Part 1 of 5 (a raw draft written in a single afternoon so expect errors)
The halcyon world of Nicholas Kringle is comprised of lore, myrrh and thaumaturgy. It is said, that Nicholas makes his abode in the small village of Christmas located at the North Pole. This village is the perfect idyllic haven, one that is bountiful with laughter and singing, overfilling hearts with the blessings bestowed by the Christmas spirit.
If one wanted to travel north to see this magical world, you would find that Christmas is not on any maps. Nor can the village be depicted by the satellites or planes as they pass over. All that can be seen is a vast cold snowy deserted landscape as depicted by the media outlets.
Yet the village is there, invisible to those cameras and espial actions of mankind. The fact is Christmas is not actually on the surface of the earth, but below in a subterranean iced domed cave.
One would think that living in a cave would be dismal and claustrophobic. The truth could not be farther for this cave is massive, with the length and breadth of a modern day town with the ceiling extending over two miles skyward. Truly this is one unique cave system that was ready made for a secret village of hope and dreams to be built upon.
A thick ice dome sealed in the cave keeps the temperature at a pleasant year around temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That is of course far more hospitable to living conditions than the forty below temperatures that swirls about above. The ice dome also keeps out any intruders and prying eyes that would upset the harmony of Christmas. The only way into the cave is a passage that exists in the side of a small rocky ridge.
Overhead, when the sun is shining, the ice dome glows with a transparent sky blue hue. Wisps of white clouds are seen here and there fashioned by tribe of graceful sylphs, beautiful slender transparent humanlike creatures. Their feathered wings, twice the size of their bodies, provide for the balance they need to make the delicate maneuvers used in creating the wisps and cloud trails. The sylphs came to the cave, a thousand years ago, blown off course by a terrible zephyr. They were entranced by the warmth of the holiday spirit that embodied the place and stayed adding their own touches to make the village more natural.
The floor of the cave is composed of soil, grass, trees, flowers, gardens, and even a stream that runs for miles ending in a tranquil pond. This area of the cave is the realm of the fairies; each zone cared for by a different specialized artisan guild. The flowers are tended to by the dew bearers and the ground workers. These fairies subsist on the nectar gather daily from the depths of the pitcher plants. They make their homes within a hollowed out nut and make their clothes from the petals of flowers. These fairies work in harmony with the plants taking great care in each and every plant, right down to a blade of grass. They plant the seeds, protect the seedlings, cultivate the ground and even tame the vines. When the fruits and vegetables ripen, that is when the harvest fairies venture forth, carefully choosing which ones are picked.
High up in the foliage, the tree fairies flicker back and forth as they tend to the massive charges that are in their care. Their wings vary, mimicking the leaf of the tree they are personally responsible for. At night they returned to their humble homes, simple pine cones, hollowed out and attached to the branches of trees with jute. Their clothes are fashioned from the bark cloth, that been pummeled flat with a rock and resembled coarse linen. When all was quiet, the fairies would meet in circles beneath the trees, where they would play songs of the night on flutes, harps and bells.
The caretakers of the liquid spaces were the undines, water sprites that live under the water lilies. They are responsible to keep the water fresh and clean. They swim quickly darting here and there in the water; their wings shimmer with iridescent scales. At night they would sit along the banks of the streams, their feet always in contact with the water. There they would sing in respond to the forest fairies’ musical concerts.
This is the land of Christmas, and for over 2000 years the village had been a place of mirth and happiness, but this was not always so. For there is always an origin to every fortunate happenstance, nothing is created in a day for centuries must unfold.
In the beginning the cave was inhabited mainly by gnomes of the Barbegazi clan. These snow gnomes were nomadic like the native Inuit peoples that lived in the region. They loved the frigid conditions and would travel great distances to follow the caribou or a single white hare, attempting to entice the animals in a rollicking game
These snow loving gnomes are widely known for their long beards encased in icicles and the wearing of white fur about their bodies. Their native tongue sounds like the whistling of ermines, a difficult dialect that even their fellow gnome cousins of the forests have a hard time to comprehend.
The Barbegazi came originally from Switzerland, traveling north until they stumbled onto the entrance of the cave. In those days the cave lacked the greenery and the warmth, instead gray walls and a cold stone floor was all that greeted them. The cave was dark, no light penetrate through the ice, as it was covered with snowpack. Over time the Barbegazi became a bit more sedentary in their lives, preferring the cave as the home they returned to after a day of adventure.
One year a group of forest gnomes came to the cave to visit their cousins the Barbegazi and stayed. These gnomes took to wearing bright red cloth from head to toe, a color easy to see in the snow. On top of their heads was a pointed cap, whose tips flopped over due to the weight of a bell that dangled from them. The bells helped the gnomes to find each other in white out conditions when they went topside.
