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The year was winding down like the snow falling on Kryta’s golden shores, gently tucking in the city of Lion’s Arch in a white blanket. But the city was not settling down to sleep, rather it is during this time of year that the city is most active. Lights and decorations transmogrified the city into a Wintersday wonderland. The biting cold ignored by the masses as they shifted through the city on their own agenda. Some sought the perfect gift for friends or loves one, while others hunted joy and extinguished merriment where possible. With the names of gods as excuse for behavior, followers sang carols, adults threw snowballs at one another, children played and made snowmen, and all participated one way or another in the holiday season.

All but Preston, who looked over the center of the city for a moment and watched the shifting masses. He had not come to Lion’s Arch to buy presents. Nor had he come to destroy them. He was not here to aid Dwayna in delivering gifts to the children, and he was not here to spread woe in Grenth’s name. He had not visited to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the festive décor. He had no intention of singing songs or throwing snowballs. He had simply wished to excuse himself and have a seat by the old lion overlooking the shore. Unfortunately, he found his favorite sitting spot occupied by some of those carolers of Dwayna singing cheerful tunes.

And so he looked over the center of the city for a moment, before letting out a sigh that, in the cold air, took shape of its own upon escaping his lungs. Turning to find another destination, Preston walked around to the other side of the lion statue only to discover that again the location was already occupied. Though this time not by a group of singing monks, but rather a wrapped box, tied with a ribbon. A present, no doubt sent from Dwayna to brighten someone’s day. But who’s?

Preston walked up to the object obstructing his sitting place and looked down at it. A quick glance around revealed he was alone, save for the carolers on the other side of the statue. Curiosity getting the better of him, Preston prodded the gift with is boot. It budged in reaction, but otherwise refused to reveal its secrets. Reaching down, the shiny paper reflected the glow from Preston’s hands; the aftermath of a night filled with fighting, drinking, and one brother saying to the other “You know what we should do?” Revance was sensible enough not to waste his money on having such an expensive procedure done himself, though senseless enough to help fund his brother’s. However once the hangover had gone, Preston rather liked the look.

Closer investigation showed no sign of a tag, and so the present remained unidentified. Uncertain just what to do, the necromancer leaned against the statue and removed his tinted spectacles, messaging his closed eyes. In the moment of blindness, his ears picked up the sound of something coming his way. He heard it, hopping closer, not the usually metronome of a person’s casual walk crunching the snow beneath. Possibly a Grentch to destroy the gift he thought. Preston placed his glasses back on and looked down as he felt a tug on his pant leg.

A young Krytan girl looked back up at him, holding out the candy cane she had previously been enjoying, as an offer. Preston looked around again for the Grentch, but finding none, concluded it was the sound of the child skipping he had heard. Looking down again the girl spoke.

“You can have this, if it will make you happy.”

“Excuse me?” asked Preston in response.

“You can have this. You didn’t look very happy, so I thought you’d like my candy cane,” she replied. Briefly, Preston simply glared over his spectacles at the child, whom to his confusion simply continue to offer the half eaten sweet. He finally spoke to break the silence.

“That’s disgusting,” he muttered as he sat leaning against the lion statue and turning his gaze from the girl. Though determined to pester the man it seemed, the girl walked over and picked up the present.

“Did you get this for someone?” she asked and she shook it gently near her ear, attempting to guess what was inside by sound.


“Did someone get it for you?” she continued, attempting to judge its contents by weight.


“What do you think is inside?” she persisted, searching every face of the box for the answer.

“Sunshine and fun,” Preston replied fed up with the line of questioning. “Listen kid, why don’t you just-…” he stopped himself, looking at the girl who started to pout. But the silence didn’t allow for apologizes, only allowed a cackling to be heard approaching. The maniacal laughter of a Grentch, whose joy and merriment came from others despair. He hobbled towards the two, intent on destroying the gift for a cheap thrill. The hunched over giddy green gremlin closed the gap quickly on its mission to make the child’s day less bright.

Preston pushed himself quickly from the statue and stood in the Grentch’s path. Crouching down to the Grentch’s level, hands raised like claws and bearing his teeth, Preston snarled animalisticly at the goblinoid, one disciple of Grenth to another. The Grentch fell backwards as its legs tried to retreat against momentum. Fear ridden, it scrambled to its feet and hobbled off.

Watching the creature retreat, Preston relaxed from his primal stance and looked at the girl, who took the candy cane out of her mouth and held it out for him. Again Preston released a sigh which danced momentarily in the cold air.

“That’s disgusting,” he said before taking the candy. He examined it quickly before deciding on a shrug and took a bite.


  1. Qin Li's Avatar
    Very nice vignette. You guys are all good writers!