When you’ve lived as many cycles as I have, you pick up a thing or two. You start to learn what’s what about quite a bit, and Skin Harvests are certainly no different.
So if you’ve found the red stone on your nightstand, and the sounds of sweet Brother Tiras’s delicate piccolo are rolling through the hills, give these tips a gander — you want to have a memorable Ascension Day, after all!
If there’s one thing that turns the elders’ buttercream sour it’s ungratefulness. So be sure to let the collective know you appreciate this high honor by flashing your pearly whites at the naming. You’d want to see theirs if you were standing on the other side of the harvest circle.
2. Have One Last Taste of Honeysuckle
As He has written, “The fields and hillocks are plentiful. Gorge yourself on their bounty. Consume their power.” It may be some time before you feast on the pleasures of this plane again, so make sure to sneak off to the clearing and drink of the sweet nectar, just once more. Pay no mind to Prior Elroy — he merely likes to observe.
3. Choose Your Ferrymen Well
Whether you select them for their strength, keen eyesight, or sense of mercy, worthwhile ferrymen are essential during the harvest. Don’t believe me? Look up the woodcuts of Brother Jubal — they’ll show you what happens when a bad ferryman gets in the mix. The passage to eternity is hard enough as it is, so choose wisely!
4. Comfort Your Mother, for Pete’s Sake
Against all better judgment, some mothers simply can’t appreciate the beauty of a Skin Harvest. While we know this to be nothing but nerves, it’s still best to let your mother know how grand the day will be, and which forms you plan to take at the Shadow Exodus. She’ll come around!
As you approach the high hour, it’s understandable to be anxious. Your body is changing, and once you imbibe the tenderizing fluid it will be changing all the more. So pause a moment, take a few deep breaths, and remember your duty to His will.
6. Wash That Skin!
This one really should go without saying but when you’ve seen as many harvests as I have you know some folks just plain don’t get the message. The elders have gifted you with the finest soaps and oils money can buy, so use them, gosh darn it! Get that skin pink and supple, and make sure it glistens like a peach blossom after a summer rain.
7. Tell the Scribe Your One True Thing
While some in the younger generation have been skipping out on this during their harvests, most folks still see it as an important part of our heritage. This is your chance to have your wisdom live on in the Book of Runamias — don’t miss out!
8. Take Time to Laugh
Whether it’s catching the Hildebrand twins cussing up a storm again or noticing all the ways Sister Rosalie mangles the culling song, there’ll be lots of moments worth a chuckle. Don’t hold back! This is your big day, after all, and things will get plenty serious once the bloodening starts. Enjoy yourself!
9. Give Praise Unto His Name
Remember, now, you’re the latest in a long line to serve as herald to the Sovereign of the 7th Realm. May his name stay ever on your lips in deference and servitude. Q’entolcsia, Q’entolcsia!
10. Be Ready to Improvise
There will be lots of times during the harvest when things can — and will — go sideways, but keep your head about you so you can carry on. I mean, you don’t want folks’ last thought of you being a flubbed line or some lost teeth.
11. Take the Balm That Sister Damaris Gives You, Rub It on Your Key Joints (Hips, Shoulders, Elbows, Knees), State the Name of Your House, and Stifle Your Tears
This is all for the best.
Nothing ruins a good Skin Harvest like a lot of pride and silence. Let those shrieks loose!