Read an Excerpt
Long ago, the surface of a frozen pond cracked when Jack Frost rose out of the icy water. He was thin, pale, and barefoot. His white hair glistened as he looked around. Nothing was familiar. Not even his reflection.
“But then I saw the moon. It was so big and it was so bright, and it seemed to chase the darkness away. And when it did . . . I wasn’t scared anymore,” he remembered.
Jack walked across the ice-covered Pond until he hit something with his foot. He reached down to pick up a wooden staff. Almost immediately the staff began to glow a bright blue.
It was so strange, Jack nearly dropped it. As the base of the staff came in contact with the ground, frost shot out and spread across the ice.
Jack shook his head. He didn’t know what was happening.
Experimenting, he touched the staff to a tree. It sent a stream of frost up the trunk.
The staff was magical. Jack discovered he could command the wind to carry him up into the trees. From a high branch, Jack saw a town. Perhaps there, he thought, he’d find some answers.
Jack rode the wind to a group of settlers warming themselves by a fire.
“Hello,” he greeted. “Hello. Good evening.”
The townspeople walked by Jack as if he wasn’t there at all.
“Ma’am?” He stopped beside a woman. She didn’t see him.
He asked a young boy, “Excuse me. Can you tell me where I am?” The boy ran right through Jack.
“Hello! Hello!” Jack shouted.
It was then Jack realized he was invisible. No one could hear him. His fear caused snow to fall.
Shaken, Jack returned to the forest. He knew his name was Jack Frost because the moon told him so, but for a long time that was all he knew. Years and years passed, and Jack still hoped that someday he’d discover why he’d been created and what he was meant to do.
Far away, a fortress was nestled in a hidden corner of a massive ice canyon. Santa Claus’s palace was enormous, crowded, busy, noisy—and the world’s best-kept secret.
Here, at the North Pole, Santa was called “North.”
On one side of North’s Workshop, his famous red jacket and matching cap cast long shadows across the floor. On the other side was the man himself, holding a chainsaw and standing in front of a large block of ice. North raised the chainsaw, revealing a tattoo along his forearm. It said “Naughty.” He dug into the block of ice with the chainsaw. Sharp bits of frozen water splattered throughout the Workshop.
Three elves stood in the doorway, munching on cookies meant for North.
“Still waiting for cookies!” North’s deep, Russian-accented voice boomed throughout the vast space of his workshop, reminding his elves that he was hungry for his snack.
His little helpers scooted out of the way as North flopped back into his rolling chair and then reached out toward a rack of work tools.
North grabbed a tiny hammer and then pushed up his sleeves. On his other arm there was another tattoo. This one read “Nice.”
With delicate tools, North made a few final cuts into the ice block. When the sculpture was complete, North raised the frozen locomotive he’d created and placed it carefully on a frozen track. The train roared to life, belching chilly vapor before chugging away.
North took a cookie. He watched his toy hit a loop and then launch into the air. Wings unfolded from the ice and a jet engine sizzled to action.
But then the door to the Workshop burst open with a heavy bang and crashed into the flying train. A huge, hairy, abominable snowman flung himself into the room. The yeti had a worried expression across his furry brow. The ice train crashed to the ground and then slid across the floor in a million pieces.
North was looking at the toy, shaking his head when the yeti began to shout.
“Arghbal . . . ”
“How many times have I told you to knock?” North asked, spinning to face the huge beast.
“Warga blarghgha!” the yeti replied.
“What?” North said as he jumped up. “The Globe?” He drew his sword from its sheath, rushing from the room.
North pushed through a crowd of panicking elves. The bells on their hats jingled as North passed by. Yeti workers moved to the side.
“Shoo, with your pointy heads!” North called out to the elves. “Why are you always underboot?”
With large, quick steps he made his way to the Globe of Belief. The Globe sat in the center of his fortress. It was massive and covered with blazing lights. Tiny bulbs blanketed every continent.
“What is this?” North asked the yeti who had reported the problem. Hundreds of lights were dark. Squinting at the Globe, North was shocked as more and more lights turned off. It was as if someone, or something, was shutting them down by the thousands.
“Have you checked the axis?” North asked the yeti. “Is the rotation balanced?”
The yeti nodded. “Wardle bawddrel.”
Wind began to blow into the large room. A blanket of black sand crept over the lights, snuffing them out in large blocks, until the entire Globe went black.
The elves began to scream. Gritty darkness swirled off the Globe and filled the room. It gathered into a tornado. The tornado rose up toward the ceiling, where it finally burst into a puff of smoke and disappeared.
The room settled into silence. No one dared move.
The Globe lights came back on, and everything seemed to return to normal . . . until the shadow appeared. Long and dark, the shadow of a man flashed across the floor before disappearing with an echoing laugh.
North stared at the place where the shadow had disappeared. “Can it be?” he muttered. He called to one of his elves, “Dingle!”
The elf appeared at North’s side.
“Make preparations,” North directed. “We are going to have company!”
The elf nodded as North reached out to grasp a large lever. It was for emergencies only. He twisted a dial and pulled down hard. The Globe began to glow. Then a beam of light zoomed up the axis shaft, toward the roof, and out into the world.
For the first time in decades, North had summoned the Guardians.