It is said...
...that when Ymir was young, she lived amongst the Asok peoples of the far north. Even at a very young age, Ymir had a sad look to her -- like one who knew that a great burden would rest upon her.Like her people, she wandered between the floes of the Great Northern Skyocean, hunting amongst the great herds of the bjordŽ, learning the art of skysailing, and growing close with her two thobin, the ice spirits bonded to every Asok child at the age of three. Her parents were slain when she was only nine, thrown from the floe by attacking Vosjes. As per the tradition of her tribe, Ymir was left one thousand paces behind as the other Asok moved on; without adults to protect and raise her, she was a burden upon the lean-living nomads.
It was two weeks later that she startled her tribe as they arose to depart upon sunrise, still very much alive and hefting a freshly-killed bjordŽ carcass.
From that day forth, Ymir was held in great esteem by the tribe. She apprenticed to the greatest hunters, and rapidly surpassed them; soon she led the hunts herself. She began to study with the shamans, and soon she was a master of the spiritual arts. She became betrothed to the chieftan's daughter, and by the time she was 15 all knew that she was destined to take the Chieftan's place when he died. Radiant and beautiful, but with the same look of sadness, she prepared for her birthday, the day she would wed.
Two days before, the great beast descended upon the floe.
It was a vast creature, with thirty eyes, it is said; one hundred limbs, and eighty wings. It was ravenous, insatiable, and animal in its nature; no intelligence shone behind those thirty eyes. No one knew where it came from: from within the floe, or some place far in the sky? No one knew. But it was unstoppable. Thirty warriors attacked it, then three hundred, to no avail; it slew and devoured them, one by one, and their screams echoed across the floes. Ymir dealt furiously with the spirits, in the hope that some escape might be found for her people, but it was not to be. The creature broke through the ranks of warriors and reached the encampment of the Asok. It began to rampage anew, slaying all who stood in its way, including, finally, one -- the chieftan's daughter.
Driven mad with grief, Ymir rent her clothes and screamed. She swore dark vengeance upon any spirit who did not aid her now, at this moment, and, hefting the Chieftan's totemal spear, she charged the creature. When it moved to strike her down, she could not be struck; when it looked to find her she could not be found; while the creature was distracted by its own inability, she quickly climbed up its legs, ran across its back, and stood upon its head for a single moment before viciously plunging the spear down through its skull, slaying it utterly.
In that moment, she was Exalted.
It is said...
...that when Ymir was 23, she sat in the Deliberative. She made her home in the sky-city of Varex, never quite feeling at home on the ground. She served the Shadows Resplendent, journeying across Creation to secretly protect the interests of the Realm. For thirty-five years, she served so, doing as she was ordered, journeying where she was commanded, holding no commitments and taking no pleasures beyond those offered by her small room, and a notebook and quill. In her fifty-eighth year, she was sent to the South, in the region of Hazul, to root out spies that were believed to have taken up within the courts there.
It was there that Ymir first met the famous General Talmuda.
A hero of the War, 2000 years old, Talmuda was already well known throughout Creation, and Ymir, so well accustomed to her hermetic lifestyle, was stunned by him. The General took kindly to the young Exalt, and brought her into his inner circle; soon she had moved to Hazul, taking charge of its security entirely, living upon the ground for the first time. Soon Talmuda took Ymir as one of her lovers.
Sixty two years later, Hazul was attacked by a powerful force of soldiers, a group angry at the governance of the region who wished to make a powerful statement. This attack had but one purpose -- to capture the General. Using a mysterious crystalline device, the attackers managed to subdue Talmuda, and prevent him from accessing his Essence.
Ymir was far from the palace when this occurred, tending to security details. When she was given the news, she grew angry, in a way she had not been for ninety-seven years. Calling every one of her agents to her, she directed them out to discover anything, anything, that might lead her to the General.
Then, she struck out on her own, striking out at all those she knew might have connections to the attackers. She used any means necessary to extract information, until those she targeted began to come to her, too terrified of her retribution to wait and hide. After four days, Ymir had located where Talmuda was being held -- an ancient fortress, manned by five hundred men and sixty Exalts. When Ymir arrived, she fought unhesitatingly through all those who stood in her way; when she was done, less than half of each number remained. She found the General, and released him, and together, they slew the other rebels, to the very last man, and levelled the fortress to the ground.
Two months later, Ymir was given a tremendous promotion; and a year later the two were wed.
It is said...
...that when Ymir was in her sixth century, she was much loved in the Deliberative. Though she still called Hazul her home, she rarely went there; her time in Deliberative sessions, and her missions throughout Creation, kept her far from home, though Talmuda would still speak with her in her dreams.
At the height of Ascending Fire, Ymir received word that her services were needed. Deep in the Underways, in the region of Rintoko, people had begun to vanish, and valuable objects began to go missing. Ymir did not believe it was more than petty criminal activity, but she went personally to investigate nonetheless. She journeyed underground. When she came to Rintoko, she found a city paralyzed by fear -- in the time it had taken her to journey there, one hundred more had disappeared, and those who remained became terrified. Sensing that something deeper was occurring, Ymir investigated.
She found that a horrific cult had arisen, who worshipped a horrific dark god called Siram. An incomprehensibly powerful creature from before the birth of the world, Siram was a creature of honeyed words and twisted limbs, whose great power flowed into the veins of the cult. The cultists walked amongst the people in innocent guises; they had been behind the disappearances, for Siram needed human blood to thrive. Ymir tracked down their agents one by one and slew them, quietly and secretively, until she knew that only the leaders of the cult remained. Journeying through the dark, unmapped tunnels that cut through the Underways, she came to their lair -- a vast cavern, with a tremendous rock dagger dangling precipitously over the center. The cultists were prepared for Ymir's arrival, but she was prepared for any fight. For three days she battled the cultists and the terrible creatures they worshipped. At the end of the third day all the cultists lay dead, and Ymir had finally gained the edge in her duel with Siram. Poised over him, her black ribbons fluttering triumphantly in the breeze that cut through the narrow caves, she moved to strike him down -- but he had other plans. With a single motion of his hand, he severed the Essence that held the great dagger to the ceiling, and it fell, penetrating the floor of the cavern with a brilliant flash of light. The entire floor collapsed, and Ymir and Siram were thrown down into a dark, impermeable darkness.
When they heard the shockwave in the city and Ymir did not return, many believed that she had perished. Terrifed, the people fled Rintoko. As months passed, the Deliberative became certain that Ymir was dead, though Talmuda refused to accept that it could be so. The region of Rintoko was sealed off, all access to the region blocked, and none allowed to return. Months turned into years, and even the most stalwart believers gave up; only Talmuda believed that Ymir might still live.
After five years, the Deliberative declared Ymir dead, held a great funeral for this noble hero, even began to construct a tomb in Rathess, though no body was found to bury there. But Talmuda still believed.
It was ten years to the day after Ymir's disappearance that the Deliberative was shocked in the middle of a session -- as the still-bleeding carcass of Siram was thrown down to the center of the floor, and ten seconds later, Ymir dropped from the ceiling to stand, bloodied and grim but alive and victorious, before the Deliberative. "I have slain the beast," she said.
The Deliberative was exultant. Ymir became a hero among heroes. Those who knew her saw that some fragment of the sadness she had always borne was gone, but in its place was a cold, empty grimness; and as long as she lived Ymir never spoke of what occurred in those ten years.
It was less than a year before Ymir became the leader of the Shadows Resplendent and One of the Five.