Just a short intro to the Kringle men for your Monday evening. Enjoy!
BAH HUMBUG, thought Nick Kringle as he leaned on the railing, looking down on the merry party underway on the factory floor.
Christmas was still two weeks away, but the season was in full swing, and though Nick knew that throwing the candy factory workers the mother of all Christmas parties was not only expected, but also the nice thing to do, he resented it with every fiber of his being. Part of the problem was that he knew what was riding on them getting all of their orders, regular and magical, out the door on time. The other part of the problem was that Nick Kringle hated Christmas.
He hated the cheer, he hated all the happy laughter and joyous reunions of family and friends.
He hated wrapping paper and ribbons and pine trees and twinkly lights. And eggnog.
Especially fucking eggnog.
The whole holiday baffled him, though Nick had to admit, as he looked down on the workers whirling tipsily around the makeshift dance floor and catching each other under the mistletoe, that he might be biased. He’d been taught from an early age that a cheery smile meant someone was hiding something, friends were likely to stab you in the back, and Christmas was a dark day on the calendar, to be endured instead of celebrated. Growing up, Nick and his brothers had quickly learned to detest the holidays. Not surprising, given that their father was Jack Frost.
Yes, that Jack Frost.
Nick had vague memories of early childhood Christmases, when his flighty elven mother would take the three boys to visit their Kringle cousins. His mother was one of Mrs. Claus’ sisters, and Nick remembered romping with the Kringle girls along with his brothers, Ethan and Jake. But that had been centuries ago. Kringles aged differently than mortals, and those warm memories had mostly disappeared, trampled under decades of bitterness and resentment as the three brothers grew up in the drafty halls of Frost Castle. After a monumental fight with their coldhearted, scheming father, Nick’s mother had been banished to another realm, forced to leave her young sons behind. Nick and his brothers had been too little to really understand it, but since that moment, their lives had been shaped by Jack Frost’s chilly ideology, and they’d grown up cold, calculating, and emotionally stunted.
Jack Frost’s plan was clear – he was grooming his sons to join the family business, working to destroy Christmas and all that it stood for. On paper, it all sounded looked good, clearly villainous and coldhearted. Unfortunately for Jack, his sons had taken after their parents in more ways than one.
Ethan, the eldest, was the most likely candidate to step into their father’s chilly shoes. Calculating, brilliant, and emotionless, Ethan had a head for business and didn’t get discouraged by the trifling little setbacks along the path toward world domination. However, in an ironic twist that infuriated the Master Icicle-Maker, Ethan had also inherited a conscience, a sense of fair play, and that unwillingness to break the rules, the need to win fair and square and not stab an opponent in the back was a serious blow to Frost’s grand scheme.
Jake was the youngest, and Ethan’s polar opposite. Fun-loving, mischief-making, and flighty as a snowflake, he had his father’s ability to live in the moment, but couldn’t be trusted with money, power, or any degree of serious magic. He’d been sowing his wild oats for the last hundred years ago, and the few times Nick had been forced to seek him out, he was usually in the company of a harem of voluptuous snow nymphs or living it up in the seedier magical clubs of the world’s major cities.
This left Nick as his father’s last chance at grooming an heir to take over his chilly empire. Too bad Nick wanted nothing to do with it. He gripped the railing, white-knuckled, watching a group of drunken workers attempt a round of “Deck the Halls,” and remembering the last tumultuous argument he’d had with his father. He didn’t want to ruin Christmas, Nick explained, he didn’t want to spread sadness and squash mirth, he just wanted to be left alone. Nick had no interest in squeezing the life out of the holiday or bringing misery to millions – he just didn’t care one way or the other. His entire adult life, he’d been looking for a way to step out from his father’s shadow, to live an ordinary, unimportant life of quiet, chilly, peaceful solitude. But no. He’d been dragged into scheme after scheme for centuries, always the sidekick, always being forced to inflict distress on perfectly well-meaning humans and elves.
It was such a waste of time.
Nick thought longingly of following in his brother’s footsteps – he should have taken off with Jake when he had the chance. Right now he could be balls deep in more-than-willing snow nymph pussy in the heart of Siberia, without a care in the world. Instead, he’d been too chicken shit to go through with it. When the situation finally came to a head, Nick blew up, and the walls of Frost Castle had trembled with Jack Frost’s fury and dark magic. Recklessly, Nick had declared himself independent – he didn’t need his family, his birthright, or his magic. And so Jack Frost had cast him out.
He’d been dropped in an alley in New York with just the clothes on his back.
Two weeks of living homeless and magic-less was enough to convince Nick that he may have made a serious mistake. Cold, hungry, struggling to deal with the loss of his magic, and generally miserable, he’d finally uncovered one of the hidden North Pole portals around the city. There were wards on it, of course, to protect against dark magic. Luckily, Nick was no longer infused with dark magic, and he’d always been handy at mixing things. A half-hour of heavy petting with a cute witch at a local magical dive bar got him the ingredients for an unlocking potion that he mixed in a discarded bucket in a back alley, fingers frozen to the bone. The wards dissolved like melted butter, and the next morning Nick was stumbling through the portal, feeling something tight cracking in his frozen chest as the cheery lights of North Pole village came into view.