Friday, December 7, 2018

Everything Stops for Christmas by David Stevens

Here is a special guest blog from our friend and brother-across-the-pond, David Stevens.

Merry Christmas to one and all…

Best wishes to you all.

David Stevens

Everything Stops for Christmas… 

Chapter 1

It had been a tradition for centuries that during the complete month of July, Santa and his wife took a relaxing holiday. The rest of the year he oversaw the construction of the heaps toys and gifts that he would deliver to all the children around the world.

There was one rule in July, Santa Claus was not to be contacted for any but the most serious of reasons. So far, in the first eighteen years of this century, such an event had not occurred. Normally, if things were to go very wrong it would be close to Christmas, as it had been when the reindeer became ill and could not fly, and the dragons saved the day.

Mrs. Claus was sitting just under the shade of a huge palm tree; next to her was her Santa. Unlike her, he liked the sun and was resting back in a striped deckchair. He was currently looking out across the wide expanse of sand leading out to the rich blue ocean beyond. Santa was enjoying watching a sail-boarder swishing across the gentle ripples. He was content, very content. His disguise was working perfectly. He was pleased with himself for having made an appointment to have a whole inch trimmed from his luxurious white beard. Now he believed no one would recognize him as good old Saint Nick!

Santa turned his head to look at the slightly rotund, but elegant form of his wife. She gazed directly at him. Without a word having been said she eased herself from the rattan lounger and stood up, looking down at her husband. She knew exactly what he wanted and a glance up and back toward the hotels showed her the ice-cream kiosk to which she would happily go and fetch a treat for him.

Santa loved a few things in life; her, his job, ice cream, and hot rich drinking chocolate with a cookie. The ice cream she could fetch easily, the rest he would have to wait for until they returned to their hotel room and could order from room service. She laughed as he smiled up at her. There was something magical about Santa’s smile and without fail it always made her feel a tingle of pure pleasure bouncing down her spine.

“You win,” she said in a tinkling laughter filled voice, as she strode off with a purposeful step toward the distant kiosk.

Santa watched her depart and then once again he turned his attention toward the distant water. The sail-boarder was less than two hundred feet from the sand and riding a larger than normal wave. Santa looked on wondering if the rider was up to staying upright and onboard his craft.

Santa found his eyes drawn up toward the sparkling azure rich blue sky. His aged eyes fixed with a laser like glare on a tiny distant flying object. Sunlight sparkled deep red off the surfaces as giant wings beat at the air. Santa recognised the outline and the flight method instantly and wondered what was going on? Dragons, especially red dragons, were not often seen by people, let alone people enjoying the beach. The creature closed as Santa watched.

He levered himself up and out of his deckchair. He took a step forward followed by another until he was fully revealed to the super keen eyes of the fast approaching red dragon.

As the beast closed, more detail became clear to Santa. On the dragon’s back, riding in a harnessed on fixing, was a man in a wheelchair. Santa knew who it had to be; there was only one man in a wheelchair who flew with dragons. This dragon was still young, but he was also quite large and easily capable of flying seemingly forever. The question that flooded Santa’s mind, swamping his thoughts was quite simple, ‘What was David Stevens doing approaching his holiday resort, whilst riding Robert his red dragon, and in broad daylight?’

With the wisdom of the ages Santa waited, knowing that shortly his questions would be answered. He heard sand crunch behind him and then his wife arrived next to him, holding out a large plain white ice-cream that had been slathered in raspberry juice and pierced by a pure chocolate flake.

Santa took the offered treat without a word. His thoughts were still mostly fixated on the soon to arrive dragon and its companion.


Chapter 2

On the beach heads turned seaward, screams of shock echoed closely followed by running people. Had they known that the mythical creature fast approaching meant them no harm, they might have stayed put, but they did not, so they ran for safety.

A young girl was sitting in the sand looking at the beast. Santa saw her and smiled. He called out to her. As always, Santa knew the names of every child on the planet. After all, he was Santa and they were all on his lists. This one was called Sally and she was ten and a half. Never forget the ‘half’, Santa reminded himself, as Sally responded to him calling her name.

She looked away from the large wing flapping, fire-red dragon and its passenger, and stared at the man who had called her name. She knew him. She saw through his disguise. With pure pleasure she stood up calling out a glee filled “Santa,” in a very surprisingly loud voice for one so young, as she charged across the sand eager to greet the man she recognised.