Life was quiet for the gnomes, though cold and hard to make a comfortable living. Then one day as fate often intervenes, the most unlikely fairy folk made the polar region their home. Forced by the blizzard to turn northward from their usual path, a clan of salamanders, also called fire fairies, descended upon the North Pole by the hundreds. Their presence lit up the nighttime sky, flaming violet balls with a combined tail that stretched out for a good mile in all directions.
The detour was far outside the distance of their normal flight range. The clan was becoming exhausted, the smallest ones barely able to keep up. Finally the salamanders sent out a scout ahead looking for refuge from the freezing winds. The scout spotting the bright red colored cloth of a gnome landed telling him of their plight. The gnomes quickly gather up their lanterns and made a runway path to guide the incoming salamanders to safety within the cave.
The salamanders grateful for the rescue, repaid the favor by casting their violet fire of life deep into the floors and walls of the cave giving warmth. Slowly the temperatures began to rise and life in the caves was about to change. Some of salamanders resumed their flight path, but the majority stayed to be a part of the community.
Those salamanders that left spread the news about the caves and the gnomes’ aid to a wide range of magical folk far and wide. The fairies, being of an adventurous mindset were the first to begin immigrating to the cave, bringing their skills.
With temperature change, the forest and flower fairies could bring in seeds, and soil. The undines brought in fresh snow to melt, filling the carved out riverbed to give life to the plants. Soon the cave found itself in the midst of a living paradise. Food was now plentiful and the sparkling water babbled through the cave providing nutrients for all.
However time does not stand still even in such a magical realm. Outside the world was changing and soon the magical beings found themselves being surrounded by man. Sleds with dogs would speed pass the fringes of their lands, though still far south, man was closing slowly in on them. They had no way of knowing that soon one man would become the most important element of their land.
Part 2 of 5
As the cave began to warm, the Barbegazi took to spending more time on the surface. It was while they were on the surface they came across a man who would change their world and the world of mankind.
That man was Nicholas Kringle, a woodsman from a small village south of the polar circle. He was taking wood to a friend stranded in a winter encampment, when he got lost in a white out. Attempting to regain his direction Nicholas had inadvertently turned farther north. He was just crossing the snow packed ice dome, when his pack dogs encountered a polar bear that appeared from behind a snow hill. The bear went up on his two back legs and growled for all his might. The dogs panicked trying to bolt as they twisted in their harnesses, finally turning the sled over, trapping Nicholas underneath.
Once the sled tipped, the harnesses were slack allowing the dogs to make a break and flee. Nicholas was scared as he saw the bear come down onto all fours as the bear sauntered over. Holding his breath, Nicholas remained still as the bear sniffed his body and the sled. Seeming to be satisfied the bear let out a grunt then ambled off. Nicholas let out a big sigh of relief. Once he felt safe he tried to crawl out from under the sled, but he was held fast. He could do nothing but lie there in the bitter cold and await his death. Hours passed as he drifted in and out of consciousness as the snow began to cover his body.
The Barbegazi routinely cleaned off the snow from the ice dome, to allow in more light. This time however their shovels struck more that snow crystals. The Barbegazi quickly uncovered Nicholas who was barely alive. Since he was too large as a full size robust human male for the gnomes to carry themselves, they called upon help.
Letting loose with a shrilled whistle, the Barbegazi enlisted the service of some friendly Peary caribou, to dragged Nicholas though the cave entrance, down the long winding ramparts and to the floor of the cave itself. For days Nicholas laid unconsciousness as the magical folk all tended to him. The salamanders burned brightly with a healing fire to keep him warm. The fairies brewed healing teas of elder blossoms, pouring the liquid bit by bit down his throat with a thimble. The gnomes rubbed his leg with comfrey to mend the broken bone. Even the caribou pitched in by lying next to him for comfort.
Still after many days, Nicholas remained in a deep coma. This saddened the magical folk greatly that they failed with their simple cures; for death and severe illness among them were foreign. Finally it was suggested that they needed the tear of a unicorn to save the man. A trio of fairies volunteered to brave the cold winds and travel to the island where the unicorns had sheltered themselves from mankind. A week passed before the fairies returned, carrying one tear in an ivy leaf.
That tear saved the life of Nicholas and soon he awakened from the coma. However, as he would discover, that tear also made him immortal like those who lived in the cave. Nicholas not only changed internally, but he changed in somewhat in his appearance as well. His brown hair and beard was now snow white, the color drained from the exposure to the cold. His skin tone was paler, with red rouge cheeks prevailing on his face. Even his eyes changed, when a twinkling appeared in the iris.
Over the next centuries Nicholas lived among those timeless beings, learning their ways, the history of the earth, the magic of the elements and love. Even though he was the only human, he never felt alone or for want of a friend. His life was full from the minute he woke up, joyous to work among the trees, plants, or even the snow.
