And obviously Drosselmeyer made Santa's magic sleigh and flying reindeer, too! Yes! It all makes sense now! Mwah ha ha ha ha! And later Drosselmeyer and Sinterklaas had a falling out, so now they're enemies.
So I hacked out a few more words. Still ridiculously behind, though.
/Bravo. What are you waiting for, a presidential Medal of Honor? Let's get on with it. One more sweep and we can call it a night./
/I KNOW,/ snarled Jashika. At least the temperature was hovering above the freezing point tonight. Icy roofs made her job that much more difficult. She peered down over the corner where a particle of Infinite Time, washed down with the rain, had seeped into a gargoyle. The grotesque face turned and grinned back at her.
She had left it for last, and this was the result. By the time she traced the intrusion to this rooftop, it had already begun to infect reality.
No matter. She stabbed the broom in its direction and brushed alien time from its head. Stone hands grabbed futilely at the bristles, then froze in place again.
/Hmm. The alignment's off, now. Careless of you./
/No one's going to notice, Dross! So the water flows a centimeter to the left./
/Perhaps you're right. A trivial flaw compared to the ghastly monstrosity of the whole. Now if I had been the architect.../
His voice broke off, as the distant rumble of the train reached them. Jashika nodded towards the sound. /There, see? Thirty minutes to midnight. I finished early./
The ghostly presence in her mind made no response.
/Smug bastard. You know I'm good, you just don't want to admit it./
/No, you listen.../
/Do you hear the bells?/
/Bells!/ Jashika clamped her jaws shut abruptly. She /did/ hear bells. A faint, silvery tinkle.
Who else? She lifted her head to scan the sky, and there he was. A red sleigh, drawn by eight flying reindeer, descending in a wide arc.
/He's coming here!/ she thought, bringing her broom up in instinctive defense.
/Look at that. Still working exquisitely even after all these years. You call me smug? Could you craft such perfection?/
The reindeer were mechanical creations, but in such fine detail that they were nearly indistinguishable from living flesh. The reindeer didn't really fly. They trampled a path through time and space, bending reality under their feet in a leap of faith. They /fell/ freely, eternally, even when standing still.
As they now did, their driver bringing the sleigh around to hover. "Ho ho ho!" he boomed through his expanse of white beard, then turned to stare down at Jashika. "What brings you here, my child?"
"Lord Sinterklaas," she acknowledged grudgingly. "Just doing my job. What brings YOU here?"
"What? Don't you know night it is? Children all over my favorite city lay out their shoes and hang up their stockings, listening for the clatter of tiny hooves and the jingle of tiny bells!"
"Very jolly," grunted Jashika. "But I hardly think there's any children /here/."