The Sculptor and the Shadow ~A Harvest Festival Tale~ (10/12/2010)

The nights grow longer, the wind brisk and chill. The leaves on the trees have begun to take on shades of auburn and gold.

Harvest Festival season is close at hand.

In the three nations, moogles can be seen flitting to and fro, no doubt in the process of planning another seasonal surprise for their adventurer friends. What could it be this time? Secretive as ever, the MHMU representative we spoke to left only a cryptic comment about lanterns before vanishing off down a shadowy alley.

Nevertheless, we've come upon a rumor that just might shed light on the situation.

"No... No, this simply-wimply will not do! Something is missing!"

The sculptor Totti-Motti stood before a candle stand with a mandragora motif—his latest work-in-progress—and shook his head in disapproval.

Outside, the sun sank to meet the horizon upon an ephemeral canvas of red.

Totti-Motti gazed intently at his work, struggling to identify the source of his dissatisfaction. He had faithfully followed the blueprint the moogles had commissioned to a Jeunoan draftsman of no small renown, yet still...
"It lacks punch! It lacks pizzazz!"

Flourishing his chisel as if it were a part of himself, Totti-Motti went about refining the piece, determined to bring it ever closer to his aesthetic ideals. Yes, this would be his year to shine! Behind him, a veritable mountain of unclaimed jack-o'-lanterns from last year's Harvest Festival watched over him with eerie, toothy grins on their warped visages.

Totti-Motti paused for a moment to examine the pair of prickets that he had completed yesterday. One shaped like a pumpkin, the other a djinn, they displayed an artistic flair he found notably lacking in his current project. Their candles burned brightly, casting a long shadow of their creator on his studio floor.

Totti-Motti exhaled resolutely and returned to work. The studio fell into silence, punctuated only by the sculptor's increasingly labored breaths and the clink, clink, clinking of his chisel.

It was then that the candle flames began to flicker and sway ominously.

It was the wind. An unseasonably warm breeze wafted in through the window, adding to the oppressive atmosphere of the room. With the shifting of the flames, Totti-Motti's shadow writhed and twisted, swelling until it no longer resembled the wee artist, but some malefic beast. The wind gradually grew in intensity. Before long, violent gusts were shaking the shutters and doors. A bolt of lightning shot across the night sky in multitudinous prongs, followed by a deafening clap of thunder. A storm was drawing near.

Totti-Motti turned around with a start, his concentration broken. The next moment, he had another thought.

"Good heavens-weavens! I've been so engrossed in my work that I've forgotten to eataru! Where is that lazy, good-for-nothing moogle, anyway? My supper should have arrived hours ago!" The sculptor shook his head in disgust. At that very moment...

Thump, thump, thump.

The door shook with the weighty pounding of a heavy fist. A moogle? No, it was far too strong—and besides, when were those creatures known to stand on formality?

A shiver ran down Totti-Motti's spine. The wind came in gusts, growing ever more chill by the second, until the artist could scarcely keep his eyes open.
"Whataru in the name of the Goddess—!?"

There was a blinding flash of light and a roaring thunderclap that shook the Mog House to its very foundation. Maniacal, cackling laughter broke out from all corners of the room, which began to spin wildly, blurring Totti-Motti's vision.

Suddenly taken by fear, he felt his mouth open to scream, but all that came out was a panicked gasp. He desperately tried to cover his ears and avert his eyes, but it was too late... He could already see the monstrous shadow drawing closer, ever closer...

Totti-Motti's legs gave out beneath him. He slumped to the ground, surrendering himself to the mercy of darkness's embrace.

After some time—he knew not how long—the artist regained consciousness. As his eyes slowly readjusted to the light, he could make out a small white figure hovering in the air above him...

"Oh, Master! Collapsed from exhaustion again, have you? How many times must I tell you that no matter how absorbed in your art you may be, you mustn't neglect proper nourishment?"

A dull pain racked Totti-Motti's head , and the moogle's mutterings went in one ear and out the other. Squinting his eyes, he caught sight of a curious object lying on the ground directly beneath his bat-winged companion.

"...Just one momentaru. What is...that?"

A candle lantern? In the shape of a mandragora's head. The piece I was working on when I passed out...? But something seems...different. It's...

...The color. Seemingly struck by an errant bolt of lightning, the mandragora head was charred pitch black.

"Eureka-weka! Now this is what I was looking for!"

The once insipidly cute lantern head had taken on a most ominous air. Place a candle inside, and flames would burn from its eye sockets in a most ghoulish fashion indeed.

Totti-Motti scarfed down his dinner, and gleefully ignoring the moogle's pleas to take a proper rest, went immediately back to work. Wielding his tools like a man possessed, the sculptor chipped and chiseled away at his newly inspired masterpiece.

Outside, the rain hammered down.

Over the coming days, Totti-Motti's masterwork became the talk of the town. With the Harvest Festival rapidly approaching, orders poured in from throughout the three nations.

Totti-Motti worked tirelessly day and night to meet his quota, but he did so with a newfound peace of mind, confident that he had finally realized his long sought-after aesthetic ideals.

Ask him where the inspiration for the inspiration for his latest work came from though, and he will gaze off into the distance with a vacant look in his eye.

"It's the most peculiar thing. For the life of me, I just can'taru remember..."

Story : Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration : Mitsuhiro Arita

Event Schedule

The Harvest Festival will creep into town at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) on Tuesday, October 19, 2010, and vanish into the shadows on November 2 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.

Seasonal Stalls

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)