Santa Scape


The woman bit her lip, staring at the red phone on her husband’s desk. It hadn’t been that long, but he should have at least called. She pushed her gray hair away from her ear and picked up the receiver. It clicked and dialed the only number it was programmed to call. “Hello, SC Ops, what’s wrong, ma’am?”

The grey-haired woman released her lip and said, “Reganald, I wasn’t going to call, but it’s been a day, the whole time with no communication at all. I am starting to get worried—”

“Wait, ma’am, are you saying you haven’t heard anything from him for a whole day?” Suddenly there was the sound of alarms and klaxons behind Reganald. “Don’t worry ma’am, the SC Ops is on the job. Give us two days tops to find out what happened.”

The woman breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Reganald, I feel better already.”

“No problem, ma’am,” Reganald replied. “I’ll be there soon to ask you some questions. Then we’ll get started.”

She nodded. “I’ll be here at the main house when you are ready.”

A few minutes later there was a knock at the front door. The grey-haired woman said, “Please come in,” and the door opened, admitting Reganald. He was short, with large, muscular arms and legs. His skin was lime colored.

He bowed, to the woman, revealing the points of his ears. She sat and pointed at a chair.

Reganald pulled out a small notepad and asked, “Ma’am, did he say anything about where he was going?”

The woman rested her chin on her hand and stared at the ceiling for a minute. “Something about a small town that didn’t have the Christmas spirit.”

“Ma’am, did he use one of the side exits?” Reganald asked tentatively. The woman’s surprise was visible. She nodded. He added, “We do know of all the secret exits, ma’am.”

When the woman finally smiled, he relaxed a bit and waited for more.

“He also said something about strange readings that were coming from the town, magical readings,” the woman said. “He said he was the only one that had strong enough magic, so he had to go.” Fear was evident on her face.

“Magic, I was afraid it might be that, otherwise, he would have come to us.” Reganald shook his head, deep in thought. “Do you think that Art would consent to help us?”

The woman’s head whipped around. She stared at him. “I have no way of knowing. He was adamant about everything when he left. Something about it being to painful to remember? Plus, he did a memory wipe. “

“The last part won’t be a problem, we can ease him back into it. I just hope that his adoptive father missing is enough to bring him in,” the male stated.

“So do I Reganald, so do I,” the woman said with a tear in her eye.

It was an hour later when Reganald along with several other small muscular males entered a multi-storied office building. Looking around Reganald leaned to his second. “Secure the building, no one in.”

His second nodded as the other males moved out to the other entrances. Nodding, Reganald turned back to the door as a small female that slightly resembled him, entered with a small black bag.

“Will it take long?” Reganald asked.

The female thought a moment. “No more than five minutes. I’m just afraid that he might react violently when it all comes back.”

“Not to worry there, I’m sure I can handle him.” When the female shook her head with a smirk, Reganald asked, “Now what?”

“I remember you having to heal for a month the last time you two went at each other. How do you expect me to think this time will be different?” the female responded.

“That was when he had his full magic, plus the knowledge to use it. Besides, I have magic now also.” Reganald said with a smile, that soon disappeared.

Still smirking, the female shook her head even harder. Releasing a huge sigh, she stated, “We’ll see Reg, I still have a full trauma unit standing by just in case.”

Reganald and the female moved through the building, completely ignored by the security, plus anyone else they ran into. Finally, they stepped off an elevator at the top of the building. Walking down the hall, they stopped before a door with the words: Art Krangle Creative Marketing. Both took a deep breath before they stepped inside.

Both Reganald and the female walked past everyone, ’til they were in Art’s office. They both stopped before a rather tall, thirty-something looking, dark-haired male sitting before several computer screens.

The female turned back to the door locking it. Reganald waved his hand, then they both waited.

Art looked up to see two short, slightly green-skinned, well they weren’t midgets though they were short people, before him. “What the hell are you two doing here? How the hell did you get past security?” He was about to press an alarm when he found he couldn’t move.

The female quickly administered a small injection that made the man’s eyes grow large.

“What in the hell have you done to me? What was in that shit?” Art was yelling.

“Really Art, such language!” Reganald said sharply, causing Art to look at the small male as if he were crazy.

