“With a few notable exceptions like the rogue islands of Krolach, all the Shattered Isles pass through a part of the sky that is infused with frost aether. And for a few weeks, all the Isles - not just the Ram, not the chained isles of Ostia, not merely the Interior. Not Harran or Tiefland alone, no - ALL of the Isles drop in elevation and brush against the cold reaches of the sky below. It’s something like what the ancients called ‘winter,’ I believe, but considerably shorter.”
-Gaius Copperwheel, Cartographer
The sudden infusion of frost in the Shattered Isles influences the behavior of Behemoths, especially those that feed on the cold. Skraevs and Pangars, for example, find more territory suddenly open to their chilly presence. And although this sudden surge in frost aether makes Behemoths even more aggressive and deadly, the people of Ramsgate meet this chilling challenge every year with steadfast determination and spirit-raising social gatherings. And none do more to give Ramsgate reasons to celebrate the season than the Slayers themselves.
“Oh, don’t make that face, rook. Sure, all that frost makes the Behemoths extra restless, but that just means more work for hungry Slayers. And hey, you’re likely to find ‘em teaming up in pairings you haven’t seen before. That’ll be fun for you! So bring your best gear and extra socks.”
The annual Frostfall hunts are a busy time for the Slayers, but most enjoy the competition and camaraderie of a challenging pursuit. To honour their efforts, the Regent of Ramsgate has ordered his coinsmiths to strike a healthy supply of seasonal coins called silver stars. Silver stars prove to Kat’s scouts that a Slayer can handle the deadliest Behemoth pairings, more badges of status than currency.
GRANDPA OWEN’S FROSTFALL WARMER
8 oranges (juiced)
1 lemon (juiced)
1 small spoon honey
1 big spoon minced ginger
1 cinnamon stick
Mix and heat over low flame for as many hours as you can stand.
Add two more spoons of honey for children, sensitive palates, and anyone with no sense of adventure.
-Reprinted with the permission of Bosun Markus Boehr
The Bosun has taken to experimental creations during Frostfall, incorporating cold-blooming crocus flowers into everything from self-contained fires to lantern coolant to bountiful airdrops. And the time-honoured family Frostfall Warmer recipe he attributes to his great-great-grandfather Owen is a key ingredient in another Frostfall creation: canned campfires. A touch of blaze, he says, adds just enough kick.
During Frostfall ordinary citizens tend to stay huddled in their homes, sharing large meals, exchanging gifts (often of food or seasonal treats), and celebrating with friends. Slayers and civilians alike enjoy steaming glasses of blaze-kissed seasonal drinks to help keep the cold away. And of course youngsters everywhere (along with the young at heart) await the arrival of Silver Nikola, a legendary figure who spreads gifts and cheer from her magical airship to all the people of the Shattered Isles on the coldest night of Frostfall.
“The myth tells us Silver Nikola journeyed to every island state in the Shattered Isles in a single night to spread cheer, gifts, warming beverages, and festive foodstuffs. And parents whisper to their children every Frostfall that they must be brave and kind like Silver Nikola so they might receive her gifts once more on a cold Frostfall night. This myth — dramatic and embellished though it may be — is almost certainly based in fact.”
-Arkan Drew, Aethersmith
Since it affects all the known Shattered Isles, the Frostfall holiday has a long history that appears to predate the founding of Ramsgate by centuries. It was during this early period that the myths of the Frostfall Queen rose to prominence. Some believe she is based upon a real historical figure while many more believe she is simply an old story meant to keep the hearts of children warm.
Among the watchers of the Orrery it’s often said that old Arkan Drew knows more than he lets on. Some of these same scholars claim they have seen the venerable aethersmith of Ramsgate visit the library of St. Avellaine on more than one occasion to examine a particular artifact usually kept under lock and key, but which the old man reviews often while taking copious notes.
They relate that this artifact is a weathered, ancient, and surprisingly thin book bound with curiously bright paper bearing a handwritten title:
The Logbook of the Airship Nikola
Captain Josefina Silver, master and commander
Festive Frostfall, Slayers, from all of us here at Phoenix Labs!