Glesmyr

Culture

Few people venture to the frozen lands of Glesmyr. Situated beyond the reach of the sun, the days are bitter cold and the nights are capable of freezing men solid in minutes. The folk who live there cope with the relentless chill and the creeping ice as best they can, carving homes out of volcanoes and bundling up in furs to survive. Little awaits visitors in the way of welcome or wealth in a land where survival itself is a luxury few can afford.

Beyond the reach of the few settlements clinging along the outermost edges of Glesmyr lies a vast, mountainous wasteland. Beasts, monsters, and chilling horrors rule this tundra. The locals warn away anyone foolish enough to venture there. Whether by the cold or the claws of some terrible creature, only death awaits those who wander the wastes.

Language

Cirth dominates Tobolsk, the main port of call. The smallfolk of Lovinia speak Durnamn as well. The scargrim of Vyberg speak Gor'ek almost exclusively, though some of their elders speak a smattering of Cirth for the rare occasions when they choose to interact with words instead of swords.

Demographics

Few civilized races live in Glesmyr. Of those who do, humans are the most populous, particularly in Tobolsk and, to a lesser extent, Lovinia. A large number of scargrim angori live exclusively in Vyberg. There are also a number of smallfolk and golems in the crater city of Lovinia. A few scattered sprites and arctically-adapted ferals live out in the wilderness beyond these settlements, either alone or in very small groups, but the climate is otherwise too inhospitable for most living things to survive for very long. In fact, Glesmyr boasts the largest population of revenants in all of Orn, unfortunate souls who ventured too far and were claimed by the cold.

Politics

The three settlements in Glesmyr maintain little contact and no unified government to speak of. Lovinia is run by a titular mining consortium and negotiates with the governor of Tobolsk for the use of their shipping lanes. Tobolsk is technically a satellite of the Talaud Isles in Rica and so under the rule of the Cirtheen Accord, but in practice the local governor wields all the power. The scargrim of Vyberg occasionally quarrel with the other settlements, but the terrain and distance between them make contact of any sort infrequent.

Beyond the western mountain range, the lands are ruled by the Circle of Thirteen, powerful witches with legions of monsters at their beck and call. Though they are believed to be allies, they feud amongst each other for territory

Immortals

Glesmyr's sparse populations and isolation lead to little intermingling of immortal influence. The folk of Lovinia, being mostly smallfolk and golems, revere Imphalios and, more recently, Kragg. The sailors of Tobolsk revere Ivelis. The scargrim of Vyberg revere Arimir. A small but significant number of revenants born as rime wraiths revere Etejeril. And a handful of banesages devoted to Banekeril filter through the ports each year, making the pilgrimage to the Font of Hours.

Areas

  • Lovinia - Lovinia is a village situated within a dormant volcano. The inhabitants, primarily humans, smallfolk, and a number of golems, channel the heat from underground magma to protect against the bitter cold. Lovinia sustains itself by exporting the vast wealth of ore produced by its mines, but the dangers of mining and the costs of shipping sharply undercut any profit.
  • Tobolsk - Tobolsk is a village with ties to the Talaud Isles in Rica. Many of its mostly human inhabitants are employed in clearing ice along its shipping lanes. In addition to fishing and whaling like their parent country, the people of Tobolsk venture inland to hunt polar bears or along the coast to hunt seals. They are known for the thick white furs they wear, the well-bred dogs they use to pull their sleds, and building their homes from blocks of ice.
  • Vyberg - Vyberg is thought to be the oldest settlement in Glesmyr, a series of connected encampments filled with scargrim angori. Their oral traditions say they were aboard a slave boat out of Varalon long lost at sea before making landfall. Their human captors perished from the cold, but the strongest angori endured. The scargrim who live there now sport thick, natural fur and have a particular aversion to spellcasters of any sort.

Mysteries

  • Bleakhallow - Once there was a sylvan city in the centermost point of Glesmyr. Protected from the elements by powerful magical barriers and ruled over by a kind and generous king, the elves prospered. One night that all ended when the city was overrun by undead, riven, and other grisly horrors intent on taking the city's splendor for their own. It is now a gutted shell of its former self populated by nightmarish creatures of all description.
  • Circle of Thirteen - Beyond the western mountains lies the dominion of the Circle of Thirteen, powerful ice witches who have divided the barren wastes into territories amongst themselves. Little is known about them beyond scattered names and descriptions, though many are believed to be undine and all are centuries old. Each maintains a small army of frost giants, winter wolves, and other northern monsters and wages war with her neighbors. Whether this is actual conflict or some manner of twisted rivalry between allies is unclear.
  • The Epic - In the century prior to the Shattering, the king of Trinketshire commissioned the most massive air ship in history. Said to be too big to fall, it nonetheless struck a mountaintop and crashed on its maiden voyage over Glesmyr. Most hands died in the crash; others died of exposure to the elements. Only a few survived to tell the tale. The wreckage of the Epic is said to be at the base of a mountain somewhere far to the northeast of Vyberg.
  • Font of Hours - Somewhere in the mountains of Glesmyr lies an ancient temple sacred to the followers of Banekeril. There, an ageless attendant oversees the Font of Hours, a circular pool held in perfect stillness but for the steady drip of a single drop of water for every hour of every day since the beginning of time. Banesages seeking to prove themselves worthy to be oracles are known to brave the wastes in search of the Font, believing they will gain the gift of prophecy by gazing into its still waters.
  • The Lonesome Queen - It is said a small kingdom thrived in Glesmyr during the Age of Wonders. A beautiful queen ruled there whose mastery of water magic was absolute, but her heart was cold as ice. Spurned by a would-be suitor, she plunged her kingdom into the depths of winter, killing all of her subjects. It is said she still lives where the kingdom once stood, in a grand castle carved from a glacier, with animated ice sculptures as her only company. Whether the Circle of Thirteen include her in their number is unknown.
  • Men of the Mountain - Hunters and travelers occasionally claim to see large, white-haired men in the mountains. These creatures rarely approach and always seem to slip away when chased. Strangely, some claim to have woken in caves beneath furs after passing out from the cold or becoming trapped beneath an avalanche, presumably due to the assistance of the men of the mountain.
  • Rime Wraiths - Some say the bleak cold of Glesmyr is more than mere weather. It is more than relentless; it hungers for the warmth of the living. There may be truth to this, because those who die of exposure tend to rise again as revenants. Many shamble back to civilization, desperate for warmth but burned by its touch, a chill so deep it can only be alleviated by bathing in living blood. Locals are quick to shun these rime wraiths, forcing any who retain their humanity to wander the wastelands alone.
  • The World Crown - One of few benign mysteries of Glesmyr, the crown of light describes waves of color that appear in the night sky at regular intervals. Magic is said to be strangely enhanced while the crown shines, leading some to suggest it is a temporary rift into other realms. Beyond that, it is merely a spectacle thought to resemble a glittering crown that rings the top of the world.

Parlance

  • "Bitten" - A digit or limb that has grown so frostbitten as to be amputated.
  • "Cleansing of waters" - A ritual performed by the scargrim tribes of Vyberg. Outsiders suspected to be magic users are cleansed by immersion in arctic water.
  • "Faded" - A condition among inland hunters who have lost eyesight from the constant glare of the snow and hearing from the absolute silence and sudden sound in the waste. Many of the oldest are both "bitten" and "faded."