Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 110,063,541 Issue: 170 | 19th day of Celebrating, Y6
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Merry Christmas, Fj0rd! Signed, Jhudora


by extreme_fj0rd

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"Hey! Yotaria! Yrael, Lyrian, McCandry! Come look at this!"

     My owner's voice drifted up the stairs. I sighed, wondering what it was this time, and slunk out of my room just as Lyrian (a Sketch Kiko), McCandry(currently an Island Bori), and Yotaria(a Disco Kau--she clashes with everything in the house) ran out of their respective rooms. There was a slight traffic jam getting down the stairs, but within a few minutes of Fj0rd's call, we were standing in front of her.

      We stared at the small green... thing... that she was holding. Fj0rd set it on the floor and whispered something. It started to rotate, and at the same time, a faint, tinkling tune came from it.

      "'We Wish You a Merry Christmas?'" Lyrian said disbelievingly.

      "It's a rotating Christmas tree stand!" Fj0rd said proudly. "I picked it up at a rubbage sale, the owner said it was faerie-made and I think it must've been."

      I sighed. "Perhaps it was, but what faerie?" I asked.

      The others ignored me, except for McCandry, who said, "Yrael..." She rolled her eyes.

      "Are we getting a Christmas tree, Fj0rd?" Yotaria asked. Fj0rd grinned at her pets.

      "It's already here," she said. Sure enough, a Kacheek and a Techo were squeezing a large tree through the door. Fj0rd tipped them some Neopoints, and we had a tree and a stand-albeit a rotating, Christmas-carol-singing one. It promised to be an interesting evening.

      It was. We set up the tree with a minimum of hassle and a maximum of "Owch! It's on my foot!". Lyrian and Yotaria went to get the ornaments while the rest of us flopped into chairs and admired the tree... well, perhaps admiring wouldn't be the right word. The tree was too tall, so the top of it was bent against the ceiling, and it was crooked in the stand.

      They came back, and we decorated the tree; then Fj0rd went to make hot chocolate. The doorbell rang.

      "Fox!" Fj0rd screamed, and ran to open the door.

      "You invited Fox?" we said in unison, but it was lost in the chaos. Fox (year_of_the_fox is her username, but that's a bit too long for everyday use) and her pets were yelling, Fj0rd was screaming, and the Christmas tree stand was churning out "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" like there was no tomorrow.

      We settled in with hot cocoa and things got at least slightly quieter. Lyrian, McCandry, Yotaria, and two of Fox's pets, Haru and Lirael, got up and sang along with the tree stand. McCandry was the best, and Yotaria nearly as good; but Lyrian kept getting off-key, and Lirael didn't quite know the tune, and Haru didn't know the words-although possibly the reason for him stopping so many times was muffled laughter.

      The next few hours we enacted a ritual that's been repeated many, many times since the Hannah and the Ice Caves plot came out: the Hannah vs. Thieves debate. Fox is for Hannah, and Fj0rd for the thieves; but Lirael is Fox's pet and likes the thieves better, and McCandry wanted to be on Hannah's side, so it was quite an engaging debate.

      Finally we all just sat and stared at the Christmas tree turning slowly, lights blinking and ornaments swinging.

      We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas-

      Fox turned to Fj0rd. "Um, what's with the singing ghost?" she asked.

      "It's not a ghost, it's a Christmas tree stand!" Fj0rd said.

      "Well, how do you shut it up? You can yell at a ghost. You can't yell at a Christmas tree stand," Fox said, quite logically.

      "You could," said Yotaria, always a stickler for accuracy, "but it probably wouldn't make much difference."

      We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

      Both Fj0rd and Fox turned and glared at her.

      "How do you shut it up?" Fox asked.

      Fj0rd blinked. "Um... well, to turn it on, you say 'Good tidings to you'. But..."

      "But?" we chorused, knowing that this couldn't be anything good.

      "But I don't know what you say to turn it off."

      Into the silence, the Christmas tree stand sang, Good tidings to you, to you and your kin; good tidings of Christmas and a happy New Year.

      "So you don't know how to turn it off," Fox repeated.

      "Correct."

      "You don't know how to turn it off."

      "You already said that, Fox."

      "You don't know how to turn it off?"

      "That's three times, Fox."

      Fox looked angry. I blinked at her. "Well, why don't you go ask the person who sold it to you?" I asked.

      They both looked at me. "There's an idea," Fj0rd said. "Let's all go."

      "It's cold," said Lyrian, for the fifteenth time in three minutes.

      "We noticed," I said grimly.

      "You did?" He looked genuinely surprised. I rolled my eyes. Lyrian can be a bit of a dunderhead at times.

