Holidays and Festivals in Hardby
Needfest: Hardby celebrates the festival of the new year in a loud, brilliant and raucous manner. The population of minstrels and bards doubles, bringing music to the pubs and the streets. Bards and mages create spectacular displays of light and illusion over the Hard Bay to entertain the young and old alike. There is a great deal of alcohol consumption during Needfest, and the spirits have a bad habit of loosening the tongues of sailors or dock workers of rival guilds, and of soldiers from various divisions. This always leads to an epidemic of fistfights, several filled brigs, and a packed gaol by week’s end.
In addition to the nightly festivities, the end of Needfest brings the Gynarch’s Freeday appearance in town. She walks through the town along with her family members, servants, and guards, greeting her subjects and inspecting the toll her city took from the week of celebration. The Gynarch is greeted with great cheers from the crowd. Even members the Greyhawk infantry and Mountaineer Militia cheer quite loudly, much to the chagrin of the Directing Oligarchy of Greyhawk.
After touring the city, the Gynarch inspects the Hardby Marines, the City Guard, and the Greyhawk Infantry and Mountaineers who are assembled in the fields south of town. After her inspections, she travels to the town hall where she has meetings with the high priests of the local temples and shrines, and with foreign merchants who usually do not have the ear of the Gynarch that the Guildmasters have on a weekly basis. Furthermore, she addresses her subjects and grants ten petitions that she selects from the many submitted to her during the week.
Great Moon’s Glory –11th of Readying: On this night, when Luna is full and Celene is new, the worshipers of Ehlonna and Beory gather in their sacred groves. Not much is known of their activities. The Hardby and Greyhawk militaries increase their patrols due to the increased number of creatures and lycanthropes wandering the countryside.
The students of the Hardby Academy hold a festival celebrating the coming of spring in the gardens lining the Manor Road to the Gynarch’s Manor. They select a “Gynarch” and “Consort” from among their body and then perform plays, sing and dance for their faux-court. The true Gynarch and members of her court often travel to the Festival and bring a feast as tribute for the fauxGynarch.
Growfest: Unlike many of the towns of the Domain, the Feast of Edoira is not celebrated in Hardby. Growfest in Hardby is a worker’s holiday. The city effectively shuts down as Hardby readies its docks, streets, and businesses for the springtime influx of cogs, caravels, and other ships from foreign ports. The pubs and inns also brace themselves for the arrival of adventurers who hope to make their fortunes in the ruins south and east of town.
Members of the Gynarch’s court and one of the instructors at the Hardby Academy travel up the River Road to Greyhawk for the Desportium of Magick. Hardby’s mages often make a strong showing at this tournament of illusionary talent. In fact, Kendo Merdex, the handsome magic instructor at the Hardby Academy who has been the subject of many a schoolgirl’ s crush, won the tournament in the years 587-589 CY. Last year, he was defeated by Mirago Semalor, a hero of the Wars, master illusionist, and the newly appointed Chancellor of the Chendl School of Magic. Kendo looks forward to a rematch this year.
Foundation Day – 2nd of Flocktime: This holiday in Hardby celebrates the anniversary of the day that Ena Norbe, the first Gynarch, arrived and claimed the land as her own. This day of revelry includes parades, drinking, feasting, and a reenactment of Ena Norbe’s arrival. This year will mark the 869th anniversary of the founding of Hardby. It is believed that Myriana will reenact the part of Ena Norbe. It will be the first time that a Gynarch has played a part in the reenactment since her grandmother, Asari Pharast, did so in the early years of her reign.
Richfest: The summer festival of Richfest is not celebrated in Hardby. A large caravan of merchants, artisans and farmers treks up the River Road and the Selintan to Greyhawk. The Hardby caravan makes a large sum of money from this trip, not just in Greyhawk, but along the way as well. The merchant caravan stops in the many small villages along the way to and from Greyhawk, buying and selling goods. Merchants from these villages will sometimes join the caravan, as travel is safer in larger numbers.
The rangers and druids of Ehlonna and Beory do celebrate Midsummer’s day during this time. Military patrols are also stepped up at this time because of the increased number of lycanthropes sighted at this time of year.
Dark Night – 11th of Goodmonth: The darkest night of the year is celebrated by in Hardby with a large number of bonfires burning along the Manor and Orz Roads. There is great feasting and children gather around the fires to bards tell fantastic stories about dead that walk this darkest night of the year. By tradition, the children of Hardby dress up in masks and costumes appearing to be evil spirits. It is their hope that they may fool the dread lich Lyzandred that they are his minions. The children of Hardby are told that Lyzandred wanders the Domain this darkest of nights, kidnapping mischievous children to take back to his crypt.
Brewfest: The harvest festival called Brewfest is both the most eagerly anticipated and most dreaded festival in Hardby. It is said that more spirits are consumed at this weeklong festival in Hardby than during any festival in any city in the Flanaess. It is also said that the staves from the emptied casks provide firewood for the entire city for the months of Patchwall and Ready’reat. While these may simply be idle boasts, they do explain the construction of “Ale Bay” a large outdoor stockade built just for the occasion. This stockade is filled to capacity the entire week.
There is a large influx of visitors for this festival, some of whom come to actively participate, while others come just to watch the spectacle as it unfolds before their eyes. The citizens of Hardby dress up in bright colors, and sing and dance in streets that are teeming with many loud, boisterous and drunken folk. There is a great deal of raucous partying and celebration, and as often happens when many spirits are consumed, frequent fights, brawls and even small riots explode out of nowhere. The debauchery reaches its pinnacle (or perhaps nadir) during the Freeday-night parade. The citizenry of Hardby follow the “Harvest Queen” and her court through the streets of Hardby, filling their flasks at every pub that they pass. It is not uncommon that a number of the citizens, male and female alike misplace some of their clothing during this parade. This festival is so wild that the first day of Patchwall is all but a holiday so that the citizens of Hardby may recover from this celebration.