The sky was clear that fateful night, the huge crescent moon hung low over the Gorax mountain chain, the home of winter. The Gorax mountains had not seen the birth of new life in millennia, no green grass, no colourful flowers, there had barely been a single animal present in the shadows of the mountains since winter had been imprisoned there. Gorax was the desolate, cold and unforgiving kingdom of Nyrie, queen of snow and ice, devourer of life.
Or at least, Nyrie told herself it was a kingdom. A solitary, lonely kingdom with no pesky subjects to bother her in her eternal reverie. Really it was a prison, a cold and unforgiving waste land that had lost all promise of prosperity when the people of the world of Balthorne banished winter to the northern most point of their planet. It had happened so long ago that the people could no longer remember what it was like to be gripped by the relentless hands of the cold, dead season. They lived in eternal summer while Nyrie watched jealously from her prison.
She could see life flourishing just past the mountains, she longed for her turn to snuff it out, to cover all things with a layer of snow and ice and force the people to struggle to survive. Nyrie loved struggle, she fed off of the strife that was caused by the times of hardship that followed her everywhere she went. She wanted to kill the crops of the people, to force the people inside in a vain attempt to keep the cold from chilling their bones. Most of all, she wanted revenge.
There was never before a time when Nyrie considered advancing on the planet and not withdrawing. She was no fool, she knew that if she remained amongst the people for too long they would starve and fade away, but now she lived only to seek revenge. She spent centuries attempting to escape and now she knew she could, she knew she'd found a way.
Although Nyrie was restricted from manipulating the environment past the mountain chain that surrounded her, her psychic hold on the minds of the people of Balthorne remained intact. For two thousand years she waited, almost patiently, for her champion to arise. She probed the thoughts of the people, searching for the one who would dare venture into this forbidden land and provide her with the means to escape, to plunge the world into a winter like it had not seen in the lifetimes of anyone alive today. Now the time was drawing near, she felt him moving closer to her, pushing ever northward for reasons he could not explain to himself or others.
Nyrie watched from every direction as Maddox trudged past the border and out of the land of eternal sunshine. He was shocked by the growing cold, having never experienced winter Maddox was not dressed appropriately for the biting temperatures and blowing snow. His arms and legs were bare and he struggled to pull his cape around his body in an attempt to cover his skin from the freezing air.
"You've come to me." Nyrie's soft and melodic voice came to Maddox on the wind, it drifted like snow past his ears and he spun around to find its source.
"Who's there!" He called into the growing storm but his own voice was drowned by the brutal gusts of wind around him.
"I've been waiting for you."
Maddox took his bow from his back and spun around, unsure of where to aim his wicked arrow. The wind picked up and blew even harder against Maddox, nearly pushing him off of his feet. The snow the wind carried swirled around itself; the thick, heavy flakes became locked in a vicious dance and Maddox watched in awe as a woman's face appeared, smiling down at him. He realized the blowing snow had come to look like the body of a woman with long hair, she was sitting cross legged in the air and leaning forward, resting her elbow on her knee and her face in her hand. Maddox hastily fired an arrow at the mysterious face. It sailed through the air and pierced the forehead of the woman, but simply passed right through it as if it were made of nothing but smoke.
"Don't be foolish, you know you cannot harm me, not with so simple a weapon."
The man struggled to decide his course of action. He wanted to be rid of this place but had been drawn to it for so long. There was no real reason for him to want to travel north, but all of his life it felt as though there was something pulling him toward Gorax, urging his feet to move ever onward. He didn't know what he'd find when he reached his destination, he didn't even know if he would recognize when he had reached his destination, but something told him this was it.