Thursday, 6 February 2014


“…To the frozen north these heroes would come, drawn into a twisted maze of shared destinies that would lead us all into the cold and terrible Heart of Winter.”

The Gloomfrost Seer – Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter

Now do come along, you can’t seriously be surprised at a D&D reference after all this time?

I’ll preface this with a bit of an odd statement: I love the idea of winter. For whatever reason I always have an attachment to books, films and games set in the stereotypical “frozen North”, there’s something about those settings is instantly captivating for me. This was a factor that led me to pick up Icewind Dale, my first Dungeons and Dragons game – and lo and behold I became the sort of person who can happily lose hours waving a big sword at a dragon until said beast is kind enough to fall over.

Maybe it was all those years of alpine skiing when I was younger. When Bilbo says in The Fellowship of the Ring “I want to see mountains again, mountains Gandalf!” I can empathise whole-heartedly. There’s still a pronounced tendency of mine to revert to being a giddy six year old when faced with snow, but then it’s quite a novelty to get a decent snowfall in the UK. The photo below was one I took about a mile from where I used to live in Sheffield during the last heavy snowfall.

(Taken back in my pre-Fibro days where I thought a four mile round walk in the snow for a cup of tea was a good idea.)

Since contracting Fibromyalgia my love for the reality doesn’t quite match that of the idea any more. The reality of winter in the UK is that it’s cold and wet, and wet is definitely the greater of those two evils for me. We had a long and relatively dry spring and summer last year and I think I may have gotten carried away with how much “better” I seemed to be throughout this pleasant weather. Autumn brought a return to the more severe aches and stiffness, and winter rolled in accompanied by soaring levels of fatigue. I could definitely be considered grumpy at this stage.

Winter also plays havoc with everything I would usually do to feel better, as it transpires. On days when I can work up the energy to attempt a dancing session, I’m finding I can’t do half as much as I’m usually able to. Irritatingly Petunia isn’t polite enough to inform me that exercising is a bad idea until it’s been firmly established for at least half an hour that I am indeed exercising – then she throws her toys out of the pram. This has led to a few less than pleasant evenings where I have got this wrong, but the reprieve it can offer on a good day is worth the risk. Also, I just feel better in and about myself when I can exercise.

I’ve been spending the last month or two perpetually unable to get warm whether at work or at home, despite multiple layers and in the case of work sitting virtually on top of a portable heater. If I had it any closer I would probably be set alight, but for all the difference I can feel it may as well not be there. This manifests into a reluctance to go out when I’m already cold inside, which in turn leads to the frustration of cabin fever which it never takes me very long to start feeling.

I very much look forward to it warming up. It would be nice not to walk from one end of the flat to the other and feel the need for a sit down, and to not feel faint after something as simple as peeling potatoes for dinner. I know it can’t be helped and I need to just accept that for this part of the year this is the way things will be, but I think having the reprieve through the summer and for there to be such a striking difference actually makes acceptance more difficult.

So, the title?

Well, here’s a spoiler warning. Hereon there will be spoilers of good, neutral and evil both of the lawful and chaotic variety. You’ve been warned.

(Icasaracht in-game not obliging to fall over. Image from

Icasaracht is the eponymous “Heart of Winter”. She’s the final boss of the expansion, and the reason for all the woe and horror brewing. Put simply she is a very bad tempered white dragon with mortality issues, and if you were paying attention in the original game you may also have twigged that she’s the dragon matriarch whose body lies on the bottom of Lac Dineshere near Easthaven. This is assuming you talked to Elisia the sea-elf – and you should.

So, as a representation of the “cold and terrible” winter, she works well as a somewhat whimsical metaphor for the object of my frustrations at the moment. That and when you finally meet her in-game she’s so irritating that you’re just itching to clonk her on the head with something heavy and be done with it.

Not that I’m one to hold a grudge, you understand…but I have another few months of inclement weather to make it through yet, and with my constant poor energy levels kicking Icasaracht up hill and down dale seems a rather fine way to pass the time.

To quote something a friend of mine often says….. If not back, avenge death.

Wondering how this mage malarkey works anyhow, and wishing you all many spoons xxx  

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