The winter solstice. A time of darkness and fear, fear that summer will return. The new gods, the christian ones, have tried to put their brand to our celebrations, but we know better, we remember. Whether it is called Christmas or even Hogmanay, we know that the longest night of the year is a time to remember the auld gods, the ancient rituals, and their dark, dark demands.
In the centre of Kingsdown, the "quaint" part of the city there is a tree in the middle of the road. It apparently appeared on the 21st, on the solstice. Some people will view this as quaint local celebration. Some people. Outsiders. New folk.
Those people don't know that Kingsdown always celebrates the auld festivals. They may hide them, make them look pretty, but these community events always come out on the old days: December 21, May 1, and others. In May: the dancing round dressed as a tree, a tree later burned a few miles north. In December, another tree, and perhaps a more discreet burning. Because modern society frowns on human sacrifice. As usual, it's the same people who eat meat but don't like the way animals have to die for it, if we want our daylight back, if we want decent weather, somebody has to pay the price. And in Kingsdown, enough people remember the auld ways, the auld, dark rituals, and the price that we have to pay for everyone's benefit. It's not that these are happy enjoyable events -no, the old gods don't do happy, but they have needs that must be met.