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Bobby trudged through the sewers, his boots sloshing around in the putrid sludge. The lantern he carried barely illuminated the path ahead of him. He could feel his nose running.
“Ah, you finally made it! Quickly, we must start at once.”
Orange light revealed Bobby’s new business partner, an older elf named Paul. The Elves of the North all knew the dank sewer system by heart, it was their only passage to the outside world that was free from prying human eyes. Bobby didn’t like Paul, he was an obvious nut, but the coin the man paid was enough to see what the servant was offering.
“What do you want me to do?” Bobby asked. The elf’s ears perked up as his smile revealed ten crusty teeth.
“I’m glad you asked. As you know, we’ve been winning a lot recently. The enslavement we’ve lived through, the scars marring our hands from years of hard labor, the countless number of toys we’ve had to craft day in and day out! All coming to an end.” The elf made grandiose gestures and started to unfurl a crinkled scroll, “The humans thought they could continue to treat us like vermin. The Father thought he could own all of us.” Paul enthusiastically indicated to a hastily drawn map, and started to aggressively wheeze making Bobby uncomfortable. “There. We strike at midnight. Take him out and we have no master. Our kind may live once again free from his tyranny.” Bobby looked at the map and back at the enthusiastic man. Paul’s lazy eye twitched.
“If you wanted someone to fight for you, you should’ve paid a mercenary.” Bobby said.
Paul pulled a disgruntled face and rapidly shook his head, “No, no, no, you see we need you-” He poked a dirty finger at Bobby’s chest, “-to drop off your supply here.” Paul pointed to a picture of the castle’s kitchens. Paul continued, “We need Blackweed. Lots of it. No one in the Elven Resistance has managed to acquire it without getting caught. You’re a smuggler, if you can get it to the kitchens-”
“You want me to help you poison Santa Claus.” Bobby interrupted.
Images of certain death raced through Bobby’s mind. Like most elves, he saw what happened at the last failed rebellion. At the same time, the Resistance grew stronger each day since the “accidental” demise of Mrs. Claus. Getting on the rebellion’s bad side was risky. Bobby knew a couple of places he could lay low for awhile, but the rebellion’s agents huddled in every dingy alleyway, rendering a permanent escape impossible.
The old elf continued, “You help me finish this, and I promise you gold, a high ranking position as my second-in-command, and the unwavering gratitude of all our kind.” Paul’s good eye slowly tilted upwards as he tightly grasped Bobby’s shoulder and rasped, “Now I recognise that this is a difficult decision, but if you truly want to be on the right side of this war, then you’ll start packing for tonight.” Patting Bobby on the back, the elf turned the corner and hobbled out.
Bobby looked down at the map Paul shoved in his hands and stood in the middle of the water. The Resistance was unstable at best, their leader off his rocker and ready to spill as much blood as possible to claim independence for the elves. They would come for him if he refused. Bobby started to drag his feet out of the sewer, the sounds of his splashing echoing off the old cobblestone. He knew some dodgy merchants who would have what Paul was looking for.
The entrance to the kitchens was guarded by two large humans. The sled that held the merchant’s crates that Bobby bought trailed behind him as he approached them. Bobby grasped the rope tightly, hoping the men wouldn’t look inside. He adjusted his wool hat that covered his pointed ears. Bobby knew he could pass for human, he was exceptionally tall for an elf. Bobby often wondered if he had a human mother or father. He was abandoned in a tavern as a baby with no indication of who his parents were except for a pouch full of gold tied around his neck. He still wore it.
“Just need to drop these off.” Bobby gave a polite smile and motioned towards the crates, moving towards the kitchen’s back doors.
The guard gave a toothy grin, “No problem, are you the new assistant?”
“Oh, me? No, I’m just dropping these ingredients off for the chef. They want to start making the feast early to make the Christmas deadline,” Bobby answered.
“Oh they always love to make it a big surprise don’t they…” The guard whined.
“Yes, and the chef would really like the ingredients as soon as possible, so can I enter?” Bobby was growing increasingly nervous, and shuffled his feet in the snow to show his discomfort.
“How about a little peek? It couldn’t hurt to take a look...” The human guard excitedly started to unlatch the crate. By instinct, Bobby dove in to block him. Startled, the guard threw a punch at Bobby’s throat, knocking the wind out of him momentarily. The guard lunged at him, trying to keep the squirming elf down. Bobby gasped for air and elbowed the guard in the ribs repeatedly, accidently knocking his own head on the sled, injuring his eye. Bobby’s head was wrenched up by the other human and an audible gasp was heard as the hat slid off, Bobby’s big ears flopping out.
