Late Start [PoC]

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By Sylphier
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Fall had come and gone in what seemed like a flash to Adaire - the harvest season was a busy one at his Inn as farmers and gatherers alike came in to drink and relax after a hard day of work, and as families gathered to celebrate the bounty of the year. It seemed like only yesterday it had been summer, when the days were slow and he could go out and soak up the sun and the nights were long with crowds gathering out of the heat to laugh and drink, or setting up a bonfire in the Inn’s courtyard to gather around with some ale and maybe roast a pig or two. But now the cold hands of winter were closing their grip on Ulfrheim and everyone was talking about Yule. The season of giving had crept up on him, and he found himself completely unprepared as guests began to ask if he was doing any special decorating with the Inn this year, or if there were any holiday parties planned? He assured any who asked that it was coming, yes there would be decorations and parties - but he had done so little planning this year that inside he felt slightly panicked as he promised big things when he had no ideas ready to put into action. The first snowfall of the year had already begun, and he sat behind the bar in his common room staring around and trying desperately to come up with plans. Previous years he had prepared long before it was time to put anything up but for some reason this year it had caught him off guard. The older he got the shorter the years felt, and while he was no old sot just yet neither was he a spring chicken. Despite his feeling of panic, ideas settled in place as he looked around the room. Take this bit from a previous year, put a new spin on this that someone else had done, and yes there was what he needed.

Leaving his hired hands in charge of the Inn, Adaire set off through the village tucked into a wool lined cloak to protect from the cold and the snow. He loved the spirit of the season but he had never really grown to love the winter itself, he much preferred sun and heat to this grey and cold dampness that settled in. Being a central meeting and housing Inn for one of the island’s largest packs, Adaire at least had resources to use for his late planning. Just outside the village limits a small sort of village of it’s own was set up - those not from Hearth might think when they saw it that it was simply a new addition to the village as the cluster of buildings was tucked between the older structures on the edge of Hearth and the river that ran out towards sea. In reality, it was the permanent base of the Hlif-Vindr pack - small for such a big pack but only a fraction of it’s members made their permanent homes here as the majority were nomadic and moved around the island regularly in a gypsy style caravan encampment. Though few knew it, Adaire was a member of the pack despite living in Hearth and running an Inn - in fact, this was one of the most beneficial things to the pack from his membership as he always had new faces come in for a pint or some food and if the right fel presented themselves he could talk with them about joining up.

Now he padded into the cluster of buildings to find the main housing unit for the pack, and was greeted with warmth as the door closed behind him. The fel that was manning the main desk today smiled at him as he dusted snow off his cloak. “Afternoon. It looks like I might need to ask for a little assistance for myself today…” As his packmate tilted her head with curiosity, Adaire laid out his issue about forgetting to prepare for yule. The female gave a small laugh as he finished up with his request and nodded. “Sure, that shouldn’t be hard at all. We’ll have some boughs to you before the night is over.” she assured him. Satisfied, Adaire thanked her and left, huddling back into the hood of his cloak once more. Even though the sun was still out, with the snowfall and the general gloominess of winter it felt like night already as he trudged his way back to the Inn. With the pack gathering some loose boughs of fir to bring him, all he needed to do now was dig out the box of decorations from the attic of the Inn. His steps were quick as he made his way through town, dodging various fels going about their shopping or hurrying home from a day of work. Sooner he could get out of this cold and snow the better, and he had work to do. Reaching the Inn, he entered the common room with a sigh of relief - one hearth on either side of the room crackled with a merry blaze to keep the entire space warmed. He quickly unfastened his cloak and hung it on a peg by the door, nodding to the staff that were working while he was busy with his planning before heading up the stairs to the higher levels of the building. The second story was all guest rooms, half available for rent to the general public and the other half reserved for his packmates to use as needed, so he pushed past the lines of doors to the staircase leading to the third floor.

This was the uppermost full floor of the building, and his living quarters. But in the center of his living area, a small hatch led to an area built into the rafters for storage. Hurriedly moving a step ladder under the hatch, he climbed up and poked his head into the dim interior, fighting back a sneeze at the noseful of dust he received when the hatch door was lifted. Humming thoughtfully to himself, he glanced over boxes and containers scattered in the small space until he found the one he was looking for - overflowing with various fake flowers and tangled strings of lights, it was exactly what he needed to finish off the common room. Carefully pulling the box down from the storage space, he closed the hatch in another flurry of dust and set to work. Down he went to the common room, dragging the box along with him and giving brief friendly nods to the guests he passed without stopping to chat. First untangle the strings of lights - one by one get them laid out and then string them up or set them aside to use with the fir boughs being brought by the pack. He found little metal stars of various metals and sizes that he hung here and there across the ceiling of the common room. Hand crafted poinsettias were placed in bundles on each table, made from various fabrics and dyed red to be shaped after the flower.

As he was hanging strings of tiny bells above the doorways the bell above the entrance chimed to let him know someone was coming in - though he had his assistants working to care for guests he still turned to greet them and was met with a group of his packmates clustering into the room all carrying canvas sacks filled with boughs of pine and fire, and even a few holly ones. “Ah perfect! Perfect!” He exclaimed, stepping down from his step ladder to greet them as they made a pile of the boughs in the center of the room, emptying their carry bags out onto the floor. “Here now, all of you don’t leave yet. Have a seat and I’ll have my servers get you some warm food as thanks for your work.” He said, leading them to one of the larger gathering tables and gesturing for his assistants to come take their orders. As the group settled down at their table he moved off, leaving them in the hands of his servers so he could set to hanging the greenery. Here he wove a few boughs together into a wreath and wrapped it with lights before hanging it on a wall, there he fanned them out on the wall and placed more of his faux flowers amidst the branches. The scents of pine and fir mingled with the heady wood smoke and underlying scents of ale, meat, and spices to wrap the room in a welcoming cloud throughout the room that would make anyone think of yule when they stepped in.

At last he stepped back into the center of the room, eyeing the scattering of pine needles he would need to sweep up after his flurry of decorating before turning in a slow circle to survey his work. Colored lights twinkled from every corner of the room, tiny bells chimed softly when the air stirred them and there were clusters of green and red everywhere in various formations of boughs and faux flowers. Smiling to himself, he stood there for one long moment to appreciate his day’s work. He let out a content sigh and then turned his attention to the pine and fir needles scattered on the floor. Well, they weren’t going to clean themselves - turning his back on the newly decorated common room, he trudged off to get a broom and prepared for a long evening of sweeping. But at last, his Inn felt like it was ready for Yule celebrations. 

Name/Import ImageMentor Adaire 4659
Prompt (The Beginning -or- Internal Instinct): Internal Instinct 
Prompt #: December Prompt - Deck the Halls, Jingle the Bells
Additional Extras: Standalone bonus

Wordcount 1,607
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