Thirty years ago today a smallish meteorite fell on Buentoille, landing in the brickwork of a building on the main part of Trader’s Boulevard, though not before it had passed through the body of a cow. The cow, called Dorris, was participating in The Bovine Parade, and was cut in two by the celestial object, which became so well-lodged that it couldn’t be prized out by any of the gathered onlookers. A few months later, when a small red flower began growing out of the meteorite, the surrounding brickwork was carefully detached from the building along with the meteorite and taken to a lab for testing by the Department of Celestial Science (DCS). A small plaque now marks the spot where it landed.
The Bovine Parade is a very old tradition, originally thought to be something to do with cow sacrifice, magic, cleansing or trading. Small snatches of information about the festival in its original form were recovered from a broken liberatum, which states that on this day ‘the cows are painted with [glyphs] and walked through cleansing fire’ and then led through the City’s streets in a complex set of directions. Many folks were interested in the ancient tradition, which was written on a tablet liberatum, translated by the Pohlatiné mission in 1934, that also seemed to contain a number of oblique references to magic spells. A group of experimental archaeologists decided to attempt to re-create some of the spells, but the parade was the only one they had enough description on. Whilst many of the directions they were to lead the cows through didn’t make sense with the modern street layout, they did their best to recreate both the markings (colourful swirls on the cows’ sides) and procession. For the ‘cleansing fire’ they put the cows on leads and had them jump over a small fire on the ground that wasn’t hot enough to harm them with such swift contact. It was on that first parade that Dorris was killed.
There are actually a number of differing festivals that occur today. Firstly, The Bovine Parade is held as always, using a slightly different iteration of street crossings, or a different interpretation of the glyphs. In an offshoot from this festival, a group of worshippers from the Church of Her Celestial Wrath will pray at the site of the meteorite’s landing to Dorris who has now become something of a saint in their fledgling religion, a conduit to the divine. At the Guild of Conspiracy Theorists a special meeting will be held to discuss the topics of extraterrestrial life and meteorite magic in reference to the meteorite fall. Over at the DCS a special room is reserved for discussions with anyone who might have information on the disappearance and supposed theft of the meteorite.
The DCS managed to conduct a number of experiments on the flower that grew from the meteorite before it was stolen from them. The flower was identified by consultant botanists as possibly some form of poppy in appearance, though they expressed some reservations because of its prodigious growth rate and strangely shaped leaves. The plant seemed to be growing from between the brickwork and meteorite, and no attempt to prise the two apart was made because they wanted to ensure that it survived. Whilst the flower seemed mundane in appearance, chemical tests were conducted on small sections of leaf and petal that indicated the presence of several amino-acids not usually found in plants, or for that matter any known life. Despite these strange findings, the Department’s working theory before the flower’s disappearance was that the flower seed was in one of the stomachs of Dorris, before it became lodged between the wall and meteorite, along with a good quantity of blood which acted as fertiliser. The findings of the chemical experiment and the odd shape of the leaves were supposedly down to the plant drawing nutrients from the slightly odd composition of the meteorite (made from stone rather than metal), which somehow affected its development. Further testing was planned to be certain, but the next day head researcher, Yannis Yeraili, walked into the lab and noticed that the meteorite and flower had vanished, but that the brickwork remained.
Although it must be stressed that there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate their claims, many folks have implicated both the Guild of Conspiracy Theorists and the Church of Her Celestial Wrath in the theft, as both allegedly have a particular interest in the artefact. The Church has denied all claims, saying that if they did have the meteorite then they would publicly display it to gather more worshippers. The Guild of Conspiracy Theorists also deny any involvement, although they seem to have a variety of differing opinions on what did happen to the celestial object and its fragile flower. Depending on the spokesperson the story differs: the meteorite, actually a giant alien seed that had begun to grow, detached itself from the brickwork and walked out of the lab on its plant legs; the seed had indeed come from outer space and the DCS, an allegedly corrupt organisation, had hidden the meteorite when they realised this, covering it up just as they had covered up many other instances of proof of alien life; the meteorite had been stolen by a cabal of witches who wanted to use it to call down a doomsday meteorite on the City.
Whatever the circumstances of the disappearance, the room kept reserved for information at the DCS is mainly a matter of tradition, now. There is little hope that any conclusive evidence could be gained from the artefact now, as the flower is probably long dead.
Other festivals happening today:
- A Vigil for Dorris, Our Bovine Sky Mother
- The Festival of Meteorite Crystal Healing
- The Festival of Wind-Up Merchants