Sacrifice?

Jan. 9th, 2004 02:19 am
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The Council of Shamans say that once, beyond the memory of any who now walk, spells against the Lamia were known. They seemed to think that might give us a weapon.

(When I was first told this on being brought before them I saw no sense in it. If we had once flown, would that give me wings?)

They had therefore determined that they might need to call a Truth-singer. They were not clear to me about their reasons. (I speculate that they may hope to revive hidden memories of their own – who has a better chance of knowing esoteric spells than a Shaman, from a line of Shaman?

It is also possible that they mean to stand their own test of fitness to lead - and perhaps secure a better succession. That has been done in the past – indeed, it was this custom that brought about my own involvement.

One Shaman family has called a Truth-singer several times more than once. It is their knowledge of what is necessary to make the summons without penalty that had held their high place.

They have the secret of how to refresh the magic in the amulet that binds the singer - and for the rest, they had believed that avoiding the price was simple.

Magic always has a price. The price for this summoning is that she who says the invocation while wearing the amulet will be taken by he who she summoned – some stories say as a bride, some give far darker purposes.

Worse, in some tales the price is the firstborn, or the next-born child of she who summoned. Many of those go on to say that the demon was outwitted and the bargain voided - those stories that do not are rarely pleasant reading.)

The Shaman family had kept their secret until the last summoning. However, from what the Clan saw then, they had simply learned that if a male made the summons, he who called the demon would not be taken (and, it seemed, no claim would be made on his descendants.

Later, I read of a tribe of Wicca humans, in the Russian Georgia. They had found that if a woman so old that her daughters were also beyond childbearing invoked the demon, that ended the matter.

I could not find any account of a penalty levied against the Wiccans, but the superstitious of Icewind blamed the harm that came to our Clan on the Shamans calling the demon but avoiding the payment.

I remember the horror of that time, but I was an unguarded infant. Then, I thought the ugly stranger responsible for, not only the fruits of his magic, but the bloody leadership battle that took place while a body burned.

The demon watched too closely to notice me, a part-grown cub beneath the Hunters Moon. I had crept close, and when he moved I bit!

So I marked a stranger who could not be taught the way of the wolf. My lack of control may have marred a life – but the creature neither kicked nor stamped, (I was quite a small cub.) He consigned us to the depths of perdition, turned to coloured dust and light and … went.

The superstitious blamed the chaos that followed on all this, but I have studied what happened next in my adult years.

It is my belief that many of the Clan perished because we were leaderless when the humans from town turned on the lycanthropes. We responded as a mob of individuals, not as a pack. However, dark fate worked against us too.

I am too low a status for my beliefs to matter. The Council of Shamans did not call me to consult me.

I marked a Truth-singer. We owe a dept and, if we call a Truthsinger this time, she who reads the summons will be female.

I have been given a Talisman that I must wear, when the order comes. It gleams revitalised and brimming with power.

Perhaps to avoid naming me as a sacrifice too openly, the Shamans have advised me to write an account of my history, claiming that it will put me at less risk of death if I have no hidden secrets, even from myself.

I will do so, if time permits. Perhaps it will be shared with friends, one day, if I survive. (So far I have only a scrap.)

I think that I may be sacrificed faced with my fate before I write enough to explain.

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