The Iceshear Isles
Lying deep within arctic waters, leagues from the nearest neighbouring landmass, the Iceshear Isles are constantly buffeted by gale-force winds and frozen sleet, and seldom see sunshine break through from the pall of grey clouds that seem to perpetually loom overhead. Nonetheless, those that inhabit these lonely islands eke out a secure, if not comfortable living, growing root vegetables inland and managing a sizeable fishing fleet from the southern coasts. Indeed, the fishing hauls are so rich here that the Iceshear people maintain a profitable trade with the Tabamor coastline communities to the south, trading their hauls for goods an necessities of live that they cannot produce themselves (although, since the fall of the Tabamor empire, trade has suffered somewhat).
The people here are gruff and often seem unfriendly, their spirits hardened by the tough life that they lead. However they are rigidly stoic and live by a firm set of morals – indeed, they have no local militia or justice system – they do not need one, for all Iceshear people treat one another fairly and with respect. Foreign visitors soon find the Iceshear moral code is their law, and transgression from it is severely punished.
The Iceshear people live in simple villages of log cabins and stone hearths that are never permitted to gutter out – their superstitions have them believe that to have no burning hearth in the home is to invite the evils of the far-north Witch-King of Nimrien into their homes and their nightmares. This fear of the northern menace is seen all along their north coast, there no villages are built, but large pyres are kept burning as beacons to ward off the evils across the sea.
The central regions of each of the isles is built up of dense evergreen pine forests. Within the forests one can find ruins of granite buildings – long-since reclaimed by the elements and collapsed, but suggesting of grand structures at some point in the past. Their purpose is unknown, as there are no inscribings of any kind, and no archaeological expeditions have yet to be commissioned in this area. The Iceshear folk do not venture to these ruins, and refuse to speak of them. Whether they know anything about their nature, none can say…