SPECIAL EVENT Merry and Bright Advent Challenge | Prompts 1-8

Discussion in 'EVENTS' started by Elle Joyner, Dec 1, 2017.


  1. [​IMG]

    Welcome to the Prompt thread !

    To get started, all you need to do is click the date to make the prompt appear! Remember, only post prompts up to the CURRENT date. Be sure to post it within a spoiler tag, marked with the prompt-date and your username! If you need to catch up with previous prompts, you may post more than one at a time, but again... no jumping ahead! New prompts will be posted DECEMBER 9th!

    December 01
    December 02
    December 03
    December 04
    December 05
    December 06
    December 07
    December 08

     
    • Love Love x 3
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 2
  2. December 01 (open)



    It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winterwyst


    Blown glass in every conceivable color was strung from building to building in Haperton as candlers prepared their wicking sticks for the nightly endeavors to follow. The day had only just begun on the 50th day of Winter in the simple town nestled against hills and sparring woodland. Redden could be seen above the rooftops where Ender sat tying a strand of blown globes to the gutter of the local bakery. Even in the cover of tufted clouds the far off city still gleamed in its golden hue.

    “Get your head out of the clouds, Ender!” Elora called out from the road. A chuckle churned from her chest that fluttered gracefully from her lips in a fond melody. “Tie it up and get back down here! We have baking to do!”

    She always had a way of lifting his spirits, that Elora Carter. Almost a year since they first met and her company never got old or withered or splintered. Winterwyst brought them together, and he couldn’t imagine spending another holiday apart after all the fun they had. They had become best friends, and anytime he was let out he’d rush straight to Haperton and the bakery she worked with her grandmother.

    Securing the strand of multicolored glass lanterns, Ender made his descent by the sturdy ladder he bought for Gran Gran in the Summer. Or rather, he bought it for himself to use around the bakery so that he didn’t have to find clever ways to shimmy about its exterior for maintenance. Elora had tied a red ribbon to it that held a good-luck medallion, per customs. “Best to pay the toll,” she had said to him. It was a simple gesture, and a common one at that, yet to him it showed she cared about his life. She cared.

    “I don’t think the tree branch will reach the strand,” he said as he approached Elora on the street. They looked up to admire his handiwork. Haperton was Home to simple folk with simple decorations nowhere near as extravagant as those seen in Redden this time of year. But it was quaint enough to satisfy the lot, and already it was beginning to look more like Winterwyst.

    “You should stay the night for the First Lighting,” she said as she hooked her arm in his. “You’ve never seen that here yet. There’s a song we sing as the candlers go by to light the lanterns.”

    “How does it go?”

    “You’ll hear it tonight,” she said with an airy laugh, shaking his arm slightly before tugging him towards the bakery door.

    “I’ve got to go home before nightfall,” he reminded as he followed her inside to the warmth of the storefront. Gran Gran was in the kitchen kneading dough, sprinkling it with flour that coated her bony fingers in powdery white and parts of her hairline where she attempted to brush away the gray wisps from her eyes. The bell above the door jingled in a pixie’s chime to herald their entrance, prompting a smile from the old woman’s lips.

    “You get it done, did you?” Gran Gran asked from the kitchen.

    “Ready for the candlers!” Elora sang, and skipped behind the counter.

    “Fantastic!” she said, and began to sing a familiar tune.

    ”Come forth, oh Tinker Tailer, fly
    Down from the clouds to bring us cheer
    Giving us Good Winterwyst
    Oh, what a time of year!

    Lanterns strung of green and blue
    Flickering candles light the way
    Tinker Tailor, are you true?
    Bring us great joy today!”

    Elora had joined in with the merriment, Ender compelled to sing along with just as much gusto as they rushed into the kitchen. “Macaroon time,” she said to him as she laid out all the ingredients. “Gran Gran, tell Ender he can’t go home until after we serve the macaroons to the candlers!”

    “You can’t stay for the First Lighting?” her grandmother asked crestfallen. “You’ve never seen it here. I’m sure your father will understand.”

    A huff of a laugh escaped him, one to prevent the truth from escaping his lips. “I don’t think he would approve,” he said. “He’s a very particular person when it comes to his orders.”

    Frowns were visible on both Gran Gran and his friend as they fell silent in their disappointment. It would have been rude to argue against the wishes of a parent no matter their own opinion. And so to break the silence and continue the mirth, Gran Gran hummed the tune of the Tinker Tailor Wish. Elora regained the bounce to her step quickly as they set to work crafting their macaroons.

    This was what Ender loved about them. The Carters never let anything bring them down, and was always respectful of others. It made him wish he had a family like this, even if it was just a welcoming grandmother like Elora’s Gran Gran. The fact that she let him call her such a name of endearment was warming to the young man. This was the life he had always wanted and was never given. He didn’t even celebrate Winterwyst until he met them. Sixteen years he never realized what he was missing. He had their presents picked out two seasons ago hidden away in his Secret Place, and the closer it came to Winterwyst the more he felt he would burst if he didn’t give it to them.

    In a few hours, their special macaroons were set upon a traditional platter painted by Mr. Dorlyl down the road. His skillful hand painted a jovial depiction of the Tinker Tailor; an old fellow with a curling mustache and a long beard tied with a bell. He was holding up his latest creation, a tiny toy airship, with a pleased grin brimming from what little could be seen of his lower lip under the bushy white whiskers. Clouds were wreathed about him with stars like glitter. It was Ender’s favorite plate in the bakery. It was the same plate Elora held when they first met and she offered him a cookie.

    Elora perhaps knew this, or perhaps she enjoyed it just as much as he. When she pulled it from the cupboard her eyes lit up, and the two arranged their multicolored macaroons first around the Tinker Tailor and then over him in a mound. The colors were reminiscent of the lanterns, their idea, of course, and looked the part well. “Taste test,” Elora said as she plucked a blue macaroon from the plate. Ender chose a red one, and the two bit into their treat together and smiled at their success.

    “Come with me. I have something for you,” she said, and set the plate down to rush out of the kitchen. The remainder of his macaroon was stuffed into his mouth greedily, puffing out his cheeks as he chewed. By the time he had reached the stairwell she was already half way up. Her feet pounded against the creaky wooden stairs, his less so but still just as eager.

    “Gift exchange isn’t until Winterwyst,” he called up to remind her. She laughed at that and rushed into her room to clamor for whatever she had stashed away for him. When he rounded the doorframe, she held within her hand a traditional window lantern children put on their windowsill to show the Tinker Tailor there was a hopeful soul inside the home. They had become more and more extravagant over the years ranging from odd shapes to metal framework. The one Elora held out to Ender was octagonal with each face carrying a metal plate depicting scenes of Winterwyst.

    And he felt like he was going to burst into tears. He’d never owned a window lantern before. It was traditionally a gift given by parents in a child’s infancy. His father had never been festive enough to care to nurture the imagination of a child. His hands reached out for the lantern, fingers grasping it carefully, yet securely as if to question its very existence in his hands.

    “I was hoping you would stay for the First Lighting,” she said to him. “I would have given it to you then. That’s when you light your lanterns and place them in the window. You had told me you didn’t have a window in your room, so I figured you could put it in mine.”

    “I love it,” Ender said through the lump in his throat, and Elora closed the gap between them to bring him into a squeezing hug. “Will you light it for me?”

    Her hold around him tightened endearingly before release, her brows pushed together in the disappointment she couldn't shake. A reluctant nod jostled her short cropped hair that held a natural wave that gave her a haphazard look. “I hope I never meet your father,” she muttered. “I’d bless the sour from his soul.”

    “I hope you never have to meet him,” Ender said thoughtfully. The notion set him on edge causing his mind to wander until lost within the solemn prospect. It reminded him how he came to know Elora in the first place. It reminded him of the true reason why he was at the Carter residence. This was supposed to be a job, not a play date.

    “Where did you go?” Elora asked. He hadn’t noticed she had pulled back to the edge of her bed, arms wrapped around her as the cold of her room settled. Her voice brought him back from his haunting, and he smiled.

    “Just dreading going home,” he answered. “I’ll be back when I can. Hopefully before Winterwyst. I’ve got a present for you and Gran Gran.”

    “I’ve got one for you, too!” she said excitedly. “Even if you can’t make it to our celebration, we can still open presents whenever you can. Winterwyst isn’t just a day, after all. It’s just a time. Anytime.”

    He brought the lantern, his lantern, up to observe it now that his tears were at bay. While he looked intent in the metalwork, his attention was more in her smile he caught in his peripheral. No one had ever really been as jovial and happy as she in his life. Everyone in his family was self absorbed and cared little for Estwynd traditions. They said it was pointless.

    It all made it more difficult to leave, for he knew as soon as he said it that smile would fade. Fate was worse with his father, and if he had any hopes of seeing her again at all the rest of Winter, he would have to fade her smile for the night. She knew what he was about to say just by the look on his face, her own expression mirroring his as she nodded in silent recognition. They perhaps knew each other a little too well, and she stepped forward for another quick hug.

    “Merry Winterwyst, Ender,” she whispered. “See you when I see you.”

    “See you when I see you,” he repeated, and reluctantly pulled away from the embrace, handing over his lantern for safe keeping. Her fingers gently held the heft of the blue glass lantern encased in metal like she was holding the weight of his heart and all its unspoken burdens.

    Outside the bakery and down the street leading to the grand city of Redden, smaller versions of colored blown glass lanterns hung from strands from one building to the other. Candlers stood at a post with their wicking sticks resting over their shoulders in tall curling poles. It was beginning to look a lot like Winterwyst, and he didn’t want to leave.
     
    • Love Love x 2
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 2
    • You Need a Hug You Need a Hug x 1
  3. Cosmic Penguin/December 01 (open)

    Claus
    Chapter One
    Everyone was excited. The elves, the reindeer--even Cole. Ever since mom and dad announced their retirement and my succession to the chariot, everyone's been losing their minds. People keep running up to me and gushing about the changes I would be making and how they anticipate new traditions. Most of those people were the elves. Even though they lived such short lives, they were incredibly finicky and they loved change. The Claus to elf relationships had been getting pretty testy lately due to my father having been in the chariot for so long. It hadn't been his fault though since he'd planned to retire ages ago but my sister going rogue derailed that.

    Sometimes I wish Jacqueline was still around. Even if she was a little mean spirited, and unprofessional she was still a heck of a lot more suited for this stuff. If she was here right now...She definitely wouldn't be hiding in dad's dusty workshop, hoping that no one would find her. And when Cole inevitably burst in with his beady black eyes shining with anger, Jacqueline definitely wouldn't have revealed her position by shrieking in fear.

    But I wasn't Jacqueline. I was just...

    "BELSNICKEL!!"

    "Yes, Cole..." I squeaked, cowering under the Yeti's fearsome gaze.

    "It is time. Time for your trials. Time for you to prove. TIME TO TAKE CHARIOT!!!" He roared, beating his chest with his massive fists. His voice was so powerful that a fearsome wind tore through the workshop, knocking down boxes and decorations. Cole's roar tapered off into a whine when he finally noticed the damage. "...Sorry. Come." He held his furry white hand out to me and I took it after a second and we left the workshop.

    The walk to the Snow Stage was short. Mainly because Cole was so excited that he would yank me forward every once in awhile. If I had been a human, he probably would have torn my arm clean off.

    When we got to the stage, Cole didn't wait for me hesitate and instead picked me up with minimal effort and placed me beside my parents before taking his seat in the audience. I shot him a dirty look which he returned with a toothy smile. Dad wrapped a fat arm around me, pulling me to him, while mom patted my shoulder gently.

