The Land of the Ice People also known as the Austral Continent, was a polar land characterized by permafrost, tundra, and intense snowstorms. The Barrier Mountains separated the south pole from the coastal lands, where a number of trading towns existed.
By the time of the Derlavaian War, Yanina, Lagoas and Valmiera had established trading colonies on the continent to extract furs and cinnabar. The latter was an especially valuable substance, as it allowed dragons to flame more fiercely and at a greater distance. Occasional Derlavaian explorers attempted to reach the south pole through the Barrier Mountains; some succeeded, others were slain by mountain apes, hostile Ice People, or the land itself.
Much of the trade in furs and cinnabar dried up when the Derlavaian war broke out, to the point where the Lagoan mage Fernao and the exiled King Penda of Forthweg found only one caravan travelling from Yanina's colony Heshborn to the Lagoan settlement of Mizpah. Almost two years after the war broke out, Yaninan troops crossed the border into Lagoas' colony and seized Mizpah.
Lagoas later dispatched an army under Lieutenant General Junqueiro to the austral continent and reclaimed Mizpah before pushing on towards Heshborn. Though Junqueiro and Fernao successfully negotiated a truce with a local clan of Ice People who'd been bribed to attack the Lagoans, the appearance of Algarvian dragons heralded a Lagoan retreat.
Algarvian ground troops and dragons under Brigadier Zerbino and Colonel Sabrino helped the Yaninans drive the Lagoans back before reinforcements arrived from Lagoas and Kuusamo. When the war on the austral continent appeared stalemated, Algarve sent a shipment of mages and captive Kaunians to force a breakthrough using sorcerous means. The mass slaughter of the Kaunians backfired; the gods of the Ice People turned the destructive energies unleashed back upon the Algarvian army.
Though a few Algarvians escaped back to Derlavai, the islanders secured the austral continent and held it for the rest of the war. Its remoteness allowed Lagoan and Kuusaman mages to complete the Habakkuk project in secrecy.
Society and People
The Ice People themselves were viewed as primitive and barbarous by Derlavaians, due to their hairy, unwashed bodies and different spiritual beliefs. The Ice People were organized into clans ruled by chiefs and shamans, possessed fetish animals, and were given to reciting lengthy genealogies when introducing themselves.
Instead of abstract powers the Ice People believed in gods, and often claimed descent from these divine beings. Although Derlavaians ridiculed this belief, the general ineffectualness of their magecraft on the continent, and especially the outcome of Algarve's use of mass sacrifice, suggested that these gods were indeed real.
The Ice People language had a curious similarity to Ortaho.