This ice world brought to you by
Everything about the place was sharp and biting and bright and hostile. The snow on the ground had the texture of broken glass, brittle and sharp edged. It had been blown bu the wind into shallow, undulating ridges that reminded me of Tuki's skin. There were occasional formations of ice that resembled smaller versions of the pinnacles in the ice forest Malmo and I had traveled through, but these looked like actual daggers piercing up from the ground, as though they would cut you if you brushed against them.
I took of my makeshift claws and strapped on my skis. The hard, ridged snow was slick, and I was able to travel swiftly over it. The ice daggers broke under my skis, though I took care to avoid the larger ones. I headed directly north....
The journey was grueling -- the constant knifelike wind nearly drove me mad. My senses went numb. I moved my legs forward and kept my eyes trained on the horizon. After seven days I got my first glimpse of the ice palace. I first spotted it as a piercing glimmer. The late-winter sun had just dawned for its fleeting daily visit, and sent light reflecting off the palace's sheer ice walls and slender glassy towers.
The palace lay directly north of me, and I was still a long, long distance from it, but as I slogged forward, and day followed day, I began to see how vast and splendid it truly was. It stood so tall and shimmering on the snowy plain that it could be seen for miles and miles. One morning, I emerged from my tent after a fitful night's sleep. The glare of the sunlight off the palace was so intense that I only just turned my eyes away in time to avoid doing them damage. From then on I had to be vigilant about averting my eyes, even with my ivory goggles on.
In the cave I thought about how I was going to get inside the glittering palace. Being fairly close, I saw how enormous it was, perhaps three times the size of the tallest church in Andalsnes.
When I had come within a quarter mile of my destination, I found a small icy cave, barely as tall as me, in the side of a hill. I dug out the snow inside so I could get deeper into the cave. It faced south, away from the ice palace, and I made myself a snug little camp, sheltered from the relentless wind....
I was down to my last packet of smoked seal meat. I made a small fire, ate a little of the meat, and soon after slept, no closer to a plan than before.
I awoke to the sound of bells.