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by The Government Department of European Home Office. . 352 reads.

Home Office | European Writing Contest 2023

| GOVERNMENT | HOME OFFICE | FOREIGN OFFICE | WA OFFICE | DISPATCHES |
| ABOUT | STAFF | MODERATION COMMITTEE | EVENTS | REPORTS | EDUCATION |

Welcome to the European Writing Contest!
The European Home Office is happy and proud to announce our third official European Writing Contest! As in our previous edition, the contest is open to participants from other regions too so feel free to send your submission even if you are not in Europe!

The Final Showcase is finally here! Take a look!

| GOVERNMENT | HOME OFFICE | FOREIGN OFFICE | WA OFFICE | DISPATCHES |
| ABOUT | STAFF | MODERATION COMMITTEE | EVENTS | REPORTS | EDUCATION |

Welcome to the European Writing Contest 2023 Final Showcase!

The European Home Office is finally ready to present you the European Writing Contest Final Showcase! Here you can see all the works issued and their authors! Lastly, you look at our panel of winners, all selected by our awesome judges! What are your waiting? Let's delve into this fine array of works!

The Showcase

Christmas is a time of joy
When we celebrate with family and friends
We decorate the tree and exchange the gifts
And hope the magic never ends.

Christmas is a time of peace
When we remember those in need
We share our love and spread the cheer
And do some good deeds.

Christmas is a time of hope
When we look forward to a new year
We make some wishes and some plans
And dream of happiness and cheer.

Christmas is a time of fun

When we play in the snow and sing some songs
We make some cookies and drink some hot chocolate
And laugh with the ones we love.

Christmas is a time of light
When we see the stars and candles glow
We admire the beauty and the wonder
And feel the warmth in our hearts.

Christmas Creepy Creek
by X Country

The date was December 24, a dark and lonely night, wolves howling with no sight, hardly any light, yet young Jonathan Brown was out with his friends late at night, down by crocky creek. “I hope I get tons of presents this year,” exclaimed Jonathan, “yeah dude, I can’t wait to get the new PS5,” said one of his friends. Another said, “oh man I really want the new IPhone.” While walking down the dark path, they noticed a mysterious figure, standing out in the open, “um dudes, what is that?” said one of the boys “I don’t know but it looks scary, we should probably get out of here,” said another. Then, out of nowhere, it said, “you boys have been naughty this Christmas, you will only get coal, but if you reject, you’ll get worse than coal.” “Oh pipe it you scrawly no good nothing!” said Jonathan. “Then you will pay the ultimate price!” angrily yelled the figure, and the boys seemingly disappeared.

Back at Jonathan's home, his mother laid on the couch, sobbing that her son hadn’t come home in three hours. “I just don’t know what to do about this, he was supposed to be home a long time ago,” cried his mother. Meanwhile, his father didn't care that Jonathan was gone, as he said, “that boy didn’t know any manners nor being a good person in general, I don’t see why you even got those presents for him.” Jonathan’s mother waited and waited until eventually, the door slowly creaked open, and at the door, was Jonathan.

“J-J-Jonathan, is that really you?” she cried. “Yes mother, it’s me.” he silently said. “Where in the forest have you been?” she yelled. “I was taken, but for good reason” as he explained that to his mother, because he had been taken by the figure to learn the true spirit of christmas, not about the presents, but about sharing the times you have with your family, and giving to others. “So, mother, I have this for you,” as he handed her a small gift, and inside, simply said the words, “I Love You,” “even the small gifts matter, right” and she went up to him, and hugged him tightly, and she quietly whispered, “I love you too, son” And they lived happily ever after, on Christmas day.

In the realm of dreams, where time suspends its course,
A story unfolds, of Christmas, love, and remorse.
Amidst the twinkling stars, in a magical land,
Where Santa's workshop hums, with wonders so grand.

Once upon a twilight, when yuletide approached,
A weary old pine tree, in a forest encroached.
Alas, this tree, with branches worn and brittle,
Whispered a tale, of a love unrequittal.

Its needles, once vibrant, were tinged with despair,
For the tree had longed to become a charming affair.
Year after year, it witnessed children's delight,
As they adorned it with trinkets, shining so bright.

Each ornament represented joy and hearts aglow,
But deep within the tree, an emptiness did grow.
For it longed to feel loved, to have a voice,
To transcend its silent existence, to make a choice.