    "Citizens of North Polaris!" Dad's voice was so powerful that he didn't need a microphone. Perks of being half Yeti, I suppose. The audience--which was basically just elves, the few reindeer who actually gave a crap about the succession and Cole--cheered wildly. "Ten years ago," Dad continued. "I stood on this stage with my oldest child, Jacqueline. I thought that she could succeed me in the Chariot--" He paused then to sniffle, and the crowd whimpered in sympathy. "But I was wrong. Jacqueline's destiny was not to ride the Chariot across the seven seas and lands. Instead this grand duty--this destiny--belongs to my youngest daughter, Belsnickel Claus." The crowd went wild again, and my ice heart began to hammer against my ribs. I wanted to run. Wanted to rewind time to just before Jacqueline did what she did, and stop her! But I couldn't. Not because I was scared. But because if I betrayed my father just like her, it'd kill him. So instead of turning tail, I grabbed the microphone that my dad had tossed aside--Half yeti's had no use for the things--waited for Cole to inevitable shout at the other citizens to shut up, and then...I spoke the magic words.

    "It's...Beginning to look a lot like Christmas." And just like that, I had succeeded the Chariot. I was the Santa Claus now, and I had only 23 days to prepare for my new role.


    Cosmic Penguin/December 02 (open)

    Claus
    Chapter Two

     
    #3 Cosmic Penguin, Dec 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
    • Love Love x 1
  4. December 1 (open)
    Everyone’s here. Mommy is helping mama pull out the leche flan from the oven. Tita E and Tita A are barbecuing outside. Daddy, papa, and tito are all watching TV. Ate is reading a book. I am playing with the packs of Nips hanging on the chairs, then with the lights on the Christmas tree.

    Tito opens a bottle of wine. Ate is allowed to have a cup – me, only a sip. It’s bitter, so I hate it. “Not all bitter things are bad”, daddy says. The next thing I go for is the barbecue. I get three sticks. I’m not allowed to get any of the leche flan yet, so I get bits of everything else first: spaghetti, pandesal, kesong puti, and some of the ham Pastor J gave us. I get as little as possible, so I can get to the leche flan quick. “That is not enough”, mommy says, as she dumps a full serving of spaghetti onto my one strand. I frown at her, but don’t really mind.

    I find a strand of hair in the leche flan, but don’t say anything – otherwise, it’s perfect. When everyone else is halfway done, Tito E stands up and pulls out his Bible. Everyone else follows him, except for ate, who continues digging into her pasta, and mama, whose legs are a little sore from all the cooking. He opens it to the pages he had bookmarked, the first few chapters of Luke, and begins to read aloud…

    When we escort Tita E and Tito H to the door, I marvel at the parol daddy, papa, and tito hanged above the gate that morning. I ask daddy, “Will tita and tito go to Baguio with us, daddy?” He says, “Not this year, since your tito’s going to help Pastor J with the New Year’s sermon.” “Why?” “Because your tito’s always wanted to be a pastor, and he’s gonna start his training next year.”

    “…and because they don’t have any money”, ate murmurs.
     
    #4 RiverNotch, Dec 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jax/December 01 (open)


    "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
    everywhere you gooo..."


    The radio continued to play in A.J.'s car as its owner sat at the curb, head in his hands. The irony was not lost on the young man. For one, he didn't celebrate Christmas - he was Hindu. For two, he happened to live in Florida, where Christmas usually took the form of cheap plastic blow-up pine trees and cheesy Santa Clauses wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. A.J. looked down the street at the person he'd hit, the back of the guy's car totaled. The knife that had already been sitting in his stomach twisted a quarter of an inch around. A police officer was taking the guy's statement while A.J. did his best to keep from crying, hugging his knobbly knees in front of someone's house.

    Ten seconds. It had just been ten seconds.

    "You look rattled, son. You need anything?" asked a slightly warbling voice from behind him, and A.J. turned towards the sound.

    An old woman with white hair, glasses, and a light blue suit set stood with her hands on her portly hips. He blinked, unsure of how to process this odd image, as behind her five fake reindeer strewn with lights 'ate' her pristine front lawn.

    "Uhhh... do you have water?" A.J. asked, and the old lady held up a finger to signal for patience.

    She toddled into the house and then came back out with a bottle for him, and he accepted it with thanks.

    "So what happened?" she asked, gesturing to the snafu happening right in front of her.

    "I, um... I hit someone."

    "Yeah, I gathered," the old woman stated, leaning to see the other guy's car. "But that doesn't happen for no reason, now."

    A.J. rubbed his face with both hands, doing his best to suppress a groan. His mother would already beat him black and blue for the damage done to their own car, not to mention what was done to the other guy, and he didn't much feel like having an old lady lecture him about the dangers of distracted driving.

    "I wasn't texting or anything, okay. I just, you know, I got distracted for a couple seconds, and he turned in front of me and I blew through the stop sign. I just, you know, I had a bad day and I had a lot on my mind and I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention," A.J. said, flinging an arm out towards the disregarded traffic signage which stood almost accusingly with its bright white words: STOP.

    The old lady nodded her head, before disappearing into the house. A.J. sat, relieved, until hearing the grass crunch under a pair of white slip-on shoes.

    "Cookie?" the old lady asked, holding out a tray of festive gingerbread men. A.J. had never been one to celebrate the holidays, at least not Christmas anyhow, and he tentatively took one with a confused look. However, upon taking a bite, he felt a small bit better.

    "Thanks," he said genuinely, and the old lady smiled.

    "I know what it was like, you know, at your age. And sometimes your emotions get the better of you. Do you need to call your parents?"

    "No, I already texted my mom."

    "Alright, I thought I'd check. So what was it that got you so worked up you had to take it out on another guy's bumper?" the old lady asked, gesturing towards the injured party, and A.J. scratched his neck. "It's not everyday I get a wreck outside my house. I gotta milk it for what it's worth! I can't go to my bridge club and tell 'em that someone smashed into somebody else without some kind of story to tell 'em."

    At that, A.J. smiled a little, though the knife inside seemed to bury deeper at what seemed to be somebody's true interest and care. He nibbled a bit on the gingerbread man, eating off a leg, before he launched into his spiel.

    "It's been, you know, a really tough week and everything. I got a lot more hours at work - I work over at the Java Juice down on Main, you know, the one near Home Depot? - and I had to open and close two days in a row because a couple of the other guys took Christmas off and my manager was all 'well who else is gonna do it, because I'm not, so you have to because you're scheduled.' I didn't want to, but I figured I'd get fired and I need the money to pay off this thing."

    He kicked the tire of his car, the vehicle barely budging at his offense. To its credit, it wasn't too badly bumped, just a rather large dent where it had crumpled upon impact with someone else's trunk.

    "That, and I was gonna try to get my girl something like a, I don't know, a tablet, something nice. And that means I don't spend a whole lot of time with her right now, and she got mad because I didn't wanna go to some Christmas party for her parents, and she told me she was really, really upset I wasn't gonna make it, even though I don't even really celebrate Christmas. And I said that I just had to work a lot and I didn't feel like going, and she said she'd been telling them that I was going to meet them for weeks now. I said I'd try to go, but I slept in because I got back from a shift where I opened and then closed, and she texted me and told me she was breaking up with me because obviously I didn't wanna put in the time or the effort, especially for the holidays."

    The old lady had stood there the entire time, arms crossed, as she listened patiently to his spiel, and for some reason, A.J. felt the knife loosen a little. He'd put so much into that girl, making her feel beautiful and loved after she'd been tossed away by her last boyfriend, and now - when he just needed a little bit of time, when things were getting rough - she wanted to drop him because he 'couldn't put in the time'. He'd been working those hours to try and at least get her something for Christmas, but now those hours felt wasted. In the meantime, as she'd gotten to be more outgoing, she'd started to hang out with her friends more. A lot more.

    "And how does that get you here?" the old lady asked.

    "I... I was driving to her house," A.J. said. "I wanted to try and talk it out, you know, try to patch things up. There's a whole lot of other stuff--"

    "Kiddo, if you want my two cents, I don't know if it's worth patching up. Not if you're in the state you're in. She'll walk all over ya," the old lady said. "And for another free piece of advice - I think you oughta take to heart the saying 'you don't have to set yourself on fire to keep somebody else warm'. She doesn't sound all that understanding. Another cookie?"

    She held out the tray, and he took one more.

    "Now," she stated, taking her glasses off, "this looks a lot worse than it's gonna be. If this is your first wreck - yeah, your mom'll make you want to curl under the dining table and die, but things like this, they pass. It ain't the end of the world. Just don't go plowing into the backs of anymore cars."

    Hearing that, oddly, made him feel just a small bit better. Perhaps it was her age that gave her words a little credence. Maybe it was her calm delivery. He couldn't deny this was a strange little encounter, though. He hadn't expected that a tiny old white lady was going to hand down some wisdom to him after he'd trashed another guy's car with his own.

    "I guess... thanks. For the water and the cookies and the advice," A.J. said, and the little old lady smiled.

    "I got grandkids of my own, and I know that if they were in your shoes, they'd want someone to hand 'em a cookie and tell 'em they didn't just end the planet. It'll be fine! Personally, I think your girl's a trick, but hey, that's for you to decide with her. Now, when that policeman comes over, you just tell him the truth - you were distracted, overworked, upset - and let your insurance pick up the rest," the old lady advised, a smile across her face. "Thanks for the story, kiddo. Now I don't have to leave my bridge crew drooling for details. Take care, now, and happy holidays."

    The police officer had finally begun to make his way towards them, and the old lady hobbled up to him, plate of cookies in hand. A.J. took another bite as the officer accepted the cookies and came over.

    "Sweet lady there, huh?" the officer said, raising his eyebrows.

    "Yeah. Real sweet," A.J. said.

    "Sorry to have to ask this, but I need to know what happened. The guy over there says you hit him coming through that stop sign?"

    "Um... yes, sir. I was kind of upset and I wasn't paying attention..."
     
    • Love Love x 3
  6. This will be a long story with each chapter using the prompts. Some chapters will be short, and some will be low.

    Also, I won't be describing characters. So if you want to know what a character looks like, here's the link:
    https://www.iwakuroleplay.com/chara...s-for-merry-and-bright-advent-challenge.1564/


    Nahele/December 1st ((U//C)) (open)

    TinselTown

    Chapter One:
    It was a busy time at Northstar, with many skiers sliding through powdery and ice-snow through a cold, sunny day. Tall pine trees masked with snow brushed the skies, and sky lifts going up toward inaccessible parts of the mountain. The song 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' played through the speakers outside and inside the ski lodge, enjoying a cup of hot cocoa. Juan was one of those people, sitting at a pub style table. He slowly drank his cocoa, watching the other skiers going down the long hills to go back on the ski lifts to try again. His eyes darted to each arriving skier, none of them who he was looking for. He then felt a firm, but gentle pat on the back. He darted his eyes up to see his Father, Ronan.

    "You're just going to sit here all day?" The man sat down on the barstool next to him. "I could've sworn you left with Mingan." He added before sipping on his Eggnog. Juan shrugged, "He wanted to try one of the black diamond ski trails." He continued to look outside, examining each person coming from the black diamond trail. Ronan leaned forward, "So you're just going to sit here?" He asked as he noticed a family with three dogs, and a cat alongside them. He was amused that there were animals allowed here, but one of them had a vest; a service dog vest. He shrugged it off, not finding importance in that. He was unaware of human customs; it was too complicated for him to understand. He left that explanation to his son whenever possible. "You want to play Skip-bo?"

