Rise of the Eldrosk
Region - The Snow Plains of Isisengra (Isis)
Forever cold and windy, it is said the ice of the wall cannot melt
Far to the north, past the Silverpine Forest, lies the Snow Plains of Isisengra. The cold is generated exclusively by a mammoth Ice wall that runs from lands edge to lands edge in the far north. It is the unexplored boundary to the beyond. It is more or less vertical and rises to a height of over two miles. What makes this impassable isn’t the ice, but the fierce winds and subzero temperatures. At the northern tree line the temperature stays right around 20 degrees, year around. The closer you get to the wall the colder it gets. At the wall the temperature is -20 degrees. Howling winds blast through the plains, though it is worst and almost constant at the wall, reaching speeds of 60 -70 mph regularly and gusting well over 100 mph.
The great river Tellews flows straight from under the wall, though it is not easily accessible until after leaving Silverpine forest. The top layer is completely frozen, and the thickness is such that no one has ever pierced its depth north of the forest. The water must flow though, because it is too great a river to just appear as the ice breaks apart. The river at most points is between a quarter mile and a half mile thick. There are many choke points though that require true ability to navigate safely. The purity of this water is famous, especially when gathered at the edge of the forest where the ice breaks apart. The flow of the Tellews is fast, and transport on the river goes only one way.
The magic of the ice is the allure of this zone. Blocks taken from the wall stay frozen for months at a time in all but the hottest of temperatures. There is significant trade from the sale of these ice blocks, which create refrigeration for seasons at a time. Ironically, the one thing that degrades the ice quickly is water itself. Any water touching the ice melts it away like acid. For this reason – ice ferrying is a lucrative business. Most ice is taken by sled down the frozen river (pulled by all manner of beasts, but the most prized are the Snow Snails of the Crystal Valley). When it makes it to the river it’s loaded on to medium sized ferries that are built for maneuverability and durability. The water at its slowest moves at 5 mph and it can get up to speeds in excess of 10 mph in some sections. The river is not terribly deep and boulders and rock protrusions just under the surface are common. Crashes occur regularly, but nothing can beat the speed of water travel and demand places reward on the risk. The land just south of the forest is pitted rocky valleys and cliffs, which make overland cargo travel extremely difficult.
Snow snails are at ease in the harshest of winter climates and make their home in the crystal caves just south of the western most point on the wall. These creatures are incredibly long lived, feed only on snow and crystal formations and are the fastest things on the ground north of the Silverpine forest. They are skittish, but can be trained by those with the knack. They stand eight feet from ground to tip of head and are roughly as long. When in danger they first try to flee, but if cornered they retreat within their shell, which is virtually indestructible. The slime (which can catalyze to become extremely sticky) on their underbelly and tremendous weight make them almost impossible to turn over. They do not speak, but they seem to have a level of understanding. Their only predators are the Oilosk. They look like a white furry thin polar/mink. They have the sleek shape of the mink with the musculature and face of a bear. They also have oversized fangs, like a saber tooth tiger. If the Oilosk can catch (not likely) or surprise and get hold of a snail, then the battle is over. The fangs are specially designed and made of the same crystalline material the snail shell is made out of. They can pierce the shell and creature inside with a single well placed bite. After the snail dies its secretions cease and it can then be rolled over and devoured from the outside in. An empty shell could quite possibly house an Oilosk resting after a meal. Once these fangs or shells are no longer attached to a living creature they start to degrade. Though they retain their beauty, they turn brittle after a few weeks and are purely decorative.
The small village of Pento is one of only a few that dots the Snow Plains landscape. Pento is most famous for its Snow Snail handlers. There are four known to have the talent, but once trained, the snails will follow the commands of others. The snails must bond to an individual, so must go through a training process with a handler which can take a varying amount of time depending on the individual. It is a small village, but a prosperous one. Its location is about 10 miles south of the crystal valley and is the northern most village in the Snow Plains.