Spirit of the Season

The Shadow of Punishment

December 1932

Shanghai, China

The Reindeer Men receive reports from the Soviet spy Rocket Red that Dr. Scrooge—the only one of the trio involved in the Siege on the Fastness still at large—has been seen dealing with a Chinese crime lord named Chang. Chang’s organization has been tracking a Russian exile named Sokolov, who fled to China in the wake of the 1917 Revolution. Rumor has it that he smuggled a treasure from the palace of Nicholas II out of the country. Scrooge hopes to acquire this treasure to expand his own fortune. The Reindeer Men and their Chanukah allies follow Chang’s men to his night club in Shanghai.

Inside, they find Dr. Scrooge himself among the club’s many wealthy patrons. The Reindeer Men rescue Sokolov and take Scrooge into custody. But Scrooge taunts them that he has committed no crimes and that the authorities would never arrest him. While Scrooge is talking, Matthew D’Israeli merely knocks him out.

Meanwhile, Rudolph is waiting for the others outside when he sees a commotion from down the block. He goes to investigate and finds that a number of German men are kidnapping some children from that block. Rudolph chases them down and saves the children.

New York, NY

Back home, Codename Dancer returns to the circus where she grew up. There she learns that the orphans that the ringmaster Maximilian takes in have disappeared. Meanwhile, Judah Hammerstein and D’Israeli are called to the Eldridge Street Synagogue where the rabbi there tells them that many of the children in their community have gone missing.

Rudolph returns to the Reindeer Men’s New York headquarters. He finds the place empty except for the evil mathemagician Doctor Methuselah. Methuselah explains that Nick Saint has gone off in search of the missing children, who have been kidnapped by a devil-beast known as Krampus.

Each Centurion has a shadowy counterpart, an opposite number to oppose them. These Shadow Centurions strive to make the century turn out for the worst. Krampus is one of these Shadow Centurions—the Shadow of Punishment. Where Saint stands for generosity and giving, Krampus is devoted to retribution, making people pay for their wrongdoings.

But there is a mystery to Krampus’ appearance now, explains Methuselah. Krampus is not a shadow of this century. He is from the 19th Century, the traditional enemy of Saint’s predecessor, Christian Cringell. For a Centurion to live so long into the next century is an unprecedented mystery that Methuselah wishes to unlock.

Methuselah tells Rudolph to seek out his student, Salomon Mizrahi, in Madrid.

Madrid, Spain

The Reindeer Men and their allies follow Methuselah’s directions to Complutense University in Madrid. Inside they are attacked by men with guns.

After a short battle, the men surrender. One of the men steps forward and identifies himself as a member of an organization known as the Pythagorean Brotherhood. Their order exists to safeguard mathemagical secrets from the likes of Mizrahi and Methuselah. It is a battle that they have slowly been losing over the last two centuries. When the heroes entered, he had assumed that they were working with Mizrahi.

Mizrahi then materializes as if from thin air, now apparently ready to leave with the Reindeer Men to protect him from the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood reluctantly stands down while the Reindeer Men take Mizrahi with them.

Mizrahi explains that he has been using his magic to track Krampus. He has a lair in the Alps, near a small town in Austria. Mizrahi tells them that he will use his magic to help them avoid detection on the way through Germany, since they have made quite a few enemies there by crossing Baroness Blackheart.

The Alps, Austria

Mizrahi leads the Reindeer Men to an Austrian town in the Alps. One of the roads out of town leads to a path that goes up the mountain to Krampus’ lair. As they make their way through the town, they are suddenly attacked by men carrying Tesla canons like the kind that Der Blitzmann had used against them.

As the heroes are about to be overtaken, Der Blitzmann himself arrives and begins blasting his own lightning bolts at the attackers. He then leads the Reindeer Men down a side street and through the town. Blitzmann explains that he has changed his ways since his talk with Hannah Cohen a year prior. He now uses his mad electrical science only for good, creating magnificent Christmas displays that inspire people. He tells the heroes to make for the path while he holds off Krampus’ followers.

The Reindeer Men and their allies make their way up the path into the mountains and finally come to a cavern entrance. Inside are several cages filled with children—including the children from the circus and from the synagogue. At the end of the cavern, Krampus sits upon his throne.

Krampus tells them that Nick Saint is weak. He has been neglecting his responsibility by giving gifts to everyone, regardless of worthiness. Not far from these very hills are some very naughty children who should have been punished long ago.

Outside the cave, Hammerstein has taken Mizrahi aside, intent on not allowing his enemy to escape. The two men engage in a mystical battle. Hammerstein subdues Mizrahi and uses his power to tear away Mizrahi’s ability to use his mathemagical powers.

Meanwhile, the heroes inside attack Krampus. After a protracted battle, Krampus finally falls. With his dying breath, Krampus warns them, “There will always be a Shadow of Punishment.”

New York, NY

When the Reindeer Men return to their New York headquarters, Blitzen discovers that during their absence, their vault had been broken into. The plans to Nick Saint’s time-warping rocket sled have been stolen… by Doctor Methuselah!

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The Battle of Bethlehem

December, 1931

Cologne, Germany

Nick Saint receives a tip that Der Blitzmann, the electrical madman and longtime enemy of the Century Club, is planning to break into the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral. The shrine is said to contain the bones of the three biblical magi. Unfortunately, his Reindeer Men arrive too late to stop Blitzmann’s men from ransacking the cathedral, and they attempt to flee the city by train. Using Comet’s latest vehicle prototype, they are able to intercept the train at the next station.

