Avisalia (ey-vis-AL-ee-uh | / eɪ vɪs ˈæl i ə /)

Written by Sable Aradia and Cryssalia.
Avisalia is a holiday that celebrates an ancient alliance between House Avis and House Lapin. Lost to time in the Renaissance due to the decline of the Age of Literomancy, it has recently been revived among the literomantic Houses, and is beginning to catch on in popular culture as well.   During the Game of Tomes: Tourney of Tales April 2022, Cryssalia, the Penguin Prinx and Sable Aradia, the Mother of Bunnies held a public Avisalia celebration and feast for the first time in hundreds of years. The event was widely attended by literomancers, though only sparsely attended by the general public. They both have hopes that the event will grow in popularity as it becomes more established.

History

The Word War of 2020 was not the first appearance of the Undead Horde in the world. In pre-historic times, there was a time when the power of the Undead Horde was such that there was a winter that lasted for years, accompanied by endless darkness. Perhaps The Iron Tome was in their possession.   According to myth, the literomantic Houses were still new, and rarely engaged with one another outside of their own concerns. But The Big Birb and The Chief Rabbit decided to form an alliance to bring light and warmth back to the world. Together they faced down the Undead Horde, and after much loss, they were able to turn the tide, drive the Undead Horde underground once again, and bring back the sun. Avisalia commemorates this ancient alliance and its success.   Echoes of this event, say the Birbs and Bunnies, are remembered in Vernal Equinox traditions and celebrations all over the world, including the modern observance of Easter. It is also remembered in numerous bird- and bunny-related myths, such as the association of rabbits with the moon, and Raven stealing the sun.   Later, with the dawn of civilization, bunnies and eggs became associated with goddesses of love and fertility. Since most of these deities descend in some way from the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who descended into the Underworld to reclaim her lost love, died, and was later resurrected through the actions (or decrees) of the god Enki, some scholars of Tome Lore believe that Inanna and Enki may be half-remembered names of the Chief Rabbit and the Big Birb who were responsible for the alliance and the victory being commemorated.   One key aspect of the holiday that has bled into popular culture is the tradition of the Easter Bunny. The Chief Rabbit typically takes coloured, unfertilized eggs, or chocolate representations of them or of bunnies, which have been charged with literomantic blessings, and hides them for people to find. The one who finds the treat and eats it receives the literomantic blessing.   More recent traditions may have evolved from a darker development of Avisalia traditions in the Bronze and Iron Age. According to the myths of both House Lapin and House Avis, people began to hunt and eat the bunny and birb relatives of both Houses to claim some of their power totemically. They claim that encouraging people to fast, and then later, to eat chocolate representations of birbs and bunnies instead, was a grand trick (and a very successful propaganda victory) accomplished by both Houses.

Execution

It is traditional for the members of both Houses to take part in activities that honour the members of the other House. Both may decorate or dress up in ways that are associated with the other House, or serve food that is preferred by the other House (or choose not to eat things that would potentially offend or harm the other House; for example, the Birbs eat vegetarian meals.) A grand feast is served, featuring items like bananas and oatmeal, which both Houses agree are ideal fare. They claim it's because of these traditions that birbs and bunnies are intrinsically associated with the Vernal Equinox and Easter in many cultures, and often in ways that blend their aspects and features.   Naturally, because this is a literomancer's holiday, writing is also involved. The members of both Houses gather, together if possible, and write. Filking is also common. Literomantic blessings on parchment are baked into cakes, pies, or hot cross buns; or added in icing or other decorative elements. Dyeing unfertilized chicken eggs is common, and the patterns may be elaborate and colourful works of art that typically contain literomantic blessings also. The blessings, whatever form of food they take, are then eaten by the celebrants.   Even the members of House Avis who tend to have omnivorous diets abstain from meat-eating on Avisalia, to honour their vegetarian Bunny allies.

Observance

Avisalia used to be celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, which was believed to have been the date at which the Endless Winter ended, but in the modern revival it is celebrated on Easter to be more consistent with existing holidays.
House Avis by Misades
House Lapin by Dani Adventures
Related Organizations
A white bunny in a field with bright Easter eggs in front of it
Avisalia by Yokim
Watercolour of an anthropomorphic rabbit decorating an eggshell with forget-me-nots
Easter Bunny by Darkmoon Art
Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs
Avisalia Treats by Makabera
Four rabbits with Easter eggs playing musical instruments
Avisalia Filking by Darkmoon Art
A ceramic half-egg and bunny ears, filled with bright-wrappered chocolate eggs, next to yellow flowers
Easter Treats by Kekule

