Grey Mars nods politely to the others and finds a seat as he ruffles through a few notes. He is a fae elder, a duke, grumpy usually. Draig Magic smiles and says, “Hello.”
Recka Wuyts who had come in after Draig and taken a seat on the floor behind her returns the greeting from Grey in kind and adds, “Miss, my apologies. I should have greeted you properly when I entered but felt you were in deep thought and did not want to disturb you.”
Draig Magic looks over her shoulder “Hello to you too, sir.”
“And to you, Miss.”
Grey Mars, before returning to the hunt for a specific scrap of paper, offers a smile and a nod to Nadya Zotrian and Luci Ferraris as they enter the room.
Recka says,”Hello, Nadya, Luci. ”
Nadya, snorts at people as she sits on chairs one after another then she jumps up to sit on a table “Hello Grey, Recka, it’s lovely to see you do something other than stand in the tavern doorway. Your family alright? Hi Luci…” she pauses, though she does not who she is, she gestures at Draig “Hello person!” She then returns her attention to Grey, noticing that he is looking for something. She jumps down, “Need some help looking for whatever you’re looking for?” For Nadya this might be a good opportunity to pick his pocket. She is a thief and trader, more thief than trader.
Grey Mars snorts softly. “No Miss Nadya, I am just seeking a particular bit of paper. I slipped it in a pocket, but the pocket itself went missing. Now it has returned, and I can return to looking for the scrap that had the words I wanted.”
Recka tilts his head in a non committal manner, “Yes my family is well, Nadya. Thank you for asking.” He smiles at her tavern remark. Recka would stand watching the square from the door of the tavern, or sit at the bistro, everybody in town spent time either in or watching the square in Crossroads, Romania.
Nadya, pouts a little, her theft plan thwarted. She jumps up to sit on the table once more. “Are you enjoying your outdated, obsolete chair? Tables! Tables is the way of the future!”
Keo, Takeo Seda, Stage Manager of Story Tellers Hall, waves to everyone as he comes up the stairs, then smiles as he sees Luci. “Good evening.” He then walks towards his chair, but stops. “Uhm. Presents? For me?” Luci has placed two large Christmas Boxes on the stage.
Grey Mars continues his verbal sparring with Nadya, “As I recall miss, you scoffed at my fine bed atop the fireplace mantle. It is I who first made the unusual fashionable! The rest, mere imitators!” He grins and pulls out the missing scrap with a flourish, holding it up like a prize.
Nadya, shakes her head, “I’ll have you know I’ve been sitting on tables and counters for months! Months, Grey fairy, while you have been using the fireplace mantle for much less a period of time, I think.” She looks at the scrap curiously.
Keo, shakes his head, then sits down on his chair and reaches in his pocket. He pulls out a wrinkled Santa hat which he puts on his head. “I was told that this would create homely feelings and help with the Christmas Spirit.”
Recka thought Keo looked homely wearing it but it is Christmas and no doubt Keo was wearing socks that matched.
Nadya, calls out to Keo, “It hides your ears, which is a shame because your ears are awesome.”
Grey was not as grumpy as usual, “Admittedly I used it more when I was short. It’s slightly more undignified climbing into place while full sized, though once there it remains comfortable.”
“I still think you are a silly duck.” She attempted to pat Grey on the head indulgently.
Keo, looks at Nadya, then crosses his eyes as he tries to look at the hat. He then shrugs and looks down again, but suddenly his ears flick and appear again. “Much better.” He smiles and purrs.
Grey Mars rolls his eyes.
Nokomis Wakiza Mackenzie enters the Hall, glances around at everyone, stopping for a second to look coldly at Nadya and then resuming her perusal of the room.
Nadya, offers Nokomis an amused smirk and says, “You look well today, Nokomis.” She bites back the urge to giggle. Nokomis, simply ignores Nadya, not even giving her a reply.
Recka, smiles and nods his respect to the new arrivals.
Keo, rubs his nose, “Alright, I think we give people a few more minutes before we start. Do we have anyone who wants to go first though?”
