The First Polovian New Year
- The nation of Polove was in trouble, and it didn’t even know it yet.
- The once-destitute country had, in the years past, enjoyed little reason or opportunity to celebrate the coming of a new year. The citizens had struggled to survive the winter, and would rarely leave their homes for something as spurious as a party. Many of them would be huddled in their squalid dens, gnawing at what cold root vegetables they had managed to grow over the course of the year, trying to ignore the explosive rumblings of their discontent stomachs instead of engaging in fruitless pleasure. For those stalwart, slump-shouldered souls, the coming of a new year was met with the same stoic acceptance as the coming of a new day: just because it was new didn’t mean it wouldn’t be just as troublesome as the last one.
- Things were different now, but such was to be expected: Polove was now a demon realm. The change had happened suddenly, as one intrepid researcher had engaged in forbidden studies to lure elemental spirits to the land. Eventually, her efforts had born dark fruit, and as more and more like-minded scholars had contributed their efforts to the project, demonic energy had taken seed in that barren earth. What had sprouted had been a true wonder, as luridly-colored foliage sprang from the yielding earth, and their maddeningly-sweet pollen had been born by playful winds straight into the citizen’s drab dwellings. Their fires had flared to pleasant glows as the citizens had found a chance to relax for the first times in their lives, and within weeks the waves had brought new travelers to a land that none had ever dreamed of visiting. Now, months after that transformation, it truly was the beginning for a new year for the people of Polove, and they embraced it with unrestrained joy, just as they embraced their lovers, changed just as much by the influx of demonic energies.
- This did, however, create a problem. Instead of sullen silence, lustful cries rang out across the countryside. The shops were teeming with goods, but few made the journey to peruse them, too busy enjoying the pleasures to found within their own walls. Even the halls of the royal palace, little more than a manor house for the more prosperous neighboring nations but not at all envious of those prudish domiciles, were filled with lustful cries and satisfied sighs. This was true every day, but New Year’s was on its way, and the citizenry had all agreed that something should be done to mark their changed circumstances. There should be a grand celebration, a new fete for their new fate. It should be something they would all remember, something they would discuss in the panting pauses as they lay in their lovers’ arms between rounds the next day. It needed to be special. And that meant someone had to do something aside from have sex all day, and that was the problem.
- Fortunately, all had cheered, there was someone perfect for this responsibility. The elementalist that had reshaped Polove with her grand ambitions would be the perfect person to be ‘honored’ with this ‘opportunity for renown,’ especially since she was practically the only unmarried person left in the nation. Her inquisitive mind had led her to document the changes in her nation as it had become a new demon realm, and so she had leant her caresses to the parchments before her instead of finding a paramour to share her discoveries with, and by the time she had turned her mind to the carnal, she had found herself without a likely partner. Specifically, every single phallus in the nation seemed to be occupied, and so it was that Saphirette Spherica had saved a nation, only to involuntarily save herself. She was the perfect person to foist this onerous task upon- ah, to save their celebration just as she had saved their nation.
- This, however, meant that she would have to tear herself away from her research, which was the cause of her hardship in the first place. If she would not leave her tomes for sex, she certainly wouldn’t do so because of some party planning – as if she had ever planned a party in her life. As if she had ever been to a party in her life. As if she really understood the benefits of a party as opposed to something more long lasting, like a monument to her accomplishment engraved with her address for any curious handsome young men driven mad by a glimpse of her erection-inducing, yet also intellectually stimulating, beauty. She simply didn’t have time for this nonsense.
- Her elementals did. Not that they had been consulted in this matter. She had foisted the task onto them with a tactless dismissiveness completely unlike that shown by the royals who had done the same to her, who had even taken a pause from their coupling to speak to her about it (The fact that the queen had hidden under the table to pleasure her husband in secret did not, of course, count. Even when he had finished without an attempt at hiding his pleasure-slackened face in the middle of the discussion). Instead, Saphirette had simply ordered them to do it, and had locked them out of her home until it was done. The elementals didn’t really see this as a punishment, but they quickly found themselves bored enough to glance at the book Saphirette had chucked out of her house at them, a compendium of New Year’s traditions. None of them read it, of course; the fire elemental had amused herself by singing the cover, and the air elemental had savored the flapping sounds the pages made, but they at least looked at the pictures.
- Finally, it was the undine that forced them to take the task seriously. Her matronly face furrowed in a frown, she had scolded the other elementals for playing around when they should be thinking. They, of course, ignored her; the gnome had relaxed onto her back and had made flowers sprout between her fingers, while the sylph had flown between the trees until leaves had fallen and been dragged into her path in a dancing train, and the ignis had eyed Saphirette’s firewood with ominous greed. When scolding had failed, the water elemental had finally fallen back onto one of her most used, most useful tactics. “Alright, let’s make it a contest.” This had gotten the other girl’s attention. “Whoever makes the most memorable gift for the celebration wins.”
