Come one and all to the scariest festival in Vana'diel! Yes, the annual Harvest Festival, a time when adventurers can indulge in the celebration of all things frightening and macabre, is returning! Starting on October 18th and continuing on till November 1st, the cities of Bastok, San d'Oria, and Windurst will be transformed into the most terrifying of lairs, and let's not even discuss the number of bats outside said nations being lead around by a certain Ahriman! So join the undead starting next week, if you dare!
Let us know what you think of the upcoming Harvest Festival (and the bountiful goodies in store) over on the ZAM forums!
Trick or Treat!!
Citizens throughout the three nations are once again donning their most terrifying garb, swarming the streets, and hungrily awaiting the arrival of adventurers from across the realm. Even the exorcists from far to the west are doing their part to add some spook to the season by holding the Wake of the Lilies once more. Don't forget those hard-working MHMU moogles, either! They've been busy for days painting the towns blood-red, transforming them into haunted havens for harrowing hordes of hellions!
Yessiree, this year's Harvest Festival is shaping up to scare the socks right o—stop the presses! This just in!
A trio of abominable aberrations has just appeared in Windurst that threatens to shroud this year's festivities in utter darkness!
Eeno-Keeno and Yah Teih trundled home from school under a sky stained the color of cruor, which cast an ominous shadow over Windurst Waters' Optistery as they passed by. Amidst their fateful stroll, Yah Teih glimpsed a lone bat splayed across the ground, woefully flapping its wings in an attempt to take flight. Her predatory instincts having kicked in, she called out to her taru companion.
"I toldy-wold you never to call me that!"
"Because my name's Eeno-Keeno, not Eeny!"
"But Eeno-Keeno's too looong. If I used that, our prrrey would escape before I finished speaking."
"I don't care if anything 'escapes'! We're not on the huntaru anyway!"
"Hey, you there. Got any food?"
The two children looked around in utter bewilderment. What could the source of that ill-mannered voice possibly be?
"My poor baby's so hungry he can't fly! Help him, now!"
Even after a second glance, the schoolyard companions could scarcely believe the voice they had just heard emanated from a bat, but that is what the evidence suggested.
"It's wearing something around its necky-weck. A pendentaru, maybe?"
"S-so...that's where those worrrds were coming from..."
"Altana's arches, you can't see Jugner Forest for the trees! Just give him something to eat!" implored the pendant.
"That's easier said than done. We don't have a single-wingle scrap of food," Eeno-Keeno retorted as he turned his empty pockets outwards.
"Wait, I think I have some grrrub."
Yah Teih rummaged around in her pockets and pulled out one of many saccharine sweets her mother had made for the Harvest Festival. The confection was a simple affair—kneaded flour rolled into a stick, fried to a golden brown, then lightly coated with sugar to top it all off. Of course it should be nigh on impossible to ingest such a thing if not first thoroughly chewed, yet the beast hastily gulped it down without sinking in a single tooth.
This is no ordinary bataru, is all Eeno-Keeno had time to think before two more of its brethren came swooping in.
"So this is where you ended up..."
"You're so slow."
"I hate you two! How could you fly off and leave me to die!?"
The air suddenly filled with harsh screeches of anger, which Eeno-Keeno could only liken to the raking of an outraged teacher's fingernails down a blackboard. After the bats finally lost the energy to shriek at each other, they directed their attention toward him.
"You wouldn't happen to know of a moogle around these parts..."
"That can use magic, do you?"
"Last year, we witnessed a breathtaking miracle through our crystal ball."
"Someone had a moogle imbue his sword with magic..."
"To beat One-Eye."
"Hey, Eeny, that sounds like parrrt of the Harvest Festival!"
"How many timesy-wimes do I have to tell you!? My name's Eeno-Keeno!"
Despite being awash with rage at his partner's blatant attempt to perturb him, Eeno-Keeno was still able to piece together what his mithra companion meant by her epiphany; the bats had described exactly how adventurers exterminate Pyracmon. The MHMU entreats adventurers to rid the nations of Pyracmon every year around the Harvest Festival, so if her deduction was correct, then...
"Ummm...one should be afloataru outside the city gatesy-wates..."
Eeno-Keeno's tentative declaration instigated yet another round of high-pitched screeches—this time of glee rather than gall.
"But why go through all the trrrouble to meet one of these moogles?" Yah Teih inquired after the ruckus had died down again.
"Because we are in dire need of potent magic," sighed an exasperated voice through one of the bat's pendants.
"We're gonna use it to make history! We're gonna be the very best...like no one ever was!" said another in the same grating voice that pled for sugary sustenance earlier.
"Like the Dark Lilies," added another reticently.
That last line sent a frightening shockwave up Eeno-Keeno's spine. Those bats must be familiars, he reasoned, which meant that evil sorceresses were controlling them and communicating via those pendants!
