Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Mikelmerck and the guarding dead

One of the peculiarities of Mikelmerck is the belief that the dead earn their keep.  They are fully occupied in patrolling the thin boundaries and remain active.  Every family keeps some token of their ancestors in the house and on Cooshboth's Eve when the days grow darker, they bring them out to remind them of their duties.  The following day, All Heads, a few especially aged or honoured tokens are rewarded with retirement from their toil and are given a final send off with special cakes and good ale.

The hardheaded Mikelmerckens are slightly wary of continuing to work in their well-earned afterlife.  Because of this, it is not unknown for bargains to be struck before death for the length of time they will be expected to guard the boundaries.  Such bargains normally involve the transfer of property or sheep to compensate the living for the future loss of protection.  One of the prime duties of the traveling clergy is to adjudicate an appropriate length of service.  10 years is the norm, but in the case of particularly strong willed or powerful people, the family may ask for a longer protection.  In this case the negotiations can become protracted and messy, leading to unseemly squabbles.

Most of the truly powerful accept that they will spend a long period guarding the bounds of Mikelmerck.  Boothler Samael has not yet been granted respite after 300 years.  Nor is it likely he will be until another mage of similar strength appears.