"Ah, this is perfect!" The King's third treasure chamber was filled to the
rim with all sorts of gilded trinkets. Hanging stars, little likenesses of
various vaguely familiar animals and even small painted balls, seemingly
adorned with images of humans and fairies. On closer inspection, these
balls would not make for good Christmas decorations. William shuddered
as he held one of them up to the light. Only fairies could make preparing a
human for dinner look like a joyous affair. Besides, the sheer amount of
ornate stars and jolly little animal figurines King Tyrian von Stolleneim
had collected for himself over the years would more than cover the halls
and the tree several times over. "Only that last piece to ma ... Ahah!" A
figurine in the shape of a harpie would make a good angel substitute.
William decided it would be best to cover up the grisliest details with a
toga. He wasn't a religious sort, but he did like the tradition well enough to
not to put a ravenous naked man-eating bird-lady on the top of the tree
without a smidge of clothing. Of course, not everyone in fairyland ate any
human in sight. Most of them just wanted them for toys or even pets if they
were lucky. Some of them were even nice enough to not only let you live,
but actually be your friend and treat you as a fellow huma... fairy being.
Fairies like King Tyrian.
The main hall was busy with workers as William returned from the store
rooms. There wasn't usually this much of a buzz even on the biggest fairy
holidays. The King had been beside himself of joy when William had
suggested he could set up a Christmas party for him. Fairyland in general
was fond of humans and parts of their culture, and the king even more so
than average. It wasn't without cause he had hired the blond boy as his
jester. William had often questioned his own sanity for taking his gap year
off to work as a fool in a fairy king's court.
"Been looting the treasure chambers again, I see. What manner of garish tat
did you find this time?" Aurelia seemed more than disinterested in the
spectacle that is human holidays. "I already told you ... and the guards, and Lord
Tyrian, I was just looking for the garderobe that time. Besides, you know I
need these for decorations." He sighed. He knew Aurelia didn't mean
anything by it, but he was slightly too stressed to think of a better
comeback. As a court jester it was his job to entertain the king, but he had
never seen to, and planned a celebration like this himself. Not that there
were many guests invited; instructing fairies on how to decorate and cook
for a human holiday was no easy task in itself. "Speaking of Lord Tyrian, where
is he anyway?" William wondered. "The guests will be here any minute".
"Oh, he said there was one crucial piece of decoration missing he had to
"Couldn't he have sent one of the servants?"
"He wanted to get this himself, for some reason" Aurelia muttered as she
rolled her eyes. William struggled to think of what could possibly be
missing as he eyed the hall. The tree was in place, towering a full nine feet
in the corner of the hall. A servant was already hanging the ornaments on
it. Various red, white and green banners hung from the arched ceiling,
hovering dangerously close to the innumerable lit candles giving the room
a bright, warm glow. The servants all suddenly stopped in their tracks as a
rather large, stern-looking woman walked into the hall. "Only ten minutes
left until the guests arrive! Chop chop!" The hullabaloo of stressed workers
with slightly too little time reassumed at double pace. "Now where did that
harpie go?" William hurried to get the substitute angel in place at the top of
King Tyrian came back just before the first guests arrived and handed a
small package to a servant who quickly scurried away with it. "Welcome,
King Tyrian von Stollenheim! What brings you here on a day like this?"
William greeted his king in a joking tone.
"Oh, a little bird sang to me about a great feast and I decided to crash the
party" Tyrian laughed.
"And what of the package?" William continued in the same witty formal
"Oh, you'll see soon enough"
"I must say, I can't think of anything I've forgotten?"
"The most important piece, my friend. The most important piece indeed."
William scratched his curly blonde hair. A black haired boy in his late
teens came running down a staircase leading into the hall, struggling to
fasten the long, black cape he wore. "Is she... ah!" He almost fell over
stumbling as he took one step too few down the stairs. He quickly
recovered next to the king and the jester, straightened his circular little
glasses. "Uh, I mean, have they arrived yet?" He asked, pretending to be
"Don't worry, Victor. There's still a few mi..." There was a loud knocking
from the castle's main entrance.
