The cloudless blue skies opened for the warm sun’s rays to shine upon the Frost Palace, but in one of the meager houses neighboring the residence of the King, the mood was not so bright. Held by the Priest’s hands, it was as if the black blade itself blocked the sun from entering that unhappy house altogether. The Priest of Dreams, holding a knife of volcanic glass, had no choice: the deed had to be done, by the order of the dread Lord of the Iceborn. The baby girl was crying incessantly, as if sensing what was about to happen.
With a quick motion, he made a small cut in the baby’s thigh and let the blood drip onto a small plate of clear glass. Once he had enough, he applied his bandages to the baby girl, and rushed outside into the cold air of the Season of Frost. He placed the glass plate containing a small amount of the baby’s blood onto a large cube of ice and waited.
May the gods have mercy on this child, he thought. After half an hour of waiting, he knew the gods cared not for his prayer. The blood was still warm, and refused to freeze. With a solemn face, he returned to the home and made his announcement to the parents: the girl has Iceblood, the blood of the Iceborn. The short silence after his words was shattered by the mother, who had broken into tears; the father lowered his head and stood motionless, petrified in his spot. Two powerful Iceborn men were at the priest’s side, if they could even be called men. Their sheer size commanded fear and awe, and although they weren’t true giants of myth and fable, they could easily be mistaken for them. One of them wrapped the baby in warm animal furs, and the three left the house. The parents would never see their child again.
Far in the north, away from the Island of Rost that housed the royalty, the Iceborn Isles took the full force of the Season of Frost, a bulwark for the rest of the world against the invading icy winds and billowing snows.
On Iceshield Island, the young girl, now no more than 30 seasons of age in the north that only knows an unforgiving two-season cycle, was alone in a vast cold wilderness, and neared the culmination of her Iceborn Creed initiation. For eight days she had survived on her own in a remote part of the island, trudging through the crisp snow that cracked under her heels, searching for the marker: a large wooden totem that held a note tied to one of its arms. At daybreak of the ninth day she had finally found it, and could see the note waver in the frosty winds. She ripped it from the string, and read the short message:
“You, of the two that seek to be molded by ice, one will become Iceborn, and the other shall return to the snows, unworthy of the Creed.”
At the base of the totem lied a small obsidian dagger, of the same sort that drew her own blood many seasons ago that determined her fate as an Iceborn initiate. Now she understood: she had to take the life of another, of whoever else must be seeking the same totem. Neither she, nor the other knew of the final step of the initiation, to slay the other and be welcomed to the Creed by blood. Her anger boiled inside, as she stood by the totem and looked around her, looking for anyone else between her and the horizon. Small specks of snow gently fell from the skies and kissed her face, melting instantly.
With a mark of fury, she took the blade and pricked her finger, and wrote a response on the note in her own blood:
“Fuck the Creed”
Taking the blade, and knowing the path to the encampment from where she started this damned initiation, she began her trek back with haste. Feeding on the small animals and vegetation of the arctic island was of no difficulty to her; in her thoughts, the beast that she was hunting for now was going to prove a much greater challenge. By nightfall of the fourth day she arrived at the edge of the large camp, home for all of the seasoned Iceborn on the island, all of them powerful men and women who had survived the brutal ordeal of the initiation. The strength of the northern winds was with them, for they had lived in the wintry islands like it was their chilly paradise. The strength of the icy mountains and the cold ocean flowed in their veins, but the young girl had gifts that even the mightiest warriors of the island could never dream of. Under the cover of the night, she spotted the glorious tent of the Lord of the Iceborn. She moved in peace with the winds, her light frame barely disturbing the snow.
Approaching the rear of the tent, she was unseen, for the Iceborn have established a dominion in the arctic isles that has led them to believe in no need for patrols, scouts, or even basic defenses. For all their hubris, the fact remains that there are no others in the world of Mezion that are able to match them in combat. Their strength had made them weak where she was strong.
She cut through the tent with the blade of black glass. The strong winds immediately swept the snow into the tent, and began to cover the fur-lined floor with a white flurry. The Lord of the Iceborn woke from his slumber, reached for his double-headed axe, but it was too late. She had plunged her dagger deep into his heart, and let him fall to the snow covered floor, staining it with unfreezing blood.
“Before the other shall return to the snows,” she said before she left the tent, like a whisper from the God of Death. That night, she left the Iceborn Isles, the first to ever do so on their own accord, and never returned.