Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 54
Created by The Mistic Pets Team

Character Spotlight: Jossen
Written By gemajgall

Jossen the inarbu greeted visitors to the Blizzard Realm warmly as they shook snow off of their boots and entered the century-old tunnels beneath the tundra. Color flushed back into their cold cheeks as warm air wafted from the nearby hot springs. As host and gatekeeper, Jossen made sure to direct them where they needed to go; the tunnels were built, primarily but not exclusively, by inarbi and yexhils—they could easily be a labyrinth to anyone not familiar with the twists and turns.

The December winds howled outside. Jossen knew from his years of service that a fierce storm was on its way, and so he urged the guests to stay inside with a delicious cup of hot cocoa, a plate of cookies, and a soft blanket. They all responded kindly; Mistmas spirit was everywhere, after all.

Jossen sniffed the air; a storm was definitely coming, but it seemed hard to be worried when the tunnels were fully decorated with holly and ivy, and as carols echoed from the hot springs. But somehow, something was nagging in the back of Jossen's mind as he prepared to lock the gate for the night. He tried to brush those thoughts aside; there were more important things to do this holiday.

Unfortunately, such thoughts shouldn't be ignored. And the worst was confirmed when one of his fellow gatekeepers came running over. “Jossen! Two cubs are missing! Their mother is frantic! We've searched all the tunnels we could and haven't seen a single paw print from them.”

Jossen's head bobbed up in surprise. A quick memory surfaced of the earlier afternoon; two cheran cubs giggling as they romped passed him and into the snow. “I think they're still outside!” he gasped.

“In this weather?!” exclaimed the other inarbu. “And it's night! How can we find them when it's pitch black?! We have to close the gate for everyone else's safety—what are we supposed to do?”

“I'll stay out; I'll find them,” Jossen immediately replied.

“What?! You'll freeze!”

“My fur is better than theirs, and we don't have time to waste arguing,” Jossen firmly replied as he grabbed all the extra blankets he could out of the nearest closet. “Lock the doors for everyone else's sake; I have a key so I'll get us in when I find them.”

“When you find them?” echoed the other, sounding completely uncertain. But by that time Jossen was already racing into the increasing winds. The first gust whipped through his fur, instantly chilling him to the core. But he didn't hesitate, he pressed on—even as the first snowflakes fell and then quickly turned into a blinding snowstorm.

Within half an hour, all landmarks had vanished beneath a shifting blanket of white. Fortunately, Jossen's nose kept him on track even as it grew numb. He fully knew the dangers of pressing on, but all it took was imagining the cubs' scared faces to keep him putting one paw in front of the next.

As the minutes stretched into hours, it began to seem hopeless. Jossen couldn't find one scent of the cubs—and he could no longer feel anything below his ankles. His eyes could not longer focus, and his whole body begged him to sleep. But Jossen knew better than to give in; those who slept in the middle of the Blizzard Realm never woke up. Still, that snowdrift looked a lot like a pillow... And more skittered around like a sheet being tucked over a bed. He could almost hear logs crackled from a warm fireplace. His heavy eyes closed... Only a few minutes...

Jossen awoke with a bump who knows how much time later. Blankets were piled around him, and he could feel two small, warm bodies curled next to him. He glanced over with a groggy eye and saw two cherai's manes from beneath a pile of fleece throws. Jingle bells rang off of the front of sled, driven by a white-trimmed driver with her back to him.

Jossen smiled sleepily as they rode. “Merry Mistmas...”

“Merry Mistmas, Jossen,” she replied as he drifted into a safe, snug sleep.


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