ER:Festival of Departure
From The Heretic Knowledge Vault
As explained by Sister Rose, "About every four or five years, functions in the Orthodox Church stand down for about three days. The timing varies according to some rule that I've never fully understood, something about the phases of the moon, Luminosita's Presence at the smitings in the main temple in Emerylon, and so on. The reason, and here we get into the theology part, is that Luminosita 'departs' from the temple for those days, going to parts unknown to quote-unquote 'rest' for a while." While Luminosita is out of pocket, priests of the Veracian Church are severely handicapped in the spells they can cast, a matter of some significance in Errant Road when Rose and her fellow voyagers (Argus, Lillith, etc.) have various encounters while the Festival is going on. Rose is a skilled enough spellcaster that Departure doesn't bother her, but the unpleasant Father Dugoy, priest at the corrupt little town of Mazantzel, does find his spellcasting degraded, to the party's advantage. The nominal explanation for this effect is that Luminosita is a big ball of magical energy that the priests and nuns can tap for their spells, but when he's "resting," that energy is unavailable for tapping.
The Festival has social implications as well. According to Rose, "during those three days, members of the Orthodox Church -- again, our own much less so -- behave as though Luminosita has really gone away. Priests no longer cast spells that tap into Luminosita's Essence. The smitings are suspended. The priests and nuns enter into a time of fasting and meditation, and we try to get the parishioners to do the same..." -- at least in principle. In practice, however, the populace often uses Luminosita's absence as an excuse to live it up. This may explain some of the townsfolk's behavior as the party travels during the Festival. Then again, the towns might just be a little on the wild and hostile side anyway. Who knows?
The full implications of the Festival haven't been fully discussed yet, but -- spoiler alert -- it probably wouldn't be amiss for Errant Road players (as opposed to their characters), and readers, to think of it as a time when the construct that makes up the more-or-less physical form of Luminosita is "taken down for maintenance."