Logosmas in the northlands
By: Erisycthon Posted on: November 13, 2006
Logosmas in the Tundra
Have you ever met the old toymaker in Caer Witrin? He's a nice old fellow. Sells toboggans, balls, and toy soldiers. My mother told me once that every thirty years, if I were good, the toyman of Caer Witrin would visit in the night at Logosmas time, and bring me toys and treats, putting them in my Logosmas stocking.
Well, I grew up during a period between Logosmases, but there were fabulous stories about the magical time when there were stockings and mistletoe everywhere. Presents were passed out, and there was pudding, and family, brotherly love and goodwill towards man. And I think one of my favorite Logosmas stories was the story of how that elderly toy maker, one year, brought Logosmas to the tundra, far up in the north.
It was a normal Logosmas at first, just like any other. The toy maker was checking his list of good and naughty children. He got all his presents in order. Perfumes from Marianna, enchanted goods he was supplied with through the Arcane Kindred, little miniature instruments from Salieri. He had his sack all full, that fateful Logosmas eve night. Everyone's stockings, he knew, were hung with care.
Our old toymaker was a jester by trade before he started up his little shop in the Vashnars, and he never totally forgot that trade. He charged up his own chariot tarot and flung it to the ground
Loading the vehicle with his joyful cargo, the toymaker set out, delivering toys to all the young ones of Sapience. Each of Handel's little choirmembers received a new lute, in Shallam. Timmy got a new kite, to replace the one he lost when he got scared and let go of the string last Mayaween.
In Ashtan, he left a bag of stasis in Amadia's apprentice's stocking. The little fella was learning to make some fine jewelry, and would definitely want to keep some of his finer specimens preserved.
His magical ride took him to every city, and even between, to the little ones in Manusha, where he dropped little chess sets in the stocking of little Tshaya. Venasia Enverren got a puppet of a pretty glubber woman. In Tasur'ke, our toy maker dropped off candy and bouncy balls for the little ones. He was making great time, and the Logosmas eve was almost over.
But then, disaster struck. A sharp wind suddenly wrested control of the sleigh-chariot away from the toymaker, and he found himself blinded by a violent blizzard, thrown this way and that around the sky. He heard a lout snap, and felt the reins go slack in his hands as the flying goats which led his chariot were loosed from it by the snapping of his reins. Helplessly, the toymaker began uttering fervent prayers to Lord Thoth that his end would be painless as he felt himself begin to plummet blindly downwards, at the mercy of the wind.
But suddenly, SPLASH, he wasn't dashed to pieces against the icy tundra after all! His chariot landed in a frigid sea, just off a little peninsula. Gaping about in wonder at the village nestled just a little inland, the toymaker was astonished that such a quaint little place, with penguins waddling around, and snowshoe hares hopping about, had gone on existing right under his nose, and he'd never heard of it.
How many Logosmases had they skipped? How many stockings had gone unfilled or (worse) unhung? There were villagers walking about tending the herds of reindeer when he slowly dragged his chariot onto the land, panting with exertion as he greeted a bundled-up man sitting near the pen of reindeer.
"Hello, stranger!" said the man, his Achaean a little accented, "Welcome to Kamleikan."
The toymaker gruffly panted out a greeting, still taking in his surroundings, and finally leaning agaist a fencepost, his breathing laboured. Obviously, old jesters aren't very well-suited to carting around chariots.
"What brings you up here? The blizzards are dangerous of late. Every 30 years or so, it gets so bad, like there's a wall of snow," giving a chuckle, the man strokes the neck of a nearby reindeer, "We always say only a fool would try to trudge through that. Well, here you are."
"Fool, eh?" laughed the toymaker, "I guess 've been called that. "'Jester' is usually the more polite term for what I do. I'm just out delivering gifts for Logosmas. I was on my way back west, to make a last stop in the Darkenwood, but got blown off course, and ended up here. As you can see, my chariot crashed in the waters off your peninsula. Luckily my toys are still in-tact, and I can always call another chariot."
"Logosmas, you say? Sounds like an interesting fellow. You say he lives in the Darkenwood?"
