New setting or one-shot, just an idea that came to mind, slightly inspired by The Exiles Trilogy and slightly by my inability to stop singing Good King Wenceslas.
“So let today hereby be named the Day of the Martyr Baloran, with all due pomp and ceremony, and let us remember this day by, hrm, bu picking up rocks from our neighbors’ fields and using them to help build the walls between fields, on my authority and honor as the leader of this colony-”
“Ah, honored one?” Gerilip did not like interrupting the Leader, but her job lead her to need to quite often. “Today is the day of the Blessed Epolitie.”
“Ah. What about Baloran’s birthday?”
“The day of the Blood-Consecrated Delfikin.”
“Ah, hrm. The day Baloran joined the Service?”
“That’s the feast of the Holy One Relian. Honored One,” Gerilip cut in, before this could get quite silly, “there is only one day left open on the calendar.”
“Only one? Then make that the Day of the Matryr Baloran. I trust you can come up with a suitable reason?”
“Already done, Honored One. I will sent this out with your chop-”
“The last one.” The Leader signed it. “Five hundred seventy-seven years of our nation, five hundred seventy-nine years of war, and we’ve filled up all three hundred ninety-two days on the calendar. Never thought it would come in my tenure.”
Gerilip did not point out that having picked up the habit of naming children after the holy martyrs and then added on the habit of saying that, say, if a second Epolitie were to become martyred in their ever-lasting war, making the day of the Blessed Epolitie serve both of them (all four, if Gerilip’s memory was correct, and it always was), thus layering their martyrs, had probably stretched it out by at least two Leaders’ tenures. For one, the Leader either already knew that or didn’t care.
For another, the Leader was walking over to a wooden box in the corner and turning it with a key Gerilip had never seen used. From that box, the Leader pulled a note.
“In the event of last calendar day being assigned to a martyr or sacrifice, follow the instructions here. Mmm… mmm… shit.”
The Leader took off the simple vestments of black and red that had been the Leader’s ceremonial garb for most of the last 577 years and replaced them with a flowing robe of white and gold pulled from the box. “What’s tomorrow, Gerilip?”
Gerilip cleared her throat. “The fast of the Witness Soldejag, Honored One.” It didn’t escape her notice, of course, that the Leader’s birth-name was Soledejag.
“Appropriate. If this doesn’t work, well. Pass the directions along to my successor, or pick someone for a couple days after tomorrow, mmm?”
“The Feast of Sterha is two days after tomorrow.” The Leader’s second-in-command had been named Sterha at birth.
“Good, good. All right. I’m going. With luck, Gerilip, I’ll see you again.” The Leader pressed the note into Gerilip’s hands. “Blessings of the war – no. Blessings of the coming peace upon you.”
Gerilip stared at the note long after the Leader had left.
When you have no days left to fill, it is time to sue for peace. Visit the Laesharo and tell them: The day has come for the second plan.
Gerilip gulped. The Day of the Martyr Gerilip was at least half a year away. There were… there were many white vestments in that box. Maybe enough.
Maybe, just in case, she ought to order more.
• I will sent this out with your chop
I would have advised suing for peace much earlier…
Don’t suppose you’re also a fan of The Hidden Almanac?