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Christmas Contest entry: A Return to Christmas Tidings and Cheer

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Hero ID 11292 Present day: Parallel Earth 3.0 Location: Ice Ray Academy League of Magic Users.

It has been a tough couple of years since Ice Ray Academy and their allies took down the Dragon God planeswalker Nicol Bolas and fought his servant Kuthuman aka EA. Though Bolas was defeated and his ability to be a planeswalker removed, Superhero City was still destroyed by EA. Sadly others found their memories or worse physical essences hidden in magical stasis until then because that much time was necessary to fully recover from this apocalyptic magical assault. Now the time has come for those who were in comas to awaken on a new Earth with memories of the last one to fuel their resolve to never fail this one in the face of invasions. And just in time too for reports have been confirmed that an offshoot of EA known as The Legion has laid siege here, as once Zigonians and EA and Nicol Bolas laid siege there in the past. With their "Morphons" raining down upon Earth and the mortal season of Christmas appearing let our story begin.

Over the bleak, cold arctic north a large BADGE landing craft buzzed through the gray skies. Gliding next to it was the stone hero Gargoyle, keenly watching the white land below.Nova sat in the command seat of this large craft while his trusty robots managed the controls. He touched a comm device attached to his ear, “Anything yet, Gar?” Gar answered, “Just snow. I...WATCH OUT!” The proximity alarm went off and the whole craft lurched to the side as something slammed into them. The whole craft spun out of control, the three robots on the bridge rolled about like toys in a storm while Nova kept his firm grip on the command chair.Nova looked out the front windows as they fell out of the sky and slammed into the ground. Waves of white powder spewed from either side of the ship as they plowed across the frozen north. After the sliding came to a stop, Nova shoved the emergency exit open and jumped out.Gar landed next to him, "Sir, look!" A mass of inky rags and hair, matted roughly around the shape of a man shambled towards them on massive hircine legs; long demonic horns and wildly flicking tail bobbing through the airwith every preternaturally fast step. Cracked black lips parted, “Ah, Director Nova. It’s been a while.” “What is it this time, Krampus? You and I both know you’re unable to get into Santa’s palace.” The Yuletide Demon stretched his lips back in a rictus grin, unveiling a mouthful of jagged shards that would've made a shark balk, “True, I never could get into that place before, but... things have changed.” “What are you talking about?” Krampus sucked a hiss of the freezing air into his maw, belching back out a cacophony of mocking laughter, “These Morphons are spectacular little blessings, now aren’t they? Some humans have been apotheosized from weak flesh nigh on into gods with them, or more often into demons... depends on their true natures I suppose. I, already being nearly a god myself, found the gift to be most delightful.” Nova growled, “What have you done?” “What I was always meant to do, with Santa out of my way, I can finally punish the nasty little brats of this world unhindered. I think I'll go fill my belly with a few thousand of them, for starters,that should begin to make up for the years lost while Santa was holding me back. Then... who knows? Maybe I’ll eat a few thousand more, all before Christmas.” “No! You can’t,” Nova exclaimed. Krampus laughed, “Who will stop me? With these morphons surging through my body, and Santa's cheer gone from the world, I am invulnerable. Now, I think I’ll start with a nice aged appetizer.” He jumped at Nova but was blindsided by a full-body slam from Gar. Without a second thought, Gar punched the demon hard enough to send him sprawling backward across the snow. “Stay away, monster,” Gar commanded. Krampus rose with a smirk, wiping a trickle of blood from his nose. “You’re an interesting foe. I’ll enjoy playing with you when I’m done, but alas, at the moment, I have other plans to take care of first.” He vanished in a black puff of smoke, leaving only a cackle in his wake. Nova let out a furious growl, “This is serious.” "What was that thing?" Gar asked."A demon who dines on little children. Since you can fly, head back to BADGE HQ and alert the leagues that Krampus must be stopped. I’ll stay here and call on any heroes who can help me find Santa and set this all straight. GO!”Gar took to the skies while Nova headed back into his wrecked ship. He activated his comm, “Nova to all heroes, I need anyone who can help me, this is a matter of planetary emergency.”

By now it was an extremely cold winter that broke every known record for freezing temperatures. So cold in fact that many magical Fae beings that thrived in the cold temperatures awoke from hibernation after centuries of sleep and with this awakening, Ice Ray Academy sent forth Jayariel Drillowup and Corrine Daniels to safeguard the mortal world in its blind ignorance of the storm of fell magic blowing in on the frigid winds. Even the boundless sight of the Child Goddess Aphrael, though, did not touch upon the greatest threat festering up from the dark. That ancient demon of ice, Krampus, had arisen from the confines of his glacial tomb; countless millennia of repressed rage unleashed upon the world in all its fury. He was black shadow that had gnawed at the hearts of the Neanderthals from the fetid shadows that flickered around them as they huddled frightened around their pitiful bastions of fire; the very manifestation of that hungry void, kept barely appeased with innumerable sacrifices, beloved family and friends fed to its gluttonous maw so that their people might stave off their own genocide. In those days long before recorded yore the world was saved from its impending end by those creatures kin to Krampus in appearance only, the yeti, warm reflections of Krampus' cold malice. In those days they were not yet diminished to fleeting intruders relegated to myth, but instead lived peaceful and populous, in harmony with mankind. These great beasts did not shy away from Krampus, as man did, for they knew such fearful genuflection only added to his power. They knew that while alone they were vulnerable, together they were strong. So they rallied together, using their vast number, to overpower Krampus and seal him away, his terrible throes of rage echoing over the world to bring about the first great age of ice.


