenty more.
Advanced query needs investigation
|Take part in the Rite of Renewal
The rite requires Bombazine. If you have some, you are welcome to participate.
You join the engineers on the hilltop. Each bites into a pellet; it turns their teeth and lips a midnight blue. One grins ghoulishly at you. The engineers wind themselves in the light-drinking Bombazine, to protect them from the light of the Moon. Finally, each engineer writes their name on a waxed scroll, then gives it to a loved one. While they work on the Moon, they will have no name. This, you are told, is to hide their identities from the things that lurk in the Eleutherian dark; the things that resent the Moon's light.
|Join the Rite of Resolution
Before the Engineers can be welcomed back, their names must be restored. Afterwards, they will want a good, hearty meal. While working on the Moon they have had to make to with only plain rice.
Each Engineer's name is held by a loved one, who steps forward holding a wax scroll. Each scroll is soaked in a cup of wine till the ink runs from the it and mingles with the liquid. Each engineer drinks the wine; the crowd erupts in delight. The engineers turn eagerly to what you have brought. They've had Moon rations for weeks. Your fungal crackers, wrinkled apples and pungent slabs of cheese are like a feast. They're delighted to gift you a memento of their deployment for it: one of the moon's broken, burned-out lanterns. It's said they bring good luck.
|Peer into the lake
The Eagle Khan's daughter prepares to throw a stone into the water. The lake's ripples will offer an omen. This is the Mandate of the Moon: what will come to be.
|A memory of a star
The daughter's stone breaks the water with a satisfying 'plop'. The crowd cranes forward. A bristle of guards preserve the space around the Eagle Khan's daughter.
The ripple-jostled water casts two suns in the reflected sky – bright, beautiful, and cruel as tigers. A cloud passes, and they are gone. There’s just the moon, mirrored by the rapidly stilling surface.The crowd is silent. All eyes are on the Eagle Khan's daughter. Finally, she turns away. Her expression is grim. The crowd disperses, whispering anxiously.
|A glimpse of light
The daughter's stone breaks the water with a satisfying 'plop'. The crowd cranes forward. A child, in danger of falling in, is hauled back by her collar.
A cloud passes behind you. Its reflection slides across the lake, dissipating as it travels. The Moon, bright as a welding spark, shines out of the water.The crowd is silent. All eyes are on the Eagle Khan's daughter. Finally, she nods. The crowd's tension evaporates – the omen is good.
|Stand back and watch
This is not your ceremony. There is no need for you to participate.
|Alert to opportunities
A throng of temporary stalls caters to the crowd. Merchants haggle over mementos. Others offer cups of 'only the very best' airag. One enterprising youth charges for the use of lantern repair tools – taking business from his neighbour, a lantern seller. From the bustle, trade seems healthy.
|Join the Empyreals returning to their engines
The ceremony over, they depart, still holding their wax-paper lamps.
|A community, dispersing
Impatient captains frown at crew putting off boarding to prolong conversations. Exasperated parents hunt for straying children. It'll be a little while yet before the Moon's Sill is back under the sole stewardship of its caretakers.
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