(advent) Sunday, December 10

Sunday, December 10

Molly? Are you busy?

Schrodinger stuck his head through the door to the kitchen, his ears cocked at an inquisitive angle.

“Not at the moment,” Molly replied, turning from the stove. “I was just going to ask you if…” Her voice trailed off as she saw who was with him.

“Ask if I’d like some tea?” Jack Frost said, grinning at her. “I’d love some. Especially that smoky tea you served me the last time.”

Molly shook herself. “You are the only person I know who drinks tea that tastes like a damp smoldering leaf pile,” she said, going into the pantry for a package of lapsong suchong tea. “Schrodinger, would you like some too?”

Yes, please. Earl Grey. The CrossCat jumped up onto his stool and waited patiently. I want to hear what you have to say as well, Jack.

“Oh, of course,” Jack Frost said, sitting down on the stool next to him. “I wouldn’t dream of asking you to leave. In fact, you’re part of the reason I’m here.”

You want to talk about what happened at the bake sale, Schrodinger said, as Molly came back out with mugs and tea.

“Partially,” Jack said. “And also to ask you for some help.”

Molly set down the two mugs of tea in front of them and then sat on her own stool, cradling her tea in her hands. “You want us to help you and Jade with your ‘guests,’ right?” she said.

“Not you specifically, this time, Molly.” Jack smiled at her. “You’re busy enough right now. But you guys,” and he turned to Schrodinger, “if you are willing, might be able to help us with our little…problems.”

Not so very little, Schrodinger said. And it will be easier if we know exactly what you want us to do. He chuckled a bit. Although if you told Kaylee you wanted them beaten with a stick, she’d probably be thrilled. She has been less than impressed by the guests she’s met.

“She and I both,” Jack said, chuckling too. “But no, that’s not what we want.”

“Why don’t you tell us who exactly you have, and what exactly is going on, and then we can formulate a plan?” Molly said. When he looked a little surprised, she sniffed. “What, did you really think I was just going to sit back like a good girl and not get involved? I thought you knew me better than that, Jack.”

Jack Frost laughed out loud at that one. “Okay, touché.” He sipped his steaming tea, and then said, “Let me give you the cast of characters first. You’ve met Yesira, Palys, Horace, and Francis.” He ticked them off on his fingers. “Lano, the Consulate of Amana, and Mesphridae, the Minister of the Free People of Yavis, arrived before them. The last four showed up yesterday.”

“And who are they?” Molly asked.

Jack leaned back. “Daisia, the Matriarch of Twelrian; Nahand Browntoes, the Administrator of Culture for Embersummit Mountain; Crossax, the Chieftain of Ocovar; and Lady Avala of Typhis. All together, ten of the most divisive of the Parliament of Realms. All ten of them have issues with each other, and each is convinced that their issue is the most important.”

Of course, Schrodinger said. That was apparent when we met Horace and Francis. What does Jade think we can do?

“She was considering what Kaylee had said to her last Thursday,” Jack said. “About how they didn’t really have manners. What you have to understand is that these folks are all used to everyone bowing to their every whim. Parliament members have immense personal power in their Realms, because they can remove access to the Gates for people.”

Molly and Schrodinger stared at him. “Really?” Molly said finally. “They can do that?”

“In their Realms, yes,” Jack said. “Not all peoples have adopted the democratic ways that humans have here on Earth. You believe that the Gates are public resources. Not everyone does.”

But, but… Schrodinger was sputtering. That’s ASININE!

“I agree,” Jack said. “What is worse is that many of these folks have no equal in their Realms, so they think they can do no wrong.”

“I think I begin to see what you want the kids to help with,” Molly said. “You’re going to make these folks work with each other, to teach them some humility?”

“For one thing,” Jack Frost said. He took a sip of tea and helped himself to a cookie from one of the racks next to him. “We also want to show them how people can learn to let go a bit and let others do things.” He cocked his head at Molly.

“So that’s why you don’t want me involved.” It was a devious scheme, she had to admit. “Do you think it will work?”

“It’s can’t hurt, can it?” Jack Frost replied.

I think we could do that, although I can’t speak for the others, Schrodinger said. They’ll be here soon. Santa’s coming later! He looked at Jack Frost hopefully. Are you going to stay and talk to him?

               “It’s been a few years since Santa and I caught up,” Jack Frost said musingly, rubbing his chin. “I might just stay.”

As it turned out, he only had time enough to talk to the others before he was called back to the Snow Queen’s Realm. As Molly had known, the children all agreed that they would help, although Kaylee expressed doubt that it would work.

“They just don’t seem to want to know,” she said, as they all carried trays of cookies up the stairs. “I mean, you have to want to change to really change, right?”

We won’t know that if we don’t give them a chance, Jack said. Let’s see if they can learn a thing or two.

And then there wasn’t time to talk. Santa Claus himself was arriving at any minute, and the bookstore was filling up with people eager to see him. Not just children, either. Santa talked to everyone, no matter their age.

Even Molly got her turn on Santa’s lap. “Well, Miss Molly, what can Santa bring you this year?” the jolly old elf asked her.

She leaned in and whispered, “I’d really like to make sure that Jade’s conference goes well, honestly, Santa. Can you help?”

He looked gravely at her. “That’s out of my control, I’m afraid. The Snow Queen’s affairs are not to be mingled in lightly.”

“No, they aren’t.” Molly sighed. “I guess I knew that.”

“Trust in yourself, Molly,” Santa said quietly, so no one else could hear. “What the Snow Queen needs now is your love, and your support.” He leaned in. “And you need to take care of yourself.” He smiled at her. “You know how important you are right now.”

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