Once day a group of brownies became the newest additions to the village. They had come here one by one when forced to flee from the domiciles they had lived in. To make them feel welcomed, Nicholas created a village. Over the next few years he built several quaint buildings that blended into one another and the ground on which they stood. Each building was different, one for baking sweets, one for clothes, one for a cobbler, and even a library. The buildings were stocked by finds the magical folk brought back with them on their trips to the outside world.
It was through these finds that Nicholas learned of children who went to bed hungry and had no hope to help them in the bleak winter’s nights. Determined not to let a child go without, Nicholas crafted a sled of the finest steel, painted a bright red. In this sled he placed food, warm blankets, and simple wooden toys he carved himself. Asking the caribou for him, Nicholas set out for the nearest settlement where he could deliver the goods.
The first town he came to, he found a small church on the outskirts. There he left the items earmarked for the children of poverty and stole silently back to his village. His gifts were so well received he did the same within a fortnight. For months he would visit different towns, some were a few days journey from his village. His work brightened the lives of many children, but the work was also taking a toll on Nicholas.
Word of his generously spread, he was slowly becoming a legend in the mortal world of men; stories were even told of his deeds. The magic world also heard of his work. Elves, impressed by the kindness, began to arrive to assist Nicholas in his task. First only one or two at a time then in droves they came from all over the magical realm. Some were the taller elves from the river clans; others were stouter from the mountains. They all came for the same reason to help those children that face a dismal life.
Now the elves had a knack for business since they loved to keep busy and be organized. They made deals with the trolls who mined the earth for metals in exchange for cups of sweet nectar, a priceless community in the troll world. For wood to build toys they communicated with the beavers of the rich forests to fell dying and dead trees to use. The brownies joined in to make clothes and shoes for the dolls. The village grew and the shipments of donations began to flow like a river into the towns with a few days ride.
However there were children farther away that needed hope brought to them, but the journey was harsh and long for Nicholas and his caribou. That changed when a small, blue tinged pixie arrived at the village bringing the seeds of the pixie dust tree. A gift sent from the pixie king to honor the work that Nicholas had accomplished up to that time.
The pixie planted the tree in the middle of the garden and tended to the growth day and night. The tree grew tall, with a spread that marveled all who saw it. But it was not the spectacular size of the tree, nor the lush greenery of its leaves. No, what awed all was the sparkling dust that collected each day on the edges of those leaves. This was no ordinary dust, but a rare magic. With this dust, sprinkled ever so lightly, would cause those caribou to fly like the wind.
Soon Nicholas was traveling to cities and towns far outside his circle. More children received the blessings of hope, to hang on another day, to strive for making life better for all. Letters, delivered by white owls, began pouring in from all over the world, letters asking for small toys or wishes that could be granted. Saddest were the letters of children in dire situations, since even Nicholas could not solve the problems of the world.
The village was in place, all the magical folk living in peace with one another. But they lacked something inside themselves that could not be explained just a feeling of loneliness, of emptiness despite all the friendship they were surrounded with and all the goodness they were doing in the world.
On a bright winter’s morn, a small spirit arrived, called Christmas. This spirit had begun long ago in the early era of man but was forgotten as the centuries progressed. Then one day the spirit was revived and began to blossom as it divided and grew. Parts of Christmas spread out all over the known world bringing the message of peace and good will to all who embraced the idea.
Christmas was welcomed with opened arms into the magical world, and there the spirit grew the brightest. Everything in the village took on a new life, the trees seemed taller, and the flowers more vibrant, even the building took on a warmth and glow. In honor of that spirit, the village was named Christmas and that is the name it stills goes by today.
The numbers of households were increasing dramatically as Nicholas sought to fulfill the wishes of all the children who wrote him. He knew he could not keep it up forever at that pace, but what if he could one night a year make the difference in a child’s life. The selection of which night to deliver the gifts on was easy. The clear winner was Christmas Eve, the night of peace, when the angels touched the earth. One that one night a year Nicholas, with help from a little magic dust, was able to visit each house on the list.
Soon Nicholas’ caribou became known far and wide for their magical flying hooves as they traveled over valley and mountain range with ease. People who witness the caribou, told stories to their young and the stories grew with each rendering. Soon their fame became chiseled in stone when the first writings of their once a year flight was recorded in a poem. They were even given names, however there one small difference. The caribou were now called by their cousin’s name: reindeer.
The magic of the village of Christmas was spread everywhere. However not everyone loves the idea of peace and harmony, some in the magical world sought to end the practice of Christmas, destroy that spirit of goodwill towards man, and plunge the world into darkness.
Part 3 of 5
Deep inside the earth, deeper than any cave or passage a malevolent force was seething, growing stronger century by century. This force fed upon the ills of society, the hatred and anger of man. This force breathed out, in the gases of the fires, spreading that temperament onto the wind. Minute particles landed on the ice yet were unable to penetrate the dome that secured the village of Christmas from the malicious whispers in the air.
