Nicholas, Malakite of Dreams (formerly the Sword, formerly Purity), Angel of Christmas

By Rolland Therrien


The Tsayadim huntsmen stomped through the snow of the Ethereal North Pole, stalking their way slowly to the Workshop Compound of that most infamous of Ethereals, the closet Pagan spirit of Santa Claus.

Traumiel, the Ofanite leader of this group of Tsayadim, was perticularly driven to succeed in this mission. Popular rumor had it that the Tsayadim hunted Santa Claus every year, managing to slay him every year, only to be forced to hunt him the next year all over again.

...If only that were true.

In truth, no Tsayad had ever succeeded in defeating this fabled Santa Claus. Generally, either he avoided their patrols entirely, or he maneuvered them towards Nightmarish Operations, forcing them to abandon the Ethereal's trail to slay the Evil forces. But the rare few occasions the odd Tsayad had ambushed Claus to battle him, a very embarassing thing happened...

The Tsayadim got beaten within a inch of Soul Death, then abandonned as he left.

Needless to say, the Tsayadim never corrected the rumors, as it wouldn't be good for morale to let it on that an Ethereal could defeat the glorious forces of Heaven in battle. Still, the Santa Slayers were really getting sick and tired of this game, and this year, had decided to take the battle right to the enemy, and defeat Santa Claus before he even left his workshop.

This year, Traumiel swore to himself, this year, Santa would die. He lead his troops closer to the old elf's home, hidden in the Ethereal snow, then ignited his flaming sword and prepared to order his troops to charge, when the front door opened, revealing the massive frame of ol' Kris Kringle, standing in the light, gazing at them with a stern look in his eyes. Traumiel met his gaze, blinking only once, then gathered his resolve.

"Prepare to have your Essence cast to the wind, you Heretical Ethereal! I, Traumiel, servitor of Purity, have come..."

"I know why you came here, you misfledged cretin! And by God, I'm getting sick and tired of getting my Christmas Run interrupted every year by a bunch of twits who're acting in total defiance of the Seraphim Council's commands! Now get your asses out of my backyard before I come out there and give you all a serious thrashing!"

Traumiel blinked, finding himself unable to continue his proclamation. He then shook his head and pointed at the Ethereal with his Sword of Fire and ordered the charge.

The dozen Tsayadim all leapt into action, Flaming Swords swinging, slashing and cutting at him for all they were worth...

...And ended up getting their limbs broken, their ribs bruised, and their Swords... inserted up a cavity they had no idea they had, before being tossed into a crumpled heap by Claus, who was holding Traumiel in a choke hold.

"*cough* ...H-how... How can a *Hack* mere Ethereal..."

Santa grinned as the Tsayadim started to lose consciousness... "Oh, but it's simple, really. I'm NOT an Ethereal... You never even considered I would be a Celestial, did you?"

He threw the Tsayadim down on the snowy ground, then threw down his coat and spread his own Black Wings, also exposing the Steel bands on his arms. ...The Malakite Wings and armbands... "What in the name of Purity are you?"

"I am Nicholas, you self-righteous twit. Once known as Saint Nicholas, during my original tour of duty on Earth. I was once a Servitor of Purity, like you. Remember me now, Traumiel?"

The Tsayadim stared in disbelief. "Nicholas? Nicholas the Arianist-hater? What... What are you, a Servitor of Purity doing, being involved in this Heresy?"

The red-clad Malakim glared at his former companion and snorted. "I serve Purity no longer, Traumiel. I serve Heaven first and foremost. When Uriel was called back to the higher Heavens and Lord Laurence was placed in command, I served under him... Unlike you other self-righteous twits who believe serving a lost Superior is more honorable..."

Traumiel gritted his teeth and sat up as Nicholas continued. "And Archangel Laurence I served faithfully for decades, earning many a distinction under him. Including the rank of Master of the Armies of God, which is how I silenced you earlier. But always I felt something else calling me... even back when I served Uriel..."

