ANDREW DELAPLAINE

In the third installment of “The Annals of Santopia,” Sir Nicholas relates what happened when Taraxa and Inula attempted to sneak out across Frozen Lake while the Baroness von Drear and her dreaded Flying Trelves were occupied saluting Santa as he traveled in the Grand Sleigh through the Forest of Shadows to the Other World on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Spicata, correctly assuming Taraxa and Inula would try to make a run for it, took his squadron of Skelves out onto Frozen Lake to try to block their way. Just as Santa disappears into the Tunnel of Leaves on the Grand Sleigh, a Courier arrives to tell the Baroness that Spicata is out on Frozen Lake. Using a spyglass, the Baroness sees Taraxa trying to escape and sends a bolt of fire from her Magic Staff that drills holes in the ice, freeing the deadly Pirandelves to rise from the cold depths to attack not only Taraxa and Inula, but Spicata and his squadron as well. With only one Flying Trelf with him, Spicata tries to hold on while the Trelf flies away, but the weight is too much, and the Trelf drops Spicata right next to Taraxa. With the swish of the strong tail of a Pirandelf, Taraxa, Inula and Spicata are swept into a hole in the ice down to certain death in the freezing water below.