Behind her wings beat at the air, clawed feet extended and with little disturbance Robert, the red dragon, touched down on the sand. Dragons do not walk well and especially on sand, so when Robert stepped forward closing on Santa he looked ungainly and nearly fell.

From his back a voice called out “Santa!”

If Sally had had any doubts about the man she believed she recognised, they vanished with that one word from the man in the wheelchair sitting astride the huge red dragon.

“David, what are you doing here?” called back Santa, as Mrs. Claus stepped forward to stop the girl running into her husband.

The girl drew to a stop saying. “Santa is it really you? Is it… is it?”

“Yes, Sally, it is me, but you must not tell anyone until I have gone as I am on holiday and it should be our secret that Santa likes the beach when he is not at the North Pole.”

She smiled as she stood looking up at him and at the smiling Mrs. Claus who was holding out a huge ice-cream to her. Mrs. Claus intended to enjoy it for herself, but clearly the child would benefit more from it. As ever, Mrs Claus put the needs of the child above everything else, and that included David, his dragon and even herself and Santa.


Chapter 3

High above the chief elf’s head the lights flickered. The lights never flickered… they burned with a constant friendly light all day and all night, every single day of the year. For the lights were powered by an ancient magic and with the lights went the machines that produced toy after toy, always in line with the lists that Santa Claus provided. The chief elf looked up again having first glanced around the workshop; the lights flickered even as he looked on in disbelief.

A noise attracted his attention. It came from the canteen and it held a mournful wail of despair. The elf ran, which in itself was another very unusual thing to happen. He ran toward the far door and crashing through it, he exploded into the canteen, just in time to see a figure drop a cup, an empty cup. It had been held to the nozzle of the hot chocolate machine and should now be spilling its thick rich chocolate across the wooden floor. Instead it lay in shattered pieces, clean and empty shattered pieces. There was no HOT CHOCOLATE! The machine was not pouring and the elf that had dropped the cup was backing away in obvious shock.

The hot chocolate machine was not working, that was obvious, but it should be. After all, it, like the whole of the North Pole’s workshops, was powered by the same ancient magic. High above the struggling confused elf, the lights flickered again.

With the impossible seemingly happening, the chief elf realised that help was urgently required. He turned and ran once more, this time to the office of the boss. On the door was a beautiful picture of a decorated Christmas tree, written beneath it was two simple words, they said ‘SANTA’S OFFICE.’

The elf did not hesitate; he pushed against the door and burst within. Somewhere there had to be an address for Santa. His holiday should not be disturbed for anything less than a disaster. The elf considered the ending of the magic that powered the North Pole home of Santa Claus, his elves and reindeer, was nothing less than a major disaster. He searched and searched, looking everywhere for something that would indicate where he could find the boss. Eventually, there was nowhere left to search, and he still did not know where Santa had gone on holiday.

What was he to do? Who could he turn to for help? He thought and thought and finally he remembered a large green dragon called Farloft, and his rider and companion, Theresa. He reached for the roller-deck filing system and flicked through to the letter F. There was no listing for Farloft the dragon, but then there would not be, would there, he reasoned? Rolling the deck to the letter T… he finally discovered what he sought, ‘Theresa Snyder.’ There was a telephone number neatly written next to the name. With shaking hands, the elf dialed even as the lights above his head flickered again and again. Soon they would go out casting night into the workshops. He had to get the elves out to safety, but not until he had made this call.


~*~ 


Theresa Snyder gently replaced the telephone onto its cradle. She, as she always did in times of high stress or confusion, chewed gently at her lower lip. Her father looked up, his question unasked. He had heard one side of the conversation and had seen the result that the conversation caused. Theresa once again picked up the telephone. Her mind made up, she dialed and waited for the ring to be answered. Seconds became a minute, then two, but eventually the call was answerer.

She recognised the voice, it was David himself. She had been concerned that he might not have been available, but luck was on her side. She told David everything the chief elf told her and then she waited as a deep thought-filled silence filled the airwaves.

“Can you get to the North Pole?” David asked her.

“Yes.” One word, one reply, though lots of actions would be needed to obtain the result.

“Go there as soon as you can. I will initiate a search for Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then once I have found him, we will join you at the North Pole if that is what he thinks to be best.”

