The Shiverpeaks: Land of Snow and Siege
Written by Miko Riel

The Shiverpeak Mountains. My home. This is a snow-covered land, glimmering white and grey with its often rocky terrain and chilling lakes. I am Norn, a proud and courageous people who live for the hunt. Our home was once in the Far Shiverpeaks, but we, like the Kodan, were forced south by Jormag, the living blizzard, the vile corrupter. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? If not, this scroll holds an accurate account of his campaign against northern Tyria. Sadly, his filth can infect Norn and Kodan alike, as well as the Quaggan, Jotun, and Grawl. Wherever weakness shows a chink, Jormag’s corruption can take hold, driving his Icebrood mad for power, threatening us all.

And yet we survive. Survive and flourish from our halls in Hoelbrak throughout the wintry ancestral lands of the dwarves, though the southern regions have now warmed, leaving lush green landscapes, a smoldering volcano, and the sunken ruins of a grand dwarven city called Droknar’s Forge.

Called by the Spirits of the Wild, we Norn grow and train for the Great Hunt, testing our skills and increasing our renown from one region of our lands to another. Proving myself in every corner of the Shiverpeaks, the Tyrian Explorers Society believes there’s no one better to introduce visitors to our lands. This is a strange assignment for a hunter but I do have a curious nature, so I’ll also direct you to some useful literature I’ve acquired during my travels. For instance, if you’d like to know more about my people, this booklet may interest you.

Wayfarer Foothills

We begin in Wayfarer Foothills, just east of Hoelbrak. The Great Hunt brings the most worthy Norn here. Last year, the great Knut Whitebear captured Issormir, a giant Ice Wurm, for the Hunt, and I was honored to be joined by Eir Stegalkin, eventually slaying Issormir. You can still find this wurm’s powerful carcass north of Snowlord’s Gate in Hangrammr Climb.

The green foothills in the southern part of this area are home to several of our Spirits of the Wild. Here, you can honor Raven, Bear, Snow Leopard, and Wolf by protecting their shrines from skelk, jotun, Sons of Svanir, dredge, and grawl.

Shrine of Wolf

Wolf teaches me that there’s a time for violence and a time for peace

You may find such foes worthy, but personally, I find the jotuns’ toughness, the dredges’ tenacity, and the Sons of Svanirs’ unrelenting devotion to the vile corrupter, to be the most promising hunts. A lone opponent is often soon joined by comrades, making the annihilation of the swarm very satisfying.

Jotun Worship StoneAs is common throughout most of the Shiverpeaks, snow and often blinding blizzards greet you as you move north very soon in Wayfarer. They say Jormag is responsible for this, but I don’t suppose the corrupter is responsible for all of it. These are mountains after all. Several steads, homes typical of my people, will greet you along the way. Travel west through The Osenfold Shear, though, and you’ll find curious relics, remnants of the Jotun ancestors. They were a proud people once and seek to reclaim their honor, making them a target for the corrupter. My younger brother tells me he actually battled and spoke with an ancient elder Jotun after touching their worship stone recently. I have no reason to doubt my brother’s prowess – he is, after all, a fearsome guardian. But if he was, as he claims, able to stop Jormag’s influence over the Jotun this far south in the Foothills, so much the better. Professor Blorp, a curious Asuran (aren’t they all?), will be able to tell you more about the Jotun if you like.

If your curiosity brings you to the Shear, then I’ll wager free beer that you’re the kind of person that would welcome the challenge of besting the shamans of the Spirits of the Wild in Shamans Rookery. Only the savviest and most capable adventurers can best these hunters and our sacred animals. Becoming like the Spirits of the Wild is the mark of the Norn, something which humans first learned about nearly 250 years ago around the time of Jora’s hunt of The Great Destroyer, the dragon Primordus’ champion, and her own brother, Svanir, who’d been corrupted by Jormag. If you’re brave enough, the shamans will reward your courage.

Challenging the Spirits of the WildHaving proved your worth, you may now be ready to face the dangers of the northern foothills. Though the Lionguard have their outposts here, Jormag’s corruption begins to be more noticeable, owing to its proximity to Frostgorge Sound. The Sons of Svanir’s camps and mischief dot the countryside, their territory always marked by their defiant flag. Sons of Svanir's camp

And their mad shamans can often be found trying to spread the dragon’s corruption throughout the region. One of the best hunts you can experience is defeating the Svanir shaman chiefs’ control over ice elementals in the Frozen Maw. Only the stoutest hunters will succeed so be warned.

