I just received a missive about new items related to an ancient tradition that has it roots from a far off land. It celebrates the end of the equinox and the end of the harvest as well as pays tribute to those who have passed on to another plane. I am quite a fan of the autumnal season so I loaded up with a few delectables, grabbed my witch’s hat and set off to the local bazaar.

Once at Owl’s Head, I began to peruse the holiday offerings and was quite excited by what I saw. It was at this time that I heard malcontent mumblings and saw posted literature asking for an end to the sale of such novelties.

“Oh dear, what has caused such consternation among the populous?” I scanned over the merchandise trying to discern the offensive and hateful nature of what was on offer. What I did see was an excellent pumpkin costume that I would be able to put over my head so as to jump out from the shadows and scare the dickens out of passers by. This would also be fun for standing behind a bale of hay or grove of cotton and slowly move back and forth giving the appearance of some sort of spectral anomaly aimlessly wandering in the night.

Though I was quite taken with the masks and costumes, I glanced a face-painter that was carefully transforming the face of a patron into the visage of a jocular skeleton, complete with dark eyes, a full set of teeth and colorful floral arrangements. It was both scary and whimsical. It struck me that this must be the famed “Day of the Dead” masks I had read about on the literature. Indeed, not quite a mask, but a real painting on the face. It looked quite lovely and I considered getting such a look for myself when I saw what I considered to be the coup de grace.

One merchant was selling a spell that could make only the head of the caster disappear. I was confused as to the purpose of such a feat when he gave a shocking demonstration. He pulled a volunteer from the audience and with a warning that the faint of heart might want to look away, he waved his hands, invoked the incantation, then with a clap, made the woman’s head disappear. There she stood, headless but completely unharmed!

As she walked back and forth and even conserved with the crowd it created an alarming, yet totally enchanting illusion. In a fit of whimsy, she jumped from the steps of the shop to run up and down the streets, wailing in mock terror, flailing her hands in the air like she just didn’t care.

One onlooker fainted. Another got ready to brandish his sword at this level of witchery. There were many gasps and many cheers of laughter and excitement. I was stunned and laughed heartily and how amusing this little bit of trickery could be.

Alas, there were jeers from the crowd that frowned up such childish amusements and said there was no need for such tomfoolery with all the undead and all the other troubles in the realm. There were retorts from those who thought this was all a mere bit of fun and should be looked upon as simple merriment. The grimacing faces from the others would hear none of it. This was an insult to their sensibilities, a commencement of activities they had no time for, and to put it in blunt terms, ugly.

I dismissed these naysayers and saw their jibes as merely a lack of a playful nature and perhaps they had a stick embedded in a place that caused them great distress and a penchant for lashing out in a needless fashion. The equinox is upon us and the harvest is complete. It is also rumored, for those that believe in such things, that this is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is most thin and as such is possible to commune with those who have passed on. It may be nothing more than stories told around the campfire, but many believe it comes to pass, and dressing in the guise of something slightly macabre is an invitation for the spirits to walk among us and that they are welcomed.

With that, and perhaps a dash out of spite, I handed the merchant my coins and took possession of several of the masks he had on offer and even got the spell that will allow me to make my head disappear. I believe I shall have a good time sneaking up on Blake and Alley with this one. I believe the Headless PeteWi of Stinging Tree Hollow will be a fabulous bit of fun. I have some extra masks so they can join in the games once they catch their breath from the scare I shall give them.

Not sure I put much stock in the tales, but who am I to dismiss them out of hand? I may not believe in walking amongst the spirits, but I’m certainly one in favor of walking with a spirit. To that end I shall have a libation on the eve of this astronomical event and if an apparition wishes to sit down and partake with me, then I shall be more than happy to get them one and we shall toast the night together.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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