"The guests are arriving!" Shouted the large lady. The commotion nearly
exploded for a few second before it was suddenly silent as if the servants
were simply magicked out of existence. William knew better than to doubt
that was exactly what had happened. This was the castle of a fairy vampire
king, mind you. Magic had become part of everyday life since he moved
"I'll get the door!" Victor ran towards the door, practically shoving a
servant aside to get there first. He stopped for a second, straightened his
cowl and cleared his throat before opening. "Oh, umm... hi." Visibly less
comfortable now that the door was open. "Umm, come in, please." He
managed a nervous smile. He led the two guests into the hall.
One of them was a girl in her mid-teens. She was wearing a blue and dark
green ballroom dress that accented her shoulder length ginger hair
beautifully. "D-did the trip go well? Oh, it can be outright horrible out
there" Victor asked as he rather gracelessly led her by the hand towards the
table. William scowled behind their backs.
"It would be okay if I didn't have to wear this stupid thing!" sounded an
annoyed reply from the second guest. Neither Victor nor Will had taken
much notice of the person and was slightly taken aback. The guest
undressed a much too large cloak and revealed herself to be a blonde,
young fairy girl. She was dressed in a rather simple maroon dress adorned
with sparkly silver leaves around the edges.
"Lina! I didn't think you'd come!" Tyrian's grin grew from pleased to
ecstatic as he ran over to the little fairy and gave her a bear-hug. "Tyyyyr,
put me down!" Erlina giggled.
William hurried over to the red haired girl and grabbed her other hand.
"Lucinda! I think I saw your seat somewhere over here."
Victor tightened the grip on the girls other hand. "Eheh, Oh, Will. Always
jesting. It's his job, you know. Eheheh." He forced a nervous little laugh.
"Look, this seat even has a little gift from you, umm I mean from me. To
you! So, err, this must be your seat, right?" Lucinda looked over her back.
Her little blonde fairy friend was too busy talking to the king to notice her
silent pleas for help.
"And as the court jester and party arranger, surely it is my job to entertain
the guests..." William forcefully dragged the girl, and in turn Victor
towards the other end of the table. "...over here by the king and me."
"Umm, guys, I think..." Lucinda started, but was interrupted as Victor,
visibly irate, poked the jester's shoulder.
"So she's just another 'job' for you, is she? Well, she's my friend and I have
already arranged for her to sit..." The three of them moved back to the other
end of the table like a train of confused and angered souls pulled by a
desperate and huffing steam locomotive. "...here! By me. Her friend. With
her gift!" Victor picked up the little present and very nearly shoved it into
"Guys!" Lucinda wrestled her hands out of the respective boys' clutches
and massaged her now sore wrists. "I think I w..." The sudden sound of
metal hitting glass rung surprisingly loud under the hall's arched roof and
settled the three youth's argument momentarily.
"People! People people people." King Tyrian cleared his throat. "Now that
the guests have arrived, there is something I wish to show you! Everyone
follow me up to the second floor balcony."
Lucinda took advantage of the confusion to work her way over to
Erlina. "What's going on?" She asked.
"I'm not entirely sure. He said he had a surprise unlike anything Fairyland
has seen before..." Erlina took Lucinda's hand and started up the stairs.
"Let's go have a look! Tyr always has the best surprises." The little fairy
slowed down a bit as she continued. "So you seem to get along well with
the vampire and the jester boy."
"Heh. I didn't expect to go to fairyland to get jumped by humans." Lucinda
and Erlina both giggled nervously.
They felt a gust of cold air as they followed Tyrian outside. He walked to
the edge of the balcony and turned around, waiting for everyone to settle.
"Behold!" he yelled majestically as he lifted his hands in the air and
grinned. Several seconds too many went by without more than a muffled
cough from somewhere in the group.