“Really? You break the hell in here, and you admonish me about my language? I’m going to put you so far under the jail, you won’t remember your name, Reggy!” Art’s face suddenly registered surprise. “What in the HELL!!! I’m going to make you pay for this Reggy!” Again Art’s eyes blinked in surprise.

“How long?” Reganald asked of the female.

“Two minutes, any time now,” the female replied.

Art was starting to struggle as a flood of memories began to inundate his mind. “What? What?! WHAT!??” Art was repeating over and over. Then his eyes locked with Reganald’s, narrowing them with a look of hatred, he almost growled at the small male. Then his face softened as he turned to the female. “They must be completely panicked and desperate if you’re here Viola.”

Viola’s eyes also softened as she nodded. “I’m afraid it is, my… Art. Your father has…”

“He’s not my father as HE well reminded me, far too many times to count. That among a few other things drove me away from there.” Here Art stared accusingly, then sneered at Reganald. “Like I said before, Christmas can die for all I care!”

“Art! You can’t mean that!” Viola cried.

“Why the hell not? Why should I make the world happy when all I was given was pain and suffering. Even now, seeing the both of you here is nothing but tortuous pain to me. Why the fuck should I care? I am not a martyr, I will not sacrifice myself, my feelings,” here Art took a deep breath. “Nor will I sacrifice my love, for this supposed season of happiness. No, if I am to be denied, then the rest of the world can also be.”

Both Reganald and Viola’s eyes went wide. “I know you dislike me Art but…” Reganald started.

“Dislike?” Here Art started to laugh. “Dislike? No Reggy,” here Art’s face twisted into a grim mask of hatred and rage. “No, I don’t dislike you, I absolutely despise you!” With that, a mighty blast of magical energy shot out of Art’s hands.

Reganald smiled, then the smile faded as he was thrust back into the wall at least a foot. “Art? Do you hate all of us that badly?” Viola asked, her lips trembling.

His arms dropping at his side, Art’s face softened again. “No my dear Viola, not all of you. Though there are a great many of you that I do. They didn’t even consider, Viola, the council just said no. They didn’t even let me speak, had they, we might be together, now? I just want all of them dead.”

“Is that why you left? Just up and disappeared for ten years?” Viola asked as she reached her small hand to Art’s face. Touching it, they both trembled as almost forgotten feelings were thrust to the surface.

“It was better to leave with no memory than to stay and suffer untold humiliation and ridicule by the others.” Here Art held up his hand. “It was there my dear, no matter how much they watch the others, it was there,” Art told her.

A groan from the wall let them know that Reganald was waking up. Huge tears were falling from Viola’s eyes. “By the great mother, I did not know. Had I just an inkling, then I guarantee that things would have been different.”

“No, my dear, I don’t think that even you could have swayed them. My, HA! Father could have, hell even Reggy could. Me? No, I was and am nothing to them.” Here an almost evil smile lit up his face. “Another twenty days, then they will be nothing also. He can’t pass the power to anyone else now that I have it. No one can take me without quite a few being destroyed. Now, you(maybe it should be I because he vanishes?) better go before I get really mad and start with Reggy.” With that, Art snapped his fingers and vanished.

Reganald stood up, then immediately backed up from the scathing look from Viola. “YOU! You could have helped prevent all of this. No, you had to just follow along, be a good little soldier even though you knew it was wrong. There are times I am almost ashamed to be your sibling!” Whirling, Viola marched out of the room her anger growing by the second.

They had boarded their transport when Viola growled at Reganald. “We need to get back NOW! I have to inform the council. By the great power what a bunch of doddering old fools!” She turned to growl at the others when they started to gasp. This made every one of the well, muscled males shrink back from her.

Reganald swallowed hard as he stared straight ahead, they needed to get back. It appeared that Viola might have all the answers that they were looking for. Getting her to reveal that information before she was ready, that was altogether an other thing.

Art appeared within the confines of a dark cave. Passing his hand over the walls, he could still feel the almost overwhelming evil that surrounded them. Nodding his head, he could also feel the evil trying to invade his space then his body. He wasn’t stupid, as he flung a few tendrils away, just angry.

Near the back of the cave was a heavy set man that was resting on a mattress. At the approach Sex hikayeleri of Art, the man turned over, then sat up.

