Part 2

Empath's story began about 60 years prior to his final return from Psychelia, during one of his visits to the Smurf Village. At that time Empath was still getting used to how to properly express emotions as a Smurf. It was around December 17 of the year that the Smurfs had their first snowfall of the season. Empath as usual dressed in his Psychelian bodysuit, despite the Smurfs telling him that he need only to wear gloves and a scarf for the cold season.
Papa Smurf had summoned all the Smurfs together at the speaking mushroom for his annual announcement. "My little Smurfs, I know that you're excited about our first snowfall of the season, but now is the time we should prepare ourselves for our most joyous time of the season -- the Winter Solstice!" Papa Smurf announced.
"HURRAY!!!" most of the Smurfs shouted together.
"I hate the Winter Solstice," Grouchy said.
"Timber, I want you, Hefty, and Duncan to smurf out into the forest together with a team of Smurfs to smurf up the biggest evergreen tree you could find to smurf it up as our Solstice tree in the center of the village," Papa Smurf said.
"As you wish, Papa Smurf," Timber said, giving a salute in response.
"Greedy, I want you and your kitchen staff to start smurfing up a feast for us to enjoy on the day of our Winter Solstice," Papa Smurf said.
"Oh boy, that's my favorite part," Greedy said as he licked his lips.
"Yeah, mine too," Nabby said as he did the same.
"Vanity, I want you and Party Smurf to smurf the village with lots of streamers and wreaths to make this village look festive for Winter Solstice," Papa Smurf said.
"Well, you've certainly picked the right Smurf for the job, Papa Smurf," Vanity said.
"Uh, but what about gifts and presents, Papa Smurf?" Clumsy asked.
"That is up to the rest of you Smurfs to create and smurf to each other this year, Clumsy," Papa Smurf said. "Let's try to smurf together to make this one of the best Winter Solstices we've ever smurfed. That is all."
"HURRAY!!!" most of the Smurfs shouted together.
After Papa Smurf left and the Smurfs started to go their own separate ways, Tapper met with Empath. "Tis that time of season when we celebrate the change in seasons, my fellow Empath," Tapper said.
"This one only wishes Polaris was here to celebrate this occasion with us instead of having to be stuck in Psychelia with his endless studies," Empath said with a heavy sigh.
"I know how you feel, believe me," Tapper said. "We could all wish to have someone special with us to celebrate the holidays with, but as it is, we still have each other, and I smurf my blessings every day for the friends and family that I have."
"At least you are one of the few Smurfs who are very vocal about this appreciation of friends and family, Tapper," Empath said. "There isn't a day that passes in Psychelia for this smurf when this smurf wishes to be home for all time among this smurf's fellow Smurfs."
"I believe that may someday happen, Empath," Tapper said. "As the Almighty is my witness, I have been praying for your permanent return ever since your first visit to this village, and though my prayers haven't been answered yet, I am certain that the Almighty will smurf about the answer in due time."
"Your faith in this Almighty is admirable, to say the least," Empath said. "But this smurf wonders if you ever had doubts about whether the Almighty does answer all your prayers."
"He doesn't smurf me what I want, but He does smurf me what I need, so I would say that He answers all my prayers," Tapper said. "That doesn't mean that I'm always smurfect in walking in His ways, for Enoch was the one who walked so smurfectly with God that he was taken and was found no more among men. But I do smurf it a point to walk as close as I can to the Lord in where He wants me to smurf, so that I have complete confidence in what He smurfs for me."
"This smurf is...pleased to know that about you, Tapper," Empath said. "This smurf believes that you would make for a great counselor someday if that role becomes available for a Smurf to undertake here."
"I'll be happy just being a humble bartender instead of smurfing beside Papa Smurf all day like Brainy," Tapper said.