Santa looked up and sighed, looking at the Ethereal sky. "I was one of the first witnesses, Traumiel... I was there when The Messiah was born. No other night of the year touches me so as that night did. And when the Christians began celebrating Christmas, I took to celebrating it with them, amongst them."

He looked down at Traumiel again, his gaze becoming stern once more. "...I became friends with the young Christopher around that time, in the dark ages. I took to learning how to make toys to give to the poor children. Archangel Eli actually took the time to teach me how to do so, God Bless him. I traveled all over Europe delivering toys to the needy children, favoring Good children and not bad ones, to try and teach them a little morality. Used a lot of Roles back in those days, even a female one in Italy."

"Eventually, though, the Christian world just got too big for giving physical toys... So I applied to transfer to Dreams, and was sent to work for Archangel Blandine. Lord Laurence approved, apparantly, as he allowed me to keep my old Distinctions. Since then, I've been doing my Christmas rides entirely in the Dreamscapes, visiting Good children to give them happy Christmas dreams."

Traumiel, by that point, had gotten up and was actually preparing to attack Nicholas from behind, when he felt a sword tip poking him from behind. He turned around to see an elven warrior right out of a Tolkien novel, grinning at him as he held him at swordpoint. Nicholas turned and grinned. "It's about that time that I befriended some Elves and secretly negociated a truce with them: They help me bring happy dreams to good children, and not only do I protect them from Nightmares and the likes of you, they get to keep the Essence they earn from the sleeping children they help. Oh, and they've taken to liking the whole "Christmas Cheer" thing, too. I can't believe how I've come to love them so... Ho ho..."

Traumiel spat at the snow at Nicholas' feet. "You'll burn for this, you traitor... How dare you betray Uriel so!"

"He betrays no one, Traumiel..."

Traumiel turned towards the workshop, to see the shining figures of Laurence, Archangel of the Sword, stepping down towards them, followed by Blandine, Archangel of Dreams. Traumiel simply gulped as Laurence stepped forward and glared at the Tsayadim. "Nicholas is here in direct Service to Heaven and God, as the Angel of Christmas, with my blessings and Lady Blandine's own."

Traumiel blinked and shook his head. "NO!! That's Impossible!! He traffics with Ethereals, ETHEREALS!!"

Laurence looked at Blandine, who smiled at him, then turned back and shrugged. "He keeps them in check, Traumiel, and does so without dishonor. Which is more then I can say looking at your past deeds... But in any case, you are to stop your attacks on Nicholas from this moment on. While we're still debating the legality of your continued actions in the Marches, attacking the Servents of Heaven are a clear violation of your Heavenly Oaths, Traumiel. You're hereby ordered by The Commander of the Host to leave now..."

Traumiel simply nodded and staggered away with nothing more to say, his battered Tsayadim limping behind him. Nicholas put his coat back on and turned to Laurence and bowed. "Thank you, most Noble Commander..."

Laurence smiled and waved it off. "No need to be so formal, old friend. I still owed you for saving me back in Carthage..."

Nicholas smiled at his old companion and superior, then smiled and bowed at Blandine, who once again had little to say verbally, but who's smile spoke volumes. "Now, with your leave, my old friends, my Elves and I must prepare for this year's run through the Marches."

As he prepared to re-enter his Workshop, this time, for once, Blandine actually had a parting word to say. "Tell me, Nicholas... when will you finally accept the promotion to Archangel? You've more then earned it..."

Old St Nick just turned and shook his head. "Nay, my Lady, I don't consider myself worthy of such an honor. I'm just a Jolly old Elf trying to bring joy to the children of the world one night a year, in honor of God and the Lord my savior... Hardly Archangel material, by my accounts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to check up on the raindeers, in case that ruckus bothered them..."

As he stepped back into his workshop, Laurence and Blandine smiled at each other and turned to leave back to Heaven, both feeling thankful that Christmas was under such a watchful eye...

(Yes, we know about the Corporeal Forces and the Will. -- Ed.)