The forces that fed on hate and anger eventually came into their own forms. By the hundreds they were born from a pernicious stew of fury and hostility. They went forth into the corners of the world to spread their discontent. Some even ventured to the ice world, seeking to do harm to Nicholas. There four brothers, bound together not by blood or family but by the chains of abhorrence, took up residence in a dormant volcano as they plotted to exterminate Nicholas.
“Nicholas must be made to stop his work,” growled out Korrigan the smallest of the four at barely three feet high.
“Brother, how can we stop him? Our father has flooded the earth with his foul breath, yet Nicholas brings the mortals hope and goodwill.” inquired Daemon as he began to pace the floor. He was always the nervous one, impatient and hot tempered.
“Then we must destroy Nicholas and stop the spirit of Christmas.” Whispered the shadow figure Ijiraq. Humanoid in form and size, yet he was only a two dimensional opaque figure consisting of blacks and grays that concealed him in the dark areas of the world where he lurked to stalk mankind.
Korrigan’s stomach grumbled, as he rubbed his belly. “All this ho ho ho garbage has made my stomach ache.” He rubbed his belly again, “Maybe some nice caribou meat would help the ache.” Korrigan snorted with a rambunctious grunt crossed with a laugh. His large floppy deer shaped ears began to flap up and down as he started to laugh harder at his own joke.
“Cacodemon release Amarok,” demanded Daemon. “Send him to destroy Nicholas and the spirit that has taken refuge in his cave.”
“Are you sure? For once Amarok is released no one can command his will. He will kill any who cross his path, including us my dear brother.” Cacodemon warned sternly as the eldest of those created.
“Release him and let this be done with.” Daemon shouted, then turned and left as he headed deeper into the volcano for warmth.
“As you wish.” Cacodemon also withdrew from the cavern through another arch. He climbed upwards through a labyrinth of tunnels until he reached the surface. He closed the black cloak around his body tighter as he went forth into the snow. He was heading for a glacier that ended just a hundred feet away. At the base of that glacier was a crevasse that gave way to the interior. There he would find the Amok trapped in ice, sealed a century ago.
He stood before the frozen wolf, and lifted his arms in prayer to the evil that would command him to break free. “Father, hear my plea, release the wolf Amok, instruct him to destroy Nicholas and all who take shelter in his village.”
He took out his staff, made of ash and elder wood and struck the ground hard. The ground began to shake, the degree intensified until cracks were seen in the surface of the ice wall. Slowly the cracks expanded in depth and length until they encircled Amarok, the end meeting the beginning. Then with a large popping noise, the ice broke off of the wall, falling onto the ground cracking into a thousand small pieces.
The wolf was freed but he did not move. Cacodemon then struck his staff again on the ground. The silver dragon capital on his staff, began to shiver, the eyes glowed a deep burgundy. From outside the wind began to pick up, creating a small whirlwind from the dust in the air. That wind entered the crevasse and circled the wolf nine times. On the tenth spin, the wind exploded into a million air particles that fell upon the wolf. The wolf began to cough as it stood up shaking out his limbs as he regained his strength.
“Go, do as our Father commands of you.” Cacodemon pointed to the entrance.
The wolf let out a howl that caused the icicles quiver with fear. Amarok took off running straight to the entrance of the cave. Cautiously he entered the tunnel that led to the village. As he progressed further into the cave system, temperature rose and his icy heat began to warm.
Nicholas heard the wolf’s howl echo across the wastelands above. He knew the monster wolf Amarok had been release. He stood under the pixie tree and awaited the wolf after sending all the magical beings to safety behind the wood and brick walls of the buildings.
Amarok entered the chamber, his long tail swished back and forth as his cerulean blue eyes glared. Nicholas could feel the powerful evil force coming off the wolf. The wolf stood over eight foot long and almost five feet tall at the shoulders. The nails of his paws made a clickety-click noise on the stone path as he walked slowly towards Nicholas. His fur, though white in color, was matted, tinged with yellowing dirt. His fangs were bared in preparation to attack.
Nicholas nodded his head at the wolf, then bumping the tree a bit he shook some of the dust down. The wolf sneezed as the dust landed on him. He shook his head with great zeal trying to dislodge the dust. But the dust just dug down deeper changing the wolf. Outside his white fur became whiter, fluffier to the eyes. Inside he was also changing, the few particles of dust he had inhaled had calmed his temperament. He could now think as one, not commanded by any force against his will.
“What have you done to me?” Amarok barked out to Nicholas. “Why do I feel different?”
“I have done nothing, you are the cause.” Nicholas explained as he came closer to Amarok stopping just in front of him. “This is the real you coming forth, the wolf inside does as his mind tells him.” He sat down on a boulder and held out his hand for the wolf to sniff. “You do not wish to not serve a master who uses you for his own selfish means? Do you?”
