I don't know where we had found this place: it was beautiful and green, a grove of old oaks and various other trees. There was a stream that ran across to the east of the grove, and more forest on the other side. It was, in a word, perfect.
Part of the preparation for the ritual involved hanging something from the trees. It was higher than I could reach, though, so I asked someone if I could stand on their shoulders. I got up to the first tree, climbed on his shoulders, and could just reach where I needed to tie off the ribbon, but only if I leaned against the tree.
The tree was covered in poison ivy, though. Being shirtless (and very short on time), I just shrugged and leaned back against the tree and the ivy, reaching up high. I had to grind my back against the poison ivy to reach high enough, and I could feel it scrape into my skin, but I did it anyway.
I dealt with the same issue on at least one other tree, again pushing against the poison ivy roughly to reach high enough.
Everything finally in place, I went to put on my robe. I grabbed it from behind the altar and pulled it over my head. I belted the robe and straightened the altar.
mmefrufru suddenly appeared on the other side of the altar and started to help. We talked a bit (I don't remember the exact conversation), but it was about the ritual and the setup. She was wearing some sort of robe with flowers in her hair.
Well, we started the ritual, and it was quite beautiful. During an invocation to nature spirits, finches appeared almost out of nowhere and began to fly around in a large mass. During the invocation of deities, the entire grove was covered in huge orange feathers (no, I have no idea what that means).
After this, I began an invocation to Eris ("You what done it all," etc.). For some reason, I was inclined to walk around the circle upon finishing it, and I stepped outside the trees and moved toward the stream, probably to make an offering. As I came around the last tree, I saw Eris, Her back to the ritual (which was still going on). She was as beautiful as I remember Her, with long red hair, a smile, and a long white dress. I stopped, thinking about what to say.
"You know that oneness your parents share?" She asked, Her smile no longer gracing Her lips.
"It will last another 12 hours."
I was stunned, and I was silent for a moment.
"Is there anything you can do?" I asked.
"No, there isn't. Sorry, dear."
I woke up at that point. It was 7:16 AM.
My mind was racing: It was a Sunday, so going home wasn't an option unless the emergency was real. A list of scenarios ran through my mind: my father suffering a heart attack, one of my parents being in a car accident, and several others.
I called that day just to talk to them. It was good to hear their voices.
I waited until 7:16 PM, dreading that the phone would ring that night. It never did.
I think I've decided that Eris thought I needed to reflect on how much I love my family, and that I needed to talk to them again.
And if a Goddess can use a little white lie to get the point across, can we? I dunno. Let's assume the jury is still out.