Nokomis moves to lean against the wall, a neutral nod to Recka is made along the way.
Grey, waves his scrap of paper vaguely. “If no one else wishes to brave it first, I am actually prepared.”
Nadya sits back, “I have no intention of doing anything this time. Was bored and cold outside, so I decided to wander in.”
Nokomis, is silent.
Desiree Livingston, smiles as she turns the corner and sees the crowd gathered. Her eyes would move from one to the other landing on the host. “Hello Keo, I have prepared something when you can fit me in, and it is good to see you again.”
Luci Ferraris waves her hands for attention. “Can I be one of the first? I have a very good poem. Later I can do a story too”
Keo, nods to Grey, “I think that would be wonderful.” He looks around to the other people. Seeing Nokomis, he tilts his head. “I already said this last week. This building might not be stable, but I am quite sure the wall will stand without your help.” He smiles at her.
Nokomis, squints her eyes at Desiree.
Nadya “Hey Desiree! How are you? Come sit over here!”
Keo smiles to Desiree. “Hello there. And yes, you can go.” He looks at Luci, “I will put you just before Lady Luci…” He scribbles on his notepad. “So… Mr. Grey… Lady Desiree… No…lady..” He lokks at his notes scribbles out a name adds another. “Alright then, Lady Luci… Not Lady Nadya…” He looks up.. “I forgot someone. Oh dither. We will see who drifts in and take theme as they come.”
Desiree Livingston, smiles to Nadya and moves to take a seat next to her. “I am… better.” She sits and settles in.
Keo clears his throat.. “Alright then. Welcome to Story Telling. I am Keo, what a nice surprise to see so many here today, and our theme is ‘Christmas’. Mr. Grey has agreed to start this hopefully wonderful evening.” He smiles at Grey, “The stage is yours.”
Nokomis turns her head toward Grey when his name is spoken and nods to him respectfully.
“I am in general rebellion over the endless good cheer of the moment, one needs a bit of bitter to remind just how pleasant the sweet is.” He frowns slightly to himself. “I am also starting to gain an aversion to those red hats, but for other reasons… But in any case, I am comfortable where I am and shall read from here as is my custom. It is slightly tangent to the theme I suppose, though one might consider it the last Christmas. This is the poem ‘Ragnarok‘, written by Kenneth Allott. The poor man is not yet born, so you will need to hold criticism a while yet.” He clears his throat, and reads slowly from his scrap of paper…
“Our Trojan world is polarized to mourn;
To dream and find a black spot on the sun,
And wake to love and find our lover gone.
The destination of any weapon is grief.
In homesteads now where joy must seem naive
Under a splitting sky our women conceive.
The towns of houses, massed security
Out-generalled by a later century,
Are hearse-plumes on an old economy.
The ache of crushed walls when the raid is over.
This is a house, we said, we have built forever:
A two-backed fool, thinking of one day’s weather.
Only one monster has to love his error.
Only his wrangling heart cannot recover,
But glories in illusion when half cadaver;
Or likes being ill, or nurses grievances,
Or calls a mountain or a forest ‘his’,
Or quarrels in five hundred languages.
And man, erect, unvenerable,
A bloodshot eye so simply vulnerable
That half his history is marginal,
Incises stone in the Bastille of hate:
‘Give us this day before it is too late
Something to love indeed, enough to eat.’
And thus with a touch of bitter dregs upon our pallet, we will now have reference for the surripy sweet of so much of the other usual sentiment.” He offers the room a general grin, and slumps in his chair to listen to the rest.
Nokomis would tap her hand on her arm lightly to give cheer to the Fea’s poem. Recka, applauds, and nods at Grey’s sentimentality for the season. Keo, claps, “Very nice. A bit different to the usual Christmas stories and that makes it interesting.”
Draig Magic claps, Desiree, claps and smiles, Luci Ferraris, claps “I liked it.”
Keo snaps his paws, “And speaking of liking… It looks as if Santa already was here and left us some presents.” He gestures to the boxes left and right of him.. “So, if anyone would like a present, feel free to take one.” He smiles.
Nadya, jumps up and runs for the presents “MINE!”
