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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