Few can remember the days,
Before the winter froze sublime
Valleys, verdant forests and
The land with frost and rime,
Blue skies have now turned ashen grey,
Gone forever is the greenery,
Now all that meets the eye this day,
Is ice and arctic scenery.
The Elves fled the island’s shores,
The cold wind in their sails, ever biting,
The piercing gale, beyond the pale,
To Dwarves whom still are fighting,
To retain their homes and treasury,
Far beneath the frozen snow,
And dig deeper, mining always,
The warmer land below.
There once was talk of Man and Oark,
Building a civilization together,
But then winter came, both quick to blame
And with icy sword, did sever
All bonds and ties (but no surprise),
They all went their separate ways,
To shiver and cower in lonely places
Or wander, numb and in a daze.
The river, once blue, turned silver
And glittered with both ice and floe,
As it thundered through the glacial land,
Of frost and rime and snow,
Emptying in to a freezing sea,
Where icebergs were seen off shore,
Chilled to the bone, none were alone,
As all prayed for the same: a thaw.
An appendice for those interested:
The Kingdom of Ice
The Kingdom of Ice lies between Skon, Tenera and Volentar, just a little east of the western border of Crimson Waters. Three of the four smaller islands are inhabited and though the smaller islands have no official names (thought to be of little consequence, considering their size), their settlements are relatively prosperous.
The island to the east of the main kingdom is home to the village of Riala, a mining colony whose mountains are rich in iron ore and some small veins of silver. The island to the south is home to the village called Kist, which is located high in the mountain by a crystal mine and has been known to produce fair quantities of precious stones.
The larger of the lesser islands within the Kingdom of Ice has two settlements called Bar and Bor, which are separated by the near impassable mountains there and were founded by the Dwarven brothers who were marooned there after a storm destroyed their ship. The brothers fell out over something petty (as brothers often do) and went their separate ways with any survivors that would follow them. They built a village each, on opposite sides of the mountains and the brothers’ communities grew. A few generations later (by Human standards, Dwarves can live a couple of hundred years, sometimes as long as three centuries) the villagers found out about the other settlement and each village set out to conquer the other, a feud that still continues to this day, though the founders are long dead and none can recall why they are at war.
Bar and Bor are said to have gone in to the mountains to meet each other and finish their war by killing one or the other but neither returned and their fates remain a mystery.
It is the largest island that is considered The Kingdom of Ice, the smaller islands unclaimed to this day, just assumed to belong to the kingdom which is a large island similar in size to Quarier. There are a number of settlements throughout the kingdom, homes to hard, brave souls who live in an extremely harsh climate as the land is covered in snow and ice all year round due to a spell or curse of eternal winter.
Each village has its own trades and skilled residents and most are trained to hunt, taught how to survive in this dangerous terrain that is prone to avalanches, freezing, sudden snowdrifts that can bury a man; ice breaking open in to great chasms and some nasty predators like Snow Beasts and Tiskai (walrus men) as well as larger monsters known Gnardel Behemoths (massive furry beasts with vicious claws, the remnants of the race that forced the Dwarves to burrow and build below the surface, hiding in the mountains away from them).
To the north is the lair of the Ice Demon, a network of frozen caves inhabited by small White Dragons and the hiding place of the crystal Cage in which the Ice demon is held captive. Once upon a time, the Ice Demon was spellborn of a Fell Lord of the Underdarq during the Big Freeze when the lands were cursed with endless winter. All it had to do was plant an icicle in the snow to duplicate itself. Within a week, there was an army of them, each able to reproduce by the same means and every one a mighty foe. If left unhindered, there could be a nation of Ice Demons within a month and Kira would not see year’s end.
The army of Ice Demons was defeated (after many bloody and costly battles that left thousands of frozen corpses in the wild) and the final one contained as there was no way to destroy the original being that anyone could find. There are many evil hearted villains who have considered freeing it, it is doubtful that Cyralost has heard the last of the Ice Demon but its Crystal Cage is well hidden and guarded at all times, even centuries later.
The Lake of Frozen Souls is a solid sheet of ice that spreads for almost a mile in length and beneath the ice are the drowned and frozen solid bodies of two opposing armies, one consisting of Men and Dwarves, the other made up of Oarken, Tiskai, Snow Beasts and an occasional Gnardel Behemoth. It is said a tsunami hit the west of the Kingdom of Ice as the battle began and the winter spell froze all in its initial potency.
The island is covered in snowy mountains, many unexplored as they are considered too dangerous to climb and some are home to the afore-mentioned animals and monsters. There are several large packs of wolves in the region and at least two clans of Oarken.
The woods to the north of the island provide timber for the settlement called Dorwin-Turi but are nothing special, holding no rare species of tree or wildlife (though local rumour suggests there was a Phoenix nest in the northern peaks, not far from the woods, before the eternal winter came and some have gone seeking feathers, frozen eggs or remains).
The forest in the south-west is strangely well inhabited considering the climate and is home to an odd looking green squirrel, slightly larger than most squirrels and apparently very tasty.
The Ice Palace, lying in the very centre of the island, is a colossal fortress made of ice, phenomenal to behold and clearly (somehow) spellborn as it would be impossible for anyone to survive in this climate long enough to carve it. The palace is laid out like many traditional fortresses with towers, turrets, a central keep and various wings and apartments, the Ice Palace is not exactly warm (considering what it is made of) but is definitely a lot less cruel, temperature-wise; than the biting breeze outside.
No one knows who built it or who it belongs to, all manner of creatures roam its halls, its dungeons are home to monsters used to a wintry world and the place is well mapped, all treasures long since taken. Only the south tower and central keep remain unexplored as no one can figure out how to get in to them and nothing seems to cause any damage to the icy walls, including fire; which is further evidence that the Ice Palace was likely spellborn.
Beware of Snow Dogs as their bite freezes the blood.