Winter Magic

From the Story Arc: Year-Turning

Next Story in the Arc: Truce by Victoria Victrix (Sunday, December 13, 2009)

(posted Friday, December 11, 2009)

“…so what do you think, Mom?”

Astra and Kyne waited while Sera Murdock pondered the question. “Byelobog has given you the water, and has approved of your project?”

Astra nodded.

“Thea and Vickie will help you?”

She nodded again. “The Byelobog’s water kind of knocks you out of depression long enough for you to get a kind of outside look at yourself and remember what made you happy in general. At least, that’s what Aunt Bella says. Vickie and Thea say they can refine that with a spell, so whoever eats my candy will remember a moment when they were absolutely happy and contented, and they’ll be able to hold onto that for at least a couple hours. It’s not like Hope’s crazy-happy. It’s more like ‘I felt this good once, and this is mine and no one can take it away from me.’ They’re still going to be rational. Just…they’ll remember that life didn’t always suck, if it sucks now, and maybe think it could not suck again. And if they’re already doing ok, it will give them a rerun of good memories.”

Sera pondered again. “You know that for those in the Isles, the things that make them happy might not be…good. And once these presents are out of your hands, you give over any control. That is what Free Will is about.”

And for the third time, Astra nodded. “But the Year Turning and Christmas isn’t about what I want. It’s about other peoples’ happiness, not mine. Their happiness and their reaction isn’t mine to control, because that’s not what giving is about. All I can do is my best with the right intent and what happens after that is theirs to decide.”

Sera smiled. “We have taught you well, love. Go. Work your magic.”

For three days, Astra worked in the CCCP kitchen, turning out batches of candy using the water from the Byelobog’s spring, one tiny drop at a time, and hundreds of pounds of sugar and flavorings. Mostly she made extra-dark truffles and milk chocolate truffles, but there were a few “special” batches. When she was done, she took it all to the magic workroom and Thea and Vickie labored over it.

Then she packaged it up.

There was one batch that only went to the soup kitchen and another to the City of Lost Children orphanage. Every member of CCCP got three vodka truffles; Bella got a whole box, as did Thea, Vickie, Sister Jo, Star, Maya and her own family. Then came the smaller presents. Tiny boxes of three dark or light truffles went out to virtually anyone Astra had ever worked with this year. For those few who didn’t like or couldn’t eat chocolate, the choice was peanut butter or dulce de leche fudge. For Mandy, a pound of pecan divinity. For Sebastian…an absolutely enormous box of six flavors of fudge. For the Carnies…what else. A small barrel of chocolate-drizzled caramel corn. For the Wing, rice candy of course.

But then…

Then there were the boxes left at the bar in Pocket D. For Hreb, should he ever return, crystallized ginger. For Hope, three milkshake truffles. For Rhikki Ryan and most of the St Raven’s kids she’d met, dark or light truffles. For Rostov…

For Rostov, in a Hello Kitty box, two ounces of lemon sours.

For Kaldi…two ounces of dark chocolate covered espresso beans.

For One-One-Seven Alpha Dire, half a pound of peanut brittle.

For Paulie, not candy, but an Italian Cream Cake. For Berkut, because she didn’t seem to eat, chocolate liqueur. For Redcoat, mints.

Sent over with Bella, for NWO, tiny boxes of liquor-flavored truffles. Southern Comfort for Charlie, Scotch for Delta, Rum for Mike, Irish Cream for Joy, and she guessed at the others.

When she was done, she set her hopes with them, but not expectations. Peace on Earth, good will towards all things. Let it be, if only for a moment. For every moment of true joy was a victory.




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