Fancy a Game, Love

With a thin cigar between her lips, Klara sank back in her rocking chair. Ruefully she glanced over at her long neglected knitting basket. Carols her angora winked at her and rolled over in the basket. Klara returned to her tablet. The world was going to hell in a hand basket. In her realm the Massacre of the Flyers had rocked her community to its core and stretched her troops in search of the assassin to the farthest reaches of Winterland. Summerlyn, once lush and verdant, had been ravaged by intentional forest fires. Security experts at Spring City had uncovered a bomb at their city hall and now the entire metropolis was under martial law. And Autumn Falls was what—a complete mystery; the island continent has gone completely dark, no news, no broadcasts, no calls, no emails, no emissionaries returned, all drones shot from the skies. The world of magic was under attack and the world of humans had become an ongoing Dumpster fire.
Klara dialed Bojangles again reassured just by the sound of her brother’s voice on his voicemail. She had to believe her little brother and season realm he led were okay. A slight noise drew her attention. Her husband, with a twinkle in his eyes, entered the study with his portable chess game.
“Fancy a game love.”
Klara motioned her head toward the large cuckoo clock on the mantle. “Isn’t three o’clock a little late to play games,” she said.
Kris looked a little confused and then he began setting up the board on her desk.
“Puddly posh, it is much too dark for three at this time of year, my dear. That old clock must be daffy. I thought some chess would soothe your nerves,” Kris said. He lined up the chess pieces.
“My Santa, I didn’t mean to bark at you.” Klara crushed her cigar in a plate of cookies. She walked to her desk and kissed the top of his bald head as he lined up the pieces in order. Kris had been drifting further and further away from her each day. The last few years had been very hard for them both. She tried to keep his deterioration from others for his dignity and for their protection. A weak unprotected king is key to losing the game. Klara said her thoughts out loud.
“Remember your old days as a chess whiz,” Kris said with a chuckle. “No one could touch you.”
“One being came close.” Suddenly Klara understood. Magic was out of balance. The workshop was underprotected; the realms were fighting internal problems and no longer working together. Only someone from the inside, someone high up could orchestrate this level of upheaval.
Klara stepped over to the globe on her desk and idly spun the known world. Slyly she looked at Kris, the Santa Claus, the beloved myth and Kris Kringle, the ambitious wizard she had loved and trusted since she was in pigtails. Klara reached beneath her desk for the hidden drawer with her blade.
“No one’s going to believe you, Twist and turn, boil or burn, still no one is going to believe you,” Kris sang in a sweet merry tune as he deftly twirled Klara’s bejeweled dagger with his left hand.
“Fancy a game, love.”

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