Keo, smiles at Nadya.. “Simple minds, simple pleasures.”
Nadya, sits down, hugging the present “No no, they’re both mine. Mine mine, all mine…”
Grey, would be rushing for boxes too, but he has just now found exactly the right combination of slump and sprawl to be comfortable in the chair…
“There are enough for everyone. Santa has been generous.” Keo then looks at Nadya who has parked herself on the stage. “Uhm. Well. I guess… it is fine that you stay on the stage with the presents. But please, no screaming out of joy because you got the latest shoes or something.” He nods, then looks to his notepad.. “And next..Lady Desiree. Mr. Recka, if you want, you can come up to the stage, tell a story and then head off with a present.” He winks.
Nadya, shakes her head “No, he can’t take them. But… he could trade for them, I guess?” She generously offers.
Grey Mars waves a lazy hand from where he slumps and tries for diplomacy. “Trade of a story perhaps miss Nadya? Surely fair enough.”
Nadya, leans backwards, looking to Grey. “I… suppose? Alright, he can have -one-… but I still have the other! This one!” She hugs it tightly, “Unless someone else wants to trade?”
Desiree hears Keo call Reckas name and her eyes fall to him with a slight smile, she would watch him to see if he would recite.
“I will observe a new tradition and a simple pleasure, remain here, collect my gift later, and just listen to our fine group Story Tellers. Thank you Keo.”
Keo, sneezes. “As you wish Mr.Recka.” Keo, rubs his nose and smiles at Recka.
Luci Ferraris nods to Keo, “Maybe you didn’t notice it, but I throwed a few hats to the people here.”
Keo, shakes his head. “Oh… I did not notice that. Well, there goes our chance of getting Lady Nadya…” he grins at Nadya… “Away from the presents.”
Nadya, whispers to the box “And you’ll be mine forever and ever unless I trade you, and you can join my collection of things and be one of my things, you lucky, lucky box…”
Keo throws up his hands, “Welcome to Crossroads. Anyways..” He looks down to his notepad, scribbles…. “And next… Lady Desiree.”
Desiree Livingston, clasps her hands together as she nods and stands, “Yes, this is a mere poem. Something simple really. It is called “A Medieval Christmas Pie.” She would stand for a moment trying to remember every word then clearing her throat before she begins:
“For the wealthy landowners
In medieval times
Food was plentiful
At Christmas time
And A few days before the holy day
The kitchen at the manor
Would begin their preparations
First a huge pasty case was made
For a special festive pie
Into the bottom of the huge pastry case
Went enormous amounts of force meat,
This was ground beef and lamb
Heavily seasoned with salt and pepper,
On this were placed boned and boiled hens,
Rabbits, Ducks and assorted game birds
Another layer of force meat was added
Then marrow, hard boiled egg yokes
Currants, prunes and dates
Spices such as cloves and saffron,
Mace and cinnamon
Finished off the ample filling
It was then covered
With the huge pastry lid and baked
And such a feast was had
The poor were less fortunate
Unless they had a goodly lord at the manor
But bad masters were
As plentiful as the feast
And so Christmas for the poor
Was often less than merry.”
When finished she would smile to them all and take her seat again. “I appreciate you allowing me to recite the silly poem Keo.”
Nadya, again, headbutts the now slightly squashed box instead of clapping, Luci Ferraris, claps, “We have a recipe for the Christmas dinner now.”
Draig Magic claps, Matilda, claps loudly, Keo, nods to Desiree, then looks at Nadya.. “You are aware that if there is something in there that can break, it actually might break?”
Nadya, hisses to Keo “It’s mine. It would be my broken thing. Do you want to trade for it?”
Keo, shakes his head at Nadya… “No way. In the end you want a kiss from me like this other weird girl.” He winks, then looks to Draig.. “And now. Lady Draig. Artists also know her as ‘the redhead’.” He smiles at her openly.. “I am curious what you have for us today.”
Draig Magic looks up, “I have a simple poem with the name Christmas Angel.”
Keo, smiles. “The stage is yours.”
