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A Christmas Visit

DaddyBear the Minivandian awoke with a start.  During his winter slumber, he had dreamed of peaceful mountain passes and glorious battles.  But that had been interrupted by the sound of a dog collar clinking and a low growl from the throat of his war hound, Walks in Shadow.  Retrieving Gnarlthing, his magical blade of disembowelment, he bolted to the hall of gathering.  As he passed through the portal to the chamber, he raised his sword to counter any blows and to strike at the intruder.

“Hold, Minivandian!  Put up your weapon, for you have no need of it.  ‘Tis I, Nicholas of the North!” said the ancient warrior who sat upon the floor, all three war hounds laying next to him.  His crimson coat was rimmed with the fur of a white wolf, and his peaked helm was wreathed with holly.  His beard, which had once been almost as red as his coat, was now a shock of white that ringed his almost perpetual smile.  DaddyBear remembered watching this man smile and laugh as he waded into many a fight.  At his side lay his bag of holding, along with the remains of the sweets that Irish Woman had laid out before retiring for the night.  My lord DaddyBear returned Gnarlthing to his scabbard, remembering that his blade would have no effect on the jolly old elf, and that with his preternatural knowledge of who was good or bad, Nicholas would know his intentions before even he did.

“Greetings, Nicholas.  It’s been too long.” rumbled the Minivandian.

“Aye, it has.  Greetings to you and yours on the day we celebrate the birth of the God, DaddyBear.  When last we met, you were not yet the Minivandian.  You have changed much, my friend.”

“Yes, life has gone on in the years since my youth.”

“So I can see,” said Nicholas, his eyes twinkling as he eyed the liquor cabinet.

DaddyBear sprang to his feet, and threw back the door to the cabinet. From the top shelf, he brought down his most prized bottle of corn liquor, aged in oak casks by the monks of Loretto.  Grabbing two crystal drinking vessels, he poured a generous libation into both.  Handing one to the saintly warrior, he raised his own in a toast.

“To good days gone by, and to better days to come”.

After returning the toast, Nicholas took a deep draught of the amber liquor.  Sighing appreciatively, he looked down at Water of Fire, who was sleeping contentedly with his head on Nicholas’s knee.

“Nice pony,” he remarked, “although I am surprised that the Lady of Eire will allow such livestock in the house.”  A wry smile came across his face.

“Ahh, but he is still young.  The mage of animal healing thinks that he will more than double in size before he is through.”

“Well, then, I am glad that we became friends while he is still small.  Even so, it took almost an entire plate of sweets and a glass of milk to calm him.

“I believe that I have something here for you all.” said Nicholas, reaching into his bag of holding.

“For the Young Prince, I have a “My First Magical Combat” kit.  Please pass on my condolences to him that I could not provide the powdered claws of a red dragon.  Such things are not for the young, no matter how talented.  For Listens to Stories, I have a new bow carved from the wood of the Tree of the Letti.  It weights almost nothing, but in skilled hands, can put an arrow through the eye of a needle at 100 yards.  I have also included a quiver of silver tipped arrows.  I understand that she has begun accompanying you on your forays against the undead.  These will come in handy.”

DaddyBear smiled at that.  Such a gift fit his daughter perfectly.  But he knew he would have to watch her very  closely as she trained with it, almost as closely as he would be watching his son.  He didn’t know what qualified as “Magical Combat” for young princelings, but he could imagine that it would be something that would have to be done out-of-doors and away from his mother.

“For the Lady of Eire, I bring a ring, wrought of the finest dragons gold, with the fire of a dragon captured in the stone we have set in it.  That is powerful, but there is still room for magic she can place in it if she so wishes.  As for you, my good warrior… I am sorry.  I received your missive, but even I cannot find a bolt carrier group and match grade trigger now.  I wish you luck in finding them.  If you are successful, please send word to me as to where they are to be found.  I have three builds myself that sit idle, waiting for parts. No, instead, I have this for you.”

Nicholas drew forth from his bag of holding a small, rectangular wooden box.  Handing it to the Minivandian, he smiled as it was opened.

“This is Kolmet, a dagger wrought by the same smith that created your blade, Gnarlthing.  It is sharp enough to cut flame from candle, yet light and balanced enough to be spun on its point with not a wobble.  I believe it will serve you well.”

DaddyBear looked into the box, and beheld Kolmet, the brother of his sword.  As he gripped him, he could feel the two blades sing to one another, and knew that he would enjoy the first time he took both of them into combat.

Just then, a soft tapping was heard on the ceiling above them.  Looking up and sighing, Nicholas got to his feet.

“Well, my lord Minivandian, I must be going.  There are many more families that I must visit this night, though I doubt many will be as pleasant a visit as this.  A Merry Christmas and Yuletide to you, my lord.”

“And to you, Nicholas of the North.  May your paths be easy, your ride be pleasant, and your sleep be deep.”  answered the Minivandian.

With that, Nicholas turned toward the fireplace, where the roaring fire had bedded down to coals.  With a wink to the hounds, who had roused from their slumber just in time to thump their tails at him as he left, he disappeared.  DaddyBear could hear the pawing of hooves upon the roof now, followed by the swishing of a sleigh as it was pulled up and off of the house.

My lord DaddyBear then placed Kolmet onto the mantel above the fire, patted the war hounds upon their heads, and returned to his bed chamber.  The next morning, his children were delighted with the gifts that Nicholas had left, and many warnings about using them in the house, skewering a sibling on a cloth-yard shift, or turning a sibling into a toad were given.  The Lady of Eire did indeed place a spell of protection into the fiery stone of her ring, while DaddyBear took Kolmet out and practiced with him for several hours.

Thus did the clan of DaddyBear spend their Christmas.  An old friend, a happy warrior, visited them, many gifts were bestowed, and their feast of that day was legendary.  The Lady of Eire outdid herself in preparation and hospitality, and he, he himself, DaddyBear carved the roast beast, which the Young Prince had brought down with a magic missile just the week before.

Now, let me tell you tales of high adventure and deep snow….

1 Comment

  1. I enjoy the tales of the Minivanian.

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