Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Songs of Passage

The steady sound of the cold salty water lapping at the shore was a constant reminder of the sea in the village of Thune. No matter where in the village a person was, the smell and the sound of the sea was never far away. The sight of the sea was another matter, however. Thune was a village shrouded in mists. According to the Song of the Mist, the legendary hero Bannock Mistweaver asked the mighty Thunderlord to grant his people a shroud of protection. Thunor the god of Thunder and Mist heard his call and granted his request. He called forth the mist from the sea, enshrouding their village in a haze that prevented anyone from seeing for more than fifteen feet in front of them. Bannock's story had always captured the minds of the young and one youth in particular, Thorvald, son of Thrush, had always wanted to become as mighty as Bannock.

When he was young, Thorvald had been required to memorize all of the songs of his people, as did all children. During the day, they spent hours reciting the words, over and over. Every evening, when the villagers gathered around the central fire, the elder druids of the village would recite one of the songs. Each druid took their own turn in reciting a song for the village and each chose the story they would recite for the night. On the nine holy nights of the year, the eldest druid recited one of the nine Divine Songs of the Thunderlord.

For a few years, Thorvald had been growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of respect that came with being treated as a child. This disrespect was a deliberate function of the culture of Thune. They knew of the yearning that the young possess to be accepted by their elders. It was through their dismissal that their children would seek to earn the respect of the elders, and in doing so, earn their place as valuable and contributing members of their village.

Thorvald could take it no longer and that morning he strode out of his mother's longhouse with his self-fashioned Banner of Challenge, as was tradition, and drove it in the ground in front of the elder druid's home. When the elder druid emerged from his home and acknowledged the challenge, Thorvald returned home to prepare. Within a fortnight, he would begin his rite of passage, the traditions of which were told of in the three songs, known collectively as the Songs of Passage.

The first was called the Song of Wisdom. It taught the people to be wise and to remember the history and traditions of their ancestors. It corresponded to the first rite, the Rite of Wisdom, which required the child to pass challenges related to the history and traditions of their people.

The second was the Song of Tenacity. It taught the people to be cunning and persistent enough to hunt and to survive, no matter where they found themselves. It was tested through the Rite of Tenacity, which were a series of hunting and survival challenges meant. To show that the child could take care of themselves in the wilds of the forests or at sea.

The third was the Song of Courage. It taught them to be brave and resolved in the face of battle. It was tested in the Rite of Courage, and its challenges were centred on the martial rites of battle, especially while raiding.

Thorvald knew what was required of him and he was ready to face whatever may come.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013