- “What do we win, hunh?” challenged the ignis, her eyes alight and dancing.
- “Not that it matters to you, hothead,” teased the sylph, sending a chill breeze at her sister’s face.
- “Ohh, is it a man? Can it be a man?” asked the gnome dreamily.
- “Fine, sure. Whoever wins gets to be with our husband – whenever we get one – second after Saphirette,” bubbled the undine. This was always the prize for all of their contests. They had each won that prize several times already. None of them ever bothered to remember that fact, however, so it still served to motivate them.
- And, with hope and dark eagerness in their eyes, each of the elementals immediately spent the next few hours dreaming about what would happen when they won. Satisfied and realizing that they hadn’t actually even started yet, they then got to work, which mostly consisted of sitting and thinking for several more hours. After that, however, and the break to think once more about their inevitable prize, and the short nap, they were finally ready to begin.
- On their own, each of the elementals went into the capitol, searching for things they could do to make the occasion memorable. For each of them, this mostly involved going past all the stalls and looking for ideas to steal, and getting distracted watching the proprietors and their lovers. Polove would be the perfect land for a shoplifter, unless it was a man, or a human woman, or a monster with typical priorities, and so all of the shopkeeps maintained a decent enough profit despite their inattentiveness. Each of the elementals had raided their contractor’s purse for money, which she only spent on quills and parchment anyway, but even with their purloined wealth they found nothing to make the celebration special.
- It was when the undine and gnome found themselves standing at the same stall, watching the owner and his two wives deeply engrossed in each other’s company, that things changed for the better. Realizing, after quite some time spent as voyeurs, each other’s presence, the pair had shared a meaningful glance. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” whispered the undine, covering her liquid face coyly. The gnome hadn’t responded for a moment, smiling placidly, but finally she nodded, pointing generally in the direction of the vocally-pleased ménage à trois. The undine wasn’t certain that the gnome was, indeed, thinking what she was thinking, especially as the earth elemental began to ignore her and watch the trio assume an entirely new and shockingly-inventive positon. “A partnership!” the undine babbled, and moments later the gnome had nodded, still not looking in her direction. Perhaps, in truth, she had just been following the general motion of her entertainment, which for the moment tended towards the vertical. “If we win, we just share our turn,” the undine gushed, pausing for a response, which she took the continued nodding to be. “We do that!” she finally geysered, pointing at the athletic lovers, and this was enough to draw the gnome’s attention. Some minutes later, comprehension dawned on the gnome’s face, much like far northern sunlight in that it arrived late and probably wouldn’t stay around for long. “Come on, I have an idea, and I’m going to need your help,” the undine finally crashed against the gnome’s resistance, noticing the lovers take a pause for a drink. This gave her an idea, and the lull in the action gave her a chance to drag the gnome away from watching. She made it three steps before the lovers began again, and so she had to drag the gnome away, but it would be worth it, she swore.
- Hours later, the ignis and the sylph found themselves in the same situation. The same stall, actually, which featured the same entertainment. New positions, however; the owner was something of a sexual savant, and practice was definitely making inroads toward perfection. Had he ever taken a break to write his ideas down, then he may have, in an alternate timeline, come to be known as a great sage, and he could have started a sexual revolution that would have given birth to a handful of new demon realms. He was happier in his blissful anonymity, however, especially since all that writing would leave his productive hands too busy to do what they were currently doing, which involved the manual dexterity of the greatest of stage magicians.
- “You suck,” snarled the ignis as she noticed her sister beside her.
- “I wish,” sighed the sylph, watching one of the shopkeep’s wives devouring his member with sloppy, loud eagerness. Beside her, the fire elemental nodded and watched as well.
- “Want to team up?” the fire elemental grumbled. “We’ll have more time to watch, that way.”
- “Sounds good,” agreed the wind elemental. She had only come up with the idea of blowing up every skirt in the nation at the same time, and that had started to sound more difficult than it would be worth, despite the fact that the skirt-making industry in Polove had recently doubled its profits, since every woman wanted skirts half as long. Little did she know, that was far more than her sister had come up with. After some time, once the shopkeep and his wives had passed out in puddles of their own making, the sisters grew bored and walked off, but only as far as the next stall, which sold specialty goods from Zipangu. There, they shared devious grins, because they knew they had found just the right gift.