"No, no no, Logosmas is a season, not a person. It's where we remember that the Logos created us all with a love of live, and whether we be Evil, Good, Forestral, or Chaotic, whether we craft or kill or explore, we're all here because of the great Gift of the Creator, and He wants our lives here to be the best they can be. It's a time when we remember that all Sapience is one great brotherhood; A brotherhood that wars, sometimes, and argues, one that disagrees. But that's what makes Sapience our home. So I try to remind people of that joy by carrying toys about for the children, hoping that they'll remember my generosity, and think to put a little gold, some candy, or even coal for those hard, cold nights, in the stockings of their friends, and when they're older, their children."
"Wow, sounds like quite a season, to be sure. It's a shame 've never heard of it. Here in Kamleikan, we don't do much in the way of toy-making. We make balls from whale blubber, or rope a couple of penguins together and sled on them." Rubbing hs chin the man said, "We should start making stockings, though, and trading the little things we can find up here. Why, just last week, I found a narwhal tooth near the water, and I'm sure my son would enjoy getting to show that off."
The toymaker grinned slyly. "I have some extra toys, actually. Some of the good children 'd meant to deliver to in Mhaldor, it turns out, were sold into slavery down in the mines of Blackrock. Poor kids won't have a use for toys," frowning, he motions to the bag in his chariot, "But 'll see if I can't give some of this to your children. To be honest, I should be going soon, anyway."
And so the toymaker gave some of his toys out to the Kamleikinian children, their eyes filled with glee as they accepted the new toys; the girls squirting their pretty perfumes into the furry bits of their parkas, so the scent would stay, boys playing with toy swords, or chasing around hares in the snow fields on toboggans, none could remember a time they'd all been so happy.
At last it was time for the toymaker to leave. After a hearty dinner, late in the evening, he took his sack over his shoulder, and stood facing the whole village of Kamleikan.
"Merry Logosmas to all!" he said, "And too all a good-." Frowning, the toymaker shuffled his tarot deck, taking out cards, putting them back in, his brow furrowing more and more with each draw. "Great, I'm out of Chariots and Blanks. Now what am I going to do?"
Kicking over a snowdrift, the toymaker flopped down, sprawled in the snow, his eyes closed, tears squeezing through his closed eyelids. What now? Here he was, trapped in Kamleikan, with no way out. The snow had come down so hard, there was no way he could walk back. The distance was just too far.
He didn't realize at first, but another sort of wetness was on his cheek, mingling with his tears. Opening his eyes, he felt the soft nuzzle of a reindeer against his left cheek. As it happened, two reindeer were standing together to his side, looking down at him with what could almost be considered pity.
"Friend, perhaps you could let our reindeer pull your toboggan. These two have obviously taken a liking to you, and the herd's been remarkably healthy this year." The man who the toymaker had first seen offered his hand to help up the aged jester.
"I suppose, if you wouldn't miss them. But still, the snow is deep, and 'd need something that can fly to get through it all." The toymaker scratched his head, when suddenly, an idea struck him. Reaching into his pack, he pulled out some gold, and flung it into the air. Down came a couple of balloons, which he smilingly took in hand, leading the two reindeer to his chariot, securing them with a makeshift harness salvaged from the scraps of the original one.
Finally, the toymaker attached the balloons to the chariot, and urged the reindeer forward with a snap of the reins. Onward, faster, they ran to the sea, and suddenly, the chariot began to float up, up into the air, carried by the balloons.
The ride was smooth for a time, but eventually, the storms returned late that night. "We can't fly through this. It'll only make us crash again, and this time, there's no water about to break my fall," thought the elderly toymaker to himself. "There's a tower and a few huts. Perhaps we'll land there, to wait out the night."
So land they did, and the toymaker took the balloons from the sleigh and popped them, resting the thing beside a crude hut, knocking on the door. He was met at the door by a scared-looking woman, huddled in clothes that were nowhere near thick enough for the outside temperature to be totally nullified.
Moved by pity for her meagre existence, the man frowned, knowing he couldn't possibly impose on these people. "Hello," he said, "I'm a Caer-Witrinite here, delivering toys for the Logosmas season."
