Harvestide used to be an annual celebration of life and community in the years before the Church of Avacyn. On a world where survival is never a guarantee, life is to be celebrated. Villagers commemorated the yearly Harvesttide with week long feasting, dancing, songs, chants, mask-wearing, bonfires, and wicker effigies. The Ulvenwald's trees glimmer with candles, lanterns, and magical spark-lights. Streamers and ribbons decorate the branches. Travelers along the paths toward Harvesttide can also see wicker "floats" with effigies of werewolves, zombies, vampires, and other fearsome creatures, to be triumphantly and defiantly burned during the festival.
When the sun began rising later and setting sooner each day because of the Eldrazi in the moon, the werewolves went mad and tried to take control of the plane. Fearing the eternal night, the citizens turned to the warlocks of the Dawnhart Coven for help. The leader of the coven, Katilda, proposed to revive the festival. By gathering together as many people as possible, the coven could draw on their collective strength beneath the Celestus and restore the balance through a ritual. According to Katilda the dawn couldn't be brought back without bringing back the hope that the people had lost.
Among the many ancient Harvesttide traditions is the appointment of a Harvesttide Sovereign. The witches of the Dawnhart Coven elect an outsider to serve as marshal of the festivities. The Sovereign's role is to establish a connection between the witches and the common folk of Innistrad. Most importantly, a truly excellent Sovereign infuses the witches' rituals with additional power, greatly contributing to their success. Leinore was asked to oversee the preparations for the festival as "Autumn Sovereign", and people from all over Kessig started to gather.
From all walks of life, people came. From the nearby foothills of Kessig, from the storied spires and murky moors of Gavony, from the ports and tunnels of Nephalia, from the sunless streets and twisted towers of Stensia. When the festival started beneath the never-turning arms of the ancient Celestus, they marched their effigies, their candles, their baskets of short-lived flowers and fruits.
However, Tovolar's howlpack disturbed the festival. In human form, hundreds of werewolves attacked the magical barrier put up around the festival. Brimming with power from their disrupted ritual, the Dawnhart witches lashed out at the intruders. Other intruders were a horde of devils The withches received help from a group of planeswalkers known as the the Gatewatch. Knowing that they would be overpowered when it became night, Teferi slowed the sunset. While Adeline organized the defense with Chandra Nalaar, Kaya delvered the Moonsilver Key to Katilda. Meanwhile, Arlinn Kord came face to face with Tovolar who once again tried to persuade her to join the Wild Hunt. When the night finally fell, Arlinn changed form.
Arlinn and Tovolar fought and both got severe wounds. Arlinn's wolf pack joined Tovolar, except for Patience who stayed apart. During the fight, the alpha kept seducing the planeswalker into abandoning the humans and joining the pack. Arlinn feigned surrender, but then overpowered the unsuspecting Tovolar with a deathgrip in his chest. Crushed by her final betrayal, Tovolar surrendered and retreated with the rest of the pack. The survivors of the Harvesttide Massacre stayed behind.
After the battle with Tovolar, Chandra and Adeline take Arlinn to the center of Celestus. There the witches are finishing the ritual, but Olivia Voldaren appears interrupting the ritual and taking the Key with her. This leaves the ritual unfinished, and the Eternal Night a fact.
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- Referred to:
- Magic Showcase 2021 (live) (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (August 24, 2021).
- Prepare for the Harvesttide Festival – Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (September 2, 2021).
- Doug Beyer and Ari Zirulnik (September 9, 2021). "Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Midnight Hunt". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- K. Arsenault Rivera (September 2, 2021). "Episode 1: The Witch in the Woods". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ari Zirulnik and Grace Fong (September 16, 2021). "The New Legends of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Eugenia Triantafyllou (September 10, 2021). "Sisters". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- K. Arsenault Rivera (September 22, 2021). "Episode 4: Harvestide". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Flavor text for Might of the Old Ways
- Festival Crasher
- K. Arsenault Rivera (September 29, 2021). "Episode 5: Night Closes 'Round". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Olivia's Midnight Ambush