“Thank god you are here!” the heavyset man said. “You think you can help me get out of here?”

Art sat in a chair nearby, only glaring at the man. Silent for a moment Art continued to stare at the man.

“Art? Is something wrong? Why aren’t you trying to help me escape? NO!?” The man’s eyes suddenly widened. “You are the one who put me here! Why son? Why have you…”

“Son? SON!!? Now you call me that. For years I waited for that one simple word, to feel that you wanted me. Though, did I ever get it? NO! Let’s see if I can refresh your fetid, putrid excuse of a memory. I’m sorry, though you aren’t my son thanks. I wish I had a son like you. What a great son you’d make. If I had a son, I’d want him to be like you.” Art growled at the man his hatred flowing from him like a wave of energy.

“I don’t…” the man started.

“SHUT UP! I am through listening to you. I’m through being hurt, ignored and pushed away. Now it’s my turn to make you feel useless, unloved and unwanted. As of right now, you are dead to me you pathetic excuse for an immortal. No, after you don’t appear this year, the world cries foul about you, THEN I will let you go. Let you feel the wrath, the unadulterated ridicule, and shame I did. Don’t look at me like that! Had you kept a more firm hand on things, then I wouldn’t have been forgotten.” Art spit at the man.

“You weren’t forgotten…” the man tried to start again.

“I TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP!” Then an idea struck Art’s mind as he reached out touching the man’s head. An almost shriek escaped the man’s lips as he turned ashen, then he turned to stare at Art, as huge tears started to fall from his eyes. “You fucking bastard! You love all the children of the world. You absolute fucking liar! See all the hell I went through because you didn’t have time for your own.” Releasing the man, Art smiled a wicked smile, as the more recent memories started. This had the man falling to his knees, wailing as if he was being skinned alive.

More tears were flowing as the man lowered his head. “I never knew, I should have. Release me Art, I can make this better. You know I have the power to.” The man was begging in an almost whisper.

“HA! As if you bastard spawn of Satan! I want you to suffer, suffer as the world calls out for you, then realizes that you aren’t coming. I don’t care about Christmas, not your part in it. I would destroy you where you stand if I could. So know that I am your eternal enemy when I am through with you, not even Christ will be able to help you. That is if he really cared to help a miserable piece of garbage like you!” Art spat out as he whirled to depart.

“Art! Give me a chance to make things right! I can do it!” the man shouted after Art.

Art whirled around standing in the passageway. “Let you get away with a mistake you made? To just wipe it out? To erase memories? No! You need to suffer, suffer as much as I did. As soon as you know what it is to be useless, THEN your real penance will start. Til then? Enjoy being alone like I was. Viola was all I had, you could see it though you chose to ignore it. Enjoy bastard, I’ll see you in a few weeks.” With that Art snapped his fingers and was gone.

The man wailed a bit then settled back down on the mattress. There was no point trying to get out, Art was far more powerful than he was, especially now in this place.

Arriving back where they had started, Viola was out of the transport at a run. She’d already put in a call to the council, calling for an emergency meeting about the situation. Reganald was shaking his head taking off behind her at a run also. He had to make sure she didn’t get too angry, getting herself banned from the chambers.

Rounding a corner, Reganald skidded to a stop almost colliding with Viola. Looking her up and down he could see that she was standing stock still, clenching her hands. She was also muttering to herself.

Feeling a presence, her head snapped around to stare at Reganald. Even he had to back up from the intense look of anger that she held on her face. Through her clenched teeth, she stated, “I suggest if you wish to remain in his good graces, that you help me. So help me, if I fail then I just might agree with him!”

Reganald was shocked at the pure venom that she was now spewing at him. “I am loyal to…” He started only to be shocked again as Viola had knocked him off his feet. Grunting as he slid into the wall with great force, he slowly got to his feet. Turning toward Viola, he could see that her eyes were glowing. Oh shit! If she lost it, there would be no saving her.

With a heavy sigh, Reganald said, “I’ll do what I can Viola. At this point, I’m not sure they will listen to me.” Here his head dropped as he tried to diffuse Viola’s anger.

He heard heavy breathing from her direction then she said, “That’s all you would have had to do back then. You are far more respected than most.” Reganald could only look up in shock, him? He just did his job, that was it, there never seemed to be time for anything else.

