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Crossing the Dwraer Tundra


Title: Crossing the Dwraer Tundra
Time Period: Age of Mortals
Written By: Curator Ayderias Clarveu
Summary: A story about crossing the Glacial Sea between the Isles of Aerthane and Kaleith to commemorate the Winds of Change.

In a rare, natural phenomenon during the winter months, the Glacial Sea between the Isles of Aerthane and Kaleith can freeze over completely, uniting the many glaciers between them and transforming the sheets into a vast frozen tundra. The massive Dwraer Glacier found at the middle of the sea serves as a central landmark for those traveling between the two isles. At its center, an arcsilver pole has been anchored into the ice with countless ribbons and pieces of cloth tied to it. Those making the trip across the northern passage stop to affix something to the pole as a tribute to Zephyrous in the hopes that their journey will be blessed. When the winds begin to change and the flags along the pole shift to the east, travelers know the winds of Zephyrous have arrived and they need to either turn back or continue their trip across if they are to make it before the ice starts to break.
The walk was said to have taken a moon to travel from either isle to Dwraer Glacier. Kalesians and Aerthanians alike would prepare for the trek to the center of the ice where they would gather to celebrate the arrival of the new year, then return home. While there are several stories of brave survivors who have made it across the icy northern passage, countless adventurers have been lost to the task of traversing the entire sea from one isle to the other. There have been years when the ice has broken early, yet too soon for ships to rescue the stranded. To this day, every recorded instance of Glacial Sea freezing over also references those who have completed the crossing.
One adventurer that sought to make the journey east to the Isle of Kaleith was Arlandriel Bloomane, a vukasin scout of Aerthane. Having celebrated the Winds of Change at Dwraer Glacier twice in her lifetime, Arlandriel felt ready to attempt the crossing, a feat that would test her mental and physical limits as well as her resolve. As the oceanic routes froze over in mid-Kale and the ships gone for winter, so too was Arlandriel. She set out on the first half of her journey having little to no trouble. Hundreds were traveling at the time to celebrate the Winds of Change festival, marching together in high spirits. Upon arriving, Arlandriel rested a full day to mark the occasion upon Dwraer Glacier before continuing on toward Kaleith. Many who attend do so to encourage and support those who are making the daunting passage across the frozen sea. They bring food and drink so that the travelers can resupply for the second half of their journey. Some call it a leap of faith to travel halfway across the sea with nothing but the assumed generosity of a stranger awaiting your arrival.
The latter half of her journey is notated primarily by those with whom she came in contact--a priest whom she rescued from a prowling polar bear, a family she camped with for a night and shared stories about one another’s homelands, and another scout she happened across just as he had fallen through thin ice. Each of them remarked on her incredible resolve, and her unwavering belief that Zephyrous was at her back, pushing her forward. Her kindness perhaps leaving the most lasting impression. She never failed to stop to help out others along the way, even if it meant sacrificing her goal of reaching Kaleith before the end of Zephyrous.
Two days out, Arlandriel was dismayed to see the ice had begun to break into large floating sheets. She was able to push forward by jumping over the cracks, but at the risk of missing her mark and falling through. The cautious maneuvering slowed her down tremendously. Less than a day out from the shores of Kaleith, she came upon colliding chunks of ice that had caused greater separation between each solid piece. It was clear that she would not be able to continue any further without help, but still too far out for anyone at shore to see her in distress. Even if someone had spotted Arlandriel, the ice was still too dense for any vessels to rescue her.
Arlandriel fell to her knees as the dread of defeat swept over her. Her floating iceberg had drifted out of range of any other. It was in this moment as her willpower began to crumble that the winds began to strengthen. They soon increased with gail force as the seas began to swell towards the shore. Arlandriel slowly rose to her feet as the chunks of ice began to cluster and join, providing her with an opportunity to sprint for land. Kalesians gathered at the shoreline to watch the approaching storm roll in from the west were instead met with an exhausted vukasin leaping to shore as the winds dissipated and the waters calmed. When asked how she had made it across the ice, her answer gave birth to a notion still said today in regards to ushering in the winds of change and releasing them upon the world. She simply replied, “I come with the winds of change, the winds of Zephyrous.”
Today, many across Archai honor and celebrate the shifting seasons with the Winds of Change at the conclusion of each Zephyrous. While some attempt to make the trek across the northern glacial passage during those rarest of winters, most commemorate the occasion with local gatherings and festivals. As was the case with those who traveled out to support others crossing the Dwraer Tundra, today’s festivals focus on encouraging and supporting the journey forward, no matter the destination.
 
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