Draig Magic, begins to speak:
“Darkened skies shed frozen tears
onto the world below.
A blackened Christmas now appears
beneath the white of snow.
The shining stars all fade away,
they feel no joy tonight.
An Angel kneels down as she prays
to fill the world with light.
A selfish mass no longer feels
too used to hate and pain.
Its truth lies hidden, unrevealed
advertised only for gain.
Santa Clause and Christmas trees
and discounts at the store.
The Angel looks but does not see
the gift she’s looking for.
Some carolers sing Silent Night,
the words have all been changed.
Instead of smile, they mostly fight,
the Angel finds this strange.
No one has time to pray for peace
as honking horns drive by.
The flashing lights of police
send her flying into the sky.
The Church is decked with Christmas lights
it’s halls are filled with food.
But so many wallets still filled tight
their faith still not renewed.
The Food Drive box holds 4 small cans
of corn and lentil soup.
The Angel tries to understand
as her wings begin to droop.
She walks away from all the noise,
the lights and hateful words.
Kids only care for Christmas toys
while others mock her Lord.
She sinks beneath the quiet snow
a tear trails down her face.
And prays for all the souls below
who’ve wandered far from grace.
A single star lights up the night
to touch the Angel’s wings.
And in that star she finds the light
so the Angel softly sings.
“May the World be blessed with Love,
and may they remember still.
Their Christ and Savior up above,
who for their sins was killed.
That’s all.” She says and sits in her chair.
Desiree Livingston, claps, Matilda Charron, claps loudly, Recka Wuyts, claps, Grey Mars laughs and applauds, Nadya, headbutts the box a few times,Erthnetora Streephan, claps quitly as she pulls the tsrange hat over her head, Keo,claps.. “Very nice. Makes you think.”
Nokomis, claps her arm with the oposite hand discretely, Luci Ferraris, claps, “Very good Miss Draig.”
Keo, looks down to his notepad for a moment, then up again… “I really hope that we have a nice followup to this wonderful poem.” he looks at Nadya. “Please let go of the present and come up to the stage and tell us a story.”
Nadya, shakes her head, “I’m going to keep hold of the box and make a story up as I go along… about the box!” she announces cheerfully.
Grey Mars sends a smile and a finger wiggle at the sneaky dragon who has slipped in while he wasn’t looking. Prof. James Blackwater, squints and wishes he had some kind of fire throwing device suddenly. Keo, breathes out slowly but audibly.. “I am sure it will be a wonderful story.” He gestures to Nadya.. “Ladies and Gentlemen. Lady Nadya.”
Nadya, holds the box up, then hugs it again, resting her chin on top of it and peering at Keo through the ribbons. She thinks for a moment about the box and what little she knows about its’ past, before beginning:
There was once a box that lived on a stage. Nobody knew what was in the box, or how it got on the stage, but there it was. It was on the stage. And it was sad, lonely, unwanted, unloved and unhappy. The box dreamed only of being owned by someone who would care about it, perhaps give it a hug and maybe trade it up for something better, for it was a sensible box.
After several long, agonising minutes, Keo, the stage manager decided to offer the box to whoever wanted it, and much to the box’s delight, Nadya immediately claimed it. She took the box into her arms and it was, for the first time, happy. The rest of the people in the room seemed unhappy about this, clearly jealous of Nadya claiming the box before they had chance to, they were unwilling to be happy for the box, but the box now was Nadya’s and so, it did not care.
Eventually, the damnable James tried to steal the box! It was frightened, but Nadya held onto the box and would not let it go, eventually taking it to sit on a table with her, for tables are better places to sit than chairs, and eventually, chairs will become obsolete in favour of sitting on tables.
The End.” And Nadya, head butts the box.
Recka, thinking: The Christmas Box Story. An instant classic. I can’t wait to hear it next year.
Grey Mars, nods and applauds this most sensible story.
Keo, frowns.. “I was not aware that damnable is a word, but I don’t know much about the english language so…” he smiles at Nadya.. “That was surprisingly good and scary too. Thank you for sharing it with us.”