“Who is then to be my master?” Amarok sniffed the hand presented to him, then rubbed the side of his mouth against the knuckles.
“You are your own master.” Nicholas gave him a small pet. “You decide your fate now. That is the gift of the Christmas spirit.”
“Then I choose to stay here at Christmas and vow to protect you Nicholas and all the magical beings from those forces that seek to destroy you.” The wolf stretched his neck, allowing himself to be scratched. The contact with the human felt good and right. Standing up and lifting his neck high, he let out a howl that told the brothers that they had failed.
Part 4 of 5
Once again in the volcano, the brothers met after hearing the call of the wolf. The tension in the cavern was high as the failure was a first for them.
“I do not believe this!” Daemon vociferated loudly as he stomped into the cavern. “Amarok the wolf has failed his mission. He threw a bolt of fire against the wall.
“Well causing a scene will not change that,” Ijiraq yelled as he jumped out of the bolts path. “Amarok was weak, he succumbed to the overall joy those creatures exude.”
Korrigan offered up a logical excuse. “Nicholas must have tricked him by some kind of drug to defy us.”
“The drug of mass hysteria, you mean.” snorted Cacodemon.
“We must up the ante and send in another servant.” insisted Ijiraq, “but this time a powerful element in the natural order.”
“Go and release Tizheruk,” Daemon instructed his brother.
“Is that what you all agree to my brothers? Amarok already has defied us, do we dare send in another?” inquired Cacodemon.
“Yes,” answered Korrigan.
“It must be so,” whispered the shadow Ijiraq.
“Tizheruk was created at the time of the world,” Daemon noted. “He is powerful, the oldest of the demons. He cannot fail.”
So be it. Cacodemon stated as he left the cavern, once again following the tunnels to the surface. There he whistled for the great raven to appear and carry him north to the sea coast. It was only a matter of a few moments before the sky grew dark as the great raven appeared overhead. His massive wings chilled the air dramatically as the raven landed. Cacodemon jumped on and taking the reins ordered the bird to fly north. He gently gave the bird a nudge, like one would a horse to start. The bird took off in one leap, and soon Cacodemon found himself far above the snowpack as they passed over the ice dome.
His black cape flapped behind him, only the silver crest depicting his birth right kept the material fast to his neck. The wind upon his head unbraided his long platinum hair, allowing it to swirl about his face. For a minute he felt younger, almost an innocent quality overcame him. In those fleeting moments the though crossed his mind if what they were doing was just, then it quickly vanished as the sea came into view.
Cacodemon turned the raven to fly along the coastline to seek out Nunivak Island where in a bay, Tizheruk resided. The raven was the first to see the island as it let out an ear piercing screech then dive bombed toward the land mass. The rave pulled up his beak and landed on his feet just mere inches from the ground.
Cacodemon disembarked, walking to the edge of the water. There he stretched out his staff across the icy surface. “I call upon you, Tizheruk, to come forth in the name of our father, the Lord of Domination and Terror. He bids you to come onto the land and destroy the one called Nicholas Kringle and the village of Christmas”
The water began to bubble, steam arose from the surface. The ice part as the head of Tizheruk rose steadily above the water on a long neck to a height of five feet. He stared with his narrowed emerald eyes at the demon that stood before him.
“And if I do this bidding for you what is my reward,” Tizheruk spoke in a low graveling voice, the word scraping off his tongue with difficulty.
“There is no reward, your master commands you,” replied Cacodemon.
“If I have no choice then I will obey,” Tizheruk answered with a scowl on his face. He did not like to be ordered as if he was some common fish in the sea. He was Tizheruk, one of the first to come out of the oceans and walk upon the dry land. He was a god in his own right, yet deployed like a puppet on a string.
Tizheruk waddled out of the water, on six short but muscular legs. His long back was covered in a double row of small fins that swayed back and forth as he walked with a lateral undulation. A fine covering of a dark brown fur covers most of his body but that of his stomach and face. The stomach area is covered in series large oblong ventral scales. His head was squared off, almost blocky in build with a horse like jaw.
As bulky as he looked on land, Tizheruk could cover a great of distance with relatively ease. Cacodemon watched as he headed for the village before mounting the raven and returning to the volcano. As Tizheruk vanished out of sight, he had a sudden urge to warn Nicholas for the fate that befalls them. Panic quickly set in as Cacodemon washed such thoughts from his mind. The polar region was affecting him, the cold messing around with his mind. He jumped on the raven, speeding off to the volcano where he could refresh himself with the smells of sulphur and bathe in the steam of the lava.
Tizheruk was upon the village in no time. He saw the Barbegazi cleaning off the ice dome with their shovels and the secret entrance they used. The entrance was small, way too small for his body. The only way was to crash through the thick ice or demand that Nicholas come to him. He decided to do the last method, that way once he killed Nicholas the village would naturally fall into ruin and he could go back to his life.