Corporeal Forces: 7
Strength: 16
Agility 12
Ethereal Forces: 5
Intelligence: 8
Precision: 12
Celestial Forces: 6
Will: 14
Perception: 10

Vessels: Jolly fat guy in a red suit/3, Kindly old woman/2 (in Italy)

Skills: Acrobatics/2, Climbing/4, Detect Lies/4. Dodge/3, Driving (sleigh)/4, Electronics/2, Engineering/3, Escape/4, Fighting/3, Knowledge (The Marches/3, Christmas/5), Languages (consider him to have most major European languages at level 3, plus American Sign Language), Large Weapons/3, Lockpicking/2, Medecine/1, Move Silently/4, Running/1, Savoir Faire/2, Singing/3, Survival (northern lands)/2, Toymaking/4

Songs: Attraction (all/3), Artifacts(all/2), Charm (Ethereal/2), Dreams (all/4), Forms (Ethereal/3 Celestial/2), Harmony(all/3), Healing (all/3), Light (all/3) Motion (all/3), Projection (Corporeal/2 Ethereal/4 Celestial/2), Shield (all/2), Tongues (Corporeal/2 Ethereal/2)

Attunements: Malakite of Children, Malakite of Creation, Malakite of Dreams, Malakite of Swords, Dreamwalker, Healing Dreams, Hunt, Vassal of Dreams, Vassal of the Sword, Friend of Sleepers, Friend of the Lord's Troops, Master of the Realms of Night, Master of the Armies of God, Angel of Christmas*

bServants: Elves/dozens (each class 3), Raindeer spirits (class 4)

*Angel of Christmas: By spending 5 Essence, Nicholas or any angel with this Attunement can create a minor visual miracle symbolizing Christmas, such as summoning snow in warm regions or instantly decorating a home for the Holidays.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he works for Heaven.

Santa, or Nicholas, as he still prefers to be called by friends, is NOT an Ethereal, as so many people believe, nor is he entirely a fabrication of Mammon (whom, being a Balseraph, is hardly a trustworthy source of information in the first place). Contrary to popular misconception, Santa Claus is an Angel. Meeting the old Celestial in his Workshop in the Marches, however, you'd probably never guess it. He plays the part of "Jolly Old Elf with the Pot Belly" to a tee, complete with Red Suit, long white beard, Workshop of Elves and the HO HO HO laugh.

You'd never believe, looking at the guy, that he used to be one of the roughest, deadliest warrior Angels in Uriel's Service over 2000 years ago. Yep, Nicholas was one of the original Tsayadim, right alongside Laurence, his old brother in arms. He's fought in the trenches of The War, slaying Demons and destroying Tethers, and even served in the Purity Crusade (albeit wondering why they were slaugthering innocent faeries along with the Ogres and Trolls, though). He started to get a serious change in attitude following a certain event, however.

Like Uriel and Laurence, you see, Nicholas was there in Bethlehem, during "The Night". ...Yes, THAT Night.

To say that it had a profound influence on him is an understatement. He was litterally a changed Angel; for God to embody itself in so small and innocent a form truly awed that formerly jaded Angel of Purity, and he took to following Jesus' life from that moment on, from his childhood to the day of his death, which he was forbidden to prevent by God's own Intervention.

Afterwards, he took to promoting Jesus' teachings actively, becoming a Priest around the rule of Emperor Constantine, preaching Orthodox Christianity. He did pick up a reputation as a hater of Arianism, with it's heretical (to him) conceit of claiming Jesus wasn't the actual embodiment of God. But he also picked up another reputation after one early Christmas season, when he helped the three daughters of a poor man get proper dowries by tossing sacks of coins into their windows at night.

He liked the idea of mortals getting gifts on the night of the Savior's birth, and worked to promote the idea, actually going out on Christmas Nights to dole out gifts to the needy. It's about at this time that he met Christopher, still a Servitor of Stone at that point. The two got along very well, and Nicholas was very much open to Christopher's suggestion that he start giving more generously to the most needy of needy on Christmas Nights: The Children.

