Weekly Skylights: The Tripod Looks to the Clouds

4 min read

Joey Cifelli ’23

Arts and Entertainment Editor

September 27, 2021 

The ritual is actually not so complicated. The townspeople think they need one of the forest druids to assist them in its many steps, but I know better. I took walks in the forest until I came upon one of the druids. She sat on the ground, leaning against a tree in her green robes. “Hark,” I said, to make her aware. The druid rose from her rest and faced me, looked me in my eyes. I stared back into her eyes and in them I saw the entire forest as if through a window. The forest as it used to be, long ago, before we town folk settled and set about chopping it into pieces for our houses and exports. When the forest was primal and horrifying and loving at the same time. When it cared for us and we feared it respectfully. I think I understand now why some of us leave the town walls and disappear past the trees. But I pulled myself out of my reverie and did what I came to do. 7.6/10 

September 28, 2021 

What we could see of the sky was dull and brooding, and it felt almost like an omen of the fruit of our discussion. She was pleasant to me, the druid, and she answered all of my questions more or less to my satisfaction. I expected her to be reserved or even angry at my audacity, and her willingness to talk placed a block of dread like ice deep in my stomach. I received an inkling of the danger of their secrets, enough to be afraid. Some hours passed and by the time I was done the night had taken hold. The druid offered to shepherd me back home, only as far as the tree line, of course. I gave my thanks but refused, in part because I wanted the time alone to think, and also because I needed to collect some supplies on my way. The ritual required a number of ingredients, some easy to gather and others much, much more difficult. I’d start right away. 7.4/10 

September 29, 2021

 A cycle formed. Day after day I woke at daybreak and ventured into the deepest and quietest hollows of the woods. Whatever paths existed were slivers of dirt beset on all sides by rampant vegetation, and more often than not I had to carve my own path, sword and lantern in hand. There was much to do. I gathered roots of all sorts, berries of potent red and violet, ragged leaves and soft quilted leaves, rough bark and smooth bark, the fragile stems of fresh sprouts and chunks of tree flesh sticky with sap, to name but a morsel. And the creatures: bone shavings, tooth shavings, so many eyes to be preserved in jars, bits of fur stealthily plucked from dreaming beasts, claws won with my own blood, and their blood, so much of it, enough that it has become as common a fluid as rainwater to see glistening on the grass. Seasons came and went but I kept at my task diligently until at last I acquired the necessary components. It was time. 7.8/10 

September 30, 2021 

Night fell and I began my sorcery. I had drawn the circles in chalk, mathematically precise, and the runes within the circles were also crisp and clear. My ingredients lay prepared in bowls on the wooden floor. I lit the thick candles and they cast their glow across the room. As I remember the atmosphere was haunting. It felt right. I stood in the center of the circle and began the chant. The words were unfamiliar to my tongue. At first. I said them again, and again. The end of one utterance flowed into the next, feeding itself and growing more powerful. The candles dimmed, their light so much farther away now, and I felt the sensation of falling through mud while I stood in place. The chant spoke itself now, without my control. I held on to it like a raft in the storm of my mind, full of dark waters bearing something unspeakable. The bowls caught on fire as the chant reached its natural climax. A howl in the dark from somewhere deep. A blast of wind that burst open the door. The shrieking wind. Shrieking. And then it was over. I collapsed. My limbs misbehaved as I pulled myself toward a shard of glass. My reflection stared back at me. And we laughed. Oh, I had lost my humanity, but what I had gained was far more interesting. 8.0/10 

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