With goodbyes said the line clicked dead, Theresa replaced the receiver, before turning toward her father and saying, “I have to go out very soon for a while, don’t worry, I will be fine.”

Her father looked up, then he smiled and nodded. He knew his daughter would be safe in the company of the dragon she was about to summons.

Theresa stepped outside into her garden. She closed her eyes, relaxed and concentrated deeply whilst projecting her call up and out.

Theresa was a rare human. She was a dragon rider, which means she was a friend to a dragon and could cross the boundaries between the two worlds that co-exist, that of humanity, and of fairies and other mystical creatures.

Far away green ears twitched, as the call made itself felt. Farloft, Theresa’s dragon, responded. He knew that a call such as he had just felt indicated great trouble and that he was needed urgently. His wings spread as he launched upward, two massive beats and he was soaring into the sky responding to his human friend and companion.


Chapter 4


David picked up the telephone in his office and pressed a single memory number, much as the wizard Vindec did not believe in telephones he had agreed to have one, but only for real emergencies.

“What’s wrong?” The voice sounded gruff and irritated, but David knew better. Vindec was ancient and at times crotchety, but he was also caring and more importantly he was a very, very powerful wizard.

David explained and Vindec listened.

“So, you need to locate Santa Claus. Well, that should not to be too hard a thing to do. After all, he is one of the most prominent figures in the world of fairy. Get here to my cave David, and we will see what I have been able to do.”

The line clicked to nothing. Vindec was on the job. Now it rested on David to move forward. He opened his office window and thought hard making contact with Robert the red dragon, a mythical creature he had adopted as an egg and shared his life and mysterious homelands with. David crossed both worlds and existed perfectly in them, though many humans were concerned and constantly tried to discover more about him. His property was huge, but it was also protected by both magic provided by Vindec and then, of course, there were the battle dwarves, who guarded against more direct invasions of his privacy.

Robert landed perfectly on the concrete circle set into David’s lawn. The gardening fairies had become quite agitated at the dragon’s constant landing on their grass. (They had insisted after the dragons claws had once again torn the turf from the ground, that something had to be done or they would go on strike.) With the insertion of a landing pad, the gardening fairies had resumed peaceful relations once again with Robert, after a fashion.

David drove his powered wheelchair out to meet his dragon, and having mounted the mythical creature (by what Vindec called a touch of magic), they surged upward heading across the moor-lands toward the cave home of the mage Vindec.

They arrived and discovered that Vindec was still inside muttering to himself and talking to a swirling column of dark grey smoke. The search was on. Vindec was reaching out seeking Santa. A flash of lightening erupted from the cloud column striking an open map book, riffling the pages until one stopped, then another bolt pinpointed a single spot on the coast of an island.

Santa had been located. Now all that was needed was for David to fetch him and get the problem fixed. Vindec picked up his magical travelling bag, which was about the size of a wallet. All around them the cave faded away until they were all standing looking up into the sky, with the cave having disappeared. Vindec with a nod indicated that they were ready to leave.


Chapter 5


David in his wheelchair lifted from the back of Robert and settled gently to the ground. Vindec’s magic worked everywhere, but that was when he realised that the chair could not roll on sand, it just sank in. Vindec landed next to him and saw the difficulties. The might mage, with the wave of a wand, caused to form a solid compressed sand path beneath the chair, allowing it to carry David toward the waiting Santa and Mrs. Claus, and of course the young girl he could also see.

Behind David, Robert slowly sank to the ground. He liked the feel of warm sand on his scales and with a wriggle or two he created a small depression in which to lie and wait until he was needed again. After all, even dragons get tired and he had flown a very long way, very quickly. He laid his head down and his eyelids began to droop.

Santa whispered something to Sally and she turned to face David, though her attention was not on him, it was on the huge persona that was Robert. She walked along the pathway and stepped aside as David approached before continuing on nervously toward the resting dragon.

Now if there is one thing dragons like, it is to sleep, but they also like to be made a fuss of and Robert was definitely a fuss-pot of a young red dragon. He slightly raised his head, so he could look the human girl in the eyes and then with the best will in the world he smiled at her. This showed his teeth and startled the girl who stopped. Then she realised that the dragon was smiling, and she walked closer. Soon she was touching and patting, but mostly talking to Robert. A bond was being formed.

David approached Santa and shortly they had talked in detail. Santa had expressed his shock at what David was telling him.

