Author's Note: For one of my first stories of 2021 I decided to include all of my friends from Reedsy for fun. This story is dedicated to everyone included in it and all the other amazing authors on the site. It's inspired by Litlover's Marshmallow Pride story since the characters are real people. Also, I was inspired by the show His Dark Materials which I watched recently and loved. Sorry in advance if my description of you isn't accurate. But, anyway, hope you enjoy!
The last day of the year seems to be the best of all, the perfect night for a party. The luminescent full moon shines brightly through the glass dome-shaped ceiling of the ancient stone palace. Casting light throughout the vast, echoing room. The stars sparkle in the night, forming constellations across the sky.
I haven’t seen any of my friends for a while now. Our daring adventures have kept us apart for quite some time now. This year will be different, though. I will finally catch up with old friends, my long-time resolution. For now, me and my lemur, Quinn, are alone. But in a matter of minutes, both people and spirit animals will fill the room.
Quinn’s furry striped tail flicks back and forth eagerly as we prepare for the first guests to arrive. He's looking forward to the party as well, I can feel his excitement as if it is my own. We can communicate without even uttering a single word, through only shared thoughts.
Our souls are infinitely intertwined.
A stomping of boots on the stone patio outside catches our attention, causing us to turn in unison toward the engraved double doors. I set the last vase of glittery flowers in the center of a circular table, then make my way to the door with Quinn close at my heels.
As I push open the two front doors I am greeted by the icy night air. In the distance, two shadowy figures are approaching us. When they reach us, stepping into the light, I recognize them as Kate and Jennie.
For the last year, they have been in the arctic, using their incredible ice manipulation powers to uncover fossils of ancient magical creatures that were hidden in the ice for thousands of years.
Kate’s wavy chestnut-colored hair is pulled back in a loose ponytail. She brushes a few stray curls out of her face as she and Jennie shake the fluffy snow of their heavy jackets and enter the room. Quinn enthusiastically runs over to greet their animals, a swan (Kate’s) and a seal (Jennie’s).
"It's so great to see you!" I shout over the wind, pulling them into a hug.
"It's so great to be somewhere where the temperature isn't permanently stuck in the negatives," Jennie jokes.
I grab their icy hands and pull them toward the fire, excited to be filled in on their discoveries. As we sit around the fire, delightedly catching up on all that has happened during the lengthy time apart, Luke, Mira, and Nainika push open the doors and make their way inside. We hop up to greet them while they join us around the fire that radiates heat across the room.
Luke has a book tucked under his arm, just like always. He is the nicest person and such a sweet friend. But the powerful mind control abilities he possesses make him formidable to his adversaries. His piercing metallic eyes cut through the minds of anyone who threatens this world.
Mira holds a notebook filled with delicate sketches of the mythical beasts she has studied on her travels. She has illustrated numerous books Luke has written; together they teach the world about the magic they have mastered. Their spirit animals, Luke's cardinal-colored fox, and Mira's snowy white fox are inseparable.
We take turns spinning tales of all that we have come across, as we sip hot chocolate with enormous puffy marshmallows floating on top. Nainika’s fierce white tiger sits on the woven rug, drying the snow off its thick fur.
Nainika can communicate with all animals, not just her own spirit animal. She has perfected her ability to speak in the tongue of almost every animal on this planet and has a reputation for being one of the best animal-whisperers of all time.
As we settle in Celeste arrives, dressed in a long flowing purple cloak with her spirit phoenix perched on her shoulder. She walks on her tiptoes, lifting off the ground every once in and while. She has always been light on her feet since she possesses the magical ability of flight.
As we catch up on our newest accomplishments and everything that happened during the time apart, I realize how much I have missed their company.
As we sit around the fire talking, more guests begin to trickle in, filling the room with bright smiles and laughter. Right before dinner, the last of the guests stumble into the party, taking refuge from the snow that is now a blinding barrier of ice.
Abby shows up outside on the back of her midnight-black spirit horse. The mystical creature has a pure white flame on her forehead, like the hottest type of fire.
Isaac and Xander arrive at the palace in a hot air balloon, struggling to land in the ferocious weather. I was so glad when they said they would be able to make it to the party. They have been out exploring the land in the North so I haven't seen them in a while. They manage to get both feet on the ground without any injuries, and their spirit animals follow close by their sides as they walk inside.
Xander’s spirit animal, a cat, immediately curls up on a chair and falls sound asleep in only a matter of minutes. The eagle resting on Isaac’s shoulder floats overhead, excitedly flying in circles with Haripriya’s hawk.
Haripriya is sitting in the corner, playing her violin beautifully. She is a legend in this part of the country. People whisper on the streets that her stunning music could tame any ravenous beast. From the moment the gentle notes flow from her instrument, peace descends on the room.
Suhani accompanies her on the piano, her slender fingers skipping lightly across the keys from octave to octave. Her spirit duck sits on the bench beside her, squawking along to the music.
Felicity provides us with the words to the song. Her soft, angelic voice joining in magnificently with the other two instruments. The words flow out of her mouth and echo throughout the room. Her voice catches people in a trance, making them lose all grip on their surroundings.