The Reindeer Men and their Chaunukah allies chase after Blitzmann, who starts making his way toward the rear of the train while sending wave after wave of soldiers to slow them down. Along the way, they see that the Soviet spy Rocket Red is also pursuing Blitzmann. Eventually, they manage to chase him down to the last car where they find that the villain had stored a one-man escape rocket. Blitzmann spouts something about someone named “the Baroness” before flying away.

After the chase, the Reindeer Men meet up with Rocket Red. She explains that she was sent by the Century Club. Nick Saint sometimes calls upon their expertise in mystical matters. Red tells them that one of the club’s facilities was recently broken into. The thief only took one thing: the remains of the helmet of Antiochus the Defiler. Later inspection of the site at Cologne Cathedral reveals that Blitzmann had taken something from a secret compartment hidden inside the shrine.

Dixon Ridge Federal Prison

Looking for answers, the Reindeer Men, along with Judah Hammerstein and Matthew D’Israeli, decide to pay a visit to Tycho Alexandrius, the archeologist who had taken on the persona of Antiochus the Defiler before being stopped by D’Israeli and Rudolph during the Siege on the Fastness. After the battle, both he and his accomplice Jacques Frost had been imprisoned at Dixon Ridge Federal Prison.

While they are questioning Alexandrius, the alarm sounds. The heroes see that the prison is under attack from the forces of Alexandrius’ ally Salomon Mizrahi. Mizrahi has crafted a truly diabolical enemy to send against them—gingerbread golems.

Seeing the abominations, Hammerstein takes point. Using his mystical powers, he calls forth a wave of milk to wash away the name of G-d from the gingerbread golems’ faces. With the way clear, the Reindeer Men make it out of the prison.

Alexandrius explains that the Baroness, Baroness Blackheart, has been his enemy for years. She was born with a strange heart condition that forced her to create a coal-powered alchemical engine known as the Blackheart to keep her alive. She now seeks the Tree of Life to sustain herself forever.

The hidden compartment at Cologne contained the lost mystical writings of the magi. Between that and the memories of Antiochus stored in the helmet, she now has everything she needs to find and take the Tree for herself.

Das Blitzlager

While the others deal with Alexandrius, Codename Donner and Hannah Cohen decide to break into Der Blitzmann’s castle, Das Blitzlager. When they arrive, most of the soldiers inside appear to be preparing to leave. With security light, they are easily able to slip inside.

Finding Blitzmann inside, the mad scientist prepares to destroy them. But Hannah steps forward and, using her deep insight and empathy, manages to talk him down. By the end of their conversation, Blitzmann repents of his wrongdoings and promises to change his ways.

He tells them that Blackheart’s allies have been slowly gaining power in Germany. She is now gathering her forces in Palestine. Bethlehem is the only known point of reference from which she can follow the writings of the magi. From there, she can follow the path they describe to find the Tree of Life.

Bethlehem

The heroes arrive outside of Bethlehem in the Reindeer Men’s zeppelin, the Silent Knight. There they see Blackheart’s forces marching toward the town. She has several armed soldiers in jeeps, while the Baroness herself rides in a tank.

The Reindeer Men and the Chanukah allies descend from the Silent Knight using jet packs and attack Blackheart’s soldiers. The soldiers in the jeeps are taken out, but the tank continues forward. D’Israeli flies in front of it and, gathering all of his strength, brings his mighty fists down on the front of the tank as it approaches. His fists crush down into the plating causing the tank to flip forward and crash into the ground behind him.

With her convoy stopped, Blackheart and her remaining soldiers are swiftly taken into custody.

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Siege on the Fastness

December, 1929

New York, NY

Matthew D’Israeli and Reindeer Man Codename Rudolph are caught in a diabolical death trap set by Dr. Scrooge’s minions inside of the Coleman’s department store. Using his incredible strength, D’Israeli manages to break free of his bonds, and he and Rudolph proceed to pummel Scrooge’s Cratchits.

Once the department store is secured, Rudolph finds he is unable to contact the Fastness, Nick Saint’s secret base of operations in the Arctic. After paying Dr. Scrooge a visit, Rudolph and D’Israeli learn that the attack on the department store was merely a distraction to keep them occupied while Scrooge’s allies assault the rest of the Reindeer Men up north.

The Arctic

D’Israeli brings Rudolph along in his private zeppelin and they fly to the Arctic, where they see that the Fastness is under siege from the combined forces of Jacques Frost—whose magical medallion allows him to control prehistoric beasts—and Antiochus the Defiler and his spectral Seleucid soldiers. Antiochus hopes to defile the Fastness—one of the great symbols of hope in the world—before finally proceeding on to Jerusalem itself.

As the two heroes approach the Fastness, the frigid air causes the engines of the zeppelin to freeze up. They are now forced to use jet packs to reach the ground and make their way on foot past Jacques Frost’s mighty mammoths. But D’Israeli’s fists are more powerful than Frost had anticipated. The mountain of a man simply bashes his way through, knocking out the giant beasts with his mighty blows.

With Frost’s mammoths defeated, Antiochus attempts stop the heroes himself. But Rudolph’s speed and D’Israeli’s strength are simply too much for him. Finally, he falls to the ground. When he does so, D’Israeli reaches out and pulls off Antiochus’ helmet—the ancient artifact that imbued the third-rate archaeologist Tycho Alexandrius with the essence and power of the Defiler. Then, with all the force of his amazing strength, D’Israeli crushes the helmet within his hands.

With Antiochus defeated, the rest of his forces soon disperse. The Fastness has been saved.

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