“That’s impossible it would mean that the Elf-stone that has always powered the Pole is losing its strength, and that should not happen!” stated a very worried Santa.

“Apparently it can!” replied David.

Vindec nodded confirming the worst. “It is possible, even an Elf-stone can get exhausted and because of it the North Pole and the workshops and everything that Santa stands for around the world is now under threat, unless we can do something and fast! What is needed is another Elf-stone to assist the original,” stated Vindec. “Though who would know where such a powerful ancient and rare magical entity can be found I have not got a clue.”

David was surprised to hear Vindec state that he did not know something about magic.

“We should return to the North Pole as quickly as we can. They will need help there and who knows we might be able to do something” Santa stated.

Just then a man and a woman ran toward them. Santa turned looking at them before saying, “Michael, Clair, how nice to see you both again. Sally is over there enjoying meeting her first real dragon.”

The couple halted looking at the man who had spoken to them and clearly knew who they were. They both looked beyond the small gathering seeing their daughter safe and talking to a huge red dragon. Then in shock they realised exactly who they were talking to, and that realisation made everything make sense to them, as did the feeling of peace that settled upon them thanks to the intervention of Vindec.

Vindec noticed, other people were starting to appear on the periphery. People, who should not see what was happening on the beach. People who would talk about what they saw. Vindec reached beneath his flowing cowl and removed a leather drawstring closed pouch. He opened it. At a single word, he watched as the dust within floated up and out forming a line, which surrounded himself and the gathering. A separate, apparently wind-born, cloud floated toward the much distracted Robert and Sally. It flitted as though controlled around the pair before settling to the ground. Light sparkled in both dust rings and all that was contained became invisible to any onlooker.

A further cloud lifted high into the air. It changed colour and blended with the sky before spreading out to encompass the whole of the beach bringing with it peace and tranquillity to all that passed beneath its floating presence. Now thought Vindec, there would be no talking of what was happening by the people who now wandered down to the beach seemingly unaware of anything out of the ordinary. In each person their panic and fear was fast dissipating, leaving behind happy holidaymakers and eager service people ready to resume their normal duties. All would believe that nothing had happened, and nothing would happen, peace filled the air and the sea waves kept rolling in.

Out on the ocean the lone sail-boarder looked landward and saw everything, but later when he tried to talk to those that had been present they each looked at him as though he was quite mad. Some even suggested that he had drunk too much or that he had bumped his head when he fell off his board. Even he eventually began to doubt what he thought he had seen; until finally, feeling totally fed up with being almost laughed at he shut up.

David was thinking. Santa was right, he concluded. It appeared they should return to the North Pole but something kept nagging at his thoughts… a little something that Vindec had said or implied pulled at him. The thought would not go away and then he had it. Vindec had called the Elf-stone an ‘ancient magic.’ Clearly, it was ancient and magic, but then Vindec had gone on to say ‘that he did not know where to find another,’ and that was it! David realised that what they needed was someone ancient to tell them where to look. The oldest most ancient creature he could think of lived in a cave on his, David’s estate.

He was the only remaining dragon from the time before time, as history referred to it. Royal, the great grey dragon, was old enough to perhaps know the answer to the question of where to find an Elf-stone to save the North Pole. It was not Santa’s home they needed to return too, it was his own. Though with the history between Santa and Royal, it being him, the grey dragon, who kidnapped Santa, David wondered how they could get Royal’s co-operation. A thought burst like a rising sun in David’s mind. He had an answer that might work.

“We need to go before we are discovered.” David had not noticed that all around him people were acting as though nothing strange was happening.

Vindec was smiling and waving his hand around for David to look.They all looked and relaxed slightly.

“Okay, but we still have to go now, and Santa must come with us. Robert can carry us three but…” David turned to face Mrs. Claus, “I’m sorry, but I think you will have to remain here, if that is okay?”

She smiled and waved them all away. “Not to worry, it will give me some time to shop and sunbath and generally act the part of a holidaymaker whilst you three go off to save my home.”

Santa reached out and planted a big kiss on her nose, then he turned toward the distant, much distracted young girl, saying for all to hear. “I better have a word with Sally or she will be extremely disappointed.”

Santa walked toward Sally with her parents close on his heels… David and Vindec following on. Mrs. Claus remained where she had been, her mind wandering to a little antique shop she had seen earlier in the day.