      "We're here!" Fj0rd said happily. We all looked. It was a ramshackle house that looked as if the roof would fall off any minute. All the windows were dark.

      "Somehow, I don't think this will prove profitable," Yotaria muttered. I wholly agreed with her. Nevertheless-or maybe Fj0rd simply didn't hear her; it's hard to tell, with Fj0rd-we tramped up to the door.

      "There's a note!" Fj0rd said. She tore it off and opened it before any of us could tell her that it was impolite to read others' mail. "Dear Fj0rd," she read.

      By now you've discovered my gift to you. Merry Christmas, my less than intelligent friend, and a very Happy New Year with your very own singing Christmas tree stand.

      There was a heavy silence. Lyrian started humming 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'.

      "What's it signed?" Lirael asked. She and Haru are Fox's cleverest pets.

      Fj0rd squinted at the note, and we all crowded to read over her shoulders. "Looks like... Jhudara?"

      "Jhudora!" Fox shrieked, stepping backwards and falling off the porch. We hurried down and collected her; thankfully, she wasn't injured.

      "Jhudora?" Yotaria asked. "Why'd she send us a singing Christmas tree stand?" There was another bit of silence, and she said, "What'd the person who sold you the stand look like, Fj0rd?"

      "Well..." Fj0rd said, "She was rather tall, with dark hair-well, no, it was purple and striped with neon green, I remember because I asked her if it grew that way or not." I rolled my eyes. "She was kind of pale, only her skin was purple, and she had a dark purple dress on."

      "Yep, sounds like Jhudora," Lirael said.

      "Does it?" Lyrian said wonderingly.

      "Yes, it does," Fox said kindly.

      "Ah."

      "So... what're we going to do?" I asked, not expecting an answer.

      "We're going to go ask Jhudora how you turn off the music!" was Fj0rd's response. While we were all still wondering over that, she said, "This way," and started off along the street. We trailed after her.

      When we caught up, she was talking to a Uni. "Yes, there are ten of us. Are there that many on duty?" When the Uni nodded, she said, "It's a shame, that you're made to work on Christmas Eve." She paid the Unis, and they flew towards Faerieland.

      Faerieland was dark; there weren't any Christmas lights up on the houses we saw as we made our way towards Jhudora's Cloud. Fj0rd strode out in front and stepped confidently onto the much-darker cloud that was Jhudora's. We followed, not quite as confidently.

      "Halloooo!" Fj0rd shouted. "Jhudoora!" She spotted a large knocker and swung it against the door.

      Footsteps echoed, and the double doors were dragged back by a couple of sweating, Darigan-painted pets. Fj0rd walked in and we followed in her wake. The middle of the hall was lit with a greenish light that hovered above Jhudora's head. She looked glamorous, despite the bad light and the late hour. Fj0rd smiled quite amiably at Jhudora.

      "Merry Christmas," she said. Fj0rd isn't one to beat around bushes. "What's the words you say to stop the Christmas tree stand from singing?" she asked.

      Jhudora simply glared.

      "Er... hello?" Fj0rd waved. "Yoohoo, Jhudora!"

      Jhudora stirred. "Welcome to my home," she said in a rasping voice. "I see you've been helping my sisters out-and for what? A pathetic handful of Neopoints-"

      "Do you need a cough drop?" Fj0rd said kindly. She rummaged in her pocket and came up with one. She offered it politely to Jhudora.

      Jhudora looked for a moment like she would take the proffered cough drop. Then she slapped it out of Fj0rd's hand. It skittered across the floor and into the darkness.

      "What do you want?" Jhudora said.

      "I'd like to know how to make-" Fj0rd said. But the rest of Fj0rd's pets, all of Fox's, Fox herself, and I had been discussing, and we burst out singing, drowning out the rest of Fj0rd's sentence.

      "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas," we sang. "We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!"

      Fj0rd looked stunned at first, then grinned and joined us in the song. It took twelve recitations of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" before Jhudora snapped.

      "All right, all right! I'll tell you! Just-stop-singing!" she shrieked.

      The song tapered off. "Yes?" Fj0rd said eagerly.

      "Well... the thing is... you can't turn it off," Jhudora said.

      "You what?" I think everyone said that; if someone didn't, I sure didn't notice.

      "I made it so it couldn't."

      We glanced at each other and, without even having to speak, launched into another round of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". Jhudora made a sound like a howl of despair and yelled something. Purple fire sizzled around us, and when we could see again, we were standing in our own living room.

      Fj0rd blinked. "Well, that was certainly entertaining," she said.

      We wish you a merry Christmas, the Christmas tree stand sang. We wish you a...

      It spent Christmas in the garbage can.

The End

 
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