14th of December: Juneta Key
Juneta Key resides in Central Florida. She loves writing about Gothic Space Opera, paranormal adventure, mysteries and romance with all the complexity of human nature mixed in whether human or non-human, mage, mystic or pilot. She loves the possibilities of the imagination that speculative fiction represents in its wide range of story type brushing against many genres. In three words, evocative, complex and mythological.

You can find her on her Blog "Juneta @ Writer's Gambit​​" at www.junetakey.com and also on Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn.

Wild Magic

by Juneta Key

Jolly stood atop his ladder gazing at the sharp harsh white and gray world that surrounded him, forever reminding him, he was no longer at the North Pole. His assigned job, to hung the enchanted orbs on the Ice Tree.

The sky might be gray, but at least the snow was white. Sticking his tongue out he caught a drifting snowflake. He smiled and thought of a happier time when playing in the snow was his top priority.

The enchanted orbs twinkled in response to his momentary joy. It was the first time the orbs had reacted to him in the many years he had decorated the tree.

Delighted, he clapped his hands pretending he was still at the North Pole decorating Santa's trees, instead of a servant to the Winter Queen Maeve.

Stretching he placed the last orb on the tree. The ritual of the orbs was done every 359 days marking the passage of the winter Wild Hunt and its special prey, Santa Claus.

Jolly’s shoulder's drooped. He gripped the ladder. He would be the harbinger of Santa’s ill-fated ride on the eve of the new year, should the wild hunt ever catch him.

No one escaped the wild hunt. That Santa eluded the hunt every season had once been inconceivable. It was now legend. It heralds a time of merrymaking, good well, and gift giving in all realms, instead of an omen of doom and chaos.

Santa's unbridled glee, at this turn of events, vexed the Winter Queen. She said it was pure mockery and an affront to her sovereignty.

Finished, Jolly back down the ladder. Midway, his elbow knocked against one of the orbs.

Oh, no, not again.

The orb sailed through the air, despite his best efforts to grab it, shattering on the ground. It had been 250 years, since he had broken the last orb, which freed the wild magic the Queen siphoned into them for storage. It was her reserve when her powers grew weak.

Icy tingles crawled down his back. The Queen would know.

He felt no relief, as his feet touched the ground. He paused. The sudden silence was not a good sign, even the wind had silenced its soft whisper. He released his death grip on the ladder, and turned to face his Queen.

Her silver-blue beauty enthralled him, as terrifying as it was captivating. “What do you say for yourself son of Chris Kringle?”

He willed his gaze to drop. “Forgive me, my Queen.”

He felt the soft brush of magic swirl around him. He knew it was not the Queen's magic. He could still feel hers pressing against him as it forced him to his knees.

“That red clown Claus cannot save his son from his folly this time. Any last words?”

She never called him by name, always referring to him as the son of Chris Kringle, unless ridiculing him as she did now.

What could he say? He could not repair the damage done. The Wild Magic was free. It could not be put back. It would rest where it will or condense back into the ethers. Begging would win him no favors in Maeve’s eyes, so he remained silent, head bowed.

“Since you did not bore me with your excuses this time, I will make your death quick and fast.”

The snowy ground rose, towering above the trees, swirling to form a tornado, lightning flashed within its center, and it solidified into an ice giant.

The Winter Queen pointed at Jolly. "Smash it." The monster raised its huge fist high.

Jolly shut his eyes tight. He couldn’t run. The Queen had frozen his feet to the ground. He squatted into a fetal position preparing for pain.

The ice giant’s roared vibrated through the air. He felt sick and his whole body tingled. He waited for it.

This was it, please let it be quick.

No more exploring the human world.

Mom would cry.

What was that smell?

Freezer burn?

The chilled wind ruffled his hair. Nothing happened. He opened one eye.

The Queen lay a few feet from him on the ground. She struggled to sit up.

"What, have you done?"

Jolly followed her gaze. A towering evergreen stood in place of the Ice Tree. The orbs on the tree pulsed and danced in joyful movement, from top to bottom in colorful flashes. Their song a symphony in his head. That gave him pause, he could hear them? "I'm not dead.”

The Queen waved a hand at him.

He brought his arms up to protect his face. Snow rose to form a wall around the Queen. He dropped his arms. The snow wall fell.

What? He did it again. Once more the snow rose and fell.

He studied the Winter Queen. She was diminished. Something inside him understood that she could not access the magic of the orbs anymore, but why?

The Queen tried to stand. The sound of sleigh bells announced Santa’s arrival at the starting point for the hunt. It was almost Christmas Eve. The sleigh came to a halt. “What have you done this time Jolly?”

“I broke another orb.”

The sounding of the horn announced the wild hunt had commenced. "Come on son."

Jolly scrambled atop the over filled sleigh as the Winter Queen threw a weak ball of magic at him. He instinctively deflected it. "I have magic?"

"Fey magic, I can see it. We must go to the Oracle. Fey magic is unpredictable in mortals." Santa shook the reins of the sleigh. "Away Dancer."

Jolly held tight as they shot into the air. The wild hunt was on them in seconds. "What do we do? The realms portal is sealed." Again, he was not sure how he knew that but he did.

Santa winked. "Christmas magic has nothing to do with Fey magic son." In a blink, they left the hunt behind and the sleigh was empty.

 

come back tomorrow for more...

If you like this story, visit Juneta on her Blog "Juneta @ Writer's Gambit" and also on Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn.

 

© Juneta Key, 2016ff