An Asura Family Wintersday

It was lightly snowing at the Asura News Network labs, just a few stone shaped buildings spread throughout a small valley in the Brisband Wildlands. Most of the krewe have left to enjoy Wintersday with their families and friends. Only one building is still lit, with a smokestack lifting into the dusk. An asura girl is sitting in front of a fireplace, lightly decorated with garland and socks. Her navy blue hair is tied into a ponytail, she wears a light grey tank top, flannel pants with a dark and light blue plaid design and is barefoot, with a tub of ice cream in her lap. She shoves a spoon full of the dessert into her mouth before yelling, “Uncle Meltak!” and waits. A few moments later, a slightly older asura comes dashing into the room, almost tripping; his short, burgundy hair a mess, soot covering his face and apron. “What, what’s the problem now Annon?”, he asks her. She turns to her uncle, spoon hanging in her mouth and and states, “I’m out of ice cream”, shaking the carton upside down with her free hand. Meltak palms his forehead, causing some soot to explode outwards and points to a golem in the nearby corner of the room, “Why not have your golem get more for you? I’m very busy trying to cook Winterseve dinner.” Annon points out, “Uncle, you know he is too cumbersome for such delicate tasks. Plus, your cooking is terrible”, she adds with a toothy smile. He groans at her remark.

His niece’s golem, M.E.N.A.C.E., is a brute of machinery designed for guarding her. Its left arm is a massive clamp, with two smaller ones for the right, it has five arcane crystal orbs acting as eyes and a big shark like smile painted on for dramatic effect. ‘The girl has a point’, Meltak thought to himself. “I also wanted to talk to you”, she said after a moment’s pause, staring deeply into her uncle’s burning red eyes. He stares back, past her cyan eyes and into the pure black pupils, trying to read her thoughts. He responds, “What is it you want to talk about?” There is another second of silence before she continues, “I’m worried for Mom, she’s always doing secret missions for the Order, but she was with the fleet when it all came burning down and I don’t know if she’s okay. What if I lost her?” Meltak could see her eyes start to water, so he walked over and sat by the fire with her. They didn’t talk for a few minutes, the only sound came from the cold breeze outside and the crackling of the warm fire.

Eventually, he solemnly said, “You remember the story about your grandparents, lost after the Thaumanova reactor went off, their bodies never recovered. I dropped my position with the Vigil to find them. I organized a krewe, traversed great distances and explored many places; only to find nothing. I don’t know where they are, whether they may be alive, dead or trapped somewhere in between, but I never give up hope.” He nods over to a decorated spruce tree, “I still have their gifts wrapped up from that year, waiting for them to return. If I know your mother, Vrii will have found a way to survive, she loves you too much. Not to mention, she has always despised how much of an influence I am on you!”, he shouts at the end, giving Annon a big hug and shaking her around. She yelps and the two asura have a little laugh, then another thoughtful hug. “Thank you uncle, that makes me feel much better. Can we open presents now, we’re so close to Wintersday!”, Annon pleads. Meltak brings a finger to his mouth in thought and answers, “Alright, but just one, you have to wait tomorrow morning for the rest.” The young asura squeals with joy and hops over to the tree.

Annon dissects every gift around her, trying to determine which to open first. Her uncle takes his time getting up and walking over, dusting himself off as he does. Meltak asks her, “Well, which one is it?”, and waits for a response. She continues processing which to pick before coming to a conclusion and exclaims, “I want you to open one first!” He smiles, “Have it your way, pick it out.” Gleaming back, Annon continues to examine the gifts before coming across one he hadn’t seen before. “Uncle, who’s this from?”, bringing it up for him to see. He takes it from her hands and looks it over; the gift is a small bubblegum pink box, tied with a bow, covered in hearts and Xs and Os. His eyes suddenly dilate and all Meltak could say was, “Oh no.”

The figure of a different asura comes into view, silhouetted by the fire light and a sultry voice says, “Did you miss me?” Meltak couldn’t bare to turn to face the hidden woman, then another of her comes into view in his peripherals and whispers into his ear, “Of course you did.” The asura almost jumped out of his skin and shouts out of shock and fear, “You shouldn’t be here, I have a restraining order!” Yet, a third asura steps into view; her angular features are stunning, sporting a short pink mohawk and matching mesmerizing eyes, “But that little paper doesn’t apply this far out of the city”, grinning. “Aunt Tammi!”, Annon shrieks, running over to greet her. Meltak attempts to push away the copy trying to kiss him and exclaims, “Stop calling her you’re aunt, we never signed the papers, she’s a lunatic.” “Aw, you shouldn’t say such mean things on the eve of Wintersday”, the clone by the fireplace teases, as she encroaches the helpless asura. As he continues to struggle, Annon can’t help but giggle at her uncle’s plight. “There is no way you should have been able to find this place, who told you, Perkins?! I’ll kick that blasted bookah’s rear so sore he won’t be able to sit for a whole season!”, frantically assessing a way out he spots Menace, “Annon, get you golem to powered up, I need help!” She can’t help but snicker, “Sorry Uncle Meltak, he’s recharging, plus you need to enjoy yourself more. You’re on your own.” He stops fighting for a moment, “My own niece, a traitor.” “Don’t forget your present.”, one copy whispers into his ear, then the other continues, “Do you want a hint?” Meltak gulps. In unison they softly speak, “It’s a ring.”

The mesmer clones drag Meltak away, kicking and screaming, while the real Tammi tells the young asura that she’ll bring her uncle back in the morning, though maybe a little worse for wear and heads out. Annon slumps back to the presents, trying to figure out how her uncle’s crazy ex found them and what present to open first. After counting the gifts, she finds something odd, there’s one more than there was earlier. An envelope, red and gold, with the Order of Whispers emblem emblazoned on the front. Curious, she opens it and finds a hand written letter inside.

“Sweet Annon,

My how you have grown, graduating from Synergetics and now in charge of a krewe (we both know you’re uncle’s just the face of it). I regret missing all those times with you, but my work with the Order makes the world a safer place for you to live in and I can still watch from a distance. You think you know so much, but life, like the Eternal Alchemy is always changing. I hope your uncle comes to enjoy his gift this year, don’t tell him I sent Tammi, it’s a secret. Shh. I know all you wanted was to know I’m okay, so this picture is for you. As for me, I was just happy to see you smile again. I love you and I’ll always be here.

With love,

Vrii”

Annon pulled out the picture, it was of her mom sitting atop a dead mordrem, ship wreckage behind her. A smile comes across her face and a tear falls on the photo. Seconds of silence pass, then a barely noticeable gust breezes by; turning her head, Annon could see the now open window and ran for it. Looking outside she could see the distinct footprints of an asura. Either her mom was getting sloppy or she left it as a bonus gift, but it didn’t matter to Annon. Closing the window, the asura went into the kitchen and grabbed a new tub of ice cream, before resting by the fireplace again. It was now midnight and Annon thought to herself, ‘What a merry Wintersday’, before taking a bite.

 


 

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this short story about my crazy asura and their shenanigans. I hope all of you have a merry Christmas (or Wintersday) and a happy new year. Whether you spend it alone or with friends and family, just know someone out there cares about you.

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