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Out of This World Writing Contest 2020: A_Sammich_Guy's entry

Prompt: Winter Forest!

To most, the forest outside of Dragonsmaw Manor were far from welcoming. Even in the depth of fallen snow, the howls on the horizon and the creaking of the wood shook even the core of Furvilla's best heroes. Nonetheless, many creepies and crawlies opted to call it home.

Arctrix was one such insect.

However, there was a single fear that weighed firmly on the celestial moth's shoulders; that they might give the wrong sort of gift to their uncle, Acheron. They'd only known him since they were a larva, Acheron deciding to move away from Olde Foxbury when they were still young. The eccentricity of Dragonsmaw Manor made Arctric feel at home, but their distance to what happened to be their relative and neighbor disturbed them. Arctrix's New Year resolution was to fix that.

Many hours were spent by Arctrix eying the markets. For Acheron's Snow Festival present, Arctrix was intent on finding something he would like. Though they came across many plants they adored and figured would make good medicines for the doctor, they brushed it off. 'Those are things I want,' they thought.

Should they get him something to eat? Everyone likes to eat. Should they get him new tools? What exactly did doctors use? Landing upon the snow-caked ground on the outskirts of the town, Arctrix's antennae wilted. Their depressed trudge through the snow left tiny footprints in their wake. Wrapping two pairs of arms around themself, they shivered, only finding solace in the view of the full moon. It was by now Arctrix opted to go home. With that, they spread their glittery wings in preparation to take off.

Arctrix was glad they didn't in that second, because of something else in the snow taking off before them. Something white, winged, and shimmering in the pale moonlight. When it approached the celestial moth, the little friend revealed its icy form. And it was perfect.

That very night, Arctrix made their ascent up the hill to their hawkmoth uncle's cottage. There, they held a cooler in one pair and arms and used the others to wrap upon the door. Anxious since their first brief meeting with their uncle, their thoughts raced. Would he be pleased to see them? Surely, they weren't a bother. They had to-

The door creaked open, unveiling the much larger death's-head hawkmoth. His tattered wings are folded against his back as he lowered his gaze to his niece patiently. "Arctrix-"

"Happy Snow Festival, Uncle!" Arctrix presented the cooler to Acheron, a black bow settled on top. Then, Arctrix retracted their arms. "Oh, dear. Was that too soon? Sorry, I am a little- I guess I should-"

"Arctrix. Come inside." Despite Acheron's surprising baritone for his size, his tone is gentle. Arctrix felt. . . strangely comforted. With that, they followed the other moth.

The main room of the cottage is decorated with many bones, herbs, and mystical goods; given the front was used as a curiosities and oddities shop. A fireplace with two large seats sat to the east of the room, welcoming clients in for fortune readings. Having a seat when prompted, Arctrix's concerns washed away. The only one remaining was the presentation of their gift.

Acheron and Arctrix had a fair talk. Discussing their careers over coffee, Acheron gave the image of mild interest to Arctrix. They fret over whether it was just being polite, up until Acheron presented them with a gift of their own.

Their Uncle Acheron, of whom they only know distantly, got them a holiday present, wrapped and everything. It took a moment for it to sink in for Arctrix, even more so when they opened it to reveal a great deal of seeds from Olde Foxbury.

"You. . . you remembered," Arctrix stammered. Ever since they were a larva, botany was their strong suit. Perhaps it was expected of them to become an herbalist to Acheron, that old habits die hard.

"As did you," Acheron replied smoothly. "Arctrix, you did not need to get me anything. The memory is enough-" Shuffling sounded as Arctrix pushed the box closer to Acheron across the table.

"Um, I suppose- I had guessed maybe you were lonely up here. N-Not to pry, but I found something, and I. . ." Arctrix drew a breath. "I thought of you. I thought of us."

The black bow is slipped off deftly with Acheron's claws. Mayhaps a cooler wasn't the best container, but it served its purpose, as it had; a snow moth fluttered out from the cooler and situated itself on the top of Acheron's seat, high over his head for them both to view.

Before Arctrix could find a method to explain, they found a pair of claws taken by Acheron's. The gesture only brought Arctrix to dive for a hug.

The gift was likely ephemeral; snow animals like to return to Tigereye Peak, where they leave behind Lifewater. Yet all Arctrix realized they really needed was the thought itself.[/color][/size]