Last year, I entered a Runescape Christmas short story competition. I didn’t win, but it didn’t matter. I enjoyed writing it. So that it’s not lost in the sea of voices, I’m going to tell it to you fine folks so you too may enjoy a quick little story of the holidays.
Happy holidays, and I’ll see y’all next year!
So many a snowfall I had never seen until this one.
…nah, that doesn’t make sense, and my companion didn’t think so either. It showed its resent by dragging one of its foundation claws on the cobblestoned road, staggering my trudged step slightly. I hoisted it higher on my back, muttering an unnecessary apology to the inanimate object. Then I went back to thinking. I needed a good story to tell the children of West Ardougne to give them at least a little happiness this Christmas.
And they would get hope, for this year, things will be different. Those who were able to work had saved up their coins over the entire year and pooled them all together to import at least the basic decorations. Children and families were given the promise of food, drink, a warm stead, and plenty of other things to look forward to. If they could enjoy just one day of their miserable lives, let it be this one.
I swung by to watch the festival on my way back to Falador. My companion had gotten worn and rusty from weeks of work, and it was long due for a fix at the Artisan’s Workshop. We did almost everything together. Not only did we fight monsters, but we also did simpler things like fish, mine, and even cut trees. Pretty amazing how a mighty tree goes down with a well-placed cannonball.
But as I just tried to build a story off of, I had borne witness to an intense snowstorm the night before. So intense that I had to bunker down inside my companion’s barrel with its furnace on, consuming logs until I had nothing but a single piece of magic timber. Took half the day to dig it back out of the snow.
I found my own private section of the West Ardougne wall, with handholds built out of strong, embedded knives. My ascension was quick and decent quicker. Landing up to my waist in snow, I saw the worst has happened.
The town square, where the decorations were coming together and the feast tables set up were under at least three feet of snow. The Christmas tree was fallen and buried, and there was still a faint scent in the air of roasted turkey and pine. The festival got snowed out.
The town was deserted. Barren. Cold. Sad. Everyone was locked up in their homes, huddling by what little fires they had left. The one night a year they could look forward to; swept away by nature’s relentless fury in an unfortunate turn of events.
It wasn’t fair.
I felt a weight pull down on my back. My companion wanted off. No, I whispered, you are too damaged now. If I put you down one more time, that might be it for you.
But the weight got heavier, and I was forced to obey. I set it up. Then I stood there. I watched. I spoke. Ok, I set you up in the middle of the remains of a town festival, so what now? It didn’t speak back. Dwarven multicannons weren’t good conversationalists. Figured I’d be used to that by now.
Not knowing what else to do, I pulled the last magic log out of my pack and placed it in the furnace. A one-handed tinderbox spark later (style points), the furnace exploded into life and the machine started whirring. I felt the wave of heat where I stood and took it in.
That’s all it took. People came out in curiosity. Little children wandered over, awed by the mechanical wonder. I was amazed. I thought the town would’ve been put off by a war machine at their festival, but they were not afraid at all. Here, it was not a cannon.
Like the heat of my companion, the kids too started digging into the melting snow, pulling out old frozen Christmas decorations. For everything they found, they threw it on top of my companion, dressing it up in proper festive colours.
So much stuff happened throughout the night. Everyone gathered around into the heat wave, singing songs and carols. The kids jumped on board and rode the barrel as it spun merrily in circles. Meat and marshmellows salvaged from the now half-melted table were roasted in the furnace. Using its weight and spinning gears, we hoisted the Christmas tree back up out of the snow. I told my story to the kids of the elven lands, and how my cannon and I saved the crystal city from evil.
And as the sun left the sky, we had the finale. We finally salvaged one barrel of fireworks, loaded it up into the cannon’s barrel, and pointed it up to the sky. Pulling the lever together, we all unleashed an incredible burst of colour that lit the night sky. It was simply amazing!
I looked back at my companion, and I froze. It had gone cold; the life from its exploded furnace spent and spread all over the ground in a ring of soot and ash. The final shot did it; everything was broken apart. There was nothing left of my companion but a twisted, mangled wreck of rusted metal covered in half-scorched tinsel and garland.
But there was no mourning. The kids were running around, as happy as can be. Couples stood close together, their eyes dreamily into the sky at the smouldering remnants of the finale. My companion did good today. Perhaps better than it had ever done in its life.
It gave me one more Christmas miracle as I packed up. I was able to gather the remains of my cannon relatively intact. Perhaps with a few solid weeks of hard work and effort, there was a chance I could put it back together once more. It deserved it, for what it had done for everyone here.
With the moon high in the sky, I left the city; my pack as light as my heart.