Warm Memories [PoC]
Adaire found himself alone in his Inn, behind the counter of the bar he sat polishing a glass that didn’t really need it, staring out the glass window of the door into the village outside. Hearth was quiet, as was most of Ulfrheim more than likely. Yule had come and gone, and the turning of the year was approaching them steadily. Tonight his Inn, and every other in town, would be filled to the brim with revelers as they waited for the stroke of midnight when the year would officially end and another begin. He had seen enough years himself that the thrill was gone for him, but he enjoyed seeing so many enjoying themselves as he served them drink and food each turn. For now though, most of the village was resting as they waited for night to fall when the celebrations would begin. Idly polishing the glass, Daire let his mind wander as he stared out into the village. Snow had begun to fall - there had been plenty over the past month to coat the island in white powder, but today had been clear so far. He had been so busy with all the yule festivities that happened in Hearth, that he had not really been out in the snow at all yet this season. Now as he waited for the festivities to begin, and the snow began to fall fresh outside he found himself looking back to his first experiences of snow, many years ago when he was a pup as fresh as the snow that fell outside right now.
Adaire had been lucky enough - at least in his opinion - to be whelped in early summer, before the heat truly hit but long past the last grasping fingers of cold and ice. His first few months were spent enjoying the sun and the beauty of everything in bloom as he learned to live and play. When fall began to take over, he was disturbed at first by the color fading from his world and the heat of the day that he had become used to slipped away from him. At the same time, the green fading into vibrant oranges and yellows before it slipped to brown fascinated him, and his young eyes found it beautiful if also sad. His parents explained to him that everything must die off, so it could grow anew next spring and summer stronger than ever, and so when the leaves fell he watched anxiously for the little green buds that would appear when it was all ready to come back. Weeks passed with no sign of new growth and despite his parents assuring him it would be some time yet before the green life he had been born into came back, he woke every morning to run outside first thing and look for his beloved summer warmth and greens, hoping they had returned. Instead, every day grew colder and the grey and dull browns crept over more and more of the world.
Despite the daily disappointment of finding the world still cold and grey, young Adaire continued his routine of waking up every morning and running outside to see if the world had color once more. Fall was fast fading into winter, though he didn’t know it at the time, when one morning he awoke and rushed outside to find quite the opposite of what he had been waiting for - the world was blanketed in a thick coating of white powder, cold on his paw pads, and it still dusted down from the sky in lazy little flakes floating as if they had no cares in the world. Daire let out a scream mostly of horror, but also of shock as he bounded out of his den and landed all four paws deep in the icy blanket. It was not at all a pleasant sensation, and he backpedaled quickly, awkwardly shaking his paws with each step to free them of the snow that tried desperately to cling to his fur. His parents startled awake at his scream and rushed to him, frantic with worry over what had caused him to yell out in such distress. Once he felt his paws touch the bare earth of the den, Daire stumbled backwards a step more and collapsed onto his rump with a whimper. His parents quickly surrounded him, fussing at him to look for injury somewhere but he pushed them away, pointing wordlessly towards the world outside in it’s icy blanket and sniffling sadly.
“The snow? Well, it was bound to come eventually. Darling, this is quite normal. We told you that spring wouldn’t be back for some time yet, and winter always brings at least a little snow.” His mother said, shaking her head as she noticed what he was gesturing at. His father was a little more sympathetic, sitting next to him and gently patting him on the head with a paw. “You’ll get used to it - once you give it a chance you might even like it.” he said gruffly before getting up and going out into the snow. Adaire watched wide eyed as his mother followed, neither adult flinching as they stepped into the freezing white powder. His father turned to face his mother and with a playful grin, he swiped his paw into the snow and launched a clump of the stuff at her face. Instead of outrage or even annoyance as Daire had expected, his mother turned so it collided with her neck instead and laughed, swatting a pawful right back at Daire’s father. He sat and watched from the safety and warmth of the den as his parents continued to play and frolic in the snow as if they were the pups, and he the adult. Were they crazy? That stuff was cold! It would get all clumped up between their paw pads and soak through their pelts! But they did look like they were having fun… and it was no fun just sitting here, even if he was warm and dry.
Feeling left out as they continued to play without him, he carefully stretched one paw forward and dipped it into the snow in the den entrance, shuddering as the cold seeped into him from that small touch. Determined not to miss out on fun because of this, he clenched his teeth and kept his paw there, slowly inching it more and more into the snow. Then he was standing up and reaching forward with the other paw, once more feeling shivers take his whole small body as the snow closed over his foot. Clenching his teeth, Daire took one determined step after another out into the snow. His paws felt like they were going numb, but on he went towards his parents. As he drew closer, the pair stopped and watched their small son slowly, awkwardly step through the snow towards them. At least he stopped between the two, shivering but determined. If this stuff was going to stand between him and summer, he might as well make the most of it. Adaire glanced from his mother to his father, and without any warning his little paw struck out and kicked a clump of snow right up to smack into his father’s nose. For a long moment after the snow connected with his father’s face, both his father and mother stared at him in shocked silence. Then with a deep laugh his father was bounding towards Adaire, sending snow flying right back at his son and Daire’s mother was laughing so hard she failed to notice the avalanche of snow that both Daire and his father sent flying towards her, knocking into her hard and sending her sprawling on the snowy ground still laughing.
A sudden tinkling ring broke through the haze of memories that Adaire had let settled over him, and he blinked furiously as he looked around the quiet interior of his Inn. Ah yes, he was no longer a pup frolicing in his first snow - that was many years gone now, just a memory he had let take hold while his Inn was barren of patrons. But the bell had signaled someone opening the door, and as he came back to himself he watched as a small group made their way in chatting among themselves excitedly. Evening was approaching, and guests would start to make their way here for food and drink as they awaited the turn of the year. Adaire had work to do, so he left that innocent little pup behind and stepped out into his common room to greet the guests with a smile. “Good evening folks - come on in out of the cold now! Shall I find you a table?”