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Rift: Travels Through Telara Part 18 - The Icewatch

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 2012 by Medawky

Travels Through Telara


The Story So Far: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18

By Padraic

Greetings, dear reader. If you will remember, last week I talked a bit about the region of Iron Pine Peaks and its connection with Crucia. This week, I explore this a bit further and examine a group of heroes that were closely involved in the capture of Crucia and who are now thought of as protectors and wardens, watching over Crucia as she lies trapped beneath the ice.

I am, of course, talking about the Icewatch.

"Where are you going?" asked the woman of Whitefall.

"To play Icewatch out in the wood," said her son.

"Come back before dusk, or the Frozen Army might get you."

"The Frozen Army?" asked the boy.

"Aye," his mother said, "Before they could trap the dragon, Ekkehard and Phynnious lured her most terrible soldiers into a trap and froze them solid. Now their spirits howl and shriek on the wind.

"I don't believe old ghost stories," said the boy, his father's old helmet wobbling on his head.

"Neither do I," she answered, "but Crucia really did have an army. They had no flesh under their robes, and they saw without eyes, and lived to hurt those who disobeyed. Diso-beyed evil Crucia, of course. Not kindly young mothers."

The boy laughed and kissed his mother, though that day he played Icewatch in the village square, and not out in the wood.



In the Iron Pine Peak communities, there is no greater honor than to be inducted into the Icewatch. They are the heroes of the north, the warriors of the frost. Down south, children play Guardians and Defiant. But up north, they play Icewatch and Blood Storm, and as the children grow into their teenage years, they all hope to become one of the legendary wardens of the ice.




Rift lore

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And just who are the Icewatch? Well, ever since Telara's defenders first subdued Crucia, locking her away in her city beneath the ice, it is the Icewatch who have watched over her prison. Making sure she never breaks free. Making sure none of her followers try to unseal the magical wards that bind her. The Icewatch owe fealty to neither Defiant nor Guardian, and over the years this ancient order of wardens has become a symbol of the fight against the Blood Storm, a symbol of dedication, learning, and martial prowess.

The Icewatch’s base of operations is called the Chancel of Labors, a forbidding, sprawling edifice that serves as barracks, magical armory, and one of Telara's greatest libraries. (Indeed, it is the contents of this library that excites me the most. Not the battle-worthiness of the Icewatch, not the legends of their battles, not the steely determination with which they devote themselves to their task. Every scholar worth his salt has at some point in their lives traveled to the Chancel library. Their scriptorium is one of the most venerable in all the land. They say it holds ancient scrolls written by the Gods of the Vigil themselves. Plus forbidden texts written by the madman Melific Dartrin, texts he swore were recited to him by Regulos himself and are said to detail the end of the world. I hope to travel there sometime soon, but I fear they would not allow Bran in.)


Rift lore

The Icewatch’s duties do not just lay in watching over Crucia’s prison. They are tasked with defending the entire Iron Pine region, fighting off any rift creatures who encroach into their territory, pushing back the goblins and dark-souled creatures that are called by Crucia’s powers.

And speaking of that, the Icewatch patrols have been running into increasing numbers of enemies lately. Bandits, smugglers, and raiders are operating out of the area, hiding in the caves that wind down through the icy mountains. From the stories I have heard from Barik, it seems to me that these villains are making a concerted effort to claim the Iron Pine Peaks for themselves, hoping to rid the region of the Icewatch. They have even gone so far as to attack Whitefall Lift, the twisting elevator that moves travelers between Iron Pine and Gloamwood.

In fact, more and more creatures seem to be slipping into Iron Pine Peaks from Gloamwood. Goblins have always called the ancient forest their home, but lately they have been growing bolder, venturing out of the dank trees and into the ice fields of the north. The Icewatch now have to send patrols out into the forest to deal with these new troubles before they grow worse.



Rift lore

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The deep, dark forest has always been filled with secrets and traps. Fecund humidity drapes the trees in dripping moisture. Ancient trees battle each other in decades long battles for the touch of the sun, twisting up and around each other as they vie futilely for the light. The vegetation is rotting and black, the roots pale white and anemic. The thick, dark leaves cast deep shadows across the wet ground, shadows that move and sway even when there is no wind.  A thick, jaundiced mist hangs over everything, so thick it almost feels like the tongues of demons touching your skin. Perhaps the goblins are fleeing something inside the forest. Perhaps the Icewatch are the lesser of two evils, that they need to flee to survive.

If this is so, I’m sure the Icewatch will find out. It is their job, after all. And they are very good at what they do.







The Story So Far: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18


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