Excerpt from ‘The history of Coerthas, from refuge to Holy See’ by Archon Niniri Niri.
Since ancient times the once-verdant lands of Coerthas were divided into segments by a colossal ravine, separating the central and western highlands. This landmark was fjorded only by the Gargoyle Crossing, a large man-made bridge. When the Calamity struck Eorzea however it struck Coerthas especially hard, turning the forested realm into a tormented landscape of ice and storms. An avalanche of nigh-impossible size struck the ravine, burying it and its bridge in an immense wall of ice, which would later form a glacier known as Snowcloak. The cold struck Coerthas so hard that a group of inhabitants from the Ishgardian town of Falcon’s Nest, plagued by famine and literally freezing to death, fled their home and attempted to cross the newly formed Snowcloak, only for a large collapse of ice to slay the vast majority of them as they were reaching the end of their journey. Only Ysayle Dangoulain, then a young child, survived the incident and in doing so earned the dubious honour of being called Iceheart. She has since returned to the glacial wall, now a grown woman with immense powers and the following of a loyal cult. Iceheart has decided to use Snowcloak as a base from which to strike at Ishgard. They have also erected a small aetheryte which connects to the Akh Afah Amphitheatre, a separate base of operations that acts as Ysayle’s personal holdfast.
As the research team entered the glacier interior via the tunnels excavated by the heretics they found that most of the tunnels seemed to largely follow pre-existing ones within the ravine. The depths of Snowcloak could be seen to the side of the pathway, an abyssal cavern filled with colossal pillars of ice and a thick sea of fog. A fairly sizeable camp erected by the heretics was found by the team, albeit abandoned at that time due to the previous presence of the Warrior of Light and their compatriots. The name of this region seems to derive from the corruption ascribed to the heretics by Ishgard.
A moderately sized cavern lit by small holes and overhung by large icicles- or perhaps ice aether crystals. The name attributed to this area by the heretics, Silence, could be in reference to a number of things. Perhaps silence was the intended fate of any who trespassed this far and met the chamber’s guardian, or even a warning to not overly disturb the chamber lest the raucous visitor dislodge an icicle and be impaled upon it. Another theory could be that the name was intended to refer to the travails of Ysale Dangoulain. This name, then, could have referred to the silence that met the young girl after her companions perished en-masse.
Upon exiting the interior of the glacier the team emerged upon a series of rocky paths, covered in thick carpets of snow. The winds on the exterior were extremely bitter, causing physical harm to unprepared travelers.
A modest platform of packed snow which led into the interior of the glacier. The name Conviction could hold relevance to the devotedness of the heretics, or even to the unshakeable resolve of Ysale and her companions when they first climbed the glacier, even if that conviction led to most of the party dying.
The region of the glacier known as Contempt began as a number of packed ice walkways suspended in the cavernous interior of the glacier. The team did eventually come across a large, odd chamber. It was apparently once a large room with a number of adjoining cells, which broke open when Contempt was trespassed upon. One has to question if this system was engineered by the heretics as a trap. After this trap-chamber was the stronghold of the cult, complete with barred wooden gates, storage racks and small tables at which to eat, drink and converse. The adventurers who cleansed Snowcloak found a key here called the Finger of the Apostate, which was indeed carved from Elezen bone. The name Contempt is likely a reference to the sentiment that the cult holds towards Ishgard, or the spitefully dark time that met the people of Falcon’s Nest after the Calamity struck.
The final chamber of Snowcloak was not only a stronghold for the heretics, but also the gateway to the Akh Afah Amphitheatre, personal residence of Ysale Dangoulain via a personal aetheryte. The name was quite plausibly a reference to the fate destined for those who angered its guardian, Fenrir, or the end that met Ysale’s comrades on the glacier.