The light of the full moon casts uncanny shapes in Buentoille. Streets become tangled in new ways, a conglomeration of shapes with hard lines where shadow meets white light. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Grenin Waurst chooses today to be abroad. Perhaps the Waurst delights in the trickery the moon lays upon the City.
You’ll find few Buentoillitants out in streets tonight, and places where roads cross are quickly hurried through by those who have to be out of doors. Doors themselves are kept locked, and often short declarations, like ‘no entry to any persons, real or otherwise’ are daubed on their fronts, too. If you are caught out of doors after the moon rises, make sure that you knock four or more times, or it is unlikely that you will gain entry. The Grenin Waurst is known to knock thrice, and any less could be a trick; the other knocks could have been very quiet, or placed just as you open the door. You might also find yourself asked very strange questions; do not be alarmed. In the Tale of the Baker and the Waursts, the Grenin Waurst has a distinctive lisp, where he pronounces the letter ‘s’ with a lisp, but the letter ‘c’ without. You might be asked to say the word ‘process’ four times, for example, or asked what the ruler of Vinndusholm is called (Andersi Cecili).
Of course, there is no evidence outside of the City’s folk tales that the Grenin Waurst is real, but as those who don’t believe in him often fall foul of his machinations in these tales, few will willingly state that they disbelieve. Such is the fear of this terrible creature, no deals will be made today, for fear that the opposite participant is the Waurst in disguise, something it finds a great joy, if the stories are to be believed.
One particularly popular story surrounding the Grenin Waurst and disguises is The Bartender and the Grenin Waurst. The bartender, a young woman called Ophelia from Catrosondia who had travelled to the City to make her fortune, was known all around for her excellent cocktails, in particular the ‘Maiden’s Heart’ cocktail, a mixture of beetroot and various liquors. On a night of the full moon, after all the regular customers had gone home, a tall, handsome man, wearing a thin, white linen suit, despite the fact it was cold out. Ophelia was tired, and about to close up. ‘It’s late,’ she said, polishing a glass, ‘what do you want?’.
‘Oh, not much,’ said the man, ‘I hear you make an excellent Maiden’s Heart?’ he was very handsome, and his eyes twinkled alluringly as he said this. For some reason, Ophelia found herself blushing. She began to prepare the cocktail. ‘Wait, before you begin,’ said the man, ‘tell me, what’s the secret ingredient? I’ve heard that you really put yourself into it. Would you agree?’
Ophelia, already mixing the alcohol, was looking down at her work, when she said, absent-mindedly, ‘No, I don’t think that’s it… I’m just, good with my hands.’ She looked up and the man was gone. The Grenin Waurst, for that is who the man was, came again, in many disguises, each time trying various different ways to have Ophelia agree to ‘put herself into it,’ but each time it was foiled by some piece of luck, or his promises were not accepted. On the fifth time, he came as a knife salesman, and sold her an incredibly sharp knife. On the sixth time, as she was cutting the skin of a beetroot, she cut herself without noticing, the blade was so sharp. She gave him the drink, with a drop of her blood in it, and as the Waurst drank it, their eyes, now of a beautiful woman draped in a dead fox, turned red, and they let out a hideous cackle. The bartender was never seen again.
In the deals it makes, it is never quite certain what exactly it is the Grenin Waurst seeks, but it never seems to end well for the other participants. The Waurst seems to merely enjoy the trickery, to revel in the misery it creates. Some people believe that it is ownership over a person that the creature truly desires and seeks, although this doesn’t seem clear in many stories. In one tale that would support this theory, the Waurst appears as a rich publisher to an impoverished writer. He promises to publish anything the writer has written on the 30th of the month, in return for his service until then. The writer did not have a wonderful grasp of numbers or time, and failed to recognise it was February, so could never be freed. There are many such tales that connect the Waurst with this month, and this may be the root of the month’s association with the occult. In the tale of The Calendar Council and The Grenin Waurst, February has 31 days, but three of these are stolen by him, existing on some alternate plane for his amusement. For this reason, the Day of the Grenin Waurst changes from the day of the full moon in February to the 29th on leap years.
Some historians point out that, whilst the concept of the Grenin Waurst is ancient, many of the tales about it are actually quite recent, being written as a response to the rise of the Seven Cities Trading Company, and the ultimately disastrous trade deals it made with the City. In true folkloric tradition, the City’s officials traded the rights of the citizens away for mere baubles, wealth that came to no good. As such, the Guild of Masters, and officals of the trading company are often referred to as ‘Waursts.’ On a similar note, in some circles of Buentoilliçan society, today is also referred to as ‘Lawyer’s Day’.
Other festivals happening today:
Darrytch Ingolis’ Day of Fantastic Bargains!
The Circle of Home’s Day of Spring Cleaning and Casting Out