Mr. Duke laughs loudly. This sudden outburst catches the party off guard. He quickly gathers his suitcase and addresses the party “Splendid! We don’t have time to waste. Follow me. I’ll explain more on the way.”
The party follows Mr. Duke into the busy corridor. Phones ring over frantic voices. People seem to run up and down the hall in a hurry. People don’t take notice of the party as they walk by, most busy with their own tasks.
“As you can see, things here are a bit hectic. We have been asking other nations for aid in the matter, but most leaders are more concerned with the safety within their own borders. I don’t blame them. It’s not a threat most take seriously, that is why you have to be enough. This is a very big ask, but you are the only hope we have” He continues to walk as the party walks behind him quickly.
“What happens if we don’t stop this threat? Why is the north pole so important”
Mr. Duke stops and turns to the party. He has a serious look on his face. “There are magical items, artifacts, secrets hidden from the rest of the world for our protection. If they were to get in the wrong hands, it would mean the end of modern civilization. Wars would break out. Millions will die. Empires will burn and from their ashes, evil and chaos will bloom. I hope I don’t have to keep convincing you on the importance of your mission”
Mr. Duke pauses and assesses the party’s reaction. Euphemia scribbles away as quick as her little hand can carry the pen. Hox and Aus look onto him with a mixture of interest and concern. Belyis has raised her hood and stares at the ground nervously.
“There is a bigger plan in motion here but we haven’t been able to figure this out” Mr. Duke continues “All I know…all we know is that you need to save Christmas. Am I being clear?”
“Yes,” the party responds. Hox’s tail twitches behind him. Aus scratches behind his head nervously.
“Good” Mr. Duke continues as he turns and resumes his pace. ” You will be teleported about an hour out of the south of Santa’s Village. That’s the closest we can get. You will be given clothes for the weather and a few items that might help you with the journey. You are going in blind. We can show you the layout of the village but unfortunately, we don’t know who is leading this attack or how they are defending the city”
They stop inside a small elevator. Mr. Duke presses a code into the keypad and the elevator begins its descent. He turns to the party with a serious look on his face. “There is something out there blocking out communications and our mages haven’t been able to scry. You will be alone out there”
“This is getting harder and harder to get motivated for” Aus replies
“It isn’t an ideal situation. You will need to find whatever is jamming our magic and report to us. But your priority is saving Santa”
An awkward silence fills the elevator. The party looks at each other, but no words are exchanged. The elevator comes to a stop after a moment of silence. The doors open revealing a large open space filled with metal tables, shelves, and racks full of different tools and weapons. People move franticly, working diligently making weapons or mixing chemicals. Mr. Duke walks out of the elevator at a hurried pace. The party follows suit, fascinated by the myriad of items scattered throughout the room. There are oddly shaped swords that hang lazily on beaten racks. There are staffs with intricate carvings of animals or runes engraved with shinning gemstones. There are bows made from rare woods strung with a material that shines in the room’s dim light. There are tables where the rolled-up scrolls spill over, almost falling to the floor. There are heavy hammers, menacing maces, and dangerous daggers. The small forge at one end of the room blazes away hammer bang against hot steal.
The party passes sections where beakers are full of odd-colored liquids. Burners push hot flame against rounded glass containers, slowly bringing its contents to a boil. A small woman swirls a mixture between her fingers, it changes from red to purple. The smell of sulfur and something bitter fills the air. There are shelves lined with jars full of odd objects. A troll’s hand floats against one while the jar next to it is filled with dried bat wings.
Passed all these tables, at the far side of the room, there is a large magic circle. It’s made of red paint. There are strange symbols that seem to be randomly integrated into their pattern. There are candles that break up the pain, evenly spaced. Mr. Duke stops in front of the circle. “Before you step into the circle, there are a few items I would like to give you.” An elf man walks up to Mr. Duke carrying with him a basket with vials filled with different color liquids.
“We didn’t have much time so you will have to make due. Each of you will get a healing potion. You only get one, use them wisely. This” he says as he pulls up a green potion “is a potion of haste. It will give you a bit more energy but when it wears off you will feel the worst you have ever felt. And this” he says as he pulls out a vial with light blue liquid with silver specks that move slowly through the liquid “is a potion of invisibility. We are not sure about the side-effects. Use at your own discrection. Thank you Calvin.” The elf nods and walks away.
A dirty female dwarf walks up next. She drags behind her a wagon full of different weapons and winter clothes. “We weren’t sure of your measurements but our tailor is pretty good at guessing. This should keep you warm. There are snow shoes to help with the travel. We also took the liberty of crafting a few items to update your arsenal. We have finely crafter armor you can change into” The party starts grabbing the clothes and armor, searching for their sizes.
“For your Aus, we made a bow made from the a very strong wood. Take this quiver of arrows. Each has a magic ability but unfortunately we don’t quite know what they do. You only get 10. And for the rest of you…”
“Let me stop you right there mister” Euphemia interrupts. She taps at the hilt of her bejeweled rapier “This sword has been in my family for generations. If it was good enough for my grandma during the great Silverfoot clan wars, it is good enough for me”
Hox nods as he squeezes his staff. “Yes Hox don’t need new staff. This staff is best staff!”
“Well, I suppose that is fine.” He turns to Belyis who stands behind the party and stares at her feet “And my shy Teifling there only uses her hands to fight from what I understand” Belyis turns red and nods shyly. She says something inaudible. Mr. Duke clasps his hands together. “Well when you are ready, step into the circle. The quicker the better”
The party takes the time to change into warm clothes. Each with a thick cloak with a hood lined with fur. They wear heavy black boots and thick padded pants. They make their way to the center of the circle. They are silent as they get to the center.
“Thank you. This is a lot I am asking you. Be safe, strike true, come back come alive” Mr. Duke presses his hands on the ground. The circle begins to glow until it is a solid white glowing circle. The party begins to sink down into the light. Slowly until the last one disappears into the light. The light fades. People have stopped working and stare at the empty circle. “May the gods protect you”