October 29th – The Festival of His Swirling Presence

There’s something about the precise shape of Uther Dean’s Triangle in Whight Hollow that creates strange currents in the air. Usually they wouldn’t be noticeable, but at this time of year, what with all the dry foliage fluttering around, they are revealed; six eddies, swirling circles of leaves about a metre across. They dance around the space, going all the way into the porch of the butcher’s shop (much to the butcher’s consternation), or across the now empty flower beds, or circling around the tree in the south east corner. They are always there, these currents, at least when it is windy. There are always six of them.

If it’s not windy, the small Canaring contingent visiting the City today will be rather disappointed; they’ve come a long way to see this odd congregation of winds. In fairness, they might be disappointed regardless, as the spectacle is often built up quite grandly in their city, across the Inner Ocean. It is, after all, the spectacle which created one of their greatest saints, but in person it resembles little more than a few leaves flying about on a windy day. Still, it was watching these mere leaves which spurred the conversion of Saint Blackhand, as Troilus Acedus is commonly known in Canaring, who is not a saint of the Chastise Church, which Buentoillitants know so well, but its progenitor, The Church of Our Great Lord (COOGL).

To those who worship the ‘Great Lord,’ most Buentoillitants are godless heathens, either having no faith, or following a church which actively disputes the notion that human affairs are controlled by transcendental beings. Their Great Lord is all seeing, all knowing, and all powerful, a difficult philosophical position to maintain to be sure, but surprisingly, in Canaring, adherents to the religion are a majority, rather than a tiny majority as in Buentoille. The primary piece of iconography for COOGL worshippers is the Band, a selection of six intersecting circles, each representing a different aspect of their god: the Prophet, the Father, the Daughter, the Dilettante, the Wanderer and the Dreamer. Given this, it’s not surprising that the visiting contingent find themselves attracted to Uther Dean’s Triangle, or The Shape of Saint Blackhand, as he is known in their city, with its six swirling circles.

The primary reason for Acedus’ sainthood, and the name ‘Blackhand’ was simple; in 1944 they rounded up apostates and folk from other religions, then burned them to death in one of the greatest massacres of modern times, ironic for a man who had himself renounced his religious beliefs to join COOGL. This religious turmoil spread throughout all sections of Canaring’s highly stratified society, and Blackhand was known for the ‘fairness’ of his murder as he did not unfairly favour those from upper strata, although he did primarily target those on the lower sections. According to a tale which Acedus told, which in turn became part of Saint Blackhand’s founding myth, he was first turned to COOGL after a Chastise Church service, where he had felt ‘empty and cold.’ He had been conversing via inter-city mail with a Great Lord priest, and was slowly being turned on to the idea that god was present, ‘filling the empty and lonely spaces of this world.’

Interestingly it was the framing of the religion’s beliefs with science and pseudo-science that helped Acedus turn to god; the atom had recently been calculated to be mostly empty of matter, and it was this space that the priest claimed was where god dwells, if we let him; where we can feel His Swirling Presence. This idea stuck with Acedus, flitting intermittently across his mind, until he sat down with a coffee in Uther Dean’s Triangle, watching the swirling motion of the fallen foliage, and decided that it was a sign, a message from god. Whilst he has never claimed that it happened, most worshippers say that the six rings crossed over much as they do in the Church’s logo. Either way, the visiting contingent this year, arriving on Acedus’ birthday (that is, today – normally the death day would be used but that was in midsummer when wind speeds are too low) will revel in these strange currents, these concatenations of wind that somehow ensured their religion’s dominance in Canaring.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Festival of the Softest Drum
  • The Attack Cat Festival
  • Murderers Out of Buentoille – an Annual Protest