Jul assembled four experienced legionaires in the briefing room for a special mission: Bree Gallagher the Leprechaun Witch, Cosma the Athasian Half-Giant Sorceress, Ranathen the Greyhawkian Half-Giant Savage Bard, and Veit Torunn the Dwarven Transmuter. Their mission was simple: rescue their fellow legionaire, Sam the Human Wizard of Snough Town, and complete his Winter Solstice mission.
In the ten years since the team had last seen the community, Snough Village had grown into Snough Town. More houses had been added to the outskirts of the town, the constabulary had expanded both outward and upward, and the town square’s tree had grown taller and its branches wider. New costumes decorated the town’s snowmen, honoring a new set of village members.
Perhaps the strangest change was that this year Sam, in his guise as Centicles, was arrested in the general store while a child on his lap was making gift requests. While it was obviously demoralizing for the townspeople when “Centicles” was charged with breaking and entering, invasion of privacy, and libel, it was worse when the sentence was announced to be a public execution at the moment of the Winter Solstice.
So the four legionaires decided split up and do some investigation the day before. Mr. Travers, owner of the general store, confirmed the information they had. He also admitted to joining the town council since last they met, and that it was Lord Snough of Snough Manor who had insisted that the council issue a warrant out for Centicles’ arrest.
Meanwhile, some of their number also visited the constabulary. The cell where Veit had spent 18 months over eight years before was now being used as storage. The some of the legionaires managed to get a tour of the facilities, discovering that Sam was being held in a second story cell atop an armoury which had been added in the years since they had last visited. Outside his cell were two ice statues of plate armored soldiers weilding a greatsword held high over its head ready to strike. The room radiated a cold which seemed to keep the carved ice from melting despite the warmth of the partially cloudy day outside.
Finally, they also visited Snough Manor on the hillside overlooking the town. Ice statues similar to those outside Sam’s cell guarded the courtyard, while another moved on its own to open the portcullis for the savage’s arrival. Inside he was greeted by the young Master Snough, who introduced himself as the new Lord of Snough Manor. Doctor Snough, for he was now the town’s most learned man, was happy to discuss the current situation. He related the case of his childhood, where every year he was given a lump of coal while children in the village often receieved gifts. In the main hall of the manor was a display case, where each lump of coal was mounted on a plaque indicating the age at which he had earned it. Only a few were missing, never recovered from the attacks he had made ten years before. Due to the perceived unfairness of it all, he had secured a position on the town council in order to make Centicles pay for the years of shame. They were unable to convince the lord to free “Centicles.” In fact, the doctor even hinted at working on the construction of a colossal snowman, capable of conquering neighboring villages in the province.
Regrouping, the legionaires departed town having decided to wait for nightfall before continuing. Discussing the situation, they made the choice to give gifts to all households and give coal to none. This, they hoped, would appease the Doctor Snough. While some of the legionaires were going to deliver the gifts to the town, others were going to deliver gifts to Snough Manor, and still others were going to free Sam from the prison. They fully expected that the snowmen in the town square as well as the ice sculptures outside Sam’s cell would be animated against them.
They had few awake townsfolk to deal with, and made their way from the inn on the outside of town toward the town square, delivering gifts to everyone. The trip to Snough Manaor was as lucky, leaving Snough’s unearned gifts in the courtyard—surrounded by ice sculptures which never moved. Meanwhile, the attempt to free Sam did not go as well. The snowmen kept some of the legionaires busy, until a well placed ice wall was set up to protect the local buildings from the fire used to melt the snowmen.
The ice sculptures did indeed attempt to keep Sam hostage. They were tough, tougher than any single legionaire could handle. As the others completed their missions of gift giving, they made their way toward the constabulary. Eventually, they found it easier to sneak him out using passwall than to try to go through the ice sculptures.
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