Holiday Special: Ashina's Gift of Winter
In the realm of Netherway, at this time of year, many of the lands are lively with their own holiday rituals. They range from lovemaking to slaughter, meditating to revelry, feasting to starving.
But ... if you were to stay at a tavern in the Northern Moonlands, near the city of Portsworth, it would be advisable to bring some catnip with you.
Upon this night, both the Sun and Moon-elves stay up well into the evening, and drink well into their cups. And by well I mean deeply. And by deeply I mean they become horribly drunk.
The elves get to dancing, laughing, spitting, crying, and all the nonsense that accompanies blind intoxication. Let's not lie; you've seen it. But, above all else, they play in the snow.
For it is upon this very night, ages ago, that Ashina gave the first Gift of Winter.
Ashina is the lap cat of the Moon-elven god Afimer, and upon awakening in the midnight, to find her master asleep, felt very playful and took to the clouds, pawing her way through the cosmos with a comet for a tail and starry, agile paws.
Being the cat of a deity has its perks. Because she was forbidden from touching the clouds by Afimer, her master, it felt particularly gratifying to disobey him. They had always enticed her. And as she slunk away, her paws silent upon the skies, the mischief welled in her eyes as she reached the clouds.
And like any good cat, she tore up the rugs. Ashina clawed, and clawed, and scratched, and scratched, until the clouds were in ribbons. The perfect, billowy clouds she shredded became the fodder for stormy winds.
Such is how the first snow fell upon Netherway.
It came down in billowing winds.
It came down in the most silent of airs.
It came down with rain and freshly fallen leaves.
It came in sadness, in love, in regret, melancholy, and joy. In all the spectrums we enjoy.
Such was how the first sign of winter was born. And despite the biting cold, the elves looked up through the fog of their breaths and recognized it for its beauty.
Today, all around the realm, Netherwayans will be celebrating the disobedience of Ashina. They'll be exchanging gifts, drinking and eating profusely, fighting in the snow and creating ice sculptures to honor Afimer's immortal kitten. Many snowballs will be formed, thrown, missed, and caught smack on the cheek, to leave a blazing mark of defeat.
But, it is a tradition to kiss your successful targets. So pick them carefully; Ashina frowns upon those who leave a crimson cheek burning without a careful smooch.
So, my dearest readers. Be grateful. For, on this very twilight, eons ago, that mischievous kitten tore up the clouds just so you could enjoy snow.
To my readers, my companions in adventure, you all inspire me,
Merry Ashina's Night.