*Vienna, Austria - 1892*
*It's a cold winter eve on the lonely streets. One such structure, a disheveled looking building right in the middle of the town, stands out amongst the town with it's eerie appearance. Through the frost-covered windows, we enter a dimly lit room, illuminated by the pale moon light. Walking across the light, a shadowy figure looms through the darkness. Pacing the floor is at most an unusual old man with a look of depression on his face. Course one could hardly read his expression, as most of his face was covered by his long white hair. Lifting his hair back reveals an eye patch over his right eye, though how that happened he'd never tell and nobody knew. One would never guess that such an old fellow like this one is a famous clock-maker and magician, especially at the prime of his youth. This was the man known by many as Herr Drosselmeyer. On this evening, Drosselmeyer was up and about putting the finishing touch on his latest creation: A Toy Castle, the biggest he had ever built in his life. As Drosselmeyer works, he seems to be talking to someone when really he was talking to himself*
Drosselmeyer: Oh yes, it won't be long now. *adjusts a window* It's taken so many years, but soon… It will all be worth it.
*Wiping his brow with a loose handkerchief, he turns to his desk to a closed picture frame. He takes the frame off the desk and opens it. Inside was a picture of a young girl, about twelve or thirteen years old*
Drosselmeyer: Oh, Marie, you're just as beautiful as the day you were born. Tonight is the night… I can feel it. Soon, my dear, you will take part in the greatest experience of our lives.
*Drosselmeyer then reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a small locket. He pushes a switch and the locket opens. He stares at a picture inside as a beautiful melodious tune echoes throughout the room. Only he sees the picture and no one else*
Drosselmeyer: And reunite me with the ones I love, so that we shall be together again… *looks over at a small box on the table next to the toy castle* All three of us.
*Drosselmeyer closes the locket and puts it back in his coat pocket. He then puts the picture of the young girl called Marie back on top the desk with great care. A candle loses it's light and Drosselmeyer relights it with a spare match in his pocket. As Drosselmeyer goes back to work, the light illuminates the room to reveal a whole bunch of pictures covering the entire room. Ceilings, walls, the floor, even bits of furniture, all covered by the exact same picture of Marie. The face from some point in the past, a strong obsession over such a sweet child. And all through that night, Drosselmeyer continues to work. For come that night, something big was about to happen… Something, very big*
*December 24th - Christmas Eve*
*The town is all decked out for the holidays, the Christmas spirit flowing like the cool winter breeze. At this time, Vienna is a winter wonderland, snowflakes falling from the sky and landing onto the ground, of which snow practically covers the whole lot. In every house around the block, bright lights illuminate the town with Christmas trees and snowman on every front porch. But of all the houses that night, none was more brighter than the Stahlbaum house, where a party of grandeur and enchantment is taking place*
*Arriving on horse-drawn carriages, some visitors arrive all decked out in their evening best. Families, friends, and neighbors are helped out of their carriage by the staff from the house each of which leading their guests into the house where it was nice and warm. Maids take the coats and scarves off the visitors as they enter one-by-one, hanging them neatly on a several coat hangers, while butlers proceeded to sweep up the snow that entered the house. For as they all get settled in, the interior of the house is just as bright as the outside. A crystal chandelier shines atop the parlor, the biggest room in the house. Everywhere, guests mingle amongst each other, now-and-then a servant passes through with trays of wine and cheese and other refreshments. One guest plays the piano, playing a classic melody of their country while some children play under the Christmas tree, one that practically went so high the Christmas Star nearly touches the roof*
*Upstairs, while everyone is having fun at the parlor, a young girl no more than twelve or thirteen sits by the windowsill watching the snowflakes fall from the sky. Her brown hair flows through the winter breeze, brushing over her crystal blue eyes, and a snow flake lightly lands on the slender child's small nose. She was dressed in a sparkling white dress that appear to blend in with the winter snow. She is certainly ready to attend the party. This was the young child known as Maria and at the moment she looks as though she were lost in her own train-of-thought*
???: Marie. *pause* Marie!
*Suddenly, a small figure leaps into her arms. It was a rather adorable looking boy, somewhere between the age of 7 and 8. Dressed in a fancy tux with a bow tie that matches his coat, long white socks, and shiny shoes. Like Maria, he also has crystal blue eyes and a much lighter shade of brown hair that practically hangs by his shirt collar. This was Maria's young brother, Fritz*
Marie: *rolls her eyes and drops Fritz to the floor* Ugh! Fritz! What is it?
Fritz: C'mon Marie, the party's just starting and you're just sitting here looking at the snow!
Marie: Has Uncle Drosselmeyer arrived yet?
Fritz: How would I know? They all look the same in their monkey suits.
Marie: Not Uncle Drosselmeyer… Never.
Fritz: Yes well, I'd just want to get down to the party before they start opening the presents!