Entering the chambers, they were greeted by twelve grim-faced, grey-haired light green skinned males. An older, taller woman walked to them, the same that Reganald had asked the questions of. “I heard that an emergency meeting was called.” Here she turned from Reganald to Viola. A gasp arose from her throat. “You’ve seen Art haven’t you?” She asked.

Viola’s face held shock as she nodded yes. “He is not the same. If anything he is far angrier than he was when he left.” Viola’s head dropped as she felt a stab of emotional pain run through her.

The older woman nodded her head as she looked intensely at Viola. “Ah! I see you are still deeply in love with him.”

Viola’s head snapped up, as she turned to stare at the woman. The older woman issued a low chuckle. “I know it when I see it. I haven’t been around as long as I have, to not have learned a few things.”

All three of them stepped to the podium that was centered in the room. All of the twelve males gasp when they saw the older woman that was accompanying Reganald and Viola.

The older woman stayed back as Reganald gave his report. All of the twelve males gasped when Reganald told them of the strength of Art’s magic. They were horrified even more when he stepped down, Viola telling them what Art had said.

Shaking violently Viola took a deep breath as she prepared for her next set of words. “Though he never said it, I believe Art has him. I also know that Art blames him and YOU,” here she pointed a slender finger at all twelve males. “For never allowing that which was the only joy he had. Not only not allowing it, he says that you pushed him as far from me as you could.”

The leader of the council stood. “It is how things are done you should know…”

Taking a deep breath, Viola interrupted the male. “There is an ancient saying that I believe was started by our kind. I’m sure you all know it? All things are possible if you believe honestly, and strongly enough.” A moment later there was a commotion at the chamber doors then a little boy came running to Viola. An extremely warm smile lit up her face as all of the males gasped. “I would like to introduce you to Arthur,” here she turned to Reganald. “My son.”

Reganald’s mouth dropped open in disbelief, as he stared from the boy to Viola and back. “Y… your… your….. SON!!!?” Viola only smiled as she nodded yes, first to Reganald, then to the also opened mouthed council.

Viola’s eyes narrowed as she looked every council member in the eye. “As the saying goes,” here she stared at all the males in the room almost daring them to discount what she’d said. “ALL things are possible! Therefore I suggest that all of you who caused this problem? Pray that Arthur and I can change his mind, though as things are? I’m not too sure I don’t agree with Art!” With that Viola picked the little boy up whirling, then walking out the doors slamming them shut with a great force. Even as she left they all heard her saying, “I think it’s about time we introduced you to your father.”

Reganald turned toward the council, his and their mouths still open. “So I can see that ALL of YOU have a great deal to do,” the older woman said as a broad smile spread across her face. She then snapped her fingers as she vanished.

Viola was making her way rather quickly toward the nearest transport when the older woman appeared not too far in front of her. Sighing, Viola stopped a moment as she stared at the older, taller woman. “I really don’t have time to argue with you, ma’am. I have to save him before what is eating him up inside, goes too far.”

The older woman smiled as she took a step closer. “Argue? No, my dear, I wish to help you. Like you, I wasn’t heard either. Though Art didn’t know it, I supported him when he was growing up. I saw his pain. Also, I thought something had happened between the two of you.” Here she held up her wrinkled hand. “I may not be able to have children, I am still a female. I knew something was going on, I just wish I had been able to do more than I was able to.”

Viola was shocked when the older woman started to cry. “Ma’am?” Viola started.

“Please call me Mercy, I am so sorry I didn’t act faster, sooner. Had I, things would have been different. Art always was good at hiding his emotions. I was almost fooled, then he came home upset one day after school. That was the day I started to watch him even closer. Please, let me help you, together I am sure we can bring him back from the brink. Then we can save my husband.” Mercy said as Viola, still in shock at the strongest female she’d ever known crying, nodded her agreement.

“I was going to get a transport…” she started.

Mercy shook her head no, as she pointed to the front of the large barn area. There before it, was a small sleigh with two reindeer hooked to the front.

Viola’s mouth dropped Sikiş hikayeleri open. “Those are… are” she stuttered.