“Barbegazi,” he shouted to the gnomes, “bring me Nicholas or I will spit upon the ice, and your precious dome will begin to melt and fail.”
The Barbegazi, terrified of Tizheruk, became unglued as they ran about punchy climbing all over each other in a hurry to get underground. Nicholas already felt the intrusion of Tizheruk and was on his way up to the surface when the Barbegazi ran smack dab into him, knocking him to the floor. The never stopped to help Nicholas up, but continued running yelling Tizheruk’s name.
Nicholas got up and dusted himself off as he exited the tunnel to see Tizheruk standing directly in front waiting for him.
“Tizheruk I welcome you to my village, though I fear you are a bit too large to enjoy the comfort of our world below.” Nicholas bowed with a grand wave of his hand in welcome.
“I have come as order to destroy you and your village,” Tizheruk hissed out.
“But why have I wronged you?” questioned Nicholas.
“Nothing, I am ordered to do so.” Tizheruk sputtered out. “I do not ask what grievance you have committed, I just kill.”
“Oh I see.” Nicholas said as he circled around Tizheruk, where he could not be seen. Thee he opened a small brown leather pouch releasing some of the Christmas spirit into the air. The spirit flowed upwards, entering the nose and ears of the giant. Once inside the spirit dissipated through the massive body. Some particles went into the lungs so Tizheruk could feel the spirit of love with each breath. Other entered the brain, causing the synaptic nerves in used area to fire up, opening the path for harmony and kindness to progress along.
“Then you must do as you are forced, since you have no free will.” Nicholas smiled as he walked around Tizheruk knowing the soon this great beast would come to understand the hope that Christmas instills in all creatures.
“I am free, I do as I wish!” Tizheruk shot off.
“But you said ordered.” Nicholas commented back, “Pity such an ancient being as yourself being ordered about like a common creature.” He knew that the ego in Tizheruk would take offense to that.
From around a hill of snow came Amarok, growling with his teeth bare. “Go!” he ordered Tizheruk, “I will not let you harm this village and inhabitants.”
“You fight for evil, why now have you changed?” Tizheruk asked knowing of Amarok and his past.
“I fight now for hope,” the wolf replied, “and Nicholas is that hope of everlasting peace, a hope must be defended.”
Tizheruk stood silent for a while. His mind was being flooded with visions from long ago, before he was used to kill without care. He remembered thoughts of kindness in saving men on ships from drowning. He had faint recollections of people standing on the shores waving to him in happiness. Then there was a memory of hope, hope for the future of the world. That hope was so long ago he forgotten such a word existed.
“No I will not go,” he planted his feet firmly in the snow, each foot shook the ground.
“You want to fight over nothing?” Amarok asked, shaking his head with sadness.
“No I want to stay and defend the village. Hope must be allowed to grow, and the spirit of this place must never die.” Tizheruk let forth a yell that could be heard to the gates of the underworld itself. This was a yell of freedom, a yell of joy, and a yell of the brotherly spirit that reverted throughout the world.
“Then you are welcomed Tizheruk. But we have no bays for your home to be made in.” Nicholas knew that Tizheruk could remain out of the water for an extended time, but that he also had to return to the water to replenish himself regularly.
Tizheruk had a solution. “An underground river, just a few hundred feet away, joins the ocean. I simply have to make an entrance to come and go through.”
“I look forward to our friendship.” Amarok held out his paw.
Tizheruk tried to hold up his stumpy leg to shake, but it was too much of an effort. He then decided to lower his head and licked Amarok’s paw in a sign of affection.
Nicholas could not help but smile, the glow of the spirit was shining that night, but he knew the brothers would not stop so easily in their effort to cease his work.
Part 5 of 5
Ijiraq looked up to the air, “We have lost Tizheruk,” he whispered sadly to the snow that was falling. “Our kind is no longer wanted.”
“You are an idiot Ijiraq,” belted out Daemon who came up behind him. “We will always be in control. All beings, magical and mortal fall to our path sooner or later.”
“But what if the world is hearing another drummer beating out a song we cannot compete against?” Ijiraq leaned against the cold gray-black basalt rocks that jutted out from the pure white snow.
“We will make the world hear our anger.” Daemon started to walk back into the volcano’s entrance. “Come we will release Thoran, the ice dragon.”
Cacodemon and Korrigan were in the cavern, sitting passing the time in idle ways waiting for their brothers to arrive. Cacodemon had been thinking upon his life and creation. Was his path of destruction and chaos the only life he was meant to lead? Or could he choose and follow a path foreign to his destiny.
Korrigan was stuffing his face with sweets, popping them in his mouth one after the other. Cacodemon looked over wondering if Korrigan ever bothered to taste the morsels as they slid down his gullet.
Daemon came marching in with such force causing the dust on the volcanic floor to rise up behind him like a whirlwind. He was determined to finish this job; he did not like to fail.