As the nights grew colder, covering the earth in snow,
A little girl wandered, searching for a glow.
Through the darkened forest, she stumbled upon,
The forlorn tree, with wistful dreams long gone.

Startled, the tree trembled, expecting rejection,
But the little girl approached with pure affection.
She admired its beauty, saw beyond its plight,
And exclaimed, "Oh, dear tree, you shall shine this night!"

Together they conspired, weaving stories of lore,
Making each ornament a storyteller galore.
The tree felt alive, as if dancing with glee,
For it had found a purpose, love's harmony.

Their creation enchanted visitors from near and far,
As the tree's ornaments spoke, like a shimmering star.
Songs of hope, joy, and lessons profound,
Brought cheer and enlightenment all around.

The tree had transformed, through love and care,
Into an emblem of wisdom, beyond compare.
It whispered secrets of life, in every jingling sound,
For within each ornament, a story was found.

And as Christmas arrived, the tree stood shining bright,
Fulfilling its destiny, like a guiding light.
The little girl's love had kindled a flame,
That forever burned within, shaping its name.

In this tale of longing, where dreams are divine,
The message unfolds, like a star's gentle shine.
For even in darkness, when hope is unclear,
Love can ignite the soul, and erase every fear.

So as you gather 'round, this Christmas Eve's delight,
Remember the tree's story, as it shone so bright.
Let love and compassion guide your hearts anew,
May your dreams find purpose, creating miracles true.

Untitled
by Argenmenia

Christmas is a time of miracles,
When a fairy tale comes from the forest.
It becomes light in the soul,
And the hearts are filled with warmth.

It's snowing and it's freezing outside,
But the house is cozy and peaceful.
Children are waiting for gifts under the Christmas tree,
And adults don't mind either.

Bells can be heard ringing outside the window,
It's Santa Claus flying.
He brings gifts for everyone,
To make everyone happy.

Christmas is a celebration of light,
When everything is shining.
May your dreams come true this night,
And everyone will find joy.

Santa's Naughty Elf
by Anzorra

“Khan wanted to ask his parents to play in the snow today. But they wouldn’t let him, they said that “snow was dangerous” and that “it could harm you very badly” but he just wanted to play with the kids, when his mom told him to come, he came and sat down at the table, he did everything the she did! Then his mother called him into the living room to eat dinner.

“Khan, how was your day?” She said, in the same, dull voice she always had

“Good. . . “ Khan was still thinking about the outside,

“Are you excited for Christmas, Khan?” she said, with a glimmer of hope he was interested in what she was saying.

“Yeah, did you see my Christmas list?” he said, hoping she did,

“No, sorry Khan, can you show it to me after dinner?” she said, feeling remorseful,

“Oh. . . that’s fine. . .” Khan’s joy immediately left his soul, his mom didn’t read his Christmas list! He felt disrespected at this moment.

“Hey mom, can I go outside and help dad finish putting up the tree?” Khan whispered, wanting to get away from the table as fast as he could.

“Yes, honey. . .” she spoke as he walked away, into the door,

“Be Careful!” She yelled into the corridor.

It was beautiful out in the suburbs, another beautiful day in Kalish he thought. He went towards his dad, and he said he was told to come help.

“Can you go get me the Christmas star, Khan?” his dad spoke it rushed.

“Yeah,” Khan whispered once again, bored out of his mind,

He got a flashlight and shined it towards the parts door, then, he saw someone in the corner but he, or it, was too tall to be a person. It was wearing a smiling mask, and it had long ears with ripped, tarred jingly clothing. It crept its way inside the house, Khan was shocked at what he saw.

“BUD HURRY!” his dad yelled ghastly,

“OH YEAH!” Khan hurried towards the star and he gave it to his dad in a rush.

Khan went back inside, so did his dad, and he went to bed. He couldn’t sleep, that thing he saw in the garage kept creeping in his mind, evermore so that he got a migraine, he went to go get a snack. Then, he saw what he thought was his dad. He got closer, and gaping jaws were enclosed around his head, he got into a void, a smiling figure strangling him, then, he woke up. It was all a dream.

“Dear Christ. . .” Khan panting out of his mouth, his dream was horrifying, he could actually feel it. Then, when he asked his parents to play in the snow again,

“No, Khan. . .” she told him in a much stern voice than usual.

