The Ceremonies and Rites of the Feast of the Moon
As Recorded By Uester Rael
Being a complete account of the correct procedures for the conduct of the Feast of the Moon according to the Tempurian Faith, delivered to bring correct veneration to the fallen and further exultation of the warrior and Tempus the Lord of Battles, Foehammer of the Realms.
The Importance of the Feast
Honour is due the valiant dead. In payment for their life given in heroism we honour them with story and song for as long as there is story, for as long as we can raise out voice in song. At the Feast of the Moon we remember so that we do not forget. The way of the warrior should not fall into disuse when there is peace and those who did not see peace, with their blood was it bought. Virtuous dead are honoured so that the living may wonder and aspire and learn. Time is a sword and we live upon its edge. Wars are fought in Uktar, after the harvest is done, and this may be a day where the war stops to honour those who have died and to speak of the future.
In Preparation for the Rites
Priest, take thyself to the woods or to the hills the day before. Take only thyself, thy most favoured weapon and thy armour which is always worn. Bring also a blade, if you have none, for this task Tempus will permit it. Bring not food, nor water, nor other comforts. Find in that place a wild beast, a boar, a bear, or some creature which may defeat you and declare in an unquiet voice thus: “I come to do battle as my ancestors did and with my strength alone I shall make you as an offering to them.” Then take up thy weapon and beat the beast down. With thy knife open its chest and take forth its heart and consume it as you find it. Wash not the blood from thy clothes and face, do not bind thy wounds and sleep there where the beast died that night, upon the site of your battle. In the morning of the day, if thou livest still, not undone by wounds or cold of night or slain by others then the Lord of Battles judges you worthy.
Take thy knife and skin the beast and wear its pelt about you as a cloak. Thou art the spirit of the ancestors, thou art the master of the beast and breaker of the foe, thou art the speaker for the dead. Go thusly, at the break of dawn, to thy temple speaking not a word. None may block your path, be they king or priest. Stand unbending before the altar and speak thus: “I have battled as my ancestors did and with my strength alone I made the offering to them.” Place the pelt upon the altar, and fear not its nature, for all that is taken thusly is sanctified by victory. Speak thus: “This offering I give unto you, Oh Great Lord of Battles. Bless this place and allow the spirits of the fallen to walk amongst us this day. Bless this robe of skin that it might be worn by the brave and the true. Bless me that I might be worthy of it.” Then take up thy pelt again and wear it until past the close of day.
The Feast of Heroes
Set thee up a grand table and lay it out with an abundance of food and rich wine. Bring forth thy persevered fruits and be free with them. And let all who wish to eat sit at this table, turn away no-one who comes in peace. And sit thee not according to station, let the king and the beggar sup together or not at all, for in all men is the spirit of the warrior, in all men is the ability to triumph, in all men lives victory. As the feast is joined each man shall call out his name in an unquiet voice and then thus: “I live and come to honour the dead.” Every man may speak of great deeds of those past, of his ancestors, of heroes, and let none gainsay him, for he speaks to the spirits and if he speaks false it is only against himself. Let the feast begin not before the sun is at its highest, and regardless of excess or hunger, let it continue not beyond the setting of the sun.
The Song of the Fallen
As the sun sets, priest, take thyself to the altar again. Take with you only those who are priests, whom Tempus graces with his wisdom. And each man intoning the same in turn after you say thus: “I am that which lives. I remember that which does not. My mind does not forget my hand or its sword. I am the warrior. I am the champion of life’s cause. My mind does not forget my chest or its heart.” Thus are you identified to the Lord of Battles, thus appear are all who serve him truly. Continue: “Warriors of the past, we honour you. Warriors of the past, we thank you for your sacrifice. Warriors of the past, we ask that you bless us with your strength.” Raise up thy weapons that the spirits may see you are armed. Continue: “We stand in your place. We guard. We teach. We learn. That which you have given has not been in vain. We stand ready.” When the sun is set and the song concluded, light up a great bonfire and take the pelt you have worn and throw it into the flames. The song of the fallen is thus completed and the dead are duly honoured.
The Song of the Sword
Let there be honour given now to the champions of the temple. Invite all worship Tempus inside and thanks will be given to each warrior who has died in their protection. Take each weapon in the temple’s possession and hold it aloft before the crowd, say in an unquiet voice the name of the warrior who possessed it and the cause for which they died, then speak quietly the name of their killer if it is known. Say all this for each relic the temple holds. Now make prayers for those warriors who continue to fight. Firstly a prayer is offered for the health of the high priest of Tempus, then for the head of the temple, then for the clergy, the temple guards, then the local lord, the local militia, any local heroes and finally that these people will be sufficient to ensure the safety of the people. Let requests for prayers and absolution be made in private until one hour before midnight, then set the laypeople home and the priests to walk among the graves blessing as many as you can until midnight.
The Closing Ceremony
At midnight it is time to bring the day to a close. Priest, go alone to the altar, and spill thine own blood upon it. Speak thus: “Honour due is met. My duty is complete. I discharge my fate to thee.” Only now may you clean the blood of the vanquished animal from yourself.