Mercy nodded. “The same Reindeer that make the worldwide trip? Yes, my dear, they are. They are much faster than your transports.”

Both females made their way to the sleigh. Loading up they were quickly on their way. Arthur was yelling wheeee the whole time they were getting airborne.

In less than two minutes they arrived at the same building that Viola, Reganald, and the team had been at earlier.

Viola looked around shaking her head. “It seems unlikely that he will be here again,” she said confidently though inside she felt a little unsure.

Mercy looked at her and smiled. “Art might be many things, though he is still a creature of habit. I know he’ll be here eventually.”

Viola nodded her head as she held Arthur close, how she wished this was over. For too long she had felt alone, empty inside. Arthur was the only one that had helped her hang onto her sanity.

“Right now ma…, Mercy, I am at a loss as to where he might be. Anything you can provide will be greatly appreciated.”

Mercy smiled, the young female was really starting to grow on her. “I think this would be the best course of action.”

Viola nodded as she looked at the place Art had hidden his self away from her world, away from her. Feeling almost numb, she stood there feeling she had to move but couldn’t.

Mercy smiled at the young female again as she gently took hold of Viola’s elbow, pulling her to the front doors. “All will be well soon my dear, you’ll see. You might say that, momma is on the case.”

Viola nodded feeling even more numb than before. Looking around she knew where she was, though everything seemed foreign and distant to her.

“I would think this would be the last place he would be,” Viola stated as she clutched Arthur closer to her.

“As I said before, Art may be a lot of things, he is a creature of habit. This is and was his whole world. I am sure he will have a very difficult time walking away from it,” Mercy said a small smile lighting up her face.

As they entered the doors, several large men calmly walked to them. The lead man was about to speak when Mercy shook her head no. “Yes ma’am,” the man said as he turned to talk to the others with him.

Both females stood there a moment as the lead man continued then turned toward them. Nodding, he then bowed moving aside. Viola’s mouth dropped open. “How did you accomplish that?”

Mercy’s smile widened as she leaned close. “What? You think he has all the magic? No, my dear, he has the biggest part, I do many things that help him in the background. I prefer it much more, it makes my job far easier.”

Viola’s eyes grew wider as a greater, new found respect for the woman started to grow within her. They took an elevator to the top floor a great many people bowing to them as they passed, moving down the corridor.

The whole time Mercy was smiling, with a nod to each that they passed. Viola tried not to question ’til they moved to the same door that she’d been to earlier. Stepping in she half expected them to be questioned, then was further amazed when they were quickly ushered into Art’s office.

Taking a seat, Mercy patted the seat next to her causing Viola to sit with Arthur in her lap. They had been there for nearly an hour having already had a cup of hot chocolate when Mercy looked up.

“Ah! Here he comes. Now dear please be prepared, even I can not predict his reaction to the news,” Mercy told Viola, giving a nod toward an almost asleep Arthur in her lap.

Viola sat up as she started to feel the approaching magic. There was a whoosh as a spot of light appeared then grew, ’til thirty seconds later Art was standing before them.

Looking around he saw both of the females sitting in his office, though why they had a small boy with them was beyond him. “So, they have drafted you to try and convince me also.” Shaking his head no, Art continued, “Not going to happen mother, not in this lifetime anyway. Perhaps the next life, when family is important, but not this one.”

“Still as hard headed as always,” Mercy said with a smile. “Now then,” Mercy said, suddenly turning serious, causing Art to back up sitting with a thud in his chair. “You know very well that I DON’T do anything, I do not want to. Let’s be clear on this, I was the one who started all this. I was the one who noticed that your father…”

“Father?! FATHER!! Try to get that old, worn out, piece of sh…, sorry Mother. Convince that tired old man that I am his son. That was all I ever wanted, all any son ever wants from his father. Just a little pride, warmth, perhaps affection? No Mother, I got none of that from him. Perhaps, if I had, things might be different now? I seriously doubt it, I don’t think there was ever any love in him, for me his son, in all sense of the word,” Art said spitting the words.

“ART! Enough!” Viola suddenly said having heard enough from the man who meant more to her than any other. “I can almost agree with you on everything but this.” She said with force causing Art to shrink back further. “You have issues I agree, issues that have to be resolved. Do you want to be this type of example to your own son?!” Realizing what she’d just said, she gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.