"Our actions will be so abhorrent that not only those who witness them will wet themselves in terror, but so will their children and their children's children every time our tale is retold!" exclaimed one of the witches haughtily, which set the familiars to twirling so rapturously that one could easily mistake their movements for a ritualistic dance.
These witches are pure evil. The Dark Lilies have sinister plans to destroy the world! They're certainly not supposed to be role models for anyone!
"Heh heh heh."
"Tee hee hee!"
The cacophonous mingling of these three distinct yet equally bone-chilling cackles, coupled with his realization of the witches' true intent, instantaneously froze Eeno-Keeno in place; he had not even the power to quiver in fear.
"You shouldn't do bad things," Yah Teih said in a frigid tone as she stared defiantly at the winged trio.
"...What did you just say?"
"You shouldn't do bad things."
"I wouldn't talk like that to us if I were you. Don't you know that that, overseas, we're super famous for—"
"Stop right there!"
"I don't carrre who you are. If you do anything mean, I'll stop giving you candy," Yah Teih fumed, which sent the bats into a conflicted tailspin.
"...I want candy," stuttered one downtrodden voice after a prolonged pause.
"Come to think of it, I have yet to partake of any myself. How unfair," declared another, this time more eager than exasperated.
"Don't worry. There's still a lot to go arrround. Here."
"Yum," the downtrodden bat stated tersely, seemingly satisfied.
"Hmm, not bad at all. To think it would still be so sapid even though we are only tasting it via our familiars..." added the other.
"Stop obsessing over stupid candy, you two! We've got more important things to think about!" the first bat scolded jealously.
"You didn't seem to think it was stupid-wupid when you were wolfing it down before," Eeno-Keeno blurted out, putting the ornery sorceress in her place.
When all was said and done, the witches had completely depleted Yah Teih's candy stash.
"Hmph, I guess these treats were delicious enough to get you off the hook. You don't know how lucky you are."
"Just don't harrrm anyone, okay?"
"Haha, you wish! I don't recall making any such promises!"
And with that, the winged trio took to the skies and flew westward toward the city gates, leaving behind only a declaration of their infamy:
"No one in the world can match our malevolence!"
"Do you think they'd rrreally just use us and leave...?" Yah Teih sighed as the sun began to set.
"Who knows..." was all Eeno-Keeno could reply.
Those bats' owners are truly fearful mages. However, I remember our teacher telling us how the stronger a magic user is, the more apt she is to lose her way.
All we can do now is trust in the adventurers they'll meet along the way. Once those wicked witches discover the power that adventurers hold, they'll be sure to see the error of their ways...
Story: Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita
The Harvest Festival will creep into town at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) on Tuesday, October 18, 2012, and vanish into the shadows on Tuesday, November 1, at the same hour.
Your Purple-Winged Partners
Brave adventurers willing to take up the task of driving off the unholy infiltrators should seek out the moogles stationed in the areas below. Complete the tasks assigned, and you shall be met with great reward!
West Ronfaure (I-6) / East Ronfaure (G-6)
North Gustaberg (L-8) / South Gustaberg (J-7)
West Sarutabaruta (J-8) / East Sarutabaruta (G-11)
Oh my goodness, why have glinting and glistening globules of light appeared beside moogles throughout the three nations? This warrants an investigation...
Trick or Treat!
As Harvest Festival tradition goes, the residents of the three nations have dressed themselves in fearsome costumes, hoping to spook adventurers and earn a treat or two in the process. By trading certain treats to costumed NPCs, characters will be able to dress up as monsters or beastmen themselves, and acquire beloved Harvest Festival items to boot!
Southern San d'Oria / Northern San d'Oria
Bastok Mines / Bastok Markets
Windurst Waters / Windurst Woods
*NPCs will accept most food items of the Sweets category, with certain exceptions that do not appeal to their finicky palates.
Bomb Decorations and More Fun With Costumes!
Throughout the festivities, players will be able to enjoy the illumination of the now-famous bomb decorations. As in previous Harvest Festivals, one can't help but wonder what might happen if two characters in full costume were to approach these decorations while in the same party...
Wake of the Lilies
The Harvest Festival will again play host to the Wake of the Lilies, with three aspiring exorcists from the West making their annual pilgrimage to the three nations. Would-be shadow-hunters should seek them out at the following locations:
Gertrude in Northern San d'Oria (D-8)
Brian in Bastok Markets (G-8)
Roger in Windurst Waters (north side) (F-5)
*After successfully completing an exorcist's request, players will be required to wait one Vana'diel day before accepting another.
Special Harvest Festival stalls will make an appearance in the following areas, offering all manner of seasonal goodies for sale. Furthermore, decorate your Mog House with three new lanterns available in each nation, and your moogle just might have a surprise for you the next time you speak with him!
*This special gift may still be obtained after the Harvest Festival has ended, as long as the necessary conditions have been met.
Northern San d'Oria (D-8)
Bastok Mines (H-9)
Windurst Waters (north side) (G-10)