So when Krampus awoke, it was only natural that his hated jailers were the first suffer his frozen vengeance. In one sweeping blow, he turned nearly all of their kind into golems of ice, washing away their minds and cursed them with a hunger for the mundane flesh of men - those peoples descended from the yetis' long ago friends.Scarce time had passed since Krampus wrought his first revenge when Jayariel and Corrine appeared in these fresh cursed Realms of Nunavut. The Yukon and the Northwest Territories were entirely unaware of the demonic evil spreading from the stolen lands of North Pole. Terrifying tales heralded the arrival of lumbering and unstoppable ice covered monsters, already glutted on the Inuit tribes of Canada, Alaska, and even Siberia. When these stories reached the ears of Jayariel and Corrine they resolved to discover the truth. Not long after they set about doing so, they came across tracks Jayariel identified as a young yeti. Jayariel was familiar with this race as he was one of the few good Fae to have encountered them in in the decades after Lloth returned to Earth - when he was deployed to the Himalayas to ensure good relations with mankind's furred friends - Corrine however was not yet party to these same levels of knowledge and verbalized her fears of the man eating nature of the yeti.


"No Corrine," Jayariel said sensing her anxiety, "That which of which you speak, is the foolish notion of humans fallen into ignorance these past few thousand years - myth far from the truth, yet perhaps there is a link between these myths you were raised on and what is occurring here. I learned from this race personally, and found, as often we at the Academy have learned, that not everything recorded in our lore is as true as we foolishly believe it to be.""And if you are wrong?" she asked slowly and cautiously. "After all how do I know you have not been deceived as well?" This was a fair question as his onetime trusted panther friend Jaegarjumi, had turned against him, cursed, and he no longer felt as certain in his own personal knowledge. "Very well Corrine, for your sake we will attempt to capture this yeti so that your suspicions can be ameliorated and our different philosophies on this matter settled once and for all." And then, with a quick affirmation from Corrine, the hunt was on!


"It seems lost," Corrine gestured to Jayariel in the silent Drow hand language that he had taught her in the past after they had tracked the Yeti for several hours and found his path to beginning to become erratic and wild. "Something must be terribly wrong for it to be running, almost as though it was trying to escape certain death." Jayariel thought on this for a little while. "Corrine you may be on to something. I lived for several years with Yetis in Asia and one of their legends was of a great Ice Demon that predated humanity's rise in this realm. For thousands upon thousands of years it terrorized the precursors of mankind until the yeti banded together and used all their magic to eternally entomb, frozen forever... or so we thought; maybe this unnaturally cold winter is related to it somehow, for there is a dark chill in the frost unfamiliar even to one as ancient as me. We should approach this young yeti with gentleness to show we mean him no harm; though too many people have lost their lives trying to capture his kind, so we need to stay wary."


With great care and determination they tracked the yeti into an ice cave. They approached the cave as quietly as they could, but were met with a roar that made the pointlessness of subterfuge clear. With barely a moment for them to think a massive white blur barrelled towards the pair, quickly Corrine began the arduous process of slowing time with her magic, gradually reducing the creatures speed so that its form became clear; a yeti straight from the legends bared its gleaming teeth from on high, its frame already towering above the height of men despite its young age. Using the second Corrine had bought Jayariel leapt up and to the side, skillfully evading the creatures swipe, one foot pushing off the wall of the cave to bounce him higher and bring him back toward the yeti's head. Twisting his legs to wrap around the creature neck he drew it to the ground with the weight of his momentum and pinned it as carefully as he could, hands locking joints without the slightest room for error. Quickly Jayariel spoke to the yeti before it could shake free, a guttural language that caught the creature's attention, Jayariel could feel its muscles go slack with surprise. He spoke quickly and pausing only to turn and translate for a grateful Corrine.


"Krampus?" Corrine exclaimed, "Well yes I am familiar with the name and I'm certainly not surprised that even other races besides humans know of his demonic nature, but I thought that the fae lord that humans call Santa Claus kept him from doing evil anymore!" "That was mostly a very carefully orchestrated myth woven by the fae since the first celebration of cheerful holidays. Without softening the truth a little humans like you would have been too afraid to ever have fun and spirited holidays. Nevertheless we must rescue the fae guardian deity dubbed St. Nick because I can assure you to fight Krampus enhanced by Morphons is beyond even our own considerable strength and we'll need all the help we can get!" Jayariel said, standing and brushing flecks of ice from his clothes.The human mage and the dark elf weaponsmaster discussed the matter with the yeti who was more then pleased to have companions and a chance at rescuing his people. Over the course of several hours he lead them to a glacier that fed into the Bow River in Alberta, Canada - there the duo discovered the imprisoned Santa being guarded by the Spiderqueen Lloth and her evil Drider general Jaden Drillowup while being forced to create toys for good Drow girls and boys and wearing a heavy chain forged of Lloth and Krampus's combined evil magic! "Why would you ally with Krampus?" Jayariel asked, "I thought you hated all non fae." "True but he offered me a chance to spread incalcuable grief over this world. No invasion of mine has ever been able to reach the scale of misery our plans will bring!" "Take me instead," Jayariel entreated, "You know you've wanted me in your clutches for too long to resist. This grudge of Krampus doesn't have to be yours as well, and after last time in Superhero City you know you don't want to fight the endless procession of dogooders this course will bring." Though Lloth was loathe to renege on her deal with Krampus she couldn,t escape her long burning desire to finally have Jayariel as her prisoner after so many lifetimes of failure and plots ending only in regret, a chance like this would not come again while misery could always be spread another day. So it came to be that Santa was freed from Krampus and Jayariel took his place, and further conflict avoided through negotiations... for now. He traveled with Corrine via teleportation magic back to Ice Ray Academy where he was healed and they traveled to assist Director Nova and overcome Krampus with the full might of Ice Ray Academy to save Christmas for mortals and immortals everywhere.
The End.