Once a year the silent tower of Bastion sends forth a beam of light that sweeps over the land like a lighthouse, it’s light making a complete circuit in 24 hours. For seven days this light illuminates the world and serves as a notice of renewal and the coming of Spring.
All peoples of the world recognize the import of this time. Even orc and barbarians call a truce and find a place where the festival is being celebrated. Treaties are traditionally signed under the light of Bastion on the 7th day of Festival. It is said that marriages and namings performed in the light are particularly blessed. Holy folk are very busy performing rites during this time.
For over a thousand years, the seven days that the light of Bastion sweeps over the world are a time of peace and observance. It is the one common thread that links all the peoples of the many races of Bastion.
The Festival is known by many names and is celebrated in many ways by the various peoples of Bastion.
The dwarves call it the Day of Rejoining. All the peoples of Yorheim gather around the gate to the deep roads and open it when the light from Bastion strikes the great crystal and illuminates the gates. An ancient legend states that one day the gates will open and the paragon Hemdail will be standing there, signaling them to reopen the deep roads and find their lost brothers. This day will signal the end of the sundering.
Though Hemdail has yet to appear after centuries of waiting, the day is also occasion for feasting and games of all kinds. One special game involves several teams that must venture forth into the caverns near the deep roads and follow clues left for them by the elders. By passing a series of physical and mental trials, they obtain an item known as the Heart and carry it back to the city.
The humans call it the Festival of Renewal. In villages and cities all across the land, faires are held to celebrate the coming of the new year. It is a celebration of bounty and community. Stalls are set up to sell varied wares, food and drink are freely distributed, competitions of infinite variety are held. One competition, in particular, is the same in every town. A team of 5 must carry a special item – called the Heart – through an obstacle course. On the last day of the Festival the Heart is thrown onto a bonfire and burned as the people sing and chant ancient songs of gratitude.
The elves name this time The Hope Sowing. It is a time of reflection and planning for the future. Every elf who has reached maturity must go into the wild and plant the seed of a tree. It is said that this festival alone is responsible for the great forest that dominates southern Bastion. On the last day of celebration, the eldest at the celebration will take a special item called the Heart to the top of the tallest tree in the area. A sacred rite is then performed at the moment the last light from Bastion is visible. This light is captured in the Heart, which will carry the faint glow for the remainder of the year.
Little is known of how the distant Eldarin observe this time though it is often said that, unlike other peoples, they treat it as a sad and solemn occasion. None have been to the distant Eldarin kingdom of Fade in many lifetimes and the ancient folk do not share their secrets easily.