Art’s head whipped around to stare at Viola, his son? What in the hell was she on about? Then he looked at the small boy that was in her arms. Staring harder his mouth dropped open, as he realized that the boy did look a lot like her. Staring even harder he could also see that the boy didn’t have all the classic features her people did. Then it suddenly hit him hard, the boy was his son?

“My son?!” Art almost whispered. Art’s mouth dropped open as a few tears fell from his eyes. “He doesn’t even know who I am, does he?” Art growled low trying not to startle or scare the boy.

Viola’s head dropped as she very quietly whispered, “No. I didn’t know if I would ever see you again after you left all that time ago. I hoped for a long time, though as the years passed, the hope grew further away.”

Art couldn’t move nor did he even want to, afraid that both she and the boy would vanish like a dream. Mercy’s eyes went wide as she waved her hand in front of them. A moment later, a shrill scream erupted from Art’s lips.

As his body was pushed backward, a hideous, dark presence flew from his body toward Mercy, Viola, and Arthur. Smashing into what appeared to be a wall, the presence screamed again.

The presence floated between Art and the females as an eerie hollow voice came from it. “So Mercy, you remember. That’s good, soon it won’t matter when I take his body. Then I’ll have his magic to drain all the life force I need to revive myself.” Here it turned toward Art laughing. “Your hatred was so refreshing, too bad you’re useless now.”

The dark presence started to shoot energy at Art whose eyes had shot open. Waving his hand he made a circle then brought his hands together. The dark presence screamed louder as it tried to reenter Art’s body.

“I don’t think so!” Art yelled as he made a backward slapping motion knocking the presence across the room.

“Face it, Lilith, you’ve lost!” Mercy said forcefully, causing Lilith to scream more.

An evil laugh cut through the room as Lilith stated, “No, I have far from lost! I still have him, no one can save him. As soon as we break him, we’ll come for the four of you. None of you have the power to beat all of us at the same time! Goodbye!”

Lilith started toward the wall suddenly stopping unable to move. “I doubt,” A voice said behind her. “That your master will take well to your failure. Especially after I destroy you, as my great grandfather did!”

Lilith started to scream as Art was making the area around her smaller and smaller. “NO! There is no way you have that much power!” Screaming louder she saw that the young boy was also closing his hands like Art was. “NO!!!” There was an almost titanic boom then Lilith was gone.

Art smiled as he slowly turned toward Mercy, Viola, and Arthur. “Very good, young man!” Causing the boy to beam with pride on his face.

“His name is Arthur, named after his father, after you,” Viola said, pride showing on her face also.

“Arthur, a good name.” Art said as he took a step then another. “I just hope he can hold out ’til…” Art started then commenced to fall forward toward the floor. Floating a moment then being gently lowered to the floor he nodded. “Thanks, Mother.”

Mercy ran to Art as his eyes were closing. “Viola, you have to do something to help him.”

Viola nodded as she reached out, then a black bag appeared in her hands. Pulling out several instruments, she went over Art twice then stopped as she pulled several vials from the sack.

“Hold his head, though be prepared to let him go,” Viola instructed Mercy who nodded. Of the five vials, Viola managed to get three down his throat before his body began to buck and convulse. “Well, he’s stronger than I thought, no wonder she went after him. I’m afraid it might be a day or two at this rate.”

Mercy only shook her head as she waved a hand over Art. “Try again, my dear.” Viola started to say something then thought better of it, as she began to slowly pour the fourth. Amazed she had almost all the fifth done when Art started to shake again. Hurrying she barely managed to get him to swallow as he began to convulse harder.

“My goodness. Is this normal?” Mercy asked.

“In my people, it is, though in yours I am unsure. Those five vials detoxify his body from the evil that infected it. Again, with my people it only takes an hour, with yours I am unsure. I think since he is almost twice the size of the males in my race, it should take twice as long.” Here Viola sighed. “I am just hoping that I haven’t made things worse.

Viola felt a small hand on her arm, looking over at her son as he Erotik hikaye was staring at Art. “Momma? Is the nice man going to be ok? He is very strong, stronger than the older man who rides in the sleigh.”

“I hope he will be though…, wait?! You said he is stronger? How do you know?” An astonished Viola asked.