William noticed his master getting slightly awkward where he was stood
and remembered that, as the king's jester, he better entertain the crowd and
draw the attention away, but just as he sprung forward, Erlina exclaimed
"Look!" He stopped in his tracks and followed the little fairy's pointing
"What, where?" The rest of the group looked around them.
"Snow!" It soon became obvious what she meant, as snow indeed began to
fall heavily around them.
Tyrian regained his confidence. Yes, snow! I wouldnt want our first
Christmas to be anything but white! He picked up some of the snow that
had already gathered on the ground and threw it at Erlina, who broke out in
a giggle fit as she returned the favour, starting a more than minor snowball
fight among the party.
And how exactly did you arrange this, Highness? Aurelia seemed less than
A witches coven. Theyre handling this, dont worry!
Aurelia didnt have time to reply before a stray snowball hit her in the
temple. She swore to herself and returned inside.
When the group finally calmed down and went inside, the tables were set
and the turkey was on the table. William had noticed most of the servants
leaving the castle earlier. Tyrian must have given them the night off and
there were only the bare minimum of staff left. They all settled down in
their seats. King Tyrian sat in an ornate chair on the end of the table. Erlina
sat to his right, followed by Lucinda and Will. Aurelia and Victor sat
opposite of them. "Is this all of us?"
"Well," said the king. He was stood up with a knife on one hand ready to
carve the turkey. "Christmas is supposed to be about family and good
friends. I wouldn't have wanted there to be anyone else but you here."
Lucinda looked around and noticed she was the only one present who didn't
either live in the castle or was a good friend of the king. Tyrian struggled
with the knife as he attempted to carve the bird. A servant, who had quite
obviously been watching from the kitchen, rushed into the room to assist.
Tyrian shooed her away as she desperately reached for he knives to help.
Irate at the king for doing her work, she stamped back to the kitchen;
presumably to continue spying and make sure everything went smoothly.
Deep in concentration, tongue slightly out, Tyrian managed to cut the
turkey in slices finally.
Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, brussels sprouts. It all tasted fairly close
to earth standards and everyone enjoyed it greatly. Aurelia seemed to focus
more on the meat, while Victor, although highly skeptical at first, was now
stuffing his face with a passion.
William had taken the chance to catch up with Lucinda and was on his
third round of apologies for his master sending her as bait for a carnivorous
snail some time before when the servant's door creaked open and the same
woman as earlier hurried over to the king. She whispered her message to
him and his eyes widened. The table sat in silence as he strode over to look
out of a window. He returned with a more staggered, nervous gait and sat
down in his chair. A few silent swears were uttered before Aurelia, the
more straightforward of the group asked the inevitable question. "What's
the matter? What's going on outside? I don't hear any peasants rabbling, so
I assume it's not time for torches and pitchforks."
Tyrian, reluctant. "I .. It's hard to tell through all the snow ..." He stared
blankly at the opposing wall. "... All that snow."
Looks of bemusement were shared among the dinner guests, but Aurelia
simply rubbed her temples and moaned. "How much snow exactly?"
Tyrian forced a nervous smiled and brushed her question off. ""Let's enjoy
this dinner and worry about that lat..." He was interrupted.
"How much snow, Lord Tyrian?"
Aurelia sighed and strode over to the window. Her shoulders rose as she
observed the surrounding area. She returned to her seat in a huff. The king
most unregally rested his head, face first on the table in despair.
a lot of snow, Highness."
Tyrian, unmoving and muffled. "I know"
William smiled to the king "Don't worry, Lord Tyrian. Once the spell wears
off, the snow will melt and everything will return to normal. We can keep
the fire burning and outlast it!" He put his hand on Lucinda's as he spoke.
"We can entertain each other and have a good time still, even if the guests
have to stay over!"
Lucinda and Erlina looked at each other and nodded in agreement. Victor,
although less amused by the idea, still fancied some more time with them.
Tyrian's head rose. He was grinning. His eyes alight. "Yes! That is a superb
idea! My food chambers are more than stocked for the full twelve days!"
The table went abruptly silent as the latter sentence sunk in. The king's grin
faded slowly. ".. What?"
