A weak civilization during the Age of Magic, the Illians were corrupt and loyal to Mulcarn. They lost wars, had their best land taken and were driven to the fringes of the world. They had little interest in the world beyond their limited borders, and the world had even less interest in them.
When Bhall fell the Illians began a ritual to break the Compact and allow Mulcarn to enter creation. Most civilizations could do little to stop them—the Ljosalfar were caught in a civil war, the Bannor capital had fallen into hell, and the Elohim struggled to protect the many holy places threatened by the fires.
Only the Luchuirp rallied a significant army against them. Their golems survived the fires of the end-days and weren’t affected by the growing famine or the difficult march to the Illian capital. The Luchuirp assaulted the Illian city. Juggernauts slammed against the defenses. Towering iron golems waded through the rubble, destroying any defenders they found. The Luchuirp forces tried to stop the ritual that was taking place within the inner city, but they were too late.
When Mulcarn entered the city, entered creation, the battle stopped. A layer of ice spread from the first place his foot touched outwards through the city and across the land. The Luchuirp army was destroyed, gnomes killed, golems frozen. Even the Illian macemen were frozen in place, kept unchanged until Mulcarn needed them.
As the newly materialized deity surveyed his new dominion he picked up one of the frozen Luchuirp golems, a clockwork man called Barnaxus. He admired the fortitude of the Luichirp golems. Their unchanging nature was unaffected by the cold. Both of these traits Mulcarn prized.
He whispered a new life into the golem, “Make me more.”
“As you command” was Barnaxus’ reply.
A new age had begun for the Illians, the Age of Ice, ultimately ended by Kylorin and the Godslayer.
Now the lost men of Letum Frigus have rallied behind Auric Ulvin for a chance to recover their lost dominance and once again summon the banished god of winter. It is said that when the Illians awake, the world sleeps and when the world wakes, the Illians sleep.
99% Neutral Evil
Adult population Lvl 1 or higher: 12%
Other: < 1%
Following visions and dreams, Auric stumbled across the frozen wastes, his companions left forgotten or dead behind him. He couldn’t tell if he was going toward or away from the ivory dragon that haunted him, whose roar echoed in his head, whose wings stretched as far as the horizon. The dragon would kill him, he would be better off to lay down in the snow and die, but he kept going.
Would the cold even kill him? He wore prisoner’s rags and had been marching for days through a blizzard without any apparent harmful effect. Well, except for the madness. But whether the madness was caused by the cold, shielded him from the cold, or just made him think it shielded him from the cold didn’t matter to him. He continued to walk.
He would later call the area Letum Frigus, a collapsed mountain surrounded for miles by concentric rings of ice, like frozen waves heading away from a central point. The mountain was once filled with massive caverns, most now destroyed, but deep within the rubble some remained.
Auric wandered through what was left of the caverns for days, slowly going deeper into the mountain, turned back over and over by blocked passages as he was pressed on by spirits that didn’t see the labyrinth as it was, only as it had been. He knew he was being watched, men from past ages, living ghosts that remained at this sacred place even though their god was gone. The people he would later call Illians. Auric even saw the bodies of others that had walked here before him, killed by the Illians. But they would not attack him. When Auric found the heart of the mountain, he stood outside and looked through the broken archway that lead into it. Not even the Illians dared enter the chamber. When Auric reached out to detect anything divine or arcane in the chamber there was nothing. Echoes of past deeds, visions of a great sword inscribed with 21 glyphs, but nothing real. No danger, nothing worth making this trek, nothing worth even stepping over the threshold to enter the room. But he entered anyway.
Three days later, Auric Ulvin came out of the chamber, he was no longer the disheveled boy of Auspire, the teenage prisoner of the Shadowed Vale, the son of a widowed farmer’s wife. What he became is not clear to anyone and Auric never spoke of what occurred in the chamber, but he commanded the obedience of the Illians ever after.
“Once you had been the greatest of scholars and priests, tributes were paid to you by all nations. You think those days are past, you dream of the return of your lord and I tell you, he will not come. I am your lord now. Forget what you have lost, and think only on what can be gained; follow me and I will return your glory. This world will be yours again.”
They heard Auric’s call, and they followed him.
