The Expedition North EMBARK
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Preparations

Arrangements made—
Crew assembled—
All is in readiness.

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Born in Norway to English parents, Sir Reginald Halldecker left Cambridge at age 19 to pursue a life of adventure. After attaining the rank of captain in the Sixth Regiment of Dragoons, he decamped for the municipality of Sesquilé, 35 miles northeast of Bogotá, Colombia, where he spent three years searching Laguna de Guatavita for the fabled gold of El Dorado. Flush with newfound wealth, Halldecker spent the next two years planning a voyage to the vast mangrove swamp of North Bimini, where he undertook a renowned four-year search for the Fountain of Youth. Preternaturally invigorated, the worthy explorer has recently returned from Inner Asia, where he was frustrated in his quest for evidence of the Third Root Race of Lemuria. Now, aided by the generous sponsorship of the Miller Brooks Society, Halldecker is embarking on his most ambitious journey to date: The Expedition North.

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Heading north aboard the HMS Virginia with a hand-picked clutch of stoic travelers, Halldecker and his expedition will strive to ascertain the whereabouts of a legendary arctic figure known as “Kringle.” Though famously elusive, reports of this personage and his small reindeer herd have circulated throughout the region for decades.

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Dedicated to the nurturing and promulgation of new discoveries throughout the globe, The Miller Brooks Society for Exploratory Illumination sponsors expeditions desirous of broadening the world’s store of knowledge, while dispelling its canards.

Should your trading company have need of our exploratory services, kindly leave your calling card in our parlor.

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January 1

Preparations

Following months of painstaking planning, the HMS Virginia now finds itself engaged in the final throes of stowing provisions for our imminent polar voyage. The membership of our staunch crew—guided by my hardworking First Officer, Robert Cratchit—has been completed. Within a month’s time, we shall set forth on our voyage, most charitably sponsored by the Miller Brooks Society for Exploratory Illumination. It is my fervent wish that our expedition’s results may prove worthy of their patronage.

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February 12

Departure

Promptly at the stroke of 3 P.M., we pushed the Virginia off from the jetty, heralded by shouts from the assembled throng of well-wishers. Though the crew and I find ourselves in good spirits, we share common questions. In the months ahead, shall we enjoy good fortune or ill? Will all return who now depart? Are we to find Kringle—if there be, indeed, a Kringle to find? As she wends her way northward, the Virginia wonders.

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April 15

The Isle of Welf

Having covered some 300 miles, we paused today at the Isle of Welf, taking on new supplies and fresh water before our quest begins in earnest. The Welves—an Inuit people of unusually short stature—dress in colorful garb, adorned with bells. Though we knew little of each other’s language, our mention of Kringle’s name aroused great excitation among them, and they have favored us with a crude map of what they believe to be his last known whereabouts. Upon our departure, several Welves presented us with gifts they had fashioned themselves from walrus tusks—as well as several packages of fudge-covered cookies. Curious.

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July 27

Into Uncharted Waters

Though inconvenienced by worsening pack ice, our ship has continued apace. Upon reaching the waymark of Horschwael Bay, we passed throngs of walrus, whose guttural calls of “joob, joob” still ring fresh in our memories. Early this morning, we passed the geographic coordinates of 83° 24’—a landmark beyond which we are treading new ground. To mark the occasion, our ship’s cook, Mike Truelove, prepared a celebratory luncheon of three French hens, which were received with pleasure by our crew (several of whom had, rather unkindly, criticized the previous day’s meal of two turtle doves as insufficient).

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October 19

Trapped!

After more than two months of steady progress north, we have reached an infelicitous impasse. Our good ship Virginia now finds herself lodged fast, a prisoner of the pack ice. Our crew has worked for days to free her, but the frigid temperatures and persistent ice have defeated our best efforts. It is hard luck. Seemingly, we have little option but to wait and hope for a thaw—but we are striving to make the best of things. This evening, several kegs of eggnog were taken from the larder and distributed amongst our party. Merriment reigns, and morale is high—if only for this night.

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November 20

Onward by sled

We have spent a month idle—passing our hours with snowball fights, exhibitions of strength, and the singing of madrigals. Each evening, we slumber praying for a thaw—and each morning, we wake to find ourselves as firmly stuck as ever. Unable to free our craft from the ice, we elected several days ago to forge ahead with a core group of stalwart men. We shall leave our ship on the morrow, continuing north with dogsleds and light provisions.

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December 24

Disaster!

Two evenings past, our party was set upon by a hairy, long-tongued creature of demonic countenance, which fell upon us brandishing chains and birch branches. Though we escaped unscathed, the menace—which we now take to be a Krampus—made off with the remainder of our rations. Our one solace is that we still have our full supply of fruitcake—which the beast evidently neglected to recognize as food.

Attempts to replenish our provisions have failed. While endeavoring to shoot wild game, the rifle of Seaman Ralph Parker misfired, very nearly blinding him in his right eye.

We have travelled leagues, only to be thwarted. We lack the food to return to our ship, and—worse still—have seen no signs of Kringle. We grow weary. Several of us have hallucinated the faint jingling of bells, and our slumber is troubled by visions of dancing sugarplums.

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December 25

We are saved

At the precise moment of midnight, when our expedition seemed to have reached its bleakest hour, we were dumbfounded to hear the distant sound of jingling bells, growing ever nearer. Presently, a dim red glow was glimpsed on the horizon—and then, incredibly, the shape of a man, bearing a lantern, standing atop a sled pulled by a clutch of reindeer. Opening a pack, he gifted us with exemplary foodstuffs such as we had despaired of ever again seeing: oranges, mincemeat, plum pudding, ham, and a fine goose, which was particularly well-received by our plucky, hobbled cabin boy, Tim Smalls.

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October 12

Triumph

Following his providential rescue of our party, Kringle—a fellow of seemingly boundless generosity—returned us to our ship, newly fortified with supplies. Our spirits were further elevated upon learning that unseasonably warm temperatures had miraculously freed the Virginia from her icy prison, rendering us fully seaworthy. Though Kringle declined to return home with us, he accepted our thanks with exceptional good nature.

Our homeward voyage has been preternaturally swift, and wholly without mishap. We are now within sight of our port, and it is with warm sentiments that I close my journal by echoing Kringle’s parting words: “To all, a good night.”

Heading north aboard the HMS Virgina with a hand-picked clutch of stoic travelers, expedition leader Sir Reginald Halldecker will strive to ascertain the whereabouts of a legendary arctic figure known as “Kringle.”

Sir Reginald Halldecker

Born in Norway to English parents, Sir Reginald Halldecker left Cambridge at age 19 to pursue a life of adventure. After attaining the rank of captain he spent three years searching Laguna de Guatavita for the fabled gold of El Dorado. Flush with newfound wealth, Halldecker spent the next two years planning a voyage to the vast mangrove swamp of North Bimini, where he undertook a renowned four-year search for the Fountain of Youth. Now, aided by the generous sponsorship of the Miller Brooks Society, Halldecker is embarking on his most ambitious journey to date: The Expedition North.