Just as before, he explained to the woman (and eventually the whole village that gathered around to see the new stranger amidst them) the meaning of Logosmas, and what he did every 30 years.
"If you want to give us a gift, slay Maklak, the ice wizard. He keeps us as little more than slaves. He drove some into the caves to live like animals. Our existence here is wretched due to his dread magic. He lives in the tower over there, guarded by his army of animated ice sculptures."
"Aye!" shouted the people, en masse. "The wizard killed my father last year," said one little boy of no more than ten years, "because our tribute payment to him was 3 sovereigns short."
So great were the shouts that a strange feeling deep within the toymaker was stirred. Not since he was a young journeyman had he felt this way. The adventurer's spirit was reawakened in this aged jester, and without delay, he set out for the wizard's tower, running helter-skelter at the ominous spire which housed the oppressor of the tundra.
Taking his blackjack in hand, the toymaker rounded a drift, and saw the entrance. Standing just within the doorway were three massive humanoid figures, blue-hued, and semi-transparent. With a sense of awe the toymaker stepped forward, taking in the majestic, crystalline interior of the tower, even as the three golems began to advance menacingly toward him.
Reaching into his pack, the toymaker grinned as he pulled out 3 of his toy soldiers, and began winding them, placing all three on the ground. He pointed them towards the golems, and patted them on the "heads" as they began to advance, slowly, to meet the three golems closing in. All three reached their frozen targets at the same time, and upon contacting the massive icy feet"I
The concussion bombs which the toymaker had put in them exploded violently, showering the room with shards of ice. The toymaker took out some implements and began nimbly constructing another bomb, but the process was interrupted by a soft "ahem!" from the stairway leading to the top of the tower.
"Why, my old fellow, did you feel the need to slay my doorguards?" a deep and commanding voice echoed through the halls. Standing on the stairway was a man with piercing white eyes, midnight blue robes, and hair like icicles. This was undoubtedly the wizard of the ice tower: Maklak.
He descended the stairway, a fourth golem in tow, a wicked grin plastered on his pale face, ice-blue lips curled in a wicked sneer. "I'm afraid you're going to have to make up for their deaths with your own, old man." As the golem advanced towards the toymaker, Maklak raised his hands and hail began pouring down throughout the room, mysteriously appearing out of nowhere, and returning there after pelting the toymaker, who, for his part, shielded his head with an upraised arm until the storm passed. Unfortunately, at that point, the golem was closing fast, and he had to think of something to do to stop the thing, and quickly.
With barely a thought, the seasoned jester shuffled a tarot card with the image of the Star out of his deck, charged it, and flung the thing. A meteor slammed full into the torso of the golem, and its heat was too much for the frozen body of the construct.
Now with only a crazed ice-wizard to deal with, the toymaker took a few implements out of his bag. Nimbly flying, he began constructing a toy of sorts, a toy with a twist. Maklak laugh evilly as he advanced slowly, watching the cubical construct take form. Finally, upon reaching the toymaker, who had just finished, Maklak raised his staff, preparing to cast a horripilating blast of ice towards the toymaker. Then, he stopped, realizing what the toymaker's last-ditch effort was: a jack-in-the box!
As Maklak watched, amusedly, the toymaker began cranking the child's toy, obviously not a threat. Soft music began playing as the toymaker cranked the box. Maklak snickered under his breath, figuring he'd give the man that last bit of joy: playing with one final toy. The music of the jack-in-the-box became faster and more frantic and a loud voice from within yelled, "Maklak, I'm a-cooomiiiiing!"
Confused, Maklak cocked his head to the side, then began chanting the spell that would end the fight for good. Alas for our evil ice-wizard, the spell came too late. The top of the jack-in-the-box flipped open, and up popped a jester puppet with razor-sharp teeth. Growing to sudden, improbable size, the spring-loaded puppet ripped Maklak's head off with a single bite.
It is said that there was much rejoicing that Logosmas in the tundra. The toymaker returned to the village a hero, and returned to Caer Witrin invigorated from his adventure, even more excited about his journey 30 years hence.