Rituals across the Realms are extensive and varied. Some are rites to royalty or nobility - others to the gods, and still others for magical affinity or power. Some of these rituals are listed here, split by Realm.
Rituals of the Knightly Orders
When a squire is ready to become a knight, they and their mentor come to the Leader of their Order and petition for a Test. This Test is an advanced assessment run by a council of mages, the dragon Mage, and the current Leader of the Beryl.
The point of the test is to take a knight and put him or her through their greatest fear, placed within a created world where their terrors are made completely real. If their fear is read to be the death of another, that person will generally be asked to be present when they emerge - either in victory or in failure - so that they immediately realize it wasn't real.
The fears read are many, and anything is possible within the created world of a Test. It is crafted with a goal in mind - overcoming one's fear. If a fear cannot be overcome (IE death of self), then the next greatest fear will be used.
If the Test is won, they will be given a certain amount of time to recover, and a date will be scheduled with the Queen (or King) to have a number of newly-Tested squires knighted. As the ceremony begins, the Queen will make a short, celebratory speech; and then call the first to-be knight before her. Generally, this will be approached in alphabetical order.
The knight is then called to kneel and draw his sword, holding it with the hilt presented to the Queen, its sharp point to his heart. Once the Queen bows her head, he recites the following oath:
"Beneath the eyes of the Five, before whom I kneel, I swear to ever be faithful and true to the Code of the Ten. In reciting this code, I will take upon myself the honor and integrity of the Realm; I will protect the weak, stand to the strong, help the helpless, fight with the valiant.
"I will not bring harm to my King and Queen, for they are the pillar upon which my strength is built; I will not befoul the safety of which I am vowed to protect; I will not destroy the trust of the people in which I serve; and I will not break the loyalty of which I pledge.
"Under pain of death, beneath the eyes of the Great Gods, I pledge myself to the honor and protection of Vystriana and all of her people, beneath the Lady verridith. Ayddn'yen'n 'a fae'niel. Anein."
The Queen then replies, "Should your oath be false, the Five will strike you from this room. Do you submit your soul to truth?"
He then says in reply, "I do."
The Queen will then stretch forward and touch her muzzle to the knight's forehead. He will lower his mental barriers and let her see his intentions; if pure, she will draw back and speak the words below* to bind his loyalty completely, and the light within the room momentarily goes dark. This is seen as the acceptance of Time**, and the completion of the Knighting; the knight will rise and sheath his sword, then join the Leader of the Order of the Sword.
From here, they will spend a full year as a Sword, until they are deemed ready to be sorted into one of the other Orders. Very rarely will a knight choose to remain in this Order - there are few who act as mentors to the younger knights, but no more.
* The words are thus: "curai, morra'a estal, sikor v'll'il k'nova 'a'aydaa! Begela'oal'i F'neil 'yael nilth kitool'rel ukes." which means 'darkness, taint and despair, begone from this body and soul! Belong to the Oath you have taken in full.'
** Should Time not accept the ceremony, it will be postponed for that particular to-be knight. Should he fail more than once, he will be banned from the Orders and a further investigation will follow. In some rare cases, the light from the gemstones and torches will grow immensely bright - and then the knight-to-be in question will erupt in white flame, and burn for malicious intent.
Rituals of Yorije
Yorijian dragons are closely governed by the rituals that mark the uniqueness of their breed and country. Many of these rituals are listed here.
- Initiation of the Black Guard::
At the end of five years with the birth family, a member of the Black Guard is brought to the Isle of Djomwhetta to begin her training. The Initiation is performed upon her arrival.
All current Black Guardians form a ring in the Celestial Room, with the exception of the eldest. That Guardian leads the neophyte to the room, where she kneels before Calypso, who is in the center of the ring. Calypso will bow back, and then close the open space in the ring, leaving the eldest Black Guardian and the neophyte inside.
The neophyte will acquit herself through a brief battle with the eldest Black Guardian. It is expected that she will lose, however, she is not told that winning is unnecessary. It is up to the elder to determine when the battle is over. Blood must be drawn.