    "You brought Skip-bo? Seriously?" Juan huffed jokingly, watching his Dad narrow his eyes and then flicked his forehead. "Better than sitting there moping on Christmas Eve. Now come on." He stood up, walking other to a lone table for two. Juan shook his head, chuckling before spinning around the booth to follow.

    Meanwhile,​


    Nahele/December 2nd U//C (open)

    TinselTown

    Chapter One:

    Mingan groaned, laying on the couch with an ice pack on his back. He felt like his body was being forced down, unable to move. Sera was sitting next to him ​
     
    #6 Nahellion, Dec 2, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  7. Nim/December 1st (open)

    Decorations on the rooftops, lawn gnomes getting red hats and a few Evergreen trees were getting moved into houses. Even though it was still early in the morning, people were already hard at work at setting everything up for the holiday she has not yet experienced.

    This year will change it.

    Moving away from the window and jumping out of the bed, she grabbed a mole winter cap and put it on her head before quickly running out of the room. It barely took a minute for her to get downstairs and grasp the door handle, only to hear a call to her from the kitchen.

    “Yoshikuni! You better not take a single step outside before you had your breakfast!”

    Letting go of the handle, Kuni appeared to be slightly disappointed but still made her way to the kitchen with a light step. She showed a big smile to her mother, who returned a warm smile as she placed down a pair of plates with omelets and bacon onto a counter. Both mother and daughter then sat next to the counter and ate, though it was very apparent the teenage girl was anxious to leave.

    “Yoshikuni, what did I tell you about being impatient?”

    Looking at her mother with the olive-green eyes, she puffed her face a bit. Her mother told her time and time again that there was no reason to rush anywhere. Slowing down her pace of eating, Kuni held with one hand the fork while moving a bit of her long, silky brown hair behind her ear with the other. Hanako let out a small sigh before speaking once more.

    “We talked all week about how we are going to help decorate the Devlin household, since they were so kind as to invite us to the Christmas eve meal. I understand how much you want to go and see everything, but you can do that in the afternoon, okay?”

    Hanako watched as her daughter nodded lightly before taking another bite from the bacon. Well, even though it wasn’t a vocal agreement, it was a good enough agreement for her.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A few hours have passed, and it was Saturday afternoon. They helped Harold and Linda Devlin decorate a decent part of their house as thanks for the invitation, and then Hanako let her excited daughter go run around the block and see the many decorations the different houses were setting up.

    It was about a month ahead, and Kuni was still amazed by how much people were putting into preparations for the holiday. A few of the kids around the block were half playing around with the decorations instead of properly setting them up, but it seemed the parents didn’t mind.

    Walking past many houses, she was genuinely surprised by how some houses were already fully prepared, with the lights, decorations and all, while some did not even begin to set up the decorations. It seemed like a holiday that required a lot of preparations, but at the same time she got the feeling that this was one holiday that was less about the preparations, and a lot more about being together with those you care about as she kept seeing the families set up the decorations and enjoy doing it as a family.

    Stopping in her tracks, Kuni turned back and looked towards her house. She then begun running back and within a few minutes she entered the house with a decent slam of the door, scaring Hanako a bit.

    “Mom, can we go shop for some decorations? I know you won’t have much time throughout the week to set stuff up, but I want to make sure our house looks good for Christmas, even if we won’t have the holiday meal here.” Kuni quickly asked, making her mom surprised a bit. Her daughter had told her she would be going to running around the entire neighborhood to get the full feeling of Christmas.

    Getting up from the sofa and walking to Kuni, she embraced her with a warm hug “Even though this is your first Christmas, you just made it start to feel a lot like Christmas.” Moving away from her teenage daughter, who just appeared to be happy, Hanako walked to the door, grabbed a coat and opened the door “Let us go get some decorations.” She said with a smile and watched as her daughter quickly made her way out the door.

    Hanako felt like despite only moving there a few months ago, Kuni had already adjusted so well. Closing the door and locking it, she hoped her daughter would be able to experience all the different aspects the holiday could bring with it.

     
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  8. Description (open)

    This is certainly not your average Christmas or winter holiday story. It's not about loving the family. Not even about someone alone finding someone new. This also isn't some crazy story about what elves do when it's not the holiday season, or Santa going on a murderous rampage. In fact, this is a tale of Roxanne Sinclair, an assassin who absolutely hates Christmas. Though nothing like the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. It's simply because she gets ridiculously busy during the holidays. Who would have thought people would use a black Friday deal to kill off their own families?

    PhantomThief715/ Dec 1st (open)

    58563dfdb22d68c.jpg
    Ring. Ding. Ring. The bells rung by her doorman, dressed as Santa, echoed as she passed by. Her long legs carrying her out of her building's door. She was five foot six inches tall, slender yet curvy figure with a medium beige skin tone. "Good Morning Ms. SinClair!" The elder doorman greets with his warm and friendly smile. "Good Morning to you too Robert." Roxy smiles as she holds out her hand for a taxi. The twenty-three-year-old woman was wearing knee-high black leather boots, matching the leather jacket, dark blue skinny jeans, black and white striped long sleeves shirt, and finally a red and black plaid scarf around her neck. Glancing around the grand New York City, a place she has almost always called home, with her electric blue eyes she spots a cab as it comes to a stop. She turns once more to her doorman. "Do you want the hot chocolate basket I gave you last year again this year Robert?" She asks him flashing her pearly whites. "Yes, Ma'am. The wife absolutely loves your homemade cocoa." He replies smiling back with his slightly cracked teeth. Roxy waves goodbye before getting into the cab. Her long wavy golden brown locks flowing in the wind behind her.

    "Where are you going, Miss?" Askes the driver. Roxy looks up at the driver once she was in. "I am going to the Chanel on Madison Avenue." She answers. The Driver nods. Apart from that, she didn't pay much attention to him. She simply watches the city pass her by. She saw her, 60 East 86th street, home left her view. Soon enough she was where she needed. Time flew by though it was much longer then it seemed. She pulls out her wallet from the inside pocket of her jacket and pays the cab driver before getting out. "Roxy! You made it!" Yells out a woman rushing over to her. Levy her longtime friend was shorter, with pale skin and a blonde bob. "Yes, I am here." Roxy giggles with her friend who hugs her tightly. Levy takes her hand guiding her inside. "Let's go. They want you to try the sparkly boots first. Today you will walk around wearing our most popular clothing. Thanks again for doing this. I am sure you could find better things to be doing. Today is December first after all." Levy tells her as the two walk in. "How could I say no?" She laughs as her friend guides her to a fitting room.

    Once done getting dressed Roxy parades around the store in what ever it was that was choosen for her that moment. "Oh! You look absolutely stunning darling." Says an older woman looking her up and down. Roxy smiles at the woman. "My granddaughter would fall in love with this outfit." She explains clasping her hands together as she looked over Roxy. "Then shall I get a sales rep to help you gather everything needed?" Roxy asks and the woman replies with a nod. Roxy walks over to one of the sales people and explains the happenings of their conversation. The remainder of the day flew by and before long it was night fall. When the sun no longer shows the city becomes bright and beautiful. Roxy had always loved the night life of the city as well as it's lights. It seemed magical and fills her with bliss. The young tall woman was walking along the side walk when her Samsung galaxy 8 buzzed in her coat pocket. With an easy movement, of placing all her bags into one hand, she pulls it out of her pocket inside her jacket. "A message from Samuel." She says opening her phone before reading over it.

    She lets out a soft sigh sliding her phone back into its home. '50% off the usual price to assassinate someone for the holiday season. You'd figure we'd up the price.' She thought holding her hand out to flag down a cab. Luckily for her, she wouldn't be killing anyone tonight. Once a cab stopped she opened the door and slide inside. "60 E 86th street." She says to the cab driver. The woman nods. Soon enough she is entering her building and up into her skyline penthouse. The home's theme was modern luxury and dark colors. Walking in she slides out of her boots and continues inside. "Seems I've caught you at just the right time, Ms. Roxanne SinClair." Calls out a males voice. She looks up and sighs. "Stop picking my damn lock Samuel." She exclaims to the gruffy looking little man before her. Little people, the truly could get in without being seen. "You know I can't do that. I'm not to have any formal ties with you remember. I am simply your Criminal Contractor. People know I know people, but they can't have evidence of me knowing people." He says to her.

    "Your need to steal tonight Kitten." He tells her as she sets the bags onto her couch. Roxy looks to him and sighs. "Never thought someone would use a black market holiday deal to get a crimnials job done." She crosses her arms over her C cup chest. "Well it's the holiday season people want to get rid of their families and want things that can only be found on black market. Though tonight's steal is for the better good. About a month ago someone stole Van Gogh's Starry Night from MoMA. Your job is to retrieve it and bring it back to the museum like nothing happened." He tells her. She sighs "I assume I have till tomorrow to do so?" Roxy asks him. Samuel nods. "Tomorrow is the second and I'd prefer it to be back by that night. I left all the info in your kitchen. See ya, Roxy." He says leaving. Roxy watches the male leave. She plops down on her couch and sight softly "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas."

     
    #8 PhantomThief715, Dec 2, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  9. I also got an album for my character's too. https://www.iwakuroleplay.com/characters/albums/advent-calender-prompts.1565/ ( This will be updated throughout the event as new characters are introduced or are needed)

    December 1 (open)

    Elijah Claus stared at his brother and stared, not certain what to say. The Infamous Nicholas Claus. He wasn't the first Santa Claus. No, he was about the 700th or so, each being placed when the other man got too old to be passed down to the next generation. Of course, today was not a normal day. Despite barely being 30, Nick was already suffering from losing the magic. His brown hair was a mess and his light beard were a clear indication that he was losing his power. When a Claus lost their power, they often were closer to retirement and had to get their next heir ready. If the next heir was female, she had to find a husband to become Santa Claus.

    It was an old and sexist rule, but nonetheless, it was there. Of course, there were a ton of issues of Elijah being the next in line. For one, his oldest brother Nick shouldn't be losing his magic before he even had a kid. It might have been because he broke the rule of getting married right away. The next in line should have been their brother Jack Claus.

    Expect Jack had moved to New York and wanted to do with the family as soon as he was old enough to leave.

    Seeing as that was not an option due to the man being too old and too far from the magic, the next heir would have been his sister Melissa.

    Sadly for Elijah, Melissa had eloped and moved far from the North Pole.

    Elijah was not Nicholas's first choice for many reasons;. One, he was infertile. He hadn't been able to produce a single new heir. Two, he was the youngest living Claus and the least likely to be heir. Third, his brother shouldn't be losing his power at all. The final reason was the most important reason of all, Elijah Claus was gay.

    As archaic as it was, most Santa Clauses in the past had married upon descend to the throne. Though, this posed a problem, Nicholas had managed to get the elf council to overturn it, as long as Elijah found a husband they approved of. Of course, that meant, he was going to have to find a mortal man who wouldn't mind never being seen with him outside of this pole. In other words, they wanted the impossible.

    Elijah stroked the red hair he had inherited from their mother and sighed. " So, you know what you have to do. You must find a mortal man that the elf council approves of. That means, before this time next year, you must maintain a relationship with a man born on Christmas who has Christmas spirit, be it either inherited or learned. You should go now. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."

    Elijah sighed as he took the sleigh to fly and find a man.... who fit the criteria. The things he did to keep the magic alive and for his family.


    December 2nd (open)
    Angel would have preferred to not have been woken up at 2AM... but Angel never got what he wanted. At exactly 2AM, his twin Sister Angelica jumped on his bed and looked at him. " Angel, are you seriously sleeping? It's the best of the day of the year for the two of us."

    " Angelica, it's 2AM. Unless the house is fire, I really don't care what day of the year it is. It could be 'Murder your sister for waking you up close to your birth time day' and I wouldn't want to be up. So please, let me sleep."

