As gentle summer breezes give way to autumn chills and the leaves tumble from the trees, broods of baleful monsters descend in droves upon innocent townsfolk. Though valiant adventurers may drive these vile apparitions back whence they came, never can they seem to eternally exorcise the undead menace. Terror and trepidation return to plague the three kingdoms each year with an inevitability as grim as the ghouls’ fearsome visages.
The MHMU promises hefty rewards for adventurers able to banish these creatures of the night, but will the potential prizes outweigh the peril…?
—The Vana’diel Tribune, Autumn Special Issue
Yes, the Harvest Festival is upon us, and scores of citizens will again transform themselves into monstrosities that will prowl the three kingdoms hungering for flesh! Together with the Wake of the Lilies, ’tis the season for spooks and scares galore.
Many are the adventurers who will take up the challenge of exorcising the vile Pyracmon, but these challengers’ motivations are as varied as the number of daemons in Vana’diel’s bestiary.
Read on for the tale of one young Tarutaru and his quest to appease the dear friend he estranged.
Oruta-Moruta gazed longingly at the bleak autumn sky above Windurst. His eyes could only follow it to the horizon, but he found both sadness and solace in knowing that it extended as far as Bastok—the selfsame Bastok his dear Shenana now called home.
A few days had passed since the incident, yet his childhood friend still remained hundreds of malms away.
Girls—I justaru don’t get them at all!
“That outfit! Why, it’s just as stunning as the lastaru time you wore it!”
He hadn’t the slightest inkling that his innocent words of praise would cause Shenana to erupt in an unprecedented rage, right there in front of the fountain for everyone to see. After all, what fashion-conscious adventurer does not take pride in her favorite gear? Shenana’s raiments made her resplendent; easily Oruta-Moruta’s favorite among her many ensembles. His words may have been loaded, but only with praise—or so he had thought. Alas, he had neglected to consider that his friend was no adventurer, but a regular girl.
“Wh-why you…you insensitive doltaru!”
“B-but you remember our professor’s words, don’t you? ‘He who would so easily call another a fool is but a fool himself.'”
“Heavens above, you truly-wuly are an idiot! I never wantaru to see you again!”
Empty words, uttered in the heat of the moment—but words that would prove prophetic when Shenana moved away to Bastok with her family the very next day.
I…I never even had a chance to apologize…
Bastok was inconceivably far for a fledgling adventurer like Oruta-Moruta, who had yet to learn how to saddle a chocobo. The chances of him making it to the port of Mhaura in one piece were slim to none, and flying was far beyond his limited financial resources. Failure confronted him around every corner.
The first day of the Harvest Festival changed all that, however. Rumors of an enchanted artifact with the power to transport its owner to any stable in the realm left our young Tarutaru chomping at the proverbial bridle. All he had to do to earn this goddess-sent prize was…defeat an immortal shade whose eyes could still the hearts and curdle the souls of the mightiest heroes. Still, Oruta-Moruta figured it was his best shot.
“Die, monstaru! You don’t belong in this world!” he shouted as he pummeled the ghoul’s side with his clenched fist. Clammy flesh squelched like a frog being squashed, and whatever trace of life was left in the fiend’s terrifying eyes was soon extinguished.
“Commendations and congratulations, kupo! Here you go.”
“Why, a tasty treat for our specter-slaying hero, kupo!”
Inside a creatively carved pumpkin-motif bowl, festively wrapped pieces of candy stared back at him with mocking jocularity.
“Wow, thanks…for nothing-wothing!”
Oruta-Moruta wanted neither tricks nor treats. He wanted instant passage to Bastok to see Shenana. Yet no matter how much he haggled, the moogle adamantly refused any exchanges. Apparently, adventurers got what they got and were supposed to like it. Luckily for Oruta-Moruta, he’d heard that the monster would often appear again if he stuck around long enough.
“You hear me, fiend!? I’ll send you back to the hell you came from as many times as it takey-wakes to get me to Bastok!”
Ten valiant victories later, the moogle finally presented Oruta-Moruta with a Republic stables medal.
“Commendations and congratul—”
“Yeah, yeah…just hand it over, already!”
His long-sought-after prize in hand, Oruta-Moruta was in no mood for banter. Before you could say “Ta-taru!” he was off.
It was a more fortuitous reunion than he could have ever hoped for—he arrived at the very instant Shenana happened to be passing in front of the stable doors.
“Oruta-Moruta!? H-however did you get here?”
“Shenana! F-forgive me—”
Seeing the medal in her longtime friend’s hand, Shenana soon understood the nightmares that he had overcome to make this moment happen.
There was no need for words—she rushed toward him, a smile beaming across her face. Sheer joy in their hearts, they were soon laughing and joking together as if their quarrel the past day had been but a figment of their imaginations.
“You should’ve seen me, Shenana! I gave that fiend a bruising he’ll take to his grave—er, and back again?”
“Tee-hee! Now that’s the Oruta-Moruta I know!”
“And just waitaru until you see all the Harvest Festival treats I won!”
“I’ve got it! There’s still plenty-wenty of time of time left in the day. Why don’t you stop by for a visitaru?”
Oruta-Moruta was as happy as could be. With a skip in his step, he accompanied Shenana to her family’s new abode.
“I…I really-weally am sorry for what I said the other day.”
“I know you are. Let’s just forgive and forgetaru, okay?”
The truth of the matter was that it only now dawned upon Oruta-Moruta why a young lady might take offense at his comments. Brave as the lad might be, none had ever accused him of being too bright.
“Here we are!”
“What a beautiful home! Ah…phew, I’m pooped.”
“And understandably so! Make sure to restaru up good before you head back to Windurst!”
Head back…to Windurst?
“Speaking of which, how were you planning on getting back, anyway?”
“I…ah…well… Oh dear…”
Yes, clearly the Goddess had blessed our young hero with more courage than wits.
Fortunately for Oruta-Moruta, a blood moon would soon rise again in the starless autumn sky, summoning forth once more the phantom from whose dark clutches he would pry his ticket home…
“But before that, I’m going to need something in my belly-welly! Have at you, monstaru!”
With a rousing battle cry, Oruta-Moruta flung himself headlong at the ghoul—or rather, the ghoulish assortment of Harvest Festival sweets he had won. Shenana looked on as frosting flew everywhere, her weary sigh soon giving way to a fond smile.
Though the years may pass, some things never change—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
|Story: Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita
The Harvest Festival will creep into town at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 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)
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)