Manes Milia Mortis

Title: Manes Milia Mortis
Time Period: June 30, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Dark nights are made for dark rites.

The moon has joined her horns, forming a perfect circle that sheds its lambent glow across a glade in the Caledonian woods. The clearing is thick with grasses which brush up against the bottom of three standing stones, rough hewn and weather worn but set straight and tall, outlasting seasons and years, epochs and aeons.

The stones cast three shadows, three dark roads for three dark figures walking three parallel paths. Two are in boots, while the one goes barefoot. This last wears a long robe, its hem gathering dew as she makes her way to the lip of the centermost shadow. There she loosens the ties of her garment, and lets down her hair, before lifting up her arms in silent supplication.

The two other figures do not pause at the edge of their shadows, but turn and march in opposing arcs, taking up positions on either side of the standing stones. They ignite the torches they hold in their hands, flames flowering from split ends of pine. At once, new shadows slant from the bases of the stones, bars of darkness that converge with the innermost’s mooncast path. The robed woman stands at this triple crossroads, her hair hanging, unadorned and unconfined, an untamed torrent of red.

She speaks in a long dead tongue that the long dead and the deathless understand.

Hecate triformis, attende!

Her words are echoed on either side.

Hecate triformis! Hecate triformis! Attende! Attende!

From within her robes she draws forth a turgid water skin. She holds in up in both hands, offering it to the moon that crowns the center stone like a luminous diadem. The sound of dogs - a pack of them, yapping and barking - filters out from the surrounding woods.

She speaks again.

Manes milia mortis, attende, adeste! Vinite per mea mandatem!

And again she is echoed on either side.

Manes milia mortis, attende, adeste!

She tugs the stopper free and lets flow a strange, sweet mixture which smells of wine and honey and milk and blood. As it flows, so too do her words.

I supplicate the throng of silent shades, and you, oh funereal gods. I call you from out of murky Chaos and the umbral dwelling-place of Dis, the abysses of dismal Death, bound by the banks of Tartarus. Leaving your punishments, oh ghosts, and make haste to observe my covenant; let the Ixion’s wheel cease his whirling so he may walk upon the earth; let pacified Tantalus drink his fill of the Pirenian spring. You too oh Danaids, your urns full of holes, come to me: this labor has need of your hands. Let the slippery stone roll Sisyphus backward o’er the rocks, for a heavier penalty must rest upon those whose will defies mine.

Her chin lifts, pointing lidded eyes towards the moon’s unbroken circle. Out there in the woods, the dogs start to bay.

Now oh orb of night, summoned by my sacred rites, put on your palest, most fearsome face and come, thrice threatening in your threefold form. When the living will not heed, the dead must speak!

Mist begins to coil in innumerable white tendrils, snaking up from the long grasses where the strange mixture falls, and blossoming out along the three shaded paths, forming three misty trenches. In the flickering light of the torches, indistinct, aetherial forms begin to line the edges, congregating in solemn, staggered rows.

Hungry dead, tongues made forgetful from lapping at the Lethe, take your succor, and carry my words.

The gathered shades kneel in the grass and drink deep, their forms coming clearer as the mist fills their empty interiors, marking the boundaries of their beings, granting them a hazy substance that swells into half-clarity.

To those you loved, to those who live, make them hear you. Make them hear me. Let them know.

Her next words are a whisper.

Ossa mea lupus fodit.

And her susurrant words are echoed, not twice, but manyfold, in many tongues, so many long dead, and long by death undone.

A wolf is digging up my bones.