More fine hunts can be found in Svanir’s Dome, a large village of sorts. The Sons regularly do battle with the Lionguard here, who require some help from us to succeed, their own numbers being thin. This reason seems more like an excuse to me, but no matter. They welcome talented adventurers, which shows their wisdom.

The Dome is unmistakable. It’s ringed in corrupted ice that glows blue-black, and at the center is a large Dragon Totem for their foul worship of the corrupter.

Dragon Totem

The curious among you may also want to visit the village of Cragstead. Earlier this year, Charr of the Flame Legion joined with the dredge to harass the peaceful folk of the north, suddenly invading Cragstead, intent on razing it. They failed, but refugees of their cruelties can still be found around Tyria. Cragstead, though, is recovering and rebuilding. Even the children are starting to laugh and play again.

Snowden Drifts

Crossing to the northwest of Wayfarer Foothills is Snowden Drifts. Its southern edge borders the north of Hoelbrak but a mountain range makes it inaccessible from the city. To the north of Snowden also lie the dangers of Frostgorge Sound, so you can expect to find many more steads surrounded by that unnatural blue-black ice, and Icebrood creatures, such as Norn and wolves. You’ll also encounter dredge tunneling their lives away in caves and harassing my people whenever they can, especially in the southwest in the Skradden Slopes.

North of Hoelbrak

Because their town of Molengrad is so close, the dredge incursions into Podaga Steading, a small Norn village, are relentless and fierce. Their soldiers often tunnel their way up to the surface. Others hide themselves inside mining suits like cowards. I’m proud to say I’ve helped the fine folk of Podaga drive the dredge back several times.

The dredge, as elsewhere, seem to be most interested in dwarven relics and claiming the ancestral dwarven lands for themselves. I suppose this is understandable since they say the dwarves once enslaved their people. But they have my people to contend with now. Our natural abilities as hunters helped us claim these lands and we’re not going to give them up without a fight. Their alliance with the asuran Inquest, however, makes me respect them less, adding to my desire to hunt them down.

If you’re curious about the stout dwarves, those brave fighters who turned themselves into living stone in order to defeat The Great Destroyer, you could speak to the Durmand Priory scholars at their library in Scholar’s Cleft, in the northwest of Snowden. The Sons of Svanir will try to hinder you, as will centaurs whose last foothold seems to be here, east of their main bases in Kryta. The fights are worth it though; the Priory scholars are Tyria’s foremost historians and their knowledge of the world grows every day. One scholar I've found particularly helpful is Eleanor Draxynnus. She has an enlightening work on the dwarves and others who call the Shiverpeaks their home. Feel free to take this copy, I can always bother the Priory librarians for another.

If you’d like to explore the ruins of a dwarven haven, I suggest you head east to King Jalis’ Refuge. Apart from being quite picturesque, the ruins give an idea of the complexity of the dwarves’ underground homes. Scholar Gina of the Durmand Priory, who is investigating the refuge, believes the dwarf king, Jalis Ironhammer, who later fought against The Great Destroyer, used it as a haven during a battle against the Stone Summit dwarves. You can find her in the refuge yourself, if you can make it through the ruins.

King Jalis' Refuge

Without a doubt, though, the place I find the most humbling is Owl Lodge, in the southeast region of Snowden called Owl’s Abattoir. Owl, as you’ll learn from Scholar Eleanor Draxynnus, sacrificed herself for my people in order to hold back Jormag for a time as we fled south. Owl was a kind and shrewd spirit, so we honor her still as the shamans around this lodge can tell you. The lodge, however, is under constant attack from the Sons of Svanir, who defile it in their attempts to claim it for Jormag. This cannot happen but as a result of their desecration, Owl Lodge is now a shell of its former self.

Owl Lodge

Enough of this sad talk. I will now tell you about the Kodan whom you may first meet here in Snowden Drifts. They come from the far north and, like my people, were displaced from their homeland by Jormag. They are a solemn people, not unfriendly; more cautious perhaps than others. They speak of the Voice and honor spirits which seem to resemble my own. It is said they believe we Norn are their descendants since we are able to Become the Bear and that we are cursed somehow for falling away from Koda. Frankly, though I respect them, I believe this is absurd for we Norn are more than just Bear; we are blessed by all the Spirits of the Wild, if not, they would not have guided and protected us as they do to this day. Still, their belief in balance seems to make a lot of sense and I encourage you to seek out their village, Song of Final Exile, in southern Snowden.

