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|The Frozen Hope|
Skills[edit | edit source]
Tips[edit | edit source]
You always have an exit strategy - cold snap means it's almost never too late to withdraw because of its ability to make everyone around you "chill out" for a second. Similarly, a well-cast ice walls will leave your chase dead in its track while you streak always to heal and regroup.
Ice Wall is more than jsut defensive - Ice Wall is handy for blocking chasers or creating choke points that are easier to defend. but used well it can also be used offensively to pen in prey or prevent minions from joining a fight. The ability to put a wall wherever you want one can give a creative dragon lord a subtle but powerful, command over the flow of combat.
Lore[edit | edit source]
The great world forest of Nari stood before the traveler, forming a massive wall of wood that edged the southern border of territory of the Northmen like a great palisade. He had walked far, the entire length of the Ice March, with nothing but the ethereal glow of the Green Curtain as his guide. It was long night, the cold wintery period of the year when the Dawnstar strayed far south, and the lands below the Curtain were thrown into darkness for months on end. Wearily, the traveler threw back the fur-lined cowl of his coat of pelts and brushed the icy rime from his beard. He was finally here.
He dropped to his knees and pulled his sealskin pack from his back, his frigid fingers clumsily working the ivory toggles of its closed cover. He cursed under his breath, expressing his frustration at his condition in the rich and flavorful barbarian tongue of Far Shore. He was old, so old now, and the cold gnawed at him no matter how hard he worked, or how many pelts he wore. He had lost the privilege of comfort many years ago and many miles away from this lonely, cold clearing. For Ulfberht, the traveler, there was no such feeling as warmth, now.
His fall was long ago, and no one associated the tired old wanderer they saw with the legends of the Town Killer of Ulfby, but weary old Ulfberht carried the burden, all the same.
He drew from his pack a rusted old pair of tongs and a small iron hammer. The tools of a blacksmith. The very same tools that had created the blade of fire, the bane of Ulfby, known as Town Killer. In the years since he had bound that dragon into a blade, he had long considered his folly. The dragon had been too powerful, its soul too much for the will of the smith to control. Oh, he was to blame for the fall of his home, the death of his family and friends, but now he understood that to mean that it was *him* that was weak, not the blade he had forged, or the magic he had used.
The continued existence of that terrible blade was an eternal reminder of his failure. He had thought the thing destroyed when he threw it into the frigid bay of Ulfby, but others more powerful than he had recovered it and now the blade had changed hands countless times. To be taken up by a new and more powerful warlord or mage with each turn until the toll of bodies to fall at the hands of Ulfberht's creation was too much for the old smith to bear and so he swore that he would make amends, somehow.
Even now, cities further to the south were falling to a warlord who wielded that blade as he led his army north. Ulfberht knew that his creation would soon return to the Ice March and that nothing his people could muster to their defense would be enough. If he was to do anything to bring an end to the scourge he had created, it had to be now. That was the thought that had brought the old man here and it was the only thought on his mind as he pulled the last tool from his sealskin pack.
It was a strange thing, glittering in the dim green light like a faceted gem. It was roughly ovoid and barely fit in the smith's rough hands. In comparison to the grizzled old traveler, it was an exquisite thing; a crystalline egg with nary an imperfection to be found on its surface. Deep within the crystal, a small dark shape curled in on itself - the unborn form of a Frostbane Dragon. A glacial wyrm, the chill terrors of Far Shore.
Ulfberht inspected the egg, turning it slowly in the light. It remained unbroken, and with a sigh of satisfaction he set it aside and took up the tongs in one hand and the hammer in the other. He crossed his tools in supplication to Hephaestus, Titan of the Forge, and brilliant arcs of scintillating light showered from the tools in an explosion of sparks.
When the light settled, each mote seemed to fall like grains of sand, drawn into a circle laid out before the old blacksmith. As each came to ground it lay there and smoldered like the coals of a burning forge. Soon, the snow in the circle began to hiss and steam, heated to boiling by those sparks. The space before the old man was soon cloaked in steam and sweat had already begun to form on his brow. Nodding in satisfaction, Ulfberht removed his coat of pelts to reveal bare skin, covered in the scars of old burns, and he set to work.