An Avisalia Story

"Tell me a story, Aunt Sable" said Galakrond to Sable curled up in his red-painted bed with his dinosaurs quilt.   Sable smiled. Gala was about seven at the time, and Sable and Erin were visiting Windy Willows. They did that on most holidays and maybe more often if they could. What was this occasion? Right, it was Avisalia...   "What kind of story do you want to hear?" Sable asked him, sitting on the edge of the bed. He was an adorable kid, even then; the kind who had a radiant smile that would light up a whole room and make you want to laugh with delight. It was rare even then to see it, though. Darth was gay but Realm was bisexual -- or maybe pan, but nobody was really using that label yet, it was just starting to spread into the culture -- and there'd been a mom figure who had left. Gala was taking it hard.   "I dunno," he said with a shrug.   "Wind in the Willows?" Sable asked, reaching for the book.   But Gala had his own opinions. "Nah," he said. "I've heard that one a million times. Uncle Erin always reads it."   Sable smiled. "Fair enough. Something about superheroes, maybe? Or do you want an Avisalia story?"   "Yeah, that," said Gala eagerly, shifting up against the pillow.   "Okay," Sable said, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Let me see... I read this in a book and it was a while ago, so I may stumble over it a little bit... Once upon a time --" because all the best stories started with "once upon a time" -- "there was a winter that never ended. It just went on and on and on. And people started running out of food, because they expected the winter to end, but it never did. Worse than that, there were monsters in the long, cold winter nights that could eat you.   "So one day, a Rabbit and a Bird were both searching for food. Rabbit was scratching at the snow, looking for grass to eat, and Bird was picking the last dried seeds off a bush.   "'Why do you think the winter is going on and on?' Rabbit asked Bird. 'Do you think we'll ever see spring again?'   "'It's the sun,' said Bird. 'It's gone. We can't find it.'   "'Well, where did you last see it?' said Rabbit. 'Let's go find it.'   "'I guess I can take you there,' said Bird. 'Follow me.'   "'It was a long way to where Bird had last seen the sun. Rabbit found the journey hard; she was not made to make long trips, like Bird. But eventually they came to the edge of the land, where there was water as far as the eye could see. It was the sea, but Rabbit had never seen such a thing; didn't know there was this much water in all the world.   "'It sank over there,' said Bird, poking his beak towards the horizon.   "'You can fly there maybe,' said Rabbit, 'but I am not sure how I can get there. Maybe...' And then she saw a piece of wood floating on the water.   "And Rabbit was very clever, and she realized, 'If I get on the thing that floats, I can float on the water too.' She jumped on the wood, and it bobbed and wobbled, but it righted itself, and she was floating on top of it. 'Okay,' she said, 'let's go!' And she started kicking with her strong back legs, and they went over the sea.   "It was a long journey. There were terrible storms that Bird could not fly through, so he would rest on the wood as it was tossed and turned. But eventually, they came to a far shore, a land of ice where food was even harder to find. But there, they saw a radiant glow coming from a deep, dark cave.   "'The sun!' cried Rabbit. But all of a sudden there was a horrible growl, and the shore was full of the monsters that wanted to eat them.   "Rabbit knew the sun had to be freed, or everyone would die. She was, after all, very clever. 'Quick!' she said. 'You are faster than I and you can fly! You go fetch the sun! I will keep them distracted.' And she began to leap and bound, wiggling her ears and kicking her feet, waggling her cotton bunny tail. And she yelled, 'Come get me, monsters!' And she hopped and darted and ran, and the monsters chased her.   "Bird flew into the cave and pulled out the sun. Some say the Bird was a raven, and this is how he got his black feathers, because the sun burned him. Bird carried the sun high, high into the sky, as high as he could fly, and he let it go when he could fly no higher.   'The ice started to melt. The monsters fell down and turned to bones and ashes. Bird was tired from his great flight, so he made to land, looking for his friend. 'Look, Rabbit, the sun is back! We did it!   "But when he returned to the ground, he saw his friend Rabbit, and she was lying dead on the melting snow. The monsters had killed her.   "'No, oh no!' Bird cried, and he went to Rabbit's side and he nuzzled her with his beak. But she did not wake up.   "'If the sun helped bring the life back to the world,' Bird said to himself at last, 'maybe it can bring life back to Rabbit too.'   "So he picked his friend up and he flew as far into the sky as he could. But the sun was made of light and Rabbit was made of flesh, so he couldn't fly as high.   "'At last he looked up into the brightness, knowing he would not reach it, and he said, 'Please, Sun; it is not fair that Rabbit should die when all the world should live.'   "'All things die,' said the sun, 'but Rabbit saved me, so I will help you.' And sun reached down and touched Rabbit. Her fur turned shining white. Her eyes opened, and they were full of stars. 'I will set her in the sky,' said Sun, 'so she can watch what I cannot. And I will make sure she never goes hungry again, so I will give her a magic mortar and pestle.   "And that is why there is a Rabbit in the Moon today," Sable finished, nudging her nephew, who was really her son, and giving him a smile. "What did you think?"   "I think there should be more badgers in it," said Gala through a yawn.   Sable laughed. "There probably should be," she agreed. She pulled the quilt over him as she got up from the bed. "Good night, kiddo."   "Good night, Aunt," said Gala, tucking in, his eyes already half-closed and blinking.


Cover image: Avisalia by Pixaline

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