Cacodemon knew what the next step was to be, releasing Thoran. That would plunge the world into an ice bath, for Thoran had pledged to kill all the humans for their ignorance in his existence.
“You will release Thoran, Cacodemon.” Daemon was incapable of releasing the monsters himself; his powers were weak in that area. He had to rely upon his brother Cacodemon to weave the magic and speak the spells.
“No, we cannot send in any others.” Cacodemon replied, “We have lost enough.”
“Yes we will.” Daemon insisted.
“No, I have washed my hands of this” Cacodemon wiped his hands back and forth.
“I can call forth Thoran,” Daemon boasted. “I do not need you.”
Ijiraq laughed loudly at that. Even Korrigan stopped eating long enough to let go a burst as the crumbs shot out from his mouth landing on anything in close proximity, including Cacodemon who looked less than pleased.
“With what powers, the most you can concoct is a feeble blind mouse hobbling on three legs.” Cacodemon answered as he brushed crumbs off his clothes.
“No but I can call upon the minions in my domain to set siege on all the human establishments” Daemon smiled, “and that deed will make Thoran want to do my bidding. I defy you to stop me.” He dared Cacodemon as he always did to get his way.
Cacodemon shook his head; it would be Daemon who would start the war to end the world. They had agreed as brothers, all the hundreds of their kind, that none would set forth their followers to besiege the human population. They were allowed to infiltrate and persuade individual humans, but to wipe out whole populations was forbidden. For once that war began everything on earth and in the heavens would perish. Nothing would be left in the end. He had no choice but to set free Thoran. He stood and left the room, he vowed never to return.
Thoran lived in the heart of Arble, the ice mountain. There in a crystal cave he sleeps until he is called upon by whoever is able to hike the icy path to the entrance and call his true name. Cacodemon knew the true name of the ice dragon, the name that was given forth at his creation. It was Cacodemon himself, who carved the dragon from the finest primordial glacial ice, bringing it to life with a heart of smoky quartz.
Cacodemon forwent the raven and decided to walk to the mountain. It was a long walk, but one that provided the solitude he sought. His mind was growing troubled at who he was. The wind nipped at his face, as he trudged through the knee deep snow. He never felt the cold, despite his need for heat.
Hours passed before he stood of the mountain to begin his ascent. One had to follow the path precisely, place his foot only on the allowed stones. A misstep would result in the path disappearing, as the person would slide to their death or be exploded on the spot. Cacodemon began the ascent stepping on each stone, passing bones of those adventurers that sought the dragon but did not know the code.
With the last bend in the path, he faced the iron door. The door was engraved with filigrees and creatures of the demonic variety. In the center was a circle with letters that rimmed the edge. One by one he placed his third finger of his left hand on each letter of the sacred name of his father. A name that has no meaning, nor can it be spoken. Even if a moral or immortal, managed to navigate through the path the odds on that being known the sacred name was a long shot.
The hinges creaked and groaned as the heavy door swung opened, allowing Cacodemon to enter. Once inside he would have to maneuver through the tunnels until he arrived in the den of Thoran, the dragon in status. For a few minutes he just stood there, and then turned to leave. He stopped after a few steps, he had no choice. He had to waken Thoran and hope that Nicholas could win him over. Or else the war to end the world would begin, he was sure Daemon would do that out of spite if nothing else.
“Thoran my creation, awake from your thousand year sleep. Come to my voice and do as I command.” His voice showed a slight tremble in the timbre.
Thoran began to stir, first his wings quivered as they began to unfold. One foot extended forward, the ten inch claws flexed in and out. One eye opened, a deep violet color scanned the den before closing again. He snorted a few times then with one massive push he pulled his full body up and onto his legs. His wings spread outward to their full side as they began to beat rapidly creating a mild wind.
“Thoran I have a mission for you,” Cacodemon spoke, “It is required of you to seek out a mortal named Nicholas and to destroy him and his village.”
The dragon moved his head side to side, stretching the neck muscles. He had heard Cacodemon speak but choose to ignore him. He did not like be woken in such a manner. Maybe if he had some food and a little exercise first then just maybe he would then be more in the mood to hear about assignments.
“Did you hear me dragon?” asked Cacodemon, a little vexed his creation was ignoring him.
“I heard you,” the deep voice boomed out.
“Then go do as I command,” Cacodemon was testy he wanted this to be over. He was upset that his hand was forced, and inside a voice was telling him how wrong it was.
The ice dragon was no fool. One of the powers he had was the power to read thoughts and he could sense Cacodemon objected to this job. “Are you sure?”
“Yes of course,” Cacodemon knew the dragon could sense he was lying. He did not block him but allowed him to feed upon those ideas. His only hope was that the dragon would rebel as well.
“What has this man done?” The dragon asked as he reared back on two legs balancing his body.
