Brewfest History, Lore, and Tales
On the Origins of Brewfest
Winter raged on as it had for the past few months, it was then spring and there was no sign of it halting. Eventually the humans and Urgals would run out of firewood, the dwarves their Feldunost and the elves their trees.
It later came to the month called Disting (a Norse month that celebrates ‘The Festival of Idisis’) when the races decided to come together after much thought. They conversed via scrying (using magicians) and met at Ilirea where they decided to bring the best of their magicians to use many spells over the sky to force the storm back. Because of this the winter storm came to an end and the peoples of Alagaesia celebrated the month as ‘Brewfest’, together drinking and celebrating under one city . To this day the seas in the West remain cold and stormy.
Brewfest’s Storied History and Evolution
Brewfest originated as two separate holidays meant to celebrate the fall season and the year’s harvest. The elves first began to celebrate the changing of the trees as fall began to take hold, venturing into the forests to celebrate the life within. Tea is their brew of choice, as many elves work to concoct new beverages, bring back prior years’ favorites, and challenge each other in friendly games and competitions. The dwarves – well, their holiday is a bit more rowdy, loud, and entertaining. Alcohol starts and ends the day, as do games and good food. Merriment can be found echoing throughout the Beor Mountains and Tronjheim.
Over the years, the humans began to pull from and combine the two races’ traditions to form their own Brewfest celebrations. Dragon Riders would travel long and far to celebrate, and their dragons always joined in on the festivities.
The Barrel Full of Arrows – An Elf’s Story
Akira the elf recounts his experience in the Barrel Full of Arrows competition:
I have traveled from Ellesméra with the other elves and have spent months preparing for the moment when the Barrel Full of Arrows contest begins. It is no surprise when my table elects me to be their representative archer, as I am one of the most skilled archers in Ellesméra. I move gracefully even as I walk – a testament to my stealth-like ability to move silently as an archer. The other participants around me have settled into position as well, so close that I can hear their steady but heavy breathing, likely in anticipation of the coming contest.
Suddenly, there is a hush as the crowd of humans, elves, dwarves, Urgals and even a few werecats as the audience waits for the competition to begin. I observed the humans nervously holding their breath, but note that the elves remain at ease. My table – no, my race – has faith in me. Suddenly the gong rings, announcing the start of the competition. Nearly instantly, I dock an arrow, pull back my bow string, and let it fly. My nerves are taking over – my first arrow barely misses the target. Not a second goes by before I fire my second arrow, this time flawlessly hitting its mark.
There’s cheering on all sides as mine and my fellow archers’ arrows pierce the barrels, and not long after we stop, hoards of people begin to rush toward the ale flowing from the barrels. The sweet smell of a human’s apple cider reaches my nose, but nothing can distract me now. I loose arrow after arrow until my barrel has been completely emptied, taking care to not endanger those who have rushed toward the barrels. I raise my chin and survey those around me. Warm pride fills my heart, and my face is flushed with joy. I have won.
The End of Brewfest and the Burning Effigy
An account of last year’s Brewfest from Gil’ead’s local storyteller:
As night descends into blackness, a crowd gathers in the town square, some still carrying their tankards after a satisfying feast. It is the final night of Brewfest, and there is one last event to behold: the burning of the effigy. Citizens of Alagaësia both young and old gaze up at a giant wooden avatar, a great beaked creature with menacing eyes. Murmurs in the crowd identify the wooden effigy as a Ra’zac, a terrible creature that most have only heard of in legends passed along by the tongues of storytellers. It is only fitting then when a hooded figure strides forward to the base of the effigy, revealing themselves as the weathered town bard. In the bard’s hand is a torch, burning bright and illuminating his bearded visage. The bard begins telling the crowd stories of the Ra’zac, recalling frightening tales of myth and terror while detailing the effigy as the representation of the past year’s demons and harsh times. Laying the flaming torch at the base of the wooden Ra’zac, the bard declares that the demons will be burned away to make way for a prosperous new year. As the towering effigy flares into a rumbling blaze, the Brewfest revelers raise their mugs and utter a resounding cheer.