“Oh, he thanked me for helping, when he did, I could feel it.” The young boy looked at Viola almost afraid. “Did I do something wrong, momma?”

Viola grabbed the boy holding him tight as she said with tears falling from her eyes. “No my dear Arthur, you did everything right. Do you know who he is?” When the boy shook his head, Viola continued. “Well, you remember when I said it’s time I introduced you to your father?” The boy only nodded as he listened raptly to his mother. “He, is your father, the next in line to be Santa.” The boy’s mouth dropped open as he stared at his father. Looking back at his mother she nodded causing his eyes to go wide.

Turning to Mercy, he shyly asked, “Does that mean you are my grandma?”

An almost giddy laugh erupted from Mercy’s mouth as she nodded, then opened her arms to hug Arthur. Viola smiled as she checked Art, she might know his kind well, though she still didn’t want to kill him.

It was a few hours later when they heard a groan as Art tried to sit up only to fall back to the floor. “Damn,” he said, then regretted it when he saw Mercy. “Sorry again mother. I’ve been here for quite a while now, I’ve had to acclimate myself to their speech.”

Mercy looked at Art with a stern look and a smirk, then a wide smile appeared on her face. “Though I do understand, I still wish you would try to curb your language.”

Art slowly nodded as Viola and Arthur helped him to a sitting position. “We have to free him.” Here Art lowered his head. “I’m sorry that my anger has caused all of this mother. If I had been more…”

“No, he has much more responsibility in this than you. I believe that he might even realize it at this point.” Mercy responded to Art. “Do you think you can release him?”

“Oh, I’m sure I can. The thing is I’m going to need all of you to do this.” Turning he looked at Viola and Arthur. “If the both of you don’t think you can, then I think I can do it alone.”

Viola had an angry look on her face as she responded, “I lost you once, I’m not about to lose you again. Arthur needs his father, as do I.”

Art nodded as he started to outline the plan he had. It was a few hours later when he and the other three appeared outside a cave. Both Mercy and Viola shivered from the amount of evil present.

“Alright, here I go,” Art told them as he winked out. Reappearing Art silently cursed when he saw that he was only half way. Taking a deep breath, he tried again, only getting a little closer. Shrugging he started to walk at a fast clip, reaching the older man rather quickly.

Taking a deep breath Art waved his hand a few times ’til the older man faded. He felt the man appear more than halfway out. Taking a deep breath, Art concentrated, feeling his magic crest higher, then he felt the other three reaching out. Good, he thought, with a final push he felt the older man appear outside the cave.

It was only a moment before he heard Viola gasp. [No Art! We can help you, don’t do this.]

[I have to, this was the only way to save him. Raise our son to be brave my dear. At least this way, I will be known as a savior, not something that the others despise.] Art responded as he felt the growing evil start to advance upon him. He’d used almost all of his power to free his father, sighing he realized they would kill him slowly, painfully.

With a sad smile, he tried to bring up what little power he had left. Though they might kill him, he was going to make them work for it.

Santa appeared before Mercy, Viola, and Arthur. “Sir, we have to save him!” Viola cried.

Santa could only sadly shake his head, Art had three times the power he had. “I wish I could my dear. I haven’t half the power he has now.”

All of them lowered their heads as the females started to weep. They were all starting to regret many of the things that had happened over the years when a hole seemed to open in the air in front of them.

What appeared to be a female stepped out of it. She was made up of earth, fire, water, and air. Looking at all four of them she nodded as she suddenly winked out.

Mercy and Viola looked at each other then at Santa. “Who was that?” Mercy asked. “I’ve met a myriad of magical, mythical beings. I don’t know her.”

Santa nodded as he was still staring at the place where the female had been. “Her? Oh, that was Mother Nature. There must be a serious imbalance if she is getting personally involved.”

“Mother nature?! You know mother nature? My love, I think we need to talk after all this is finished.” Mercy said with a completely serious look on her face.

Deep within the cave, Art could feel the last of his magic as it was growing weaker and weaker. There was almost a feeling of sadistic glee all around him, as the oppressive forces crowded in closer. Taking a deep breath, Art reached deeper finding another source of power. With a small smile, he pushed it out feeling a few of the presences fade away.

