Which entry best captures the spirit of its setting and/or the contest theme?

The Midsummer Festival - Ghostman
2 (20%)
The Mustang Festival - Horse
2 (20%)
Festival of the Magic Potentiate - Sarisa
4 (40%)
Crimnsea Carnivale - Seraphine Harmonium
2 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 0

Voting closed: August 08, 2012, 05:59:44 PM

Author Topic: [Monthly Contest Vote] July Jubilee  (Read 819 times)


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[Monthly Contest Vote] July Jubilee
« on: August 01, 2012, 05:59:44 PM »
We had a huge surge of last minute entries on this one, many of them quite amazing. The voting runs through this week so get your votes in.

IC: Savage Age - The Midsummer Festival by Ghostman
Annually celebrated on the day of summer solstice, the Festival of Midsummer marks the beginning of the new year in the Argyrian calendar. In addition to celebrating the passage of years and thereby symbolizing the eternal cycle of renewal, the festival also commemorates the appearance of the first Supreme Oracle, said to have taken place on this day.

Activities begin in the early morning hours, as throngs of people gather at dawn by the sea (or a lake, spring or river) to bathe in it's waters under the light of the rising Suns - the very first rays of light of the year, which are held to be especially fortuneous. By submerging themselves at this hour they believe themselves become purified in mind, body and spirit, cleansed of the harmful pollution accumulated over the previous year.

Further rituals of purification ensue as the day progresses. Families clean their houses, sweeping out bad luck along with the dust. On the agoras, forums and plazas, hierophants of all the public cults, their heads crowned with floral wreaths, convene to conduct a cacophonous ceremony: wailing, beating drums and gongs, and burning aromatically saturated logs that emit pungent smoke, they raise a mighty clamor to drive away evil spirits.

These rites culminate in the communal expelling of the scapegoat: The populace gathers on the plaza, where a volunteer is stripped nude and wrapped in filthy rags, and a heavy yoke is placed on his shoulders. Having been thus made a vessel to bear the collective pollution of the community, the scapegoat is beaten with rods by young men and chased out of town, while onlookers along the streets are shouting and hurling rocks at him.

With the entire neighbourhood cleansed of spiritual corruption, more solemn and joyous festivities may commence. Sacrificial offerings are made on fire-altars to honor Galatea, Aeron and Tatiane, and the Fates and the Suns. On the central square the wooden image representing the god of the past year is taken down from it's pedestal and burned, and an image representing the god of the new year is erected in it's place, with baskets of scented flowers and votive offerings laid by the foot of the pedestal. Omens are observed, auspices taken, and seers consulted to divine the fortunes of the coming year. When the day is drawing toward it's end and the dusk falling, families withdraw into their homes for an evening feast of honeycakes and other assorted delicacies.

Different Eurian civilizations have their own versions of the Midsummer Festival. Local variations of it exist even within any one culture.

IC: Haveneast - The Mustang Festival by Horse
While Gilbany is known best for its proud knights and legendary horses, there is one part of its culture known throughout the world, where its knights and horses capture the minds of tens of thousands - the Mustang Festival. Originally created to honor the great plains of Gilbany that are home to the most coveted of horses, from wild to war-trained, in all of the known world. Called the Silvermane, the breed and its prowess bring visitors both noble and peasant from all the great kingdoms of Haveneast, and nobles from the city-states of the east make the journey as well. The Festival serves both as a source of entertainment, diplomacy and cultural exchange and a practical event where those with need of mounts and many other goods may evaluate the market. It takes place in the Gilbanian border-city of Wyvald, and lines a long boulevard from Castle d'Vose to the dock on the coast, opposite the land-bridge into Numethia.

The first day opens with an address by the monarch of Gilbany, followed by the introduction of other kings and nobles. A Bishop of Fury then blesses the first round of games for the Festival, taking place across the entire first day: solo and group combat, jousting, archery contests, and mock battles between large teams made of the nobility and their knights. In the evening there is a feast accompanied by song and dance, followed by tales told around the great bonfires. The stories told are national and mythic stories of ancient kings, great warriors and terrible dragons and demons, wrought with peril and suspense and told by some of the greatest orators of the age.

 On the second day, the festival's market opens, with merchants and blacksmiths from many kingdoms and regions selling their products. Many a knight comes here to acquire the weapons and armor that they will wear into battle, and to find the ideal horse to carry them there. This stage of the festival continues well into the night, and is a valuable opportunity for craftsmen as the number of nobles there potentially allows one to make enough money to provide for a family well into the spring.

On the third and final day of the Mustang Festival there is a morning feast followed by the traditional East-West Helmball match between two teams, one made up of knights from participating kingdoms in Haveneast, and one made of those from the city-states in Numethia. This match begins at noon and continues often until the early evening due to breaks and time-outs taken by both teams. The winning team receives an honor from the Bishop of Fury following the game, and knights from both teams are given gifts by the nobles (which have traditionally been fine weapons and shields, horses, and in less civilized times, slaves). The festival again features a great feast at long tables set in the open air, followed by song and dance. On this final evening, it is tradition among nobles to have ceremonies for weddings, and throughout history the Mustang Festival has served as a celebration of the friendship of kingdoms and of the marriage of their lords. In the morning, the festival officially ends and farewells are said by all as the visitors from the east depart and life goes back to normal until the Harvest Festival in the autumn.

