Rites of Rituals of the Children of Winter

A common theme for all rituals of the Children of Winter is imminent risk of death, whether bringing it or surviving it. Along with the ritual of blight’s embrace, the sect performs the following.

Initiation

The Children of Winter know that life is tough, and that only the strong can survive. Someone wishing to join their faith must prove his strength. The candidate undergoes a sort of vision quest, in which he faces nature armed with nothing more than his wits. He is stripped of all clothing and gear, and is kept awake for 24 hours amid a revel of drink and dance to ensure the loss of all spellcasting ability. Then, exhausted and hungry, the candidate is turned out into the wilderness. He must cross the Gloaming, passing through each of its rings. Many prospective initiates never come out the other side.

Surviving candidates immediately undergo the ritual of winter’s heart to mark them as fit to survive.

Minor Rites

The Children of Winter do not engage in much formal ritual outside of initiation and the grand ceremony of the solstice. Those who cannot attend this great ritual perform their own observances in the name of winter. Individual packs might have a specific mode of operation, such as attacking at midnight or targeting a specific sort of victim. Following a ritual attack, the pack leader marks the spot with a token of the Children—typically a gnawed bone.

Major Rites

The winter solstice marks the most solemn ceremony of the Children, the Bringing of Winter. As many of the scattered Children as possible congregate at the edges of the Gloaming for this observance, which is intended to strengthen and spread the oncoming doom of the world. They spend the first week of Zarantyr in macabre chants and dances to invoke the spirits of death. Ritual battles to the death also take place during this festival; it is the favored time for challenges to a pack’s leader. The blood of the loser soaks into the soil of the Gloaming, there to feed the twisted life it harbors, and the winner leads the others in a cannibalistic feast on the loser’s corpse.

Rites of Rituals of the Children of Winter

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