Robert lifted his head as Santa approached, a contented puff of fireless smoke blew out of his nostrils as he prepared to stand up. He realised they would soon be going. Sally turned as her dragon friend reared up out of her reach.

Santa knelt down to be on the same level as the young girl and a conversation that brought a huge smile to her face followed. Her parents heard every word and they too were smiling. David arrived, and he invited them all to a party at the manor that was to be held in November and even offered to arrange transport of a magical kind for them all. Robert chipped in saying he would love them to come and he would pick them up and see them home afterward. The situation was fixed, all would remain silent and look forward to a close encounter of the magical kind very soon.

Sally stepped aside as David, in his wheelchair, levitated onto the back of Robert. Vindec followed and then it was Santa’s turn to be lifted. Robert spread his wings as David told him to go home as fast as he could. Twin down beats launched them skyward… a quick twist and a long called goodbye and they were away.

The content, and quite excited, family walked along the pathway Vindec had created. Beneath their feet the hard surface vanished to be replaced by shifting sand grains having returned. All around them people got on with whatever they wanted to do, and life returned to the beach as the magic source departed into the sky, heading for David’s home estate and some answers, one of them hoped…


Chapter 6


It had taken five and a half hours for Theresa to pack everything she could think of to take to help with what she had been told might be a disaster by David. She had also had to prepare and be sure that her father was safe and could manage, and most importantly that his TV worked, so that he could watch the motor racing.

Farloft arrived in her back garden and announced his arrival with a hearty “Helloow.”

Twenty minutes later they were both in the air. The survival equipment was safely tied down and she had on her Christmas gift from Santa and Mrs. Claus, which was a state-of-the-art fairy dust powered, fully heated snowsuit with goggles to avoid snow blindness. Around her waist was a belt on which hung pouches containing a compact arctic tent, food in capsule form that when opened expanded into sandwiches and also cookies. There was also a little thimble that would also expand and contained Santa’s world-famous hot chocolate, and just as a nice touch it also refilled when empty. And to be absolutely safe, there was a pouch containing a spare charge of Fairy dust, just in case.

Four hours of hard energy sapping flight brought them to a position where they should be able to see the North Pole with its flashing red light. Unfortunately, and shockingly to Theresa, she could also see the out-buildings, work sheds and even the reindeer stable block. None of which she knew should be visible as they were all supposed to be covered over by an invisibility spell, which like everything else at the North Pole was powered by the crystal Elf-stone. Clearly, Theresa realised, David was right, something terrible had happened down there.

As they closed in having descended down to flying at a hundred feet, they both saw the stables and sniffing around them was a huge polar bear, which should not be able to be there. Farloft looked hard. He took a deep ice tickling breath and very carefully, so as to miss both the building and the bear, he blew out a single flaming ball of dragon’s breath. It ploughed sizzling into the snow before bursting and throwing fire shards everywhere. The bear lost all interest in the smell from the stables. It had seen the dragon approaching and the fire exploding and that was enough for it. It turned tail and at a surprisingly fast lope it vanished back into the icy distance.

Farloft landed near the stables, as he, like the bear, had been able to detect the scent of elves and reindeer within. So, he headed as close as he could. Snow and especially ice was not easy for a dragon to touch down on. It’s both very hard and very slippery, but Farloft had perfected the trick on previous visits to Santa’s home. He had timed his landing to perfection. He put down and had stopped less than ten feet from the out facing door of the stable block.

Having got his breath back he called out, “Helloow,” to anyone inside.

Theresa, who had her suit switched on because of the minus thirty temperatures, disembarked from her flying position. She stretched and twisted to work the cramps out of her legs and back. She looked up as the stable door opened and an elvin head poked out. The elf’s face lit up with a broad smile of relief, she thought, before it threw the door fully open, calling back that it was Theresa and Farloft her dragon.

“Help has arrived!” The voice added before calling to her to, “Come in.”

Farloft, who frankly was huge as well as bright green, was a little too big to enter, so he settled down in the snow to wait until he might be needed again. Dragons generate their own heat with every breath they take, so a little snow and cold are nothing to them. So it was that Farloft, who might if pushed, admit to being a little tired from his efforts, closed his eyes and fell into a pleasant, comfortable and well earned deep sleep.


