Initiation for women is into the Earth Six, rather than just Ernalda, though
most women find that Ernalda is the aspect to which they are closest. The
test is in three parts, one for each generation. In each case, the questor
is presented with a problem to solve. Many solutions are possible, but
two will be obvious: one using the methods of the Light side of the goddess
and one using the Dark side. Almost all candidates manage to find some
solution: most choose the Light side, or an unbiased method.
The candidate is taken to the women's holy site: usually a cave. They go
through the usual methods of starting any important ceremony and transferring
their spirit to the Other Side, as described in my main
initiation page. They are not told what the tests will be, only that
they should try to use the skills of whichever of the Six they feel is
most appropriate. Then they are sent, unarmed and alone, deeper into the
cave: which by now seems considerably larger and deeper than they remember.
And darker. Pointing out the earth spirits inhabiting the walls would be
a good move round about now. Be scared....
Test 1: Voria v. Babeester Gor
The cave opens out, and there is light ahead. Not quite daylight, but light
of some sort. The roof is no longer visible, and there are plants growing.
In fact, someone's planted a vegetable garden, with a neat little fence
around it. Cabbages, lettuces, that sort of thing. As the questor gets
closer, she can see movement in the garden: lots and lots of rabbits, eating
the plants. This is obviously not a good thing, and the rabbits will have
to be removed. How?
Voria would ask the little fluffy bunnies, nicely, if they wouldn't mind
leaving. If the questor tries this, it will work. They may find that flowers
grow in their footprints for a while if they invoke this power.
There's a broom leaning against the fence. Shooing the rabbits away with
this will work. Unbiased choice, no special effects.
There's also a copper axe. Killing the little bunnies would work. If the
questor tries to use the axe for this purpose, they will find their Axe
Attack is about 50% higher than they thought it was. The axe feels good
in their hands, and they may be unwilling to put it down. A very few questors
come out of the HeroPlane holding the axe: don't overdo this, but it can
be a method of helping out an underpowered character. On the mundane, the
axe is inhabited by a spirit of Babeester Gor. No, I'm not giving allied
spirits to new initiates: I'm giving allied initiates to spirits. Unless
the questor can resist, the spirit will be in charge of their actions.
Don't do this to PCs unless the player really wants to be a Babs fanatic.
If the player can't come up with a solution at all, they've failed their
initiation and will still count as a child when they emerge. Though how
anyone with a grain of sense could fail this is beyond me.
Test 2: Ernalda v. Maran Gor
(With overtones of Esrola. Well, she's the same generation)
The questor leaves the first big cave, and pases down a tunnel (dark,
spirits, scary, etc.) until the cave opens out again. They're entering
an area full of crops. (Pick a crop suited to the clan and the questor.
My cider-maker's daughter found herself in an apple orchard).
At the centre of the crops is an area/a tree that seems to have something
wrong with it. Close inspection will reveal that it's diseased: as usual,
its spirit is visible, and looks weak and unhappy. A Plant Lore roll will
tell them that the disease is highly infectious. It can be cured, but that
would take time and special ingredients. By a curious coincidence, those
ingredients have been provided: they're sitting in a bucket close by. There
is also an iron axe, suitable for chopping trees down. (Or perhaps a scythe,
if you've gone for that sort of crop.).
The pure Esrola answer is to cure the disease, using the ingredients provided.
Ernalda's spiritual aspect might try to strengthen the tree's spirit to
help it fight off the disease.
Maran Gor would go for destruction in the service of life. Chop down the
tree. And burn the remains. Dig out the roots if you must: it's surprising
how effective the axe can be at making holes in the earth. Again, too much
use of the axe will make it difficult to put the thing down.
Failing this (which takes some doing) not only results in the questor failing
initation, but gives the clan poor crops that year.
Test 3: Asrelia v. Ty Kora Tek
Next cave. Tell them about the earth spirits in the walls again, get them
feeling claustrophobic. Here the light is daylight, because the roof has
partly fallen in. In the centre of the cave is the body of a warrior. He
seems to be lying where he fell defending quite a lot of treasure. Gold,
scrolls, delicate glass jars of strange liquids, pots of spices, you name
it. All precious, all fragile, all being rained on. Every now and then,
more rocks fall from the hole in the roof. It's only a matter of time before
the whole lot comes down. There's a tunnel out at the far side, but it's
going to be a tight squeeze.
The Asrelia answer is to move as much as possible of the treasure to safety:
the edges of the cave look stable. In fact, there are smaller caves leading
off where things could be stored out of danger. Of course, when the roof
comes down the whole lot will be a bit difficult to get to, but it'll be
The Ty Kora Tek answer is that that body needs proper laying out, and the
spirit, if still present, sending to the right place.
Do you have time to do both? How about having a word with the spirits in
the falling rocks, and asking them not to do that?
Take some of the treasure with you? You know I said that tunnel out was
a tight squeeze? You won't make it while carrying any of this stuff. (But
taking either of the two axes out would be possible: don't ask how.)
Coming out holding an Axe is not a reward. It's more like benign possession.
Spells? Normally I would give each questor a single point of spirit
magic, appropriate to something spectacular they'd done on the quest. Any
criticals rolled, any particular initiative shown. The spell can be chosen
from any of the Earth Six, or less commonly any of their associates. The
player who went through this, for instance, critically Dodged a falling
rock. Vinga gave her a point of Read
Foe (the spell that increases Dodge).