12 Days of Christmas: Here Comes Santa Clause (Day 2)

12 Days of Christmas: Here Comes Santa Clause (Day 2)

Marbel burst into a gallop and lengthened his strides into a run after the Christmas Spirit. All Marcy could do was hold on and duck her head under branches. They jumped over logs and dodged around rocks. Marcy saw the glitter of eggplant indicating an opening to the Mirror World. In the spirit of Christmas the archway was covered in holly with bright red berries. “There!” She pointed as the Christmas Spirit shot through the door.

Marbel huffed and charged through the opening and into a verdant summer. Marcy gasped in shock. Ahead of them, instead of a spark of red and green light was a childlike creature with greenish skin, pointed ears, and a red pointed hat, cape, and outfit. It hovered above the ground, going at breakneck speed.

“Redcap,” Marbel said, turning his head. “No wonder Holda doesn’t want to make them angry. Just a bit further now.”

The race started again and soon, they were deep in this section of the Mirror World and running down a ‘lane’ between evergreen trees. The lane opened up into a large grassy area and in the area there were lots and lots of spirits. The Christmas Sprite flitted off to find Wodan.

Marcy gaped until Marbel shifted underneath her. “You might want to take off that coat before you overheat,” he said.

“Is it always like this?” Marcy asked as she dismounted and took her heavy winter coat off. She tugged at her shirt.

“The Mirror World is a mirror. When it is winter there it is summer here, spring and autumn and on it goes, the cycle of seasons,” Marbel reminded her. “Though things are a bit out of whack. No wonder Wodan is grumpy. Frost is a puckish creature at the best of times.”

Marcy wrinkled her nose. “But doesn’t Santa like Christmas?”

“He loves Christmas. He just also hates leaving the Hunt.”

Across the clearing, Wodan roared. “See what you’ve done! My suit!  My suit is ruined! The snow is early, nothing is prepared, and now you’ve ruined my suit. Yes. Run! Run! Both of you sooty pranksters, run!”

Two ravens lifted off into the sky, cawing down mockingly.

“That is your cue,” Marbel said.

Marcy hesitantly approached Wodan. He was a big man with a brown beard and dressed in armor. His helm had two great wings coming off of it. Like Holda, he wore a fur cape and more tied around his calves. One of his eyes was covered with a patch. He held out a few tattered scraps of fabric that had been streaked with black coal. “Ruined!” he muttered. “And it’s almost Christmas. How am I to appear in such a state?” He shook his fist up at the sky. “When I get my hands on you two! Hugin! Munin!”

The ravens cawed more.

“Excuse me, sir,” Marcy said. “May I be of assistance?”

Wodan turned to her and put his fists on his hips. “You? Who are you?”

Marcy forced a smile. “I’m Marcy CantataGallop. I’m here to help with Christmas.”

“At this rate, there won’t be a Christmas,” Wodan grumbled. “You see what those two sooty ravens did to my suit! And the snow is early. Nothing is prepared. Nothing! And where is Holda? The Hunt must continue to chase down those elves to make sure they prepare the toys! She’s missing!”

It sounded as if nothing was going properly. Wodan’s suit was messed up. No Christmas preparations had been made. And the elves were revolting.

Marcy didn’t think she should say that she’d heard Wodan didn’t want to do Christmas. “Well, maybe I can help.”

“I don’t know how,” Wodan continued to grump. “The first thing that has to be done is hunt down those elves! Holda!” he shouted. “Holda!”

“Maybe I can help with your suit?” Marcy asked. “I can get it cleaned!”

“They tore it apart,” Wodan said.

“Then, then, I’ll make you a new one.”

“This just isn’t any suit! It’s a magic suit!” Wodan roared. “One that makes it so I can get down any chimney and into every house without being detected all at once all over the world.”

“That is a special suit,” Marcy said. “If you tell me how to make it, I’ll do my best to make you a new one. Then that is one thing you won’t have to worry about before Christmas.”