"Twelve days, your majesty?"
"Yes. Twelve. Certainly there are twelve days of Christmas? Also, please
don't call me 'your majesty' tonight"
"And ... twelve days of snow?"
"No no no!" Lucinda finally spoke up, with a slightly unbelieving tone. "I
have to be home by tomorrow evening. Mom and dad think I'm just staying
over at my friend's and they'll go spare if I don't return in time for
"I can take you home!" Victor summoned the most confident smile he
could manage. William suspected for a moment he was having a seizure. "I
am quite used to travelling in the snow and I have seen a stack of snow
shoes in one of the castle's lesser treasure chambers."
"The otherworld door is half a day's ride away in fair weather" Aurelia
leaned back in her chair and gestured upwards. "In this weather? You won't
The group shared a frown as they sat in contemplation. Erlina flicked a
brussels sprout around her plate with her fork and swore silently to herself.
William had no jests to lighten the mood. Tyrian suddenly lifted his head
from the table, an ornate paper snowflake stuck to his forehead. "The
witches coven! They're based right west of here. We can use the snow
shoes to get to them. Surely they would have no problems reversing the
Five figures, hunched over and dressed in thick furs, hats and more scarves
than wits trekked through the snow. Two humans, a human vampire, a
vampire fairy and a fairy. Aurelia had, as most half cat, full cat or even
quarter cat creatures would, insisted on staying indoors to 'guard the fire' as
she had called it.
Victor, who had boasted of prior experience with snow walked first, but
even he struggled. "Amph mphoom phumm mmhh mmhmmm mm mmhh
hhuumhph hmmphmhph." Erlina mumbled through many layers of scarf.
King Tyrian, second in line turned around and shouted back. "What?"
She freed her face of fabrics. "Are you sure we're even going in the right
direction!? I can't even see the palace behind us anymore!"
"Yes. The village clock tower is directly west of the palace. We are
definitely going in the right direction."
Erlina looked around. "What clock tower!?"
Tyrian pointed at a pointed bit of tiled roof with a bronze spire sticking out
of the snow. Erlina didn't answer.
"This is it!" Most of the snow in the forest had caked on the trees and left
the opening to the witches' cave exposed still. Tyrian made his way past
Victor and hurried to knock on the wooden door in the cave's opening. He
huffed and shuffled where he stood, eager to get into the warmth. The door
creaked open slightly and a high pitched and hoarse female voice sounded
out. "Welcome to Miss Riley and Associates Magic and Spells. Registered
Trademark. If you are here about spells, please state the word "spells". If
you are here to accuse us of witchcraft and burn us on a fire, please sod
"Spells. This is King Tyr..." He was interrupted by the lady.
"You have chosen spells. If you are interested in minor potions, love
potions, lucky charms or similar, please state the words 'minor spells'. If
you are here about poisons, transmogrification, communicating with
otherworldly entities, changing the fabric of reality or imprisoning souls,
please state the words "major spells". If you are here to complain about, or
return and item, spell or potion, please note receipt you received explicitly
states a no-return policy, that we deliver no guarantees, money-backs and
take no responsibility for the effect or lack thereof of anythi..."
Tyrian grabbed the edge of the door and forced it open. The security chain
snapped with a loud crack. The old lady that had received them scurried,
frightened, further into the cave, and hid behind a rock with only her head
and wand in arm visible. "You thieving brutes! Breaking into our esteemed
offices! Walk no further or I will turn you all to newts!" She hissed and
glared at the king as he started towards her. He threw off his hat and
loosened his scarves.
"It is me, King Tyrian! I demand you lay away your wand now and let me
speak!" His voice rung with authority.
"Oh, excuse us muchly, your majesty!" The lady emerged from behind the
rock. "I did not realize it was you. Of course you are always welcome, my
king. Especially after the last purchase you made." The little woman was
dressed very much like you would expect a witch to be dressed.
"A human witch" Lucinda noted.
