We meeet Lothar and his family, gearing up for Lothar’s imminent Iyse Walk; A journey all members of Gahngreth Kah H’ahnit must take in order to reach adulthood. It is a sacred rite that can impact and shape an individuals live in ways unthought of. Should a participant return from their Iyse Walk empty handed, having faced no opponent or giving in to cowerdice, the townsfolk will shun the individual and exile them from the town. Some towns have been known to brand these people as though they were criminals so that other towns will know their shame. It is not uncommon for a person to die whilst on their Iyse Walk or as a result of exile.
Lothar’s town, Gahngreth Kah H’ahnit, is one of many Glacial Towns that pepper the Iyse Bridge. These towns are set upon large, stable glaciers that are controlled using powerful Iyse Phorme magics and funneled through strong Relics. This gives the towns a decent pace (some of the more powerful towns can move at a horse gallop, although most travel at jogging pace or slower) and steering. This gives the nomadic tribes of the Iyse Bridge a more stable home while still travelling where the best hunting is to be found. There are, at present, only five towns of any comparable size, one of which is Gahngreth Kah H’ahnit. There are more than a few smaller towns and countless hamlets that roam at a much slower rate. There are roaming bands of true nomads, called Wyldmen, that have no such permanent housing. They rely on their wits, the grace of the cruel Iyse Gods, and constant raiding of weaker towns and hamlets. There is, thankfully, no known central order to these Wyldmen and no real indication of their true numbers.
Lothar sets out on his Iyse Walk outfitted only with a spear, simple robes (just enough to stave off frostbite), a stash of kindling and flint (for ceremonial purposes), a small amount of trail rations (for dire starvation. It is considered a parcel to be sacrificed to the Gods rather than eaten), and a knife. The journey will take Lothar far onto the Iyse in search of a worthy hunt. On finding this worthy prey, Lothar is to perform a ritual using the kindling and rations. During this time he will consume a largeish sized stone, about three centemetres in diametre, which has been blessed and enchanted by the sages back in town. This stone is said to have contained a portion of the courage and strength that flows through the town and will lend it’s power to the user.
Lothar’s journey fast enters the mind-numbing slog as he walks for days with no sign of prey. He preys each night and day and trusts to his Gods to help him find a worthy adversary and to get him back home safely. After almost a week Lothar spots the tracks of what appears to be a large polar bear. A worthy adversary indeed!! The last person in his town to return from the Iyse Walk with a polar bear pelt died thirty years ago. Lothar thanks the Gods and gives chase.
A day of tracking and Lothar comes soon realises that the tracks he has been following have changed subtly. They appear different, as though the polar bear had somehow changed their weight or stride in some fashion. The hunt continues.
After two more days of tracking Lothar knows that he is within a days brisk march of the bear. The tracks have been changing every day or so, never a glaring difference but ever so slightly. Lothar spends the night prepairing the ritual he must undergo and on sunrise sacrifices his trail rations and consumes the stone. A great pain begins to well in his belly as fire runs through his veins. The world spins and the light seems to flare painfully. After minutes of agony Lothar stands, trembling and sweating, feeling the power pulse through his veins. Envigorated Lothar give chase to his enigmatic prey.
The day is old and prepairing to end when Lothar spies his adversary. The polar bear, walking steadily on all fours, is a VERY large female, very healthy and obviously very strong. Lothar slows his pace and begins to close the distance between himself and the bear.