Midwinter was silent on the Isle of Myst.
The students knew better than to roam the corridors of the academy after hours, and the Myst themselves, masters of magical ability had retired to their beds. There was a rumour that professor Larkin’s home brew was more potent than expected. The faculty had been defeated by spiced rum and rich helpings of festive fruit cake. The scents of cinnamon, raisins, brown sugar and the bitter tang of alcohol still twisted through the corridors.
Mendlesohn the elf tilted his head back and drew in a lungful of the potent aroma, eyes closed with delight before a slap landed on the back of his ear. He spun around so quickly that his pointed green hat fell off and bounced along the cold stone floor.
Lia glared at him. All nine inches of the elf from pointed hat to toe, filled with barely contained impatience. One hand resting on her left hip, she gestured with fury towards the open door and the enormous evergreen tree behind it.
He stuck his tongue out at her, but before she could thwack him again, scampered towards the hallway. Elves had work to do on midwinter. On his back, Mendlesohn carried a sack three times his size. Confident that her partner wouldn’t be distracted, Lia bounded after him, her own sack bouncing along the corridor as they ran.
The tree was a beauty, coaxed in from snow outside and convinced to settle new roots in a gigantic yellow urn. It stretched far above their heads towards the ceiling, swaying a little with the weight of decorations already thrown upon it. There were garlands of brightly colour paper looped between the boughs. Shortbread biscuits in the shape of stars, flowers and the moon had ribbon threaded through and swung low from the branches.
Stood at the bottom, Mendlesohn watched the faint twinkling of fairies who sat on the branches, staring back with amusement. Lia prodded him in the back and he nodded, there was no time to stare at fairy lights, they had work to do.
The elf opened the worn hessian sack he’d carried across the island and pulled out a small gift. A wooden flute wrapped with a ribbon. He turned it over between his hands examining the name inscribed on the instrument itself. It was then that he bounded, leaping onto one of the long tables that stretched across the room. On either side of the table chairs were set, as though ready for dinner. In the front of each chair was a neatly written name on a piece of parchment.
Mendlesohn whizzed across the tabletop before skidding to a halt. He checked the name on the gift, before examining the name on the parchment. Satisfied that he’d found the correct recipient: Wesley, the elf set the flute down with the smallest thump and sprinted back to his sack at the base of the tree.
The elves rushed back and forth from the tree to the table places, tiny hands always full as they distributed the gifts entrusted to them. Still, the island was silent as their footsteps made barely a whisper as they ran.
Finished at last, with the first grey light appearing on the horizon, they collected their sacks and prepared their retreat. It was Lia that paused on their return to the underground, beckoning Mendlesohn to follow her into a small room with soft chairs and stacks of paper in disarray. On top of a table someone had left a plate with two minute slices of fruitcake and a thimbleful of Larkin’s home-brew balanced in the centre. The elves exchanged a grin. Dawn was approaching, but there was time to celebrate before the magicians awoke.
My response to today’s daily prompt of Meager I just couldn’t resist!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this festive little story from the Isle of Myst! There’s more to come from Myst in the Poisoned well!
Feel free to leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!