(advent) Friday, December 14

Molly’s first thought was that her bed felt weird. Not cold, but the comforter wasn’t hers, and while Schrodinger was sleeping in his normal spot at the end of the bed, Drew wasn’t there. In fact, the narrow bed wouldn’t have fit both of them.

Then she remembered the night before, when Kris had found them on the side of the road and brought them back to Brynna and Paul’s house, where they met Paul and Brynna just coming back in their own sleigh. The couple was delighted to see them and happily put everyone up in the house for the night. Nathan, Kiaya, and Drew had been informed, and then Corrine had called the police to let them know about the abandoned car.

Now, Molly looked out the window. It was still snowing, which meant all she could see was a curtain of lace obscuring everything. She shifted, and Schrodinger said sleepily, Is it still snowing?

“Yes,” Molly said. “It’s doing exactly what Aunt Margie said. I wonder how long Paul and Brynna will have to put up with us.”

Not long. Drew will come and get us on the snowmobile, or we can get a ride home with Kris. Or Old Man Winter. Schrodinger shifted into a tighter coil. Do I have to get up?

“No,” Molly said. “But I need to. I need tea.”

She found that Brynna had left her a bathrobe and slippers, and so dressed, went downstairs to investigate the kitchen. As she’d suspected, both Brynna and Kris were already up, and there was a pot of hot water on the stove, waiting for tea. “You two are amazing,” Molly said, accepting a mug and picking through the tea bags offered to her. “Thank goodness you came along when you did, Kris. That was a stroke of luck.”

“Hardly,” the older woman said from her seat in front of the wood stove. Brynna had both a wood stove and a regular stove/oven, but she preferred the wood stove in the winter. Molly couldn’t really blame her. “I got told you’d need help.”

Molly’s hand paused over the top of the mug at that. “Who told you?” she asked, turning to look at Kris.

“SHE did,” Kris said, and tapped the side of her head. “The lady living in my head.” Then she chuckled at Molly’s look of confusion. “Get your tea, and I’ll tell you.”

She waited until both Molly and Brynna had settled back down next to the stove and then said, “You know about Eidolons, right?”

“Yes,” Molly said. “Apparently I’m good at fighting them, although I’m not sure how.”

“Probably because you care,” Kris said. “Anyways, you know how they need a vessel, right?”

“No, actually,” Molly said. “The extent of my knowledge is that they exist, and somehow, kitchen witchery scares them.”

“Interesting,” Kris said. “I wonder why…” Then she shook her head, cutting herself off. “Never mind. Well, let me tell you a bit about Eidolons. They have to have at least one vessel in order to do much of anything. Eidolons are emotions made real, but unless they are incarnated into a living thing, mortal or immortal, they can’t do much. Once they are incarnated, they can channel their energy through the vessel and actually start affecting the world around us.”

“Interesting,” Molly said. “How do you know about them?”

“My village was the home of an Eidolon,” Kris said. “We grew up knowing that perhaps one of us would be chosen to be her vessel, once her current vessel had decided to retire. That happened when I was only 18, and I was chosen.” She paused. “It was a grand ceremony, but rest assured, it did not make me special in a good way. When you serve an Eidolon, even a kind one like in our village, you give up everything that you thought you would do in your life.”

“Why?” Brynna asked. “That was something I never understood. Especially for your Eidolon.”

“Especially for the Eidolon I serve,” Kris said. “It has to do with the travel. It’s hard to travel where you are needed if you have a family, or a job that isn’t portable.” She shrugged. “Can you imagine having to drop everything if you have a babe in arms? Or a shop that needs to be watched?”

“But aren’t you building a store here?” Molly said. “Doesn’t that interfere?”

“Not this time,” Kris said. “The reason I’m here is because the village that I used to live in, that the Eidolon used to rest in, is gone. So we need a new home base, and the Snow Queen was kind enough to let us settle here.”

“What is the Eidolon you serve, if you don’t mind my asking?” Molly said.

Kris’ blue eyes twinkled. “Sure, and do you really have to ask, child? What do you think?”

Molly’s answer was drowned out by the thundering of feet coming down the stairs, and moments later, the kitchen was invaded by hungry children.

“It’s still snowing! Can we play in the snow after breakfast?” Kaylee asked. “I’m hungry!”

“We still need to get to the library!” her older sister reminded her. “Then we can play.”

“I doubt the library will be open today,” Brynna said, glancing out the window. “I think you might be lucky if there’s anything going on outside today. Except for getting you guys home. But let’s see what I have for breakfast.”

We have a Molly, Schrodinger said, yawning a bit. We’re fine.

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