Wodan glowered at her and then stroked his beard. “Maybe, maybe you. You have powerful magic about you.” He thrust the scraps of the suit at her. “Track down Holda. She can tell you how to remake my suit,” he said. “Then send her straight back here. We need to hunt down those elves. Staging a revolt. Just before Christmas!”

Marcy nodded and stuck the suit scraps into her saddlebag. “Is there anything else I can do to prepare for your arrival?”

Wodan narrowed his good eye at her. “There’s a lot of work to be done. You can’t do it all by yourself,” he said.

“I can get it started.” Marcy lifted her chin. “What do you want?”

“I want a parade! With children, lots of children, happy ones! And candy, lots of candy to pass out.”

“And then you’ll be willing to do Christmas?”

Wodan blustered a few moments. “Decorations. There will need to be decorations. My horse will need to be prepared. The reindeer need tending. The book of naughty and nice will have to be double checked. And I must get after those elves!”

Marcy held up a finger. “Decorate, plan a parade for your arrival, candy, happy cheering children, prepare the horse, tend the reindeer, the naughty and nice book, and the elves. Is that everything?” she asked ticking things off on her fingers.

Wodan grumbled into his beard. “I guess. For now!”

Marcy smiled. “Then, I’ll go see Holda and tell her you’re prepared to do Christmas.”

Wodan gaped at her. “Now wait a moment,” he shouted.

Marcy smiled at him and mounted Marbel.

Marbel tossed his head and laughed. “Too late, Sinterklaus. You’re roped into it now!” He took off at a trot towards the exit.

Wodan crossed his arms and, when neither of them could see, he smiled into his beard.

12 Days of Christmas: Let it Snow! (Day 1)

12 Days of Christmas: Let it Snow! (Day 1)

Jack Frost, now an old man, held his scepter in his hand. It was fully charged with frost magic and glowed a cold, pale blue light, little bits of snow and light drifted from it. Jack’s bright blue eyes though were still as full of mischief as when he was a young boy during Easter, though his golden blonde hair was now pale and white blonde.

Jack smiled at Marcy and bowed to her. “Thank you for your help, fair maiden. Now winter may come without troubles and the earth may rest.”

Marcy curtseyed back. “You’re welcome, Jack. I have had so much fun.”

“The fun isn’t over yet!” Jack said. He laughed and snapped his fingers in front of her nose. A whirl of cold air and frost swirled in front of her. “Look up! Quickly!”

Marcy looked upwards. She gasped, “A falling star!” She shut her eyes and made a wish. ‘Snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!’ she thought and thought hard.

When she opened her eyes, Jack was gone.

Marcy took a deep breath of the crisp cold air and let it out. It was time for bed. She smiled and hummed “Let it Snow” as she went back to her cottage in Magpie Field.

Far away, up in the mountains in the center of Astranar, Jack Frost reappeared. He looked down at the little girl that appeared next to him. “Well, Holly my love, fair Marcy wishes for snow.” He smiled and his eyes twinkled again. “What do you say? Shall we grant her wish?”

Holly jumped up and down and clapped her hands.

“She’s given us lots of magic,” Jack said. He held out his hand. Holly took it and Jack held his scepter over his head.

Clouds swirled around him and over all of Astranar, and it began to snow.

Jack and Holly disappeared.

Day One:

The next morning, Marcy woke up to a glaring white light. She moaned and rolled out of bed, rubbing her eyes. She walked over to the window and stared. Snow! Snow was everywhere! A thick fluffy pile of it!

Her wish had been granted.

Marcy squealed, did a little dance and dashed to get ready for the day. She was going to need her coat!

She washed, brushed her hair and got dressed, and when she picked up her phone, it buzzed in her hand. She had a snowflake-gram! Marcy had never heard of a snowflake-gram before Jack Frost. But he was magic and she’d learned not to question it. He wished to meet her as soon as possible. There was new business afoot and he needed her assistance.

