January 24th – The Beginning of The Long Confinement

If you are lucky, today you might chance upon the Order of the Last Giant as they prepare for tonight’s Long Confinement; they are relatively easy to spot, given their tall wooden stilts and long gowns which graze the cobbled streets. The length of the stilts is indicative of status and piety within the Order, with more senior and more experienced members often standing level with second floor windows. Members are ‘graduated’ onto taller stilts once they exhibit the necessary dedication.

Today the Order will travel along specific routes through the City, praying at the Five Points of the giant they believe is buried beneath. They begin with each of the ‘feet’ (Trioli Hill and Twoshill’s Barrow), before moving on to each ‘hand’ (the open palm of Votive Park and the closed fist of Children’s Mound) and finally to the ‘head’ (Ranaclois Hill itself). At each point they will leave an offering at a small, unobtrusive shrine made from fossilised wood. Each shrine has a small terracotta roof over it, and in an indentation at the centre of each ‘stump’ the members of the Order leave an acorn.

The acorn is an important symbol within the Order. It is generally thought to symbolise that great things can grow from humble beginnings, but it also thought to be shorthand for wholesomeness and the Earth. In the Order’s iconography the pious dead are depicted wearing hats similar to a cupule (the ‘cap’ of an acorn). In contrast, those deemed destructive, misinterpretative or callous to the Order’s teachings are referred to as ‘galls’ (the structure formed around the larvae of a wasp when it secretes specific chemicals).

As the sun sets the Order descend into the Cranial Cavern, one of the many caves and excavations beneath Ranaclois Hill. It rests alongside the Hidden Library, but does not connect in any way. They will stay there for three weeks, concealed in complete darkness for the entirety of the Long Confinement. According to the pamphlets handed out by the Order, they try to lie as still as possible during this time, attempting to connect with the Giant, whose residual memories and thoughts still bounce around the space that was one it’s skull. Members describe extremely moving experiences and visions in the darkness, and the Order has a number of holy books wherein these are catalogued, from memories of a primordial age where wooden humans were capable of growing to immense heights, to prophetic visions of the Giant awaking and casting aside the City like an unwanted duvet.

Critics of the Order point out that hallucinations are a common response to sensory deprivation, and can be guided by expectation. Rumours have also arisen in previous years that during their sojourn in the Cavern, members are gradually stretched on racks, an a dangerous and misguided attempt to make them taller. The Order strongly refutes these claims.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Festival of One Hundred Candles

  • The Festival of Significant Lines

  • Ester Esterdotter’s House of Lace Lace Making Festival