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Note about the following story: The following story contains stupidity, bad jokes, various liberties taken with Elfquest and legendary characters, possible language, thematic or suggestive situations, death, and indentured servitude. Some may find it offensive, messed up, or unsuitable for the underage reader. I believe that it would have a rating of PG or so, but as I’m not a professional censor (thank goodness, I’d hate that job) I can’t be sure of that. Just trying to give fair warning.

Also, I’d not even consider this AU. The closest thing I can come up with is to take several conventions including Christmas elements, put EQ through a shredder, throw it all in a pot along with some onions and artichoke hearts and boil for four hours over an open flame with a leaking propane tank nearby. I hope you have as much fun reading it a I had writing it…

Fair enough warning?

Oh, and it appears it’s going to be long, but hey, I’ve not written anything in a few months…. You could cut and paste it to your device to read later, or print it out if you wish. That’s a trick I use for some of Tymber’s tales.

Finally, I should note that if I get the images I want in here, it may take a few minutes to load everything. There’s not a lot of pictures, not like the comic strip this intended to be, but there may be a few….

The Plot Thickens, Use Less Corn Starch

There was a knock at the door, barely noticed over the din of hammers, saws, conveyor belts and paint brushes. Santa’s Elves worked tirelessly over the mindbogglingly vast number of toys for the worlds children: Simple wooden toys constructed of the finest grade C pine and coated in the brightest primary colors of lead based paint by the Elvin Union. Treestump had unionized the workers centuries ago when he realized that there were only going to be more and more kids to build toys for each year and they were working for peanuts. His approach at enforcing the Union Code was simple: cave into his demands for better work environment, or you get to choose between a deadly lawsuit and his axe.

Even so, the working conditions had still gotten worse, and it appeared there would be no end in sight. As things sat now, the worlds population had increased exponentially and Treestump figured that about this time next year, with only a month left until Christmas, they’d only be about half done with orders. This year it would be beyond tight to get all the toys made in time for delivery, and it was looking bleaker every day. In recent years overtime had been implemented which had ended up reducing Elves’ private lives to nearly nothing as their pay, meager as it was, had become more important than homelife. The divorce rate had skyrocketed (quite a chore for the Elvin Lawyers as they found ways to break Recognition with Law) and the birth rate had dropped to a mere handful of kids a year, and it seemed that with other factors this meant the workforce would drop to nothing in a few short years. Indeed, Santa had to figure something out quick!

As an added result, the Elvin children were left in the care of a single overworked day care worker, on who’s face could be seen a look of one who has pretty much checked out from life and just hasn’t punched the ticket. This caused the few remaining children to be severely under educated and lacking discipline. They were always causing trouble, searching for things to feed their curiosity and boost their sugar-induced high.

The root of all these issues was the form of pay the Elves received. It seemed they had a bit of a sweet tooth, and had greedily accepted working for Santa for small quantities of boiled sweets and penny candy. Treestump had increased this meager pay scale and added overtime, but the currency was still in candy, feeding the Elves’ addictions. Santa readily accepted this, and even after “begrudgingly” accepting the pay increases and whatnot was still making out fine, as long as the toys got made. As it was, the current crop of Elves were severely overworked by any standards, only able to keep up by way of a perpetual sugar rush. Reality was setting in though, and he was becoming more and more stressed out trying to figure out how he would maintain his sponsoring without an adequate work force pumping out the toys. As it was, most of they year he could be seen working on his beer belly and gin blossoms as he spiraled down into self destruction. If there was only some way to fix all this, perhaps taking on a partner with new ideas?

The knock at the door sounded again. It should have been cause for some excitement as no one had come to visit in centuries, but as the workers generally worked by piece count, a toy for a piece of candy, the poor addicted creatures only focus was to get more of the sweet stuff.

The kids, on the other hand, had little to do and little forcing them to do it. The knock roused their attention and brought them running, perhaps imagining some sort of reverse “trick or treat”.

Ember stood on the shoulders of Suntop to reach the Santa-sized door handle and tugged at the latch. The pair tumbled in a pile as they scrambled to move free from its path as wind blew it open, revealing a figure in dark furs. The figure’s slim outline appeared frail against the unending blizzard raging outside, and it stumbled over the two foot snowdrift that had solidified into a mini glacier over the welcome mat.

The elegant black furs seemed to shed the snow upon the door shutting behind the figure. The fuzzy hood opened to reveal a face that was white as snow against the dark coat, black hair that got lost in it, and pointed ears that snagged the hood and got tangled up in the drawstring. Never had such a tall Elf graced these halls, and the kids eyed her with awe.

“Awwwe,” Suntop started in “you must be cold! Have you been out there long? Did you travel far? Do you have any candy?”

Ember jumped in herself with her own questions. “Where did you find an animal with soft black fur? Your coat is so pretty, do you have another? Did you run into any polar bears? Did you steal any of their soda-pop?”

This prompted the other kids to start in on their own questions and comments, and the tidal wave of prattling hit the fair skinned Elf woman as though Santa and his sleigh had physically slammed into her. She staggered back against the door jamb while the hyperactive Elflings cornered her.

Their voices weren’t usually something that gained much attention in the workshop either. Nobody really paid much attention to them as long as they didn’t climb on the equipment or disturb the work floor, which happened way to often. Somehow, however, Santa seemed to be sober enough at the moment to notice enough of a difference in the kids focus… or perhaps it was that they were actually focused on something for once… and he swayed over to investigate.

He took one look at the calm, slender, feminine form and was smitten. The whole concept of a “Mrs. Claus” was a misnomer, put forth by those that didn’t want to think about a lonely old man fixated on children, handing them candy and toys for no apparent good reason. As such, he was a lonely old man indeed, regardless of his intentions with little children. He nearly fell to his knees and cried at the beauty he perceived.

In actuality, she wasn’t all that bad looking, but other than being tall and thin she was pretty average for an Elf: Perfectly formed features, graceful movements, seemingly delicate features… her presence alone carried an aire of beauty and loveliness that no other creature could muster, and she wasn’t even trying. In fact, she was quite in need of a bath, some alone time, a good comb or brush, and a massage.

Santa’s jaw just hung from his blisteringly red cheeks like a raw, boneless chicken wing. It even kind of jiggled. The newcomer waited for a moment for him to stammer out some pleasantries, but as the moments wore on and the kids started their babbling again, the traveler decided to take matters into her own hands and introduced herself.

“Greetings, Santa. My name is Winnie and I have traveled all this way to meet you.” Sensing that his tolerance of the kid’s yammering was wearing thin and his dislike of their presence matched her own she added: “Perhaps there is something a little more….” She looked at the kids with disgust, “quiet, or private?”

Treestump had come over to see what the commotion was about for lack of anything union to do and he had to give Santa a nudge to snap him out of his stupor… or so he’d thought that was what it would take. The elbow in the thigh had no result or impact on the drool that was starting to form a drip from Santa’s slack jaw. He followed up the jab with a punch, and finally had to slam Santa in the back of the knee with his axe’s handle. This buckled his knee enough to send the towering fattened figure toppling Treestump’s direction, and he didn’t have enough time to get away. Four hundred pounds of ‘merry’ flesh landed on him.

It was hard to say what Winnie thought of all this, but she seemed to be a slight bit bemused by it as Santa regained his feet and ambled over to his chambers with her in tow.