Khan was not going to take that bull crap. He was lucky that his window was in the front, and he went out front. He crept towards the snow, and decided to make a snowman, one of his dreams. He started building, then he felt something patting his head, he looked behind. It was that thing. Khans heart dropped. He ran as fast as he could through the thick snow, and the monster kept up. He reached a dead end, and he sat down. He looked up at the man, who took off his mask, on the back, there was a charred black face, with a smile slit across his face, he had a Christmas hat on.

Khan was never found.”

That is why, kids, you listen to your parents, especially when your out in the snow, because if you don’t, one of Santa's naughty elf's will catch up to you.

Christmas preparations
by Iceagea

It was christmas time, a time to cosy up at home and watch the snow fall outside. To drink hot chocolate and consume many a marshmallow while watching reruns of the same christmas tv shows, play music that by the end of the month made you question your very sanity and send presents to your loved ones and in one household our young friend Jack was doing exactly that.

Turning the dial on the radio up he sang the words to his favourite Christmas tune, Mariah Careys “All I want for Christmas” he didn’t know all the words but that didn’t matter.

Next he prepared some Hot Chocolate, a cup, some warm milk, some chocolate powder, though he had to make it in secret as his parents would tell him he’d spoil dinner. He went to the kitchen to check on how things were going, his mum was in there. “Hey mum, how’s dinner coming along?”. “Just being prepared” she replied, “I hope you’re hungry!” he was, despite making some hot chocolate.

Going back to his room he turned on the TV, flicking through the channels, “nothing good on yet” he thought. Turning the tv off he moved to the window and looked out, he could see snowflakes, perfect. Just then his father came in. “Dinners ready” he said. As they all sat down his mother spoke “So what have you got up to while waiting for dinner?” Jack beamed “ticking off my Christmas todo list. Look I’ll show you what i’ve done! His mother and father followed Jack to his room.

Jack proudly stood at the doorway gesturing in the direction of his Christmas preparations. A mug of cold dirty water, paper snowflakes on the window, a plastic radio positioned next to his bed and a cardboard box decorated with a sharpie to look like a tv with a Christmas special on.

“Merry Christmas!” he said, hugging his parents. “Oh Jack” His mother replied with a sad smile “Come on now, come have your pizza before it gets cold, we can’t afford to heat it up again” and both Jack and his mum headed to the kitchen. Jacks dad gave one last look at the room and sighed before closing the door with an audible creak.

Sermon
by North Corlien

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we gather here today to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let us take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. It is a time of joy, love, and hope, but it is also a time to remember the sacrifice that was made for us.

The birth of Jesus was a miraculous event, foretold by the prophets and fulfilled in Bethlehem. He came to this world as a humble baby, born in a manger, but he was destined for greatness. He was the promised Messiah, the one who would save us from our sins and bring us eternal life.

As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember the love that God has for us. He sent his only Son to this world to be our Savior, to show us the way to salvation, and to give us hope for the future. Jesus came to this world to bring us peace, to heal our brokenness, and to restore our relationship with God.

Let us also remember the importance of giving during this season. Just as God gave us his Son, we too can give to others in need. We can share our blessings with those who are less fortunate, and we can spread the love of Christ to those around us.

As we celebrate Christmas, let us keep our focus on Jesus. Let us remember his sacrifice, his love, and his grace. Let us share the good news of his birth with others, and let us live our lives in a way that honors him.
May the joy and peace of Christmas be with you all, and may God bless you abundantly in the coming year.
Amen.

A Cabin in the Storm
by Regnum Italiae

A woman was walking in the storm. All around her was only the blinding white of the snow and the wild howling of the wind that was lashing her hairs, red as the sun at sunset. She had no need for a hood nor cloak or winter coat. Her usual light travel clothes, red too and with a large hood, were enough. Her interior fire would have dealt with the cold and her sword with the other dangers. The north of the Kingdom had always been a snowy and gloomy place, especially in winters like this. But never like now, never like since the Disease had put its clutches over those valleys and those lands once full of fields and farms till an eye could see.

