Festival of the Huntsman
"Why I have the hood and scythe? I uhm... look, pal. Sometimes even Death needs some time to relaxe and enjoy... unlife. Why don't you sit down and have a glass of wine with me, I know a great place for golf later. No, hey, please don't run away from me!" -Sarak, the god of Death (trying to get a date)
“The story behind the festival starts like any good tradition does, with a massive explosion- I mean, look. The grain silo literally burned down in this village some time long ago, because apparently coal dust and dust from harvested crops are the same shit. And some moron thought it was a good idea to light a torch in there. Ending with very sooty clothes, no hair and a big lack of food. So, the now ash covered man had to gain his nutrients from somewhere. It also so happened that this silo was the entire bloody village’s supply crate and therefor, every single inhabitant of the little, well excuse me but the exact village has been lost to time so calm the **** down. Okay, where was I, right! The villagers had to hunt meat to survive the winter, which was far more easily said than done. They did however have a local hunter. I may or may not have forgotten his name, but whatever! He took the peasants out for a big game hunt like never before, and it failed miserably! Why? Well, don’t think hunting is easy, it ain’t something you just can learn over a day and it takes patience! Thankfully for the merry fools, the neighbouring villages came to aid them in their times of need. It was to this wholesome actions, that the village the next year by the same time of the first month into autumn, found themselves with a massive harvest beyond their dreams. The new silo that had been built couldn’t even fit half of it. Thus, every village that had helped the year before, joined the massive feast of joy and good food. They even brought along their own specialities to make all manners of sausage, pie, drinks and more. What? You thought it was named the Huntsmans feast because he’d manage to save their harvest or something? Don’t they teach you illiterate kids anything in school!? It’s because the gods darned month is called after hunters! ...You dare accuse me of lying! Get out of here, now! Before I whack you with my bloody broom!!!” -Empiran history, explained by Eli Knutson
The exact origins to the tradition has been lost to time, yet it's believed to have had roots in many different cultures, that by no means have to be tied to one another. It just happens that the coming of autumn is a great time for harvest, and a time that brings many animals out to eat themselves fat before the winter. This trying time looming over the horizon stress many northern cultures to hoard supplies before the darkness falls, and to keep the spirits up, they take any excess goods that they can’t store and host massive feasts with, to not waste anything they took from nature. Likely, this tradition came later down to the southern civilizations that lacked threat of winter nights, but they have come to adopt it themselves due to popularity, cultural influxes and local sermons that had similarities. This may very well be one of the many reason to why the festival is celebrated differently in different places. The following feasting to full stomachs and drinking oneselves drunk before dancing around wildly, jesting without a second doubt, playing local games and disappearing on various romantic escapades that often end up very awkward the day after, do however hit the nail with every culture… With the exception of Snow-Elves
Components and tools
Besides the obvious, anything you can find in the kitchen. The festival is also a time to decorate greatly. Pumpkins are carved with lanterns, festoons with flowers weaved into them are hung over palisades, lamps and balconies, as the women run away with similar crowns in their hair and the men wear ones made from antlers and bone. The grass and grounds are filled with tables and chairs from rows on rows, as scenes are set up with all manner of decorations to host dancing couples, musicians and the village elders, hunters and chefs that made the food. Once again, there is more to the feast in manners of games and how they are decorated, but it all depends on the village, it’s wealth and the culture.
This celebration leaves few people out, and requires a lot of different workers to team up to get it going. The ones carrying the biggest key roles however, would be the hunters, gatherers, cooks, chefs and village elders that organize the entire thing. It’s also common place that mercenary bands, if they are in the good books of the village, join in for free, as a means of protection and a bit of muscle to scare away any uninvited guests to the parties. Strangely enough, these hardened men and women are often in good manner and spirit during the feast.
Recently, the parties mostly start the very first day during month of the Huntsman, but in tradition it doesn’t start until the very last day, to give the village a whole month to prepare themselves for it. Due to new technologies and innovative designs in how to store food, as well as more widespread breeding and farming, most villages can afford to kickstart things instantly, but there are still places that follow the olden ways, most popularly in the northern lands. One thing does remain the same for all of them, it starts on the early morning and ends on the early morning, the following day.
Wood elvesThe wood elves may have the most significant difference to their celebrations than most. They do not include meat in their foods, but rather bring along animals to the feast, that they often milk right on the spot. Due to this tradition of including animals to party with them, they require to move a lot of lawns and harvest a great deal of hay. And on the subject, there have been the rare incident of a less gifted individual bringing their carnivores to a herbivore party.
NorthernersProbably the most wild ones when it comes to partying. Brawls and duels often break out among the celebrants, and nine out of ten cases its good friends fighting for fun. The other one is usually drunks fighting over a lady, which too often end up in the woman knocking both parties out, by smacking their heads together. They are however famous for having less greens and more meat, with an overflow of alcohol that seems to have an endless source and way to high quality, somehow. It's the only culture that celebrate most of the day inside rather than outside, due to their climate. They also celebrate the feast later, like traditon bound them.
YsandriansThe ones true to the following of Ysand tend to celebrate the feast with few differences. As they believe that they are all family underneath their god, it calls them all to host it in the same location for hundreds of thousand individuals. The feast therefor takes part in all of Wvievaldine Woodlands and the Crusade of Ysand stand for all the costs. Due to the religious elements, drinks are narrowed down to mostly lighter wines of the local brewing company and to make a prayer in one of the temples, or to the waterfall, at least once is mandatory.
Noble ElvesTo the difference of what many think, no the Noble Elves do not celebrate the festival by ordering around slaves that they don't have. Instead, they open up their great cities and luxurious houses to everyone, with the exception of Thémanîln that gets mostly abandoned. There the rich and influential pay the costs for anyone that wishes to come, no matter their race or political agenda. On high spires they sit and gently dine while watching things like pegasi racing, dragon jousting, fireworks and theatre. Things do tend to heat up towards the evenings on the silver spires, due to all the alcohol consumption and expensive dresses. But the fires are far more pleasant than drunken squabble and political assassinations.
Edge Lordsthe Occult Hunters Guild, Witch Hunters and Vanhal family are the only ones to hate the celebrations with a passion. It’s not because they love to be grim and gloomy all the time, which ain’t true. Rather they are very concerned at how many soldiers and guards drink themselves silly or are blinded by desire. This mixed with masses of people that sometimes run out alone or in pairs to the forests, along with the amazing smells, tend to attract all manners of monsters, bandits, witches and evil things. Ironically, it's the hunters themselves that can’t feast, as they are way to busy saving lives and preventing horrible tragedies to unfold. Due to a lot of pressure from the Vanhal girls and Ophelia Duskblade, they do however celebrate the real deal later along with the Northerners.
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