"Of course a human witch." Said the lady "A magical fairy would simply
be a fairy, would she not?" She produced a crooked smile. "The
environment is much more favourable for witchcraft here in Fairyland.
Follow me! I'll take you to the cauldron chamber to speak with Miss
The cauldron rooms walls were lined with shelves displaying countless
jars with morbid ingredients. Eyes of crows, scales of dragons, a vast
collection hair locks of various princesses, feet of geckos and so on. All
standard witch stuff was present, in addition to a modern till and card
reader on a table near the exit. In the middle of the room stood a big black
cauldron and next to it, the witch known as Miss Riley, warming herself on
the heat it radiated. Miss Riley was another type of witch entirely. Not an
old hag, but a tall, strongly built, yet fair woman. Her attire mimicked
traditional witches, but only as far as general description goes. She wore a
simple, but elegant dark purple velour dress bound up with gilded rope. She
wore a long, deep blue cape of similar fabric that ran nearly to the ground.
Her hat was the same purple as her dress and was of the highest quality
with a golden floral motif. Lucinda, out of old habit, tried to decide
whether she was a beautiful, but wicked witch like the ones who would
often end up playing the part of evil stepmothers, or a modern witch putting
on a show. "Who dares disturb me at this time of... Oh, it's you! King
Tyrian!" Her booming voice faded and her accent changed considerably
upon noticing the king. "Welcome back! What can I do fer yeh this time?
Come back for more spells, eh? Sorry if I scared anyone in yer party. Gotta
put on a show to intimidate, ye know?"
Lucinda's confusion deepened. "We need you to end the spell. The sooner
the better. This is much more snow than I requested"
Miss Riley cocked her head "You asked fer twelve days of winter, no?"
The smaller witch that had led them into the room whispered something in
her ear. They discussed silently for a few seconds before Miss Riley
cleared her throat. "Well, mayhaps we did overdo it a tad. It can be a right
hassle to predict spells here in Fairyland, yeh know? I told you that before
you paid, I did. No money back, even fer you, mister King."
Tyrian rubbed his temples and groaned. Lucinda shot in "We need you to
reverse the spell. We must get rid of his snow."
"No one can get anywhere to do anything and twelve days of this might
very well spell doom for the entire kingdom" added William. "We're lucky
if the plants and animals survive this night alone."
"My, it will be a right scroyble, what you ask. The amount of magic.."
"Scroyble?" Tyrian asked in surprise, interrupting Miss Riley.
"Yes, scroyble! Having he property of being scroybly. To scroyble. To
have scroybled. Read some books. Anyway, yes, the amount of magic we
used to get this mother of a spell in motion, why, it took all the magic we
could muster, it did."
"There must be a way!"
"It would take us days to recover. Don't yeh know how much magic it takes
to move a planet?"
"Wait, what? Move what planet?" The group all looked at each other.
"This very slighty spheroid globe on which yer feet are planted, sillies. How'd yeh
think we managed to make it this cold this fast? Entire bloomin rock, a
few million miles further from the ball of flames ye call the sun."
Tyrian dug his thumbs deeper into his temples in disbelief. "... For the love
of croak, Miss Riley ..."
"Watch it, mister King" She sent him a pointed look and snapped her
fingers in the air. "Unless ye have some mystical snow spell or freeze ray,
you better well not criticize how we do our business!"
"But can we reverse it!?" Tyrian's voice regained some of the authority he
"A right scroibly predicament, it is. There are only some very few of the
specific ingredients powerful enough we can base this spell on, and we
don't have any of them" She counted on her fingers as she went. "Mermaids
comb, phoenix feathers, General Electrics power converter model no. 2342
or tears of a virgin.."
"Wait, that last bit"
"... Tears of a virgin"
"Yes!" Tyrian's face lit up. "We have that! My jester, Will, will volunteer!"
William, clearly startled, attempted a protest as Tyrian grabbed his arm and
dragged him over to the cauldron. "No, w-wait what. No I'm ... what?" He
looked behind him in panic and noticed Victor stifling a laugh. "I m-mean,
I'm not... Wait! No w-what
"Oh, shoot, Will. Would you rather one of our guests shed a tear?" Tyrian
smiled cleverly to him.
