Editor’s note: This is a short work of fiction based in the world of the Guild Wars 2 game. All game assets, place names, and images are the property of their owners. Enjoy, and look for past stories if this is your first stop.
We never had much when I was a kid, but I always loved Wintersday. Mom saved up enough over the year so that we could visit the festival and see all the nobles in their finery. The bell-ringers and carolers were my favorite, and if we were lucky we would be there when someone from the royal council handing out presents. Snow on the cobblestones and rooftops made everything sparkle like jewels in the sun, and all the other children playing was like a flame and I the moth.
We’d run and play, sneaking behind planters to see if we could pelt a guard or two with snowballs. Sometimes we managed to catch one unawares and they’d chase us, giggling and screaming, around the festival grounds until we managed to lose ourselves in the crowd. They always grumbled and shouted, but if you looked real close you’d see a little smile, and a glimmer in their eyes.
It was always a struggle to leave. I would be so cold, my nose runny and my eyes watery, and barely feeling my fingers or toes, but I always wanted just a few more minutes. Mother would relent once or twice, but eventually she’d drag me away to go home. Sometimes the worst part about that was getting back to Selma District and seeing the children who didn’t get to go to the festival. They still had fun in the snow, playing around the decorated buildings, throwing snowballs, and daring each other to nick a piece of candy from one of the market carts. It just wasn’t ever the same.
When I got older I remembered those times, how happy I was during Wintersday, and how there were many children whose mothers didn’t save to take them to the festival. I started taking presents around to the orphanages and poorer areas of Selma’s. Sometimes something as simple as a wooden sword, or patchwork doll was enough to bring light to their little faces.
Some of us get lucky, able to venture out into the world, make a name for ourselves, but we can’t forget home, and the people still there. No matter how rich we get, or how powerful, home is where we came from and it will always be a part of us. I always wonder about my namesake, those generations ago. Did she have a home to go back to? How did she enjoy Wintersaday?