Jormag – Frigid Shadow of the North

ImageThe Elder Ice Dragon is one of the world-shattering, draconic entities. Jormag commands over the domains of ice and mind, and uses it all too often to twist and corrupt his victims. The start of the Ice Serpent’s machinations reaches all the way back into the 11th century, when heroes from all around Tyria battled and defeated the Great Destroyer. Primordus, the Elder Fire Dragon, wasn’t the only one who made his influence felt and foreshadowed the dark days that were to come. Jormag, frozen and entombed somewhere in the farthest reaches of the north, harnessed power to bring forth his awakening, using a mysterious champion as a vanguard of his will.

The Far Shiverpeaks were always a place of ancient mysteries and wonders. Countless breathtaking and intricate ruins of now forgotten civilizations lay among its steep valleys or deep below, near the roots of the mountains. Even the then dominant race of the wild mountains, the stalwart norn, were mostly unknown to the rest of Tyria. Unfortunately, the catastrophes that reshaped its landscape 150 years ago probably destroyed many of those extraordinary sites. However, the cracking of mountains and the immense flooding of nearly the whole region were not caused by forces of nature. A gigantic dragon erupted into the world of living somewhere in the northernmost and least explored areas of the Shiverpeaks. His earth shattering return ripped even the strongest mountains apart, which in turn allowed the northern seas to flood the now-crushed peaks and vales. But Jormag had been preparing for this for centuries, and the signs had always been there, whispering of his coming. Let us delve back into an age when our ancestors walked the lands that have since been twisted by Jormag’s icy power.

250 years ago, the norn encountered a familiar foe that – sometimes literally – froze the blood in the veins of even the strongest and boldest norn. Some might not have thought much upon seeing the Nornbear; a norn called Svanir trapped in his bear form. Deformed by icy spikes that jutted out of its flesh, this shapeshifted being committed horrible massacres that proclaimed to the north the extent of his primal strength. The unfortunate norn Svanir, who was the brother of the legendary norness, Jora, became corrupted when the two of them were chasing prey near Drakkar Lake; a place that was shunned by the norn. Svanir felt an ancient and powerful presence somewhere in the vicinity and decided to investigate it. The simple spell with which he wanted to reveal the nature of the power sealed his fate. The malign energy interacted with the norn and made him the Nornbear. Svanir’s mind was affected as well; he became mad and rampaged throughout the norn areas until he met final release at the end of his sister’s blade. Although Svanir’s tale and life ended there, it is worth noting that he might have been the only havroun of Jormag. A havroun is a special shaman of a Spirit of the Wild who acts as a vigilant defender of the spirit and its interests both in this world and the next. While most scholars deny that the Dragon ever had a havroun, Svanir was able to do an eerily similar feat to what the havrouns of the Spirits of the Wild do: they can cross the Mists and reach the Hall of Spirits. According to some witnesses, the Nornbear could vanish in the blink of an eye. What is more, others say that the reason why the Spirits of the Wild so strongly urged Jora to kill Svanir was because the corrupted norn could enter their realm and wreak havoc there.

The source of Svanir’s corruption indeed resided under Drakkar Lake. A great champion of Jormag, frozen in the water, began working on a way to accelerate the awakening of its master. The lieutenant entrapped creatures that passed over its cursed tomb, twisted them, and began draining their mental energies that it then added to Jormag’s growing power through a shared mental bond. As to what happened to this creature after Jormag had risen is still a mystery. It could have emerged shortly before the Elder Dragon awoke – or arrived at norn territories –, only to be slain by norn heroes. Or it could be still lurking in the arctic waters, waiting for the day to rise to defend its master or to wreak havoc on Tyria.

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This is just a tooth of Jormag.

I have mentioned Jormag’s awakening a lot so far, but I have not yet written of a legendary tale that left a supposedly immortal and invincible Elder Dragon ashamed and scarred. When Jormag unleashed his wrath on the north, the norn defiantly remained and faced the impossible adversary. But even they couldn’t hope to defeat an Elder Dragon. Every hero that challenged Jormag returned as an icy monster, stripped of all emotions and memories and mercilessly butchering their former friends, relatives and lovers. On the brink of certain annihilation, the Spirits of the Wild joined the norn. Many, like Dolyak, Eagle, and Owl stood behind to hold off Jormag, while four of them, Bear, Snow Leopard, Wolf, and Raven, led the norn southwards. But not before Aesgir fought Jormag and managed to cut out one of his fangs – a tooth about five times the height of a male norn. Even more, Aesgir survived the epic encounter and joined his fleeing people, leading them south where they could recuperate and establish a new domain.

However, Jormag’s revenge followed the norn south – and his minions threatened them from both outside and inside. Some foolish male norn came to the conclusion that Jormag is the ultimate Spirit of the Wild, the apex predator of the world and that he should not only be revered like the rest of the spirits, but outright worshipped. They named themselves the Sons of Svanir, after their spiritual ancestor, and began their plot to overthrow the other spirits and convert other norn to the worship of Jormag. While the Sons begin their journey into frigid darkness and depravity hale and hearty, the more blessings they receive from Svanir “shamans,