(Picks up where The Holy and the Lowly left off)
Ran awoke to familiar surroundings
but his stuffed companion had gotten lost.
Searching the room he shared with his sleeping
Papa turned up no button eyed bear tossed
aside when had adventure spirited
Ran and his Papa to follow a star.
Inari slept ‘neath a shawl she’d knitted
She stirred at his approach, smiled like a star.
“Where’s bear?” he asked anxious to find his friend
and tell his Christmas tale to those stuffed ears.
“Maybe in here, let’s look,” she extended
a box, bow-topped, wrapped in star’s shine and tears.
Ran opened it, peered inside to find Bear,
mended, clean, decked in ranger green with care.
Inari smiled at Ran’s delight; he hugged
his bear tight and then turned to display
his Christmas present to Sarn who’d just shrugged
off sleep and joined them just in time today.
Sarn rubbed sleep from eyes that saw neither desert
nor wise men, mangers or saving babes, blessed
woman or angels, just Nolo’s suite girt
with garland; a seated Inari pressed
a gift into his hands; surprised, he just held
it unsure what to make of gift or trip.
Was his Christmas adventure a dream meld
of magic, symbols and holiday clips?
He rejected that; he wasn’t dreaming.
What to do after the end of seeming?
“Open it,” Inari smiled when Ran jumped
in with “look! Bear’s a Ranger just like you!”
Sarn stared at his son’s bear, now nice and plump.
It wore a cut down version of his greens too.
Though both had been mended, unlike his clothes.
He held the gift; he’d none to give in turn.
“Open it,” she urged; he did, finding clothes,
new greens–a set for him and Ran in turn.
There were boots too for both and he relaxed,
glad the gifts given were practical things
he’d have bought if certain rules were relaxed.
No toys for Ran, not that any-toy-thing
could compete with his stuffed companion’s upgrade.
Sarn was touched by the attention she’d paid.
After breakfast, Sarn retreated, choosing
to sit outside in the cold, arms around knees,
chin propped, gaze unfocused, mind perusing
recent events, wondering which were free
of magical or mental invention.
Beyond the balustrade, River Nirthal’s
frozen face reflected sun’s detention
by thick clouds; movement drew his eye from dull
sky to the ice where a sunbeam alighted.
That beam widened and silhouettes appeared.
Icy tipped his hat and Santa waved, sight
of them drew Sarn to the rail, next appeared
Nutcracker, the Rusted King and fairies–
all took one last bow; next year they’d be there.
He knew it as they vanished and the door
to the terrace admitted Nolo, cold
and angry, like the building storm that would bore
down on them tonight, so the wind foretold.
“Where have you been? Three days I’ve looked for you.
Three nights I didn’t find you. Where did you go?”
What to say? He’d taken a sleigh ride to
Christmas’ heart, spent time with wise men so
he could follow a star–crazy but true.
Nolo’d never believe any of it.
Sarn let the silent morn speak his answer.
Nolo hauled Sarn to his feet and they quit
the suite; for Jerlo’s office, they headed.
where Sarn’s doom awaited; hope it shredded.
The story continues in Allies and Anthems
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