Festival of Frozen Chisels
by Daniel Deadmarsh
The Fellaren-Krae Festival of Frozen Chisels
Within Fellaren-Krae, the first tendays of the month of Alturiak are dedicated to the enjoyment of the season and particularly ice sculpting.
The festival has been with Fellaren-Krae shortly after the city's first settlement. It has become Sembia's greatest Winter festival and one of the more prominent Winter festivals of the Heartlands. Much of the success of this annual winter celebration is due to the active participation of local guilds, merchants and other groups.
Some festival events and sites:
The following events are specific to the Festival of the Frozen Chisel, and take place during the first tendays of Alturiak.
Opening and Closing Firelight Show:
On the first and final day of the festival, Independent mages and mages of the Wizard's Union come together and create a spectacle of fireworks (i.e., fire balls, lightning bolts, dancing lights, etc.) in the sky high over Castle Kraelas.
The Children's Labyrinth and Castle:
Outside the city's eastern walls, visitors to the festival can find a large snow labyrinth for children to find their way out. And a snow castle to play in.
Market Pot-of-Stew Competition:
Located in the market on the second day of the Festival of Frozen Chisels, many of the various taverns and inns, prepare a large pot of stew and provide a sampling to all who pass by. When all the participants run out of stew, the crowd is asked to identify the winner. The High Lord walks in front of each competitor and the crowd cheers for who they liked best. The winner is the cook that receives the loudest cheer, and is presented with the golden ladle for a year.
Some of the past winners include: The Orc's Demise, The Little Dryad Tavern and The Singing Nightingale.
Thespian Guild Performance Extravaganza:
During this period all of the actor groups put on a string of original performances, one after the other. Each performance is the sequel to the previous one, but a story all onto it's own. If the patrons miss a show, they can continue at the following acting hall, and if a patron is lucky enough to see all the shows, they have seen what many call the best performance in Sembia until the next Frozen Chisel festival.
Sculptures of the Western Wall:
All of the artisan's that have come to partake in the festivities display their ice sculptures along the Western Wall. The last festival held over 78 ice carvings, ranging from battling mages and warriors to great dragons. The winner of the sculpting competition, as decided by the Oakenstaff Council, receives the title of Master Frozen Chisel for the duration of the festivities and receives a pot of 2,000 gold coins. The council members look for difficulty, originality and which sculpture best represents the theme of the year. Last year's theme was the sea!
In the majority of the guildhalls throughout the city, morning-feast is served for the enjoyment of all those who can pay 5 copper coins. The typical meal includes, meat pie, apple tarts, loaf of parsley bread, roasted potatoes and a cup of warm apple cider. This occurs on the last day of the festival.
There are street performers (bards) throughout the city enticing visitors to part with their coins for an amazing feat, endearing story or gut-bursting laugh.
The Forester's Challenge:
On the third day of the festival, competing foresters are asked to enter the woods near Fentonford and return with as many logs of freshly chopped lumber as possible before sunset. Each Forester is giving an axe, a cart and two horses. The start and ending point is the Northern Gate of Fellaren-Krae. The prize is a total of 400 gold coins.
The Hidden Treasure of the Chisel:
Tiaza Danyth, a Council member, at noon everyday (during the festival) in the centre of the caravan holding area addresses the crowd. She reads off a clue as provided by Basavyl Naicael. The clue provides a hint to were the treasure can be found. This event has been in effect for 7 years and has been found four times. When the treasure is not found, it is carried over to the next year and added on to the pot. The treasure is a total of 1,000 gold coins. Only Basavyl Naicael knows of its' location. It is always within the city's walls, and always in a place that grants public access.
The Frozen Fool's Plunge:
A daily event that occurs after morningfeast. All those who are willing to plunge into the Fellaren-Krae harbour, into it's icy waters are welcomed to do so. Hundreds of participants take the daily plunge.
The Mage's Gala:
At an open-air amphitheater, The Dragon Point Theatre, members of the Wizard's Union show off their magical skills to all those attending. This amphitheatre can accommodate 2,000 people plus an additional 500 people for standing room. The cost to attend the event is only 1 copper coin, which goes into the coffers of the Guild of the People, the Wizard's Union and the Fellaren-Krae Thespian Guild (which owns this Amphitheatre). Shows are daily and last from after noon to dusk. The Wizard's Union formal name is the Mystical Union of Spell-crafters and Arcane Wizards.
The Merchant's Village:
Local merchants and merchants from all around Faerun come and set up a temporary tent village outside the city walls. Merchants come from all over Sembia and Cormyr to partake in the exchange of goods and this great merchant bazaar. Some merchants come from as far as Calimport, Waterdeep and Silverymoon, to make profits here.
Birds of Prey Show:
This daily event held outside the city's walls, shows off the city's master falconers and their pets. The show occurs after morning feast until high noon. Various animal trainer's show off their prized birds of prey and their hunting prowess to the gathered crowd. Always featured are falcons, eagles, and hawks. Occasionally, griffons are featured as well, this has happened a total of 7 times, since the festival's rebirth.
Frigid Water Race:
This event occurs on the fifth day of the festival. Teams of 12 rowers board small wooden fishing cogs, and set out to sea. The first team to return wins a pot of 1,200 gold coins. However, the winning team is the one that gathers all of it's floating markers from the water, a total of 5 markers are set out in the bay for each team. The race takes approximately 1 to 2 hours in length. Each boat is covered in bright colours. The previous festival had 68 teams.
City Street Dance:
On the final day of the event, performers, bards, visitors and locals all come together in a multitude of sounds, sites, odours, costumes and colours. The dance lasts from dawn until the fireworks display.
History of the Festival:
During the first summers of Fellaren-Krae, a gifted sculptor, his name now forgotten in the annals of history, settled down in the city. His skill was in great demand throughout the city. As he aged, he began carving for the enjoyment of carving, and become somewhat of a performer for crowds of people that would watch him work in his courtyard. He opened his gates and let people enter his garden and see the sculptures he had created, all the while carving and sculpting. He grew tired of working with stone, marble or wood, and wanted something new.
In the middle of summer, he found a mage that made him a large block of ice in the market. He carved the ice into a beautiful statue of an elven princess before it melted.
He continued doing this everyday, with small to large blocks of ice in the market, simply to entertain the children and passers-by. He did it during the Winter months as well. Then one year in the month of Alturiak, he sculpted a miniature replica of Kraelas Castle. He went inside to rest the day he completed his work, and never awoken from his sleep.
A few years after his passing, the Council of the Oakenstaff created the festival of ice sculpting in honour the performing sculptor. It was a wondrous event, with sculptors coming from all over Sembia to partake in the event.
Several years after it's inception, it ended with tragedy. An artisan jealous of the work of another damaged the others work. The following day, while children were playing on the same sculpture, it collapsed on them, killing three children and an elderly woman. The saboteur confessed to his crime, and did not make it to trial as he was quickly dragged to a nearby tree and hung by the angry mob.
The festival became an event marked only by historians.
High Lord Telrae Mynralythe, resurrected the festival for the people, shortly after his appointment to High Lord. The festival has been renamed to the Festival of the Frozen Chisels, and is organized by the Guild of the People with the help of the Council and other city officials. Since it's renaming and re-instatement the festival has grown each year to accommodate new sculptors and artisans, to include new events and special sites. The festival takes place during the first tendays of Alturiak, and has helped bring great economic prosperity during a traditionally quiet economic period. Inns and Taverns are bursting at the seems, and homes are temporarily converted to inns to accommodate the cities increase in visitors.
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