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Many high passes in the mountain range are walled off with ice. Most of the icy barriers are natural, but some, particularly to the west of the headwaters of the Surbrin river, are the creations of frost giants. At least six frost giant tribes, plus a dozen or so small outcast or rebel families, inhabit the coldest, loftiest mountain peaks and vales. They refer to the area they inhabit as Tholvarr - (literally, "our place" in an ancient giant dialect), but it's not a kingdom. The tribes (the Arthlarr, the Borumn, the Joront, the Klevvyn, the Turtorst, and the Yargray) have traditionally feuded and fought each other.

A capable heir has arisen in one tribe, however who plans on greater things. Gerti Orelsdottr, a devout cleric of Auril, has been teaching the spells and the creed of the Frostmaiden to clerics in other tribes, and thereby gaining great popularity. When her aging father Orel the Grayhand dies, Gerti will become jarl of the Yargray tribe unless a few hostile old warriors manage to arrange an accident to befall her. Gerti dreams of a council of jarls, wher the clerics she has trained could work magic together to bring a winter of storms to the North - and extend the power of the frost giants far into the south. Clerics from all the major tribes support her in this dream of conquest, but some of the older giant warriors see the rise of Auril's power among their shamans and clerics as an insidious threat, and consider ways to secure their own positions against Gerti and her followers.

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