Chapter 7


Robert flew over the walls of the manor entering into David’s home grounds. Beneath them his battle dwarves waved a greeting and signalled that all was well.

It felt good to be home. David always felt a deep feeling of peace whenever he returned. Life seemed somehow to be on the right track, only this time it was far from on the right track.

Having landed, David spoke to Santa telling him that where they had to go, indicating himself, Robert and Vindec, and further stating that probably it would be for the best if he did not accompany them. The reaction of who they were going to see might be unpredictable at best, possibly worse if he was with them initially. Santa realised where they were going and saw the sense in what David was saying, so he disembarked from Robert’s back, lifted by the magic of Vindec down to the floor.

From the Manor House an elegantly dressed, perfectly coiffured lady appeared. David called down to her asking if she would see to Santa for him. She smiled a greeting toward the master of the North Pole.

David looked at Santa saying, “I bet cook has some of her amazing cherry pie hidden and just crying out to be eaten.”

Robert lifted his head, his ears flapping at the thought of cherry pie, but it was not to be for them. They had other things to attend to.


~*~ 


The flight had taken only a few minutes. They had cleared the hills and then passed over into the woodland area. They were swiftly dropping down into a clearing with a cave at the far end. As the ground closed David watched the cave hoping that who he sought was inside, otherwise locating him could take far longer than they had time to spare. From within the darkness, fire burst out and a grumpy ancient crackling voice demanded to know who dared to disturb his sleep.

Robert landed and lowered his head to the floor in reverent greeting to the most ancient one. From the cave entrance an ancient head of slate grey, riding high on a long thick neck, appeared. On seeing Robert and his passengers the dragon exited, intent on discovering why he was being disturbed.

The voice belonged to Royal the oldest living dragon on the planet; he had been hatched when man was in its infancy. He was of the old world… the world of the fairies of light. He had lived in, and through, the times of the ancient magic. He had seen and survived the slaughter of his race by the red knights. Now he was in his dotage, but he was still powerful and interested when challenged. However, he was always just a little bit on the cranky side with a few grumps thrown into the mix to add texture.

David dismounted and rolled up to a point a few feet in front of Royal’s tooth lined maw. He looked up and smiled. He knew that Royal had respect for him, and also that he owed David for his home, his life, and his peace in his old age. As such, he would listen and do the best he could to help David out, or so David hoped.

As for Royal, he sensed that something was wrong and that for some reason David thought he might be able to help. It had been many years since he had been involved in a good fight so hopefully… he thought, falling silent and waiting.

“We need your help Royal. The North Pole, and the fate of Christmas is hanging in the balance. To correct the problem we need to locate an Elf-stone and the only creature on this planet old enough to have any idea where one might be found is you. Can you help? Will you help?” David asked the grey dragon, whilst keeping his fingers crossed, because Royal was the same dragon that kidnapped Santa last year.

“An Elf-stone, you say? You want to find an Elf-stone and you come to me to help you? I do know of one such stone. I even know where to find it. The only question I have is why it should be disturbed from its home? Christmas is threatened, how?” Royal asked.

David sensed something odd in Royal’s voice and attitude. There was something he was not saying, and it gave David hope that he had been right to come to Royal and ask.

“The workshops at the North Pole has an Elf-stone which powers everything, allowing by its presence for all of the elves to be kept safe, and for all of the presents to be made, and hence for Christmas to exist. That stone is running down and needs revitalising, and as you probably know, Royal, that can only be achieved by another such stone. So, we need to find one quickly so that the other can continue to exist. Can you help?” David asked the ancient dragon directly.

Royal turned around, and then around again… and again… circling in confusion, trying to make a decision that was clearly hard for him. Then his mighty head lifted and with an abrupt, “Stay Here!” he turned back into his cavern home and shortly he returned carrying of all things an Elf-stone glowing with multi-coloured light and exuding power!

They had what they sought, and they had hope again. Royal would not hand over the stone. It was his, he insisted, and the pride of his hoard. As such, he would carry it. Vindec, who Royal also respected, mounted the grey dragon and David returned to his Robert.

They burst into the sky in a mighty flapping of wings, once again heading back at the manor. Robert landed, Royal circled, and Santa and her ladyship exited the house to greet them. She held clothes suitable to the North Pole, having learned of the problem over apple pie, (cook didn’t have any cherry). Realising the implications of Santa’s tale, she had a maid fetch the thermal heated clothes David had been given at the same time as Theresa last year. When she saw through the kitchen window that they had returned, she brought them out with food and drink knowing that they were going on a long trip to save Christmas.