Once concluded, the elder will withdraw and Calypso will take her original place. The neophyte will kneel once more, and Calypso will gently touch the wound, covering the crescent mark on her claw. Displaying this tribute to the neophyte, Calypso will then request her loyalty in all things:
"Child of the heaven without stars, mother of the darkness before slumber, mistress to the ocean black with the life of your enemies; swear to me on bended limb your mind, your body, your soul to unleash as I choose."
The neophyte will swear their loyalty, and the Initiation will conclude.
- The Mating Ritual::
The mating ritual is a mixture of consent and instinct. Once it begins, the female will flee from the male, though not so far as to truly escape. Rather, she leads him through an increasingly elaborate dance through either ocean or air, drawing him closer and then fleeing again. The male is driven to catch her, simplicity against complication. If he succeeds, their long bodies will intertwine, and the pearls of both male and female will be pressed together in their foreclaws. The magic spurred on by this ritual will meld the pearls into one (this is a giddying sensation particularly strong to those not normally gifted with magic). After a time, as the magic siphons the energy from both, they will separate; the result is a single pearl between the pair, which now contains the beginning of a new hatchling.
- Pairbonding in Yorije::
Pairbonding in Yorije is a simple if profound ritual. The two will journey to the Isle of Djomwhetta, whereupon they will enter the Room of Five. This room is of a pentagonal shape that details the five Families, the five Gods, and four witnesses of the pair's choosing. Each witness will stand by the walls, with the fifth wall - that of Saoyan - being occupied by the pair. There they will pray to Saoyan and make an offering of something they have designed together, which will be left by the wall for the Black Guard to collect and hold for the God should he arrive. They will also present each other with something of their own make and design. There the pair will remain for one full night, from moonrise to moonset, and upon the new dawn will leave pairbonded.
There is no telling what the pair will experience during this time. It is inferred that a powerful connection seizes the two during the moonrise, which reaches its pinnacle at the zenith and slowly dwindles off. Regardless, at the end of the ceremony, the pairbonded will be able to sense when the other is in danger, hurt, or dead. Speaking of what occurred, especially if Saoyan replied to the prayer, is strictly forbidden.
- The Ascension::
The Ascension is a ritual experienced only by the Daugher of Yorije upon Calypso's death. The Daugher of Yorije will bring Calypso's body to the tallest room on the Isle of Djomwhetta; the Spire. Once there, she will build a funeral pyre around the queen's body and burn it. For the next three days and three nights, the Daughter of Yorije will keep a vigil by the ashes. These hours are said to be the days of judgement to determine whether or not the Daughter of Yorije is suitable for rule. Saoyan could arrive at any time during these days, but without fail he will make an appearance before the dawn of the fourth day. Upon his arrival, the Daughter of Yorije will stand to greet him.
Legend says that Calypso is the embodiment of the ocean; temperamental, placid, kind and cruel, patient and unforgiving. Saoyan is the moon that guides her, the inexorable push and pull of the tides, the utter calm as his closeness and terrible restlessness when he is far away. The Daughter of Yorije will always display these quicksilver qualities, for she is the Sea, his bride made flesh. The usual pairbonding does not work for these elements; instead, Saoyan will reveal an incredible truth to her, a truth secret to each and every Calypso upon her Ascendancy. She will learn her role in the world, and see it briefly as the Gods see it. This is Saoyan's gift to her. The Daughter's gift to him must be a reflection of Yorije as she sees it, a personification of the kingdom she is to lead.
The Daughter of Yorije will briefly touch Saoyan. When she does, the God's mark - a crescent moon encircling a sun - will be burned into her left shoulder. This is the final mark of Calypso.
The ritual concluded, Calypso is now bound the Saoyan, able not only to detect his distress but also his proximity and moods. In the event of danger, she will be able to contact him directly as no other being in Yorije can. She will also be able to sense the birth of a new Daughter.