Christmas had changed forever for Clary Bright the year she turned 14, and her Godfather, Uncle Nicholas Meyer, had announced to the family that his nephew Rudy had disappeared without a trace on their trip to Mongolia.
Christmas was simply a time to remember when she lost the boy she had her first crush on, her first love in a sense. But Clary went through it with a smile, like she always did.
Clary had always been in charge of giving out the wreaths her grandmother Clara made every year to the people of the small Austria village she lived in, and that didn't change when Clary visited from her American college for the holiday. "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Steiner."
"And Merry Christmas to you Clarissa, and your family. Tell your Grandparents that I'll be a little late to the party. Last minute presents for the young ones, you see. " Mrs. Steiner replied joyfully, accepting the girl's gift before closing the door against the cold winter weather. Clary nodded and turned on her heels to walk back towards her Grandparent's Austrian home.
After the end of the Second World War and fall of the Third Reich, the Fuchs family immigrated to the United States for a better life, yet their relatives who stayed in Austria willed their home to them and made it possible for the family to meet every other Christmas in the quaint little town of Moser.
The young woman walked up to the window of the toy store her Godfather owned and gazed through the frosted glass in wonder at all the contraptions he had made. Swans swam on a crystal lake and small coupled figurines danced in a magical ballroom as a band played a sweet yuletide melody. Uncle Meyer had always been fascinated with the mechanics of 17th century automatons. "Merry Christmas, Prinzessin." Uncle Meyer greeted from the door to his shop; his accent surfacing like it did when he spoke English.
Uncle Meyer was always in a good mood, smelling of pipe tobacco and cologne, and his presence made Clary smile. "Merry Christmas to you too, Uncle Meyer. We're going to be lighting the Christmas tree soon, so I came over to ask if you wanted to walk back with me." The girl asked. "It will be colder later tonight and we don't want you getting sick on Christmas. That would suck."
"That is very kind of you, my dear." Meyer said, patting the girl on his head and putting hand on her shoulder. "But there is something I must do first. For Rudy." Suddenly, Clary's smile faded until her rosy lips created a thin line, and Meyer knew that face meant tears to come. "I know you miss him too, Prinzessin." The man sighed and looked the girl over. "You know, he reminds me a lot of you, Clarissa. Now, you better be running along, you don't want to keep you parents and grandparents waiting. Then both of us will go to bed without supper."
That made Clary smile a little through the tears that brimmed her eyes, and she nodded. "Bye Uncle Meyer!" She called as she was about to turn around the corner. "Come as soon as you can, okay?"
"Of course my dear!" He called back, waving until the girl disappeared. Taking his pipe from the pocket of his jacket, the Austrian man struck a match and took a few puffs before exhaling, thinking all he while. "Perhaps tonight is the night, my boy…" The man said to himself, and nodded, a tiny bit if gold dust coming off of his hand as he waved it.