At first, he moved as if a man insane. The smith reached into that cloud of steam with his tongs and pulled forth metal, still red hot! The dancing lights and snow had become a forge of steam and magic beneath the cloudless sky and on this magical forge, Ulfberht heated a new metal unlike any before seen.
It was as if the smith was forging with ice, as if the mundane laws of the forge, of heat itself, had been twisted to the smith's effort. It was powerful spell and even Ulfberht, who had brought forth the magical forge, was shocked at his success. It shouldn't have worked, yet here he stood. With grim satisfaction, the smith nodded to the heavens in thanks to the Hephaestus, Titan of the Forge. He worked there, in the dark and the cold, for three days straight. He returned to the dragon egg only at the end, placing the small icy orb into the hilt of the blade. There, the tiny body of the dragon glowed intensely blue, blinding the smith.
So bright was the light that Ulfberht himself would never see again. Twice now, he had dared to bind the soul of a dragon into a blade and twice it had left him scarred in some way. The old man only hoped that this time, he had done it for the right reasons. He would pay any price, bear any scar, any punishment, to put an end to the sorrow he had already wrought upon the world. Moving slowly for his new blindness, Ulfberht held the sword before him. He could feel the magic of the forge fading as the world grew cold once more, but there in his hands he felt a peculiar warmth.
The blade was cold. Colder than anything Ulfberht had ever felt and yet, he felt a sort of tugging warmth whenever he pointed the blade a certain direction. With a start he realized, the blade could feel its twin, still far to the south. Moving with more confidence now, he began the next leg of his journey, the Chillblade in hand.
In his mind's eye, the smith could see the blade he had forged. It was tall, easily five feet in length and made of tempered ice. It seemed a jagged thing, but each plane was artfully placed, each razor edge faced to inflict the most damage, deflect the most ardent attack. It was, in a word, perfect.
Oh, he thought to himself amused, it would be useless to a warlord, to anyone seeking an edge to their malice, but that was the point. The Town Killer was a sword of malice. A fiery thing, full of anger and an easy ally to evil, but the Chillblade was its opposite in every way. It required a clear mind, a singular purpose to wield: the drive to protect. Where the Town Killer wrought devastation and damage, the Chillblade brought the peace of a moment frozen in time. Where the Town Killer rained fire and death, the Chillblade would build walls of ice to shield life. It was the perfect counter to the Town Killer.
Suddenly, in the lonely snow, Ulfberht felt the presence of another, walking silently by his side. There was no sound to betray his companion, no rustling of snow on leather or crunching beneath a boot, but Ulfberht knew someone was there, all the same. Strangely, he said nothing. The smith felt comfortable in this presence, and he had far to go yet, before his work was done.
Finally, the silence was broken by a rumbling voice, the sound of smoke in a chimney, the roar of a fire of coal.
"Your mistake was never in the forging, Smith."
The last, Smith, was delivered as an honorific, a title of great importance. Ulfberht knew them who his companion was. There could be no mistaking it. It was Hephaestus, Titan of the Forge, the Lord of Steel. As Ulfberht turned in wonder to the voice, it continued.
"Your mistake was in the wielding of your own work."
The smith felt a hand, heavy and calloused, yet sure and friendly, take his arm. Another lifted the blade effortlessly from his grip, while still another rested protectively on his shoulder.
"Ours is the work of creation, not destruction."
Hephaestus turned the old man and they walked in a new direction.
"Leave that to the champions and heroes."
Slowly, the air grew less cold and in the distance, Ulfberht was sure now, that he could hear the sounds of the forge. Fire, and ring of hammers striking steel.
"We have far too much to make to carry such a burden."
Bladebiter • Chillblade • Chronosphere • Cruel Barb • Death's Reach • Eir's Glory • Elder's Branch • Fracture Barrel • Gorefist • Hallowed Lantern • Hammer of Sul • Hyperion's Light • Phoenix Familiar • Rainmaker • Rising Soul • Rodar's Scepter • Skyburst • Slingsharp • Sparrowthorn • Sphere of Wudeng • Stormcaller • The Aegis • The Harvester • The Scintallion • Titan's Call • Truth's Charge • Ulfberht • Unity Mark • Vengeance • Veritas Scriptura • Voidstar • Waybinder