(As it’s the holiday season, I’m writing stories celebrating winter holidays in several of my worlds. This is the world of Into the Flames/Return to the Flames. Eire and Alena are the parents of my MC in both of those stories, and here’s when my MC is a little girl.)
Eire looked out at the frost covered ground. There was no snow on Sorus. That was something he missed about being on Bouarus. Winter had been his favorite season. The sports that came with the ever present frozen water that came in the coldest months were one of the things he truly enjoyed, and not having access to them out here was difficult.
“You’re brooding, Eire,” Alena said, coming over next to him. “What’s wrong?”
Eire smiled fondly at his wife. The two of them had already been married for a few years, but it still felt like they were on their honeymoon. “I was just missing the winters I grew up with,” he said. “I loved snow sports and there aren’t any here.”
“I haven’t seen snow in years,” Alena said. “Not since we moved off Icrtara. Sometimes I miss it too.”
“Mama, pick me up?” Phelix, Eire’s four year old son, ran towards his parents. He tripped and fell. He was stunned for a moment and then began to howl.
Alena sighed. “Phelix, you’re okay,” she said, walking over and scooping her four year old son. “Was there something you want?”
Eire and Alena laughed. “Tomorrow, bratling,” Eire said. “You have to be patient.”
“Are we going to decorate?” Phelix asked.
“After dinner,” Alena said. “We’ll all help make the house look pretty.” Phelix squealed happily and then squirmed to be put down. Alena set him back on the floor and he took off running, most likely heading for his room to tell his twin sister the news.
“Are your parents coming for the disemboweling of the gifts?” Eire asked.
“Eire, that’s a horrible way to put it,” Alena asked, still laughing. “Though rather appropriate, given Keoni and Phelix’s way of opening their packages. Yes, they said they’d be here at 0830.”
“Then we’ll have to keep the bratlings entertained until they get here. You know they’ll be up long before that,” Eire said.
“I picked up three holiday e-vids for them. Hopefully those will be enough to hold their attention,” Alena said. She glanced at the time. “I need to go start dinner.”
“Do you want some help?”
“No, I can manage. Why don’t you go see what kind of mischief the three of them are getting into?”
Eire laughed as he headed upstairs. He loved his children. Keoni, an active six year old, took a great deal of pleasure in tormenting his younger siblings, though it was all in fun. Phelix was a loving little boy who adored his twin sister and idolized his brother. Fiera, Phelix’s twin sister, was a feisty little thing who often had fits of temper as wild as anything Eire had ever seen. But she was also a sweet and loving little girl, and to be honest, she was Eire’s favorite out of the three.
Eire got upstairs and poked his head into Keoni’s room. His oldest was quietly building a model of a solar wind passenger liner. It was one of his birthday gifts from earlier in the year, given to him by his grandparents. He’d been working on building it for several months and was making real progress on it.
Keoni looked up and grinned. “Phelix already told me when we’re decorating.”
“Dinner should be ready soon,” Eire said.
“Okay.” Keoni went back to work.
Eire went to the twins’ room. The twins were sitting on the bottom bunk, Fiera’s bed, and were holding a pad between them. Fiera was reading slowly, sounding out words she didn’t recognize. Eire realized that she was telling Phelix the story of Winterklaas. He listened for a moment as she stumbled over some of the longer words as she explained about the earliest settlers in the Duyelia sector and how they’d been eager to celebrate their first winter on their new world. A huge party had been thrown, even though the planet was covered in snow, and all the children were given lots of presents. Eire choked back his laughter. That part was definitely added by his daughter. He didn’t want to disturb them just yet, and continued listening.
“Fiera, what do you want for Winterklaas?” Phelix asked.
“Presents,” Fiera said. “I don’t know what I want exactly. I just want presents.”
“Me too,” Phelix said. “But I do want one thing.”
“What’s that?” Fiera asked.
“A harvester,” Phelix said. “A little one, like what Keoni has.”
“The one he won’t let you play with?” Fiera asked. Phelix nodded. “Maybe Mama and Dada got one for you.”
“I hope so.”
“So, are you two ready for tomorrow?” Eire said, stepping into the room. The pad went onto the bed and Fiera threw herself into her father’s arms. Eire scooped her up and kissed her on the cheek. “Mama is cooking dinner now. Gma and Gpa are coming in the morning to see you open presents. So I hope you’re all excited.”
“Uh huh,” Fiera said. “I like presents.”
“I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t like gifts,” Eire said. “Dinner should be ready soon. Are you hungry?”
Phelix nodded. “My tummy is rumbling.”
Eire laughed. “Then it’s definitely time for food. You two go ahead and keep playing until it’s time to eat. We’ll come and get you.” He set Fiera down, ruffled Phelix’s hair, and left the room.