The winter holidays bring many supernatural beings and agencies out into the moral during these magical times.

On this particular night of December, the fifth, one group of sinister supernatural creatures that were about were the Krampus demons. These monsters use ancient pacts to justify their actions of abusing many children on the fifth of December, even kidnapping a few. This was the dreaded Krampusnacht, a time dreaded in parts of central Europe. On this night, the yule devils came out seeking naughty children. Now punishing children is sometimes necessary, but what Krampus did was medieval and archaic. Krampus’s idea of naughty was harsh and mean. The mooses felt that such drastic codes of conduct were unfair and unjust, especially when applied to children.

This night two mooses were on assignment to keep Krampus from his goal of beating and kidnapping those children he felt were naughty. This night he would find Moosletoe and Mōseki in opposition to his diabolical plans.

Mōseki lead Moosletoe over the forest landscape. The sun was going down and the temperature was slowly dropping on this December dusk.

It was a good partnership. Moosletoe was an expert upon winter travel and Mōseki was an expert on stealth. Together they were truly prepared for the mission. And it was a very important mission. They had set out for the Mountains of Austria on a splashy world to counter Krampus’s plans.

On the afternoon before the Krampus nacht the two mooses where standing upon the peak line of a village. The majestic, snow-covered Alps rose all around the village. The mooses were small enough that they did not fear being seen.

Mōseki said, “These roofs are very steep so the winter snows do not pile up. Be careful and not slip, Moosletoe. I am sure the fall won’t hurt you, but just be cautious.”

Moosletoe laughed with good cheer, but respect over the concerned caution of her companion.

She stood on one poof. “Never fear, my spying companion. I shall practice due caution and not endanger our mission. We have too many children depending upon us tonight.”

Mōseki nodding in agreement with her words. She was known to be a very solemn moose, who took her missions very seriously. Knowing that Moosletoe might be playful, but still be concentrating upon this serious objective, reassured her. “Then we should get into position before sunset.”

She motioned with a poof toward the south end of the village. “Our intelligence indicates that the target will approach from that direction, coming down from the high mountain pass.”

Moosletoe looked at the direction in which Mōseki pointed. “You are the expert on stealth and espionage, but I know winter conditions and travel the same. This hoofed foe has mountain goat hooves. He will be good at climbing, but will be slow crossing deep snow drifts.”

“Snowshoes,” replied Mōseki.

“Cunning devil,” responded Moosletoe.

“Very smart. That is why we have had so much stopping him over the years,” said Mōseki.

“Then, shall we try our pooves at thwarting his malicious intent?” queried Moosletoe.

“Yes. Let us make our attempt.” Mōseki pulled a long line and a climbing hook out of her knapsack. She placed the hook over the peak of the roof and threw the rope down off the side of the house upon which the two small moosen stood.

“I meant to ask before,” Moosletoe said quietly, looking down the rope and sneaking glances over at Mōseki’s back. “Why the knapsack? Why not just keep things in your moose pocket?”

“It is much easier to collect a knapsack on go, and hand it off to someone else, than it is to pull the individual things out of my moose pocket to hand over, and we do not know who might need to carry the things at what point.” Mōseki said, as if the answer should have been obvious.

“But what if the knapsack gets caught on something, or lost, or stolen?” Moosletoe asked, biting her lower lip. Ever since she got involved keeping the Community Center organised, she had gotten more conscious and conscientious about keeping track of her gear.

“I have spares of everything in my pocket, of course,” Mōseki said and the corners of her eyes crinkled in the faint expression she mostly used for a smile. “And the straps have quick release tabs if needed.”

Moosletoe’s concern lingered for a moment, but then she let it go and turned away from potential problems and back to the task at hand, or poof.

The two moosen belayed down the side of the house. When you are only half a meter tall, a simple two story house is a very tall edifice, indeed. The two moosey agents rappelled down the house into the cobblestoned old street. The villagers had cleaned all of the snow away from the village, so the mooses could make good progress while still being stealthy.

Mōseki led the way, dodging from wall to lamppost, and then onward to other features of the street. Soon the two mooses were at the north end of the village.

The sun had moved well across the sky by the time the mooses arrived at their destination. Mōseki had picked this spot the first time he had scouted out the village.

Their destination was in an old horse corral. There had been no horses kept there for decades, but the stables had been preserved as a historical feature of the village. The place was used as a gardening display space in the spring and summer. For winter, there was very little activity in the stable barn and yard.

Mōseki pulled out a set of binoculars from the knapsack. “I thought this would be the best place to hide and still observe the target’s approach to the village tonight.”

Moosletoe morphed just a bit. She stretched up and out to a little over twice her former height, and climbed up onto the stableyard fence. Looking around to get the lay of the land she asked, “As the stealth and tactical expert in this situation, how do you think he will approach the village after night fall?”

“I think he will use darkness of night to sneak up on the village well into the evening, after everyone is slumbering,” replied Mōseki.

“Then we wait, but I suspect that there will be some bedeviling magic involved as well as in hiding his mischief,” said Moosletoe.

Mōseki continued to study the terrain south of the village, leading toward the southern high mountain pass. “You are the holiday magic expert. I am just here to help you with reconnaissance and surveillance.”

“Then we have a few hours to appreciate this lovely winter alpine scene. Soon the stars will be out and it is going to be a beautiful night,” stated Moosletoe.


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