Too bad I can’t use my life energy longer he thought. I might be able to take far more than I have. In only a few moments he felt his body start to weaken, sighing, he knew it wouldn’t be long now. Still, he was trying to destroy as many as he could before they took him.

I won’t give up ’til I have nothing to use he thought. Finally, he felt too weak as he fell from his feet. Sprawled out on the floor of the cave he tried to prepare for the hell he knew he was going to have to endure. Before his life was extinguished, he was sure they would torture him unmercifully. Thinking of Viola and Arthur he smiled, it was more than worth it to protect them.

The mass of evil was rapidly advancing when Art felt all of it stop. Turning his head, his eyes flew wide as he saw Mother Nature standing between him and the evil.

“Why are you here Gaia? This is none of your concern. That, now belongs to us, step aside all that it is, belongs to us!” the obvious leader of the evil said.

“You know why I am here. An imbalance of this proportion is not allowed, even you know that,” Mother nature calmly stated.

“NO! It belongs…” the leader started then began to howl out in pain.

“HE is not yours. He and his heart belong to another, even with the one you tried to poison him with, he still remains true to her. You have lost, go before the judge comes to make the same decision. As you well know, he will leave you no choice in the matter,” Gaia stated.

In the darkness, Art heard the evil start to sputter trying to come up with an argument. “This isn’t over Gaia.”

“Yes, as far as you are concerned it is. Go, before you have to explain why you stayed when there was nothing here for you,” Gaia responded.

With a roar of disgust, the cave was suddenly empty of almost all magic, evil or otherwise.

Mother Nature reached down to barely touch Art who felt as if he’d grabbed a live wire.

“There, now say nothing. What you did was extremely noble, brave and irresponsible. I owe your family much, as does the world.” Here she pointed a slender finger at Art. “Do not do this again. Your father can be forgetful, though he has vastly more knowledge than you think. Learn from him, love Viola, as for Arthur. Protect him by loving him, he needs the both of you more than you think he does.”

Art wasn’t even trying to speak as a great wind then a fog enveloped the both of them. When it cleared, Art had to blink a few times. What in the hell was going on? He was back in school? Wait! This was the day he met Viola, smirking he was about to walk away to give his father a piece of his mind when he ‘heard’ a voice.

[It will only be a few years for you, with what, you, your father, mother, Viola, and Arthur have, all will be right. I am sorry that the pain of the past can’t be erased though, this time you’ll be far more ready for it.] The thoughts of Mother Nature said.

“Hey, freak!” Art heard as he shook his head. It was that little bully/creep that had beat him up for years. “HEY! I’m talking to you!”

Art whirled, glaring at the taller elf teen. “What are you staring at you freak!”

Art knew that the teen was going to sucker punch him. Instead of thinking of an answer, he was ready when the punch came, ducking then rising his fist meeting the teen’s stomach.

“I was going to say nothing, though as I can see? You are.” Turning, Art started to walk away when he could almost feel the teen elf rise then charge him. Turning to the side, Art caught the teen again with a punch to the stomach. This time the teen was on the ground losing his breakfast. “I suggest you will not try that again,” Art said as he growled at the vomiting teen.

Turning away again, he met the eyes of Viola. He nodded to her then stopped dead in his tracks, as he saw the same look in her eyes that she’d had the last time he saw her.

Walking to him, she whispered, “I think this is your father’s way of repairing things.” Viola started to giggle when she saw the look of surprise on his face. “Yes, I remember everything. So, do you think we could start on making Arthur soon?” She giggled even harder when she saw Art blush.

“I…I…I…” was all Art could get out.

“Good, I’ll take that as a yes. I also think you might be around far longer this time.” Viola stated as Art looked deep into her eyes seeing the absolute love there. If all this was true? He had no doubt of that!

Not too far away, Santa, Mercy, and Gaia all nodded their approval. “Thank you, my dear friend,” Santa said kissing Mother Nature’s hand. To all of their surprise, Mother Nature blushed!

“I owe you many times over Santa, be well.” Then she was gone.

Santa had a warm feeling going through him, ’til Mercy stepped in front of him. “Now, we need to talk about all these beings that you know. Particularly, your relationship to a few of them,” she was saying as they walked toward the main house.