Lornar’s Pass

Steam Creature portalBy now you may be ready to visit Lornar’s Pass, a region with treacherous terrain in the mountainous, snowy north, and green foothills in the south. It lies south of Snowden Drifts and holds several interesting features. You’ll often find yourself traveling through deep and narrow valleys where you’ll encounter dredge, grawl, and other creatures. The most curious of these are the Steam creatures that appear through portals on the frozen Lake of Lamentation. They are strange beings who seem to be made of metal.

Where they come from beyond their portals is uncertain, though the Priory is studying them, trying to learn more about them. There is a rumor, though, that the nefarious Sylvari, Scarlet Briar, may have something to do with these strange beings. You may have heard of Scarlet. No? This pamphlet should tell you what you need to know. She’s currently terrorizing Tyria and is testing a new aethercannon in False River Valley.

For whatever reason, her cannon is an enormous marionette made of twisted metal, so it is possible there’s some sort of connection between this metal creation of hers and the metal steam creatures. Everyone is working hard to figure out her schemes, and it seems the Priory has discovered she has a secret base under their headquarters!

Durmand PrioryThe Durmand Priory are located here in Lornar’s Pass. A majestic structure, their base of operations looms high on a mountain bluff on the west side of the Pass.

Here you’ll meet many scholars striving to expand our knowledge of Tyrian history, and you may also meet a hero from the distant past: Ogden Stonehealer, a dwarven hero who fought alongside King Jalis Ironhammer and the Norn hero, Jora, to destroy the great fire dragon’s champion, The Great Destroyer. Ogden lives, but like the rest of his people who fought in that battle, he is now living stone. With his knowledge as a priest for his people, he stays on assisting the Priory to expand their knowledge of the Elder Dragons and is in constant peril for his life. The dredge, who hate the dwarves, seek to destroy him in revenge for their former enslavement. I can tell you little more of the Priory since I do not belong to their order, but perhaps you’d enjoy this tome of their history and foundation.

Reaper's GateOn the eastern edge of the Pass, heading southeast from the Priory, is Reaper’s Gate. This may interest you as there stands still an enormous statue of the human god of Death; you may know him by the name Grenth. I am not certain why this statue is here, though they say it once served as a gate to the Underworld. As a Norn, I honor the Spirit of Death’s power, for there is little doubt that he acts as medium of the Mists. Aatxes and Shades can be found lurking as you approach this statue so if you plan on visiting it, prepare yourself for a hunt.

Your travels south will take you into the greener portions of the Pass where, as you may have realized by now, the Priory are busy studying. Like elsewhere, though, you may also come across relic hunters and pirates. You might want to search for dwarven artifacts yourself, which can still be found in False Lake, only do not be too reckless. The dwarves held great power and the remains of their civilization should not be handled lightly. If you go adventuring for their treasures in the lake, take care to stay out of range of Jetsam Isle, a large base for pirates. Do not worry; their command center is hard to miss as it’s a large wooden ship perched on a rock.

Dredgehaunt Cliffs

If you’re ready, I’ll guide you east now to Dredgehaunt Cliffs. You can travel their through Winterthaw Snowfield out of Lornar’s Pass or you can enter this region from Hoelbrak itself, which lies directly north of it. If you’re not up for a good hunt, I warn you now this may not be the place for you. There are many dwarven ruins here, including those of what looks like an important small city for them called the Granite Citadel. Only graves remain now. You can find this in the southeast corner of Dredghaunt, but take care. As the region’s name implies, the dredge haunt this section of the world, with several important settlements to be aware of, fighting us fiercely to take it as their own. As I said, the dredge believe they have the strongest claim on the Shiverpeaks since they were slaves to the dwarves. Their war on us is most clearly visible here, with the bulk of their attention focused on the Priory scholars who work here, so you may find it a bit treacherous traveling to the old citadel.

Before you head so far south, though, I have a real treat for you, better than hunting relics at the bottom of a lake. Seek out, instead, the Forsaken Halls, the ruins of an underground dwarven city, still amazing in its decay. The entrance is through a sealed door near Wyrmblood Lake, but Gerrvid, a Priory scholar studying dwarven lore, can get you in. Once inside, you’ll need a stout heart to find your way through the darkened halls, but the adventure is well worth it and the location rather breathtaking.