Marie: *sighs* All right, I'll be down in a minute.
Fritz: *proceeds to walk out* Sometimes I don't know why you keep dreaming all the time.
*As Fritz hurries down to the parlor, Maria simply shakes her head seeing the boy so eager just to go. But then, it was only natural of Frtiz to behave as most children his age would. And yet, even a boy so young couldn't understand what Maria truly thinks. For as Maria turns back to the snowflakes in the sky, she imagines how they seem to sway from one side to another like dancers in the evening sky. For Maria had this gift of seeing the world in another way, to see something so simple transform into something so extraordinary. If this was the world Maria would love to see, then to dream is what she'd continue to do. Still, Fritz did make a good point: There was a party going on and everyone would be waiting to see her. So she follows behind her brother, as the two children rushed toward the parlor*
*As the two children make their way to the party, more and more guests have just arrived. The music grows louder and louder, the aroma of Roast Turkey and Mince Pies fill the air, and laughter echoes louder throughout the walls. Several servants have set several ladders by the Christmas tree, dusting and polishing the various decorations that hung along the tree. Maria's parents, the owners of the Estate, are busy greeting the many guests welcoming their friends with open arms. Joy seem to fill Maria as the glitter of lights shined throughout the house and the various knick-knacks stood on display, oh who, oh who could describe them all?*
Marie: My goodness…
???: Sugar Plum!
*Marie turns to see who called out for her, as a smile forms on her face. There standing by the doorway to the house is her father. A tall, slender man with dark hair and brown eyes. Garbed in a red coat and cream pants. Maria rushes over to her father, who lifts her up in a gentle hug*
Marie's Father: Ah, my dear. You look as pretty as a snow flake.
Marie: Thank you, daddy. *looks around the room* Tell me, has Uncle Drosselmeyer arrived yet?
Marie's Father: Ah, no need to fret, young one. Old Drosselmeyer always likes to arrive fashionably late. But still, your mother always said your godfather always loves to make an entrance… *whispers in her ear* Especially when we least expect it.
Marie: Oh, I hope so. He always brings the most wonderful presents.
*As the guests were busy, they didn't notice little Fritz's head stick out from the pile of presents. Turning from one side to another, he grabs the biggest present he can find in the pile. Just as he starts to pull on the bow, however…*
*Fritz feels a lifting sensation as he is pulled away from the presents and into the arms of an equally slender woman. With light brown hair wrapped in a pig tail, garbing an emerald green dress in gold laces and matching shoes, and wearing a pearl necklace around her neck. This was the other owner of the house, Marie and Fritz's Mother*
Mother: Oh Fritz, where are your manners, young man? We're supposed to wait till the whole family shows up. *tisks while waving a finger in front of him, yet still showing a smile*
Fritz: Well there's you, papa, me, Marie and Louise. Seems like the whole family is here to me.
Mother: Ah, but the party wouldn't be complete until your Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives. He always saves the best presents for last. So if I were you, Fritz, I'd remember what I always tell you…
Mother & Fritz: All good things come to those who wait.
Fritz: *pouts* I know.
Mother: That's a good boy, now run along and play. Go on. And try to stay out of mischief.
Fritz: Yes, mother.
*Fritz runs along to the toy cabinet, opens it and pulls out a doll of a Russian soldier with violet eyes, along with a small brown goatee, and is dressed in a red coat with two belts, baggy gray pants, red snow boots, and a dark gray furry hat on his head*
Fritz: You're lucky you don't have any parents, Ivan. When I do grow up, I want to be a soldier just like you!
*Fritz aims the doll's hand at one of the little dolls sitting along the presents and imitates a gun shot, while pushing the doll off the package. All of a sudden, the lights start to fade until the house goes through a blackout. The guests get a little scared at this unexpected turn of events*
Fritz: I didn't do it!
Mother: Everyone calm down! I'm sure there's a reason behind this… *to her husband* Darling, what's going on?
Father: I don't know, dear. Your guess is as good as mine.
*Just then, in the center of the parlor, a wave of smoke starts to circle all around. The guests back as far as they can as the smoke gets bigger and bigger, seemingly towering the guests. Several children hide behind their mothers, while couples embrace each other. Little Marie wanders from her parents, pushing past the other adults and children. When she's at the front, she looks in amazement as a booming voice seems to come from the smoke*
???: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
Gather round, come one and all, while the night is young,
For on this night, of endless winter and starts that twirls,
Of carols in the dark and ornaments that hung,
I present to you an unforgettable night of mystery…
And a little touch… Of… Magic!
*And then an explosion erupts from the smoke, the flames absorbing the smoke as a figure slowly appears flapping his cape over him! For dressed in his garbs, with his one eye on his audience, was the man of the hour… Drosselmeyer. Soon as the guests realized who it was, they applaud at the man's latest magic trick, a feat that none was prepared for. The parents just shake their heads at Drosselmeyer for pulling a fast one on them… Again*
Marie: *gasps* Uncle Drosselmeyer!
