With a long sword and a morning star dripping blood and viscera, I hacked and hewed my way through the invading hordes at the Great Christmas Shopping Melee at Mic Mac Mall last evening.
I began my journey with my trusty elven companion at my side, but even with the elder magic of the Deep Woods at his disposal, he was overcome not twenty feet from the front door of The Dreaded Old Navy. I lit his death-pyre there, in front of the Body Shop of Healing and Powerful Scents, speaking the ancient words of power that would send his spirit over the western sea to the Great Court of Food. Then, I made my way forward, though tears streamed from my eyes, blurring the barbarian hordes that flowed like so much avaricious water.
I was on the trail of an artifact of glory, the purportedly mythical Perfect Gift For My Lovely Wife, and my hopes were growing dim.
I tracked down dwarven goldsmiths deep in the bowels of the The Ancient Hudson’s Bay Company, but they drove me off with their kobold soldiers and Blankets of Great Itching.
On I struggled, through many tribulations.
I forced the dark brethren of the Darkest Sect of Winners to their knees, but before they were able to reveal their treasures, a beam of moonlight broke through and the brethren disappeared in a cloud of brimstone and moths.
On I went.
From the confines of The Gap of No Return, I barely escaped from the poison-scaled clutches of the beautiful and bloodcurdling Sirens encamped within. Empty-handed, my quest continued.
Finally, after hours of blood, terror, and death, I found myself in the deepest well of the Mall, cut off from all escape. My sword lay shattered at my feet. I howled from the pain of dozens of wounds which threatened to overcome me. All hope seemed to be lost.
As darkness descended, a deep, honey-toned voice called to me…
“And what do you want for Christmas?”
Looking up, I saw a being out of legends. Tall, stately, with boughs that had never seen the woodsman’s axe. Needles of deepest green. And eyes that had seen the beginning of the world and seemed to look past the very end of time.
It was Woody the Talking Christmas Tree.
Struggling to my feet and preparing myself to meet my doom — for one cannot meet beings of such power and expect to live — I swept an awkward bow and forced my eyes to meet its own. I heard myself speak:
“Oh great and terrible lord, I come from a distant land in search of an item of great power. I hunt for The Perfect Gift For My Lovely Wife. I do this not for myself. Oh no — my greatest desire is to find The Perfect Gift For My Lovely Wife and bestow it — funnily enough — upon My Lovely Wife upon the morn of the twenty-fifth day of this month.
“I am a simple man and do not expect to live after having gazed upon your countenance. All I ask are two boons. I beg of you — send my wife this gift… and send her my bones, so that she may lay them to rest with my ancestors.”
At that, I lowered my head and waited for my doom.
Instead, I felt a great warmth begin within my heart and spread throughout my limbs. I could feel my myriad wounds knitting themselves closed with a burning heat, yet it hurt not at all. And I heard a voice:
“Go, small mortal thing. Your adventures have amused me and taken my mind off my growing Visa bill. Your quest is over. The Perfect Gift For My Lovely Wife is a legend in truth, but I would not have you leave empty-handed…”
Then all was black and I knew no more.
When I awoke, I found myself outside my home. Cheery lights beckoned me.
And in my hand, if not The Perfect Gift For My Lovely Wife — for I now knew it to be a child’s fable and no more — I held a gift sure to make her happy. And I knew… it was enough.
I went in the front door and called out, “Well, I’m back.”