Wintersday Concludes, And the Winner is...

The Wintersday challenge has concluded. And yet, as many have noticed, warm weather has not returned. Though the lands in Tyria and Elona haven't yet thawed, those loyal to Dwayna assure me that soon only the mighty Shiverpeak Mountains will be covered in Grenth's white blanket.

The Avatar of Grenth has expressed his satisfaction with the performance of Grenth's supporters during the divine challenge, assuring those loyal to Grenth that they have successfully forestalled the thaw for as long as can be expected. He did, however, grumble that his deity is slightly annoyed at the inevitable return of the warm weather; it seems no amount of support can prevent spring's thaw completely.

Dwayna's loyalists dismiss the avatar's claims of victory as premature rubbish, and have proclaimed their beloved goddess the victor of the annual competition. With spring on the horizon and the snowline undoubtedly receding to its summer refuge high in the mountains, Dwayna's followers steadfastly claim that victory is theirs.

Well, I have been given the honor of announcing this year's victor and putting all the arguments to rest. It does appear that the Avatar of Grenth was correct in his assessment, and his patron deity did indeed emerge the champion, thus delaying the inevitable return of spring. Yes, winter, and the Wintersday Festival activities and decorations shall remain for at least another week in light of Grenth's victory over Dwayna. Citizens will continue to trade their Candy Cane Shards for Candy Cane Weapons or other prizes until the cold climes finally leave the valleys and return to their mountain homes.

Grenth's followers will no doubt rub this victory in the faces of Dwayna's loyalists—just as many of them have rubbed snow in their opponents' mugs in the past. In turn, I suspect Dwayna will return next year with payback on her mind.

In the truest sense, though, no matter the outcome of the god vs. goddess battle, the people who attended this fine celebration were the real winners. Those who now don their Wintersday hat with pride, or wield the red and white splendor of a Candy Cane Weapon, emerged from the event victorious. Whether you sang and danced to celebrate the return of spring with the supporters of Dwayna, or sat like miserable Grenth in the corner with your arms crossed, condemning the inevitable invasion of sunshine and warmth, I trust you enjoyed the festivities, and hope to see you next year!

Random Acts of Kindness

The Wintersday Festival always brings out the best in people. I was truly amazed at the level of good will and kindness I saw this past week, and would like to share a few examples with you.

Prior to the start of the festivities, I noticed a few citizens in a charitable mood. In Frontier Gate, Nurse Niki explained the uses of crafting materials to a recent inductee in the Ascalon army. In Jokanur Diggings, Alcmene Olbida offered a lost traveler directions to the Consulate Docks, while Takohashi Kaito told a fellow Sunspear how to check his current rank. Over in Heroes' Ascent, Katrina Morgan informed a concerned Warrior that his sword was indeed of the highest quality, silencing false claims that more damaging swords could be obtained. Finally, in Abaddon's Gate, Buggs The Wabbit let a Monk know what materials were required to create the much sought after Primeval Armor.

After the celebration began, the good will only increased! In Lions Arch, both Khaemhet Rekhotep and Holy Hotcakes helped a Wintersday attendee find coal to decorate the best snowman of all time. In Beknur Harbor, Arrows Path gave away scores of items, many of them of substantial worth, and X Althenas Tears X offered two termite legs to anyone collecting them.

Many citizens also helped others in their quest to claim all four Wintersday hats. Kate Soulguard and Crazy Spirt Man told someone where to acquire the Stylish Yule Cap, while Mistress Thania aided a citizen who sought the Great Horns of Grenth. Bok Erlocsson, Garrick Trelling, Avy Scott, and Isis Ocitep all kept a watch on the time, informing other citizens when the games would begin. Also in Lion's Arch, Heather Chatham helped a displaced citizen find Lionguard Figo, while X Soul Of Regret X and Srg Spawn let everyone know which deity gave which hat.

In Kamadan, the kindness continued! Holy Deathringer helped enlighten an ill-informed citizen where he could win a Wintersday hat, while Perrrin Aybara explained how to increase one's chances in the Wintersday games of chance. Also, toward the end of the event, Zaron Fuzz gave away a free spear to a Paragon in need, while Souen No Kite gave a Stormbringer and scroll to a novice Elementalist.

Hours after the stroke of midnight, when most had left to seek shelter from the cold, both Ina May and C O D Unknown were at the Great Northern Wall giving away Candy Cane Weapons to the less-experienced fighters of Ascalon. As they handed out the prized wares, they proclaimed we should "spread the cheer." I feel that they, and everyone else named in this missive, have done just that.

On a final note, two dear friends of mine gave birth to a Wintersday baby during the festivities. I extend my congratulations to their lovely family. Best wishes for Bruver Marauder, Sister H E A L, and young Baby Theo. And a Happy Wintersday to all!