"Over the Misty Mountains"
As far as living memory reached --
as long as the world had been broken --
there had been a barrier to the north,
separating Slunai territory from
whatever might lie beyond.
There had always been the Great Cliff,
of course, which meandered through
the very northernmost reaches of the land,
above which lay cold flats and a bit of forest,
but the barrier was different, impassable.
Until it fell.
One day there came a hideous storm,
colder and fiercer than anything before,
which howled down out of the north
and hammered the land beneath it.
When it passed, the Slunai looked up --
and saw mountains.
These were not the little hills of the midland
but huge high crags of stone, misty mountains
that caught and ripped the clouds from the sky
like sheepswool snagged on a thornbrake.
Where the cold dry knife-wind of the north
poured down to meet the warmer, wetter air
coming up from the coast, fog formed and
clung to the slopes, flowing around them
and rarely dispersing for long.
Explorers were sent out to see what
might be found in those strange mountains.
They came back uneasy, telling tales
of strange stunted trees as floppy as moss
and bizarre little animals that resembled nothing else.
The very stones crumbled at a touch.
The Slunai realized that the world had changed again,
irrevocably and inconceivably, shaking them to the core.
* * *
If you look at the Torn World map, you can turn on the shard lines showing how the time barriers divided the world. When those fall, they reconnect separate shards, often causing tremendous storms and weather changes. It's a life-shaking event. North of the Slunai land lies the Lichenwold, one of the freakiest shards. The dominant plantlife there consists of lichens, mosses, and such and the animals are evolved from tiny fauna such as bugs and moss bears.