With the my Human fantasy army well started and moving along nicely I thought it was time to start considering their opposition. I want the second army to have more fantastical elements and after a bit of thought this is what I come up with so far.
The Story of Isolda the Winter Wytch
Yseult is the goddess of cold, snow, ice and winter know by several names such as the Frost Maiden, Snow Queen or Lady of Ice. Just like a snow covered winter landscape Yseult is beautiful and dangerous. Yseult is a goddess whose power grows and wains, more than most gods, during the months of winter she is at the height of her power yet as spring arrives her power dwindles until during the summer she is weak and barely acknowledged. For a being as vain and self centred as Yseult this is a source of constant frustration and displeasure. Unlike her mother, the Goddess Gaia, Yseult is not a creator god. While many gods have the power create races to worship them Yseult has had to subtlety manipulate the creations of the other gods of Generica to find worshipers and servants. Yseult’s manipulations have, over the eons, given rise to the frost giants, ice trolls, great snow bears and the winter wargs. Most of all though Yesult desires human worshippers and it was this desire that led Yseult to adopt a new born, half human baby, abandoned in the dark woods of Northern Generica .
Isolda’s mother, Berta, was one of several children of the chief of the Grey Seal Nordvolk tribe whose lands occupied the southern shores of the Coldflow Sea. As a daughter of a chief Berta’s main value to her father was through marriage to one of his nobles. It was and easy marriage to arrange, to the son of a noble called Rolf, as Berta was a comely lass. It was this beauty and a fascination with the ways of humans that attracted Isolda’s father.
Isolda’s father was an elf, one of a tribe of wood elves left behind after the retreat of the Elven Empire, whose peoples land bordered the Grey Seal’s land to the west. When Berta was out in the woods around her village collecting wood or berries he would watch her, watching turned to talking and talking turned to illicit night time dalliances. Elves are, however, flighty creatures and intense passion can go as quickly as it comes and so it was with Isolda’s farther.
Months latter is became obvious that Berta was with child, and while embarrassing, it wasn’t terminal to the arranged marriage. Nordvolk are pragmatic people and it was easy for Berta’s father to pass it off as an engaged couple not being able to wait until their wedding night. The child would be brought up as Rolf’s child and no one need know the truth.
The night Isolda was born it was mid winter and legend says a blizzard blew hard outside. When Isolda was born her Elven features were clear for all to see and those around Berta were horrified. Nordvolk superstition came to the fore and a wise woman present at the birth claimed that if the babe died at the hands of a Grey Seal it would bring down a curse on the whole tribe. In the end a plan was hatched Isolda would be taken deep into the woods by her grandfather and left to the fate of the gods. Meanwhile all those present at the birth would swear the baby was still born and Berta and Rolf would marry, as planned, and the whole incident would never be spoken about again.
As Isolda’s Grandfather abandoned her in a snow covered forest glad he was satisfied that wild animals, or the cold, would see the baby dead by morning. Yseult had other ideas she heard the baby crying in the snow, turned her gaze upon her and smiled, here was a opportunity. So it was that in the morning Isolda was alive and well. Huddled between the warm fur of a pack of winter wargs suckling milk from a giant female warg.
Yseult than sent an ancient female Ice Troll hag to retrieve the baby and raise her as her own. The first eighteen years of Isolda’s life where spent traveling the north with her troll foster mother being schooled in the ways of magic, learning about the goddess Yseult and staying with the different followers of the Snow Queen. By her eighteenth birthday Isolda could speak the languages of the ice trolls and frost giants, command packs of winter wargs and had a control over magic that would put an aging mage lord to shame.
For Isolda’s eighteenth birthday followers of Yseult, from all over Generica, gathered on the sacred ground of the Iceclaw Glacier far to the north of the Coldflow Sea. There the goddess Yseult appeared before her followers and proclaimed Isolde as her adopted daughter and gave her the title of Winter Wytch.
The following winter Isolda returned to the land of the Grey Seal tribe at the head of an army, of Frost giants and Ice Trolls, and slaughtered her grandfather, mother and other relatives and proclaimed herself queen of the Grey Seals and renaming the tribe the Eisvolk (ice people). Isolda’s revenge was not yet done however and her father’s people were next to feel the biting cold of the Winter Wytch’s wrath. The elves were massacred in their forest home and their souls trapped there for eternity as punishment.
That was over 300 years ago and the Winter Wytch lives still. Her domain is a land of constant winter. The highlands of her southern border are home to packs of winter wargs and bands of Ice trolls. Along the coastline to the north live her human barbarian followers totally devoted to their queen. To the east is the great lone mountain named Ice Fang where Jarl Olaf Frostbeard rules the largest tribe of Frost giants in all Generica. Her western border is home to the Frigid Forest a permanently snow covered land haunted by the undead elves that were her distant kin.
Time has changed Isolda physically to. where once there was an attractive half eleven girl now there is a creature more ice than flesh and larger than any human. The Winter Wytch sends here followers our every winter to raid and conqueror the neighbouring realms but just like her goddess mother her conquests are only ever temporary and melt away with the coming of spring to the north.
Finally though It appears the Winter Wytch has discovered a powerful artefact they will allow her to bring about permeant winter to Generica. Isolda will do anything to possess this artefact and it’s power even if it means bring war down on the whole of the north Generica.
That’s it for now I’m working on a part two that will explain how the Grand Duchy of the Black Wolf and the armies of the Winter Wytch end up coming to blows next.