The Great Hunt of the Harvest Moon

The language was odd, the song was old. Yet, it was one of the first tunes that Eechie Ochie, as the old baker liked to be called, had taught him. “A song my grandmother learnt from her grandfather, who in turn heard it from his great great great great…” he would open his arms wider and wider as he spoke “…great great great grandmother’s cousin!” The gestures would make little Evroulf laugh with gusto. And thus he learnt the chorus lines of the “Ballad of Peytra Gray”, that strange melody that would never fail to heal him and bring him some peace of mind when things were not well.

In the een of Peytra Gray she traistit

He never knew who was this “Peytra Gray”. Whenever he asked, Eechie Ochie would only smile and tap him in the back, a bit too harshly, his heavy hands used to knead the dough. “Peytra Gray, the ancient, walks amongst us, still. Just listen to the birds!” The answer scared the boy a little, but adult McTyr paid it no special attention to it. He never met Peytra Gray and had long ago decided it was nothing but a name in a song.

The dole of Maralitoun
The secre o’Ybarra mooste preciouxe
As the jowellis of the mune


Little of it made any sense to the ranger, but the soothing vowels of the old dialect pleased him. Especially that funny way to say “the jowellis of the mune”. “The jowellis”… “The jewels”… “The jewels of the moon”!

Evroulf McTyr, now in the prime of life, put the lute aside and stared at the flame of the candle closest to him. He could swear that, in his ears, a cheerful Eechie Ochie was mocking his surprise. “Go, boy, go look for Peytra Gray! Listen to the birds! It’s Hunter’s Moon.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rydelia Fayn took one last look over the announcement. Why she had been handpicked to preside over this, and why Commander McTyr had insisted so forcefully on including a vague and seemingly frivolous detail on avian affairs, she could not understand. But as skeptical as she might be, it was not her place to question the Commander’s orders. In all her years in the forests and battlefields, she had come to learn that the Commander was a steadfast man of honor and integrity.

Rydelia pressed down firmly on the adhesive, wiped her hands clean, and walked away. Her mission had taken her this far in life already; she would just have to trust it would continue to see her through.

* * * * *

THE CITY OF MARALI CALLS ALL ADVENTURERS FOR THE GREAT HUNT OF THE HARVEST MOON

The enemies of the honorable city of Marali, in their conspiracies against her, have invaded our forests and now threaten to overrun our homes with their deplorable thieves, their heinous assassins, and their monstrous constructs. As such, Marali hereby issues a decree summoning all able-bodied warriors to fight for their country, and join the Great Hunt.

Any and all elements of insurgent groups known as The Creed, The Laboratory, and The Division of Diabolical Devices are to be reported immediately, either to the guards or First Scout Rydelia Fayn. Supply stockpiles liberated from their repulsive camps must likewise be returned to the city, to bolster her stores for the coming moons.

To those of you who are valiant enough to vanquish any of the enemy’s abominable golem creations, Marali will extend a most reasonably assessed bounty. The terms of the bounty are thus: provide the approximate sextant coordinates of the golem’s location, and return any precious jade artifacts recovered from the abomination’s remains, and the bounty will be yours. Ensure that these jade artifacts are kept fully intact, and be especially careful not to grind the aforementioned artifacts into dust - such a reprehensible deed will void the terms of the bounty in the most dishonorable of fashions.

Lastly, it is of the greatest importance that any substantial congregations of birds be reported to Marali posthaste, and with the utmost discretion.

Thus Marali asks you, men and women of all classes: come forward and take your share in the fight. The Great Hunt of the Harvest Moon begins!
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