"I ... I guess not, b-but.."
Tyrian stopped for a second. "Wait, wouldn't virgin's blood be more
"LORD TYRIAN!!!" Shocking disbelief struck William's face.
"Kidding, kidding!" Tyrian grinned to him. "Now, we just need you to cry
into the cauldron and we'll get this all sorted out."
"But, I can't just cry like that"
"Sure you can! Just think of something sad!"
"Yes, think of that kitten you had that got run over!" Lucinda added. "I
mean, if that would help."
"I suppose, that is quite sad, but I've come to terms with it. Death is just
another part of life. I had some good times with mister Fluffleschmoops"
"Well, you're going to die too one day" Tyrian started. "You humans are
short lived. Just think of all the things still left undone when you die. All
the people you've met here in fairyland. Me, Aurelia, that siren friend of
yours. You'll grow old and tired, and we'll still be young.." His grip on
William's arm loosened and his eyes sunk. "You.. You'll grow old and die
and we'll still have so many years..." His words came to a slow halt.
"Oh, fer cryin' out.. Let me!" Miss Riley grabbed William forcefully with
one hand and slapped his face with the other.
"OW! That hurt!" He was about to stroke his cheek when the next slap hit.
His face grew red, but more out of blunt trauma than emotion.
"Stop!" The room fell silent. It was Lucinda who had shouted. "Let me
try!" She strode over to a line of onions hanging from one of the shelves
and grabbed it.
"Yer gonna hit him with an onion?" Miss Riley was still holding William
tight. "Good idea! Bet it hurts like heck to be hit with an onion."
"No ... Just no." Lucinda walked over to William and the cauldron. She
started peeling the onion, snapping it in pieces and squeezing them in front
of his face. Soon enough, tears started rolling.
"Of course!" Miss Riley slapped her forehead. "Bloomin' genius." She
collected his tears from his cheeks with a spoon. "Five will do. Any more
and we'll burn this globe to a cinder."
"That's some powerful onion." Tyrian wiped his eyes, but the smaller witch
stopped him and collected his as well.
"Ah, tears of true fairy royalty! That will do well for payment"
"Especially when we brought our own ingredients." Tyrian was grinning
William raised an eyebrow as he stroked his sore cheek "... We?"
Tyrian and Will both broke into a chuckle and the rest soon joined in.
The weather had changed for the better even before they returned to the
palace. They were warming themselves in front of the main hall's fireplace
with warm chocolate, chatting about the night's events.
"Here, I tried to give this to you earlier." Victor had scooted over to
Lucinda and gave her the little present from earlier.
Lucinda smiled warmly and accepted. "I'm sorry I don't have anything for
you in return I didn't think.."
"Don't worry about it. It's just a small thing"
She unwrapped it to find a little box. Inside it was a little, pink metal
object. "It's very nice, Thank you very much, but ... what is it?"
He took the object from her, pushed a discreet button and produced a little
blade from a slot on the side of it. "Look. It's a little pocketknife. You can
use it for self-defense and it fits right in your handbag!"
"Oh, um.. Thank you very much." She smiled nervously and gave him a
Suddenly, Tyrian's voice rang loud through the room. "Stop right there!"
William, who had just got up to get a new pack of ice for his cheek stopped
in his track and turned around, confused. "Yes, you!" Tyrian pointed at him
and got up himself.
"What?" William watched him with a confused look as he walked over to
"Stay right there." Tyrian stood next to him now, grinning cleverly.
"What?!" Tyrians grin widened. He pointed upwards. William followed
his fingers and found that there, right above him hung mistletoe. That most
dreaded, yet beloved of all Christmas ornaments. "So that's what you got
before..." His heart sunk.
"Yes, exactly." Tyrian put his arms around his young jester and THEN
NOTHING OF INTEREST HAPPENED.