Marcy’s eyes widened and she finished getting ready quickly, doing a quick clean of the room before going out and feeding her animals and doing her stable chores. She threw blankets on all of the horses. They weren’t ready for this cold!

She saddled her favorite horse, her magical horse, MarbelHollow. If Jack Frost needed assistance, she might have to go into the Mirror World. The idea filled her with delight and dread. She loved the Mirror World, but it could be dangerous. She could never forget that at her peril.

She shivered a little as she and MarbelHollow jogged through the snow. It crunched under Marbel’s hooves. Little clouds of fog formed in front of their noses as they breathed. Marcy was glad for her sunglasses.

Marcy heard Jack and someone else, a woman, before she saw them. The woman was shouting.

“You miserable, snow-loving excuse of a puck!” the woman shouted. She was dressed very oddly and not at all fit for the weather. She was dressed like an ancient Viking warrior with a leather breastplate and skirt. There were furs wrapped around her calves and a fur half cape over her shoulder. Her thick blonde hair was braided over both shoulders and she wore a conical helmet. Maybe Marcy had been steeped in popular culture for too long because the helmet didn’t look finished to her. It didn’t have any horns!

“I assure you, madame, that this is all just a misunderstanding,” Jack Frost said, swinging his scepter over his head and resting it on his shoulders.

A young girl clung to his leg and looked at the woman with wide eyes.

“Misunderstanding?!” The woman stomped her foot. “You always say that, Jackie Frosty. I’m minded to add you to our Hunt for a while and teach you a lesson about playing with things that aren’t yours!”

Jack smiled at her. His eyes lit on Marcy. “Marcy CantataGallop!” he shouted. “May I introduce you to Holda? You may know her by her other name, Mrs. Claus.”

Marcy heart jumped. “As in Santa Claus?” she squeaked.

Holda turned to Marcy.

Jack Frost decided he better explain. He swung the scepter down and leaned on it. “Marcy, fair lady, I’m afraid that some of the ghosts we summoned for my Queen were from the Wild Hunt. Oh, you don’t know what that is? Well, when Santa and Mrs. Claus aren’t dealing with Christmas, they are Wodan and Holda leading a solemn procession of spirits through the sky. We accidentally summoned some of those spirits for my gift to my Queen. Now, Wodan is in a bad mood.” He examined the end of his scepter as if the blue stone had something important to tell him.

Holda interrupted, “And he doesn’t want to do Christmas!”

“He never wants to do Christmas.” Jack rolled his eyes. “He doesn’t want to leave the Wild Hunt.”

“Christmas is his job. If he doesn’t do Christmas and it’s not prepared properly, the Christmas spirits will act up. If you thought the Pumpkin Queen’s hobby horses were bad, this is worse. No Christmas for any one!” Holda shook. “It’s those ravens of his, I know it. They’d do anything to keep Santa with the Hunt. And he’s not listening to me!”

Jack’s eyes twinkled. “Perhaps Marcy can get Wodan to see reason. She is a child, after all.”

Holda glowered at him, and then looked at Marcy. “He always wants something,” she grumbled. “Find out what it is and give it to him. I’ll handle the Hunt while he’s gone.”

“As she does every year,” Jack interjected.

“It will be safely in my hands. He doesn’t need to worry.” Holda nodded.

Marcy bit her lip. Talk to Wodan while he was leading the wild hunt? But if she didn’t, there wouldn’t be any Christmas. Would she really negotiate with Wodan? Marcy steeled her spine. She would. Everyone needed Christmas! “I’ll do it,” she said. “Where could I find him?”

“He’s resting in the Mirror World,” Holda said. She held up her hand. “This Christmas Spirit will guide you,” she said, and a red and green spark formed over her hand. It shot away into the woods. “Quickly now!” Holda shouted. “After it! Don’t let it get away!”