At the creation of this world the gods brought forth many races to populate the world alongside humanity. One such were the shape-shifters, groups of humanoid people who could at will change into a specific animal form. However, most humans thought of them as little more then beasts to be slaughtered. The hunt continued for many years until attitudes changed and man began to focus on killing themselves rather than outsiders.
Of all the breeds the most populous to remain were the Wolf kin, known as werewolves to humans. Their kind had been the best able to resist the carnage of the humans, and so many remained scattered around the world.
After a brief time the pack instinct of the werewolves led them to be drawn together, seeking out one another as a means of survival. Many chose to hide amongst humanity, attempting to blend into the communities forming after the conflict.
However, some chose to stand up for what they were, and not be cowered by the suspicious and agressive nature of mankind. One such community was that of Gelneth Salvagard and his brethren. A fierce tribe from the north, Salvagard and his people refused to allow humanity to dictate their destiny. He decided to fight back, and his tribe began raiding west along the main continent, taking what they needed from humans who had sought to hurt them before.
The tribe became very successful, and gathered many Wolf Kin to them. They became a powerful force, eventually able to sustain themselves with the arrival of women and children from other tribes. For Salvagard had a vision, of a land in which a werewolf need not fear the animosity of man, and truly live free of oppression.
Regrettably, it was their success that led to their downfall. It was at this time that some of the bigger empires began expanding their boarders to include many of the settlements Salvagard depended upon to feed his tribe. In several fierce retaliatory strikes these empires began to hammer the werewolf forces, reducing their numbers considerably with every strike.
Without a source of supplies the tribe of Salvagard began to collapse, with many worried mumblings among the people as many felt their destruction was imminent.
For Salvagard his dreams had been reduced to tatters. His fears were manifesting, and soon the last tribes of Wolf Kin would be engulfed by the human world.
But there is always a way. As Salvagard was walking in a wood close to camp a heavy rain began to fall and he was forced to find shelter or be washed away. By chance he came across a cave, its narrow mouth hiding its depth. As the downpour hammered outside Salvagard proceeded to explore his surroundings. Down, deep into the heart of earth he strode, the walls going from broken clay and stone to dark granite, smoothed by centuries of water flowing over them, remnants of a dried up stream cracking beneath his booted feet. Salvagard could not explain it, but he was compelled to continue, his journey taking him through passages that had never before seen life travel through.
At long last he reached a cavern, its walls lit by an eerie green light tinged with blue. Before him stood a vast underground lake, with its vast expanse as calm and still as a mirror. What puzzled the Werewolf were the waters, which seemed to be coloured a deep crimson, almost as if it was composed of blood rather then water.
As Salvagard stood there looking over the strange sight a call echoed from deep within the cavern, a cry of panic and fear. From the shore Salvagard spied a small form struggling in the waters, a child trying to stay afloat in the water far from the shore.
Without a second thought the warrior leapt into the lake, his form shifting to that of a half man, half wolf, giving him far greater power in the water. With strong strokes he swam out to the child, grasping the struggling form to him tightly as he swam back towards the shore. However, as he swam, the child seemed to grow heavy, and the harder he swam the further away it seemed to be to the shore.
Regardless, the warrior continued on, refusing to release the child and leave it to its fate. Eventually the waters closed about his head, and he felt his life begin to drain away as he struggled to hold both the child and his breath. The world turned to a tunnel of light fading in his vision, tinged red by the waters of the lake. He waited until he could stand it no more, and took a gulp of the water as if trying to breath.
And then the lake was gone, and Salvagard lay upon the bare rock gasping to regain his breath. As he looked up he discovered that the cavern had vanished replaced by a small chamber only a dozen feet across with a small pool of the red water set into the floor. But that was not all, for in the room stood twelve figures, their features obscured by a blinding white light that wreathed across their bodies like flame. As one they spoke to the astonished werewolf, “By the sacrifice you chose to make we have deemed you worthy. You have drunk from the waters of life, through which we grant our wisdom to the worthy. Now, we will reveal to you the path.”
It is not known what occurred next, for Salvagard would never reveal what he saw there in the presence of those twelve beings. All that is known is that he saw the future, and knew what he had to do to save his people.
He returned to his camp, a large scroll clutched in his hand and the words of prophecy on his lips, for he clutched the Book of the Twelve in his hands, the text in which the Gods that laid down their plans for the future of the world, to be guarded by Salvagard and his people until such time as the gods returned to claim them, never to be opened or read.
With this sacred relic in hand he preached the word of the Twelve, and even the staunchest sceptics were led to believe by the fervour of his words. In his vision Salvagard had seen a land where his people could live, free from the arm of humanity, and be allowed to prosper.
With a sense of new purpose the peoples of the settlement gathered together all their possessions and set off on their quest for a new land, travelling far to the north east beyond the know borders of the human empires and into the wild tundra. Over hill and mountain, through valleys and fording rivers they travelled, living off the land and fending off numerous attacks from the savage peoples who lived in the lands through which the Salvagardians were travelling.
However, word of their travels spread, and by the time they reached the mountain boarders of what would be their new land the number had grown to over ten times its original count.
As they passed through the massive mountain range that would become known as the southern peaks, braving the landslides, avalanches and snowstorms, the people of Salvagard were granted the first sight of their new homeland. It was a huge bowl, tens of miles both long and wide, filled with trees and wild game as far as the eye could see, all the way to the distant glaciers that were little more then a bright white line in the distance. It was as if a huge hand had descended from heaven and scooped out this land from the barren mountains, and filled it with everything the tribe needed to survive. Nevertheless, this land was not free from terrors, as the werewolves soon discovered. Not only was it infested with dangerous animals such a Snow Leopards and White Bears, but many other dangers lurked in the hills and forests, from the Snow Trolls and Ice Giants to the tribes of savage Icemen, arriving later in the far north of the land.
It was these dangers that the Werewolves had to fend off as they carved out their new territory in the land of snow and ice. They spent many moths wandering the land, looking for a suitable place to call home. Eventually they found what they were looking for. Salvagard and his people came across a Mesa of dark granite, jutting out of the forest, its surface sloping on one side to a point that adjoined the ground whilst all other sides were as shear as sea cliffs. Along its base ran a bright river, whose swift flowing nature allowing the water to run free of ice almost the year round.
It was here that the people of Salvagard would found their first settlement that would one day become known as the City of Salvagard, home of the Snow Lords.
It was also the final place that Gelneth Salvagard ever saw. Mere days after he and his followers arrived in their new settlement the Prophet of the Twelve fell gravely ill, and none of the healers amongst the assembled peoples could discover why. For five days he lay at deaths door, his body slowly wasting away to a shade of its former self. Even as he died the prophet still preached the ways of the Twelve, giving his final orders on how the new settlement should be created, and teaching the new leaders of tribe what they needed to know to allow their continued survival and veneration of the Twelve.
When Salvagard eventually did pass from the world on the morning of the sixth day all the Prophets people stood in grief for the passing of their great leader. Many wept openly at the passing of one so blessed, and some questioned how they would survive without his gifted vision of events yet to come. But the new leaders of the people settled their fears, stating that the Prophet had passed on what was needed for his people to survive in this harsh land. The funeral procession wound down the Mesa from the new settlement to the river, where a raft had been made and covered in tinder. Here the body was laid to rest and his second in command, an old solider named Kogen Norberg, lit the funeral raft, setting it off on its long journey southwards towards the distant sea.
Thus with the Passing of the Prophet began the First age of the People of Salvagard, known to those who lived it as the time of Building.
"You don't have to be mad here, but it helps."