    " Oh come on, Angel. It's the best day of the year. Come on, get your lazy butt up. We need to sneak our gifts, open them and rewrap them before mom and dad wake up," Angelica said, grinning.

    Angel groaned and looked over at her. " If I give you your present right now.... will you let me sleep for two more hours and we can do in two hours?"

    Angelica pondered this for a moment before smirking and nodding. " Yup."

    " Well, then, Merry Birthmas, Angelica." Angel handed her a small gift wrapped with a bow. " That's from your secret admirer, Nicholas Claus." He pulled out a larger box and handed it to her. " This is from me."

    Angelica ignored his gift. He assumed it was because she already knew what it was and instead looked at the wrapped small package with a bow. " I'm going to keep this for later and open it when I'm alone."

    Angel smiled. " That's good. I hope that you will let me sleep now. Tomorrow, we get to explore the outside and find our green tree."

    " Yeah, I will. Night, Brother. Merry Birthmas."


    December 3rd (open)
    Elijah Claus really hated the fact that landing anything from the North Pole was next to impossible. So, suffice to say, when he attempted to land, he crashed into the evergreens. There was nothing worse than crashing in the evergreen. Nothing.

    Between the leaves that were around him, he had gotten a branch in his arm. It fucking hurt. He didn't know how his late father did, but he knew that he couldn't. What Elijah hadn't notice was that a branch had become tied to his shoe. So, he tripped and fell...... right onto a beautiful blonde man.

    As he got up and dusted himself, he looked over at him, seeing as he was also now coated in green leaves. " I'm so sorry, I tripped over some branches and it got so fucked up. I really didn't intend to land on you. How can I make it up to you?" Elijah asked.

    The man looked over at him. " Well, I think a present would be nice. My birthday and Christmas have kind of sucked, especially after I moved away. Could you tell him that I missed him, Eli?"

    Elijah only knew one person who called him Eli. " Angel. It's been so long. I hardly recognized you. You go hot... I mean, you look good."

    Angel chuckled. " I should hope I look good. Maybe we can talk more over coffee. I know that someone owes me it."

    Elijah looked down.... " Sure.... we can do that," he said. The two headed to the coffee shop.

     
    #9 LuckycoolHawk9, Dec 2, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  10. Nav Dec 1 (open)

    Cold air seeped in through the door frame until the snow piled high enough to seal us in. Peeking out through the window, I frowned and tapped my right foot against the wooden floor just to create that ‘tap, tap, tap’ I knew drove him mad.

    “Damnit, Cynthia, tapping your foot ain’t gonna stop the snow any,” Todd’s voice rang from the direction of the kitchen.

    I folded my arms tighter over my chest, my fingers starting to tap in the same rhythm as my foot.

    “The taxi driver was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago. I’m going to miss my flight if I don’t get a move on,” I uttered, peeling my arms away from my chest to snatch my mobile from the windowsill.

    “Pffft,” a huff of air babbled through Todd’s lips as he poked his head around the kitchen arch, an oven-mitted hand curling around the frame. “Your flight isn’t cancelled yet? The taxi man ain’t comin’, babe. Lookit outside! Is your flight even goin’ out today?”

    I turned my eyes back to the window, pressure building in the center of my forehead where a crinkle formed from my eyebrows furrowing. In blizzard just outside, there was no way to know which direction to go, the usual landmarks hidden behind the white that swirled. Even the mailbox at the end of the driveway was little more than a crude outline of a lump, mostly erased by the storm.

    My mobile vibrated on the windowsill, the screen illuminating. As if on cue to Todd’s words, an alert from the airlines: TripIt Pro alert: Cancellation for AA 390 (CHI to ORL).

    “Flight was cancelled, wasnnit?”

    I grunted, folding my arms over my chest once more.

    “Looks like there ain’t no business for you on the Christmas weekend. C’mere, have some hot cocoa.”

    “I’m going to be out on the next available flight,” I said.

    “A’ight,” Todd answered, his sandy blonde head with the annoying curl over his forehead disappearing when the microwaved beep. “But for now, there is hot cocoa and a few episodes of 30 Rock. Unless you wanna hike to Orlando… you’re stuck here with me.”

    “Oh, joy,” I muttered, sauntering my way into the kitchen where Todd was pouring over two pipping hot mugs of milk, spooning the powdered hot chocolate into them. Never mind I spent several hours teaching him last year how to properly melt chocolate for hot chocolate.

    “Here,” he said, handing one of the mugs, which still had floating chunks of dried powder on the sides, out towards me. “Happy almost Christmas.”

    I sunk into one of the kitchen hairs and cured both hands around the warm mug, heat seeping up through my fingertips and into my body. The crinkle between my eyes relaxed and the tension there diminished.

    “I still think this powdered chocolate is disgusting,” I said.

    “Let me get you marshmallows then. I bet those fancy bigwigs in Orlando ain’t got marshmallows for their thousand dollar whiskeys, do they?”

    A lazy smile tugged at the corner of my lips. “No, Todd. They don’t.”


    Nav Dec 2 (open)
    Same thing, every year. Christmas comes and it’s always the same: one present, for both Christmas and my birthday. Birthmas, they call it. Well, you know what I call it, Aunt Milly? Cheap. Yep. Cheap. Mum and I have to buy your snot-nosed, bratty kid two presents, one for Christmas and one for their August birthday. So, why do I get slighted? I folded my arms over my chest and stared at the Christmas tree in the living room.

    It’s ridiculous. It scrapes the ceiling as dad wobbles on the ladder to hang the fairy. It belongs in a forest, dominating our living room the way it does. So, why are Suzanne and Nick grinning? Hoping from foot to foot, waiting to go ahead and hang the decorations. Nick’s only seven… he’ll probably break them all.

    Packets of tinsel lie unopened on the floor. Not just the snake kind, but the stuff that’s in loose strips, too.

    “Hey, Lizzie, can you hand me that roll of lights?” Mum calls, waving towards the roll of multi-colored fairy lights.

    Rolling my eyes, I tossed my mobile across the couch and stood up with a huff. “Fine,” I muffled. “Whatever.”

    Snatching up the lights from the floor, I saunted over and jutted them out towards her, though she just glanced up from her bowl of popcorn and needle and shook her head. “You go,” she said. “Your cousins are too young to hang the lights, you do it. And don’t roll your eyes at me.”

    “Whatever,” I replied, yanking the lights and dragging them towards the tree. I hated Christmas lights. They looked stupid. As Nick and Suzanne unpacked ornaments, sending them rattling all across the floor, dad fought with the ladder, and mum string popcorn, I worked the lights around the bottom of the tree, slapping them wherever they’d fit.

    Fumbling around the back of the tree, I shoved lights into the branches. “Stupid tree,” I told it in a whisper, grunting when a droplet of sap stuck my fingers together.

    “Mum, I hate hanging lights. Can’t you do it?”

    “You haven’t found anything yet?”

    “Found anything? What am I looking for? If you’re thinking sap, I just found plenty of it.” I wiped my hand as clean as I could make it on the thigh of my jean.

    “No, keep looking.”

    I glanced up. There, near the top of the tree on the back, was a small box, wrapped in silver paper.

    “What’s this?” I asked, dropping the lights to snatch it from the tree.

    “Happy birthday, honey,” mum called. “Sh—“ she cursed. When I peeked out from around the tree, she was sucking on her finger from a needle poke.

    “But it’s not my birthday.”

    “Well, we know, but we can pretend today is your birthday and next week will be Christmas.”

    “So, I get presents on Christmas, too?” I asked, wiggling the present around in my hands.

    “Mhm,” she answered, pulling her finger away and inspecting the damage. “There is even ice-cream in the freezer if you finish stringing the lights.”
     
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  11. December 1st (open)
    DECEMBER 1st

    Beginning to look a lot like Christmas, indeed...

    It was cold. Not the chill in the air, hand-knitted-sweater sort of cold. Not the cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire kind of cold. It was bone deep, toe biting, knee quaking cold. Six inches of snow should not have caused all this. This… it felt deliberate. Like the weather was mocking her. She half swore it dropped ten degrees the minute she opened her front door. And the snow... It covered every speck of the car. Not just the windows and the roof, but the sides - plastered to the doors like puffy paint, thick and frozen. Even the wheels disappeared in the frigid murk.

    And there, just visible through a crack in the frosty curtain of the powdery white anathema, she could see it... sitting propped on the back seat, a gleaming red tease. The scraper. What sort of idiot, she thought, Leaves the damn thing in the car.

    Moving carefully over the slick driveway, she crossed to the opposite side of the car and tried each of the doors, to no avail. They were stuck tight, cemented by ice and snow. Tugging on the passenger side door handle, Molly swore loudly, "Open, open, open!!"

    "You should've bought a scraper." The voice came from across the drive, belonging to Mr. McGill, who was sitting on his front porch as if it were the middle of July in the Bayou. He was easily the oldest person alive in Bucks County, possibly in the world... living, she was sure, out of spite. Molly Swarth was almost half positive he made sport of torturing her with the most obvious, painfully deliberate statements he could muster up. Normally she could drum up something positive to say, something polite, but her patience had been so thoroughly depleted that she thought it best to ignore him entirely.

    “Eh! Did you hear me, girl?” Mr. McGill said, even louder, “Hell’s bells, child. I’m the deaf one, here.”

    “Yes.” She hissed, “I heard you, Mr. McGill. Thank you. I have a scraper.”

    “Then what in the blazes are you doin’, tryin’ t’get the door open like a damn caveman?”

    Taking a deep, steadying breath, Molly shook her head, “Because it’s in… the car… Mr. McGill.”

    “Well, now… why in the hell would you--”

    “Mr. McGill!” Her voice rose and she turned, but as she did she neglected to remember the icy walkway and went down hard, on her backside.

    “Yeesh, you alright there, girly?” McGill asked, but he made no move to rise from his rocker, to gallantly come to her aid and a moment or two later he seemed to have entirely forgotten her. Grumbling to herself, Molly pushed herself carefully upright, tugged herself to her feet. The gym was just not going to happen.

    Moving away from the car, she made her way back to the front porch, one hand on her back, the other splayed out to the side, for balance. Graciously, she made it without falling and pulled open the screen. Inside, wedged between the screen and the main door was an ivory envelope. Grabbing it, she shoved the door open and slipped inside.

    December 2nd (open)
    DECEMBER 2nd

    For twenty minutes, Molly sat icing her sore coccyx, trying very hard not to die from mortification. Afterwards, she made a cup of coffee and grabbing every blanket in her possession, she curled up by the fireplace and fell asleep. By the time she woke, the coffee was cold and the fire had died down, but she felt no warmer and her spine felt bruised and achey.

    She’d forgotten entirely about the envelope she’d found, which she’d tossed haphazardly into the pile of papers on her writing desk.

    It wasn’t until much later, after a long, hot soak in the tub and a more successful cup of joe that she made her way downstairs and found it, lying there, unopened. The envelope was blank, and in this day and age, when random strangers were mailing anthrax to other random strangers, for the kick of it all, she should’ve been more cautious, but in the moment, possibly delirious from pain, curiosity seemed to outweigh reason and sitting down on the couch, she slid her thumb beneath the glue strip and peeled it open.

    Pulling out the card, she frowned. It was homemade, which was in and of itself, stunning, but it wasn’t the pretty white Christmas tree cut from cardstock or the hand drawn snowflakes across the face of the brown background, but the words, scrawled across the inside in thick black ink, a slightly messy scrawl that threw her.

    You asked me once, when it was that I realized I was in love with you, and I had no response to give. Now that I sit here, writing this, knowing I can never see you again, I finally know the answer. I always knew. And I always will… Happy birthday, baby.