Four years before, in fact, a strange disease arose in the East. The Empire was the first to be hit but soon the outbreak spread in neighboring nations and then to the entire Continent. At first it seemed like a common seasonal fever, just a bit more contagious. But then came the truth. After the first few days, the Disease, as it was simply named, evolves into a most severe illness that causes deformity of bones, skin necrosis on the whole body, and severe bleeding that ultimately lead to the painful death of the ill. Even worse, sometimes the infected doesn’t die but regress to a state of aggressive ferality. No more humans and horrendously disfigured, the so-called Krampns, ‘rotten ones’ in Old Tongue, proved to be even more dangerous than the Disease itself. Those that could keep their mind intact became known as Grylas, meaning ‘mother-ogre’, and were the leaders of the packs that began to storm the lands. In less than a year every village and city was isolated from the rest of the world, in the desperate effort to keep the Disease at bay, thus bringing humanity back to that primeval time when communities were small and all alone in the wilds. Magicians and healers found no remedy through their arts. Alchemists, after decades of persecutions and exile, were summoned in every court to try to find a cure. Soldiers tried their best to defend the populace from the ever-growing menace. Humans avoided contact with each other, scared by the Disease, and the distances, once so small, became abyssal separating mother from son and husband from wife. The stench of the corpses fouled the air and the flumes of the bonfires choked the skies. Sacred hymns could be heard everywhere along with the cries of the suffering. At last, all these hopeless efforts were in vain. The reigns fell apart in anarchy and isolation. Packs of Krampns scoured the countryside, ravaging small settlements and lonely farms. The sanctuaries of the Old Gods were forsaken and the Disease stormed all over the world. In winter, it was customary to hold a festival celebrating the old year passing and the new one coming. Presents were exchanged, feasts were held, bonfires were lit, and the children believed a red-dressed old man would visit them to bring coal to the wicked and sweets to the good. No such festivals were anymore, as the Disease was devouring the world. But this was unimportant to her now, she was focused solely on her mission.

The woman saw a cabin emerging airy from the storm. It was a two story wooden building in the old fashioned Northern style. Very usual in rural areas, it was big enough for a farmer and his family. A subtle, weak light came out of the windows. Right in front of the house, what seemed to have been a small field was left in abandon with the scraps of a fence bordering the estate and the almost invisible tracks of a pathway that led to the front porch. A naked, dead, yet imposing old oak tree peered above the pitched roof from behind the house. She lightly stomped her feet on the soil and then kneeled to take a fistfull of dirt in her hands. The wind was still howling all around and the snowfall didn’t rest. She passed the dirt under her nose to taste its smell then raised up and left the dirt flying away carried by the storm. The woman glanced at the cabin then advanced towards the porch. The small wooden steps squeaked under her feet as she approached the door. Above the doorway, a wind chime made of small bells was swinging in the wind, jingling a carol of solitude. She knocked. Once. Twice. Thrice. No one answered. Then, she walked towards the small window that had a view over the porch to peek through the shutters and take a look at the inside. She saw no movements, nor shadows. As the woman turned back at the door, it silently opened. Nobody was behind it and a strange reek exhaled from the softly lightened interiors. She went to cross the entrance and, as she took her final step inside of it, an eldritch gust blew from the deeper recesses of the cabin. The door slammed, closing itself behind her back and all the sources of light died in a whiffle. The woman found herself alone in the darkness and the stench of the hall.

The hut was silent. The only noise that one could hear was the wind howling outside and the din of the wooden walls battered by the storm. She closed her eyes trying to sense what was around her. A solid reek of corpses heavied the air. A dull sound, and then a blow. The being was standing right in front of her. Tall and dark, his limbs were unnaturally long and his face was tremendously distorted. Her sword was thrust deeply in his abdomen. “How did you find me, hag?” said the monster with a raucous and hollow voice.

“I followed your stench” answered the woman while retracting the sword from the monster's belly, and a spurt of pus and blood came out of the wound “I'm here to end you”.

The monster grinded his teeth. “You humans cannot end us. You cannot stop the Disease. I'll kill you. You'll be part of my new pack and, maybe, you'll even carry my offspring”.

The woman's eyes sparkled “Don't worry” she said “I'll reunite you with your last one”. And as she said this she raised her sword and stepped towards the being.

The monster roared and leaped on her, opening wide his long arms. But she was faster and dodged him on the left. As it tried to catch her with his clutches she cut its right arm and then thrusted her sword deep inside its chest piercing through the stiff and gangrenous skin. With a terrible groaning the being fell on the floor and blood and puss started to spring from his wound.

“Was this your house?” asked the woman.

“Maybe…” answered the being with a thread of voice.

“Did you have a family?” she asked while she was enchanting her sword with a nimble movement of the hand.
“M-maybe...” he answered, twitching.

