Snow was falling in Monfort as Nisrioch made his way through the streets, the Duke by his side. He glanced at the brightly colored banners hanging from walls and windows. "Oh, yes, there are all sorts of harvest festivals going on back home now," he noted. He turned to regard the Duke. "Of course, we rarely have this sort of decorations. Symbols of your faith, yes?"
Gurnemanz nodded. "The staff of Ramiel, in his aspect as the Rain-giver, and the sickle of Sofiel, as well as the horn of plenty of Saint Kore," he declared. "Great and holy symbols of life and the harvest."
"And what's that?" asked Nisrioch pointing to a large image that looked like a little huge-headed man with an acorn cap for a hat.
"The Harvest Hob," muttered Gurnemanz, looking away embarassingly. "He brings gifts and sweetmeats for all good boys and girls during the Harvest Festival."
"How charming!" said Nisrioch. He glanced around. "And look--they've put images of him everywhere! It's so strangely delightful..."
"It is a crass debasement of this holy day!" proclaimed Gurnemanz. "For goodness sake, in my day, we remembered it was the gods we celebrated on the Harvest Festival, not some strange little freak distributing candy! We'd sing grave songs, drink wassail, and pray!"
Nisrioch blinked. "What's wassail?"
"It's a drink of hot cider, mixed with mead, and spices!" said Gurnemanz. "It is not only tasty, but healthful, warming the drinker, and filling him with good fellowship." He shook his head. "At least, if it's well-made it is. But no one mixes it right these days! No one!"
"That is too bad," said Nisrioch quietly.
Gurnemanz narrowed his eyes. "You're humoring me, aren't you?" He pouted. "I tell you, I get this from my wife, my elder sons, and my grandchildren! And now you!" He sighed and shook his head.
"I am not!" said Nisrioch. "I am completely sincere. It is always a tragedy when a fine tradition passes away. Especially one involving tasty, alcoholic drinks." He sighed. "So, so tragic."