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A Yuletide Showdown

December 25, 2023
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In the far north, an ancient guardian protects against all the bad girls and boys. Happy holidays Dragon Strike!

Pulled by eight guardians of legend, the high powered sleigh made a formidably soft landing onto the tundra field to which he’d been directed by his navigators. Landings were always easier when load was lightened and spirits were revived after a successful expedition. Santa enjoyed the cold of home, but like any man after an extended shift, he was ready for a schvitz in the ornate cedar sauna crafted by Burlap, his trusty elf butler. Burlap was the finest woodworker on the complex, and Santa has always thought it a pity that the elf’s best work couldn’t be shared with the world.

With the dexterity of a much younger man, Santa hopped out of the sleigh. The rumble from his boots hitting the ground was strangely loud and deep, as if the hollow ground of a broad cavern lay just below where he stood. “How peculiar,” said Santa as he bent low and put his ear to the ground. The rumble didn’t die away, but grew louder, a series of percussive booms from deep within the earth, almost like his arrival had triggered something below.

Sensing danger, Santa quickly retrieved his staff. He gazed at the large runic orb clutched by carved eagle’s talons at the staff’s head, feeling the familiar Christmas magic coursing through his very blood and emboldening him for whatever would come next.

The rumbling continued to grow louder and Santa knew it was an attack. Without a word, he motioned to his faithful guardians; in a flash they kicked up into the sky, carrying the sacred sleigh away from danger. If that device ever fell into the wrong clutches, the children of the world would suffer for the rest of time.

Santa stood tall and proud, a bearded man in a flowing red cloak, ready to defend his home once again. He gathered his thoughts and focused the magic that always lived in his heart, amplified by the power of the Christmas Orb.

The ground shook, then opened before him, spewing an entire legion of cave goblins. Usually savage and unorganized creatures, these goblins formed ranks and faced off against Santa like they were awaiting the orders of a general who had not yet arrived on the battlefield. They wielded clubs, bows and blades. A twinkle appeared in Santa’s eye as he suddenly realized who was behind this coordinated siege.

He never thought Malum’s forces would follow him to the desolate wasteland of the north pole, but the enemies of joy and love had grown despicably desperate of late. A deafening silence lay between Santa and the army of cave goblins, until he shattered it with a single battle call…

“Ho, ho, ho!!!!”

The laugh was more defiant than a martyr’s cry, it was more jovial than a child’s wonder, and for the forces of Malum, it was more dangerous than a thousand ancient armies. It struck every goblin’s icy heart like a spear of warm light, and there was no escape. They dropped their weapons and fell to their knees, instantly feeling the weight of their mistakes and suddenly knowing that they had been placed on the dreaded naughty list. They cried burning tears of shame and remorse, tears that were so hot they melted the permafrost ground beneath the goblins’ feet, swallowing the sobbing legion back to the underground from whence it came.

Standing in silence again, Santa called a powerful storm to fill the newly formed canyon, and within two short minutes the ground before him was pristine and pure once again. He whistled a happy tune and began walking the short distance toward home. Once he walked across the would-be battleground, Santa turned casually toward the earth, where an unseen coward was undoubtedly cursing in the dark depths after a goblin horde came crashing down on him.

“Next time face me yourself, humbug.”

Then he turned toward home and thought no more of the wicked wizard who had expended such energy and power in an attempt to wipe joy from the world. Instead, he thought about the cup of piping cocoa and smiling faces that awaited his arrival.