Lamia, Herbert James Draper

Raeve. A country half-circled by mountains in the west, creating a natural border, towering walls of stone and forest that separate Raeve from the rest of Gosse Arodd, and fronted by the sea in the east. The only way to reach Raeve is through the mountains or by ship.

Raeve is a land of deep green valleys threaded with rivers, the Olaeve is the largest and longest with many tributaries, and forested plains. Angharad, the crown city, is Raeve’s major seaport, the largest city, practically the only city. Raeve is populated by villages mostly and a few towns.

Its natural beauty is deceptive. Its forests are full of parasitic plants and fauna that appear to be innocent but are dangerous. In summer it is plagued with sting-beetles from the flowering ziranaica vine.

     “Sprouting with tiny white berries, the vines grew in patches over the garden wall and along the ground. Each berry nursed a worm smaller than a millet seed at its heart. Later in the season, when the long summer’s heat lingered in the city, the berries burst and release swarms of sting-beetles to torment Angharad’s citizens.”

         What season is it? Summer is coming to a close and Irce, the Bright Star, is about to rise, heralding the start of the Irceniat, the month-long festival before the onset of winter. Irce shines through day and night, brightening all of Raeve, competing with the sun during the day and the moon at night, turning Raeve’s nights into days. The Irceniat is the season of endless day, the season of white nights.

         The advent of the Irceniat is marked by a royal procession and a Rising Ceremony when the Princess of Raeve opens the festival. All of Angharad attends.

         Raeve’s summers are hot and long, and autumn is a warm season, gradually cooling into winter. It always snows.

         I need to determine how the Rising ceremony goes and what goes on during the Irceniat festival. Are there parades? Does something new happen every day? What events? How are the people entertained? Is there any religious or spiritual significance to the festivities of the Irceniat. Are there sporting games? Athletics? It is one of Raeve’s major festivals. Or perhaps it is the major festival.


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