And so the legend of Saint Nicholas grew, with Nick making toys for children to give on Christmas Night. After he got started, Nicholas started to use his Malakite Resonnance to make sure good kids got toys, while bad kids got lumps of coal. He'd hoped to use positive/negative reinforcement to inforce good, honorable behavior.

During the Purity Crusade, Nicholas particpated on quite a few campaigns into the Marches, but somewhat reluctantly. While he didn't balk at slaying Ogres and Unseelie fae, he didn't like the idea of a blanket slaying of all Ethereals, which is why a handful of Elves somehow "slipped" under his nose... Uriel was recalled to the Higher Heavens before he could ask Nicholas about it, and apparantly Laurence was too busy getting things into order to bother with the problem afterwards.

Nicholas tried serving under Laurence as faithfully as he could, but things had changed for him after the Purity Crusade. He performed the Duties of the Sword as best he could, but as the number of believers in the legend of Saint Nicholas grew, Nicholas found his little "hobby" to be more and more difficult to maintain.

So, after a lot of careful thought (about a century of it), Nicholas, a fully honored Master of the Armies of God, demanded a transfer into the service of Dreams, stating that he felt God had intended for him to serve in the Marches, promoting benevolent dreams. Laurence was reluctant to see his old friend go, but allowed him to keep his distinctions as he left.

Under Blandine's service, Nicholas truly came into his own; as he began working his rounds across the Marches, he discovered that his deeds as St Nicholas had created many divergent legends; those of Kris Kringle and Father Christmas and Petit Papa Noel... But rather then spawn Ethereals, he discovered the Essence channeled into them went into a word... an as yet unclaimed word...

The word of Christmas. This was the epiphany he had long searched for.

After gaining approval and support from Blandine, Laurence and Christopher, Nicholas was appointed the Word of Christmas with a nearly majority vote from the Seraphim council, with the exception of those angels who supported Judaism or Islam, and most of them just abstained and requested that Hannukah and Ramadan should recieve Word-Bearers as well in the future, just for equality's sake.

And so it was that Nicholas, Angel of Christmas, aka Santa Claus, began to concretize his legend by building a Workshop in the Marches, where he started to plan his annual Christmas Dream-run, visiting Children in the real world through their Dream Scapes to leave them some toys, but mostly to leave them happy Christmas dreams, easing the harsh reality of life in this way every year.

Eventually the legend of Santa Claus grew in the Marches, and some ethereals flocked to him for shelter from the Tsayadim and the Demons of Nightmare. Santa quickly seperated the honorable ethereals from the dishonorable ones, and began a sort of "Underground Railroad" to help the benevolent Ethereals move to safe regions of the Marches. As a way to thank him, a dozen or so Brownies, Gnomes and other toy-making feys remained in his service, becoming his "Christmas Elves". A herd of Ethereal Raindeers also flocked to his service, offering to become his ride on his christmas ride.

These days, Nicholas is as busy as ever. Aside from his Annual Christmas Run, Nicholas spends the whole holiday season promoting the true virtues of Christmas: Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards your fellow man. Unfortunetly, this job has just gotten harder and harder, with Mammon, Haagenti and Nybbas making more and more of a commercial Hype every new year. It's gotten to the point where Nicholas has had to spend more and more time going out into the real world to perform some "Christmas Miracles" before his annual run. When on those "Missionary Expeditions", Nicholas perticularly loves sticking it to The Bankers, Gluttons and Media-Hounds, making them all look like a bunch of fools to the public.

...Oh, what does he do OUTSIDE the Christmas Season? He calls on his Ethereal friends in the Wild Hunt and goes out to slay those Demons of Greed, Gluttonny and the Media he humiliated back during the Holidays, just to add Injury to Insult...

Hey, he's STILL a Malakite, after all...

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus... And he kicks Demon @$$...


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