The Forsaken Halls

With some gold in your pockets, head south and prepare for trouble. You’ll find jotun in some numbers near Theign Spiritwalk, the location of one of their holy sites, Theign Kenning. This site is guarded jealously by the spirit of one of their elders, a small sample of their devotion to their past and what their power was once. The Jotuns’ savagery, even at times towards each other, is a poor way to honor their ancestors; it is no wonder Jormag seeks them.

In the middle of the Cliffs is a large cavernous area known as Dostoev Sky Peak. Here, the dredge tunnel and dig for the Spirits know what.

Dostoev Sky Peak

This operation of theirs has no comforts that I can see, and only looks like an infinite maze of wooden scaffolding climbing high to the roof of the cave, or suspended from it. Why or what they’re excavating even the Priory doesn’t know. Whatever it is, I know it cannot be good.

Further south, the Cliffs become truly dangerous with the satisfaction and glory of hunting dredge. Their largest city is found in the southwest corner of the region, Sorrow’s Embrace as they call it now. The Priory tell us this was a large mine called Sorrow’s Furnace where the Stone Summit dwarves forced them to work. It seems as if they stayed here after the dwarves left, relishing their newfound freedom. Their numbers are certainly formidable and they harass the entire south of the Cliffs, attacking anyone from Tribulation Rift in the west all the way to the Betrayal Grounds in the east. With fire cannons, bombs, sonic weapons and more, the dredges’ ferocity is relentless, especially in Tribulation Rift, and often outside Mantlet Refuge itself, a modest sized monastery-turned-fort where the Priory hold out against the dredge.

Dredge Lands

Timberline Falls

After the din of ceaseless battle, taking the road south out of Frostland Melt and into Timberline Falls will seem peaceful indeed. You’ll still find dredge in this area just south of Dredgehaunt Cliffs, but as you may have guessed, the Shiverpeaks begin to lose more of their snow from Timberline Falls southward. This far south, the mountains are part of the Shiverpeaks’ Steamspur chain, and Jormag’s corruption is not noticeable. Instead, the corruption of a different Elder Dragon is present through his risen, undead army, and the presence of xenophobic serpents known as Krait, forced this far north by the Elder Dragon of the deep sea. My own people prefer the northern edge of this region, with its remnants of snow, and you’ll find hearty moots and good ale flowing in Krongar Pass at Kyesjard in the northwest corner of the Falls.

Further south you’ll find Concordia, an outpost of the Pact, an organization made up of the three Orders of Tyria who fight the dragon of the undead, and of which I’m Commander. Time, the dragons and their ravages have changed Tyria, and these lands of the once proud dwarves have now all but swallowed their remains. From the sunken city of Droknar’s Forge much further south, to Rankor Ruins covered in moss and vegetation here in the Falls, the Elder Dragons’ power and cruelty are upending Tyria. The Shiverpeaks, as you see, have not escaped this so I think it’s time we turn to the far north, to the heart of my people’s battle with Jormag.

Frostgorge Sound

There is a reason why I’ve left Frostgorge Sound last. Jormag’s corruption is strongest here in Frostgorge Sound, infecting grawl, quaggan, the Sons of Svanir, and even the peace-loving Kodan. A person cannot truly appreciate the power of the dragons and the devastating impact they have on all of us without meeting their enemies – their victims – first. From the brave dwarves who first faced the fire dragon’s champion from underground, to the dragons emerging from the seas, none of us are safe.

A Kodan SanctuaryIt is true that Frostgorge is covered in dwarven ruins as well, like the sunken Iron Horse Mines in the lake of the Grimstone Mol, and that you’ll find the dredge claiming old dwarven cities as their own, as they have with Krok’s Ruin. Nowhere else, though, will you find the Kodan in such large numbers.>

Having fled south like my people, the Kodan traveled in large floating cities they call Sanctuaries, beautiful structures acting as both housing and ships on glaciers.

Here in Frostgorge, though, they are beset not only by dredge in their warlike tenacity, but by Jormag himself through his lieutenants. Time and again, Jormag’s minions, the infamous Claws of Jormag, attack the region, sending shards of corrupted dragon ice crystals into the land, to seep into and destroy the hearts of those weak enough to succumb to his promises of power.

When this happens, no living being is safe and every brave hunter rallies to destroy first the crystals and then the dragon minion itself. It is a fearsome battle, but the safety of us all, not just those of us from the northern Shiverpeaks, depends on our continued victories.

A Claw of Jormag

I invite you, then, to my homeland. But I hope you come not just as a spectator and tourist, but as one ready to fight for its people.