“Is your former self still within you?”, her sword was now softly starting to glimmer red.

“M-m-may.. maybe...”, his voice was now just a hiss.

“Then I hope this will bring you peace” and she said these words she thrusted her sword in the neck of the monster putting him out of his misery. The wound roasted, leaving a smell of burnt coal in the air, and as the woman plucked the sword out of it its gleam quickly faded away. She raised up and went towards what she assumed to be the kitchen. She went close to the table, cleaned her blade with the table cloth, and then put it back in its scabbard. Then, she noticed a small, stained doll in the farest, darkest corner of the kitchen, now that a small amount of light was filtrating between the shutters. She got close to it and threw a biscuit out of her backsack, one of those made for long travels, and left it near the doll. "I wish you peace too" she whispered and then she went to the doorway.

The snow storm was still raging outside. The woman stepped out on the porch, silently and calmly, and then walked down the squeaking steps. As she made a few steps away from the house, she turned back to it, staring at his bleak appearances. Its airily dark shadow was towering above her even though the building itself was only a few metres high. The woman put her right hand close to her face and formed a ring with her thumb and forefinger. As she blew through it, a fire blaze flashed out of her hand and struck the house setting it on fire. Then, she walked away into the storm back to where she belongs. All around her there was only the gleaming red of the snow and the deaf jingle carried by the wind that was lashing her hairs, red as the bonfire that was devouring the cabin.

Winners and Awards

Last but not least, here are our winners! Let's take a moment to thank our awesome judges: Yahlia, Slavatania and New Eestiball! Finally, we want to thank all the authors who have written and submitted the marvellous pieces of writing we have seen! Thank you all :3
But now, here are the winners:

The Award for the Best Short Form goes to...
The Tree by The Rhine and Danube!

The Award for the Best Prose goes to...
A Cabin in the Storm by Regnum Italiae!

Read dispatch

When will it start and when will it finish?
The contest starts on December 5th 2023. Contestants then have 28 days to submit your work until the deadline on January 2nd 2024 24:00 GMT+1. Then, on January 9th 2024 unless any major issues or delays occur, we will release a full showcase of all the submissions and announce the various award winners.

What kind of work do we want?
It can be anything: a poem, a short story, etc; you just have to stick to the theme: CHRISTMAS. Yes, you got it right, we want Christmas stories! Yet, it can be any kind of Christmas story, be it a Horror or a Spy-story. In any case, remember that English is highly recommended. Other language permitted, since it's native language of at least one judge, is German. Don’t worry if you are not very proficient with English, we won’t take grammar into account for the awards.

How can you participate?
Just send your work to Regnum Italiae, either by telegram on NationStates or by email at regnumitaliae@gmail.com, as a text document within the time frame provided. You can use whichever format you prefer, but we think that either a PDF or Word file, or a Google document link may be more convenient and appropriate. Once the submission time is ended, Regnum Italiae will blind and pass the submissions to the judges for evaluation. Remember to specify that the message you are sending is a submission to the writing contest either at the start of the telegram or in the object of the email!

Rules and Requirements
Apart from the theme and language, there are some generals rules to make your work valid for our contest:

  • Keep it PG-13. So that everyone, regardless of age, can read it.

  • Keep it of a reasonable length. Specifically, do not exceed 3000 words, as we need to read all the works we receive in a reasonable timespan.

  • Don’t reveal your authorship. To keep the judges as impartial as possible. If you do, your submission will be invalidated.

  • Don't plagiarise. Obviously, don’t try to copy the work of others.

  • Submit one work only. To be fair to everyone, multiple submissions are not allowed.

Finally, being a resident in Europe or not changes the awards you can win. To be considered a European participant you must either:

  • Have a WA nation in Europe,

  • Have an Order of Europe recognition, or

  • Have an active account on Europe’s Forum (in this case you need to disclose such account and send a message through it to http://www.europe-game.eu/index.php?members/regnum-italiae.2371/).

Judges and Awards
Our super-professional and mega-competent panel of judges is made up of some very well known members of our community:

Our judges will evaluate your submission and select the winners of our various awards such as: Overall Best, Best European Writing, Best Foreign Writing, Most Original Story, Best Character(s), Best Setting, and more!

Help

For any further question, contact either Regnum Italiae or Slavatania, we are here to help you! See you soon!



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