    Yours forever,
    Ian


    Staring at the letter, Molly frowned, let the card fall from her lap and onto the hardwood floor. All at once, her bruised tail bone was the least of her concerns. The ache in her spine paled in comparison to the throbbing pain in her heart.

    December 3rd (open)
    DECEMBER 3rd

    For several seconds Molly stared at the card where it landed on the floor, unable to move, unable to think. Why would he do this? Why would he put her through all this? All she had wanted for almost six years was an answer and he had never delivered. Her eyes moved from the card to the ring, circling her finger, the flickering flames glinting off the princess cut diamond. It had been three weeks since Chris had popped the question. Since she’d said yes.

    Maybe their relationship wasn't perfection, but he was a good man, and it would last. Evergreen, her mother had called it, and she was right. It would withstand... It had to. But how would she tell him? How could she, when it hurt so much just to think about it.

    She jumped at the sudden sound of horns and turning, realized she’d left the radio on when she’d finished her bath. The rich, smooth alto of Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Sleigh Ride’ filled the house and leaning back in her chair, Molly began to cry.
     
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  12. Nav Dec 3 (open)
    Allured by the scent of freshly baked Christmas cake coming from a neighboring bakery amidst the bustling streets of Bath’s Holiday Market, I took my lingering gaze off the enormous Christmas tree adorned with glistening ornaments and glowing fairy lights. I strolled alongside the magnificent stone buildings of Bath, and watched as people swarmed in and out of the bustling coffee shops and bakeries like bees during a first spring bloom.

    As the evening sky faded away, the pink and orange hues were replaced with darker shades of blue, whilst the green lights of the street lamps spilled on the stone-paved streets. In turn, the elegantly decorated, wooden stalls slowly revealed their hidden wonders attracting long queues of customers. The festively designed stalls, illuminated with blinking lights, vibrant ornaments and brightly printed signs, were lined up along either side of the street and had varieties of delectable treats, jasmine fragrances, skillfully hand-crafted greeting cards, and unlimited choices of gifts.

    It was years since I was last in Britain. I moved to the States for university and never returned. Seeing it all there, the same streets and homes, the same people…

    “Isla?”

    A hand fell on my shoulder and I jumped, my heart lurching with a hard few beats as I whirled around to see the face of a man I knew.

    “Marc?”

    He wore a loose black pea coat and a bright green scarf around his neck, getting a little more handsome the more I looked. His rich chocolate hair tousled with griminess, which promised finesse. A strong arched brow and thick eyelashed lurched upward a smile crept over his face.

    “I knew it was you! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”

    He opened his arms and I didn’t hesitate to step into them, flinging my weight on to his shoulders.

    “I’ve been good. I’m in town visiting.”

    “Well, you should have rung me.”

    “I…” my arms slid away from around his neck, my hands against his shoulders. “After all that stuff that happened, and how long I’ve been gone. I’m only here for the next two weeks, uhm…”

    My fingers wiggled, knotting together in front of me when they slipped away from Marc.

    “You look cold,” he said with a smile, jutting his elbow out towards me. “Want to get some mulled wine with me?”

    “I’d love to,” I answered, sliding my hand in the crook of his arm.

     
    • Love Love x 1
  13. December 02 (open)



    Merry Birthmas


    “Do you believe in Kimblekree, Wallace?” Jason asked his older brother as they sat upon the rickety cart. It was, perhaps, too cold for the boys to be sitting outside, but the occasional cries of pain from their mother in labor had them willingly out of the small home. Wallace was the more serious child even at the age of ten, his expression almost sour at everything. Even Winterwyst. The older boy fiddled with a ribbon he’d taken from the Kimble Tree and tied it into knots and various bows as his feet kicked as they dangled. Jason followed suit, at least with the kicking, his fingers instead fiddling with a strand of hay.

    “I don’t,” Wallace said practically. “Seems a little silly no matter what we do we always get presents. I cried myself to sleep when I was your age thinking Kimblekree would steal my soul.”

    Jason blew a sigh of relief. “I like the presents,” he said. His strand of hay splintered and broke when he attempted a bow, and he discarded the strand for another piece. “Do you remember when we would go visit our cousins up in Abradden every Winterwyst? We got so many presents!”

    “I remember,” Wallace replied solemnly. His head hung lower than before as he untied his bow, dark hair falling over his cherubic face to reveal his softly pointed ears. He wasn’t like his siblings. Wallace was the unfortunate product of a taboo; a love affair between his mother and a Naveri elf that rejected her before he would ever know his son. Their mother was heartbroken for years until settling down with Raul. Jason and Emile looked more like their human father with chestnut hair and normal ears and bright blue eyes. The child coming would likely look just the same as them. Perfect for this world. Perfectly acceptable in Thallas.

    “What do you think we’ll get this year?” Jason asked, oblivious to his brother’s plight.

    “What did you ask for?”

    “I didn’t.” Jason tossed away the other strand of hay and shifted himself into the cart to lean against his side. The cold bit at his nose turning it red, and he sniffled to keep it from running down his lip as he huddled. “You didn’t either.”

    “I wasn’t asked,” Wallace said as he followed suit, resting his back against the opposite end to face his little brother.

    “Momma didn’t ask me either,” he replied. There was a hint of worry in his tone, as if he was beginning to believe something wild and hurtful to a boy his age. They were too young to see the bigger picture, and their imagination too wild.

    The door to their house opened to reveal their father, anxious and looking exhausted from all his pacing and worry. “Boys,” he called out to them. “It’s far too cold for you two to be out here! Come inside!”

    They slid off the cart and rushed inside, immediately hit by a blanket of warmth the fireplace generated. Little Emile sat next to the Kimble Tree in a festive jumper, her pudgy cheeks puffing as she generated noises for her plush boar. The boys shrugged off their coats, eyes casting upward as they could hear their mother’s struggle once again, and their grandmother’s voice giving instruction.

    “It’ll be alright,” Raul encouraged as he noted their apprehension. “We can play some music if you’d like. Maybe your mother would like that too.”

    Wallace shook his head, and Jason mirrored his older brother dutifully. The mood for music at least didn’t strike the half-elf boy. Raul huffed a laugh and brought out his dulcimer he was gifted three Winterwysts ago. The gruff looking man, hardened by labor and built as broad as a tree trunk, looked like he would break the dulcimer in two and swallow it just within the press of his fingers. But the man had taken to the instrument well, thumb strumming through the strings as his left hand found the notes along the dark wood. It wasn’t enough to drown out their mother’s cries upstairs, but it worked to distract them from it to the point where they did not seem to notice when it ceased.

    Raul didn’t stop until he noticed Lisella descend from the stairs, his fingers strumming the last note as his eyes looked over to the woman expectantly. The two boys looked behind them at their grandmother, stoic and calm. From the loft they could hear the cries had changed to that of a newborn. “It’s a boy,” Lisella said, and beckoned them to come up the stairs.

    Raul gathered Emile in his arms excitedly and herded the boys to the stairs to follow after their grandmother. Each step creaked under their weight against the nails that securely held the wood in place. The only one that didn’t creak was the step that had been replaced two Summers ago. Their feet clacked against that one mutedly in a brief pause of the chaotic parade that marched into the loft.

    Their mother rested in the bed at the far end next to the furnace cradling her little boy. Raul sat on the bedside and set Emile on his lap held snuggly in his arm as he leaned over to kiss his wife’s sweaty forehead.

    “Meet your new son,” she said. He gently pulled back the blanket to look upon the baby that looked back up at him with gleaming eyes. Tufts of red hair poked out from where the blanket covered his crown, and he became as still as stone. Jason and Wallace leaned over the bedside to look at their new brother, catching the strike of red against the white blanket.

    “What’s his name?” Jason asked.

    “Olsten,” his mother replied with a smile, but looked up at her husband more with concern across her face.

    “He’s a Dragon Warden,” Raul murmured.

    “It’s not a terrible fate for the boy,” Lisella assured quietly. “He’ll live a good life.”

    “But I want him here,” he said, and then looked to his wife, grasping her hand. “He should be here with us, Victoria.”

    “We need to do what’s best for him,” she whispered.

    “Olsten can’t stay with us?” Jason asked as he pushed back the blanket from the baby’s face. Already, he was growing attached to his brother, and he looked over at Wallace in hope he, too, would protest the idea of him leaving. But Wallace had turned away to face the furnace and focused more on the low rumble from the fire within that glowed against the grate.

    “For a little while, he can,” their mother assured. “At least until someone from the Haven comes to pick him up. He needs to go be with his people. To grow and find his dragon and save the world.”

    “He can still come visit us, right?” Jason looked between his parents in hope. Raul had fallen silent, pulling away from the swaddled baby to readjust Emile on his lap. Their grandmother walked over to the other side of the bed. She had always looked strange to the boys. Her dresses and appearance held a higher and more dark sort of presence, but they never felt threatened by her. Even in her stoic demeanor, she carried a very gentle presence under the facade, at least to her family. She sat on the other side of the bed and lovingly stroked Olsten’s cheek, her fingers being the only accepting touch apart from her mother after the news.

    “I’ll go into town,” Lisella said. “A raven can get to the Haven before the snow.”

    “Perhaps the snow can give us a little more time with him,” Victoria said thoughtfully. Raul leaned back over once again to kiss his wife on the cheek, and then pulled his gaze to look on the child he would have to give up with tears brimming in his eyes.

    “Happy birthday, Olsten,” he said.

    “Happy birthday, little brother,” Jason added, and leaned over the bed to kiss the baby’s forehead.
     
    • Love Love x 2
  14. December 4th (open)
    DECEMBER 4th

    "Would you just come on, already, Babe?” As Ian trudged down the incline, Molly pouted at him, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her Burberry plaid coat. The boots she’d worn weren’t exactly fit for walking down a half frozen hill, but Ian had a hold of her hand, and despite her protests, she knew he would never let her go.

    Reaching the bottom of the hill at last, Ian laughed at her expression of relief, “You’d think I took you through a gauntlet. I told you heels were a bad idea.”

    “Yeah, well. I wasn’t aware we were going to be doing physical fitness, buddy. I wanted to look nice for our date.”

    Leaning in, Ian stole a kiss, smiling, “You look nice whatever you wear… You look sexy in those boots. But we’re doing with the hills anyway. C’mon, we’re almost there.”

    Taking Molly’s hand again, he led her along a small clear walking path, towards the line of trees she knew all too well. Tyler Park was stunning in the snow, a real winter wonderland if ever there was one, and there in the middle of the dam that split the river in two was a magnificent horse drawn sleigh, decked out in lights and greenery. For a moment, Molly stood stock still, then slowly, her eyes turned up to Ian, wide and bright in the dying light of the early evening, “...You… You did this?”

    “I know, small miracle, but I actually do listen to you sometimes…”

    “Oh my God, Ian!” Smiling brilliant, Molly shook her head, “It’s beautiful. I… I can’t believe you remembered.”

    “Come on. There’s blankets and wine and all sorts of sappy romantic crap inside.”

    Laughing, Molly followed Ian as he tugged her along to the sleigh. True to his word, inside, tucked between the bench and the cab, there was a picnic basket, a bottle of white wine, chilled, a bouquet of roses and a fleece blanket. Climbing inside, Ian held out his hand to her and helped her up inside and curling beside him, she lay her head on his shoulder…

    He was quiet for a moment, before he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small wooden box. Wrapped around it was a pristinely tied bow, in deep purple. He hadn't tied it - she could tell - and she would tease him about it later, but for now, she looked up at him, a brow quirked.