IC: Over Under - Festival of the Magic Potentiate by Sarisa
The Festival of the Magic Potentiate is essentially a Mages Rock Concert culminating in an auction for Service contracts. Once per year, the Mages College funds a three day festival showcasing the talents of its latest students. The locations vary, dependant on the general skill level of the participating mages. One particularly dry year, the Festival was held in the basement of Mana Mike's Swarthy Tavern.

For three days the entire city of Over Under turns out for the festivities. Minor nobles, peasants-even foreigners are allowed to attend and view the spectacle of magic and by tradition anyone can bid on Mage contracts, but of course the nobles have the upper hand in swaying mages to enter service. There is one exception-the Contract of Good Will in which the city gives a contract to a lesser lordling.

Historically, the First Day has been little more than drunken debauchery. The Mages by custom are not allowed to leave the Mages College grounds and as such go overboard on the first day. Some Festivals end abruptly, as in the case of the Fields of Plenty when a certain mage set fifty acres of forest on fire and burned the pavillions. Alcohol was banned on the first two days after that.

The second day begins with the showcases. Ornate stages are constructed designed to emphasize a wizards particular specialty. I.E. a mage proficient in fire use might build a volcano stage, or a cardboard forest that he/she would set ablaze. Some acts are accompanied by music, mechanical wonders such as moving backgrounds, false floors etc. In some cases fraudulent wizards will attempt to make themselves look more skilled than they actually are. These shows go on and on well into the night.

The Third day begins the auctions in which every participating mage's contract is put on auction. In the morning the mages with the shortest contracts are bid on. This could range from a few days to a few months. The bidders may buy as many contracts as they can afford. Ultimately a mage may refuse to accept the winning bid and go on auction again. The process is overseen by esteemed members of the Mages Guild and the governments own Office of Weight, Time and Measurements (The OverUnder Treasury).

There is a short break for lunch, side dealing and trading of contracts between nobles, and generally attempting to get a leg up on competing bidders. In the afternoon, the Contract of Good Will is awarded to a random lordling. The mages given are volunteers-usually less skilled hedge wizards that know they will not likely have any bids.

The evening auctions showcase the most powerful and skilled wizards as well as wizards offering the longest contracts-sometimes even lifetime service. These are the auctions that exceed bids several fortunes over. After the last auction, a final feast is given by the city, and sales taxes are collected by The Office of Weight, Time and Measurement.

IC: Avayevnon.= - Crimnsea Carnivale by Seraphine Harmonium
The Port Capital of Verlan is known throughout Avayevnon for its spring festival.  Originally a pagan festival celebrating the return of the sun god from his winter exile, it was revived almost a century ago, when the lords of the city observed the melancholy of their workers.  Stuck behind city walls, unable to venture out due to the festering miasmal plague wrought by the Godwars, tensions rose, fights erupted, and work suffered.  Harkening back to a less civilized time, the Carnivale was designed to allow the people of the city to let off steam by stepping out of their everyday lives and into a realm of fantasy.  It is celebrated by members of all social classes, but this day belongs to the workers.

The crux of the festival revolves around the masquerades and parades through the streets.  The men rove in gangs, often wearing masks provided by their guilds, or their employers.  The town becomes a wash of brightly colored and expensive fabrics, elaborate costumes, and masks that hide the identities of all involved.  The taverns open their doors and their taps, offering free drinks to their favorite local bands of masquers, so drunkenness is the general condition.  The populace revels in acts of anonymous debauchery, which they may conduct without fear for their souls, thanks to a special dispensation from the local church.

Over time, the Crimnsea Carnivale has grown in fame, or perhaps in infamy, throughout Avayevnon.  People flock to the city from all across the continent, in a kind of licentious pilgrimage.  Some of the more well off even come yearly, from as far as Caervenfor, or Dyria.  It has become a marketplace for talent, craftsmanship and artistry.  Minstrels and pageant wagons pepper the streets, singing bawdy songs or performing raunchy comedies and satires.  Painters, sculptors, jewelers, and clothiers ply their trades.

In the past fifty years, the festival has also been a showcase for the new wonders of artifice.  Since gadgeteers and inventors from Gambodel have begun to show off their newest creations in search of patronage from wealthy and uninhibited aristocrats, the Crimnsea Carnivale has become the premier event for showcasing ingenious devices.  This has become a new form of spectacle for the drunken townspeople, who ooh and ahh at the steam and clockwork sorcery wrought by these technologists.  Whether this takes the form of a clanking automaton, a display of pyrotechnics, or someone who claims to have perfected the fabled "Perpetual Motion Machine," this is much more about showmanship than about science.