She handed all to Santa who holding them tightly tucked under his left arm, climbed up Robert’s tail, as there was no Vindec to lift him. Once he had safely seated himself next to David. Robert puffed out smoke, took a deep breath, and burst into the sky to circle and join the ancient Royal.


Chapter 8


Inside of the stables Theresa was greeted by a gathering of reindeer and elves. All of the elves were huddled together in the stables being ignored by the reindeer. The elves were clearly cold and confused and not a little bit scared to say the least. The first thing she noticed was the lack of a fire or heat of any sort. The next was an apathy in the elves, clearly though they were all expert at making toys they did not have a clue about surviving. They had lived for centuries with everything they needed provided for them and now that it was not there, they had no idea how to do for themselves.

Heat was her first thought… a fire of some sort would help, but then she realised that though it would benefit the elves it would not be any good for the reindeer. They were quite used to the cold. She had to think again. The oldest elf was standing looking at her desperate for help. She smiled and then pointed toward where the workshop was located, across the frozen expanse where she and Farloft landed. The elf understood but shook his head.

“We were locked out of the buildings when the power died. We had no choice but to leave and come here, but after we passed through the door it shut down and locked, so we can’t get back in!”

Theresa walked out of the stables and looked at the giant workshop doors. They were shut tight. An idea began to form, and seconds later she had the elves rallied and outside in the freezing snow. Farloft had approached the huge double metal doors. Using his thirteen-thousand-pound bulk he had first pushed, but the doors resisted. Theresa then looked on as he rammed his extended claws into and through the left door, allowing him a good solid grip. Leaning sideways he pushed and pulled hard. To the elves’ amazement the door started to open.

The dragon had forced an entry and the elves did not wait. They shot through the enlarging gap closely followed by Theresa, entering into the chilly workshop. They gathered in the central open area looking about them. The air was misting as they breathed and all around them was silence. The glass roof panels that normally lit up the room had snowed over because there was no magic to keep them clear.

Theresa spoke to two elves sending them off to find a large metal barrel. Four others she sent to find and bring any wood off-cuts they could find. There are plenty of them around as toy making creates lots of off-cuts. Soon they returned pulling a fully loaded sledge. The remainder looked on in puzzled confusion. Behind them Farloft closed the door he had so simply opened, with a loud echoing bang.

The first two elves had found a barrel of sorts and were rolling it toward Theresa. It had a lid on it, which once popped off, and when stood up, it was exactly what she had asked for. She had wood tipped inside, and then needing a light, she asked Farloft if he would not mind. He didn’t. Having stuck his nose into the barrel, he blew out and fire expanded filling the space and flowing up past the dragon’s fireproof nose. The wood burned. A lot had just simply turned to ash with the heat of the dragon’s breath, but there was plenty more wood. Soon the homemade brazier was flaming away perfectly, its heat radiating outward to the elves who swiftly closed in on its source. Theresa caught the eye of the senior elf and asked about the power source. She wanted to see it. He led her along corridors, down winding stairs, and into a small hexagonal room located deep beneath the complex.

There in front of her, resting in a purpose made cradle, was a shiny multi-coloured egg shaped crystal stone which she knew to be an Elf-stone. The egg before her should be glowing with vitality, whilst extruding pure brilliant light. Instead, it was barely lit. Its light was so dim that she could see the mottled surface. Clearly, the stone was dying.

Theresa felt a sharp tug at her waist; the spare power bag for her winter suit was being pulled out toward the dying stone. She started to reach for it as the cord holding it snapped and the bag flew. It hit the stone and split spilling the dust from within, which instantly ignored gravity and stuck to the stone before being absorbed by it. The dull light of the stone absorbed the magic dust and picked up in output slightly.

Theresa watched and realised that she had another source of elf powder in her suit. Without hesitation she flipped open the cover and watched as the dust rocketed from its housing toward the Elf-stone, where it too was swiftly absorbed. Before her eyes she watched the glow increase yet again. How long it would last, she did not know but at least there was now a chance.

