The Time of Smoke

Look up. Tonight you should see the moon in the state that demarks one month from another in the fictional world of y Ddraig – the quarter moon. Half dark, half light (which of course is a quarter of the whole moon).

This night marks the start of the ‘Time of Smoke’ in Dark Age Cymry. Remember that last month was all about gathering the harvest and the livestock in from the forests ready for the onset of winter (the Dark Time of Year) and celebrating the start of a new year? Well, the party is over now and the coming two forten-nights are all about hard core preparation to survive the season to come.

Villagers spent the first part of the (cold but not yet icy) month securing the grain they had harvested (some for consumption some for re-seeding next season’s crops) but they spent most of it smoking (curing, drying) the vast amounts of meat they harvested last month. Up to half their animals. Between the endless smoking (which took days and weeks to achieve given they preserved as much of the animal as they could) and the fact that they were now living indoors most of the day and night where smoke from the fire in their shelter permeated everything, this month is aptly named.

But there was ceremony in this month, too. Those livestock who survived Gathering were walked between ceremonial fires and ritually ‘fumigated’ to protect them against the coming winter.

So… this month was all about smoke in the fictional 6th century world of y Ddraig.