Naughty Matilda, giggles, Prof. James Blackwater, says, “I hope she gets so many boxes she’s buried in them for a thousand years.”
Nadya, nods and grins, “Anyone want to trade for the box?”
Keo, facepalms. “Someone please trade her something?”
Luci Ferraris, claps and cheers, “Woot…the life of a box.”
Nadya, frowns, “I’m not going to open the box. If I did that, it wouldn’t be a box anymore”
Draig Magic claps and giggles about the story, Grey Mars sighs, “I am quite content with the state of affairs myself, for the box seems happy in that telling!”
Keo, clears his throat.. “Alright. And now, I think I did overlook someone earlier.” he looks at Dina.. “One more storyteller, then it is your turn.” he looks over to Nokomis.. “Sorry, I missed making a note, but now it is your turn.” And he points to Nokomis Mackenzie.
She nods to Keo and clears her throat then speaks in a whisper:
“Some of you might know that my people doesn’t believed or knew about Christmas till short ago,” She pauses, begins again. “Some of you might know that my people doesn’t believ’d or knew about Christmas till not too far ago. This story is what we told ourselvse ein the dead of winter, hoping for spring.
It is a story about Old Men Winter:
Old Men Winter as snowy white hair, cold blue skin and dark eyes as deep as a stormy night. He loved it when his friend North Wind blew, for it carried his cold breath around, freezing all around. In his house were no fire, nor candle, only cold stones and an as cold bed. On the ground, he had installed a freezing snow rug. When he was bored, he would blew a gentle snow on the waiting seed and on the sleeping insects. And such he was living, moon after moon of winter time, untill the solstice, in a calm mood, bird silently chating, when they had not gone in hiding south, the bear sleeping in their whole, and all the others animal having change their fur. And such he was living untill came the day of the solstice, when he was starting to be bored, having freeze all the water, putting snow everywhere he could reach, and having decorated all the trees with icicles. While he was sitting in front of his house, wondering what he could do next, he saw a young woman comming toward him. While she approached toward the Old Men Winter, he was entranced by her beaity and failed to see the snow melting in her steps. She was walking in green moss garb, enbroided with flower remembering the Old Men of Apple blossom. When she was speaking, the air was getting comfortably warmer and sweet. Entranced by her grace and beauty, the Old Men Winter invited her to sit next to him. He told her how in a simple breath he could freeze the rivers and the pounds into cristal ice. She replied to him how in a simple breath she could heat it back to being running water. They both exchanged their way in life for most of the night. During that time, the snow rug was slowly melting, making the Old Men Winter more and more comfortable, so much taht he slowly felt asleep in that warm air she was breathing. Seeing that, the young girl slowly rose and walked out to sign the sun he could come back without feering he would be frozen on place. And the sun took the road back, followed by the birds who had gone south. Whitout knowing, the Old Men Winter had fallen asleep because he didn’t recognise the Young Spring, he felt assleep untill next winter…”
Nokomis, finishes her story in a whisper.
Xobia, claps lightly “Well that was jolly wasn’t it?”
Erthnetora, claps quietly.
Draig Magic claps, “Wonderfull.”
Recka, claps, “Wonderful.”
Grey Mars is startled out of the doze by clapping, and joins in. Matilda, claps loudly, Desiree Livingston, claps.
Luci Ferraris claps, “Very good.”
Keo, claps.. “That was a wonderful story.”
Maljai Jhamin quietly walked in, she takes a seat, curious of the event.
Nadya, idly plays with the ribbon on her box.
Nokomis whispers: “I go like the wind, where I will be next… I do not know myself.”
Xobia, smiles, “Made me feel Christmassy, all over ….honest.”
Nokomis, “I go like the wind, where I will be next… I do not know myself.”
Keo, waggles his fingers at Maljai… “Glad you could make it. You can go after this Lady if you like.” He nods to another late arriver.. “Your turn.” He smiles.. “Do you want to come up to the stage?”
And so it was at Christmas Time at The Story Teller’s Hour.
Now, Merry Christmas To All
From We Who Tell Stories at The Story Teller’s Hour.