- New Year’s Eve had arrived, and the citizens all gathered at the center of the capitol for the celebration. Well, some of them, at least; many of them would only remember the next day that they had something to attend, and would shrug it off, since they had instead spent the evening with their lovers, and that is what they would want from the next year anyways. Even those who stood around tend to huddle with their significant others, and more than a few exploring hands had slipped furtively past waistbands, but even though many people were doing it the danger of it just made it more exciting anyway. Few of them would have noticed if Saphirette Spherica had failed to appear at all.
- But appear she did, dragged to the town square by the royal guards. The dark matter scholar had, of course, completely forgotten that today was the day, but she had left things in good hands. Well, in hands. Well, in compressed elemental essence in handlike forms. “This had better be good,” suggested the queen irritably, who had gotten dressed for the occasion. Her husband nodded under her; they had saved the guards the trouble of carrying two thrones out to the podium by bringing only one, and having the queen sit in her husband’s lap. She seemed rather impatient, rocking back and forth minutely, and the king was a bit flushed from anxiety, surely.
- “Of course it will be,” Saphirette promised, glaring at her elementals, who stood at attention. “Go ahead, show us what you- we- I have made.”
- Sharing a glance, the undine and the gnome stepped forward. “Our gift,” flowed the undine smoothly, motioning to great casks behind her, “is something to help us forget the troubles of yesteryear. Together, we have taken the demonically-empowered fruits of the earth, and the sweetest of water, and made a great amount of demon wine.” Beside her, the gnome nodded proudly. “This wine is gentle, like a lover’s kiss, but warms the belly and, well, other parts. Drink up, and celebrate by making this night a night to remember!”
- The crowd cheered, and surged forward. It took a long time for the hubbub to die down, and by the time it did, many of the festival-goers carried blushes in their cheeks, at least partially from the alcohol, although largely from the faded inhibitions of their partners.
- Realizing their chance was about to be stolen from them, and wanting to be able to watch the sordid activities erupting in every half-shadowed nook around them, the sylph and the ignis stepped forward as well. “Our gift,” erupted the fire elemental, flaring to life to draw eyes toward her, “is something that will light the way forward into the New Year, so we can see the glow of our new futures!” With a nod, she motioned to her sister, and the sylph stepped forward. With a motion, she created a great updraft, which she was pleased to note flipped a great many skirts. It also catapulted into the air a collection of crates that they had purchased days ago, and a collection of tightly-packed orbs burst from those crates, soaring high into the heavens. The ignis concentrated beside her, and tiny sparks formed in the hearts of those orbs.
- The skies above Polove burst into color as the fireworks detonated. Lovers stared into the sky with wonder, embracing their mates with hope in their hearts and heat in their cheeks, and a ringing in their ears after the majority of the fireworks exploded all at once. Much later, when speech was not immediately followed by “Hunh?”, the inhabitants of Polove would agree that a short, powerful fireworks display was just right for them, because it had all of the beauty, but let them get back home with their lovers all the sooner.
- And so the first New Year in New Polove was a success. Saphirette took all of the credit, of course, and the elementals didn’t care, too busy arguing over who had won the contest. Tomorrow, it wouldn’t matter, inevitably; Saphirette would be lost in her research, and they would make that the prize in their next contest as well. The next year would be like every day since Polove had changed – but they wouldn’t complain. They were happy. The New Year didn’t have to be that ‘new’ for that to be true.
- Still, something was different. “I must say, that was remarkable,” slurred a voice from nearby. Saphirette whirled to see a young man standing nearby, his cheeks flushed from the warmth of the wine. “Forgive my intrusion,” he apologized, bowing. “I have just arrived here, and stayed to witness the celebration, since I am far from my home. I have seen such displays in my home country, but never with such… eagerness.”
- Saphirette looked at him with wide eyes, staring at his handsome face over her glasses. “O-oh, of course.” She drew herself up, taking on a lecturer’s mien despite her pounding heart. “We do things a bit differently here in Polove, since we have a very different culture than other nations.” She smiled at him nervously, clutching the book she had brought from home. “W-would you be interested in a bit of cultural exchange- I mean, a discussion of our differing cultures?”
- The young man nodded, smiling at the idea. “That sounds great. Forgive me, it’s a tad loud here, though…”
- “Of course! My notes are at my home, if you wouldn’t mind accompanying me there…”
- Behind her, the elemental sisters exchanged bright smiles. It seems this boring task might have been worth it after all. They might not really know who had won, but, in the long run, did it matter anyways? They had all had fun, and that was the important part.
- And, who knew? Next time, they might have to come up with a new prize for their contests.