    "Open it." He chuckled, and Molly took the box, carefully unwinding the bow. She pulled open the lid and a small smile turned up the corner of her lips as she shook her head. There, in a soft bed of green tissue paper was a small metal key.

    "Well?" Ian asked, expectantly.

    “...This, Ian Graham, is perfection…”

    “No, Mol. You are…”
     
  15. Nim/December 2nd (open)

    Kneeling on the layer of snow, in front of a large stone, Kuni placed a small bouquet of violets on the ground. Her eyes appeared wet as she sniffed and looked in front of her.

    He always used to laugh on how, when they finally come to live with him, he will show her a proper Christmas birthday. How they would do it with all the snow, decorations and holiday spirit that only further enhances the happy feelings that come with the celebration of a birthday.

    But that could never happen now. His years stopped counting at 47 years, just about half a year ago.

    Barely two weeks after they finally came to him.

    Feeling a pair of arms wrap themselves around her, Kuni let the tears go over her faces as Hanako placed her own face against the back of Kuni’s head, also shedding many tears for her beloved husband, who passed away during a mugging gone wrong.

    They stayed there, crying next to the headstone, for what felt like another hour before they finally rose up and walked away. When they entered the car, Hanako noticed it had barely been 10 minutes. It became evident that Kuni also noticed that rather quickly, as her eyes widened in shock before she placed her hand on the door handle, clearly ready to jump out and run straight back to the grave.

    Without any words, Hanako locked the car doors and started humming. They stayed like this for a few minutes until the teenage girl, with the long brown hair and mole cap, turned to face her mom.

    “Mom, can we go do something else?”

    “Anything. What did you have in mind?”

    Kuni gave her a small smile as Hanako started up the car engine.






    Parking the car, Hanako watched as Kuni jumped out, carrying a bag in her hands as soon as she put the car into the ‘parked’ setting. She still didn’t know what her daughter had in mind, as she merely followed the instructions of the girl, hoping doing so would cheer her up, which certainly seemed like it did.

    As she left the car and waved to the neighbors, Hanako suddenly felt a sting. They were going into car, both parents and the two kids.

    A full family.

    Making sure to keep the smile on as the neighbors drove off, Hanako felt like she wanted to curse them for appearing like such a perfect family on her day of grief. On the day that she will never get to feel happiness with her beloved anymore.

    Minutes later, she finally entered the house, only to notice it was mostly dark. There was only a dim light coming from the kitchen, making Hanako go straight there. Once she was at the doorway, however, she stopped with widened eyes.

    On the counter stood a small cupcake, and a candle stood on a small plate next to it. Kuni had lit the candle and waited for her mom to finally arrive, giving her a smile once she showed up.

    “I know he isn’t here to blow out the candle, but I don’t think he would’ve wanted us to start being grim and broody every year at his birthday. It was his day of celebration. He would’ve wanted us to still be happy. Especially considering it was so close to Christmas. Now come here and blow this candle with me.” Kuni spoke in a quiet voice, but it was clear she was conflicted on her own words. She wanted to believe her words, but she still needed a certain confirmation. Her mom’s confirmation.

    Taking in the words, Hanako stayed at the doorway for a few more moments. Eventually, she approached her daughter and hugged her “You’re right. We still need to celebrate his Birthmas.” She said in a soft voice, and immediately heard a laugh in return.

    “Birthmas? That just sounds silly.”

    Giving her daughter a clear glare that sent shivers up Kuni’s spine, Hanako let her go and then leaned in towards the candle, with Kuni doing the same. With a smile on both their faces, Hanako quietly counted to three and then the light in the kitchen went out.


    Nim/December 3rd (open)


    “Whoa, how big can these trees get? And each one looks greener than the other!”

    The excitement in Kuni’s voice and olive-green eyes was more than visible. It was, on par with her first Christmas, the first visit she ever had to a Christmas tree sale. With trees surrounding her from all around, Terry couldn’t help but laugh at her reaction “You’re making me think you were never in any kind of forests. There are forests in Japan, right?”

    Terry’s question received an elbow in his chest as a response. As the 16-year-old teen regained his breath, he realized Kuni had vanished among the trees. Looking around, he became worried. Kuni’s height and small size made it easier for her to hide practically anywhere, but that didn’t mean she needed to hide everywhere. He brought her with his family to get a Christmas tree because he knew it would give him another chance to learn more about Japan while giving Kuni a new experience. Win-win situation.

    Except he barely learned anything.

    Hearing his father call out to him, Terry started to sweat. If he didn’t have Kuni with him when they left, he would be in massive trouble. He begun to go between the trees, shouting to his dad that they will be with him shortly. He heard his dad call out something but he couldn’t make it out by then.

    He ran around with a panicked expression for a bit of time before stopping as he saw the fence to the edge of the place. Where could his classmate go in this mess of green trees? Unless she was a ninja and he didn’t know about it, there was no reason she would vanish like this.

    After looking around the compound for several more minutes, he finally gave up and made his way back to his parents. His dad seemed both annoyed and concerned at the sight his worn-out son “Where have you been? I’ve been calling to you for the past 15 minutes. We already got the tree on the back of the truck, secured extra well thanks to Yoshikuni showing us a new type of knot. She is full of surprises, that girl.”

    Terry just shook his head “I’m sorry dad, I just lost track of Kuni. She just ran off and I couldn’t - Did you say Kuni helped you?” The teenage boy turned to look at the truck, where he encountered the olive-green eyes of his classmate. She gave him a piercing look that made him blush slightly as he looked back to his dad, who simply chuckled.

    “I think I ought to hire you as a trainer for Terrance, Yoshikuni. This apparent scare sure made him lose his breath, just for you.” Terry’s dad said before going to the truck’s driver seat. Kuni raised an eyebrow, clearly missing the point as she got into the back seat.

    Terry, clearly frustrated and tired, just got into the other side of the back seat. He knew he would never hear the end of this from both his parents, and the only glimpse of hope he had was that they still had the drive back for him to maybe learn a thing or two about Japan.

     
    • Love Love x 1
  16. Nav Dec 4 (open)

    “Can you put a little bow on it?” The man behind the counter asked, leaning over to inspect the jeweler as she packaged up the ring in a velvety red box.

    Sweat slickened his palms and he repeatedly rubbed them on the sides of his trousers to dry them off. Finally, the day he’d been looking forward to is there and he couldn’t stop the sunrise from ebbing its gradual way into daylight. Everything hinges on what his girlfriend says to him during dinner, and once done, it could never be undone.

    All morning, he couldn’t think straight. He put his keys in the wrong pocket and panicked when he couldn’t find them.

    “She’s a lucky lady, Mr. Findley” the jeweler said with a wink as she slapped the twinkling silver boy on to the top of the box with a bit of ribbon.

    “Please, it’s just Korstt and, no, I’m the lucky man.”

    “Either way,” the woman said as she stepped towards the glass counter, through which a hundred little diamonds and jewels sparkled, but none as brightly as the simple silver band with three diamonds embedded at the crown in the velvety red box before him. “You’re lucky to have each other. Are you going to propose on Christmas?”

    “No,” Korstt replied. “Tonight. That way, we can celebrate tonight, then on Christmas.”

    His stomach turned to knots and the back of his throat went dry when he pulled the box into his two hands, cradling it like a child. He had the ring, the box, the bow… all she needed to do was say yes.


    Nav Dec 5 (open)
    Night came like the spell of an enchantress… water to stone, earth to iron, green grass to frosted white. There was not a single hint of warmth left, nothing of the autumn or the kiss of the set sun. The hours promised to pass slowly, yet steal our body heat with indecent speed.

    “Can’t we just pick one already?” I snorted, clamping my arms around myself with the sleeves of my coat pulled over my hands with just two fingers left out to drag the string of the sled behind me. The first snow of the year was falling, coating the hardened ground in a quickly rising layer of powder.

    “You used to love coming out and picking out the tree with me,” dad replied, slinging the saw over his shoulder.

    “I also used to love watching Blue’s Clues. I’m too old for this.”

    Dad laughed, and that heightened my annoyance with our pre-dawn excursion into our family’s acreage to find the illusive perfect Christmas tree, which always happened to be about a mile hike from the house.

    “No one is too old for Christmas trees. Come on!”

    “Dad, dad,” I called up to him, lagging behind several feet. “Look at me, I’m about to commence my eye roll sequence.”

    Once he glanced back over his shoulder, I rolled my eyes so hard my entire head moved with the effort.

    “Careful, they’ll get stuck that way.”

    “Oh, ha-ha,” I snorted, kicking up an arch of snow. “My eyes won’t get—“ Wham.

    A snowball exploded in the front of my parka, sending snow on to my face and down the collar straight to my neck.

    “Dad!” I screeched, dropping the sled and darting behind a tree trunk. I knew the fight was on: duck and cover, build a stash, keep my head down. My woolen gloves pick up snow like they wanted to be snowballs themselves, frozen crystals dangling from the wild loose fibers I’d never noticed otherwise.

    Already, the coldness of the snow chilled my fingers to the point they no longer wished to bend, but cold or not, a snowball fight is a snowball fight and I don’t give in—ever.

    Another icy ball hits the side of the tree I hid behind and another whistles just over my hood. There’s a stupid grin pinching my cheeks as I took my first snowball and whip my arm back to send it flying towards dad. Impact. I let out a whoop and the fight grows in intensity.

    “I see the perfect Christmas tree!” I call out, pointing to my left. Dad snapped his head to look where I was pointing and I sent another snowball flinging his direction, smacking him straight in the forehead. The perfect tree plot worked like a charm, every time.

    Did we ever find the perfect tree? No. But by the time we came ambling up the drive, it was lunchtime, and the crooked, bent, slightly askew tree in the sled behind us was doused with snow.
     
    • Love Love x 1
  17. Preface (open)
    I will be writing a bunch of short stories surrounding the couple Viga and Adrian. Viga is an immortal creature from another plane of existence who found his way onto earth and into the hands of Adrian. The two fell in love and have been living together.
    Simple Sheets of the two are found here: Adrian and Viga


    Dec 1/Tari (open)


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    “So… You humans have a holiday where you celebrate the birth of a god? Am I understanding?”

    “Well, sort of, I mean… Some people don’t believe in God, so Christmas is more of a gift giving situation only. Without Jesus.”

    The obsidian skinned man looked at the boy skeptically from across the table. He had never heard of anyone not believing in a real deity. Was the deity, this Jesus, then not real? And why did people celebrate his birthday if they didn’t believe? Why did their god even have a birthday? It was all very confusing to the immortal.

    “Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ, but some people don’t believe in him, but they celebrate it anyway, in the same way as those who believe? Just without imagery of Jesus Christ?”

    “Yeah basically,” Adrian knew how stupid this sounded when he was trying to explain it. It was kind of a ridiculous holiday when he thought about it. “Well, there are also people who don’t celebrate Christmas, but celebrate something similar,” Adrian watched as Viga’s eyebrows furled, and he was opening his mouth to speak. “But we’ll save that for another day! We have work to do!”

    Adrian pushed an open notebook in front of Viga. It had words scribbled all over the page in red and green pen, the colors that Viga now knew as Christmas colors. He took a cursory glance over it, noticing that it was a list. Things like ‘Send Cards’, ‘Put up tree’, and ‘Decorate house’. His eyes stopped at ‘Bake cookies’, and Viga perked up. If cookies were involved in this holiday, it couldn’t be all bad.

    “So, this is the list of things we need to do to get ready. I told mom and dad that we were having dinner here, so they could meet you. So that means we need to make everything perfect, because it’s your first actual Christmas and they’re gonna meet you, and I know they’re going to be really critical of everything because they just are, and I don’t really know whether or not to make turkey or ham. What should I make? Maybe I’ll make both, just to be on the safe side. And then there’s-” Adrian rambled on and on about the holiday. Viga noticed he looked very stressed all of a sudden.

