No one was sure when it started, or how. That will likely never be answered. When the icecaps suddenly grew, when the snow first fell in the middle of summer, the world knew something had changed. At first it was welcomed, since global warming no longer seemed to be a threat – but those sentiments changed quickly. Temperatures plummeted. Glaciers expanded and heaved. Blizzards howled in May, June, and July. Harbors froze solid, and roads and landing strips became slippery deathtraps. With no trade, no travel, and no answers, tensions between already stressed nations began to grow. The world of man soon fell to starvation, exposure, disease, and war….and after that, all the world went white.
Great glass domes were hastily erected atop cities all over the world, some outfitted with solar panels, others reaching belowground to ward off permafrost and secure land for crops. Some were empty to start and came to be populated later as the owners settled in and stragglers from outside came pounding on their doors, begging to be let inside. Most of the domed cities are now run by governments or monarchies, but others were the product of megacorps that had survived the initial disaster, who now have free reign to mold the city and its people to their benefit. It is these that are among the most powerful…and the most unpredictable.
As time went on each domed city began to take on a character of its own, a character that is reflected in each city’s architecture and population. As accidents, malfunctions, and deterioration occurred, technology became disparate; some cities hung on and thrived in their little high-tech bubble, becoming worthy successors of the old world, while others languished and reverted to near-medieval levels, maintaining only the essential infrastructure needed to keep their people alive. Some cities now lie abandoned, and a few have even been buried entirely by ice, the state of affairs beneath a mystery that many a salvager yearns to solve.
Radio communication between cities remains spotty; the most reliable means of communication is messengers, brave men and women who ride out on snowmobiles, ultra-light aircraft, or dogsleds to deliver news and goods between settlements. Efforts are being made to physically connect allied domes via road, rail, and waterway, but the going is not easy as blizzards, glaciers, and sabotage conspire to destroy travel routes. Alliances are as tenuous as resources are scarce, and already more than a few wars are raging across the ice.
Outside the domes, civilization crumbled. The largest settlements out there are reminiscent of ancient Vikings, fur- and leather-clad barbarians who hunt, fish, trade, and make war for a living. There are also nomads, peaceful folk who only wish to trade and keep on the move, taking everything they own – including their sled-mounted houses – with them. Some of humanity has seemingly gone feral, reverting to their animal instincts and growing long canines and thick shaggy fur, recalling old American legends of the “wendigo”.
While humankind struggles to get by, other life thrives. Wolves, caribou, lemmings, muskox, and polar bears are a common presence. Shaggy beasts not unlike the Pleistocene’s mammoths, sabertooth cats, giant sloths, and others roam much of the world, though where they came from in such short time remains a mystery (not that many people really care these days). Other, more exotic beasts are also known, including giant flightless birds and the dreaded ice borer.
The worst of them all, however, are the kaiju. So named by the descendents of Japanese citizens in the dome near Mt. Fuji, these enormous and deadly creatures are the masters of this harsh, frozen world. Carving canyons through compacted mountains of snow, burrowing lairs into glaciers, hunting whales and krakens in the deep polar seas – they are a force of nature unto themselves. Many are stupid and violent brutes, but some are smart, very smart, and do what they can to stem the tide of human expansion into their territory.
It’s been just over two hundred years since this all began. Now, the remnants of the human world struggle to survive, working the land and maintaining their homes, protecting themselves from monsters both human and inhuman, chasing rumors of unfrozen paradises, doing what they can to make it from one day to the next. This is a harsh new world, and only the strong can hope to master it.
This is “Winter’s Edge”, as described by me to my fellow Deviant and IRL friend angenon58
. For nearly as long as I’ve had DOD he has expressed interest in having a kaiju-based setting of his own, starring his own monster (and guest in DOD) Razorr; unfortunately little if anything has come of it so far, but one day I was feeling creative and decided to write this for him – consider it a “pitch”, if you will. A few months have passed since I shared it with him privately, and now, for the heck of it, I have decided to share the concept with you all.