Shas'O'T'au Kais'Ka'Eoro'Da'Anuk leaned against the pristine white-grey marble archway above him and watched the sunrise through the viewing port of his hunter cadre's dormitory aboard the ATT Orbital. It seemed like only yesterday he had taken his warriors to the planet below to do battle with the Eldar, and much like that fateful day the cadre dormitory was a bustling hive of activity as the Tau under his command - the finest and truest companions he had ever known - scurried and gathered and chattered amongst themselves throughout the dormitory's various rooms and chambers.
But this was no ordinary day.
Today was Tau'va'Shi'Cyr, the anniversary of the Ethereals' arrival at Fio'Taun, the end of the Mont'au and the dawn of modern Tau civilisation itself. Every Tau'Cyr at the equinox of the Kai'rotta dedicated to the species as a whole, Tau'va'Shi'Cyr was celebrated across the entire Tau Empire as a time of fellowship and community, a celebration of the Greater Good to be filled with acts of charity. It had even been adopted by some of the empire's auxiliary subjects, though many maintained their own festive traditions instead - most notably the Gue'vessa practice of Candlemass.
There could be no mistaking the occasion in the dormitory, which was fully laden with traditional decorations for the holiday. The main chamber was dominated by a sprawling verdant Unity Shrub, liberally covered in baubles, wreaths, streamers, lanterns and other decorations that had been contributed by every member of the cadre - as was tradition. Beneath it, piled like a dragon's treasure hoard, lay a collection of packaged gifts that had been amassed there in the small hours before dawn. Tau'va'Shi'Cyr was traditionally meant to be a time for meditation and reflection on the Greater Good and one's part in it, as well as selfless acts of service, but exchanging gifts had been an informal tradition since well before the Tau developed spaceflight, and was largely an unspoken expectation for all but the most puritan of Tau.
In the dining area awaited a mighty feast, again prepared by the entire cadre working together. The crown jewel of the banquet was a massive Au'taalian festive trifle, layer upon layer of soft sweet sponge swirled with syrup, rich honey-cream and a selection of the finest Au'taalian fruits that could be sourced on the orbital. Da'Anuk cast a longing glance over the dessert, his sweet tooth screaming out at him to tear into it like a Kroot Hound. Next to the food were piled steaming bowls of festive Ky'husa and a massive cooling-box filled with frost-coated vessels of refreshing Ku'Lu'Na soda. These too beckoned Da'Anuk.
The Shas'O thought about the gifts he had given. He wished their recipients enjoyed them. Da'Anuk had spent several Rotaa in the buildup to Tau'va'Shi'Cyr relentlessly scouring catalogues and retail vendors in the station's commerce deck and meticulously researching tastes and preferences, preparing his gifts with all the energy and attention to detail that went into a well-planned Mont'ka offensive. Da'Anuk took great pride in his ability to select particularly choice gifts, and wanted this Tau'Cyr to be no exception. The troops in his cadre were easy - they were his brothers and sisters in arms, comrades he had served with on countless campaigns, and he knew many of them almost better than they knew themselves.
But Da'Anuk's shopping list expanded beyond just his cadre. He had been given the extremely prestigious honour of joining the ATT Orbital's officer corps, and that meant gifts for the rest of the Shas'Ar'Tol command staff. Some of them had been fairly straightforward, but others had been more challenging, and he could only take his best educated guesses and trust his instincts. But then, they had rarely let him down before when needed.
From the corner there began to radiate the thunderous din of Shas'Ui'T'au Ol'Ta as she finished waiting for the boot-up proceedure on her kitted out entertainment rig and started to enjoy in earnest the new interactive virtual game Da'Anuk had given her, some team-based title set on Dal'yth during the Damocles Gulf Crusade. Da'Anuk could spy her transfixed in front of the display, surrounded by her squadron-mates and a mass of snacks and energy drinks. He smiled to himself as he heard her cheers of triumph and the joy of his cadre as they too unravelled their gifts.
Da'Anuk wondered about the final entries on his list of gift recipients, the invisible ones that never visited the station. Of those that were aware of the Farsight Enclaves, the common consensus was that they had prohibited the practice of Tau'va'Shi'Cyr, abandoning it on the pretext of it having grown too commercialised or viewing it as a symbol of the Ethereals. But the Enclave Tau had always come to the aid of the ATT Orbital when it was in peril, and Da'Anuk felt he had fought alongside them enough times now that they too should receive a gift. Besides, whether they practised it or not, receiving something nice might help convince them that they would be welcome should they return to the empire.
Thus had Da'Anuk made the nervous journey to a small unassuming family-run establishment on the station by the name of Kos'ta's, which he had been led to believe had contact with the Enclaves, and discretely left them with a somewhat hefty wrapped package with an attached note explaining it was addressed to the Enclave commander he had fought alongside in several battles on the ATT Orbital, and wished them a happy holiday.
Da'Anuk shifted from the archway and decided to mingle. After all, he had to do something to take his mind off the siren allure of that Au'taalian festive trifle.
Merry Christmas, Merry Yuletide, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes for any other holiday you may practice everyone.
As a holiday gift from myself to the ATT community I introduce Tau'va'Shi'Cyr, a Tau festive holiday I invented over the last couple of weeks. Any of the writers on here are free to play with it. And don't forget to enjoy plenty of refreshing delicious Ku'Lu'Na, the classic carbonated soda beverage of the Tau'va'Shi'Cyr holiday. Ku'Lu'Na - the taste of Tau'va'Shi'Cyr, the taste of the Tau'va!
Now get out there and spend some festive time with your loved ones outside the Internet.