“There is a rescue waiting for you. A god who may be willing to accept you back in his ara. Will you trade the ideology of three ages for a chance to retain your immortal soul? Are you willing to admit that you exist only to serve the gods?”
— Auric Ulvin
The frost giant steamed gently. He always steamed, except when he was in the deepest frozen regions, the lands where the temperature never rose above freezing, even in summer. The only reason he didn’t die whenever he joined an expedition away from Letum Frigus was the contingent of mages that followed him everywhere, casting ice spells to cool him down. As it was, the heat still made the creature’s brain boil, killing what little intelligent thought he may have possessed and making him angry, irrational, and a lot more dangerous. He was also less reactive and a bit more sluggish than he would have been in his homeland, but that didn’t matter much when he had the impetus and crushing force of a glacier. He was a blunt instrument, and like a glacier he may have moved slowly, but he left nothing alive in his wake.
Granted, occasionally the creature would go berserk and kill some of his allies, but there was always a price to be paid for power. Auric knew that better than anyone alive. At least, as far as he knew; a shudder that wasn’t his ran down his spine and for a second he had a vision of a weather-worn man with hard, cold eyes, wielding a magnificent sword…
It was an effort and a major investment to have so many mages devoted to the single job of keeping the frost giant alive (which also left them in a dangerous position most of the time), but as far as Auric was concerned, it was worth it. He had yet to see anyone stand up to his monster and win.
Of course, the monster’s volatile nature had to be contained as much as possible, otherwise he’d have an… unfortunate… effect on the morale of the other Illian soldiers. Monsters that are as likely to kill you as the enemy are often detrimental to team spirit. Such containment was the purpose of this exercise.
It was, Auric reflected, rather like training a dog. This creature was larger, meaner, and more dangerous than any dog Auric had ever had in his youth, but the basic principles remained the same: you could not reason with or convince this frost giant, any more than you could a boar hound. The only thing that would work was conditioning—in effect, the creature had to be taught that the White Hand was dangerous, and that attacking the White Hand was bad behavior and meant pain. To that end, the mental link between Wilboman and Auric’s “guest” was very handy.
At the moment, the creature was lumbering around an arena filled with terrified prisoners dressed in various liveries. From the walls of the arena, archers launched arrows at him, wounding him, driving him into new paroxysms of pure, blind rage. The arrows were no danger to the Frost giant, any more than pin pricks to a human. His cold blood ran so sluggishly that even the deepest sword stroke could not cause him to bleed out. His entire body was covered in scars, ice-like patches where the slings and arrows of countless foes had left their mark. The only purpose served by the hail of arrows was to drive him to even greater heights of fury. All part of the exercise, of course.
Whenever he dismembered prisoners wearing the Crown of the Bannor or that accursed Sunrise of the Amurites, Auric gave him a mental pat on the back. Every time he turned his attentions to a group wearing the White Hand, Auric caused a searing pain to strike the monster’s mind. And so, slowly, he would learn—if that is what it could be called. As the last of the prisoners were dispatched, and the survivors hauled back to the chain gangs, Wilboman was led by one of his handlers, one of the few humans he had learned to obey and trust, back to the ice cold cave in which he was stored when not needed.
Wilboman, the man from Wilbo, dug out of a glacier, a remnant of the glorious Age of Ice, carrying that same name. It was not terribly inventive, true, but it was the name the soldiers had given the creature, and by now it had stuck. Who knew what the frost giant had been called in the simple, brutalistic language of his race? Who cared? He was the last of the frost giants, what his kin had called him counted for nothing in this new age.
As he watched his weapon of mass destruction be led meekly away, Auric reflected “He will not be the last of his race much longer”.
Drifa the White Dragon
An axe, a plow, a hammer. Tools are the marker of the pinnacle races, clearly distinguishing them from lesser beings. From their beginning, the most important of these tools were weapons, utilized for protection and conquest.
As man builds, so built the gods. The weapon of the gods is not a sword or spear, however. It is the beast, created monsters pitted against one another, or against the armies of their rivals. The most frightening of these beasts were the dragons.
Drifa is Mulcarn’s ultimate weapon, a blizzard of fangs, wings, and frozen death banished with the signing of the Compact. Rumors out of the northlands say the children of Drifa are stirring from their slumber…