Soon Empath found himself headed out into the forest with Hefty, Duncan, and Timber to cut down a tree to use for the Winter Solstice celebration. Along the way, Empath was hearing stories about mysterious being that they called giants that were roaming around in their forest.
"You Smurfs have actually seen these 'giants' in the forest?" Empath asked, sounding a bit curious.
"Aye, those laddies are about 50 apples tall or more," Duncan said. "They have pale skin and they live in villages that are much bigger than ours...not that we have actually smurfed out of this forest to smurf for ourselves, you know."
"These giants are called humans, Empath," Timber said. "I first encountered them when I was smurfing out in the forest by himself to cut down a tree for the Winter Solstice and I smurfed across this elf who was smurfed into a tree. Anyway, this giant threatened to burn her unless me and her elf sister smurfed back golden pinecones from a mysterious island in the lake before sundown."
"Of course, we found out that the golden pinecones didn't exist, but that didn't stop us from smurfing one over on that giant by having the pinecones be painted gold so that we can smurf him off our back and smurf the elf tree straight to our village so that Papa Smurf could free her," Hefty said.
"That sounds like an interesting story," Empath said. "This smurf is curious to find out if it is true about those giant beings, whether they are all friendly or vicious like the one who was threatening the life of an elf who was turned into a tree."
"Papa's not going to have us smurf too far from our forest to find out, laddie," Duncan said. "But I wouldn't mind smurfing into one of their villages to see how these giants smurf."
"There it is...the perfect tree for the village!" Timber cried out.
The four of them raced toward a big evergreen tree that looked like it was several feet tall. "This smurf is certain that this would be the right size for our Solstice tree, Timber," Empath commented.
"Get ready to smurf, tree, because Hefty's going to smurf you down," Hefty exclaimed, ready to swing the axe he was carrying.
"First, let us pray for the tree," Timber said. With every Smurf's head bowed down, he prayed, "Mother Nature, thank you for smurfing us this tree for our Winter Solstice. May we honor you with our gifts of smurfitude as we plant a new tree that will smurf the place of this one in the spring. For we ask you this in the name of Mother Nature and Father Time. So let it be."
"So let it be," Empath and Duncan responded.
"Okay, Duncan, Empath, smurf yourselves out of the way so that the tree doesn't smurf you down with it," Timber warned. Empath and Duncan positioned themselves as far from where the tree would land as possible while Timber and Hefty took turns hacking away at the tree. Empath also made sure that there was no hole nearby him in case he got knocked down by the tree again.
It took about a few minutes, but then they could hear the sound of the tree falling. "Timber!" Timber called out.
Empath watched as the tree began to fall. Then with his telekinetic abilities, he slowed the tree's fall until it landed gently on the ground.
Duncan snorted. "Smurfect landing, if I do smurf so myself, laddie."
"Yeah," Hefty said, not sounding impressed. "Well, let's not all smurf our hands patting old star-face on the back for this."
"At least nobody's in danger this time, Hefty," Timber said. "Let's smurf home to get a team of Smurfs to smurf it back to the village so that we can start smurfing it up."
"Hey, laddie, what's wrong?" Duncan asked, noticing that Empath was looking away, seemingly distracted.
"This smurf has sensed that somebody is out in the forest, cold, stranded, and hungry," Empath replied.
"So what?" Hefty said. "We're just going to smurf what we're doing here and go help out whoever star-face is sensing here?"
"It wouldn't hurt us if we did, Hefty," Timber said as he dropped his axe to follow Empath in the direction he was now heading.

The four Smurfs journeyed deep into the forest, with Empath leading the way toward wherever his sensing abilities were taking him. They soon saw what it was, and then stopped in their tracks. "Michty me, it's one of those giants -- but it's a boy!" Duncan exclaimed.
"What's he smurfing out here all by himself?" Hefty asked.
"He must be lost and alone, the poor fellow," Timber said, his heart going out to him. "We should smurf for ourselves and try to help him."
"We should exercise caution in doing so, my fellow Smurfs," Empath warned.
The four of them slowly approached the boy, whom they saw weeping and shivering. "Hey, it's all right there, laddie," Duncan said gently. "You're among friends here."
The boy looked and was surprised by what he saw. "Who are you people?" the boy asked. "Are you Christmas elves?"
"We are not elves, young one," Timber answered. "We are Smurfs."
"What is your name?" Empath asked.
"My name is Nicholas, and I'm lost in this forest," the boy answered. "I live in a human village that's somewhere north of here. But I can't seem to find my way out."
"Don't you be crying there," Duncan said. "We're going to smurf you back to our home to see if Papa Smurf can help you."
"Papa Smurf?" Nicholas asked. "Do you think he can find a way for me to get back home?"
"It wouldn't hurt if we tried," Timber replied. "You just need to be careful where you smurf around in our village, though."
"I'd like to see where it is you Smurfs live, if you're anything like the Christmas elves that I heard my Papa talk about," Nicholas said.
"This smurf would be cautious about leading beings like him into our village, for Papa Smurf does not like having the village be exposed to outsiders," Empath said.
"I don't think it's going to hurt to smurf him home with us just for awhile there, Empath," Duncan said. "He's not going to remember where our village is anyway once we smurf him back to his home."
"Anyway, I'm still going to smurf an eye out on him, in case he smurfs anything," Hefty said, sounding suspicious.
"Smurf along with us, and we will smurf you the way," Timber said, as the boy got up and followed the four Smurfs back to the village.

Sometime later, in the spot where the four Smurfs had found the boy, a mysterious hooded stranger came along, looking as if he had been after somebody or something. He stopped at that spot and looked around and saw nothing was left but some footprints. "Curses!" the hooded figure hissed. "The boy must have gone somewhere."
He then caused a ball of glowing light to appear in his hand. "Yes, what is it?" a voice from the ball of light asked.
"Our prey has escaped, to go somewhere that I do not know where," the hooded figure responded.
"Fool!" the voice from the light shouted. "I have sent you on a mission to find that boy and keep him from meeting with his parents again. I do not expect you to fail me."
"I will not fail you, my master," the hooded stranger said. "I just need to find where he has gone, and then I will capture him and bring him to you."
"You'd better succeed, or else you'll suffer the consequences," the voice from the light warned. "This is a mission that will determine our destiny in our battle between light and darkness."
"As you wish, my master," the hooded stranger said, before the ball of light dimmed and then disappeared.