Drosselmeyer: *turns to Marie* Ah, Marie! I do apologize for startling you, but I've been saving this just for you. Ah, yes, last I saw you was when you were only this tall… *motions her former height* So that must make you… Hmm? How old now?
Marie: *giggles* Thirteen, uncle.
Drosselmeyer: My, it's been that long already? Well, I see no doubt about that. For soon, you'll be as pretty as your mother.
Mother: Ah, Drosselmeyer, always teasing, aren't you? You only see Marie every Christmas.
Drosselmeyer: And yet every year feels much longer. It's good to see you all again.
Father: *chuckles* You too, old friend.
Mother: All right boys, settle down. I'm sure Drosselmeyer didn't just come all this way just for his little magic show.
Drosselmeyer: Oh, of course not, my dear. I have brought many wonderful presents for you and your family. Allow me to present you with the first of these gifts. My greatest invention, yet!
*Drosselmeyer claps his hands, as the servants help lift a large crate of sorts and gently places it onto the ground. Everyone gathers around, while the kids push and shove just for a close look. Then Drosselmeyer approaches the crate and snaps his fingers. Almost like magic, the walls of the crate seem to slide off flat to reveal: A magnificent Toy Castle of the finest structure. The Castle bears a resemblance to some of Germany's finest architects with it's many towers and windows, yet built to be as big as a doll house. At first, it appears to be for display until…*
Drosselmeyer: And… The best part!
*Drosselmeyer then pushes a button and mechanical people march around the castle. Consisting of soldiers carrying rifles, some of them flags and trumpets, a fair Maiden walking to a castle ledge and back, couples spinning around in a makeshift waltz, and swans swimming in a circle around the castle and making honking noise in every turn. With all it's wonders, for the children it appeared to bring the figurines and castle to life*
Fritz: *eyes widen* Wow! *runs up to get a closer look at the castle*
Marie: *eyes widen* It's beautiful!
Drosselmeyer: Ah, yes, took me many moons to put this beauty together. Nearly cost me every penny in my pocket, but once you set your mind to it what starts as a dream becomes a reality.
Father: Well, Christian, you've certainly outdone yourself this time.
Mother: Very well done indeed.
Drosselmeyer: Of course, how could I not?
Fritz: What else did you get us, uncle?
Drosselmeyer: Oh well, let me see… *thinks* Oh my, I don't seem to recall. Were you really expecting more?
Fritz: *suspecting something* Uncle…
Drosselmeyer: Well… *snaps his fingers* Why, yes… I actually brought some friends who wanted to meet you. *reaches into his pocket, but then frowns* Hmm… That's odd. *searches the other pocket then feels around his coat* I say, now where did they run off to? I could've sworn I just had them with me… Oh, I know. Fritz, would you come here for a moment?
Fritz: *anxiously walks over to Drosselmeyer, not sure what to make of this* Huh?
Drosselmeyer: I think they should be right… *reaches into Fritz ears, then pulls back, revealing two toy soldiers in his hands, causing a wave of Oohs and Aahs* Here!
Fritz: *eyes widen* Whoa! How did you do that?
Drosselmeyer: Magic, dear boy. And here you are, a fine duo of troops for a future Captain. *hands the dolls to Fritz and gives a playful salute as the boy takes them over to play* Hmm… *turns to Marie* And for you, Marie, I have something just as special…
*Drosselmeyer then reaches into his pockets again, only this time there was something in his pocket. Lifted out with care, a pair of Chinese twin dolls much to Marie's amazement. There were a boy and a girl, dressed in golden Chinese robes and hats. The female doll had a Yin symbol whilst the male doll had the yang symbol*
Drosselmeyer: Meet Yin, and her brother, Yang.
Marie: Oh, Uncle Drosselmeyer! *takes the dolls, admiring them so* They're beautiful.
Drosselmeyer: Ah, yes, I actually got the material imported straight from China to make them. A rather beautiful place there, but none more beautiful than a fine lady who truly deserves such beautiful dolls. The one I give trust to take the greatest care of them.
Marie: *hugs Drosselmeyer* Oh thank you, Uncle Drosselmeyer.
Drosselmeyer: My pleasure.
*As Drosselmeyer and the family chat, the orchestra proceeds to play a classic number to keep the party going. The guests dance around to the tune of their country, right in the middle of the room. It was a tune fit for slow dancing as couples got together and did small little ballet numbers. Marie watches with a smile seeing the guests dance, at one point watching her mom and dad dance together. Marie wishes she would be able to dance with her father and yet they were all so into the mood of the song they hardly notice. So Marie turns to look at the Christmas tree, which practically towered over her. She lifts her China dolls up to her face and imagines how marvelous they would look hanging along the tree. And then, she notices something sticking out from beneath the presents under the tree. It was a present, wrapped in shining green wrapping paper with a big red bow on top*
Marie: *raises an eyebrow* That wasn't there before.
