The three nations were shaded in the gentle pink hues of cherry blossoms.
Curious adventurers gathered to pose for portraits in front of the Far Eastern screens and picnic areas scattered about town.
The Doll Festival--a collaborative effort of the Carpenters' Guild, the Culinarians' Guild, and the Rhinostery--was upon us once more.
The Doll Festival is a Far Eastern celebration where people pray for the health and happiness of young girls. During the festival, girls are given rice treats to eat, and have a special place to decorate with dolls that are dressed in noble costumes.
The sweet rice cakes introduced by the Culinarians' Guild during the previous Doll Festival were a big hit with adventurers. We spoke with the man who added the recipe for the rice treats to the guild's repertoire: Hakeem of the Far East.
Can you tell us a little about these sweet rice cakes?
"The rice cakes? As you must know, these treats are essential for holding an authentic Doll Festival."
Why are the rice cakes so colorful?
"The colors of the rice cakes--green, white, and pink--represent three aspects of nature: grass, snow, and peach blossoms," explained Hakeem. "The herbs used to dye the rice also contain curative properties--a fitting coincidence for a festival that celebrates health and prosperity."
Do the magical rice treats handed out by the moogles this year have the same curative properties?
"No, the treats tainted by the foul sorcery of the Rhinostery can no longer be called rice cakes," fumed Hakeem.
After making this bitter comment, Hakeem refused to elaborate any further.
His colleague Jacodaut was kind enough to offer an explanation.
The magical rice cakes were developed for this year's Doll Festival through the cooperation of the Rhinostery and the festival-loving moogles. One type of rice cake was created for each race, with the treats possessing the fantastic ability to return people to their childhood in both mind and body.
The moogles originally conceived this plan to allow lady adventurers who grew up during the Crystal War a second chance to enjoy the Doll Festival. Unfortunately, the mystical rice cakes transformed male adventurers into little girls as well.
"Hakeem was asked to taste the rice cakes sent to us by the Rhinostery," Jacodaut said. "He was rather shocked and upset by his sudden metamorphosis. I personally thought it was hilarious."
What could have been the reason behind the ten-person party required to receive the moogles' wondrous wares? The secret lies within the dolls that appeared in the original Doll Festival. The dolls were organized on a multi-tiered stage as follows: an empress and emperor on the top tier; three ladies-in-waiting on the middle tier; five male musicians on the bottom tier.
If a party with the correct combination of males and females approached the moogles, they would receive extra presents.
One adventurer had this to say:
"My adventuring companions and I all tried the magical rice cakes. All of these hulking armored brutes were instantly transformed into harmless little girls. More than bringing back childhood dreams, it was an opportunity to make new and unforgettably funny memories."
What a sight to see child-adventurers running innocently through the streets amid a soft rain of peach-colored petals.