The Call of The Flame

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The Call of The Flame is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

Gifting the Flame

In the arctic chill, the wind breathes of legend and moans with loss. Trees creak, standing ancient and defiant against the frost. The very bedrock crackles, time etched in its hoarfrost-covered face. And the ice, like a banshee, shatters and screams its defiance into the painted sky. This is where the Kindred were first born.

Passed down through the generations, fables and legends bespeak a time when the harsh world knew nothing but the biting sting of the wind, the gnawing touch of the cold, and the brittle pain of the ice. They speak of a time when giants and wendigo roamed freely across the arctic plains, unhindered by driving zephyrs. There came a time when the children of the elders would not survive the night, their bodies unable to resist the sleep that was sung to them by the cold. They roared at the loss of these precious pieces of them, those that would continue their kind, and around them, nature quaked at what had been and what would become of their kind.

Desperate to have her precious child survive in the night, one mother called to the forces of nature. Her anger was gone and only sorrow held its place. Plunging her hand into her chest she drew forth the spark of her life and split it in twain.

Kindrat aveh enda nu. She spoke to the babe and then fed the fire of her life into him. Spent and exhausted, all hope lost, she slept in a near fugue state beside the wee babe.

Violet and coral greeted the new day in painted hues and for the first time in many seasons, the laughter of a child filled the circle.

Kindrat aveh enda nu. Translation: Take my flame and live anew.

Within a season she had taught those heavy with child how to draw the flame of their souls from their body and to share it with their newly born. Yet, with each sharing, both the mother and the child were diminished. The women seemed to shrink as if that part of their spirit that they had gifted to the children had sapped the core of what they were and gifted it to the dying light of their children. And for their part, though strange by many mortal standards, they, too, were smaller than their fathers and those before them.

Some say the parting of ways is how the giants that roam the frozen north became too imbittered by life. Some say those that remained mourned that they could not share their one life force, growing angry at the world, and it drove them mad. Some say too much.

Legend says that these first of our kind to descend were held in awe, as they should be, by the smaller races. Giantmen they named us, but we did not take this name in our hearts. For the flame of life burned there, fueling us, saving us, and preserving us. No, we call ourselves something more. Dadun kindrat. Flame-borne.

Over time, the old languages were lost, the meanings of the words forgotten as our story passed through the generations. Now, all that remains is the story of our creation. And the knowledge that we are connected by the flame. Kindred in every way.

Returning the Flame

Borne through the Gift of Flame, it is only fitting and proper that in death we return our borrowed flame to the world. Herein lies the Ritual of Returning to the Flame.

Upon death, the clan gathers, and those closest to the deceased care for the vessel that cages their flame. The vessel is honored by careful grooming. Pristine and pure, they are tended to with care and respect. Carefully washed and groomed, they remain beneath a coral and violet shroud that is meant to represent the skies of a home they no longer remember.

While the vessel is cared for, the rest of the clan prepares the pyre. Never taller than the vessel was in life, the pyre is built of solid oak, thanot, and ash poles that have been left to dry for a season. Aerated layers are created within the structure, windows provide a view of the dried herbs, wheat sheaves, tall grasses, and dried pine boughs that will be used to ignite the wood. Elders of the clan come forth as the young finish the task, each carrying a flammable trinket, carving, or effigy that represents the sum of the vessel's life.

As the day comes to an end, a circle of clan members surrounds the pyre as the vessel is borne aloft from its cleansing place and reverently laid upon the pyre.

Free of its shroud, the vessel lays skyclad under the first stars as their closest relative, friend, or lover lights the flames. This person is known as the One That Remains.

It is the duty of the One That Remains to feed the pyre until it collapses, and then to stand vigil until the flames cool. Once the fire and all remaining coals are nothing more than ash, the One That Remains pulls the bones from the fire, taking care to collect every single one. They cleaned, polished, and then interred in the clan cairn, where a new pennant will be added in memory of the fallen.

The pennant is something crafted by the entire clan, a memory of life, and left to fly for as long as nature demands. After that, it is up to the spoken memory of the clan to keep the person alive.

Capturing the Flame

In the tombs of Kilanirij, the dead rest and still hold on to their flame. It is said that Samarak the Grim, so concerned and afraid that Despana would return and the war would fight anew, insisted that those of the Hammer Clan must keep their flame lit eternally. He believed that every flame, past and present, would be needed should the battle come to fruition again.

Some say the Grot'karesh flame is diminished with each new generation.

Some say that the reason those that seek to speak to the dead during Kamiir come out mad is that they behold the flames of our ancestors and that their cries for freedom are too great to bear.

Some say too much.