She and the elf departed back to the workshop. There she found happy warm elves enjoying a cup each of Santa’s world-famous hot chocolate. The chocolate making machine had come back to life. The lights had switched on and some of the toy machines were working. Swiftly, Theresa ordered that everything that was not essential, including the hot chocolate machine must be switched off. They had to save power, as they did not know how long they would be stranded inside of that workshop. They even turned the heating level down to a point that, with blankets, the elves were okay, but without them they would have been too cold.


Chapter 9


David looked down with Santa as Robert descended past the outer limits of Santa’s home. The North Pole’s pole was flashing, which was a positive. There was no snow on the roof of the workshop, which implied heat within, and the doors were closed. Despite these positive signs the place-looked dark everywhere else, and cold as well. Robert extended his wings and drifted down, landing nearly perfectly on the slippery ice before the workshop’s doors.

Behind him Royal tried to copy Robert. He had larger wings and drifted more slowly down, but when his claws touched the ice they started to slide. He back flapped and that caused him to spin, a figure-eight, later he halted facing away from the workshops, and secretly feeling a little out done by his younger cousin.

Vindec dismounted and reached up for the Elf-stone that Royal had carried so lovingly the whole way. He begrudgingly let the magician have the stone and then in disgust at the loss he slumped to the snow-covered ground.

David approached the closed door and rapped hard on their metal surface. He had seen the neat perforations punched through the surface and suspected that he knew who had made them. After all, he had seen a washing machine devastated by Robert when he was younger, and the holes looked similar to him, though much larger in size… clearly the work of Farloft, he realised.

The rap caused a small door to his right to open, and shortly to make things easy, the main doors slid apart, now that there was power to work them. All but Royal entered. He had no wish to go inside. He had done all he was going to do to help and as was befitting a dragon of his extreme age he curled up in the snow, closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Robert greeted Farloft as he always did with true joy at seeing him again. Farloft wing hugged the young red dragon and then turned to give Royal a respectful bow, with wing tips lowered, as a salute to his most honoured ancient ancestor.

David, Theresa, Vindec and Santa looked at the collapsing Elf-stone that had powered Santa’s realm for oh so many years.

“Oh My!” said Santa in shock, as he looked at his precious power source.

David looked at Vindec who was levitating the new Elf-stone toward the existing one. The stones closed, both glowed, them much like a waterfall the one stone recharged the other. Shortly, the place began to hum, lights burst into glowing life, machines switched on and happy working elves could be heard all around the North Pole workshop.

Power was restored. The Elf-stone had been recharged and no harm had befallen Christmas, all would be well again.

Some Interesting Things You Might Like To Know.

The following day Santa returned to his wife and their holiday.

David gave Royal back his Elf-stone, which along with Vindec, he took straight home to his cave and upon arrival he reverently placed it once more in pride of position amidst his hoard.

On the Fifth of November, Robert and a certain young girl and her dragon arrived at a house and swiftly carried Sally and her parents to David’s home, where the battle dwarfs cheered them as they arrived. David had kept his word and they were to be guests of honour at the dragon feast and following sky dance celebration party.

Santa and Mrs Claus had arrived earlier for the party.

Farloft and Royal had a nice long talk, which everyone in the area enjoyed sharing in. Ancient dragons are known for their long-winded tales.

Royal was amazed to see how many dragons came to the party and a good time was had by them all.

That just leaves one simple conversation to explain.

On the beach Santa had spoken to Sally. What he said, she went around telling everyone that would listen. Santa was going to pick her up on Christmas Eve and she could help him with his deliveries!

Unknown to Santa or David, Sally had a thought that swirled around in her head. She looked at the slightly older girl that had accompanied Robert to collect her, the girl on who’s dragon she had ridden passenger to get to this wonderful party. She learned that the girl’s dragon was a gift from David and Santa. During the day when she had to be at school, her dragon became a rocking-horse, but at other times it was her dragon and they flew together. They were growing and learning together and forming a special human dragon bond that would be unbreakable.

She wondered, ‘If she can have a dragon why can’t I?’

Merry Christmas to one and all.

If you would like to know more about the people in this story, you can find them on the internet along with their books.

David Stevens: https://davidstevensbooks.blogspot.com/

Theresa Snyder: https://www.theresasnyderauthor.com/

Farloft the Dragon: http://farloftsrhetoric.blogspot.com/ 

Christmas Cheer from Farloft by Bluekite Falls of DA


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