This is additional information should you wish to incorporate any of it into your images. Some folks work better with some background for inspiration, so here it is....
- No one really knows when the Gaeldun Aspect of Balodius events first started. Chicks are told that these traditions are ancient, but many historians agree these festivities in particular probably only date back to 15-20 monarchies ago probably due to a Grandesque slant on Twistoult ceremonies (leave it up to Grandesque to mix pleasure with ceremony!). The holiday probably became so secular that Skrekrill began celebrating it as well...even those party-poopers seem to love a good party on occasion. The holiday includes two events which are special for young gryphons and adults.
ADULT GRYPHONS >>>>>>>
HISTORY (the history/story behind the ball)
- The Gaeldun Mask Ball was an event that often followed the completion of the summer foraging season, which typically ended when the day and night were equal, a time of balance between the seasons. Preparation begins at twilight, a time when day and night are indistinguishable from one another, a balance point strongly associated with Balodious. As a mirroring of the indistinct, gray times between day and night, and between seasons, the gryphons themselves began to hide their own distinguishing features behind paint and masks, allowing the lines between rank, clan and aerie to become as blurred as the line between night and day at dusk. At one point, the ball was done in complete silence, save for the music, to prevent identification through voice. However, this tradition fell out of favor, and all that remains of it today is that gryphons don't give out their names, clans or aeries.
THE BALL (backgrounds/scene)
- The ball itself is held on the border of Grandesque and Twistoult territories. The event is lit by many small and medium sized carefully placed, roughly hewn stone lanterns (think the ones in a Japanese garden but rougher looking) that have been there so long moss has almost grown over them and fused them with the very rocks they sit on. These surround the main area for the dance which is simply an ovular moss covered jungle clearing. The trees have been trimmed away from growing over this space so the moon spills in; it also leaves a wide space for any aerial acrobatics between the dancing pairs.
COSTUMES (what your gryphs will wear)
- This is a masked ball. The costumes gryphs wear usually consist of only eye-masks and feather paint. Some tie branches into their feathers or create head-dresses to further conceal themselves. Tail ornaments are favored as are bracelets and neck-pieces to enhance attractiveness. The costumes generally pertain to natural things and creatures. Sometimes the gryphons will dress up as other occupations, such as shamans, Queens, Kings (or, as some dorky ones do, dress as Chief Tookie). Note! Make sure to consult with your partner on what the costume their gryph is wearing looks like so that you both know what you're drawing.
THE DANCE (what your gryphs will be doing)
- Now the prompt is to have your gryphons dancing, but if you desire to show your gryphs just interacting or something else related to the ball, you can. Remember, each partner makes an image. If both of you want to make dancing pictures, that's fine! But if you want to spice it up a bit, you can both choose two different scenes of your characters interacting at the ball. Be creative! As for the dance itself, it's basically an elegant, almost tribal dance, with as much flying as there is footwork.
YOUNG GRYPHONS >>>>>>>
History (the history/story behind the Foraging Game)
- The Foraging Game is a game that young gryphs play every year. Its a remnant from earlier times in Windsonde when the dry, cool, wintery months of Worchentage meant fewer berries, fruits and nuts and all of the aeries would spend the months of Gaeldun trying to collect additional food stores. As Gryphon society advanced, this once much-needed activity turned out to be less and less vital. It became more of a tradition, and eventually evolved into a game: an imaginary battle between life and death, each trying to gather as much food and supplies as possible. It is also a bit of a "coming of age" game, with the winners proving themselves very capable of survival in hard times.
COSTUMES (what your Gryphs will wear)
- Players on the side of life would decorate themselves in either the vibrant, orange/red/yellow colors and foliage of the Gaeldun season, while those playing on the side of death wore old, creepy tatters, long-dead leaves, and bones. (Skrekrill youngsters love playing the side of death and terrorizing chicks from other aeries for fun, for example).
THE GAME (what your Gryphs will be doing)
- Originally a competitive game held by the adults of different aeries, this tradition was eventually picked up, and taken over by the young gryphs, who now forage for treats and trinkets from the adults in the various aeries (much like our Trick-or-Treating), still decorated in images of life and death. They can go to any aerie they like, though keep in mind that some young gryphs may still be scared to cross into unkind territory! However adults often find this completely adorable and have no problem handing out various things to all young gryphons who love to travel in groups on this night and compare their various "treasures"!
ANY GRYPHONS >>>>>>>
HISTORY (the history/story behind the The Great Feast)
- The Great Feast is a fairly recent tradition, an offshoot of both the older versions of the Foraging Game and the Mask Ball. The Mask Ball typically had food and drink, however, as the Foraging Game became less and less necessary, and more and more extra food was accumulated by the gryphons playing, that extra food was presented at the Mask Ball. So much extra food began accumulating that in time, a feast was announced in the winning team's honor every year. However, when the Foraging Game became a tradition carried out by the Young Gryphs, the Great Feast evolved too.
ATTIRE (What your Gryphs will wear)
- This event is done both in casual and elaborate attire. Some gryphs really get into the holiday spirit and arrive wearing either their best adornments, and sometimes, young gryphs arrive already decked out in their Foraging Game costumes. However, many arrive in casual attire, wearing only the charms and talismans they wear for their usual everyday lives. Sometimes, sneaky adults wear a part of their Mask Ball costume (but never the whole outfit), so if they meet anyone they'd like to spend the evening with, they'll be recognizable. The Feast occurs after the Ball is finished and goes on into the early morning hours.
THE FEAST (What your Gryphs will be doing)
- Today, rather than a celebration of a winning team, the feast is a way of showing pride in one's aerie. In a way, the feast itself has almost become a competition, each aerie trying to bring food that is not only more delicious, but more plentiful than the others, often arranged in elaborate culinary displays. In this event, it is encouraged that gryphons from all ages, clans, and aeries mix and mingle at the many spaces set aside for eating. (However, there are those who choose to eat with only those of their own groups.) In fact, the Twistoult say that to eat in a group of an equal number of gryphons from each aerie is good luck. This often results in Grandesques getting drunk to drown out the spiritual ramblings of the Twistoults, and the Skrekrill laughing quietly to themselves as they oh-so-graciously present Traditional Skrekrill foods to the drunken Grandesque… made from livestock pilfered from the Grandesque's fields.
TOOKIE ISLANDERS >>>>>>>
- Tookie Island's customs are not as elaborate as those on the mainland, and not a whole lot of research has been done, as very few Mainlanders have visited the island on this day and returned... However, one scholar managed to ask a Tookie about it. After the scholar's rescue, he relayed what the Islander said: "This big turning time in Tookie Seasons! Big Dark and Shiny Glow are equally matched. But Big Dark will begin to scare Shiny Glow, to trick it into leaving earlier and earlier each day, and Big Dark is around for longer and longer! Tookie know, Tookie see it happen every year! "Big Dark is getting stronger this time of year. Tookie wants to be big and strong. So Tookie play tricks on other Tookies, to make them run, or sometimes to laugh, like Big Dark. If Tookie is strong, Tookie will be able to capture Big Gryph when it comes. "Then Tookies will have Tookie Feast! We have Tookie Feast now!"