    “Is Christmas supposed to be a happy holiday?” Viga interrupted, pushing the list back towards Adrian.

    “What? Oh. Yeah, it’s so everyone can kind of unwind after the whole year and destress with the family. Happiest time of the year, they say!” Adrian gave a sheepish grin, knowing full well that was a lie. Christmas was probably the most stressful time.

    Viga shook his head, ruffling Adrian’s mousy hair. This boy would be the death of himself.

    “If it’s a time to destress, don’t get so worked up over it.” He leaned over the small table and kissed the boy’s forehead. “Come on, I’ll make you some tea. Then I’ll help you with whatever you need. Okay love?”

    Adrian nodded, appreciating the fact that Viga knew how to make some wonderful teas.

    "Yeah that sounds nice. Thanks."


     
    • Love Love x 1
  18. December 5th (open)
    DECEMBER 5th

    She’d put the card away in a box on her dresser. She wanted to throw it away, to rip it to pieces and throw it in the garbage and never look at it again, but in her heart she knew she’d never have the strength. She never did, when it came to Ian. Down in the living room, Ella had long since ceased her crooning and she could hear Elvis, now, singing about Blue Christmases. How many times had she heard that song and thought how miserable it was, how it felt so out of sorts with the happy-go-lucky festive feelings that Christmas normally brought. Now, hearing the words, she couldn’t help but agree with The King. Her heart felt cold, like a layer of frost had slowly crept across it, a thick web of icy dread...

    She was so lost in thought, she didn’t hear the doorbell ring until the second time. Rising from her chair she made her way to answer it, pulling it open to see Chris standing there, his arms full of poinsettias. Blinking for a moment, Molly stared at him.

    “...You forgot, didn’t you.” He said, as he stepped inside, stomping the snow from his boots, “...The tree?”

    “The… OH! Right! The tree! I’m sorry.” Chuckling, Molly, took one of the red flowers from his arms and waved him into the living room, “I tried to get out to the gym, and my car was a sheet of ice and I slipped and fell, then I fell asleep in front of the fire.”

    “Are you okay? You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”

    “Mostly my pride. It was right in front of McCrotchety.”

    “Ugh. Sorry, babe. Guess the good news is he won't remember it half an hour later? You want me to clear your car off for you? Where’s your scraper?”

    “In the car.”

    “...Wow. Good job.”

    Laughing, Molly set the plant down and whacked him in the arm, “Anyway… I already got the decorations down yesterday. Thanks… for helping me.”

    “You realize of course, you just thanked your fiance for doing something I definitely think I’m obligated to do…?”

    “You aren’t obligated to do anything, Chris…”

    “But for you, Mol…” He said, and he stepped forward, wrapping his arms around her waist, “I’d do anything…” He leaned in and kissed her and Molly smiled, but in the back of her mind she couldn’t shake the words in the card… and the unconscious thought of what they meant.
     
    • Love Love x 1
  19. December 03 (open)

    Green



    Keg snapped his beak as Yvaine handed over their reins to the young Lauter boy, Ian. The snap wasn’t a threatening one, but more of an excited chatter from the gryphon. He loved visiting the Lauter farm just at the border to the Winded Woods not just for the owners and their kindness but for the company he shared in the stables.

    “Higgins will be excited to have his friend back,” Ian said with a laugh. “I think last time that silly horse tried to fly when Keg pulled a funny trick out in the fields. We’ve got some extra blankets for him if he needs. Tonight is supposed to get cold.”

    Gloved fingers brushed through the gryphon’s feathery mane, Yvaine modding thoughtfully about the chilled Winter air. “Don’t let him give Higgins too hard of a time,” he said, and waved to the pair as he departed towards the house where Marian stood on the stoop in waiting.

    “You’re not going out there in all that plate, are you?” she inquired judgmentally.

    “There are a lot of bad people in the Winds,” he reminded, and opened his arms wide for an embrace. Marian Lauter pushed the Aegis back with feigned disgust, though he knew it was meant in good spirits

    “If you think I’m gonna hug you in all that cold metal,” she began, but never intended to finish the empty threat. Yvaine only chuckled as he pulled back, and Marian announced his presence to the rest of the house. Three other boys came running, though not as young as Ian, all with excitement on their face at the sight of their friend at such an unexpected time.

    “You staying for Winterwyst, Yvaine?” the eldest boy, Terrance, asked as they ushered the Aegis into the warmth inside. It was a quaint home built for a large family like the Lauter who lived off the land. It was too secluded to get much traffic apart from wild herds or the occasional wanderer. But those who did found the comfort of a home well lived and a family with a giving heart. Yvaine had been fortunate to cross paths with them, and always took time to visit before heading off on his real purpose.

    “I’m afraid not,” he said as he clattered into the room with a loud sort of grace in his shining armor. Seeing an Aegis was a rare sight for a family so far removed from civilization, and so he was a bit of a novelty to the boys with adventurous stories they’d take to their play.

    “You’ll at least stay for a bit of pie,” Marian said as she walked off.

    “You’re twisting my arm!” he called back. “Ah, boys, you should help Ian in the stalls. Keg’s a big lad and your brother is right small.”

    “When we get back, will you tell us a story?” Daniel asked.

    “Absolutely,” he promised. The boys rushed off in satisfaction, their feet trailing off in thunderous strides as they exited out into the cold.

    “Terrance told me he wants to join the army when he comes of age,” Mason Lauter said as he entered the den. Yvaine stood to greet the father and shook his only hand. The other was missing, the sleeve of his shirt tied away so as to not snag against anything unwanted.

    “What boy doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps?” said Yvaine as they sat before the fire.

    “Marian wants me to change his mind,” Mason said, but a chuckle rumbled beneath his beard. “The boy’s heard how I lost my arm, but he’s headstrong in his convictions. I can’t change anything about him. I don’t know that I want to. Some men need the discipline.”

    “We haven’t been to war in decades,” Yvaine said pointedly. “And it’s looking like we’ll have a fair many years to come without. The orcs care little of us these days.”

    “The Gar’m, though,” Mason added thoughtfully.

    “What of those creatures?” Marian asked as she entered the den carrying two plates of pie. It looked to be peach, and Yvaine could already feel his body protesting the treat. But the two men happily indulged without protest, barely conversing as they ate.

    The Aegis stayed for about an hour or so to be courteous to the family that so generously took care of his gryphon each time he ventured into the Winded Woods. He was always sure to monetarily compensate them for their troubles as well, which took a bit of convincing for them to take. They didn’t do much trade being so far out, but they eventually found use in the money when they began to go to the nearest town just for fun. And so Yvaine continued his exchange each time he would visit.

    It would be the first time he would journey through the Winded Woods without his full suit of armor. He had to remove a few pieces for a more comfortable carry as his travel pack was quite heavy for this particular trip. It was half an hour’s walk to the edge of the Winds, and even with all the barren trees it still lined the horizon in a deep, dull green. The evergreens were never deterred, much like what lurked within the Winded Woods. And to that his bow and sword remained.

    The Winds were not often traveled, especially now that airships were more easily accessible and affordable for travel. The dangers no longer had to be faced unless forced to do so. Yvaine didn’t have to enter into the overgrown brush and crunch of dead leaves. He didn’t have to delve into the land of the Fog that killed too easily. But he wanted to, and that was strange even for an Aegis.

    Thick vapors escaped his lips as the air cooled ever further. Yvaine looked up at the sky, clouded and grey and threatening to spill out the tufts of white he knew would come eventually. “Just wait another hour,” he pleaded to the sky. The air was sharp through his nose, crisp and clean from the pines that jutted through the dense woodland.

    Another hour passed, and he thanked the skies for not falling just yet, and prayed for another hour without snow. He didn’t want to leave a trail. No one was to know where he was headed, which was why he never traveled the same path twice. The Lauters never asked, likely assuming official business, or perhaps they were more keen and chose not to show it.

    Contrary to tales, birds did nest in the Winded Woods in the warmer seasons. Deer and squirrels were common as well. More notably, wild gryphons called the Winded Woods their home, and perhaps they were the only creatures without fear of the Fog, for their wings carried powerful gusts to blow it all away.

    But it was also home to the exiled and unwanted. Due to the dangers that lurked within the Winded Woods, no one willingly chooses to live there and instead are sent there, likely due to crime. Some say it is a fate worse than death. Others feel it is too soft a sentence to let the unwanted roam about in the stretch of woods left to their own devices.

    A four hour trek would lead him to the hovel of a hut tucked deep in the woods and surrounded by trees. Smoke plumed out the central chimney to signal it was inhabited, but as Yvaine drew closer he noticed the windows were boarded and covered. His approach was steady, purposeful in making a bit of noise that did not come across as threatening. Before he was steps away from the door, it opened to reveal a tall woman with raven hair.

    “I know your soul well, Yvaine,” she said with a smirk, her glowing eyes piercing to denote her once-profession. He smiled back at his friend, moving in to embrace her warmly before his concern gave him away. She looked more worn than before, like the world was pulling her downward.

    “Saw me coming, then?” he asked rhetorically. She happily invited him into the modest hovel and placed his heavy pack against its curved wall. “Looks like it’s held up nicely.”

    “I don’t know what I would do without it,” she said, and motioned to the tree stump she had for a chair. He graciously sat, his body relieved to catch a break from the weight he lugged through the woods for so long.

    “Anyone bother you?” Yvaine asked as he pointed towards the boarded window behind her. Nameless slowly sat on her rickety bedside and shook her head, fingers pushing back her mess of hair.

    “It’s the Fog,” she stated. “It will come through the windows. Anything that’s open.”

    Yvaine had never seen his friend project her emotions so readily. Nameless was once a rather stoic figure among the Blood Magi, and fairly decent at her craft. The scars across her palms were her resume, and the eyes only added to the nuance. Many had once accused her of being cold and heartless which only furthered her sentence to bring her to exile. And while their friendship afforded her comfort, he never saw her in such a state of fear.

    “Did it come for you?” he asked. “Did you go inside the Fog?”

    “Heavens, no,” she said, and huffed a laugh as she drew a blanket over her frame. “It almost did. I was able to run. How far into Winter is it? I only just realized how cold it’s gotten.”

    “Well, it’s Winterwyst,” Yvain said with a smile, and leaned over for his pack. The weight dragged against the compacted dirt, loosening it into cold dust that painted the fabric.

    “Yvaine, shouldn’t you be home with your family?” she asked in confusion.

    “I wanted to spend it with you,” he said simply, and removed a large glass lantern from the top of the pack. Her hands found themselves covering the gasp that escaped her lips, eyes wide before she reached out for the object as if it were an illusion. He happily turned it over to her.

    It was a simple globe of glass with colors of pink and orange like a sunset, and metalwork around the base painted green in the silhouette of trees. The window lantern was hers from her childhood, the gesture bringing her to tears.

    “How did you get this?” she asked. There was a fresh candle placed inside that smelled of lavender oil.

    “I just walked in and took it,” Yvaine answered with a shrug. He left out the part about her father going missing, but she didn’t inquire further into the matter.

    “First Lighting already happened, but we can still indulge a little late,” he said as he brought out his own from his pack. It was a square of emerald and glistened like a jewel with brass accents along the edges. Laughter escaped the two.

    “This is child’s play,” Nameless said with a smile, though did not protest.

