It's official; it is December 1st and the holiday season is well and truly upon us. I awoke at 7 a.m. this morning to a seemingly endless playlist of Christmas music on the radio. By 7:15 my sanity was at the breaking point and the mad piping of Azathoth would have been a welcome respite.
In Lemuria, celebrations, albeit of an entirely different sort, are also held at this time of year. For much of the year the human inheritors of Lemuria concern themselves with the perils left behind by the Atlantean overlords; but there are older and darker things in the land that surpass even the foulest works of Atlantis, and they begin to stir as the solstice approaches.
For twelve days prior to the solstice, the people celebrate with gift-giving and offerings of food to passing strangers. This tradition dates back thousands of years and is believed to have started as a means of appeasing the capricious spirits of the earth that stir more fitfully as the days grow short. Of course, city-bred men scoff at such superstition, but many country folk, who live at the sufferance of such forces, hold to the old ways and huddle warily behind locked doors and shuttered windows in hope that their offerings will be sufficient to divert the attention of things best not spoken of.
The barbarian tribes of Lemuria seek not only to appease, but also to gain the favour of, the primordial eldritch forces of the earth through the performance of ancient rites passed down from elder to elder through the ages. These rites include such offerings as the skulls of slain enemies, the hearts of captured foes ripped, still beating, from their chests, and the life-blood of comely maidens of virtue true. As a consequence of this last, young women of child-bearing age are eager to lose their maidenheads prior to solstice night, and the nights before solstice are carnal bacchanals that the young men of the tribe look forward to all year long.
Welcome Back to the Labyrinth
"We have been away far too long, my friends," Ashoka declared, his face lit by the eldritch green glow of his staff. "But we have finally returned to the labyrinth whence our adventures first began."
"Just imagine the treasures that lie within," said Yun Tai, flexing his mighty muscles. "Wealth enough to live in luxury the rest of our days."
"And arcane artifacts of great power," added Ashoka his words dripping with avarice. "All ours for the taking!"
"Umm...guys?" Nysa interrupted. "Do you hear something dripping?"