“An elf!” The human yelled.
Once the other guard found his footing, he grabbed his axe and broke open the crate, Blackweed spilling out onto the snow.
“We have to take this one to The Father.”
A gush of warm air flew at Bobby as the two burly guards hauled him by the arms through the castle, kicking open several heavy doors as they went. Bobby’s wrists were irritated by the rope keeping them tied, and his head still throbbed from the battering he took. His eyesight faded in and out, Bobby prayed that his left eye would stay intact so he wouldn’t end up like Paul. He faintly heard a commotion in the distance, but the ringing in his ears was too loud to focus on it.
As the last wooden door was blasted through, Bobby was pushed down onto the cold stone. He looked around the massive room and saw Paul tied up in front of the throne. It was decorated with bear pelts, reindeer antlers, and tinsel. Lounging on the throne sat a large bearded man dressed in red-stained furs. As he rose up, Bobby was astounded at how tall he was. The man had to be at least eight feet. In his gloved hand, he waved an icicle shaped like a spear that probably weighed as much as Bobby.
“Leave him with me.” The giant bellowed.
“As you wish, Father Christmas.”
As the guards left, Santa started to speak motioning towards Paul, “We found this one sulking around the kitchens waiting for you.” Santa started to chuckle, small “ho ho hos” spilling from his lips. He sauntered towards Paul. Suddenly Santa’s demeanor changed and he started to glower, “Looks like you two were planning quite the assassination. Unfortunately, it looks like your little revolt will have to come to an end.” In one powerful jab, Santa stabbed Paul, impaling his chest with ice.
Bobby could feel his heart beating in his ears. He trembled as Santa started to drag the spear towards him. The Father started to whistle, Silent Night invading Bobby’s ears until it was the only thing he could hear. Time stood still as Bobby watched the massive bloodstained icicle in Santa’s fist start to rise. He braced for impact, closing his eyes waiting for the final blow. A few seconds passed. Bobby hesitantly opened one eye and saw the red menace towering over him in shock.
“Where did you get that pouch?!?!” Santa shouted, quickly pulling up Bobby by the collar.
“Nowhere! I’ve always had it! My parents gave it to me!” Bobby could feel Santa’s piercing gaze on him.
With a savage roar Santa spat, “Stupid boy, I am your father!” In a spectacular rage, the icicle descended on the smuggler. Bobby knew he was definitely done for now, and promptly dropped his head towards the ground once again.
“Oh get over yourself, I’m not going to kill you.” Bobby could feel the sharp instrument graze his flesh, the rope holding his wrists slackening. Bobby could breath again.
“I never wanted to find you.” Santa’s booming voice echoed off the ice-slickened stone. Bobby watched the giant as he walked away and heard the weapon drop to the floor with a loud clang. “It is decided then. You will not be executed.” Bobby wasn’t thinking as he rose up from his knees. The half-blooded elf started to stretch his arms, thankful that he was free. “But your actions can not go unpunished. I will have my guards escort you to the prisons below the castle.” The words brought pictures of death, squalor, and chains to Bobby’s mind. He knew he had a choice to make. With all Bobby’s remaining strength, he picked up the spear and launched it straight into Santa’s back.
With a loud crack, the door to the throne room was thrown open as elves and human guards rushed in. Bobby was startled and turned around with the icicle raised in his hands, ready to strike down anyone who challenged him. The men and elves all stared in horror as their two leaders lay motionless on the floor. An elf woman screamed when she saw what was left of poor Paul. The guards murmured among themselves in bewilderment, wondering what they should do since their ruler fell. Bobby looked down at the two former leaders. The humans and elves tried to save them to no avail. He took a few seconds to reflect, and turning to the crowd he hollered, “My name is Bobby Claus. Now that Paul is dead, I’m the first-in-command to the Elven Rebellion.” Bobby staggered towards the crowd, his left eye bleeding and puffy. “I am the son of Father Christmas, and I have brought this castle to its knees.” Bobby shifted, standing up straighter and taller than ever before. He grasped the icicle in one hand and roared, “Mrs. Claus has been killed. She bore The Father no children. By blood and by conquest, I am the rightful heir and ruler of the North Pole.”