    “Oh, give into the spirit,” he said, and reached for a kindlestick to use. The flame perched itself on the edge of the stick, flickering as he brought it over to Nameless. She smiled, carefully bringing the fire into her window lantern to light the candle. The wick sputtered to life with the faintest yellow glow that steadily grew in comfort in the enclosure. With the light of the candle, it really did look like a sunset.

    Yvaine lit his own window lantern that glistened like a precious stone, and the pair set their lanterns on the shelf next to one of the boarded windows. “It’s the thought that counts,” he said as they looked at the wood and cloth shielding the window. “The Tinker Tailor will understand.”

    Nameless leaned over and embraced her friend tightly and whispered, “Merry Winterwyst, Yvaine.”

    “Merry Winterwyst, Rahiyr,” he said in return.


    December 04 (open)

    Wrapped with a Bow


    “You’ll have to forgive me,” Yvaine said as he reached for his pack once again, “but I just couldn’t help myself. I saw it all and said, ‘You know what? My friend has to have this.’ So I got it for you.”

    From within the large sack, just like the Tinker Tailor, Yvaine scooped out a small package, gift wrapped and tied with a golden bow. Tied within the bow was a traditional iron piece that was always meant to be from the Tinker Tailor himself for good fortune and protection. The piece caused Nameless to laugh, her finger flipping the metal against the wrapping.

    “We’ve only just put out our lanterns and already the Tinker Tailor has come to visit,” she said, and then looked up at her friend. Her expression turned as the spirit of the holiday began to fade with harsh realities casting dark shadows on her mirth. “I don’t have anything for you.”

    “Never you mind,” Yvaine said swiping a hand dismissively. “You can say your presence is my present. Open it up!”

    “Is today Winterwyst?” she asked, fingers poised over the bow hesitantly, yet expectantly.

    “It’s the Eve,” he admitted. Nameless retracted her hands and smiled brightly.

    “Then we shall wait,” she said, and set the gift aside. “I need to find us a fine feast tonight. Do you mind foraging while I’m out?”

    “Or,” he began, and reached back into his oversized sack of goods. It was like a never ending void of space as he produced blankets and clothes and eventually food. “Cured pork, Sus cheese, almonds, a bounty of your favorite vegetables, bread twists, and of course, baked and procured in secrecy, Auntie Majie’s pumpkin pie.”

    “How did you fit all of this in there?” she asked in bewilderment. “And how did you convince your aunt to bake another pie?”

    “Let’s just say she perhaps doesn’t know.” Yvaine’s shoulders rose with a playfully slow shrug Nameless quickly slapped away.

    “I’m sure she knows now,” she laughed. “If this puts you in poor graces with Auntie Majie-“

    “It will be fine,” he cut in to assure, and then looked about for a place to put the glorious pie. “What happened to your table?”

    Rising from her bed, a bit of embarrassment gracing her cheeks with needed color, Nameless rounded the hovel to the other side to procure another stump. “It was damaged quite irreparably when I was invaded,” she admitted, and set the stump down between them as she sat back on the bed. “I used it for a fire when they took my stock of firewood.”

    “I’m glad you’re alright,” he managed to say calmly, but he couldn’t mask his worry from his face. The pie found its place on the stump so that Yvaine could fidget with his fingers. “You didn’t use your magic?”

    “I was not well enough,” she said. “I had taken ill. It’s not a wise thing for a Blood Mage to cast when sick, Yvaine. And perhaps they knew this. I’m not sure.”

    “Have they ever returned since?” he asked with more steel in his tone. The care of a friend and the conviction of an Aegis was a powerful combination for brash thinking and determination.

    “No, it was more than a fortnight ago,” she said. “But that does not mean they will never return. They know where I am now. I’m surprised they did not evict me, honestly.”

    “Perhaps they were not looking for a place to stay, but object to pilfer,” he said thoughtfully.

    “All they took was my wood and my dagger and the only dry blanket they could find,” she said, and chuckled. “A fortunate thing I had to clean the other. I think perhaps they were headed for the docks down south for an illegal ferry to Edros.”

    “So there is an operation down there?” Yvaine asked thoughtfully. “You’re sure of it?”

    She shook her head somewhat, though there was a gleam of hope kindling behind her white glowing eyes. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “A man came through saying it existed. I’m thinking of seeing it for myself.”

    A solemn silence fell with only the crackle of the fire to keep the sadness at bay. “I may never see you again,” he finally said.

    “It is a long journey,” she said. “Too long for an Aegis to be off duty. But perhaps you can find me again after retirement. The Winds are unforgiving.”

    “I can find ways to offer you protection,” he suggested. “I’ll come by more often.”

    “This is a treasonous act coming here,” she reminded. “Not only career ending, but the death sentence.”

    “I have a cover,” he said defensively. “Don’t go. Not yet.”

    The smile that spread her lips was bittersweet and conflicted, threatening to fade yet holding as her hand reached out to grasp his. In the grip he could feel the disfigurement of her palm atop his hand. She could barely give it a hearty squeeze. The sentiment was not lost on her, and in their added silence he continued his begging quietly in a pleading stare.

    At such a distance, close and intimate, she could see the features of her friend beyond the everpresent mist of his soul her eyes could see. There weren’t many people she knew by their tangible features. Most were defined by the sheen and aura their souls gave off, subtle, yet unique. Yvaine’s soul was like metal, yet vibrated with a signature of conviction and loyalty when around the people he cared for. It drummed with her own in a frequency only she could feel, but it was enough to sway her.

    “We’ll make the best of it here, then,” she said.

    It was as if she had announced peace among all lands and the end of hardships with how Yvaine lit up. The merriment of Winterwyst was free to continue on, and they took to preparing their Eve feast singing songs and telling happier stories and humorous tales. It was well into the night, and their second slice of pie, before Yvaine produced his pocket watch to check the time.

    “It’s been Winterwyst for some time now,” he said. “Damn near difficult to tell where the sun has gone with all your windows blocked.”

    Nameless slid her present back onto her lap, setting down the plate of her half-eaten slice. “Ah, then it is time!” she said, and untied the golden bow and slid the iron piece next to her plate. “It’s been years since I’ve gotten an iron piece, you know.”

    “Never too old for the Tinker Tailor,” he said. The wrapping paper was thick, and the package carrying a bit of a heft, and as her fingers tore through the colored paper all the objects separated and fell into her lap. The first thing to catch her attention was a book titled The Elumanor: A Look Into Sabletyn’s Caves.. It was a large book, and one she had never heard of yet was already intrigued by the subject.

    “When was this published?” she asked as she thumbed through the pages of printed text.

    “Supposedly received the High Queen’s approval early Spring,” Yvaine said. “This was one of the first prints. I got one for my own library as well. When you are finished we will have a lot to discuss.”

    “It’s a controversial subject, to be sure,” she said, and quickly closed the book before she could get wrapped up in her reading. The cedar box was her next venture, fingers brushing over the woodgrain to slip off the top. Inside were an assortment of teas that each carried a comforting smell that merged pleasantly without being overwhelming.

    “Tea and books,” she noted, a smile once again breaking across her lips. “You know me all too well, Yvaine.”

    They moved in unison towards each other for another embrace, and for a moment she felt like all was right in the world. The hovel and the Fog and all that presided in the Winded Woods faded like a dream. And out of all the gifts she could receive this Winterwyst, the company of her friend was the purest.
     
    • Love Love x 2
  20. December 6th (open)
    DECEMBER 6th

    The tree was decorated, the fireplace.... there wasn't an inch of the house that didn't look festive - and what they couldn't fit sat in a box in the kitchen, where they'd eventually wound up. Chris, throwing caution to the wind decided what they really needed was to bake cookies. Molly knew well enough that their baking skills combined were not enough to save this from being an unmitigated disaster, but he was so excited and kept using the word festive, and she really couldn’t resist after he mentioned how he and his grandmother used to make gingerbread as tradition, each year.

    Pulling up a recipe, they scoured the kitchen for ingredients, and while some substitutions were made that inevitably would mean the end of the universe, or at least inedible cookies, Molly had to admit to herself that it was fun. And it was nice, after discovering the card, to be able to laugh again. And to remember why she’d said yes to Chris in the first place.

    They hadn’t known each other long, and his proposal had been something of a shock, but Chris wasn’t just safe and sweet, he was a rock. He had a strength about him that made her feel like no matter what happened in their life together, she would always be alright.

    It was for that reason, that she decided she had to tell him...

    “You… are a mess of flour.” Chris said, laughing as he wiped at Molly’s nose and cheeks with his thumb.

    “Maybe because you threw it at me, you big jerk.” She leaned in and stole a kiss, then stepped back to pull herself up onto the counter, “So… I got a card today.”

    “Yeah? Christmas card?”

    “Sort of…” Biting her lip, she wiped flour from her jeans, “It… it was from Ian.”

    Chris’s smile fell, and when Molly looked up at him, he frowned, stepped forward and put his hands on her knees, “You okay?”

    “I think so… It just… it wasn’t what I expected.”

    “Well, no. I imagine it wasn’t. You wanna talk about it?”

    “Not yet. I just… I wanted you to know. I need you to know.”

    Reaching out, Chris's fingers disappeared into the box of decorations and pulling it free, he held it up over her head, his smile ginger, gentle. There between his index and thumb was a sprig of mistletoe.

    With a soft laugh, Molly leaned forward and tenderly, he kissed her, burying his fingers in her hair, “...When you’re ready to talk about it, Mol. I’m here. Now, let’s say we throw these burnt, disgusting things in the trash, go out and buy some cookie dough, and then we can snuggle in for a night of really bad Lifetime movies?”

    “That... “ Molly said, the smile returning to her lips, “Sounds like a great plan.”

    December 7th (open)
    DECEMBER 7th

    “You’re insane…” Molly said, as she adjusted herself in her seat.

    “I swear to God, Mol! It’s true… and if you don’t straighten up, he comes and he eats the children! It’s a real thing… Well, I mean, it’s not true, but it’s a real story, at least.”

    “That is sick! That’s like… a thousand times worse than the Grinch. Or coal…” Molly laughed, and Chris nodded.

    “But I never had to to think twice about it, as a kid… behaving around Christmas time. My parents told me about Krampus, and after that, I was an angel.”

    “Oh, see… Now I know you’re full of it.”

    “Hey!” Chris poked at her side and Molly gave a squeak, “I will call my mother, right now, and you can ask her for yourself. All she had to do was say the word, and she had my knees shaking. It was traumatizing. I spent six therapy sessions talking about it.”

    Molly shoved him with another laugh, shaking her head, “You’re terrible! When we have kids, we're sticking with Doctor Seuss.”

    Catching her arms, Chris yanked her forward, pulled her into his lap, and with a sigh, Molly curled against his chest. Wrapping his arms around her, Chris kissed the top of her head, “You wanna talk about that letter, yet?”

    “...Mm. No. Not yet.”

    Maybe not ever. Maybe it wasn’t worth it. She was happy with Chris. So happy, and somehow dragging Ian into it didn’t seem like it would benefit them. But why had the card come at all? Why open those old wounds…

    “Well, whenever you’re ready, Mol. You wanna watch another movie?”

    Smiling, Molly tipped her head backwards, looking up at him, “It’s pretty late. You gonna stay over?”

    A brow quirked, as Chris looked down at her, “...You… you sure?”

    “We’re gonna be married in a few months, Chris. I think I can handle a sleep over.”

    “It’s just…”

    “I know. But I’m okay. Really…” Leaning upwards, Molly kissed him, “Thank you, though.”

    “I’ll stay down here on the couch.” He returned the kiss with a small smirk, “But if I’m gonna get a crick in my neck, we’re watching one more movie.

    “Deal…” Molly said, curling up comfortably in his arms.
     
    • Love Love x 1