“He has allowed the spirit called Christmas to proliferate throughout the mortal world by bringing hope and good cheer to those who are in need.” Cacodemon tried to sound disgusted but his voice gave away his true feelings.
“That is an abomination.” the dragon growled out as he thudded down on all four legs. “But why me? Send out Amarok and Tizheruk to do the dirty deed.”
“We did.” Cacodemon replied, “But they failed, turned against us and siding with Nicholas.”
“I will not fail.” Thoran began to travel down the tunnels with Cacodemon following him as they exited the door and stood on the portico overlooking the valley below. “I will do what you truly want.” With that the dragon spread his wings, and with one step he launched himself into the air. The wings beat strong in the clear sky as he headed towards the village of Christmas.
Cacodemon watched Thoran as he flew, his creation was incredible. The wings shimmered and reflected back the rays of the sun. Each part of the dragon was carved with care. The scales of his body were finely chiseled, each one detailed with the letter of his secret name. His tail was long, ending with a triad that was tipped in silver. The flight to the village would only take a few minutes, but the walk for Cacodemon would be a few hours. Deciding he wanted to be there to see what Thoran did, Cacodemon shrieked into the wind for the raven to come and ferry him.
The raven set Cacodemon down close to the village, where he saw Thoran facing Amarok and Tizheruk. They appeared to be talking more than anything. Cacodemon crept closer untill he could hear their conversation.
“Why did you defy the masters?” asked Thoran.
“I wanted to make my own life, to choose what I would do,” replied Amarok. “I am my own master now.” He threw back his head and howled his own song.
“And you Tizheruk, why do you serve this Nicholas?” inquired Thoran.
“I do not serve him,” Tizheruk explained, “I choose to help him so that the hope of this place could grow. I remembered when I was not wallowing in the blackness. I liked that feeling.”
“Do you join us Thoran, or must we fight a senseless battle,” asked Amarok, his lip curled up.
“I do not know,” answered Thoran, “I have no desire to fight, yet I am confused as what to do next.”
“What of you Cacodemon?” A deep resonating voice interrupted the trio.
Cacodemon jumped up and spun around to see Nicholas standing there, dressed in a warm red coat and hat.
“What have you decided?” Nicholas asked.
“I have come here to see you destroyed, you know what my kind thinks” answered Cacodemon.
“Yes, I am painfully aware of the hate that breeds the evil you represent,” Nicholas paused for a second. “But I am also aware that in your heart, there is a place for the spirit of Christmas.”
Cacodemon was silent; he had no answer to what Nicholas was saying. He could not admit the truth, and nor could he lie. He lowered his eyes and retired from the area leaving the ice dragon there to answer for him.
Nicholas watched as the dark figure walk into the snow, it was a lonely sight. The trio of creatures also watched their former master walk off quietly.
“His heart is troubled,” Thoran spoke up, “he is not as evil as he thinks he is. There is a lot of good in him. He just needs time to accept that.”
“Thoran what of you?” asked Nicholas, “Do you wish to return to the slumber?”
“One of the powers the quartz heart gives me is the ability to feel that element you call hope.” The dragon spoke slowly, fearful of their reaction to his next sentence. “I would like to stay here and help guard the village if that will be allowed.”
“Can you tell me why?” asked Nicholas had some doubts since he could not sense the dragon’s rocky heart. His magic also had no effect on the dragon, yet here was a creature made to serve evil, on his own deciding where his smoky heart lived.
“I have no desire to hurt anymore,” He stopped for a second. “I cannot say why just that I do not wish.”
Nicholas smiled broadly. “Welcome Thoran to our family.” Nicholas came close to the dragon and shook a talon that was offered. Amarok and Tizheruk chimed in as well with their welcomes.
In the years and centuries that followed, the trio of legendary creatures helped to keep Nicholas and the village of Christmas safe from the evil that plagues the land from time to time. As the 20th century rolled about, the three were busier than ever keeping not only explorers, but planes and ships at bay.
Thoran used his wings to deflect radar from zeroing in on the ice dome from AWACs that flew across the pole. Amarok used his speed to cause blizzards top form, stopping men and machine from getting too close. Tizheruk control the seas, sending ice to dam up waterways and great swells to keep ships far out in the polar ocean.
Cacodemon never really left Christmas in his heart. He used his time to convert one demon after another to embrace the joy of the heart. Others of his kind stalked him, threatening to throw Cacodemon into a pit of torment for his actions if they ever caught him. The real surprise was his father who ordered all to let Cacodemon be. He knew there would always be evil and goodness at play and that just maybe immortals should have free will like the mortal beings.
The town of Christmas grew larger and more technologically advanced than one would guess. Nicholas still did his Christmas runs, though his exploits were more and more being discredited as myths than reality. But that did not deter the hope he instilled each year in the eyes of the children. The hope of the impossible, the hope of a new beginning, and the hope of peace.