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Tayma and the Ceremony of Blood

by John Calvin

Now that Issue #12 of Threshold (which has info on the Vampire Queens of Taymora) has been released I can finally start talking about it in public I had a few ideas come up while writing the article, and a few more come up while reviewing it with some of the other editors and proofreaders (Sturm and Robin in particular).

Anyway, one thought revolved around Tayma and the Ceremony of Blood.

Tayma disappears from her people in BC 2510. While some speculate that she was destroyed or imprisoned by her own daughters, the truth may be something quite different. To explore this alternative theory we must first revisit the concept of the Blood Tax, and the Ceremony of Blood.

In the Mystara 2300 BC setting, the Ceremony of Blood is a ritual derived from the draconic Ceremony of Sublimation. The original Ceremony of Sublimation was designed as a way for dragons to increase their own power (perhaps even attaining immortality) by sacrificing a treasure horde and falling into a deep slumber or hibernation (during which time, if the Ceremony was successful, the dragon would grow in both size and power).

In the aftermath of the Great Rain of Fire, many of the peoples of Mystara suffered a dreaded disease called the Wasting, which decimated entire nations and cultures. Few would survive this deadly plague, and those that did often went to great lengths to find protection. The Taymorans developed the Ceremony of Blood. The legendary Taymoran founder-hero Tayma stole the Ceremony of Sublimation from the dragons and with the help of her patroness Immortal Nyx, modified it to save herself and her people from the Wasting.

To perform the Ceremony of Blood, all participants would have to sacrifice a portion of their life force to the ritual (called the Blood Tax in Taymora). This sacrifice of blood would then be channeled through the Taymoran nobility (all nosferatu and vampires) and consumed by the ritual. Everyone who participated in the sacrifice would be protected from the effects of the Wasting throughout the year following the ritual. Thus the Ceremony of Blood would have had to be performed on a yearly basis in order to insure continued protection from the disease. This was a large factor contributing to the longevity of vampiric rule throughout Taymora’s history.

Now let us return to Tayma’s disappearance in BC 2510. What if the Ceremony of Blood ritual that Tayma passed down to her inheritors also had an additional effect… one known only to Tayma? What if the Ceremony of Blood channeled a small portion of the Blood Tax sacrifice and the power it brought, directly into Tayma. Just as a dragon must slumber to process the Ceremony of Sublimation, Tayma would have had to slumber to process the Ceremony of Blood.

If this theory is true, then there could be several repercussions:

Just as the Radiance gives an edge to the Immortals of Energy, so too Tayma’s (and Nyx’s) Ceremony of Blood may have given an edge to the Immortals of Entropy. It might be that the sinking of Taymora was instigated as a coup against the Immortals of Entropy, as a means of stopping them from producing extra immortals “the easy way.”

If so, Tayma may still be waiting in her slumber. She may be on the very verge of attaining immortality (or failing that, at least titan level status). Should the Ceremony of Blood ever be re-established, Tayma may begin to stir from her long slumber.

One thing to note is the location labeled "Tayma's Rest" on the map of Taymora, BC 2300 is actually in the same location as Stronghold on Fortress Island. I've always had it planned that Tayma could be found resting there, buried somewhere deep and secure.

I've also started wondering about Lord Keiros and the Last One, and their relationship to the Vampire Queens of this era (BC 2300). Lord Keiros is mentioned as a Tal nosferatu which leads me to believe that he is at the very least probably a descendant of one of the ancient Taymoran lines of vampirism. The mention of him being a Tal suggests that he wasn't "created" until sometime after the fall of Taymora, which if true suggests that he probably wasn't around during that nation's heyday. He however see himself as the last true inheritor of Taymora's legacy, and may even be able to trace his vampiric lineage back to one of the great queens (and ultimately through them, to Tayma herself).

The Last One, being a servant of Thanatos, was clearly on the opposite side of the Taymoran civil war than Tayma's daughters (if indeed he was around back in those times). It sounds like he could be much older than Lord Keiros, and may have even been around during the height of Taymora. Not sure what kind of history you have planned for him, but I'd love to hear it (if you're ready to share).

Either of those two individuals could know about Tayma and her sleep, and be plotting to use her power to their own advantage.