As we all sway lightly to the music, a shadow passes overhead, alerting us to the arrival of our last guest. We turn our eyes upward in unison to catch sight of a dragon swooping down from the sky. Its body is the color of flames, and its wings are lined with sparkling jewels.
A few moments later, B and her spirit chinchilla enter the room. She has taken on the tireless job of protecting the endangered magical creatures of this world. Her sanctuary, which is filled with dragons, griffins, and phoenixes, offers refuge to the few remaining animals of each species.
Everyone greets her enthusiastically before sitting down at the large, round tables for dinner. Quinn and I find a seat at a table near Brooke and Megan.
"You wouldn't believe what I saw the other day!" Megan tells us keenly. Her crimson tiger purrs happily, wanting to join in the conversation.
"What was it?" Brooke asks, smiling.
"The lake was completely frozen over, a few inches thick. Perfect for ice skating!" Megan bounces up and down a little in her seat, twirling a lock of teal blue hair around her finger. When we're not busy trying to use our magical powers to protect this world, all of us enjoy joining in on the winter festivities.
"Oh- let's go tomorrow!" Brooke says. She too has brightly colored hair, dark ember with violet tips.
Further down the table Amber and Ugochi's owls happily hop around on the backs of the intricately carved chairs. One owl is a chocolate brown, the other covered in rainbow spots like there has just been paint dumped on it. Both girls sit beside their birds, snacking on the variety of different pies set out.
Amber speaks to Ugochi in a hushed tone. Whenever she speaks people stop to listen, and she listens to them in return. Even the stars pause when she opens her mouth to speak.
Across from them, Emmie is showing Jade and Varsha a code she created. Neither of them is able to guess the combination to the lock based on the riddle she wrote.
Emmie always excelled at fooling even the smartest scholars with her mind games. There hasn't been one person able to outsmart her.
Jade's spirit cat, Banana, sits under their chairs, blissfully napping. Beside his sleeping form, Arawin (Emmie's bluish-silver wolf) nuzzles Varsha's ashy grey wolf.
Every spirit animal in the room has a special connection to not just to their human, but the other animals as well.
After we all finish eating, the room is filled with satisfying chaos as people show off their unique abilities.
Faye skips from place to place, weaving through the shadows. Wisps of her caramel-colored hair flutter through the air behind her. One moment she is standing right in front of you, and the next she is completely invisible. A trick of the light.
It takes years to dominate that specific type of magic. Years until one can disappear as flawlessly as she can.
Sapphire creates glowing, purple forcefields with the help of Amethyst. They crackle and buzz with energy, one purple and the other blue. The girls combine their power to create a humongous, impenetrable shield on one side of the room.
Their identical spirit owls soar above the creation, each with extensive, feathery wings.
Phebe races across the room in her winged sandals. One of the last pairs left on this planet. Her snow leopard bounds behind her, struggling to keep up. There is a blast of air following in her footsteps, as her blurry figure zooms around the room.
As the atmosphere calms slightly a few minutes later- everyone exhausted from using their powers- we crowd around to examine one of the most revolutionary inventions of the year.
Zenny holds up a long slender arrow, the tip coated in a slippery black substance.
"It's called a 'Darkness Arrow'," he tells the crowd, "Try it out."
Ugochi carefully takes the delicate yet deadly object out of his hand. She is a master archer, one of the best in the land except for Zenny himself.
"What is that on the tip of the arrow?" she asks, suspiciously.
"You'll see," he replies vaguely. We all watch the exchange, eager to see what power the new weapon holds.
She slowly notches the arrow on the shiny bow she is never without. Then she pulls back the tip, letting the arrow fly with a snap of elastic string.
Everyone instinctively ducks as the arrow finds its target across the room- an unlucky potted plant. The entire thing vaporizes into the air, along with half of the floor around it, leaving a gaping hole on the edge of the room.
"Okay... looking back, maybe it would have been better to try that outside," Nainika says, laughing. We all stand frozen in place, staring in shock at the place the arrow found its mark.
Only one hour is left until midnight, one hour until we enter a new year full of infinite possibilities.
Only five minutes before midnight, we all sit back on the huge couches, gazing up at the sky through the transparent roof. The fireworks are set to go off exactly at the New Year, which is rapidly approaching.
"What are your plans for the New Year?" Haripriya cheerfully asks the group at random.
"Mira and I are planning on finishing our newest book," Luke says.
B strokes the chinchilla laying in her lap, "I heard there is a rare species of dragons a little ways from here. I'll probably see how they're doing."
"Megan and I are enjoying the winter weather tomorrow," Brooke announces. While the rest of us have gotten tired of the cold long ago, she still finds enjoyment in it.
"I'll see you all soon, though?" I ask the group, hopefully.
"Of course!" Haripriya says, optimistically, "We'll be back for the next party."
We all smile, gazing up at the night sky as the first fireworks burst out of thin air. Thousands of beautiful eruptions shoot in front of our eyes, marking the beginning of the next year. It's both an ending and a new beginning.
This has been the best New Year yet, there is nothing more precious than time spent with good friends.