*While no one was watching, Marie carefully loosens the bow and unties it, the ribbon falling lightly to the grown. She pulls the wrapping paper off, ever so gently until all that's left is a wooden box. It was a strangely crafted box, built from some form of pine. Carefully, Marie slides the lid open, the box creaking a bit as she opens the box. She then looks inside and sees a rather strange looking figure inside: A Nutcracker. Marie had never seen a Nutcracker before in her life especially nothing like this one. It wore a black tri-cornered hat with a blue jacket, a ruby-red vest, cream colored slacks, shiny black shoes, and on it's side a sword and hilt. Granted it was not the greatest looking nutcracker in the world and yet Marie couldn't help but feel intrigued as if something about it felt… Enchanting*
Marie: *in a hushed tone* Wow.
???: Do you like it?
*Marie gasps as she turns to see Drosselmeyer looming over her. Marie forgot how it frightens her to see her uncle up close, especially with the one eye patch over his eye. He never tells her how he got it; in fact, he's never told anyone. The look in his face looks like a face of mischief from appearance. He looks down at the Nutcracker and then at Marie, the girl stuttered trying to find the right word to respond to her uncle*
Marie: Uh-I-I'm-sorry Uncle Drosselmeyer, I just-I…
???: Do you like it?
Marie: Y-Yes, I do. What is it?
Drosselmeyer: He's a Nutcracker. Here, give him to me and I'll show you.
*Marie carefully hands the Nutcracker to Drosselmeyer, the man gently holds the Nutcracker with great care. He then takes out a tiny nut from his pocket and shows it to Marie*
Drosselmeyer: Now watch. They don't call it a Nutcracker for nothing.
*Drosselmeyer pulls a lever from the back of the nutcracker. He steadies the nut along the lower jaw. And then, he pushes the letter, the jaws clench the nut, squeezing it until… Crack! The shell breaks loose from the nut*
Marie: Oh wow!
Drosselmeyer: Marvelous, isn't it?
Marie: Who's the Nutcracker for?
Drosselmeyer: *chuckles* Why… To the family of course, so everyone can share it. But… Since you seem so fond of this Nutcracker, I would like you to be his "special caretaker". I can trust no one else to do so except you.
Marie: *smiles* Thank you.
Fritz: *rushes over* I want to try it out!
Father: Take it easy, Sugar Plum. Let the boy have a try; what harm would it do?
Mother: But take it easy, Fritz.
*Fritz takes the Nutcracker, then goes over to the Nut tray. He looks through all the nuts, till he comes across the biggest in the glass. Fritz gets an idea as he puts the nut into the Nutcracker's mouth and pulls the trigger ready to crack it*
Marie: Fritz, no!
*Too late. Fritz pushes the trigger and it squeezes the nut. CRACK! Unfortunately, it wasn't the nut that cracks. Instead, Marie looks in horror as the Nutcracker's lower jaw seems to hang loosely over. Fritz sees this and simply frowns*
Fritz: Hey! I thought it was supposed to be a Nutcracker. It's not strong enough.
Drosselmeyer: Oh, good gracious, boy! *takes the Nutcracker away* What were you thinking young man? This was a family heirloom… An antique!
Mother: Friedrich Stahlbaum! What do you have to say for yourself?
Fritz: *pause* Sorry...
Marie: I can't believe you'd do this… *turns to Drosselmeyer* Oh Drosselmeyer, I'm so sorry!
Drosselmeyer: It's all right, my dear, you've done nothing wrong. Fixing the Nutcracker is not the issue… But that could take time. *chuckles* I'm surprised you even care so much for something so ugly.
Marie: I know, it's just… There's something about this Nutcracker. Something…special.
Drosselmeyer: Hmm… You know, he wasn't always so ugly. Once, he used to be quite handsome.
Mother: Oh, I know that tone anywhere.
Father: Tell us a story old friend.
Fritz: What story? What could be so special about this ugly thing?
Drosselmeyer: More than you know, little Fritz.
Marie: Oh, tell us, Uncle Drosselmeyer, oh please.
Drosselmeyer: *chuckles* All right, all right. Why don't we all gather round the tree? So we can shed some "light" on the subject.
*Drosselmeyer claps his hand as the parlor room lights close off again, with the only light coming from the Christmas tree that sparkled. Drosselmeyer grabbed a chair and set it by the tree as all the children gathered round the old man while all the parents and other guests stood by. They all sat anxiously waiting to see what story Old Drosselmeyer had to tell on this enchanted evening*